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Yesterday, we celebrated Tom’s 50th birthday. Usually, the birthday person picks his or her dinner of choice. Tom didn’t disappoint and I could have guessed his choice without even asking him. I have never, ever, seen a guy so happy for a salad. Throw some jerk chicken on top of it and I think he was in heaven.
It was a simple chocolate bundt cake with a chocolate glaze and one candle….we are waiting for the weekend when our friend Lou comes up (the guys’ birthdays are the same day and they always try to celebrate together over the “I have a dream” weekend. We figure 50 + 50 makes for way more fun and challenge on the cake.
Since I am usually behind the camera for the birthdays… here’s a change of pace.
Someone is missing from this picture…..and it isn’t me.
Tim steps in the for the photobomb…..
Just in case you didn’t see exactly how delicious this cake looked because you were pondering the single candle….
Post wish ………..
The way every birthday celebration should end…
Today I send out happy birthday wishes to a couple guys that i know and love. One of them is my sweetie, the man that has stood by my side for more than half of my life (and amazingly is still here) and I love him for it.
He has given me my sons and lots of laughs and very happy memories. I cannot think of anyone I would rather grow old alongside. Love you, Tom!
The other is our dear friend Lou. Tom and Lou share the same birthday and every year, we try to celebrate the guys’ birthdays together.My boys love Uncle Lou and enjoy whenever they visit. Through the years there have been many, many laughs.
There were the early days when birthday celebrations looked like this…..
The kid in this picture is actually my oldest nephew Ryan, who just turned 21 — but I’m not looking to make them feel old……
And then the celebrations started to look more like this…..
Whatever form the celebration takes, it is always great to spend it together with some of our oldest and dearest friends.
To the men who refer to themselves as the brothers of different mothers……. Happy Birthday with love!
Twenty-one years ago, on a clear but not snowy January day, family and friends helped us celebrate one of the best days of our lives. It was the day that many thought would never come after our 11 years of dating. We threw a heck of a party that day and the best part of it was that it meant that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend and my soul mate.
Tom has seen the best of me and the worst of me during the years that I have known him…. he has made me laugh so hard that I cried and has held me when I actually did cry. I cannot imagine going through all of that with anyone else. I know that he will always be there for me, and for that I love him.
Happy Anniversary, Tom — I love you.
Tom and his dear friend Louis are the same age and share the same birthday. Every year, our families try really hard to celebrate the guys’ birthdays together, a tradition that dates way back. Their joke is that they are brothers of different mothers and our families are very close. It is always great to spend time together and through the years see our children grow from infants into men and women. Their oldest daughter, our goddaughter, just turned 18 almost a week ago and I don’t think any of us will forget the birthday we celebrated the year she was born. The guys were turning 30 and we planned a wonderful surprise birthday party. Their daughter however had other plans and decided that a day or two before the scheduled surprise party would be a wonderful day to enter the world. The only problem is that her mom, my dear friend, was the one responsible for dealing with the restaurant by her house where we were holding the event. The news of their daughter’s birth while wonderful caused me to have a small nervous breakdown. The party went down as planned, minus my co-conspirator who was still in the hospital.
Since then, the years have blessed us with many opportunities to spend their birthdays together, laugh a lot and remember how lucky we are to have such dear friends to grow old alongside.
Here are some recent birthday weekend celebration photos:
One of the reasons is that all week I have somehow thought I was one day ahead, thinking it was Wednesday when it was only Tuesday. Go through that for a whole week and it seems like it has been at least two.
The other reason is that Tom has been traveling on business this whole week. Not that anything horrible has gone on or the boys have been terrorists — in fact quite the opposite they have been great with the exception of one night leaving me alone at the table to eat dinner and have a fine conversation with myself…well, okay maybe I was talking to the dog, but the only reason she was around was hoping that I was feeling pathetic enough to share my food with her; otherwise I am sure that she would have hightailed it out of the room as well. It’s just that when he is gone it gets lonely around here. It’s like being off kilter, things just don’t seem right when there’s only one of us around.
MLK weekend is big around here. We refer to it as the “I have a dream” weekend. You see Tom and his best friend Lou share a birthday that weekend and the families always try to spend the weekend together and have for years. So, it’s been a birthday weekend around the T’s house.
Here are the birthday boys….. Aren’t they cute?
Here are the birthday boys’ kids arranging the 48 (yes I did say 48 – 47 plus one for good luck) candles on the cake. They were insistent that the cake have the correct number of candles. We were at the ready with the fire extinguisher at the ready but I am happy to report that there was no need.
There was some serious candle wreckage.
Then there was lots of cake eating, present opening, hanging out and laughing. Isn’t that what a birthday is all about?
