Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Blackbird for Birthday Week

We have celebrated two birthdays this week.   Mine (age undisclosed) and the very next day, my son's (four). 

(bionicles in disarray, half cloned and cross bred)

I could uncharitably point out here that my son, by being born three days later than anticipated, rather manages to steal my birthday thunder every year , but the truth is that he makes the week more thrilling, excited as he is about his new age.   In fact, he has talked of little else for months - his new age, how big he will be, how he may one day be bigger than his sister, and so on and so on.

And having birthdays so close allows for some handy comparisons between our two birthdays. 

This was my gift  from my husband.  

Blackbird by Dean Bowen

Look familiar?  I have a Dean Bowen painting on the sidebar of this blog.  If my husband read my blog, which he claims not to, he would know how much I love Dean Bowen's work.    But he doesn't and yet he still picked this painting for me, which makes my heart sing just a little.

This is one of my son's presents.  Yes, Woody talks.  All the time. He has 60 sayings in fact.  And no, it is not annoying in the least.

And finally, birthday food.  This image captures both types:

I made the robot cake from the new Women's Weekly Classic Children's Birthday Cake Book which has just been reprinted.  (If you would like to see an example of the special place this book has in many Australians' hearts, see Melbourne Gastronome's post on this book).

The robot needs a bit of back support, but apart from that my son deemed him sufficiently robot like.   They are quite a lot of effort to ice aren't they?  I felt as if I had completed a particularly difficult test when I finished him up. 

In the background, grown up birthday food: Riesling and chocolate gingerbread.

I had mixed feelings about this birthday. I didn't feel a glorious rushing gratitude to be alive, but I did have a quiet and calm day, and thought about how lucky I am.

My allegedly so called bad chemo has now ended after 9 weeks and I have survived it apart from an endless cold \ throat thing almost certainly brought on by an in hindsight possibly foolish decision to fly to Sydney for the day for work last week.    

Next week I start 12 weeks of weekly Taxol and Herceptin, both delivered intravenously.   This is a disheartening thought, but apparently Taxol is largely bearable.  

Weird Chemo Side Effect No 1:  my freckles have come back.  It is no exaggeration to say that I have not put my face in the sun for 25 years.  Two weeks ago something must have happened to my skin pigmentation, and all those little freckles popped back onto my face. I guess they were always there, and must have just faded.    Makes me look a bit like Anne of Green Gables.  Or Tom Sawyer....

Interesting Chemo Fact No 1:  Taxol is not chemical at all.  It derives from the Pacific Yew tree.  Now who thought to see if that tree had medical benefits? 



Southhamsdarling said...

I am so glad that at least the chemo is out of the way Jane. Good luck with the rest of your treatment. I have been thinking of you, and it was lovely to see this post this morning here in England. Wow! You did well with that robot birthday cake. I am very impressed. I'll go for the grownup food and wine please! How wonderful that your husband bought you that lovely Dean Bowen painting. It's gorgeous! My grandson loves Woody and Toy Story. I wish you (and your little boy!) a very happy belated birthday, and here's to many more. Cheers!

brismod said...

Happy Birthday Jane and to your big four year old. You amaze me with your robot construction skills. Love your new painting. And your son's Woody looks so pristine...let me warn you, Woody ages quickly when he is well loved and taken everywhere!

Sarah B said...

Happy Belated Birthday Jane!!
I love the robot cake - I'd be happy to blow out the candles on one of those :) I like your birthday treats too. Nice to hear you sounding chipper :)

Me said...

Wishing you a very happy birthday Jane. Hope you are enjoying the change of seasons. Can't wait for daylight savings to finish.

mel @ loved handmade said...

Happy Birthday! Sounds like a busy but funfilled week, Woody is a big hit at our place too, all my boys are great toy story fans & I find I never tire of it myself. Your painting is just lovely, what a clever husband. I wish you luck with your upcoming treatment..

rouge said...

Happy Birthday. It's always nice to see an update post from you.

I love your Blackbird - wonderfully chuffy chappy.

Last night I saw a friend who had her last chemo for breast cancer almost exactly a year ago and she is looking fantastic now after a very gruelling year. We've never met but I very much wish the same for you.

Makeminemidcentury said...

Two times Happy Birthday to you and yours.

I don't know how you do it all. That cake is spectacular. Your kitchen benches so clean. And then there's the dealing with cancer thing.

