Today is my birthday!  I have never been one to lament another birthday or feel like I was “over-the-hill.”  But, I’ve got to admit – this feels like a big one!!  The odd thing is this – in my head I still feel like I’m 17!  Yes, 17.  I’ve been saying that for a long time now and I’ve discovered that almost everyone has a number in their head.  I’ve asked a lot of people over the years and most say they feel like they’re still in their 20’s.  I asked my dad once, who was somewhere in his early 80’s at the time, how old he felt in his head and he replied “Oh, about 28 I suppose.”  Not a surprise to me.  I know I don’t look 17 anymore and thank goodness I don’t act like it either.  But, I still “feel” 17 in my heart and soul.


This month has been full of little birthday gifts.  Since I have been a Cook’s Illustrated fan and subscriber since the mid-90’s I was thrilled to visit with Bridget Lancaster, Co-Host of America’s Test Kitchen, at the KBIS Show in Vegas last week.  Bridget is a sweetheart – shorter than I am too! She told me she wears 3 inch heels on the show so as not to not be completely dwarfed by America’s Test Kitchen Host Christopher Kimball. It warmed my heart to meet this bundle of energy and enthusiasm that shares a mutual passion of creating and enjoying culinary delights.

I was also an “Accidental Auditioner” for HGTV at the NKBA Booth at the Show. After thinking I was just arriving early to attend a seminar event, I plunked down on the first available chair. The media people on stage asked “Are you here for the audition?” “Well, I wasn’t planning on doing an audition!” I replied thinking that it was just a bit of a prank. But after seeing the Media badges, hearing their spiel and caving to the fact that they seemed a little desperate and bored that no one was auditioning, they talked me into it.  I don’t think I’ll be winning an Academy Award any time soon – but it was true spontaneous fun and increased the enjoyment factor of my day.

Upon return from my trip, I came home to a bouquet of red carnations, thoughtfully arranged in a tall, angular, glass vase. It is a tradition my husband and I started early in our relationship.  When one of us is away, the other buys flowers to celebrate the reunion.  Arriving at DIA after 8pm and scurrying home, somehow I had forgotten about this tradition – it was a nice welcome home!

And then there was a frantic request to babysit for our neighbor’s baby, nine month old Sarah, one evening last week when both realized they had company dinner obligations on the same night. I arrived at their home to a crock pot of simmering beef and au jus with pretzel buns ready for slicing, and a bag of kale cabbage slaw along-side a bottle of French red wine begging to be decanted. It was scrumptious! Not a bad babysitting gig! Cliff arrived about an hour later in time to enjoy play time with baby Sarah before she fell asleep.  What a precious gift to rock this little creature asleep in my arms after enjoying a great meal!

Another unexpected gift arrived earlier this month when we experienced several days of 60 to 70 degree weather and were even able to golf one weekend! Living most of my adult life in Michigan, this was a first for me.  What a great early birthday gift!

So, my birthday is actually today – January 31st.  It has been a good day – a pleasant day. The weather was decent considering it is January! But the sky has been gray virtually all day – a “Michigan Day” as I have come to call them.  Being spoiled now by the amazing Colorado sunshine, it always makes me a little indignant when the sun does not shine and the skies are not their expected powder blue.

Blake, my oldest son is in Salt Lake City today exhibiting at Comi Con. Blake, in his diligent and first born responsible way, left a vm early in the morning wishing me a Happy Birthday.  My youngest son Chase called while we were on the way out to take advantage of a coupon for a quick lunch, and then buzzing over to Barnes & Nobles to find a wall size world map on which to scheme future travel plans.

As a mature adult, I have come to truly appreciate a “pleasant day.”  Things are easy.  I feel good.  Dinner was tasty. My wonderful husband and I made steak shish kebab on the grill along with a medley of harvest gourmet rice for a side. Fortunately, there was still a small glass of red wine left over (from the baby sitting gig) to sip on while dinner was brewing, followed by a flute of cheap champagne with the meal. Since my husband’s birthday is January 19th, earlier in the week our lovely neighbor Janet delighted us both with a magnificent chocolate Bundt cake creation, so we have been a little caked out since and opted to make homemade English Toffee for dessert. It was delightful!

Cliff surprised me with a Liberty Puzzle as a gift (produced by a local Boulder company).  They are very unique. While neither of us are really “Puzzle People,” this gift evokes our biggest passion – travel!  The best laugh came when Cliff declared “I got a piece!” after studying the heap of 435 wooden pieces, where no two are alike, for over twenty minutes.  Eventually we hope to complete the whole assemblage and reveal the true reason it was purchased, a classic vintage shot of the Angkor Wat Colonnade – a World Heritage Site near the top of our travel hit list.

As I stated earlier – it was a pleasant day – being in the moment and appreciating all of the simple joys life has to offer! So yes, I am one year older today, but also like a fine wine…a little less tannic, a little more mellow, richer, smoother and content to be paired with just about anything!


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