Last week was my birthday. This is the time of year when I spend the week socializing, shopping, dining and drinking. I like to give myself a full week of fun centered around me. In true Aries fashion, it is all about me.
At the beginning of my birthday week, I asked myself how I was going to handle not having cocktails and wine as this is normally a significant part of the celebration. I remember something that a teacher of mine, Deane Juhan, once said, “If you are going to give up one habit, you have to replace it with something equally pleasurable.” Juhan was talking about habits of movement and teaching the body new ways to move. Taking that principal, I applied it to my current circumstances.
I came up with the idea that I would focus the activities of birthday week around my second favorite indulgence, cake. I really love cake. Please don’t give me the ice cream kind, carrot cake or cake shaped mousse. I want good old-fashioned cake. I love all varieties. In fact, I can’t pick a favorite.
My sister arrived on Monday. She had conspired with my husband to find my favorite purveyor of cake, Dolci and Biscotti. This bakery is near my workplace and it is absolutely the best for cake and cupcakes. The variety here is incredible.
When Sissy arrived, she parked her car and pulled out a big, boxed cake from the back of her car to present to me. That night we traveled with my sister and her dog, Henry, to dine at our favorite pizza joint in our hometown with some of our family members. This place has the biggest glass of wine I have ever seen. Usually, I go straight for the chardonnay–they literally bring a full (to the top) goblet. Luckily, my sister had brought along the cake and distracted me from my wine obsession. Upon presentation by the waitress, I discovered that it was a vanilla orange cream cake: vanilla cake, orange cream (éclair) filling and vanilla butter cream frosting. Holy mother of cakes!
Being quite full from the pizza, we each had a small piece of cake and wrapped up the rest to take with us. (Now this is where it gets kind of sad.) On the way home, we dropped off my niece at her house and visited for a while with my sister-in-law. Arriving back home after a brief visit, everything seemed fine until we opened the hatch to the Jeep and discovered… an EMPTY cake box! Henry, the canine, who was left on his own in the car, had devoured the entire thing—every crumb, every frosting flower, every ounce of orange cream filling.
There was no actual cake for me as the dog had eaten every bite. This was disappointing because, I was looking forward to morning cake…a hair of the dog (no pun intended). I love having leftover cake for breakfast. I posted my “story” on Instagram (a particular obsession of mine). For the next three days, I was tagged in the following pictures from my friend Taylor (TM5000) who joined in the fun of cake week.
I arrived at work and was greeted by my coworker Sue who said that she was going to go get a birthday cake for me today. She announced that although my birthday was tomorrow, one of our team would be out of the office so we could celebrate today. Oh joy! More cake and this time, I might have a chance to have my morning after cake, too! Knowing my “no carrot cake rule”, Sue presented a Dolci and Biscotti cake, truly unique to my situation this year—Guinness cake with Irish cream flavored frosting. Yes, alcohol flavors and cake married in one spectacular presentation.
Stashing the remains in the office refrigerator, the cake awaited me the next morning when I arrived.
This was April 18th, my actual birth date. Philip really out did himself this year with a bounty of gifts and surprises. Instead of cake, Mrs. London’s pastries were presented to me at breakfast: apple tart, croissant and chocolate filled brioche. How does a birthday girl choose?
Note: later in the day, another sneaky canine, Clover, consumed what remained of the pastries. There was nothing but an empty box on the counter when I came home from work.
My darling husband topped off the day with dinner at my favorite restaurant, Bistro Tallulah. I can honestly say that I did not feel deprived by not having alcohol during this dinner or anytime during the birthday week. One thing that I have discovered is that when a creative endeavor (such as writing in this blog or documenting a week of cake) is embarked upon, the desire for alcohol is greatly diminished. I expected to feel disappointed this week. Yet, I had a fantastic week and felt satisfied doing something that I perceive as unique.
I declared this a day of rest (and digest). No cakes were consumed on this day.
It was Saturday night when we met up with my Auntie Carolyn and Uncle Bob for a birthday dinner celebration at a local restaurant, Jack’s. This was a large celebration as there were four of us with birthdays at the table. Sipping on Saratoga water all night, when it was time for dessert, I did not hold back on indulging myself once again with cake. This time it was lemon cake: two feather light layers of cake filled with sweet/tart lemon cream custard. Amazing!
When out to dinner or at a party with a large group, I often play out the scenario in my mind of what I would be doing, had I not made this commitment. Imagining an ice-cold martini, followed by a glass of wine or two, I begin to feel positive about the decision to stop drinking for a year. The next thought that that emerges is one of gratitude because I know the next day will be a full, active day with no residual alcohol effects.
Ok, so this was it. Time to end the “sugar fest” and get back to reality. What better way than to pass the torch on…
I invited our friend Page to come over with her three boys for dinner. (Her husband was traveling for work.) Knowing that her twins were having a birthday in less than one week, I indulged them with presents and this cake.
Alright, alright…buying the cake was partly for me. It was the last cake for my birthday too and it concluded the week nicely—the classic chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream frosting.
I am pretty sure that this was NOT what my teacher Deane Juhan meant when he talked to us about habit so long ago in school. Did he mean, replace one pleasurable (unhealthy) habit with another pleasurable (unhealthy) habit? I don’t think so. However, I am appreciative of his words because however misconstrued for the purposes of my birthday, it was a great week…of cake.