This past weekend was my birthday and it was truly wonderful! So many blessings!
Albert and I went to Mikuni’s and I spun the birthday wheel and actually won a free roll of sushi! Wow! I never win anything big. A roll of sushi! That’s totally awesome! That’s a blessing.
The next day was my actual birthday. Glen stopped by with a huge surprise. He had remembered a long time ago I said one of my favorite cookies is a Tim Tam. I had them in Australia and totally loved them. Pepperidge Farm would sell them every year during October in Target but just last week Albert and I were bemoaning the fact that it is no longer available. Well, Glen discovered that they are rebranded under another name in the U.S. and that they are sold at Cost Plus, so he went there and got some and totally surprised me! Wow! That was such a nice birthday blessing!
Corrie’s kids made a special birthday video. Awww, so sweet! Lots of birthday greetings on FaceBook, kids called… all in all super special.
Then we drove up to what has been our favorite vacation spot — Petaluma. This was our third year in a row!
On the way up I snapped pictures of the gorgeous scenery. Not bad for an iPhone picture taken out of a moving car! I was inspired because I have been doing pastel paintings and thought it would be fun to take a picture I could paint some day. The skies were beautiful.
Albert and I went to a very nice restaurant, Central Market, for dinner. It is one of my favorite ways to spend my birthday — a special dinner with my hubby!
Last time we went to this restaurant, it was super cramped. Our table was like literally six inches next to the people next to us. I wrote a note in the reservation asking if we could have a bigger table, so this is what they gave us.
Not only was the table huge but we had our own little private corner! Another blessing.
The food was sooooo good. I totally loved the appetizer, raw yellowtail with sea salt and guacamole. It was sooooooooo good. We are big sashimi fans! (I am also a big fan of my iPhone camera. It really takes good pictures considering it’s just a phone camera! I have given up lugging around my heavy camera during our trips away.)
The sea scallops were cooked perfectly.
And they even gave me a free birthday dessert!
When we got to the hotel, we had another big surprise waiting for us!
What was this? We did not order this. We did not know who would give this to us or why. We opened up the note and it said, “Happy 29th birthday!” and it was from the front desk staff.
Then Albert surmised it was because when we checked in, he mentioned it was my birthday and the enthusiastic young lady said, “Oh!! How old are you?” She was very excited because she was turning 30 in a few days. The lady next to her (older lady), pretend slapped her hand and said, “You’re not supposed to say that!” Albert jumped into the awkward moment and said, “She’s 29!” with a big wink and everyone laughed.
So we think maybe this gift it was their way for making up?
There was a pretty yummy plate of appetizer stuff. The bread and honey was utterly delicious. I looked on the room service menu and this plate usually costs $17. They gave it to us and the bottle of champagne for free!
The next day we tried out a highly rated restaurant called the Tea Room, known for its breakfast. I couldn’t argue. The pugliese bread with marscapone cheese and strawberries and honey were heavenly. Not too rich (I think the bread was just toasted), the cheese was very light and fluffy and it had a very refreshing flavor.
Then we went to Starbucks to study. I had to do seminary homework and Albert had to do prep for lectures. Even though it was our vacation, we knew did it early so we could enjoy the rest of our trip. It was super productive and even somewhat relaxing.
We wandered around downtown. My weakness… books. Especially sale books.
This one was a deal too good to turn down. A 950-page book full of color pictures (the whole thing is illustrations!) that regularly cost $40 and I got it for $15. I couldn’t resist. I am now on page 130 and have learned all sorts of things about environment, astronomy, geography, meteorology and animals. It’s all quite fascinating. I did skip the page on spiders though.
For dinner, we went to a French restaurant. I was amazed at how big the salad was. This was half a salad — Albert and I split it.
The food was really good and I was very impressed by the beautiful dessert. Thin layer of cheesecake with chocolate gelato, crushed heath bar on top and chantilly cream on top. I learned earlier that shape of the cream is called a quenelle, a shape made with a spoon. Every trade has jargon (as I am learning in my visual dictionary!)
The next day we wandered around downtown too and went back to the yarn store. Saw this beautiful yarn. Saw it was $32. Put it back on the shelf.
We also discovered a coffee and tea place and got some teas… they were super cheap! One Venti Starbucks will buy the entire bag of tea, which is dozens and dozens of cups of tea.
For dinner, Albert and I went to a small restaurant called Twisted2, which was also highly rated. The chef is an artist and she also made all the pottery dishes and cups that we ate out of. The sashimi was utterly delicious.
Albert and I found the decor fascinating. The husband works in the wine industry and took all these boxes and used them as decorations. Albert and I were analyzing the logos. I said, “The Ridge logo is Optima.” Albert said to the guy as he walked by, “My wife is a graphic designer and she said the Ridge logo is Optima.” He said, “She is correct. I used to work for Ridge.”
The chef is known for the meyer lemon pudding dessert. They had only one left and she saved it for us! Wow! It was really wonderful.
This morning was our last morning so we stopped by our favorite bistro, Water Street Cafe and ordered our favorite — crab chowder. It had huge chunks of crab and did not disappoint.
And then we drove home again. I had to get the yellow fields because I wanted to paint fields with flowers. Didn’t work too well though.
Besides all the eating, we did a lot of reading.
- A pastel painting book.
- Some fiction young adult library books.
- A book about theme park design (so interesting!).
- My new visual dictionary.
- A book called Sticky Faith, about raising up kids who keep the faith. Wish I had read this when the kids were younger!
Guess I have pretty eclectic taste in reading.
In addition, Albert and I had a Pride and Prejudice fest watching movies that we borrowed.
- We watched the movie version.
- We watched the Bollywood musical version. It was quite interesting seeing how they translated the cultural aspects.
- And we watched the BBC version, which is very long.
We enjoyed all of them! I did a lot of knitting and crocheting while watching.
After we came home, I did a pastel painting, #3. Soft pastels is a new medium for me and I have found I love it. It is very therapeutic. I will blog about pastel painting another time.
So that was my birthday weekend. The whole time I was thanking God for His incredible goodness to us — blessing after blessing. Albert and I had great conversations and talked about what it means for us moving forward as the kids are growing and what our lives of doing ministry together as a couple means now that we have more opportunity to do things together.
Back to work tomorrow!