We met when we were much younger, much thinner, getting up at dawn to shoot local movies and getting up to no good when we weren't doing that.
Now we're married matrons, mothers, upstanding members of society - but just as mischievous.
This girl can make you a gin cocktail which'll ignite pure happiness in your soul. She can call you out on your prejudice and give you the path to redemption in one sentence. She has practised infinite forgiveness within her own family and will not tolerate cruelty in any form - man or beast.
This girl can make you laugh til you fear for your knickers, spin a tune to a packed dance floor that makes you want to never sit still.
She can flip your perspective and double your happiness.
And the cherry on top? Her daughter is besties with my daughter, they have a friendship which is tolerant and kind and supportive and fun. They laugh 'til I fear for their knickers and they take flights of fancy which foretell of adventures and travels and growings together for many years.
My hope for my daughters is always that they'll have true girl friends. My hope for myself is that their friends will come from families who have taught them their worth, and their responsibilities living in this world.
In this case we've certainly found both.
AND, she bakes!
A few years back we made a most magnificent birthday cake for this lovely lady ...
... for my 40th she made a mountain of these - for all the lunching ladies and more to take home to my brood (the recipe is here and just reading through it is fun, but my baker gal had some tweaks which just next-leveled the hell out of these things:
'I doubled the recipe and used 2 tubs of marscapone and one of creme fraiche instead of cream cheese. I stuck bits of Lindt 85% into the cupcakes just before baking. I also made a ganache with a tub of double thick cream and 65 percent Lindt chocolate which I did as a first layer of icing, then layered the marscapone on top. ')Magnificent boobie cakes!
So yesterday afternoon, whilst our girls played happily together and she put in extra hours saving the world so she could take her birthday off today, I thought I should ensure the old gal had some breakfast cake on her birthday morning.
And there was really only one choice of flavour ....
Not the best pic, and it was all rather rushed towards the end as I raced the clock, and my convection fan stopped working so the outside got a little dark as I readjusted the cooking time but ... just like our friendship this cake is sticky and boozy and honest and fun.
Happy birthday darlene!