My birthday totally snuck up on me this year. The “oh s***” moment came yesterday while I was out for lunch with a friend I’ve known since, technically, nursery school, and we were talking about weird it is that all our friends are married and the ways in which we are and are not dreading our high school reunion.
“Oh s***,” I said, and smacked the table. “Tomorrow’s my birthday. F***.”
And then I joined the cookie-baking party that had been underway at my aunt’s house since 1 pm. I drank a glass of port and spaced out for a moment as I watched everybody work from the recipes they’ve treasured since “before Black Friday,” as my mom said—plus some awesome newer recipes they’ve added to the roster over the years.
I remember going to Cookie Baking day as a little kid, then as a pre-teen, a teenager…I’m sure I went when I was in college, but I’m drawing a momentary blank. And now I’m the age my mother was when she had her second child. If I feel old, I should take a moment to acknowledge my parents and shut my mouth about that one.
I have to admit, the past year was not at all what I expected, but in many ways, much better than I could have anticipated. From getting my license and my Masters, to learning how to crack open my own damn lobster—and that McNuggets in bed is a deal-breaker for me (long story)—27 was a game-changer. I’m eager to see what this next year has in store.
I have some exciting things in the works that I’m looking forward to sharing with you along the way. If nothing else, cheers to that : )
So wow, this has been a great last weekend as a grad student—equal parts mellow and fun. I even slept in until 9 this morning!
- Lunch with Mom when I was passing through NJ for a doctor’s appointment Saturday
- A friend’s Bday dinner here (I will definitely be attempting to recreate the kale caesar salad I had as an appetizer—so good) and drinks here
- Coffee at this new place, which kind of feels like an airport hotel lounge—in a good way
- A surprise Neil Young binge that’s gonna take a few days at least to shake
Tomorrow I’m graduating with my MS in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics. In some ways, it almost feels like my first day of grad school was last week (it was actually 4 years ago today), but in others, it’s like it was a lifetime ago.
5 years ago, I moved to NYC to be with a guy I’m not even in touch with anymore, thinking I’d do my freelance writing and part time PR job until I found something in publishing. Hah! If someone had told me I’d feel compelled to seek out a job with an alternative health care practice and decide to go back to school to study clinical nutrition because of ghostwriting a Chinese medicine blog, I’d have laughed.
The main lesson I’ve learned is that when you follow your intuition to what feels good and what feels right, it’s hard to go wrong, even if it’s not always easy or doesn’t make sense right away. I can’t lie, it’s been awesome—lots of good surprises along the way. I love what I do, and even on the stressful days, I usually still feel like this:
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down, ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Cheers to that. Thank you, thank you thank, you for all your support and encouragement along the way.
As I mentioned yesterday, May is a big month. My mom is super-busy, so when she suggested we go out to celebrate, I set aside a night to have dinner and catch up. Though my family has plenty of favorite restaurants, it’s fun to try new places, so my mom made a reservation at Boulud Sud on the Upper West Side. It was such a nice treat!
I have no idea what our server’s name was, but he was so awesome about recommending tree-nut free dishes (and offering to prep a few things without them) and convincing us to split a bottle of rose wine. The whole meal was excellent—the perfect celebratory mother-daughter dinner.
To start, we shared these sea urchin and crab tartines. Then we each had a gorgeous salad with artichoke puree, fennel, and celery—so freaking good! For our entree, we both got the grilled loup de mer and shared some charred broccoli rabe and roasted cauliflower. Everything had this subtle lemon flavor going on that was out of this world.
In the past few months, I’ve noticed that sometimes I actually really like having cheese for dessert instead of something sweet. Funny how your palate changes over time. In either case, though I can’t remember which cheeses we got, they were both outstanding.
What was your last restaurant meal?