LAST WEEKEND I observed a birthday that qualified me for all sorts of discounts which, of course, I do not yet feel I warrant. I got over being traumatized by birthdays at 40, when I staved off depression by evaluating my past and my prospects. I realized that whatever the age on the driver's license, my life was getting better and more interesting all the time. Lucky for me, that has continued to hold true. My thoughts around this birthday tended toward acknowledging changes, rather than regretting losses.
Among the acknowledged changes are enough loss of vision and manual dexterity to make needlepoint and intricate knitting more a chore than a delight. The trade-off is my marriage to a man with an adventurous and appreciative palate.
I love making dinner. I watch every cooking show I can on Saturday as I clean house. My interest in cooking makes me a sponge. I'm getting to the point where I really appreciate the point and counterpoint of flavors in a recipe. I also "throw together" some interesting pantry meals.
All of this leads up to my frustration at not being able to write fast enough when Claire Sokolowski, chairwoman of the 15th Annual Concert of Tastes, ran through a sampling of what 35 restaurants and caterers will be offering this year.
I heard eggplant caviar and warm barbecue smoked duck, oysters in a variety of guises. I heard ethnic and international, exotic and classic. I heard appetizers and entrees and salads and desserts, accented with designer coffees and a cash bar.
The Concert of Tastes is sponsored annually by the Friends of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. An Annapolis High School music student is honored each year. The orchestra is represented during the evening by its String Quartet and the Brass Octet.
In the past 15 years the Concert of Tastes has become a friendly but serious rivalry among area chefs. All strive to put on their best in table decoration and culinary delights.
This year's event will be held from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel. Tickets are $35 per person. Advance purchase is recommended.
For more information, call 987-6464 or 647-4449. You can also write to Friends of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, P.O. Box 1974, Annapolis 21404.
This Friday evening offers a rare opportunity for history buffs as Revolutionary War expert Jean B. Lee presents a free lecture at the County Council Chambers in the Arundel Center in Annapolis. Titled "Remembering the American Revolution, 1775-1876," the lecture considers how the Civil War affected the nation's memory of the Revolutionary War.
The lecture is sponsored by the London Town Foundation, the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Anne Arundel County Cultural Arts Foundation.
Dr. Lee is the author of "The Price of Nationhood: The American Revolution in Charles County." The work recently won the Maryland Historical Society's biennial prize and an Award of Commendation from the American Association for State and Local History.
Christine Coffin, spokeswoman for London Town, said that Dr. Lee has quite a following in Charles County and that there are many similarities in background and attitudes of Charles and Anne Arundel counties in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The free lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. Information: 222-1919.
Republican women to meet
The Republican Women of Anne Arundel County will install officers for the 1995-1997 term Nov. 8 at a luncheon at the Bay Ridge Inn. Current, past and prospective members are welcome.
The social hour begins at 11:30 a.m. Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Reservations must be made by Nov. 1. For more information, call 263-5252.
The Junior League of Annapolis is asking you to nominate community volunteers to be honored at a special dinner Nov. 10 at the Annapolis Holiday Inn. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 4. They're looking for people who have gone "above and beyond the call of duty" and who typify the spirit of voluntarism.
Information: 224-8984 or 721-5276.
Make a Difference Day
People who love to work outdoors, but have limited time for volunteering, have a great opportunity this weekend. Saturday is Make a Difference Day at Quiet Waters Park in Hillsmere. Help is needed for landscaping, painting and park cleanup.
Individuals and groups are invited. Pre-registration required. The day starts at 8 a.m. at the park's maintenance shop.