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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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March 07, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me Today!

And I feel like I've been celebrating since last week!

First of all, last Thursday  Jamie took a day off and called to see if I wanted to go over to Charleston for a little shopping.  Not my birthday, really, but a very pleasant day with a nice lunch at a little cafe where we ate on our last Charleston trip.  And also, of course, a stop at The Charleston Bread Store for some wonderful bread.  I bought a couple of unnecessary things but managed to hold myself in check.  I think I especially enjoyed the day because I had finished all my trip arrangements and was in the mood for a treat.

Then, Saturday I went out to Kenova to get my hair cut and figured I'd call Jamie and see if she wanted me to buy her a treat (her birthday was Sunday) at this neat old drug store that's out there.  The drugstore has been in business a long time - a family run place (in fact there was a write-up about it in this Sunday's paper) and they have a soda fountain with all the standard "bad for you" goodies. 

And when I got home from that, I found a package had arrived in the mail that my son Chris had told me might be coming.  He told me it was a joint gift from him and Heather (older daughter) that they had bought when they attended an art fair in Baltimore.  He said I could open it immediately or wait til my birthday or whatever.  I put the box on the kitchen counter so that each time I walked into the kitchen, it was there tantalizing me, which was fun.  Well, Monday, I got a Starbucks gift card in the mail from my friend Peggy and of course, since it was a card, I opened it.  And then decided that as long as I was opening things I might as well break down and open the box.  So I did and look what was in it!!

 Isn't he just handsome?  He sits on a croquet ball and has all kinds of interesting embellishments in addition to the very jaunty sprig of red feathers in his tiny little hat.  I love birds and have several paintings/prints, etc., of them.  And I especially love cardinals so this guy is perfect. I love him and will need to come up with a good name for him.

This last picture is just to show he looks good walking away too! :)
Moving on, on Sunday I had a call from January (and to my kids and friends - I realize I probably have some or all of these days wrong, but chalk it up to old-age memory!) to say that she had looked at planes, trains, and rented automobiles and had decided that she was going to take the train and come on Wednesday night and stay til Sunday morning!!  How great is that???  And bless Amtrak - they only have DC to Huntington trains on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday so I get to have her for an extra day cause she had originally thought she'd come over on  Thursday. :)  I told her what a wonderful present that was going to be and she said she thought maybe she should arrive with a big bow on her head (tee hee).

So, now it's Wednesday and actually my birthday. This morning I had an early morning call from Chris wishing me a happy birthday and then had a nice surprise when my very oldest friend also called to wish me well.  I think I've mentioned her before...we became friends in the fourth grade, stood up in each other's weddings and then over time lost touch.  Her birthday is this month also and we agreed that it's truly astounding that we should be as old as we are. :)

 I'm going to bake a Texas sheet cake (have any of you ever had a piece of one of those?  They are delicious!) and take some down to Starbucks to share with whoever happens to be there, take some into my old office to share with them, and then January and I can eat what's left with a clear conscience.   UPDATE - it's out of the oven now and hopefully I'll be able to get it out of the pan.  I lined the pan with tinfoil and then put parchment paper on the bottom cause the finish on the pan (and it's a Cuisinart) started peeling off almost the first time I used it.  I bought it specifically for this cake and think I'll go back to my old pan which was bigger - a jelly roll pan, I guess.  I also think I should e-mail Cuisinart and say "maybe you should just stick with food processors!"  But here's a picture and one can only hope it will be yummy.  In the cake and frosting combined, there are three sticks of butter, 6 tablespoons of cocoa, butermilk and cinnamon so, it may not be pretty but it's almost sinfully good.

I'm hoping that while January is here, there will be one evening that is clear enough to warrant going up to that "penthouse" piano bar place that is part of Huntington Prime Restaurant's place.  I still have never been up there and really want to see the view.

But for now, the cake is cooling, I'm pretty much done cleaning and straightening up, it's a gorgeous day outside - almost 70 degrees - so now I need to occupy myself til January gets here which won't be til at least 9:30 tonight - probably more like 10 or after...maybe I need to cut  a little piece of that cake and see if it's going to be all right...  :)


Christopher said...

He IS a handsome, dapper fellow... And that cake looks amazing...! I hope you and January have a fun visit, and yes, decent weather to finally get you up to Huntington Prime! Happy Birthday! Love,

Chinch said...

OF COURSE!!! You need to test a piece of that cake. It's your BIRTHDAY!!!! And you have such a long wait for January to get there. So you go for it.
Love the cardinal -- it's perfect for a globe-trotting old lady. Have a wonderful visit with January and a continuing Happy Birthday. Love, Chinch

Elga said...

I love the Bird!!!! I hope you had a really good Birthday and enjoyed all the treats, that cake looks real yummy. And I really hope the weather is friendly so you can get to the piano bar place with your daughter.

Give yourself a big hug from me, in June I can give you a real one!!!!

otterine said...

Oooh, I love those birds. I've seen a number of them, and they are so stunning! Lucky you! Happy Birthday! :D

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