Sometimes during our between-holiday visit to the Midwest (nice to miss both Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday travel madness), we overlap on my birthday, which is today! Sixty One times around the ole' sun. To yank people's chain and provide a teachable moment, I used to provide it in Saturnian years. Fifteen years ago that made me about 1.5 Saturnian years. Of course, not having kept up with the math, I missed my 2nd Saturnian birthday, which would have been last year!
Anyway, we also spend a day in Iowa visiting my family each visit, so Sunday the Ketelsen kids got together at a popular pizza buffet place - Pizza Ranch! We like it because we can also schedule a private room and they don't rush us out when we hang out a couple hours visiting. Interestingly, Sunday was also my mother's birthday. She would have been 81 (died in '88 at the age of 54...). But all the brothers and sisters were there, save baby Sheri, now living in Texas. My niece Marsha now manages a local bakery and provided an astronomical-themed cake - a great job! That is her on the right with her nearly senior Uncle Dean.
Not wanting to blow the budget on candles, nor set off the fire alarm or sprinklers, instead of 61 candles, we grouped 6 and 1 candles before lighting to represent the correct number in earth years. I still had the lung power to extinguish them - in fact, Alivia didn't know what she was in for, using her hands to fend off the smoke and sparks from my huff and puff! Great nieces Mya and Alivia later joined Great-Uncle Dean for a portrait at right.
Whenever you get more than 2 of the brothers
and sisters together, there are group portraits going on and for a special occasion like this one, lots of photos were taken. At right we are gathered around Aunt Velma. In recent years we used to gather out at the farm where she and Uncle Arlo lived. Arlo passed 16 years ago, and Velma finally moved to town a couple years ago. Just this last fall, an illness put her into an assisted-living facility, where she seems content to live. Melinda and I were able to check her out to come join us for dinner and a bit of celebration, and of course, the group picture. Brothers Jim and Brian join me in the back, and Linda and Kathy in the front on either side of Velma.
It was a fun family time, and I have leftover cake for my actual birthday today. Nothing big planned, just quiet time with my sweetie, perhaps dinner out, and cake in front of Rachel Maddow - what could be better?!
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