Sure, it’s a birthday, but we celebrate longer than that

The gift giving began Saturday.

The gift giving began Saturday.

My dear wife Karen marks another year on our planet this week.

Not today.

And we haven’t reached the big day yet.

We have, though, started our celebration. By now I am quite aware, and thoroughly pleased, that we do not have to limit the great joy for this occasion to one single day. Happy Birthday, certainly. Happy Birth Week? Even better.

While we were shopping together a few weeks ago, Karen spotted a Syracuse Orange-themed scarf and laid out a rather broad hint about how much she liked it.

Last week I returned to the big box store, to the very rack we spotted that collection of local team items. And that slot on the spinning rack was empty. My heart fell. On one hand, it told me that the women of Syracuse liked this orange and blue neckwear. On the other hand, it was gone. So I planned my next move. Would I be better off driving to a sister big box store in another Syracuse ‘burb, or go to a store that solely sells Syracuse University sports-related clothing?

I picked the second. Bonanza.

With the game against top-ranked, defending national champion Florida State slated to start at noon Saturday, I handed Karen her first gift bag late Friday night.

It included the three-in-one scarf she’s pictured wearing on game day above. It’s a far nicer piece of clothing than what we spotted in the big box, she tells me, and of this I am sure. Also in that little bag, and on her feet, were spiffy orange-and-blue SU socks. An Otto-mascot-logo head-or-neck warmer is available for Karen’s use when we walk up the hill for the two remaining November football games. She’s also now the proud owner of an Orange lanyard to which she can affix her Syracuse Media Group work ID.

And, in the pregame party lot outside the University Sheraton where I took the above picture, I bought Karen a very nice, beige sweater with a small SU logo on the front, on sale for 40 percent off. I’d call that a very successful round one of Birth Week gift-giving.

Karen is psyched to see Carlos Santana.

Karen is psyched to see Carlos Santana.

Sunday evening, we drove 30 miles east to the Turning Stone Resort and Casino Event Center for our date to see Carlos Santana in concert.

When I noticed the visit to Verona, N.Y., by one of the best guitarists of our time during my dear wife’s Birth Week, I asked if she might be interested.

Yes, yes, yes, she said. I drove to the box office to use my outstanding Christmas gift card to buy the tickets.

We’ve been excited about seeing our legend at a sold-out concert for more than a month.

The man can flat out play guitar. (My Wednesday community blog for Syracuse Public Media site will be about the show, and I’ll post about it here, too.) I loved stealing glances sideways to watch Karen’s face as Carlos entertained her for her Birth Week.

On the birthday proper, I’m taking my dear wife out to dinner, and our kids Daryl and Elisabeth and her boyfriend George will join us. She picked the Turning Stone country-themed joint the Tin Rooster. (Yup, that gift card might be all emptied at last after that night.)

A couple of Karen’s buds have plans for her the night afterward, too.

What a Birthday Week 2014. As it ought to be.

You deserve the celebration every day, my dear wife Karen.

Of course, I’m equally content after the big week, when we’re home together, quietly watching the flat screen with Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle vying for our attention.

Do you stretch out the Birthday celebrations? What are some of the most memorable gifts you’ve given or received? What would be your top three birthday gifts you’d like to get but have never dared ask for?

71 thoughts on “Sure, it’s a birthday, but we celebrate longer than that

  1. Say hello to your birthday girl from across the world!
    Hope you’ll have som great celebrations!
    Have a nice thursday!


  2. Many happy birthday wishes to Karen. I totally approve of birthday celebrations lasting a week – and i agree ‘normal’ days with the people you love are great too.


  3. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy BIRTHDAY dear Karen, etc. Birthdays are awesome. Everybody celebrates Thanksgiving. We all get the 4th of July off. But your birthday is you own PERSONAL HOLIDAY. It should be celebrated with all due respect.

    I saw Santana in Las Vegas about two years ago. A soulful and passionate player, but when he rapped with the audience he seemed so stoned out of his mind that he wasn’t making any sense. It was so funny! He was speaking metaphysical gobbledygook between searing solos. My friend and I laughed our asses off.


  4. Mark, I don’t suppose you would email my kids about this week long event would you? Karen’s a lucky lady to get an entire week. And all those great events are even better. My kids are really good to me, but gee, not a whole week good. I just might reblog this and share it to my daughters timeline. think she would take the hint?


    • Well, as you see, different people jump in at different points during her week, Angie. The kids are in one day, actually. Two for her son Daryl because we stopped to see him on his break from his job at Turning Stone after we saw Carlos Santana. Her friends get a day later … Other friends get a day at work … I get the whole week. Yay!

      But if you want, I’ll email everybody in your family, Angie! Reblog and get your daughter good and guilty, too. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Might work if my daughter read my blogs Mark. Problem is, none of my kids read them. Not sure anyone except a few cousins actually read them, now that I think about it. I’m from an interesting, but very weird family.


