Today’s my 50th birthday! Happy half-century to me.
I had hoped to spend this day somewhat differently, but the pandemic got in the way. A party with all my friends, perhaps, to celebrate two important milestones: First, a half-century of life, a milestone that I had never expected to reach, because I grew up with bipolar disorder, spent about a third of my teens and twenties battling suicidal depression, and never really expected to reach thirty. And yet, here I am at fifty, still kicking, and (with medication) in great mental health. Miracles do happen. (As they say: It gets better.)
Second, with the launch of my last class, I feel I’ve successfully transitioned to making a living as a weaving teacher. Which is to say, the classes I’ve been offering have finally been popular enough, and sold well enough, consistently enough, that I’m reasonably confident I can make a living teaching weaving. It’s not just a fluke; I won’t get rich, but I’ll be able to pay my bills doing this.
So, two HUGE milestones for me today.
In lieu of a party, however, I’m celebrating the next best way: Taking a day off from the teaching business (which I haven’t done in heaven knows how long), puttering around the house, and doing only fun, “me” stuff. It’s been ages since I’ve had this much free time, and I’m loving it!
I’ve started by making myself a birthday cake. Lemon cheesecake, from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible. Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts ever, and this is my favorite cheesecake, hands down. She observes that cheesecake is basically a custard (it’s thickened with eggs), so by baking it in a water bath, as one does with custard, you can get a cheesecake that is wonderfully creamy from edge to edge, without that dried-out, caky edge that is unfortunately all too common. Swoon. It’s in the oven right now. Of course it will have to cool and then be chilled for several hours before it’s ready to eat, but hopefully by bedtime I’ll be able to have a slice.
I’ve also finished reading a fabulous soon-to-be-released book by Virginia Postrel. It’s The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World, available for pre-order from Amazon. I got my hands on a review copy from Virginia, and I have to tell you, it’s one of the most fascinating and compelling books I’ve ever read on the history of textiles. If you thought Elizabeth Wayland Barber’s Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years was interesting, you’re gonna swoon over this one. I think it’s actually even more interesting than Barber’s book. Run out and preorder your copy now. (I’ll write a more detailed review later, once it gets a bit closer to release.)
I’m currently in the midst of reading another fantastic book that I’ve been awaiting impatiently for months:
That’s right – Wendy Landry’s long-awaited book on weaving velvet is finally available!! I had asked Jamie to preorder it for me from Amazon, and (with amazing timing) it showed up just in time for my birthday. I’ve been eagerly devouring it. It’s re-sparked my interest in velvet-weaving. I still have no idea how I’d get space behind my loom for the velvet cantra, but perhaps someday….I love the design possibilities of velvet and really want to try weaving it!
Meanwhile, just in case you didn’t have enough home-grown fruit, I had just enough Santa Rosa plums last week for a plum pie:
A bit tart, but delicious, especially with vanilla ice cream!
Finally, Fritz would like you to know that he takes his job as Studio Inspector very seriously. He hasn’t yet decided whether he approves of this new swift. (But I’m using it anyway.)
Off to celebrate some more!