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28 reasons to be thankful to be alive!

December 4, 2010

As promised, I am returning to blogging after finishing my dissertation! As yesterday marked my 28th birthday, I thought I would take a breath and share 28 reasons I’m to be thankful to be alive.

On my 28th Birthday

28. Having your husband role over after midnight and say, in his drowsy daze (any good farmer is in a drowsy daze by 10pm), “Is it midnight yet?” “Yes, honey, it is. Go back to sleep.” “Happy Birthday, I love you.” And better yet, having your husband not remember he did so in the morning…

27. Being woken up to a sister who calls and says “wake up! It’s your birthday, look underneath your bed sister! I left you presents on my trip to the farm for Thanksgiving!” and finding two boxes filled with goodies and finds of our sisterly favorite kinds.

Sister washing dishes in the morning

26. Being given a Shun Japanese kitchen knife for your birthday from all of your best friends (they know me so well!). To see the awesome, real-life text-to-video, watch here.

25. Flea Markets. Here is my birthday find for a buck!

Birthday Buck Buy made by Shenango China of New Castle, PA

24. Thanksgiving. Food. Food. Food. Yum. Here are some of our dishes—each person prepared one! In addition to Becky Bowman’s perfect turkey, dressing and stuffing, we had Hand-rolled Sweet Potato Gnocchi with fried sage and fresh mushrooms; Beef and Spinach Dumplings in slow-roasted marrow broth; David Cheng’s Momofuku Brussel Sprouts (p. 160); An assortment of cheeses and Surryano Ham from Murray’s Cheese Shop NYC; Pear Pie from Irene’s mom’s traditional Mexican recipe; and chocolate stout cake with a frosting that would make you unabashedly lick it off the floor if the fates failed you and some fell off your fork…

Surryano Ham and Cheese Board

Ashley’s Handmade Sweet Potato, Sage and Mushroom Gnocchi

Family forming dumplings

Thanksgiving Buffet with Handmade Dumplings and Marrow Broth

23. Zynodoa restaurant in Stanton. If you are in the area, try the Virginia Rockfish!!! Also killer steak frites, with local, all-natural beef that melts in your mouth!

22. The Splendid Table on NPR with Lynn Rosetta Kasper. Do you think she would be upset if one day in the far far future I had a restaurant and named it after the show?

21. Completing my Dissertation Defense Successfully. Even joyously. For months, I have holed myself up here on the Rudy Farm, tapping away at a worn keyboard. On Monday, November 22nd, my dissertation defense was held. Like good foodies, Jewells and I set up a table of Portuguese egg tarts, macaroons, French presses of Irving Farm coffee, and Harney and Sons teas (now in Soho!). It was truly a celebration. One committee member even thought it felt like a marriage ceremony, as I had 8 “witnesses”. After two hours of back and forth questioning, great and gracious dialogue, and challenging intellectual pursuit, I and my 8 witnesses (family and friend) were dismissed from the room, recorders were turned off, and “deliberations” began. After 10 minutes or so, boy were we all relieved when the door to the room opened and the defense chair smiled. “Come in, Dr. Bowman.” It was a wonderful moment. I don’t think I’ll ever need to hear those words again, but at that moment, I was overjoyed for them. Cheers and claps rang out as they awarded me a completion of my degree via successful defense. I am so thankful for the experience.

Making a funny face while speaking at the Defense

20. Dad’s face when he ate his first Portuguese egg tart at the defense (weird, since my mother is half Portuguese…)

Dad’s first Portuguese Egg Tart from Chinatown as captured by his youngest daughter

19. Celebrating with 22 of my closest friends afterwards at the new pizza and espresso dive San Matteo. Dad playing accordion while the waitress sang, and Annika offered Swedish drinking songs to go with our family Irish Favorites. Check out the video.

Jason and Dad while he sings

18. San Matteo’s Porcini E Tartufo pizza. Truffle oil stains your lips, and your memory.

17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, and 11- for all the ages and years we were “just friends”—and now, after 6 and a half years of marriage, I am ever-more amazed by you, your spirit, your gentleness, your strength, your dedication to the land, your humorous spirit. I am ever grateful for you, Jason.

High School Graduation, 2000

First “Spring Break” in NYC, 2001

Wedding Day, 2004

NYC, 2006

At home on the Farm, 2010

Jason and Wile at home

10. Working all day for our food, as we butcher our first five raised, yard-roaming chickens. It was a beautiful thing. There is so much to say, and I have no words as of yet. But I’m thankful to be connected to the earth and all of God’s creation, as we source our own food.

Dressing our first five chickens at the kitchen table

9. Lamb dinner the day after Thanksgiving dinner (who needs a second feast? We do!). The leg of lamb is from Dietrich’s meats in Amish Pennsylvania, picked up on our drive home from NYC. Red wine roasts famously with lamb rosemary, and cloves and cloves and cloves and cloves of garlic!

Lamb Dinner with Family in town from NYC

Leg of Lamb with roasted carrots, garlic, onions and potatoes in red wine

Roasted Red Cabbage with Black Walnut and Panko Crust, Curry Corn Chowder

8. Listening to Monopoloy being played while everyone is in a food coma after a lamb dinner.

Late-Night Monopoly (Although they called the game, Irene won.)

7. Shake Shack Pumpkin Ice Cream – 2 pints of which Ash got for free (how, my dear friend, do you always get everything for free?). Made into homemade ice cream sandwiches…even better!

Ashley’s Homemade Shake Shack Pumpkin Icecream Sandwich

Jason’s Fancy Version (boys and their icecream–hilarious)

6. Growing older with your best friends of 10+ years. And becoming aunties and moms together.

Some of the SG gang together–we missed you other ladies!

5. Tapas at a baby shower. Forget cupcakes and candy, it’s time for anchovies and Manchego! (Tettila, Drunken Goat, Vare, and Idyazabal too!)

Baby Byrd Tapas Shower

Minted Eggplant, Fried Artichoke and Arborio Rice Balls, Spanish Tortilla (omlette), Assortment of Spanish Cheeses, Anchovies, Olives, and Fried Chorizo, Sauteed Garlic Shrimp, Sauteed Mushrooms and Peppers

Local VA Honey and Homemade Apple Butter Favors with Bags of Almonds

3. Sister.

Mellow Yellow Jew in Brooklyn – Isn’t she beautiful?

2. Wile Easterly.

Wile Easterly resting in the afternoon

1. Being 28 and realizing that you have been given so much friendship, eaten so much good food, been struck deep in your heart for how much you have and how little of it you’ve earned. How it is truly a gift of grace. Being 28 and realizing that you’d rather be no one else, be no where else than who you are, where you are.

Family without Borders–I love you all!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2010 8:25 am

    What a beautiful post, Harrigan…
    I am grateful for having you in my life now! And your friends, whom I’ve heard so much about it feels I’ve known them forever… 🙂

  2. Jan permalink
    December 17, 2010 2:26 am

    Happy belated birthday and a belated congratulations, Dr. Bowman! You are blessed indeed.

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