Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Catching up and Taking off...

Work has been kind of crazy recently... so I am very, VERY happy to be leaving on vacation starting Friday! What's even better is that I'm leaving on vacation with Bob and Chuck. We are visiting Newport, Rhode Island, and then continuing on to Vermont for a couple of days. I've long wanted to visit Newport, so I'm very excited about that leg of the trip, and of course nothing could be better than some relaxing time in Vermont. When I return home, work will be the farthest thing from my mind!

Before I go, I have some catching up to do. So many times I have plans to write a post on something, even sometimes composing bits of it in my head, but time passes and it just never happens. Sometimes it's because I get busy with one thing or another, but mostly it's because I seldom find writing these posts easy (even after three years - why?), so I keep putting it off. I don't want this post to slip into that black hole with all those other unwritten posts.

I've been meaning to say a little about my birthday celebration. Actually, it would probably be more acurate to say birthday celebrations, since the festivities spanned a long weekend and even this upcoming trip is birthday-related. My weekend started Friday evening when my parents took me out for a birthday dinner. Bob and I had talked the night before and he'd told me to be sure to save a little room - he was making me something and would be bringing it with him on the train. I had no clue what he was making - I didn't even know if it was sweet or savory - but I was really touched that he was making something for me and couldn't wait to find out what it was (and to eat it of course!)

When Bob and Chuck arrived later Friday evening, the first order of business was opening gifts. One in particular made me yelp out loud - Chuck found a signed first edition of Maida Heatter's New Book of Great Desserts! It was so sweet of him to even think of it!

After gifts, Bob went into the kitchen to serve up his mystery creation. Knowing my avid interest in Indian cuisine, he had made Gajar Halwa (carrot pudding) for me! It was incredible - very rich and sweet. He served it warm with some pistachios sprinkled over top. Just fantastic - and there were even leftovers for me to enjoy later in the week.

Saturday Bob, Chuck and I spent a couple hours in the kitchen making a gigantic lunch for ourselves and then Saturday evening was the big family party. David and Stephanie graciously hosted the party at their house and David came up with a really clever idea - he took a doodle that I'd drawn (a mouse named Chester that I always drew as a kid) and printed it on a T-shirt for me, on balloons for the party and on a huge laminated poster to be used in playing "Pin the belly-button on Chester!"

Dinner was catered and Bob had seen to it that there was not only vegetable lasagna for me to enjoy, but an Indian curry. There was lots more to eat as well - but it was clear that these things were chosen just for me. Finally, after dinner I was presented with a memory book to which everyone had contributed wonderful letters and photos. It was (and is) the kind of thing that makes me get all teary... such sweet thoughts and such happy memories.

How lucky am I to have a family like this?


Anonymous said...

Cathy, you are clearly very much loved by your family. What a wonderful extension of bday celebrations!

But now I'm wondering...does this mean a future possibility of Monday's with Maida: New Book of Great Desserts?!!

I'm just teasing of course but...not to say that it wouldn't be a bad idea. ;-)

Leigh said...

Wow, Cathy, Happy Birthday! What wonderful festivities. Shows you are one very special lady.

Rowena said...

Ha! Cathy, I was tickled by the fact that you didn't remember much on what was served on that "first meal", but more on how you got the invite!

I should "think aloud" more often when a thought comes into my head. Who would've known that the mere sight of tomatoes would provoke such responses!! ;-)

Nupur said...

You have such a wonderful family! It sounds like an awesome birthday weekend.
And that carrot halwa looks creamy and gooey and just delicious! It is so sweet to see an Indian dessert making its way into a close family celebration.

Anonymous said...

Cathy, sometimes the mere thought of writing is harder than writing itself. And I believe that's something that doesn't really change. Thank goodness you didn't let this post slip into the black hole!

Birthdays - or any occasion on which you receive a gift - are more memorable when someone gives you a gift that really means something to you. That signed copy of Maida's book? Sweet!!!

Happy birthday again and again and again and again...