Saturday, April 17, 2010

April Showers, Flowers, and Birthdays

With its earlier than typical arrival, spring has made its presence known in this part of Upstate New York.  Leaves on trees are appearing weeks before their usual coming-out in May.  Tulips are everywhere.  I was driving down North Broadway in Saratoga Springs, and many of the grand homes along the way are showing off beautiful beds of colorful tulips and daffodils. Splashes of bright color are bursting from azalea and forsythia bushes.  It's been raining a lot, which I don't really mind because there's a lot of growth that relies on such hydration.  This rain is revitalizing nourishment, a healthy elixer to rejuvenate our surroundings still sleepy from winter dormancy.  New trees in our yard,and recently spread grass seed laying under a protective blanket of hay, will take hold with the help of this moisture.

April is an eventful month in my family.  It marks a number of significant days.  Today is my sister Patsy's birthday -- Happy Birthday Pats!!!!  I'm baking a lemon angel-food cake just for you!  April is also host to my  youngest child's birthday.  Tricia was 28 on the 3rd.  When she was little, she would say, "My birthday is April THE third" with an emphasis on "THE."  (Every year since, I find my self saying, "Today is April THE third!")   Nephew (and Godson) Ben's birthday is April 26th.  He's all grown up now -- graduated from Marist last year and just started a terrific job in Manhattan.  He was born on the anniversary of his great-grandfather's birthday, my father's father, Valerian O'Farrell.   My son Joe's birthday is the next day, April 27th. That was such an exciting day, almost 34 years ago.  Hard to believe.  The icing on April's birthday calendar now is Henry's birthday on April's last day, the 30th.  We're celebrating his second, this year.  Katie and I have been designing his cake in our minds and I hope it's going to be one that lights up his baby blues.  All it needs is a balloon and he'll be happy, but the cake-artist/Grandma in me wants it to be memorable.

There's almost nothing I find more gratifying than creating a birthday cake for someone I love.

Photos:  Katie's tulips, curly-topped Henry, and Patsy's lemon angel-food birthday cake.

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