Queen E. II Rocks Out on Her Birthday

Queen's birthday

Image source Reuters

Many Brits love their Queen, and the fact that she has two birthdays regularly gets a spike in news coverage at this time of year. I’ve mentioned this before — the two birthdays for the monarch goes back to 1748 when England’s King George II, born in November, wanted a fair weather birthday celebration. He decided to make his official birthday in June, and the habit stuck.

This year, though, to celebrate her 92nd birthday, Queen Elizabeth II was feted with a star-studded pop concert. We’re talking Sting, Tom Jones… In fact, the opening number for the night was his “It’s Not Unusual,” which I have long loved for the hilarity of the “oonga shaka” chorus.

Shaggy, Kylie Minogue, Shawn Mendes, and Ladysmith Black Mambo were also among those on the bill for the longest-reigning, living monarch’s shindig in London’s Albert Hall. The Queen took the throne, in case you aren’t old enough to remember, in 1952! At the end of the concert, Prince Charles, 70, took the stage to lead a rousing round of cheers for his mother, who at 92 is also the oldest living monarch.

Birthday Fundraising

The concert was a “break in tradition” for the Queen as she usually celebrates more privately (and maybe noshing on jellied corgis, per a previous blog). Many of the Royal family members joined her in the box for this rocking birthday bash, which was also televised and aired on BBC channels.

The Queen’s actual birthday of April 21 was also marked with an honorary gun salutes in Hyde Park and at the Tower of London and in the town of Windsor.

The concert was also a fundraiser for The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, so she gets to join my list also of people who use their birthdays to raise donations or show generosity to others. The charity, led by her grandson Harry, will “encourage young people to excel in areas like sports, education, health and the environment across the 53 Commonwealth countries.”

Queen's Birthday

Image source Reuters

Birthday Concert Just the Beginning

Of course, the concert is only one of the Queen’s birthday events. I mean, she’s really someone who knows how to keep the birthday going and going, In June, all of London will celebrate her “official” birthday at the Trooping the Colour, an annual military parade which will bring all the royals back to the balcony of the Palace (including, presumably, the by then newly married Henry and Meghan). 

According to the Royal Mint, “during the ceremony, trained and fully operational members of the Household Division greet The Queen with a royal salute. She then inspects the troops, riding past them in a carriage. After the massed bands have performed a musical ‘troop,’ the regimental colour, or flag, is carried down the ranks of troops. Chalk up one more advantage to being Queen — the picture below suggests this pomp and circumstance is probably a bit more exciting than a balloon bouquet!

Queen birthday

Trooping the Colour, from the Royal Mint

Age calculator has to be a scam right?

I have acknowledged previously that math is not my favorite subject. Still, I am not numerically illiterate. Really, I can’t imagine why anyone would need the help of a site I came across answering the question: “How old will I be in the future?”

age calculator

Clearly the site is targeting younger people. The default year is 2000, and those of us who need to go back from there (not so far back, I swear) have to painstakingly click and click and click (not that many times, I swear) to get to our birth year.

At least now, thanks, to this handy dandy calculator I can now admit that I am exactly 45 years, 6 months, and 13 days old.

Now, I know you are going to gasp with shock and awe when I tell you this, but on April 20 2019, I expected to be 46 years, 6 months, and 13 days old (give or take a day — allowing for leap year).

You know what? I was right, I should be that age exactly! The calculator confirms it. Wowza!

But what’s my exact age, really?

You can also simply click on a year and it will do the calculation for you. In 2035, I will be 62 years, 6 months, and 13 days old, which, actually, suggests I didn’t even need to worry about the leap year messing with my day-to-day count.

If you really want specificity, you can click on the age calculator and enter your hour and minutes of birth, plus your timezone, and learn “your exact age.”

So, the real question, is why would someone take the time to develop this site? The comments don’t indicate a swell of enthusiastic users oh-so grateful for this calculator’s help:

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Although I did appreciate Lele’s sense of humor when he/she commented: “what if the world ended don don don.”

Perhaps it is just for passive income generation (note the embedded ad in the image above). The site did also feature a few famous birthdays — though it is no competition for the site FamousBirthdays.com, which is insanely successful. The age calculator site offers blogs too actually, so I clearly need to be paying more attention to my competition!

In the meantime, consider this blog a Public Service Announcement letting you know where you can calculate your age down to the minute. You’re welcome.

 

One More Birthday Power to Enjoy.

You can easily imagine this headline: “Birthdays should allow you to choose your age” caught my attention. I’m all in for anything that gives me more power on my birthday — mwahahaha!

