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How I celebrate my birthday in the ROMG community

Today I am celebrating my 52nd birthday.

I love birthdays; they are an announcement that we have lived another year and are embracing life to the fullest — at least that is how I look at it.

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I have spent all but four of my 52 years living in the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon area.

The first four years were spent living in Pimlico. I honestly do not remember much about them, so I usually just call Reisterstown and Owings Mills my home.

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Because of that, I have spent many of my birthdays celebrating around the area. One of my most favorite memories is celebrating my 30th birthday at CJ's Crabhouse and Grill in Owings Mills. My late parents had taken me, my late husband and my sister-in-law and myself there for dinner. My brother was working there, as he still does.

After a wonderful dinner, my brother come out carrying a sheet cake with 30 candles ablaze on it, and very loudly announced that I needed to hurry up and blow out the candles before I set off the sprinkler system. (Yes, you just have to love younger brothers).

CJ's is still one of my favorite places to go for my birthday dinner. Because birthdays are meant to be celebrations, I usually order the seafood combo platter, which consists of a crab cake, fish, shrimp, scallops and clam strips, and my side dishes are usually a salad and baked potato. Of course, to celebrate one's birthday a dessert is a must. I have written before about how much I love CJ's strawberry pie, but that is rarely available in March, so I typically choose ice cream pie or a hot fudge sundae.

Typically, if my birthday falls on a work day, and there is a good chance it does, my boss will take me someplace nice for lunch.

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One of my favorite places for lunch on my birthday is The Grill at Harryman House in Reisterstown. Its laid-back, non-hurried atmosphere is a great place to relax during our midday break. My typical choice for lunch is the shrimp scampi pizza. Yes, you read that right — a shrimp scampi pizza. The restaurant has an old-fashioned brick oven in which its pizzas are baked. This adds a woody taste to the crust. Then it's topped with garlic butter, scallions and Parmesan cheese. While I usually don't have dessert during lunch, on my birthday I make an exception. The Grill at Harryman House makes a wonderful bananas foster — fresh bananas sauteed in a rum and brown sugar sauce, with banana bread, vanilla ice cream and toasted coconut. The unique blend of these flavors creates a taste that reminds you of relaxing on a Jamaican beach.

Being a March baby, the chance that I will be celebrating my birthday under some amount of freshly fallen or falling snow is pretty high. In the event of a snow-filled birthday, typically carryout or delivery are the way to go.

Last year we had about five inches of snow on my birthday, so my boyfriend brought home an ice cream cake and we ordered pasta from Genova's To Go in Reisterstown. I had the baked ziti with meat sauce — tender pasta with a nice robust sauce and a hearty amount of meat. My boyfriend had the chicken Parmesan — lightly coated chicken breast served over pasta with the same hearty sauce.

Whether we are celebrating in or out, a good meal and a sweet dessert always makes me happy.

Terry Chaney is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at

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