It was my birthday last week, and a full working week, too. Much of it was dedicated to a course I was on, but I did not forget to celebrate and have fun!
Monday, March 20, was a chilly day of mostly grey skies with the sun poking through occasionally. Between work, a brief chat with my upstairs neighbour and the regular fortnightly meeting with my volunteer group, I did not have time for a walk.
It was much milder with more sun on Tuesday (21st of March). I know that our calendars show the 20th as the beginning of spring, but in my mind it has always been the 21st, the spring equinox.
It was also the beginning of a course to gain an additional qualification for work. For the rest of the week, I was going to spend every morning until around lunch time in online sessions to learn more about data protection for insurance companies.
Each day would follow that pattern; after a lunch break, I would work as usual: answering emails, talking to my boss or attending regular online meetings for work. On that first day, by mid-afternoon my mind needed a break, and I walked on the fields for two hours.
It was my 55th birthday on Wednesday (March 22), and the sunshine my sister had ordered specifically for me was promptly delivered :-) At 18C (64.4F), it was mild enough to make me look forward to meeting my Mum and sister after work at the palace grounds.
Just as I left the house and was walking down the street, a car pulled up next to me, the window went down and a voice said "Hallo schöne Frau" - it was O.K., having driven 150 km just to be with me on my birthday!! It was the loveliest surprise, and really made my day.
The four of us enjoyed a stroll in the palace grounds before going to a restaurant for our evening meal. Afterwards, a taxi took us back to Mum's place, where my birthday presents were waiting for me - and a little later, at my home, O.K. had stacked even more gifts from his family.
|Birthdays are fun!|
|One of my Mum's gifts, now adorning my kitchen window|
|I almost had to use the panorama feature on my phone's camera to get everything in!|
O.K. drove home on the Thursday (March 23) morning while I was on my course. After work, I took what has become sort of my default or standard walk to Benningen. There were a few drops of rain, but it was partly sunny during the day, and rather mild.
On Friday, the 24th of March, O.K. was back; he arrived early enough for us to enjoy a late afternoon/early evening walk with beautiful light and the sights and sounds of spring all around before sitting down to our evening meal of Shakshouka, crusty bread (courtesy of O.K.) and Merlot.
|Close to sunset on Friday|
|Venus was very close to the moon that night, as seen from my Mum's balcony...|
|...and from her friend's garden in another part of town. With the magnolia in bloom and the cypress trees, it rather looks like somewhere in Tuscany, doesn't it!|
During the day, O.K. and I had been to town in order to get one of my birthday gifts, a pair of New Balance trainers (my favourite kind of shoe for everyday walking). Between that and the meal at the restaurant, I did about an hour's revising for my exam on Monday.
Sunday, the 26th of March, was very windy and unsurprisingly brought a mix of sun, rain and back to sun several times. We wisely wore our rain coats for the walk across the fields in the afternoon. Stopping by at the cemetery, we found my Mum sitting on the bench near the bird markers of Dad and friend R, and continued with her for a bit before we took our separate ways home.
I did another couple of hours of revising and then started on our evening meal.
From O.K.'s Mum, I still had a butternut squash, and at my local Aldi, a batch of organic carrots of various colours had been on offer that week. As soon as I saw the colourful bundle, I knew I was going to turn it into something (hopefully) good.
So on Sunday, I peeled and diced the butternut squash, carrots and two small onions, added olive oil, salt, freshly ground black pepper and ginger, and put it in the oven long enough for all of it to become soft enough to eat. For the last 10 minutes, I laid strips of bacon on top. The veg tray took care of itself while I was making a creamy dip and a small pot of couscous, laid the table and brought out a bottle of rosé.
|Before adding the onions and butternut squash|
I went to bed relatively early, as my exam was scheduled for 9:00 the next morning, and I wanted to take one last look at a certain topic and be at my computer early enough to sort out all the technical stuff (which, as I knew, was NOT going to go smoothly at the first attempt).
That was my birthday week!