Monday, March 7, 2011

Light your own candle!

There is a secret to having the best birthday ever.

The secret? No one can create it but you!

So, invite fascinating people to join you in celebrating.

Why leave your birthday up to others? When we do so we create expectations in ourselves and sheer dread in those around us.

Really? Ask people to celebrate you?

Yes! Do you remember being an outsider in your youth? The times in the school yard when you felt excluded? Didn’t you wish to be included?

It has taken me all these years to learn a tough lesson—I now know that the path to feeling included is to simply INCLUDE! Invite people to join you. Not all will accept your invitation (their loss, NEXT!), but most people you most want to know will surprise you by saying yes. Most will feel honored you asked.

Last week, on my birthday, (March forth--the only command in the year!), I realized I wanted to do something truly memorable. Ted and I were planning to be in the Bay Area, and I began to think of who I knew there. The first who came to mind was one of my writer heroes Kim Rosen, author of Saved by a Poem.

Wouldn’t it be great if she would join us for lunch? I wondered. So, I sent her an email and she said “Yes, what fun!”

That success spurred me to remember what a great fan I am of Roger Housden, author of many of my favorite books (click on his name for a list) who lives in Sausalito. Kim had mentioned once that she knows him, so I asked for his email and invited him to join us as well. He said, (Guess what!) "YES!"

For the next week I had the best birthday lunch imaginable to look forward to!

Kim suggested a restaurant new to us, Piatti in Mill Valley, with a view of the bay.

Here are dishes from their lunch menu:

My main course was this Salmone: blackened Loch Duart Salmon with Yukon gold potatoes, roasted asparagus and Meyer lemon beurre fondue.

The company, conversation and cuisine were beyond my imaginings!

Now, what if I hadn’t had the courage to ask?

Can we afford any half-heartedness in the time remaining to us?

~Roger Housden

For 1 cup

This divine dipping sauce served as the beginning of our breaking crusty bread together. It remains my favorite taste of the meal!

6 ounces EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1 ounce Balsamic vinegar (See note)
1 clove garlic, minced
a sprinkling of fresh minced parsley
Salt, freshly ground pepper, and red chile flakes, to taste

Note: Some of the best chefs I know swear by the Trader Joe brand.

Whisk together all ingredients and pour into dish for dipping. Serve with slices of crusty bread.