“To the crazy person, the normal one is insane” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Rochelle McAdam by © Aaron McCullough

Image by © Aaron McCullough

An Interview with Rochelle

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. I’ve had many wonderful birthdays. Right now two of them come to mind. On my 18th birthday, my mom planned a surprise party for me at the local pub which was hosting a karaoke night. She knew how much I love to sing and this was my first time singing karaoke. I lived in Strathmore which was pretty small at the time so I knew almost everyone in the place. The karaoke host had me sing Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” as my first song and it was really terrible haha! But I didn’t care – I had so much fun singing all night long with my friends. And I think I got better…..? My most recent birthday was another fun one. Again I was surrounded by friends dancing the night away to a great live cover band here in Calgary. I told them it was my birthday and they dragged me up on stage asking me my name, what I do for a living (teacher) and my favourite style of music (acoustic singer/songwriter stuff). Then they made up a song on the spot in that musical style. It was hilarious and so much fun!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I haven’t had many bad experiences on my birthday but one year does stand out. It was my 22nd birthday and I had invited all my university friends to celebrate with me at a local bar. I had reserved a section for a large group and let everyone know that they would be able to get in without paying the cover charge if they came before 10. I got there early with my boyfriend (who is now my husband) and we waited…..and waited….and just before 10pm I started to call people. One by one they all backed out saying it was too cold to have to wait in line now to get in (one of the downsides to a January birthday). So NO ONE came!!!! Not one single friend showed up. I was so embarrassed sitting in this huge empty section as the place got busier and busier. Needless to say, my feelings were quite hurt so my boyfriend came to my rescue and we grabbed some late night takeout, a bottle of wine and celebrated on our own at a hotel!

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that surprised you most?

A. I have an awful memory for these kinds of things but when my husband and I were dating he managed to take my car without my knowing and had a new stereo installed! When I unwrapped my present I saw the face plate for the stereo and was certainly surprised!!

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

A. There’s not one particular thing I like to eat on my birthday but I do like to have a nice meal. I’m lucky to have a husband who is a great cook so he’ll usually cook up something tasty for special occasions or we’ll go out somewhere for a nice dinner.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. I guess I’d have to say it’s most important to surround myself with people I love and take time to appreciate the many blessings in my life. Also, I try not to focus too much on the idea of getting older!

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

A. For the last 10 years or so I haven’t been doing much to celebrate my birthday but my grandma and my niece both have birthdays very close to mine so we usually get together to celebrate them all at once with a family dinner and cake.