Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My 34th Birthday

Let me just say, if this birthday was indicative of the year as a whole or even of birthdays to come, then bring it on! I had a wonderful day, due in no small part to my wonderful husband. Of course, some great friends and family helped make the day truly special.

First of all, let me say that I had not been expecting a great day because I am sometimes an uncharitable bitch. C, like most husbands, can need some nudging or prodding when it comes to advance planning, and with Wiggle's birthday only 3 days before mine, I hadn't given my birthday a second thought, let alone remind someone else to think about it. Well, it turns out, I needn't have worried this year.

The first treat was staying in bed while C fed and looked after Wiggle in the morning. I got a little extra sleep and finished the book I was reading. Quite an indulgence!

Then we picked up K, with whom C had arranged a girl-time mani/pedi. We took our time picking the right nail color, we gabbed about girly things like eye-cream and facials, and most importantly we relaxed. When we were done, the cold grey Chicago day that greeted me was almost a shock.

And there were presents!

K surprised me with a wonderfully quirky journal, which includes more fill-in-the-blank than actual blank space. An example of its wonderfulness -
"Your day was (only choose one)
( ) a lettuce ( ) an ostrich ( ) a bonus" I think its perfect for me to use right now. In my more recent attempts at journaling, I tend to meander so much that it's neither useful to me now, nor something I would EVER want to read again. This journal is fun to write in now and to read later. She also gave me a wonderful mug with an "A" on it with the statement that she feels mothers gain a new found love for things with their names or initials on them. I totally agree! Whether it's just being surrounded with things with names on them (pens, water bottles, backpacks, hats, etc), or it's a sudden primal desire to mark things as "mine," in defense of the same cry from a toddler, the urge is there. "No, see? It's Mommy's cup. Look, it has Mommy's name on it."

In addition to arranging my delightful day, C also bought me the Perfex pepper mill I have been lusting after for several years. It helped that our previous pepper mill, which C has also bought me as a birthday present many moons ago, had recently conked out. We had been grinding pepper in a mortar and pestle, which is pretty annoying if , like me, you pretty much only like freshly ground pepper. Now, I can and do grind pepper with ease.

I opened boxes from my MIL and my mom in the morning. Wonderful quilting supplies from the former, and a new Coach bag from the latter!

Quilting is the hobby I would like to start, but I needed some equipment before I took the plunge and bought fabric. After I spend some quality time with my new how-to quilting book, I will take a trip to Quiltology Chicago's fabulous quilting resource.

I had mentioned to my mom that I wanted a new handbag, but I never would have guessed what I was getting. Even when C guessed it was a purse by its shape, I was incredulous. What a wonderful surprise! The bag is a great size for my mom needs, but still looks sleek enough to take along to dinner, which is exactly what I did on Saturday night.

Thanks to the generosity of some lovely friends, we were able to go out to dinner too! Branch 27 in West Town. It's been open for a couple of years, but the menu was recently revamped with the hiring of a new chef. It's called Branch 27 because the space used to be a branch of the Chicago public library. The atmosphere was very nice; modern, but cozy. Every table seemed to have some privacy, and the lighting was just right. The menu is dubbed as "new American," and I was intrigued by most of the items. We had heard the cassoulet was very good, but that it was too big for one person, so we opted for a third appetizer instead of a second entree. The first app was mussels with fries and curried aioli. The broth the mussels were in was pretty good (fennel, orange, and coriander), but the mussels themselves were spotty. I hate that feeling when eating mussels of walking through a minefield. "Will this one be really fishy, like that first one? No, it's excellent. What about the next one? Only OK." The next app, chicken fried chicken livers was a big disappointment. Admittedly, it might have partially been me (and C). Although we were very excited by the description, I don't actually eat a lot of liver, so it might have just not been my cup of tea. I like almost all pates, and other liver concoctions though. These just tasted very oily, not liver oily, but not fried in hot enough oil, oily. Either way, we didn't finish it. The last app was a salad of grilled radicchio and shaved brussel sprouts. Delicious, but then again, it would be really hard to go wrong with that combo (in my eyes at least).

The cassoulet arrived at long last, and it was fabulous. Lamb meatballs and merguez sausage. The sausage was the single smokiest tasting thing I have ever eaten, and I loved every bite of it.
There was bread pudding for dessert, which is my absolute favorite.

The best part of the night though was just being out with my wonderful husband and being able to talk and enjoy some alone time.

I am still flying high almost a week later.
Best. Birthday. Ever.

1 comment:

  1. What a great birthday! And what a great account of it!