I'm waiting for a Victoria Reichelt to appear for some significant event. Any event really.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Happy Birthday Jane.. and to your son also.. How fabulous that your husband knows your likes so well.. and Woody looks quite fabulous too.. Interesting that it is still loved by children and not just a passing fad.

Have a great week.. ciao xxxx Julie

Beautiful House said...

Wow, what a cake. Happy Birthday.x

Kerry said...

Happy birthday squared :) I am seriously impressed by your cake icing skills. Having made more than my share of cakes from that particular book I can't say too many of mine turned out that well...especially the one where the jelly melted and all the little figures drowned! The first born thought it was hilarious! Your husband is a clever one :)

Emma said...

Many happy returns to you and your little chap. Seriously impressed with your robot cake, it looks fabulous! Best of luck with the next stage of your treatment. xx

Natasha in Oz said...

Happy Happy Birthday my dear Jane! I sure do hope you enjoyed a glass of that wine with your sweets!

Happy 4th birthday to your big boy! Sounds like you both had a fun week.

Take care and I enjoy that gorgeous painting!

Best wishes always,

Natasha in Oz said...

PS Brilliant cake! That really is something special.

Jenny said...

Happy Birthday Jane, I hope you have a nice celebration with your family. Nice robot cake too! I have certainly got my monies worth out of that book both for my nephews and my kids! ;-)

First House on the Right said...

Happy Birthday Jane! To you and your little fella. Have been thinking about My Pear Tree House lately and was chuffed to see a new post come up today :) Your link through to the WWeekly cookbook actually made me a bit teary as I looked over the images of the cakes as I remember the book vividly from my childhood and my mother always did such a marvelous job of recreating so many of those fabulous cakes (which was no easy task given we grew up in New Guinea where ingredients and props weren't the easiest to come by!). Hmmm, wasn't meant to be such a lengthy comment. Anyway, the very best for the next several weeks and looking forward to reading another post from you next time :) Nicolex

Elsa May said...

A belated happy birthday to you and your son. His cake is truly impressive! Hooray for you for completing your first round of chemo (freckles would have to be a cute side-effect..); all the best for the next round. I've not had Herceptin, but what they say about Taxol is true - well it was for me anyway.
On a quite random note, and at the risk of appearing to "blog-stalk" you, I have been thinking of you of late...and when listening to this Barbara Fredrickson interview ( I thought of you. The whole 3-to-1 concept and it's link to resilience you may find interesting...

Millie said...

Happy, happy birthday Gorgeous! And to the sweet Son of Gorgeous as well. A big high five for having the staying power to create that awesome robot cake. And yes, I do have the ORIGINAL WWCCBCB, the most thumbed & ingredient spattered cookbook on the shelf. Son #3 @ 31 still talks about the swimming pool cake complete with dubious green jelly I slaved over for this 5th b/day. Mr. MPTH has excellent taste, your new Dean Bowen is fabulous.
Millie x

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Hi Jane,
Happy, happy birthday. I am sure that you had the BEST day and that your family spoilt you rotten !! ...... and, many happy returns of the day to your son.
I am loving your fact, I wouldn't mind a robot birthday cake next year !!!! haha......and, give that husband a gold star.You are both definitely on the same wavelength.
I have to say, I am rather envious of your freckles.....I have never had them and always wanted them in the late sixties ( like Twiggy ) so we all used to use a make up pencil to draw them across our noses. I think they look so pretty. Why is it that we always want what we haven't got ?!!
Sorry that I haven't been around for a while......modern technology failure I'm afraid.
Wishing you a smooth ride through your next treatments and will be thinking of you. Much love. XXXX

Jane said...

Ah, Jane, happy birthday for Monday. I was thinking of you. And for the little man himself - how precious to have his Mum make him such a splendid cake. I'll be sending you all by best thoughts and hopes for the next 12 weeks, you brave girl. J x

Emily said...

Hi Jane,

I only found your blog a couple of months ago, but I've read every single post over the past two nights. I really do wish I'd found it sooner - you live near me and I've actually made notes of various shops to visit and houses to stalk!

You've obviously built a lovely life for your family, and your home is just beautiful. and I do love that your interests veer slightly into grandma-esque territory on occasion. There aren't enough cross-stitched anemones around these days.

This post has prompted me to purchase the Women's Weekly birthday cake book. My gorgeous mother made the fairy cake from that book for my sixth birthday, and I remember it being the most magnificent thing I'd ever seen in my life. No doubt you son will feel exactly the same about his robot cake.