As I type this my husband is enjoying a dinner meeting out somewhere in the lovely city of Minneapolis-St. Paul with his co-workers. Well, actually I have no idea if MSP is lovely or not, as I have never been there, but it sounds good. I have been charged with “keeping the home fires burning” quite literally in fact as you can see. Over the past few days it has become apparent, as it does every time he travels for anything more than a day or two, of exactly how much we rely on each other. While it may seem to my sometimes grumbling (under my breath, of course) self about how much I have to do, it becomes apparent how much more I have to do when Tom’s not around. For instance, tonight as I stood in the kitchen by the breakfast bar, staring at the unlit fishtank (guess who turns the light on and off) it occurred to me that (can you guess this one?) he is also the one that feeds the fish. Poor fish…no wonder they were scurrying around when I came near the tank….thinking “could it be that she is finally going to feed us?” Sorry fish, I forgot that I’m the one in charge. Should my husband be reading this (which I know he is) rest assured that the fish are all okay. So are the chickens and the goats and the human kids…they’re all fine. I didn’t kill anyone.
My point is that I have a great deal of respect for single parents, those single by choice or by fate. It takes a lot to run a house and raise kids, be they young or older. In fact, I think younger is actually a little better since when they’re down, they’re down and they don’t talk back….much. I also have a great deal of love for my husband, we do make a great team and I appreciate that each and every time he is traveling.
Last night in an effort to wrestle me from my I-hate-renovation-and-all-things-that-go-along-with-them blues, Tom took me over to the Paramount Theater to see the Vermont Top Chefs Live show. I know that he was desperate and truly loves me, because cooking shows (even live ones) are not on the top of his list. Yet, we went.
The show, hosted by Chef Stanti from the Victorian Inn here in Wallingford featured chefs from South Station, The Red Clover Inn and The Huntington House. The evening was complete with tastings of all sorts of goodies ahead of time and goodies bags and give aways.
Swarm, that’s what we had today and I’m not making some wisecrack remark about the heat. We had a swarm from one of our bee hives. Swarm, for those of you who might not be as bee proficient as others, is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee hives. A queen takes a bunch of the worker bees and pretty much up and leaves the existing hive in search of new and better quarters. We figure that this happened because the hive got too large.
In the prime swarm, which is what appeared to happen today, about 60% of the worker bees leave the hive with the old queen. A new queen and the remaining 30% of the worker bees stay put in the existing hive. As Tom was outside this morning watering the garden, he heard that distinct and very loud buzzing. He looked up to see a very large, very black, very buzzing cloud of bees over the goat shed (where the hives are located) and followed them across the field and into one of the pine trees. It is common that when honeybees swarm they only fly a short distance from the original hive and take up residence temporarily in a tree on a branch or in shrubbery. They cluster around the queen and send out scout bees to search out a new hive location. It may take a couple days for the bees to pick a new spot or as in our case, they can be captured into a hive and will usually make it their own. Since the bees do not have reserves of honey (which were stored in the hive that they left) they are very vulnerable and can die if a new hive cannot be located and honey production restarted.
Later this afternoon, he and a friend who is also a beekeeper, suited up and climbed a ladder into the tree where the bees took up residence. They cut out the branches and were able to recapture most of the bees and evidently the queen as well. The bees are now in a make-shift hive and seem content.
Looks like a trip to the bee guy over in New Hampshire is in the cards for this weekend to secure another hive set up. Also, we’re going to most likely extract the honey from last year’s hives (all the bees died off from them) and bottle it. Interested to see how much honey we end up with this year. Last year was 48 pounds or about 5 gallons of honey.
First of all, I got a call last night from our college alumni fund. Tom and I went to the same college so that makes it much easier for the people looking to obtain money on its behalf to reel us in. The man on the other end of the phone, whom I did not know, made me feel incredibly old. He deftly reminded me that this year, we will have been out of school for 25 years. 25 years! When did this happen? College days seem like only yesterday and college friends are some of our dearest. Arghhhh.
Which bring me to the second topic of this post, a couple of guys I know. These guys met, well I guess, now that the college guy had to remind me (trust me, I’m going to remember you, college alumni guy) more than 25 years ago in college. They became fast friends. So, you may ask, what’s the big deal about that? There are lots of college buddies around (some, even as old as you guys).
These guys it turns out are the same age, (again, big whoopie, you might say) but the really cool thing is that they are also born on the exact same day. Twins separated at birth, they joke. If you met them, you would be most likely to agree.
Our families have grown up together through the (again, thanks college guy) 25 plus years that they have known each other. Our boys and their girls are as close as siblings, refer to each other as cousins and are pretty tight (well as tight as teenagers living hundreds of miles apart) can be. We have shared vacations, birthdays, and a whole lot of very fun times together.
