Saturday, June 10, 2006

On the Cusp of a New Decade

Today was my birthday. My 39th birthday to be exact and, thanks to MBH, I have ushered the last year of my 30s in with fun and style.

My "Big Day of Funness" started last night when MBH twisted my arm into opening one of my birthday presents early. Inside the green wrapping paper was a set of dvds containing the entire series of "To the Manor Born", a wonderfully funny BBC series from the early 80s about a lady of the manor, Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) whose husband dies and leaves her bankrupt forcing her to sell the manor house to an upstart green grocer, Richard De Vere (Peter Bowles). The series centers around the growing attraction between the two and the clash between the classes "in the English countryside". This morning, MBH bought me my favourite breakfast of blueberry pancakes at our neighbourhood diner before we drove out to the little town of Sudbury where my favourite garden shop, Russells Garden Center, is located. As Russells doesn't open until 9am, we stopped into a little cafe that opened recently, Cafe Decadence, to enjoy some hot chocolate/free-wifi (MBH) and a cup of coffee/the food section from the NYT (me). Then it was off to Russells in the pouring rain. There was something about wandering around in downpours among all the other die-hard gardeners that made me realise that I really am strange. On a normal late spring/early summer Saturday, Russells would be packed by 10am and even more so when they are hosting a festival weekend (Herb Fest is this weekend) but with the exception of two other couples and a few ladies who lunch wandering around the indoor garden shop, I had the aisles of plants all to myself. Toting my little red wagon around, I loaded up on pepper plants (red, green, jalapeno), some herb plants to replace the ones I overwatered this spring (oops... Greek oregano, rosemary) and/or failed to grow in our wet spring (cilantro, sweet basil, garlic chives). MBH bought me my plants as well a fun gift of a "plant head" (little peat head with grass seed that grows) for my desk at work. He promptly named it "Patrice La Mumba" (MBH has a thing for naming things like plants after obscure despots) . After loading our purchases into the car, we headed to the Belmont Public Library to pick up some books and went home to enjoy the rest of the afternoon in bed, reading and watching movies while it rained outside. This evening, I enjoyed a delicious dinner of a salad made with spinach from my garden and a medium-rare steak covered in garlic sauteed mushrooms. It was accompanied by a buttery smooth and runny Brie from France and one of my favourite (it was a day of favourites) Bordeaux wines, a 2000 Chateau St. Sulpice. But the best part of the day was yet to come. MBH had one more present for me to open and once again, green Amazon wrapping paper was ripped open to reveal the first set of dvds for "The French Chef with Julia Child"! I was giddy with excitement to open up the set and pop the first disc in and watch Julia chortle through teaching roasting a chicken, making french onion soup, and flipping omelettes.

So, with a glass of French champagne and decadent chocolate mousse dessert, we cuddled up in bed and watched Julia flip mashed potatoes on her stove, laugh gleefully and tell us it was ok to make a mistake in the kitchen as long as you never let your guest know. It was a perfect way to start my thirty-ninth year.