Last September I wrote about celebrating my birthday, so fair is fair. Don's birthday falls two weeks after Christmas. As anyone who has a birthday near Christmas knows, your birthday is often ignored. As anyone who has to shop for someone whose birthday falls near Christmas knows, it is nearly impossible to find a good gift for that person. This year Don gave me no birthday gift ideas (yet), come to think of it I was doing good to get a couple of Christmas gift ideas out of him.
Instead we celebrated his birthday with a few activities. He is proud to say now that he is 52 he is operating with "a full deck," though I pointed out the jokers are still missing. (If you don't follow our humor, you might as well stop reading now.)
On his actual birthday Ashley and I took him to Tiger Noodles in Princeton for dinner. We then went to the preview opening night for August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson" at McCarter Theatre. Much to our surprise, the show was performed in their black box theater (the Berlind Theatre) in the rear instead of in the main theatre (the Matthews Theatre), even though it is their big six-week production. The Berlind seats 360 patrons versus 1100 in the Matthews. (More information on the auditoriums)
"The Piano Lessons" takes place in Pittsburgh in 1937. It is part of August Wilson's 10 part series on black Americans told a decade at a time. The focal point of the story is a beautifully carved piano that has been a part of the family's life since they were slaves and it was owned by the master's family. It is viewed by the sister as a visible piece of their history and a connection to the past. It is viewed by the brother as a way to make money and plan for his future. Both are right, and both are wrong. It was a very deep play, and a very long one. The run time was nearly three hours including intermission.
On Saturday we had Ashley's grandparents over for dinner to celebrate Don's January 8th birthday and my dad's December 26th birthday. We celebrated their birthdays together two years ago when they both reached a milestone. Normally my parents are in Florida this time of year, but last March they sold the condo and have committed to only owning one home. Dad has requested this tradition continue, hopefully for many more years.
It was good to see Don's mom leave her house. I took a picture to commemorate the experience. After she went home I realized I should have taken a picture of Ashley will all of her grandparents. Hopefully one day soon.
On Sunday we rounded out the birthday celebrations by visiting the newest giant panda bear, Bei Bei, during the FONZ (Friends of the National Zoo) open house. As Don said "that was the best money we have ever spent," though the National Zoo is free, by becoming members we were able to see the giant panda baby before he went on public display, while the lines were non-existent, yet the weather was in the 50s on a January day. Don and I were more excited than Ashley.
On the way home we went to Mimi's Cafe for a birthday dinner, and crepe cake. I wouldn't recommend the cake. Between the three of us we didn't even finish it. It needed chocolate.
Don was happy to score two bottles of limited edition New Belgian Beer. He is looking forward to when they are finally sold in NJ so we don't have to cross state lines to purchase it.
As is typical in our house, the birthday celebrations will continue through January. Tonight we plan to use a Ruby Tuesday's birthday coupon for a free burger. There is still the matter of Don's birthday present. Will it be unicycle related or kilt-related?