Sunday, September 12, 2010

BC Birthday

I celebrated my birthday on Sunday. Without much pomp and ceremony. And that's ok - I actually kind of like it that way. I'm of the opinion that unless you are celebrating a milestone birthday, if you're over 13 years old, you need to get a grip if you expect the world to stop on "your" day. I'm just a low-maintenance kind of girl, I guess. Mike is thankful.

With that said, we do have a few little birthday traditions in the Penner household - one being that when I have a birthday, Mike and the girls bake a cake in my honor. This is no small feat. It is also incredibly entertaining to observe. I usually pick a pretty easy recipe, but this year I knew Mike was up for the challenge so I stepped it up a notch. I selected "Cool Lime Layered Cake". And so, Saturday night - the work began....

Mike takes this cake thing pretty seriously. He says he's not that handy in the kitchen - but I have never seen anyone take things quite as seriously in the kitchen as Mike does. He measures to the letter of the law (I guess it's an engineering thing). If the recipe say "beat for 2 minutes on high and 4 minutes on medium" that's what he does, and not a second longer. He usually plays up the roll of "incompetent baker" for the girls a little just to make them laugh. And laugh they did on Saturday night.
Sadly, for me, it rained all day on Sunday. That pretty much nixed any grand plans I had of strolling down Commercial Drive and having a picnic at the beach. After enjoying breakfast with some friends we had staying with us on Saturday night and saying good-bye to them, we went to a little church in East Van that has a Winnipeg connection for us. Then it was off to "Mucho Burrito" for an amazing lunch. After arriving home we worked on our canvasses and then I settled into my bed for a good long reading session completely undisturbed. Incidentally, I think heaven might be a big bed, pillows, a fluffy duvet, peace, quiet, and books. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself.

Since I closed my kitchen for the day, it was off to a new restaurant in our neighborhood we'd both been wanting to try. The name sounds less than thrilling but the food certainly was. "Burgers Etc. Barbecue House" is on Hastings and features southern bbq and all of the fixings. This is one of my guilty pleasures.

Mike and I shared a sampler with ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, bbq Italian sausage, roasted chicken, spicy bbq chicken wings, baked beans, coleslaw, and fresh corn. It was ridiculous.

The restaurant is very small, and very simple. It has a jazz and blues theme. Sasha loves The Blues. She has since she was wee. We find that wonderful, considering that her nick-name since birth has been "Satchmo" which is the name Louis Armstrong was often known by. We thought we better take a picture with Sasha beside her name-sake.

The girls could hardly wait until I was ready to open my present from them - a beautiful hand-crafted bookmark they had all collectively worked on.....

....which went perfectly with my gift from Mike - The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I have been longing to read this book for several months. My Winnipeg book club is discussing it this month, and I don't want to lag behind! I am hopeful this book will deposit some richness into me as I read it. Perhaps Mike is hoping it will magically transform me into a permanently happy person.

Finally the moment arrived! With the cake beautifully garnished with fresh strawberries by Mike in what he though looked like my beloved cbc's logo - it was time to cut in and indulge.

It was just as delicious as it looked. Fresh and moist and vibrantly full of citrus flavor. Nice job team!

These lovely flowers were delivered to our door on Saturday. We were all shocked and speechless when we heard the doorbell ring. It never rings. After running to the door, I was so thankful to receive these flowers which were screaming my name. Thanks, Heather.

After indulging in way too much BBQ and a huge piece of cake, I took a long walk alone in the misty, cool, night air. It was a good day. It will be a good year. My life is full.


  1. Happy Birthday, Karla! I absolutely love the picture of the 'chef's' - Mike with his girls. It made me grin.

  2. Sounds like a perfect day! I agree the picture of Mike and his girls is a keeper!

  3. Happy Birthday Karla!!! Love, Thea

  4. much to respond:
    -this made me cry, and then laugh, and then cry.
    -i think you are so beautiful
    -your "intentional mothering" for your family is so evident and so real/authentic.
    -i love sash-ie's tree shirt. i want one for myself please.
    -love the wall with the fancy ("castle-like) fireplace(?) and canvasses
    -going to miss you tonight
    -tell mike the book actually made ME a nicer wife (on days when all things equalled and the earth was relatively sane). seriously.