Every year, the guys try to celebrate their birthdays together, although for a variety of reasons it may not always work out. Not as a guy-only thing, because that’s not really either of their styles. Rather as a family-type thing. Very convenient that their birthday is also a holiday weekend, which has been nicknamed (argh-getting tired of remembering this, college guy) many years ago, the “I have a dream” weekend since it falls on MLK weekend. Sometimes, they are fortunate enough to actually have banks and post offices as well as all federal and state office buildings close just to celebrate their birthday, I mean, if you met these guys, you would definitely understand why everyone is so enthralled with them. They do however have to occasionally let these people work so that doesn’t happen every year but when it does, people from all over just LOVE them to death. I love one of them all the time, so much so that I married him.
This weekend is the “I have a dream” weekend. Today is their birthday. This weekend we will celebrate together as we have done many times before and hopefully for many years to come.
Happy Birthday, Tom and Lou!
I got a covered baker from King Arthur’s Flour from Tom for Christmas. Of course, with a house full of perfectly willing bread-eaters, I had to put it to the test. The test, it turned out, that I miserably failed. Don’t get me wrong, the bread was delicious tasting, disfigured and ugly as it was after we chiseled it out of the pan. Not once, but twice, I might add.
The first time was just plain stupidity. I am used to baking in my cast iron and simply threw the dough in without thinking of the whole “seasoning” thing. The second time, I took the time to follow the directions. Soak the baker in water for 15 minutes to immerse it and so that the pores gather the water to use as steam when it bakes. All seemed perfect, until of course, we attempted to remove it from the pan. The bread, looked darn beautiful in the pan. We could stare at it and drool just fine. If we wanted to eat it though —well, dig out the chisel again. We decided that perhaps I had formulated a new type of bread, single crusted. In fact, we joked that maybe I should tell our New Year’s Eve company that it was planned that way and wait to see if anyway actually asked for the recipe.
Tonight, I again confronted the new pan. This time, I oiled every nook and cranny of the bottom part with vegetable oil. The top was inverted in the sink and soaked for the required 15 minutes. The bread baked, we held our breath (figuratively mind you or I would be dead obviously). The cover came off and the bread baked for its last 15 minutes uncovered. It was removed from the oven and looked like this:
Beautiful, isn’t it? Yes, that’s exactly the way the other, single crust, chiseled out of the pan loaves looked too.
The real test came in the removal process. Tom stood at the ready, chisel in hand. But alas, it was not necessary, the bread flipped from the pan like a fish out of water. Here’s the finished product.
Okay, this post is strictly for my hubby – who is grunging with the best of them out in Seattle. He is calling to ask me how things are going and it usually hasn’t been a good time for either he or I – so
in order here’s the scoop:
Black dog – not limping and appears happy to see the Boy at the end of the day. He seems quite happy to hang with her too.
White dog – amazingly still alive – although we do have another full day so there’s still a chance that she can screw that one up so I cannot make promises on her viability by tomorrow evening.
Goats – send their regards and Creme asks “WHERE ARE MY COOKIES?”
Fish – Still swimming but their world is getting darker – they need you back.
Chickens – Hanging around commenting that they like their new high-rise accommodations so much better than the swamp. Laying eggs, crossing the road to get to the other side (oh, wait sorry, wrong story). Chili is as angry as ever and getting his exercise running along the fence back and forth- kind of like watching chicken Pong and Chickenzilla is hanging around, being king of the roost as usual.
Kids – Well, as to the 2 that are here, they are fine. Sore, with the occasional grumble, but trooping through double camp week – leaving at 9:15 and getting home at 8:15 (personally I think that school is looking MIGHTY GOOD to them right about now) As for No. 1 son, he doesn’t call me, he doesn’t send me flowers anymore (little Barbara Streisand in there for good measure) so he either doesn’t love me anymore or he loves Rhode Island more. Haven’t heard from him but then again, haven’t heard from Peggy that he is hurt or driving her crazy – so no news is good news there I am guessing. Makes me wonder if we’ll ever hear from him when he leaves for college.
Renovations – I came home this afternoon to 6×6 thrown about the front yard in preparation for the porch removal. The cross pieces (supports, rafters or whatever they are called – Lou, no making fun of me, ok?) are on the roof part of the lean-to and there is a basement door in our basement (although it is being held up by the refrigerator and not the door frame). B. was going to order the decking for the porch and I ordered the siding and roofing for the barn lean-to. It should be here next week.
Neighbors – All appear to be doing well and carrying on their normal routines.
Birds – Now, they are complaining, seems that their feeder is absent this week. Guess I will have to remedy that and take over as stand-in feeder until you return.
In general – the whole State of Vermont misses your wit, humor, good looks and company. They wish you a safe and uneventful trip home tomorrow evening and will be waiting to greet you (now you see why we need the new porch people – has to bear the weight of all those people waiting on the doorstep for Tom).
and me – well, you know that I miss you alot and much like a bear on the first crisp days of fall – I need some sleep.
Hurry home. Love ya.