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Friday, April 1, 2016

A two day birthday extravaganza


In truth, two regular days, with the addition of people celebrating my birthday. I went to breakfast yesterday with my BFF Carol, who I met in 1972.

Carol and I go to breakfast about once a month, to a little hole in the wall near me. We take up a corner booth for the better part of a morning, between the breakfast and lunch crowds. 

Between the mountains of Pennsylvania, and the ravines of northeast Ohio, Carol has always lived in a snow belt. A year ago February she put her house on the market, sights set on Charleston, South Carolina.

To her dismay, though not mine, the house didn’t sell. Then, yesterday, “The house goes under contract tomorrow!”  They probably won’t be gone before July. The good news—another place to visit. So, bacon and eggs and home fries and cake and which of two houses Carol will buy. She’s pretty excited.

When I picked up Laura from art class, I found Mrs. P and Laura giggling. They had not been caught shopping for a present for grandma, instead of painting a still life. A lovely bar of lemon soap.

At home, a beautiful stir fry for supper, then cards and cake. Such a cake. White almond (think marzipan!) with raspberry filling, whipped cream frosting and shaved white chocolate. I had two pieces.

And today, a birthday lunch with Beth and Bill, Ruth, Caroline and Francis, the last two still on spring break. Caroline to the left of me, Francis to the right. I wanted to hear about France’s bike trip.

France is my fourteen year old grandson; two weeks younger than Laura and far taller than either of us. His parents have raised extremely free range children. France has bikes stashed at the homes of friends, the easier to get around to after school jobs and activities. A year ago he and a friend were riding from school to Little Italy, to get a latte and a haircut. An old Italian grandma stopped sweeping her sidewalk to brandish the broom and tell them to ride in the street. “My mom won’t let me,” France had to confess.

Here’s an even better Francis story. Last December he turned fourteen, got his work permit and went on the official payroll of a restaurant near school. He came through the door waiving his first paycheck, indignantly, overhead. “They’re nickel and dimeing me to death!” he protested.

France and a classmate wanted to spend part of spring break bicycling from Columbus, Ohio to their home in Cleveland, using back roads and parts of the Buckeye and Towpath Trails. Bill and the two boys drove the route first, and arranged suitable overnight accommodations. 

The actual trip took them four days; the weather was beautiful and they didn’t see much more than cows out in the farmlands of rural Ohio. For those of you who know where they were, they picked up the Towpath Trail in Canton, where industrial civilization begins, and rode on home.




Francis had the house burger, which comes skewered with that knife.
In case you can't make it all out, there is a beef burger, bacon, cheese, lettuce, a fried egg, and possible more.



Salmon for Caroline.

40 comments:

  1. Happy birthday! What better way to celebrate than with friends and family! France has an adventurous spirit. Love his name. It was a common name in my mother's family too.

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    1. Our France is a first. His first name had been settled on, William for his father. He was born on Christmas Eve and the only food emporium open was the hot dog stand in the hospital atrium. Francis it was. France he became.

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  2. A very happy belated birthday. Family AND friends and delicious food. Hard to ask for more. And your cake sounds delectable.

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  3. All in all, sounds like an excellent Birthday!

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  4. very Happy Birthday a little late. Yesterday was mine and I haven't been reading my blogs like I should. I love those burgers! especially the fried egg. No secret why I'm fat! I love food....got a laugh from your grandson's reaction to taxes! ha ha ha ha Sorry your friend is moving south. Perhaps, someone new will come along to fill the void. best wishes for you and yours.

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    1. Mine was yesterday, too. Happy birthday to both of us.

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  5. Many Happy Returns of the Day to you!

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  6. happy, happy, happy, the rest is greek to me; my mom was half greek little did she impart or let us know, I sorely wish I knew; same with my native american heritage, my grandfather and grandmother and so much more.

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  7. Sounds like a wonderful couple of days to celebrate you.

