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Well, today began the round of birthday lunches and greetings. One of my dearest friends, Debbie Allen, the mother of one of my students, took me on our annual birthday lunch outing to the wonderful French bistro, Cest Tous (pronounced “say too”) in Oakwood. Cest Tous is owned by my former neighbors, Chef Dominic, and his wife, Sally. They have truly built one of the finest restaurants in the Miami Valley.

Today we sat at the bar for our lunch and chatted a good deal with Daniel, the bar tender. Daniel is also a budding composer who wishes to break into the world of film scoring. Very nice chap.

The thing that is fun with Debbie is that this birthday lunch is never rushed. We began at 11:30am and I rushed out at 2:10pm to be at my home to teach her son, Tyler, at 2:15pm. It was such a great start to birthday weekend. And, I tried my first snail! Debbie ordered snails in a creamy mushroom sauce. It was much like eating a mushroom, only there was a sweet taste, and to be honest, I truly liked it. Very interesting experience.

Tomorrow (Friday) I have an early breakfast with some teacher friends, and lunch with some friends from church. The Salchaks and student, Sue Branson – the gang from our summer Tuesday evening lessons/dinners will be here tomorrow night and I am
fixing chicken and noodles.Saturday morning, some more friends are taking me to breakfast at First Watch. Saturday afternoon, the boys and I will walk across the street for my best friend, Brody McDonald’s wedding. Afterwards, the boys will return home and I will head on to the reception which is sure to be a FUN event. Sunday morning, we will rise early and head to Muncie for a church service “a Thanksgiving for a child to inaugurate the new father-son relationship of Jeffrey Carter and his new son, AJ. We will then return to Dayton in time for Matt to go to work. Sunday evening some friends are throwing a quiet dinner.

Tonight, Brody brought his dog, Marcus, to stay with us through Sunday when he and Marty return from Columbus. Marcus and Flyer are both four years old and have grown up together. Brody has been slightly stressed all week, but has really borne up well with the wedding and demands of school. This morning he joked that he was throwing me a surprise birthday party with about 150 attending… then I realized he meant the wedding reception. Tonight, when he brought Marcus over he gave two bags of wonderful pipe tobacco, a new lighter with the tamper attached, pipe cleaners, and some aromatic candles. I was so touched that he would go to that trouble when he was practically overwhelmed with getting his last 48 hours of bachelorhood in order – mainly his home for Marty’s official arrival this Sunday evening. What a swell surprise.

I love birthday week. As a child, Mother always made our birthday weeks so memorable with the paper chains and all sorts of neat little events. Our cakes were generally made by Mother and mine were always fantastic – sheet music with the high school fight song, a drum-major, a saxophone, and something with BSU. Of course, my sister, born on February 14th, jokingly complains that she only had heart shaped cakes. Deal with it, Dena! You got the birthday on a holiday! Mine was sandwiched between the Fall Equinox and Yom Kippur! Oi vey!

Matthew is excited – he got his first paycheck and will be going on his first official date to the homecoming dance! He will be going with a girl from his science class, and her parents are having a cookout for their two daughters and their dates. Exciting new stuff for the Haasienda!

Tonight was also Matt’s open house at the high school. His teachers all had glowing things to say about how mature he is in class and how they adore him. His English teacher gushed! As I traveled through the halls, calling out to other parents and teachers, I was pleased to hear from his freshman class teachers how they missed him and wished him the best.

What a nice start to the birthday weekend… of course, the impending doom of hurricane Rita is hanging over us as my Uncle Raymond and Aunt Betty, and their son, Steve, are in Houston. They are not in good health and moving them would have been an ordeal. I guess Steve’s trip to his offices downtown was 9 hours there and 14 hours to get home! I cannot even imagine what those people must be enduring…


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September 2005
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