Happy Birthday, Sydney!

Earlier this week Sydney celebrated his birthday.  Or, rather, he turned 35 in the middle of a very busy work week, and we delayed our celebrations until this weekend.  There are very few things he needs (sleep, time, and an occasional babysitter come to mind) that I could present to him under gift wrap, but after some prodding he did come up with what I think might be the best birthday scheme ever.

Late Friday evening he decided to make a trip into London to go food shopping.  Now, ordinarily, shopping is not Sydney’s thing, but one of the benefits of living close to a major metropolis is the opportunity to scope out unusual foods and spices.  So he left early in the morning on Saturday to hit some of London’s major markets and returned just after lunch with a backpack full of unusual things: good cinnamon, unusual pepper flakes, Kaffir lime powder, a very soft papaya, several new kinds of apples for us to try, a gorgeous pineapple, smoked sundried tomatoes, persimmon, a loaf of rosemary bread, and some baklava.  From deep in the bottom of the bag he also hauled out a large musquee de provence squash (which is apparently just perfect for pumpkin pie . . .).  Needless to say, we feasted yesterday, and I didn’t bother making a cake after we were done!

Apparently Sydney’s idea of a birthday treat is to bring Christmas into our living room.  The kids had a field day with all of the new things.  “What’s this??” we heard over and over again from Katherine, and Nathaniel put on his best pleading face with “Please . . . I hold . . . be very gentle.

It was wonderful to see them sizing up things they’d never seen before and asking for more words to describe the things they were holding.  “Pine-apple!” was the favorite, I think.


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