I was born on my mother's 24th birthday on 9th January, 1989. Ever since that day, it never fails to delight everyone, even both my mom and I, to be all, "it's also my mom's birthday... too... !!!!!!!!!!!"
It was a laid-back day, kicking off with a business meeting then lunch at an old-fashioned place that serves up authentic, old-fashioned yangrou paomo （羊肉泡馍, "lamb and soaked bread") : an adorably rustic meal that sprang from peasant times and its harsh conditions (but we're good now!).
You're given a hard, unleavened hockey puck of a piece of bread, which you break apart into an empty bowl. It takes a while to chip away at the hard bread, especially if you like your pieces smaller, so it becomes a social thing; sit, chat, sip and tack away at the bread. When you're done, the bowl gets whisked to the kitchen where it's filled with scalding hot, clear lamb soup, which softens the bread pieces into dumpling-like, filling cloud pieces.
I chipped my bread into gnocchi-sized boulders to eat with the lamb slices, vermicelli noodles and cilantro, but some old-schoolers swear by flaking them into pea-sized pieces.
It warmed us up for visiting the rented farm plot of a friend's parents, cradling ten-pound cabbage patch babies and pulling up fresh, organic baby pak choy sprouting up from the earth and some bushy kale leaves.
We got our wholesome on with a belly full of bread and lamb, earth beneath our nails, fresh cold air smacked against our cheeks... and we duly went to kitsch it up with a celebratory dinner at The Taco Bar.
This year was mom's 50th. For two years I imagined and re-imagined what elaborate party I might throw for her big half-century. In the end, simple-but-fun won out; screw it, we'll do it with tacos and tequilas!
I failed at making my own birthday cake (a persimmon upside-down cake that never materialized, what with the bread-breaking and cabbage-sitting), so we were delighted to be treated by our friends to some delicious 21 Cake (freakily good cakes, creepily good delivery).
I hope the photos convey the joy of our birthday-day!