  5. WOW! What a great hubby you are! Kudos to you! πŸ˜€ Happy, Happy Birthday, Karen! Please give her a great big hug for me from Florida! ❀ So my question to you is, did you go into the relationship with the week-long celebration tradition, did she, did you both, or did you come up with it together? πŸ™‚ To be frank, my birthdays usually suck, but the best gifts are usually Bon Jovi related. πŸ™‚ As for gifts I like to give, I like to give my women friends something like a purse with a bunch of little gifts wrapped up inside it, so it looks like only one thing. I usually have trouble with my guy friends. And as for my kids, I always give them a bunch of little things first, like toiletries and candies, and such, then I give them a big-ticket gift in the form of a scavenger hunt. They start off with one clue in a card, then they have to follow the clues and search the house for the real gift. Even though they're both grown, they still love this tradition and love for me to to include their BF/GF when we scavenger hunt on Christmas. πŸ™‚


  6. Happy Birthday Week (HBW?) to your DWK! Love that you’re so thoughtful with gifts. Lucky lady, she. Though I suspect she turns it around nicely when it is your turn for a HBW.

    Funny how I remember so little about my birthdays, though they’re always celebrated and never a shortage of gifts. I love to make myself a cake, but you’d have already guessed that.

    Party on, Mark and Karen πŸ˜€


    • I love gift-giving to DWK, that is for sure, Liz. She does a great job for me. This whole football game craze started for us because she gave me season tickets for birthday/Christmas combined six years ago, and I was THE HAPPIEST MAN ALIVE!

      Back to the couch. Do you remember buying gifts for others more than receiving gifts? Interesting, friend, very interesting that you are this way about your own birthday gifts.

      Thanks for the HBW wishes, Liz. πŸ™‚


      • I once got Larry a pitchfork to help with composting–are you impressed? I can remember specifics if I see something, but overall stuff just tends to blur together. My favorite gift may be a necklace Larry gave me for my 40th. And I DO remember that party. Fun and crazy.


      • I’m in the market for a pitchfork because Karen and I are going as American Gothic painting to a Halloween party. But my dear (and wise) wife told me last night a real pitchfork is not a good idea for a party where there will be drinking involved. So, yes, I am impressed with your gift for Larry.

        Happy belated 40th, and I’m glad Larry threw you a fun and crazy party! πŸ™‚


  7. I’m all in for birthday celebrations that last longer than a day. I like to stretch mine out for the entire month. Selfish? Yes. Fun? OH YES! πŸ™‚ My dad used to be a stud in football, so for his birthday one year I made him three scrapbooks and named them, “The Man” for his high school sports photos and clippings, “The Myth” for his collegiate football efforts and “The Legend” for when he was recruited and played in the pros. That’s the favorite gift I’ve ever given because he was so happy to look through his memories.


  8. Wow, you are very thoughtful! I am so chintzy that I always tell my husband not to get me anything but some (cheap) flowers, and I just get him some chocolates. We are a week apart, so it’s too hard to enjoy one birthday over the other, plus Valentine’s Day is shoved in between. Ick! It sounds like you know your wife’s enjoyments and know how to keep her happy. Good man!


    • You two have bad birthday timing in mid-February with Cupid stuck between, Kerbey. That is a big Ick. Finances, understood. My whole gift bag thingie was quite unexpensive because, well, it’s the thought that counts and you know the situation. … I do keep track of my wife’s enjoyments. You put that very well, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy Birthday Karen! That scarf looks really sharp on Karen. Good choice Mark. You are a pretty amazing husband -a week long birthday celebration. Whew! Well done. And the concert too – I’m looking forward to that post. I’ve never seen Santana live. His work is awesome. That must have been a blast. That’s one of the great advantages to living on the east coast of the US – so many big populations in reasonable distance so that you can see major acts.

    Neat post Marrk. Thank you.


    • Thanks, Paul. I’ll make sure that Karen gets your wishes from Canada. A two-country birthday celebration is even more special. Yay. We did enjoy Carlos’ guitar work, and we are lucky how many great artists stop our way, you are correct.


  10. Karen is adorable!! I love the scarf and what a great couple you two are. The love comes shining through, Mark, shining through. And NO, my birthday is barely acknowledged let alone extended. That’s what happens when you’re born on December 22. Hugely inconvenient for all. LOL!


    • I had a bit of that even on Dec. 14 as a kid, Barbara, so I know of what you speak! My dear wife Karen and my daughter Elisabeth treat me right so I cannot and will not complain. And thank you for your wonderful kick-off comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. happy birthday karen! what a wonderful and thoughtful husband you are, mark. i am with you on this, i always try to extend my birthday as long as possible, i have no problem celebrating it or stating my age, and look at it as an annual mexican fiesta. one of my fav gifts ever was a really old, simple table that my kids bought me used for $7. i will have it forever. that, and the coupon books they’ve made me over the years, when we didn’t have any money )


    • Ay carumba, una fiesta para Beth! Felez cumpleanos in Noviembre. Now I hope I haven’t butchered that too badly. Perhaps my Mex sis Sandra and the other Mrs. B can edit my written Spanish for my fiesta birthday wishes for you, my friend. I love your theory about treating the occasion in that extended manner! The $7 table sounds great, and the coupon books you have shared with us here, and I fell in love with them then.

      I will be sure Karen sees your wishes to her, Beth. Thank you.


  12. Happy birthday to the beautiful and wonderful Karen. I’m so glad you have the gift of each other, Mark!

    My magical wishes for a future birthday of mine? A true surprise party. (Nobody’s been able to fool me, so far.)


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