January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
The past two weeks have been quite the high time. Birthdays do that to me. It wouldn’t be the same without people to share it with, though. So, share it I did!
The day, a Wednesday, started out with the sweet sound of tapping on glass, otherwise known as my text message alert. The birthday wishes started coming in via text, phone call, Facebook post and message. I gobbled them all up, all day long, with my smile growing ever wider. Then, my parents took me out to a nice local restaurant with a flavorful menu. I had a massive pork chop with an apple and dried cherry chutney atop cheese grits and green beans on the side. My father enjoyed some blackened amberjack, my mom, bacon-wrapped scallops.
Back at home, we assembled the 3-layer cake my sweet mom had baked earlier. After a mild fiasco born of an impatience to whip the chocolate frosting from the refrigerator before it came to room temp like the recipe said, we were all happily munching tall slices. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting has long been my favorite. For this year, my mom executed the one from this cookbook.
So, stuffed to the gills, I went to bed very happy. Oh, but not before checking Facebook a few more times for late night birthday wishes.
For the weekend, I convinced a few friends to go to a barrel race about an hour away from Birmingham. I borrowed a pair of cowboy boots from a coworker to look the part. For some reason, my inner cowgirl, the horse-loving 12-year-old I had been, steered me to look for such an event. We saw many impressive runs, a few for their skill and some for their unfortunate missteps. In a barrel race, a horse and rider are timed as they complete a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels and race back out the way they came. It was a random birthday thing to do, and I enjoyed most just riding in the car with my three friends there and back, being surrounded by laughter.
We followed our outing with dinner at Leonardo’s, an Italian place that serves these chewy, doughy, puffy rolls in a bowl of melted butter, parmesan and spices like oregano. I’d go there just to eat those they’re so good. Carboloading is not a bad way to end any night, I say.
The next day, it was time for a celebratory brunch with my parents, my brother, and my grandmother. We feasted (seems like a theme, eh?) on French toast battered and fried to an almost funnel cake like consistency, a croque-monsieur for my mom, and a potato and egg scramble with a side of biscuits and gravy for the brother.
A few more presents, or, in the case of my procrastinating parents, wrapped pictures of promises of presents, later, my 29th birthday had been thoroughly rung in.
January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
To know me is to know I love my birthday. My mom always made a big deal of holidays when my brother and I were little, so I’m pretty sure that’s where it stems from. I remember waking up to purple and pink streamers covering my doorway one year and a necklace hidden in my napkin at the breakfast table another. My 16th birthday involved a big party to which I invited the entire high school. (In hindsight, might not have done that!) There might have been flowers delivered to me at school, and later, various offices where I worked. At home, special dinner requests and cake suggestions were all met in delicious fashion. My 21st birthday even took place in Ireland, the home of my heart. And, just a few birthdays ago, my mom and I jetted to New York City for a trip that included viewing an exhibit full of Jane Austen ephemera, which was awe-inspiring to say the least.
Birthdays are special and important. To celebrate someone’s birth, what a privilege and a joy! I try to share my love of birthdays (not just my own, though I am partial) with the people in my life. Though I am getting a year closer to the start of a decade that rhymes with “flirty,” I don’t want to dread it or bemoan it. I want to celebrate it like I’ve celebrated all my birthdays up til now!
This Wednesday is the big day, just in case you were wondering.
January 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
Since I last shared, I’ve been thrilled to spend time with good friends who I’ve been missing. Two from out of state were met for dinner; another more local friend who I haven’t seen in what feels like ages met me for a 3-hour lunch. And, I just got off a Skype “call” with a dear heart who is literally halfway around the world from me. Sighs of contentment all around.
This weekend, I also got to spend some unfettered time with my friend Alison. A shared love of good food is one of the many reasons we’re close. Saturday night we treated ourselves to “fancy dinner” at a local restaurant. My tab definitely reflected the fanciness aspect and I think I ordered something off every menu they put in front of me, except the wine list. It was a treat to get gussied up and go out for a great meal.
Sunday we cooked the day away together, starting with a chicken butternut squash stew followed closely by Nutella Sea Salt Cookies, all from Cookin’ Canuck. The stew was mighty tasty and my first experience cooking with and consuming quinoa.
Times like these lift me up. The friend valley I’ve been in isn’t seeming as long and deep as it was a few weeks ago. Though not fun, it did give me some time to examine and assess my expectations of my friendships, and even entertain the idea that those may be different than my friends, from their perspectives. Different, I have to remind myself, not worse or less.