I hit the quarter-century mark last week, and although the end of the semester always conspires against my birthday festivities, I managed to get in some good old-fashioned celebrating and happiness anyway.
On Wednesday, the night before my birthday, my two favorite Daves came over and cooked me and Justin one of the best meals I've had in a really long time. The menu: macadamia nut-encrusted tofu steaks, roasted asparagus, roasted new potatoes, and Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce for dessert (Justin models a plate with the entrees in the second photo). It was high-class and delicious dining, to say the least, and I couldn't have grinned more cheerily about having such awesome (Wash U-transplant) friends here in Madison:
Then, on my birthday itself, after a day of breakfast at our favorite diner, a quick bike ride to a lakeside park, and lots of phone conversations with friends and family (and some work, of course!), Justin was going to take me to dinner. He said we had to catch the bus by 6:30, and that he'd told our friends the Barkers that we'd stop by to say hi to them and their baby, James, on our way to the bus stop. Of course, when we got to the Barkers' place, what should I find but a surprise potluck party just for me! After some tears of happiness and overwhelmed-ness (the second set of such tears for the day), I proceeded to explore the AMAZING spread my amazing friends had prepared for me. Justin had prompted them by suggesting that I love "colorful dishes with lots of vegetables and/or fruits." And everyone was in their best form, with a meal that included, going clockwise around the plate, staring at 12 o'clock: yellow rice with zucchini and vegetables, caramelized beet and goat cheese pizza, roasted potatoes and white beans, tricolor rotini pasta salad, spicy bulgur pilaf, noodles with tofu, artichoke brownies, fresh guacamole with tortilla chips and (not pictured) two cakes--orange chocolate and raspberry chocolate! It was just right.
Me, looking happy and well-fed, with baby James:
And the fun continued for days to come, as I received so much e-love and tele-love and postal-love from my friends and family near and far: a story written just for me, home-baked lemon bars, music of the bluegrass and indie varieties, Alice Waters' cookbook, gardening tools, coupons for gardening help, craft scissors, a super-cool pencil photo craft, a vintage beaded purse, gift certificates, thank you cards, homemade candles, and lots of hugs.
As I said to Justin after reading one particularly poignant card, "People really do like me!"
This reminder couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you to everyone who made me feel so special, both with material objects and with your presence in my life.