"These people have a lot of parties," Teddy said sleepily.
"These people have a lot of money," Jane Louise said. "Maybe we should give a lot of parties. It feels just like family life, but everyone goes home afterwards."
-Laurie Colwin, A Big Storm Knocked It Over
Well, there's no getting around it. My birthday is making its annual appearance this weekend. Apart of the whole getting-older thing (note to self: hair dye), I'm actually fond of birthdays. Cards, cake, funny presents (goofy socks! fridge magnets!)--what's not to like? Given that there's only one day of the year when you can get total strangers to be nice to you for no reason, I don't understand those sour don't-make-a-fuss types hating on their birthdays every year.
But then again, Libras love a party. And we especially love a party together, preferably one with lots of little tea sandwiches and an endless assortment of nibbles at which to pick. No decisions, lots of little sweet and salty things, champagne: that's paradise, when you're born in October. And that's what my tiny birthday party is going to be: not dinner, but just nibbles, and chocolate (especially since K. mailed me a whole stack of Gianduja bars, sweet thing that she is), and of course, cake. Since it's autumn, finally, I'm going to skip the usual layer-cake-n'-icing thing and make the awesome gingerbread-apple-upside-down cake. The recipe's on here already somewhere; I'll link to it if I can find it.
Until then, the fire-escape garden has produced its last handful of tomatoes, ripening on a pie plate in the kitchen. The morning glories have been replaced with yellow-and-bronze chrysanthemums, and ivy is twining up where the petunias once flowered and fretted. The heavy seed heads on the sunflowers are slowly being emptied by the birds, and there's a bagful of crab apples and quinces sitting in my hallway, waiting to be turned into paradise jelly, using the lovelyBakerina's recipe, which is the same as the one in my 1940s edition of the Joy of Cooking, back when the Joy still had a full chapter of preserving and canning recipes. (The recent, much-vaunted redo of the book left jams and jellies out completely, thanks to a bunch of snitty NYC editors who live on soy lattes and Thai takeout and DO NOT CAN.)
So happy birthday to all you Libras and Scorpios out there, and now, go make a wish.
Songs for a Birthday
1. Beautiful Child (Rufus Wainwright)
2. I Was Born (Natalie Merchant)
3. You've Got What It Takes (Brooke Benton and Dinah Washington)
4. That Was Your Mother (Paul Simon)
5. Really Rosie (Carole King)