Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ventotto

For the third time in my life, the first day of school coincided with my birthday.  I lament this frequently.

Ok: a lot.

OK: ALL THE TIME.

But, I have a good reason.  Once upon a time, I had a true summer birthday. Nobody went to school on August 29th. Nobody.  And then, the school district--somewhere around 1994--had this genius idea to send everyone back to school before Labor Day.  Thus, they (ie, the gods, the school district, the system, the Man, Big Brother, the PA Dept. of Education) screwed me.  Once you have a taste of a summer birthday, there's no going back.  I don't want to hear any nonsense like, "Oh, but it's so much fun to go to school and see 'everyone' on your birthday! And people leave you notes on your locker!"  I think Amalie tried this one back in 1996 the night before the first day of eighth grade (also my birthday), but it didn't work.  I liked my birthday precisely because I didn't have to DO anything: No bell schedule. No grouchy teachers yelling at us to "Shut up and sit down."  No class clowns making said teachers scream louder.  School was chaos.  With a summer birthday, I could go to the pool with my mom and my sister and glory in the fact that my birthday did NOT include the assignation of homework.

But things change. C'est la vie.

Nothing's better than when your mom buys you a baby cupcake at Starbucks on your birthday.

Somewhere around your twentieth birthday (which happens to fall smack in the middle of your first week of your junior year of college--which, unbeknownst to you, is going to be one of the best years of your life), you have to realize and accept: "I have a school-year birthday. And I'm going to enjoy it, dammit!"

So far, I've managed to stretch this event into a third day. This is mostly thanks to Irene who forced me to postpone any weekend plans I may have made.  Day 1 was a very good day.



Before I headed off to class, I met up with my mom in town and I made it a point to wear my new dress (purchased only because Jess so generously shared her friends and family discount at Anthro with me--thanks Jess!).


I had to run off to school at one point and pass out syllabi--yadda yadda yadda--and I left campus as quickly as I arrived there.  Ron tried to take a half day, which didn't quite turn out, but he was home earlier than usual.  We had wanted to go to Marly's for dinner, but we didn't know what Monday would be like with the hurricane, etc., so he decided earlier that Marly's would be saved for the following night and I could pick whatever I wanted for dinner on Monday night.  Initially, I picked Ron's pizza, but then I remembered spaghetti alla carbonara.


We only have this three or four times a year.  Basically, it's heart attack on a plate--nothing healthy about it.  In my experience, you can't really order this in any Italian restaurants around here.  I don't recall seeing this on any menus.  To be honest, this is a dish that could be divine in a restaurant or a completely gummy, nasty disaster. Ron ordered it the first time we went to Rome. I was pretty skeptical: spaghetti covered in egg and cheese sauce with pancetta?  No thanks. I remember telling him about the origins of this dish while he dug in.  (When you sign up for an Italian major, you learn things such as how spaghetti alla carbonara comes to be.)  Then I tried a bite at his insistence.

It changed my life.  Ron used this recipe when he first taught himself how to make it.


It was fun to eat outside until the yellow jackets showed up.  C'est la vie.  September is here.


Dessert was mostly comprised of the contents from my birthday gift.


Ron wisely selected large quantities of candy.  The funny part is, he bought most of the candy twice.  Why? Because when he initially bought it, he left it all in the trunk of his car so that I wouldn't find it.  Did I mention that it's August?



All of it melted; however, it's not such a sad story. He put the melted boxes of candy in the freezer, and it completely changes the whole experience of each candy: Milk Duds become crunchy toffee pieces; Junior Mints become extra chewy and creamy; and Whoppers (which really aren't my fave) become extra crumbly and (in my opinion) vanilla-y.  I really want to smash all the Whoppers and use them over vanilla ice cream.


When we had cleaned up dinner, we headed out to my mom's house since my grandparents were stopping by with a cake.  I think it's time to officially declare Aunt Edna's Cold Oven Poundcake as The Official Birthday Cake of our family.  My mom realized only yesterday that she doesn't have the recipe.  When one of us gets it, I'll post it here because (much like spaghetti alla carbonara) it will change your life.  And you'll never EVER eat store bought poundcake again.  Well maybe you'll eat it, but you won't like it as much.

Can you believe the sky actually looked like this?

I didn't edit these at all.

I was so glad that my grandmother also brought over my horoscope for the year.  Our local paper used to print the "Today's Birthday" entry, but they dropped it for whatever reason. I always tape up the year's horoscope on my bedroom mirror.

The day ended with the blissful satisfaction that only comes from: perfect, gorgeous weather; Starbucks with my mom; spaghetti alla carbonara; candy; poundcake; annual horoscopes; and the knowledge that the next day is a pool day because one does not teach on Tuesdays this semester.

YAY! 28!


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