Celebrations with friends

With the MFA Graduation Show and such, I must admit, the idea of planning a birthday party on top of all that was not appealing to me. So, our dear friend Connie decided to throw me a wee party at her allotment (a garden in the city with a fabulous new shed) in my honor! What an amazing friend!!
     Since Connie runs the Edinburgh Salon and the allotment's space is quite small, we put together a short list of foodie and salon friends for the gathering. She planned treats for the grill and a chocolate cake...
     And then came the rain. And more rain. And more rain. Needless to say, by the time the date rolled round, the allotment was swimming, water-logged, drenched. So at the last minute, Connie's outdoor garden party moved to our flat. Badda-bing, badda-boom! It was still absolutely wonderful!
     Connie started us off with Piña Coladas.
Everybody brought a dish, so the buffet ended up to be quite impressive. (More photos soon from our intrepid 9-year-old photographer.) Of course, the star of the show was the cake!
Connie had asked me what kind I wanted. I said, "Something to do with chocolate!"
This puppy had something like 2 pounds of chocolate in it, all said. It was also surrounded by a chocolate lattice sculpture and covered in chocolate-dipped strawberries, and the white chocolate fondant was mixed with cream cheese - YUM!
Needless to say we made quick work of it. Here you can see the four layers, before it disappeared completely into our tummies! Then we all turned into full, boneless chickens flopping from one soft surface to another. (The way you can only do with good friends.)
I said it that day, and I'll say it again. We have made the most amazing friends here in Edinburgh. Part of it is the people, part of it is Scotland, and part of it is how this town is so conducive to making, maintaining and being a good friend. It's small enough to ring someone up to meet for drinks or come over for dinner at the last minute. It's small enough that you run into people on the sidewalk. It's small enough to be within walking distance to everybody you love. And yet, it's big enough to hold a world full of wonderful people from all over the planet, who come together and form a new network in this lovely place I call home.
     Truly, my birthday has been going on all week, as I've had lunches, attended small gatherings and experienced special moments for days now. It's exactly how I wanted to bring in my next half-century and it's nothing I could have planned if I'd tried. Bottom line, I am so grateful to be here and have these lovely, lovely people in my life. Thank you, Connie!!! (Here she is with Chris.) Thank you, ALL! I LOVE YOU!

Photos by Connie, Pedro, and Jane Pendry.

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