Monday, October 18, 2010

Birthday Dinner

It's my birthday.

And I'm launching into my fiftieth year on the planet. (Which means I'm still in my 40s!) So far that milestone year is starting out very well! I have plans for this year. Instead of wringing my hands and weeping over getting old(er), I am going to try to do things that make the year memorable and special and that give me something to look forward to besides simply summiting the mountain of life and facing the long decline.

Oh dear. Moving on....

My week began with a special dinner invitation.

A dinner invitation just by itself is special. We rarely get invited to dinner. Rarely. I don't understand it. We may sound like an army, but I swear we don't eat like one. We possess fairly decent table manners and we're not at all picky. Snobby maybe... but not picky.

The boys were so excited to be invited along and not left behind by Mom and Dad that they put on their cleanest dirty shirts. Samuel even combed his hair and wore his Christmas dress shoes!

They were thrilled to be given the chance to show off their maturity.

Our neighbor and dear friend, Karen, and her husband hosted us at their lovely garden home.
Karen is a very fine cook and she thoughtfully chose an Italian themed menu....

...that included a delicious salad with braised fennel, oranges and walnuts.
I love salad more than anything and this was so yummy.

What's an Italian menu without fresh bread, roasted garlic, tomatoes and basil?
It's not Italian, that's all.

I brought the last bottle of red wine hand carried by my oldest son from his last European excursion. The wine was....Italian of course. It was good! I'm keeping the empty bottle so I can occasionally read the label and practice my Italian pronunciation...
Cuz I'm crazy like that. And the older I get, the more acceptable it is for me to be, uh, eccentric- right?

I've heard it said that the abilities of a cook can be judged by how well he or she prepares the simplest of foods.
This birthday dinner was simply and elegantly delicious.

I was too busy eating to get a proper group picture of everyone but I did snap this to show my children displaying their fine table manners. Except for the elbow.

Dessert was ice cream, uh...gelato....with chocolate and espresso sauce.
Era squisito!

But that wasn't the end of the evening...
The birthday celebration was continued with the adults attending a concert by John McCutcheon.
Mr. Dirtywrench and I had seen him perform about twenty-five years ago in Michigan and we were very excited to enjoy his virtuosity once again. I admire the poetry of folk music and the ability of folk song writers to document our culture with song.

This was one of the favorite pieces of the evening. Mr. McCutcheon explained that this hammer dulcimer masterpiece called, "Leviathan," was inspired by one of his first visits to Oregon when he drove along the Oregon coast and saw the whales in migration for the first time.

Mr. McCutcheon proved that like fine wine, people also get better with age!


  1. Happy Birthday...a day late! You're as young as you feel so you're still young. If my eyes would cooperate I'd feel younger still. Sounds like it was a remarkable day all around.

  2. I'm glad you drank the Valpolicella before it went bad. It was disappointing that the last bottle skunked by the time we poured it at Katie's.

  3. @Southern Gal- Today, the 19th, is my birthday. I wrote the blog post last night, posted it after midnight and still couldn't figure out a way to change the date. Aggravating. Thank you for the good wishes!

    @Kris- me too! It was good wine and actually tasted quite young for a 2005 so probably could have matured longer.


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