I put away all the Christmas decorations yesterday, and now the house looks sad. Bigger, but sad. Sundays are always melancholy, but the one when you put away the holiday glitz and start getting ready to go back to work after a week off is definitely the winner (or possibly the loser, depending on how you look at it).
I considered leaving the white lights glittering on the banister, but decided it really had to be all or nothing, so nothing it was. However, I did move the orchid with the flower spikes beside the sliding glass doors in the living room where the Christmas tree used to be. It can get sunshine to make it bloom, while not freezing its buds off.
As I cleaned up all signs of the dear, departed holiday, it occurred to me that not only does Jarrett get the dreaded combo gift for his birthday, he doesn’t even get a blog post from me about his birthday dinner. I will try and make up for this shocking oversight now.
We had a plate of calamari to start, and it was incredibly light, crispy, and tender – my brother thought this was because it had never been frozen. It didn’t even need the dipping sauce! Megan and Jonathan both had light as air gnocchi with pesto, which they both pronounced delicious. I had a delightful penne alla vodka. Of course, we had a bottle of wine to share as well.
We needed it to toast the fact that Jarrett’s mother has a new job this new year. She is going to move to LA to practice her sushi-making art at some high end restaurant, who wooed her and convinced her to move there from San Francisco.
Even though she doesn’t drive.
I’m sure she will love it, though, and her new bosses have found her a house within walking distance of the restaurant. Something tells me she’ll be having visitors…
After dinner, the server asked if we would like coffee. My brother remarked that he’d love a brandy with his, but the restaurant only has a license for beer and wine. The server returned to our table with a tray of small glasses and said, “I can’t sell this to you, but I can give it to you,” and distributed Limoncello to all of us. We were both surprised and delighted and wasted no time in toasting Jarrett’s birthday.
The attentive server apparently took note of our toast, since she returned to the table with a big meatball with a lit candle stuck in it, along with the owner/chef and the entire staff, who gathered around to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jarrett with his family and the rest of the restaurant’s guests. It was a wonderful small town moment, and the perfect end to a perfect evening.
A YEAR AGO: An equally wonderful, but very different, birthday celebration.