Five problems with a Birthday Book

It’s going to be Child One’s 21st birthday in a few days and, amid the usual bittersweet ruminations about the passage of time, the blossoming of my lovely daughter (and dwindling of her mother) and all that wistful jazz, I have suddenly realised that the project I’ve been working on, in lacklustre fashion, better be finished by Thursday OR ELSE. I’ve been putting together all the photos of Child One with her birthday cakes for the past 20 years. Easy peasy, you might think. The work of a rainy afternoon. But no. I started the whole thing three years ago, in good time for her eighteenth.

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Several things have held me up:

  1. The fact that I have used the same cake tin for most of her birthday cakes over the past 20 years. This is because the tin is heart shaped (awwww) and it rapidly became a family tradition.
  2. I often used the same recipe for the cake as well as the same tin. It is a super-delicious chocolate almond cake that everyone loves. But the result, for the purposes of my project, is a succession of eerily similar-looking cakes over the years.
  3. Only by diligently counting candles can I tell which birthday was which. Easy peasy again, you say. But that’s if the photo is clear. If it’s taken by me, in the excitement of the big day, with all candles blazing, the result can be a bit of a blur.
  4. The photos are all over the place. I mean this quite literally. Some are in albums, from our years in Belgium, when I (just about) had time to collate them. Some are on old computers, new computers and broken computers. Some are on phones. Some are …. plain missing in action.
  5. Trying to use all the scanned, scavenged and uploaded photos and cram them into one of Apple’s iPhoto books has been a special nightmare all of its own. There must be easier interfaces. I really hope there are. Because I need to do another one of these books, for Child Two’s 21st birthday. It’s in two years time. Better start … yesterday.

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