This was an amazing birthday, probably the best and most exciting I’ve had since I was … 21? No, 21 was pretty pathetic. (Picture me out bar-hopping with my mom and stepdad. Picture me, a loser.) Maybe the best birthday ever. And here I’d worried that it would suck, particularly since it was shared with Father’s Day, so Peter and I would be competing for holiday importance.
So. It was Father’s Day first, until about noon. I made buttermilk pancakes for breakfast, we gave Peter gifts (a book of the secrets a good dad knows — how to whistle with a blade of grass, how to photograph lightning, etc; salt-dough handprints from each boy; the Play With Your Pumpkins book; and lots of hugs and kisses), we sang the Happy Father’s Day song (which is remarkably like the Happy Birthday song, surprisingly enough). (I have to interject here that the boys cuddled up to their papa this morning and told him Happy Father’s Day, and then they all three, all cuddled up, sang Happy Birthday to me. It was so sweet!)
Then Mom and Willie showed up, around 11:30; Mom took the boys upstairs to draw pictures on t-shirts for Willie and Peter. We gave them the shirts, and gave Willie his star pillow with the boys’ handprints embroidered on it. Neil made “pink dip” (raspberries, sugar, cream cheese, yogurt and lemon juice), served with fruit (and LOTS of cherries, which Neil and I both absolutely love and everybody else just kinda likes a bunch but they’re not fanatical about), and I made a mint lemonade that was scrumptious (a can of lemonade concentrate blended with a lot of mint; pour a bit in the bottom of a cup, add icecubes and sparkling water, stir). About then Lan showed up with my CATERED VIETNAMESE LUNCH. Oh my goodness I have missed her food so much since she closed the restaurant … organic Vietnamese food, so full of such intensely wonderful flavors, beautifully presented, and just … there are no words for the ambrosia that is her cooking! The menu: chicken wontondumplingthings, this wacky-sounding but absolutely amazing chicken tapioca mungbean cilantro soup, rice noodles with vegetables, a boring-looking but amazing-tasting chicken sausage, lemongrass chicken, noodle and vegetable salad with shrimpchips, and the most intense, incredible spiced shrimp served with greenbeans. It was fucking amazing. If that had been all that happened for my birthday I would have still thought it was an excellent day. Marguerite showed up just in time for lunch and we all sat there stuffing our faces and exclaiming about what a treat this was. And we found out that Lan’s going to be cooking lunches in town some days, so we might actually get to eat her food more often than once a year. So exciting!
We made cookies for dessert, which people used with icecream to make ice cream sandwiches. Chocolate chip cookies were generally eaten with mint fudge ice cream; oatmeal raisin cookies paired with vanilla or cherry-vanilla. A bit unorthodox, but much better than most birthday cakes. Around that time Marguerite had to leave, to go to work, so I got to open presents. She gave us (since she’d missed Peter’s birthday earlier) a beautiful pot made in the Santo Domingo pueblo, along with information about how it was made (an amazing story), and also a book for me. The boys gave me fabric-wrapped sticks with pompoms on them (courtesy of the children’s museum) and framed pictures (courtesy of Mom); Neil’s picture was a mat-man juxtaposed against a picture of me standing with Grandpa Bud admiring a painting he was pretending I did. Winnie gave me a necklace she had made for Wilma years ago, and Willie gave me a gavel his great-grandmother used to maintain order in the general store she ran in the post-Civil-War era. In addition to the amazing lunch, Peter also gave me a really cool, intricate necklace our friend Ollie made (a silver chain with bells on it!), a certificate for an entire day off, an autographed cookbook, and this domain name. My Grandma Rachel found me a used cast-iron dutch oven (it sounds weird, but it’s what I wanted), my friends Deb and Cheryl theoretically are ordering me something, my friend Kristine claims she’s making me something (in the middle of moving both her home and her office, Dad and Darcy ordered Ottobre for me and theoretically something else as well (which they ordered last Monday for two-day shipping but it hasn’t made its way out here yet) … it’s such an amazing plethora of riches, I hardly know what to do. I guess I’ll just have to enjoy it, poor me!
So now the kids are asleep, the toothfairy’s come, I’ve talked to people, I’m posting in my new blog … it was just a wonderful day, and I’m so grateful to have experienced it!