John Reaches a Major Milestone by Turning 65
September 11, 2010

I thought I'd feel a lot older when I reached 65. I guess my body and mind are acknowledging a certain amount of degrading, but overall I'm doing much better than many at this age. Hey, many of my ancestors were dead before this age! Turning 65 has a certain amount of magic associated with it. All hotels and restaurants call me senior now. And I am officially enrolled in Medicare, whatever that means. I guess I will be finding out if I ever need to see a doctor. 

We had all the local family over for dinner on my birthday, which was on a Saturday. Eva, Jerica, Dmitri and Jansen are pictured here as the guests arrived. Notice the look of anticipation on Jansen's face as he awaits the food and the activities.

Before dinner and after everyone had arrived we had a treasure hunt that Julie and Jerica devised. It was very unique and took a lot of work to figure out. They had 13 clues, each introduced with a clever limerick. Since a limerick has five lines, there are a total of 65 lines in the 13 clues. See if you can figure out any of the final in each, indicated with a line. Click on the line to see the answers.

1.  An object of matter inert
    To use it one must exert.
        One little boy
        Thinks it's a toy
    But it's really a bag of ______.

2. It protects from melanoma
    And noxious fume & aroma.
        The birds on it scat
        And bugs may go splat;
    It's a part of the _______.

3. To heft it would be a strain;
    You might even pop a vein.
        It contains not a drawer
        But it looks like there's four
    And it's manufactured by ____.

4. With cold it can imbue
    The goods that are put into
        It feels like Alaska
        Or winter in Itasca
    And it's affectionately known as _____.

 5. There's ingredients that you stir
    As an amateur confectioner.
        Sometimes they might burn ;  
        For perfection you yearn,
    So just add a little more _____.

6. It's perfect for someone who shares
    Or wants to pass down to his heirs.
        They're marked with a date
        So you can rotate
    And it's heaped up under the ______.

7. It helps you endure to the end
    And know on the Lord to depend.
        And I suppose
        You'll want these clothes
    And don't forget your _________.

8. A flashlight will these devour
    If it remains on hour after hour.
        They're sold by a bunny
        Who makes lots of money
    And keeps going with their _______.

9. Your sanity you like to keep;
    You can't buy it even cheap.
        Yours is a queen
        And a good trampoline,
    And a preferred place to _____.

10. Because the cord is too short
    Some plans you have to abort.
        But at least it's less sloppy
        Than using a floppy
    And it's easy to plug into the ____.

11. It's not the best place to make jell-o
    But it's a great place to use bellows.
        Watch out, 'cause it's hot,
        So don't let your tot
    Fall in as he roasts a __________.

12. If you get up at dawn
    You might be tempted to yawn,
        But you can instead
        Go back to bed
    While this waters the ____.

13. It's a giant metal square
    That sometimes needs repair.
        In the winter it's hot,
        In the summer it's not,
    And it's made to handle the ___.

The location specified in the answer to the 13th clue was where a few gifts were hidden. Click on the last line to see what they were if you haven't already.

Since I was the guest of honor, I got to choose the meal. I asked for chimichangas, which Jill does a great job making. They were very good as usual, and are always a big hit with everyone.

Jerica figured out an interesting birthday activity for the grandkids. Each one drew around their hand on colored paper then cut it out. Jerica added in a few adults too to get to 13 hands. So there were a total of 65 fingers (counting thumbs). She taped them together to form a crown that I got to wear all evening. Here I am with my crown about to blow out the candles. You may notice there aren't 65 candles on the cake, but the ones placed there are arranged to form the numerals 6 and 5. They were easier to blow out than had there been 65 candles. I got them all with one puff.

At my request Jill made a carrot cake that was very good. Everyone enjoyed eating it, though some of the little grandchildren ate the frosting and left the nutritious part on their plates. But I enjoyed the carrot cake interior the most.

Jill devised an activity for the celebration of having everyone guess the number of jelly beans in a bowl. Now the bowl was opaque and it had a lid, so one couldn't see the size of the jelly beans nor how full the bowl was. There were guesses from a few dozen, to 65, to several hundred. I guessed 250, which was the closest, so I got the whole container of close to 200. Now that I have three bags of ginger snaps and all these jelly beans (oh, and by the way, Jerica added in a partially eaten bag of Australian licorice) how am I going to avoid eating too many sweets? The picture on the left shows Jill counting the jelly beans after all the guesses were logged, with Ethan verifying the count. On the right Ethan and Jamie are helping me reduce the number of jelly beans that will be sitting on a shelf in our pantry.