Happy birthday, and the very best of luck with your treatment.

Heidi said...

Happy Happy Birthday to you both! That is a very impressive robot too - might have to go and get the reissue of the WW birthday cake book, or steal my mother's old copy

24 Corners said...

Happy Birthday to you and your son Jane!!! I think it's wonderful that you get to celebrate together...your birthday then has that childs touch...that extra bit of whimsy and fun that is sometimes missing from the grown-up birthday world. The robot cake is amazing and your chocolate gingerbread sounds scrumptious (and very Autumn-like).
To get freckles back around your birthday is like getting a few years of age back...I'm sure they make you look just the perfect amount of 'younger', and also super cute!
Big hugs as you go through this next stage....think of you everyday!
xo J~

Mise said...

I bet your husband sneaks a look at the blog every once in a while. And rightly so; he will not find better reading. And the robot cake is beautiful; I'd have been awfully proud to have made it myself. You've been very busy - I hope there is also time to sit and rest and let life's changes wash over you a bit.

(Whenever I visit here, I'm impressed by you are still so very admirably you.)

Christine said...

Happy birthday wishes to you Jane and your gorgeous boy too. My princess turned 4 in February and gets great pleasure informing all new friends, family, passers by in the street and playground that she is now FOUR (complete with showing the 4 fingers)!!!

These days are priceless for us all to treasure.

Best wishes for the coming weeks too - you are quite inspiring with your spirit during this difficult time.

Christine xo

Susanne said...

A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jane, and many more! I have found that as we get older birthdays become well over-rated, unless you receive presents of course, lol. It is more fun to watch children, their excitement is contagious. It is impossible not to be caught up in their delight at becoming a year older, their joy opening gifts and how even a simple cake is a treat. I bet your son was thrilled to see that cake, and I'm sure Woody was a treat as well. I am so glad that you have made it past another hurdle health wise. I pray for your continued success ♥

Maxabella said...

Happy birthday, lovely you. (That robot cake was a triumph - I assume it was for you, not the four year old?)

You are getting there, Jane, one hurdle after another. I imagine you feel like a shocker, but your pain isn't obvious in your posts. Still the same observant, charming Jane that we all love. I think that's marvellous. x

Ann said...

Belated birthday wishes to you and the impressively Big Four Year Old Boy. Four is a very big milestone in a young life. My two year old is convinced he's six which makes his older brother quite furious.

Thank you for the tip about the reprinted cake book - I have been looking unsuccessfully for years for an old copy. Good luck with the next round of torturous treatments. A x

Jenny said...

Happy Birthday to you and your son from Texas. I am so glad to see you back on your blog again. I have missed you and thought of you a lot. Prayers for a continued successful win over C. The pills are not as bad as the chemo drip. xxoo Jenny

Ange said...

Dear Jane,
I was just over at 'Misha's' where if you don't blog you don't exist, and thought that I would identify my existence to you and reassure you that, if I don't visit - it's because I'm not blogging either *giggles*
It seems your birthday, and that of your son, must be in the same vicinity as that of my own son and my next door neighbours where Mother and Daughter are born on the same day.
I shall post photos of my 'jurassic volcano cake' which took a lot of persuasion for the French kids to eat. Red icing on a chocolate cake is 'unnatural' n'est ce pas?

Happy birthday from Pokemon (who turned 7 on March 28th) and I
I raise a glass of freckly champagne to you

Unknown said...

I have no doubt that many many many women are finding you an inspiration. I am! Love your robot cake, love your painting. Freckles are fabulous! i bet you look younger too!

lesley said...

Hi Jane,
Every birthday is to be celebrated and just think how wonderful your next will be with all the treatment finished. Much love Lesley

Unknown said...

Happy belated birthday. So great to hear from you. "A girl withut freckles is like a night without stars." So my mum used to tell me.

Raina Cox said...

Happy belated Birthday, my Darling!

You make a helluva cake.

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

belated birthday wishes to you both xx sounds like a lovely kind of day, and i so approve of your version of birthday food!!

well done to hubby too on such a fab pressie choice, its gorgeous.

onwards and upwards on the chemo train, things will get better. and who doesnt love freckles?!


P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

a terribly late birthday wish-it seems to be the trend for me, I just missed the 95th! of one of my nearest and dearest-that is really shameful. But I can't let yours go without saying I wish you happy and the cake is a masterpiece, as is the painting. gaye

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