A writer in the Zanesville Time Recorder was going to celebrate her birthday by being 45 again. She noted this meant her older son was born five years before she was. She made an interesting observation though: “why not? If I can identify as either sex or any color or nationality, I choose to identify as a 45-year-old.”

We are a society increasingly open to people making their own identity choices. So, age fluidity could just be added to the list.

The writer further admitted, “truth be told, I feel as if I should be about 25. This aging stuff never really bothered me much.”

This year my birth certificate would attest to the fact that I am actually 45. I’ve written recently about reaching a point in my life where the number is making a dent on my psyche.

But I’ve been thinking more lately that maybe the reason we get so caught up in the numbers, and surprised when we reach them (30! 45! 50! AARP’s 55!..gulp 60!) is that we have no personal context for the experience.

Birthday Age

Remember when we were elementary schoolers who thought that being 21 was just as old as a 40-something? Basically, people were sorted into “babies,” “kids like us,” “teenagers,” “adults,” and “grandparents.”

Even in our twenties, we had the groupings: “younger than us,” “adults,” “parents” and “grandparents.”

But now that I’m in my mid-40s, I have to recalculate. Forty-five has always seemed old before now. But then I look ahead at how old people are getting (those 110 year olds I wrote about), and have to realize I could have another 45 years to go! If I feel old now, what am I leaving myself for later? Ancient? Crone?

I wish I could agree that the “aging stuff never really bothered me much.” It hadn’t for the longest time. She’s got the healthy point of view: “The best part of aging is that age really is just a number. And as you grow old you start to forget what that number actually is.”

Maybe I’m just not old enough yet to embrace that perspective. Still, I’ll admit I’m all for the idea of being whatever age you want on your birthday. Or at least acting that way! Most who know me would argue I act like a spoiled 9-year-old girl every birthday — complete with balloons, baked goods, and a big, brassy “it’s all about me” attitude.

Birthday Generosity for a BK Loyalist

While this may seem like advertising for Burger King, I would like to share this evidence that birthdays make people go out of their way to show they care.

Harold Rinehimer, a resident of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, is a stalwart Burger King visitor. According to local media there, Harold has walked from his apartment to the fast food restaurant “every day, twice a day, for nearly two decades.”

“I guess I like the stuff down here, the food, the times, and I see good friends down here,” Harold said.

Birthday Kindness

Upon discovering that Harold was turning 80, employees planned a surprise party for his birthday.

Seeing the big smile on Harold’s face at the surprise was worth the effort, said restaurant manager Elizabeth Phenotti. “It made my day…It’s just doing something nice for someone, making someone feel special. He sure needs it, he’s a wonderful person.”

Along with a cake at the party, employees gave Harold a card signed by everyone and a Burger King gift card.

birthday generosity

Image source: WNEP

“Faithfully, rain sleet, snow, shine, he always makes it here. I think it’s awesome that he’s lived to be 80. Hopefully, he has a lot more years,” said Burger King employee Audam Fogle.

“That was a nice thing they did for him,” said Nick Indelicato, who met Harold at the BK and often shares a meal with him there. “He was really surprised, so that was nice.”

Harold’s advice? Life goes by too fast, so enjoy it.

Since Harold’s first meal of the day at the BK is breakfast, and he returns for dinner, he definitely started his birthday on the right note — cake for breakfast!

Humor helps gentlemen to reach 110.

Britain’s oldest men are both turning 110 this week. Yes, 110!!

The Telegraph in the UK reports, “The two have credited their old age to porridge and a good sense of humour.”

Well, I like to think I have one of those covered, but I will need to develop an affinity for porridge if I want to be a centenarian (which, honestly, I’m not sure I want to be. But surely that’s similar to the 10-year-old totally unable to imagine what it would be like to be 43? By the time I get closer to 100 I could be surprised at how awesome it really is).

Another great thing about these two men? Although they have never met, they have exchanged birthday cards for years! It’s as if they have embraced the idea of having a birthday twin! Both Robert Weighton and Alf Smith were born March 29 1908.

Secret to Old Age

Former farmer Smith’s recipe for longevity? “Porridge is helpful and having a job you enjoy.

Weighton, an engineer most of his life, said: “I think laughter is extremely important. Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people taking themselves too seriously.”

birthday longevity

Photo by sandeepachetan.com on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Weighton also “dismissed smoking as ‘horrible’ and ‘absurd’ after trying it in his early teens and is equally unimpressed by wealth, saying he ‘never wanted to become rich.’”

