First I got myself a birthday gift- two of my most DESERT ISLAND books! Thanks for my aunties for getting me Amazon gift cards 😊 and thanks for nothing to whoever stole my previous copies of both of these excellent books 😒
I rearead them both pretty quickly. And pretty voraciously. What I wouldn’t give for Margaret Attwood’s imagination and Michael Chabon’s glorious ability to craft a sentence.
On my bday itself I was “working from home” (usually I actually do work from home on Fridays but this day I just was like “meh, I won’t count these hours” and just birthday-ed).
I made lactation cookies for my cousin and delivered them to her house. And hung out with her and her cuuuuuuuuute baby boy for awhile.
Also lactation: my cousin’s dad’s very German fiancee got her this scary tea! We have no idea what it says, hahaha.
Then I hung out with my sister for our birthday date. She made a fabulous BIRTHDAY BATH with all kinds of lovely skin and hair products available. Mearl freaked me out by staring at my naked body for 20 minutes. Then he started trying to drink the bath water and Malindi lured him out of the bathroom with more cat-safe treats.
We got a lovely surprise delivery courtesy of Malindi’s boyf Eric- this GORGEY birthday cookie cake from Insomnia Cookies. OMG it was so chocolatey delicious.
And the milk that came with it for dunkage just put it completely over the top.
Poor Eric can’t even have gluten so he did not get to partake. (Well although honestly, I didn’t partake much- I left it overnight at Malindi’s and the next day there was about a 2 inch piece left hahaahhahahahaha. Thank God- as you’ll see my birthday had no shortage of calories)
My mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said “Hnnngh I don’t know call Malindi”. So Malindi recommended mom just fund an experiential gift- a birthday day of fun. SO we got mani-pedis. Then we went for a FABULOUS dinner at Tandem.
Started with a nice glass of Malbec.
We decided we just wanted to split a billion apps and try everything. This was a trio of dips: on the left, smoky-sweet eggplant and pine nuts; in the center, labnneh (yogurt cheese) with olive oil; and on the right, beets and goat cheese and mint.
Chickpea fritters with dreamy little fried brussels sprouts leaves and goat cheese
Fancy Caesar salad with real anchovies
This squash agnolotti in lemony sauce with hazelnuts that was one of the best things I have ever. tasted. Every bite I took I couldn’t help but make a little moan and go, “Oh God this is SO GOOOOOOOOOOD”.
We also got salmon rillettes that I must’ve forgotten to snap.
It was a really great meal. Our waiter was such a PRO- you know how you go to some places and the servers clearly just have years of experience and know exactly when you want them to come over and when you want to be left alone and make the perfect recommendations and have great energy? It’s like that.
We trusted him so when it came to dessert we looked at the menu and were like “Yes we like this all you decide for us” and he brought us this creation involving chocolate and pistachio and zabaglione and it was REAL good.
(I really enjoyed my dark purple autumnal manicure)
The next day we were meant to go for afternoon tea but there was a hurricane. Though it wasn’t all that bad in the Triangle, we decided it would be silly to drive to Durham, potentially putting ourselves at risk plus getting in the way of first responders who actually needed to be on the road. So we stayed home.
And I made lasagna. Sauteed mushrooms, garlic, and spinach…
Baked spaghetti squash…
Tomato sauce and a layer of “noodles”
Sauteed veggies plus ground turkey I’d browned with herbs plus cottage cheese (just as good as ricotta in lasagna IMO and much cheaper)
Layers and layers and layers and topped with real mozzarella from a classy cheese ball Malindi gave me. I ate this for days and froze some of it and was very pleased with it. Nutritionally A+ and really tasty and REALLY filling.
Speaking of that hurricane, a tree fell on my street. I heard the sound and hit the deck in the middle of my living room. But I was fine! And everyone else around was too, thank God. The tree did knock over a power line, though. My tough neighbors just dove in and started cleaning up. And I was useless and took their photo, oy. I felt so bad- I’m on the end of the street and I guess on some other grid, because I never lost power, but everyone else did for three days.
A few other birthday highlights included:
- Seeing Bridget Jones’s Baby with my friend Myra. The movie was SO CUTE! I loved the original Bridget Jones and hated the sequel, but the third one is a GEM.
- Getting a free pumpkin gingerbread latte from my friend who’s a barista at my favorite coffee shop
- Going out for a dreamy Italian dinner with my internship roommates, which I’ll chronicle in a bit
- Using some of my birthday Amazon gift cards to buy goodies for my kittens
- Having a silly girls’ night with my roomie, during which we watched (also thanks to Amazon gift cards) my newly purchased DVD copy of Drop Dead Gorgeous, which remains as hilarious as the first time I saw it circa 1999
- Saying individual thank yous for each individual Facebook “Happy Birthday’ post I got. I’m trying to cultivate more gratitude and saying thank you for each message I got made me overflow with joy. It was entirely selfish, not giving!
- I got particular joy from this message from my friend Zach, my writing club teacher and literary mentor. I was actually a bit flustered, actually actually hahahaha. I am so unable to deal with kindness and sincerity sometimes!
May we all receive such nice birthday messages. You’re great! Keep going!