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  8. Well, I love that story and a most happy birthday wish to you. Sounds like it was a good one. I hear Charleston is the neatest city in the country. Hope you get to visit soon.

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  9. Cannot believe how Francis and Caroline have grown up so fast. It just means I am older. Knew Beth when she was pregnant with Francis and saw Caroline when she was less than an hour old-another story. They are good looking kids.

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  10. That's a birthday celebration and a half! Well done and Happy Birthday.

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  11. That is one massive burger! Did he eat it all? I bet he did.

    Best Birthday ever. You are loved!

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  12. It sounds like you had a very happy birthday, Joanne. I hope you give yourself the present of making plans for visiting your friend in Charleston this fall or winter. It is such a pretty and interesting city.

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  13. Happy Birthday. It sounds like you had some wonderful celebrations. I loved learning a bit about France. He is a looker for sure!

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  14. Happy birthday, Joanne! Sounded like lots of wonderful birthday celebrations. I love France's parents approach to child rearing; wish I was that kind of parent rather than helicopter, but France does seem to know and abide by the rules :)

    betty

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  15. A very Happy Birthday to you, Joanne! It sounds like you had a wonderful time with family and friends.

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  16. Looks like a fab time and a characterful grandson you have there. You'll miss Carol.

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  17. Happy birthday Joanne. Sounds like you enjoyed it.

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  18. happy birthday, two days and that cake sounds wonderful

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  19. Happy Birthday, Joanne! You celebrate it in a wonderful way - and as your guests are mostly very young, they keep you young, and you can easily distract 10 years of your age. The cake sounds oh so lovely!!!

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  20. Hari OM
    OH my, how did I get to this so late??? (out and about travelling and down with the cold may be the explanation...) BELATED HAPPIEST AND WARMEST WISHES JOANNE!!!!!!!! Glad you had such golden times with folks. YAM xx

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  21. A belated Happy Birthday to you, what a way to celebrate you!

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  22. I like your positive attitude - rather than losing your meetings with a friend, you've acquired another friend to visit elsewhere! I think we're lucky these days with Skype, too.

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  23. Sounds like you had a great birthday. Sorry to hear about your friend leaving, that's always hard. But yes, someplace new to visit. As to your grandson's burger, how in the world do you go about eating a hamburger that high?

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  24. Happy birthday Joanne. You and your people do the living and celebrating of life gracefully and well. Yours, in cake comradeship, Mise

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  25. Happy Birthday Joanne! What an adventurous grandson you have and sounds like he's hardworking too. Charleston, such a pretty city, can't wait to go back for our next visit.

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  26. Happy birthday!

    What lovely, adventurous young people.

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  27. Happy birthday, Joanne.
    Aloha from Hawaii.

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  28. Happy Belated Birthday, Joanne. Loved hearing about France and his adventurous spirit. The cake sounds scrumptious but forbidding to a diabetic!

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  29. Wishing you a belated happy birthday. I find your blog posts very entertaining and true to life.

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  30. I wish I had wished you a Happy Birthday on time but I wish it for you now. And I can see that my wish came true. I cannot imagine a better birthday celebration.

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  31. I'm late... but still wish you a Happy Birthday! Be like my friend who now celebrates for an entire week. I love reading about your family... how diverse they all are!

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  32. Your new header is wonderful. Hope the snow tonight doesn't ruin them. I would be picking them by the bundles. Beautiful.

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  33. Happy birthday to you! I love your new header. The bike trip the boys took sounds great, something they will always remember. The cake sounds to die for! -Jenn

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  34. happy birthday! and that cake sounds divine.

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  35. Happy birthday, what a super idea to have a monthly meet up with a friend for breakfast Thank you for your kind thoughts and message on my blog....

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  36. A very happy birthday you dear sweet lady

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  37. Ack! I missed this somehow! Belated birthday wishes, Joanne; may you find the road a little smoother this year. Your cake sounds wonderful. You were almost an April Food's Day baby, hm? And France and his trip - that was quite an undertaking - good for him.

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