Here's what I got for my birthday (yes, I'm even older than I was yesterday): A set of Pyrex mixing bowls. Two pasta pots, one large and one small. A heavy covered 12-inch sauté pan. A mushroom brush and two vegetable brushes. A non-aerosol cooking oil spray pump. Two cookbooks (Rachael Ray's latest, plus a book of summertime recipes). And a cheese grater. All of it appreciated, and all of it exactly what I wanted.
Do you think my family knows me pretty well? We also had lasagna and salad and birthday cake (or as Dakota calls it, birthday cake!, and there are few things that make him light up more than that; it almost makes me wish I had another birthday coming up soon). And all I had to do to deserve all this was complete my fifty-fifth year and have the good fortune to live in the same town as my family.
I'm pretty sure I know how this happened. (The gifts, I mean.) A few weeks ago Mom phoned and asked what I wanted for my birthday. Now, ordinarily I'd hem and haw and say something like, "Whatever." Or, "Nothing." Or, "I don't know." Good answers all, but that's not what happened this time.
You see, I had a list. It wasn't a birthday list, but a list of particular things I thought I still needed for my cooking career. Or hobby, which is what it actually is. I was serious about going out and buying all this stuff, whenever I could get some money together. Since I've been semi-broke for a while, all it was at that point was a wish list.
So I read off the list to Mom over the phone, and it was pretty much exactly the same as what I unwrapped tonight at Tammy and David's house. I couldn't have planned it any better if I'd planned it, which I didn't. I think people with a serious hobby like mine are more likely to get what they really want than people who say "whatever" or "nothing" or "I don't know." That's been my experience, anyway.
I'm quite proud of my list. There was nothing frivolous on it, and it turned out to be very effective.