Saturday, April 05, 2008

Birthday gifts

Today is my birthday, but we celebrated it last night when Ray took our family out to dinner. We went to a nice restaurant and had wonderful food. Sofia sat in a high chair and ate a banana and puffed rice and smiled and flirted with everyone who walked past her. What a social little person she has become. As we were leaving I overheard people at the table behind us. "Ohhhh, look at that little girl. Isn't she daaaaaaarling?" Yes, she was. She has had a tough, grumpy week with new teeth coming in, but she was in fine form last night. I considered it my birthday gift from my granddaughter.

I got other gifts too. Emily gave me a gift certificate for a special "spa pedicure". I can hardly wait, but think I'll hold off until closer to sandal-wearing season. Ray had to order my gift from him and it hasn't arrived. I know what it is (since I hinted so strongly at what I wanted). It is an immersion blender, so I don't have to put my cruddy old blender in my lovely new kitchen. I know some folks consider kitchen appliances and gadgets unromantic as birthday gifts, but I consider it very romantic to get something I really want. My sweet son-in-law also gave me something I really wanted. He painted these little paintings for my new kitchen.



He had painted some similar paintings for Emily and I told him how much I liked them. They are fruits of Ecuador—papayas, mangoes and tree tomatoes. I don't know how many places tree tomatoes grow. They are virtually unknown in the United States. They are not really tomatoes at all, but are the same color and are beautiful oval fruits with smooth, shiny skin. In Ecuador they are the basis for the hot sauce called aji that is so popular. They are also used for juice, which is very delicious and the most beautiful color.

The first time we visited Emily in Ecuador we arrived in Quito late at night and Emily, who was coming to Quito from Cuenca the next morning, arranged for us to be met at the airport and taken to a small family run hotel in Quito. The next morning we found the charming dining room of the hotel and were served glasses of fresh, rosy-hued tree tomato juice. It was literally our first taste of Ecuador and we have loved it ever since. So I especially love the tree tomato painting.

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This is my kitchen cart. It started as the IKEA BEKVÄM cart. I stained it, added a handle and towel bar and used some of my extra Talavera tiles on the top.

17 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Terry! The paintings are great. What a thoughtful present.

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  2. Happy Birthday, Terry! Your gifts all sound wonderful. The paintings are especially lovely. I didn't know that tamarillos (we call tree tomatoes "tamarilloes") were from Ecuador! I'm from New Zealand and they grow very well there and are commonly known. They are one of my favourite fruits. So yummy as a crumble-topped dessert and they make fantastic chutneys. Best of all, though, is just as is, straight off the tree.
    They also grow well in Australia but for some reason they are not as well known, even though they are almost always available in the supermarket.

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  3. Art and appliances sound like perfect gifts to me. I gave my beloved a stick (a.k.a. immersion) blender for his birthday a couple of years ago. I was skeptical initially, but several good-cook friends raved about them. He loves it.

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  4. Oh, damn!! I was not going to forget your birthday and then I did, well not really - I knew it was coming up. So I owe you a nice lunch out one of these days when we can find time. I love the paintings that Cayo did - perfect for your kitchen. You will love the immersion blender. And a big Hippo Birdy to you.

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  5. Happy Birthday! Beautiful paintings in a gorgeous kitchen and an adorable granddaughter to boot! Great start to a new year. Wishing you joy, creativity, and lots of laughs. Cheers.

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  6. Happy, happy birthday Terry!

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  7. Happy Birthday from me too. I'd never heard of tree tomatoes before, but the name tamarillos sounds familiar. I've never tasted them though. Cayo's paintings are wonderful. You are so lucky to have so much talent in the family. And you are especially clever to hack your IKEA kitchen cart -- it fits right in to your new kitchen. :-)

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  8. What a nice birthday you had. I really like the paintings from your son-in-law. Your kitchen looks wonderful now that we can see more. Your fun light fixture over the sink is great.
    Happy Birthday!

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  9. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Happy Birthday a day late, Terry! I didn't realize Rita H. and you shared a birthday until she called me yesterday. Sounds like you had a lovely birthday surrounded by a beautiful family and great gifts!

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  10. Happy Birthday to one of the loveliest most talented women I've never met...yet. Wishing you the happiest, most peaceful year ahead

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  11. Belated happy birthday Terry. Your son-in-law is a very fine painter. I have fallen in love with the paintings as well as the idea of having such paintings in the kitchen. Never knew about tree tomatoes either. Will surely try the juice the moment I get a chance. Must say my first visit to your blog has been a very pleasant one.

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  12. happy belated birthday! and your new kitchen is absolutely fabulous...

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  13. Happy Birthday Terry, and congratulations on the article in Quilting Arts Magazine!

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  14. Ah yes, the birthday blender! Many happy returns!

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  15. Anonymous11:07 PM

    I keep trying to say happy birthday, but blogspot doesn't like me and won't let me join the party.

    Congrats on the article -- you've been hiding things from us! June

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  16. Anonymous11:09 PM

    Oh yes,

    "Hap py hap py birrr-th day, Terry"

    You have to imagine this in the crooning tones of one of those teen idols of the fifties. Next time I see you I'll sing it -- I bet you will not only recognize it but be able to do the rest of the lyrics (which I think are fairly unremarkable) June

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  17. Happy belated birthday! Wow, you have provided piccies of the new house - that's what I get for being late to the party. The new kitchen is superb and does have a special glow - keep trusting your artistic instincts. I love that you had enough tile to then lay onto the new Ikea cart. I can picture Sofi running around the cart singing while you are busy with your new b-day gift from hubby, preparing wonderful "carrot-cake" recipes! Hmm, can I drop by for coffee and cake? The kitchen is the heart of the home.

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