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Birthday Blessings: I Turned 44 Today!

It’s my birthday today. 44 years old. Great day so far.

My birthday started with dinner last night at Fins with my wife. She is great (and looked great). The bottle of wine, Markham Cabernet Savignon 2002 was perfect (we took the time to have it aerated!). Dinner was delicious. We knew we were getting older when the little kids kvetching at the table in the corner drove us crazy.

The kids woke me up early with the traditional Daddy Paul birthday breakfast: home baked chocolate chip cookie sandwiches filled with Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. Delicious! It recalls the Ice Cream Sundae lunches I shared with my family at Kimball’s Ice Cream (farm) in Chelmsford, MA.

Next followed a few killer rounds of Guitar Hero 3. I can be pretty good at it on the easier level. I get to live out my fantasy of being a Rock Star. (Never really had one of those but…) And who would have thought that my kids would love listening to hard rock (the only songs you can play along with in GH3)?Then I took a long walk with one of my boys. We had great talks about everything and nothing. He kept asking questions. I kept finding semi-intelligent responses. At times like these I feel competent as a parent. Just one on one time was precious.
It’s my birthday today. 44 years old. Great day so far.

My birthday started with dinner last night at Fins with my wife. She is great (and looked great). The bottle of wine, Markham Cabernet Savignon 2002 was perfect (we took the time to have it aerated!). Dinner was delicious. We knew we were getting older when the little kids kvetching at the table in the corner drove us crazy.The kids woke me up early with the traditional Daddy Paul birthday breakfast: home baked chocolate chip cookie sandwiches filled with Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. Delicious! It recalls the Ice Cream Sundae lunches I shared with my family at Kimball’s Ice Cream (farm) in Chelmsford, MA.
Then came the big mid-day Birthday trip. I put on one of my best suits, tie and all. Got into my car for a ride out of the Valley toward the Westside. (The Westside of LA is one of the hip parts of the City.) ‘Course, then I continued my way farther south, turned off the 405 at Howard Hughes Parkway, and turned into Hillside Mortuary and Memorial Park to officiate at a 1:00 pm funeral. Such is the life of a rabbi.
Fortunately, the deceased lived a long life, had a romance that supposedly rivaled the movies, found her way through tragedy to happiness. Still, nothing like a reminder of our human mortality to put in perspective any worry about getting older. Counting blessings…
In truth, though, even life has its challenges, I can honestly say that, as the years go by, life today – at 44 – is better than it was at 42, which was better than 38, which was better even than 22. I have a great family, with children who are thoughtful, intelligent, mostly nice to each other and to their parents. Wonderful, beautiful wife whom I love even more than I did when I married her. Healthy parents and siblings. Fantastic Jewish community to work with. Oh, and a loaded computer. And solid, though aging Blackberry. What more could I want? (Maybe the new blackberry or iPhone… or that cool Sony eBook Reader that I think I am going to buy myself soon).
My Rabbi buddy Ron Stern of Stephen S. Wise Temple had a funeral 2 hours later, so we decided to meet up in between. We planned to grab a drink at Starbucks, but Nordstroms’ holiday sale was on. So went shopping. Now there’s the beginning of a good joke:
Two rabbis, on their way to a funeral, stop by the local department store. One says to the other…
Tonight, we’re having dinner as a family. Now that’s a perfect birthday!

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