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July 6, 2007

I had to take a little break from blogging because my mom was here and I was preparing for her visit and partaking in her visit and planning for my party. Many things happened during this time and I’m sure I won’t be able to remember all of them.

When my mom was here we ate lots of yummy restaurant food, which we don’t do in our normal, daily routine. We shopped for fabric for purses, played games, picked raspberries and even found a tanglebox.

The big event of the week was my birthday party. It turned out well. I am always apprehensive about hosting a gathering because I am not very comfortable with doing it. I originally had a grand idea of having all of our friends over and then after thinking about the logistics associated with a gathering of this magnitude (not that we have *that* many friends, but more than about five people makes me nervous), I decided I wasn’t up to the task, that would take an enormous amount of work and that on my birthday I didn’t want to put in that level of work. So, I invited our three of our favorite local families and my cousin and his fiancee. That was a nice sized gathering, though my cousin didn’t come. There was much food and drink and conversation and no mishaps. The potato salad was a huge hit and the bean salad was not. It was too sweet for my taste even though I cut the sugar in half; this is a good reason why you should serve a first attempt at a recipe at a party. It looked nice and retro, but wasn’t all that you would expect it to be. I made myself a Mexican chocolate cake with strawberry frosting. I also whipped up a refreshing and delish batch of honeydew mojitos. I have to make those again, because they rocked.
I was really touched by the gifts that I received because I wasn’t expecting anything from anyone but immediate family, not that they have to get me anything, but they always do (except last year when Lawrence forgot it was my birthday, but that is atypical of him). My friends and family were so thoughtful in their gifts, they know me well. My friend Teri gave me a gift certificate to a local nursery (oh how I love buying plants!); Angelina gave me a beautiful tea towel and wrapped it in lovely cherry fabric that I can use for another sewing project; my mom got me a Starbucks gift card (my secret addiction), a digital scale (because I mentioned how much easier soap making would be with a digital one) and a new apron from Dustpan Alley with a chicken pattern (because I love Angelina’s aprons and I love chickens); Maddy got me some chocolate candies and Isabel dictated a story to Maddy and then illustrated it. These gifts are so special because they are truly things that I love. I am not a materialistic person, so I’m not listing the gifts as an inventory of what I received, but because it is a demonstration of what thoughtful friends and family I have. I have saved the sparkliest one for last though. My dear husband handed me a box when I was standing in line to fill up my plate and I was thinking he got me a necklace or a pair of earrings, but what glittered and glowed when I opened the box was a three ruby and diamond ring. Yowser! I had to leave the room because I was shocked. My wedding ring has been off my ring for about a year because its stone fell out and the setting would catch on everything. Instead of having it repaired, he decided to get a new ring with rubies, because it is my birthstone and my favorite stone (besides diamonds!). He also told me that he didn’t want me looking at me like I wasn’t a married lady. Ha! Fat chance of that! If it wasn’t at the jewelers getting sized I would put a picture up for you to admire. He also chose a setting that I love, in white gold. I would really choose this ring for myself, it is perfect.

On my actual birthday (Sunday) Lawrence went to check on some other friends who are our raw milk and chicken farmers to see how they were progressing on their artisinal chicken processing facility, because they were getting inspected for their license on Monday. They were in a heap of trouble because the tables they had just bought were four inches too long for the room, so Lawrence spent the day shortening them and helping get everything into place. Chrissie, the wife, invited us to dinner since it was my birthday and Lawrence was helping them out in their time of stress and desperation. She prepared a roasted chicken (from their farm of course!) and roasted lamb. Then there interesting side dishes (in a good way). First there was the sauteed mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns with pine nuts (earthy and delicious), then there was boiled frikeh, which is green wheat; it was a bit like brown rice in texture, a bit nutty but also a greener flavor. It was really good. Apparently it is very difficult to come by because not very many people harvest it and it has a very small window of harvest, a couple of days, I believe. There was also a green salad but it was a mix of different greens (which I couldn’t name all of) and one of the greens was salty, I think she said it was a type of seaweed, but it added such a contrast to the other greens, some of which were slightly bitter. It was just so generous and gracious to whip up such a diverse, impromptu dinner for us.
Spending time with friends really helped smooth the transition into my thirties. Not that it was particularly traumatic, but I have been having a hard time wrapping my head around it.
Since my mom left and I have been trying to get back into the swing of things, which is
not easy when her departure was followed by July 4th, I have come to the realization that I much more inflexible than I would like to think I am. I have the impression that I am more spontaneous than I am. It is true that I don’t like to have set schedules, but I have realized that I do like to do things in a manner in which I generally do them. I know this because of the difficulty I have had in putting myself back in “regular” mode; I know this because I can’t properly start the day without a cup of coffee and I know I’m not addicted to the caffeine because I am just as happy with drinking decaf. I guess not having a schedule gives me the illusion of not being uptight. I’m okay with that illusion.

Now back to fighting the heat. We are in the middle of a heat wave. It was in the low 90’s yesterday and today. I don’t like it so hot. Last week it was pouring at farmers market, which was a total bummer because I was excited to show my mom around the market, but we ended up being there only a short time. Today it was sweltering. However, in the space of one week, the offerings have increased immensely. Suddenly there are more than greens and beets available. I bought so much fresh produce today. It was beautiful out there. I bought my first batch of fava beans and I’m going to try a recipe that Chrissie forwarded to all the farm customers for chicken and fava beans. There is going to be some good eating this coming week. I also shopped like a European almost in earnest for one of the first times. It was accidental really. I ran out of time to make my weekly meal plan, as I usually do on Thursday mornings, and decided to wing it and buy all my farmers market food and then plan the meal based on what I bought. I hope I don’t mess it all up now.

And a final note, I got my new camera on Monday. About being inflexible, I was disappointed when I first opened it up and saw the two different instruction manuals and the buttons and dials on the camera. I couldn’t believe that I had set myself up to have to relearn a camera. When I finally came to terms with the necessity of sitting down for a few minutes and learning, at the very least, the basics, I discovered that I do like my new camera. All the pictures in this post are with the new one with the exception of the cake. It takes much better macro shots than my old one. Now I just have to sew up a camera cozy to keep it safe in my purse.
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