At perhaps my strangest birthday, in 1989, I had friends and family together at my house. One friend (who I’ve lost touch with—where are you, Jenny Choi?) bought me a copy of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses—hot on the controversy tip, and just prior to the fatwa. My family got me a copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—the first time I had heard most of that album.
And a couple of my friends decided to get me a belly dancer. Yep, at my house. I was so mortified I didn’t even know where to look—which was, perhaps, the point. I still don’t know whether to thank Jim and Andrew or throttle them.
And what’s most astonishing to me is that that particular memory is almost old enough to be drafted. Half a life ago.
The end of the year has gotten to be a much busier time since my career started spanning both product management and sales. (As the director of product management for iET Solutions, our North American sales engineers report to me, and I’m frequently out on the road to talk with existing customers or work with prospects or analysts.) So the holiday month of December takes on a combination of anticipation and heightened stress for me as last minute sales calls and end of quarter business combine with holidays, the Pops, and church choir services.
Thus it was a rare pleasure to actually enjoy my birthday yesterday, which included not only tributes from Isis and A Small Café (and, Isis, just for that I may have to break out my scanner and my high school pictures; the photo illustrations on both posts indicate the ongoing dividends of befriending a photographer during those sketchy days of high school fashion) but a rare visit from Charlie and Carie, who were in town to finalize their move to Manhattan by finishing the sale of their New Hampshire house. So I got to enjoy some serious cooking last night. We made a risotto with prosciutto and peas—Charlie’s first; he even got to stir the pan a fair bit—and then had a chicken that I had boned and stuffed with a mixture of sausage, bread crumb, parmesan (no, not parmagiano reggiano—this stuff came from Argentina and was powdered. But hey, it was in in our fridge), garlic, and parsley. Which, for those of you who have the Marcella Hazan Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, came out looking nothing like the illustration on page 346. A trussing needle is not an optional piece of equipment for preparing this particular bird. But it was delicious anyway.
And it’s a good thing that Saturday was relaxed and delicious, because getting in Thursday at midnight, and coming home early from work on Friday to deal with our wommitin’ dogs as they recovered from the anesthesia of their tooth cleaning, was not fun. But that’s (mostly) behind us now, and the pink streaks from the Pepto Bismol are fading along the dogs’ muzzles, and we are going to be OK, and life will go on for another year. And next time I might reflect on how much time has passed since certain photographs, but maybe I won’t, either.