Birthday Fun

Last you heard, we were preparing to celebrate M’s birthday, which was Monday before last.

That Monday, M slept in and then she and I headed to the Clifton Park DMV with the paperwork and documentation she’d need for her learner’s permit. I had heard from other mothers that the Clifton Park DMV is much more pleasant than the Schenectady DMV, and while I have never been to the Schenectady DMV, I can confirm that going to the Clifton Park office was almost entirely painless. We got in and out in about a half an hour, and the clerks we encountered were cheerful.

One of M’s friends had immediately gotten behind the wheel after visiting the DMV on her birthday, and I had suggested that as a possibility to M at one point, but that should never have been a possibility. That was a just-plain-stupid idea. Luckily, my smart daughter values self-preservation, and we decided together to drive to a nice, empty parking lot before swapping seats. We headed to the big parking lot by the town community center & pool and spent a good half an hour or so just driving back and forth and around. If you know this parking lot, you know that one edge of the parking lot is basically on a precipice, so that was a little scary, but besides that, all went well. It is tough to find an empty parking lot on a late Monday morning, so we had to take what we could get!

From the parking lot, M proceeded to drive “the back way” toward our house, but instead of going to our house, we headed to the middle school. It happened to be J’s final normal day of school (Tuesday was a field trip, then Wednesday was her last day), and she had finished her last exam of the school year first thing that morning, so M and I decided that we should pick her up for an “appointment.” She had an appointment to get a ride from her big sister and then go out for a girls’ birthday lunch.

We are fortunate that our neighborhood streets are pretty mellow. That said, the first drive through the neighborhood from the pool to school was absolutely terrifying. I have been driving for a very long time. You forget all the things that you once had to learn and now do automatically, like just centering yourself correctly in the lane or signaling or stopping where you need to stop at a stop sign. Without getting into potentially embarrassing details, let’s just say that all of these were challenges on that first outing. Between our parking lot practice and the drive to the middle school, M and I were pretty much mentally and emotionally exhausted. J gleefully joined us in the vehicle for the two block drive back to our house, but then we were already to switch drivers as we headed to lunch.

I kind of can’t believe that it’s taken us so long to finally visit Jasmine Thai, which is in Schenectady and scores high on Yelp. This is mostly because we have Thai Thai Bistro, which we really like, super-close to us, and also because Jasmine Thai, while in Schenectady, is basically on the other side of Schenectady from us. Thai Thai’s main dishes are more expensive than at Jasmine Thai, but I just compared the menus, and the difference wasn’t as much as I’d thought. Of course, there are tasty cocktails at Thai Thai that run up our bill as well, but that’s a “pro” as well as a “con.” And the fact that we can drink tasty cocktails and then walk home works in its favor for sure. But: it’s closed on Mondays.

We liked Jasmine Thai. We thought the appetizers were super-tasty and the main dishes were fine, and the staff was friendly.

J was charmed by the straw-wrapper-rose on her Thai iced tea.

We were fans of the fried dumplings and crab rangoon.

We appreciated the artistic flair of the spring rolls,  but even the carrot lovers thought it was a bit too much carrot.

Our main dishes were good but nothing super-special. We’re likely to keep going to our local place, unless it’s a Monday.

Still, it was a lovely little outing and a great way to spend M’s birthday. With no school for either of them, it felt like a mini-vacation, and the girls always have more fun together in vacation mode. So once we survived the first driving outing, it was a relaxing day followed by special birthday dinner and yummy ice cream cake.



  1. Claire

    Love the Clifton Park DMV! Congratulations on your new driver. You’re a much better mother than I am! I would make myself and my son insane if I rode while he was behind the wheel. He will have to learn from my husband and Driver’s Ed.

  2. I called insurance to see if paying for behind-the-wheel professional instruction would get us any kind of rebate, and they said no. She was a little nervous to drive with her dad, but they’ve gone out a few times now.

  3. Claire

    Wow, that’s surprising! I wonder if it’s different for boys (whose rate are usually higher). We’ll probably pay for it regardless, since I won’t be able to handle teaching him myself. I would make us both nervous wrecks.

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