Some would say, though, he is rich with family. The father of three has 10 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

If I do make it to centenarian and they are interviewing me about what I attribute my longevity to, I hope I’ll still be able to say “good friends, good books, and the occasional sweet.” (I put occasional in there assuming I’ll have to cut back more to get to 100!).

Fighting over Frosting Birthday Cakes?

One of the age-old birthday debates revolves around cupcakes: Which is better the cake or the frosting?

Birthday cake

Some people can do without one or the other. My son, for instance, is likely to lick off all the frosting and leave the cupcake untouched. This is why we’ve moved on to cookie cakes, which he will eat in their entirety. But then there are the boys who come to his sleepovers and prefer their cookie cake slices without any frosting!

Now, I’ve encountered an idea that throws another spanner in the works: replacing buttercream frosting with ice cream frosting. Food & Wine’s  culinary director Justin Chapple offered this suggestion as a recent Mad Genius Tip:

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This made me think of another quintessential debate come cake-eating time: To ice cream or not to ice cream?

Birthday Cake & Ice Cream

I can understand the appeal of an ice cream cake, especially since one of my favorite fro-yo flavors is cake batter. Obviously, if you’ve ever seen any of my #yummybday posts, I am very much drawn in by the appeal of a freshly baked cake. Yet, I’ve never been a fan of cake and ice cream.

My family members are among those who feel that a birthday cake is best served with a side of ice cream. Yet, for my birthday’s there is no ice cream on the plate. It melts too fast and gets the cake soggy. If I wanted a soggy cake, I’d order a molten lava cake thank you very much.

Perhaps the best compromise for the cake and ice cream kerfuffle is this clever idea I came across from The Country Cook’s website. They used melted ice cream to replace all of the cake’s liquids, which “results in a slightly more dense and ultra flavorful cake!” This sounds good enough that we may need to celebrate some half or 1/4 birthdays soon, since we don’t have another birthday coming up for seven more months at my house.

birthday cake=

Happy Boozy Birthday — Drink Recipes on Me!

One of my favorite round-up blogs to write is the #yummybday one. That’s when I pull together some favorites from my twitter postings of tasty treats you might bake for a loved one’s birthday. The blog serves as an easier way for my loved ones to determine what they should make me at my next birthday, too.

Nevertheless, I’ve noticed lately more yummy cocktail recipes from the people I regularly follow for mouth-watering ideas. So, here goes — the first #boozybday round-up. Enjoy (but in moderation of course…).

Birthday Cocktail Recipes

The Cookie Rookie always has great beverage offerings on her twitter feed. I’ve picked two for you:

The Toasted S’more Martini is a favorite from her blog back in 2013.

birthday cocktail

I also like the sound of this Sherbet Mimosa, another one she recently republished.

Birthday cocktail

Another of my favorite foodie bloggers is Living Lou, and not just because she lives in London, Ontario (where I went to grad school). I’m confident her Peach Sangria with blueberries and basil will be a crowd pleaser!

blueberry-peach-rose-sangria

Since I live now in Charlotte, NC, I have to include Life, Love, Sugar’s Carolina Panther Punch. Plus, anyone who knows me, will know I love brightly colored foods.

Birthday cocktail

I’m a big fan of bubbly, so I also have to share this Blackberry Lavender Champagne Cocktail from AdventureBite.

champagne-cocktail-recipe

On Town & Country’s list of top spring cocktails, Le Bleu Glacier is the one that stuck out to me (and not only because it’s in French!). You garnish this blueberry, vodka, vanilla cocktail with berries and smoked cheddar!

FourSeasonsJacksonHole-Le Bleu Glacier-100 Mile Cocktail 1

Then, because I was worried I was including too many champagne/vodka pairings I put whiskey into my Google search. As a proud Canadian, my eye was drawn to the Raymond Massey cocktail.  Turns out this cocktail is “a sophisticated cocktail with the simple classic flavours of Rye, Champagne and Ginger.” The drink’s namesake is Canadian actor Raymond Massey from Toronto, where you can go to Massey Hall. I can’t help it, champagne’s in there too!

Raymond_Massey_cocktail

One last one, because it involves a star, the Zephyr Star from Bevvy features gin, lemon, simple syrup, allspice dram, and honey bitters. My only disappointment is that it’s not really involving stars other than the star anise on top. Well, I could still liven it up with the awesome light-up ice cubes my husband gifted me recently.

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Cheers! Enjoy your next birthday celebration, even if it’s for a one-year-old it’s de rigeur these days that drinks be served.