A Very Good Birthday is comprised of:
- Dinner with Tim, an old friend from high school, and , his incredibly talented wife, followed by deliciously sticky brownies made by Kim and consumed around a fire. With wine. :-) We had an interesting discussion of the most effective ways to get people to meet-and-mingle in a corporate retreat setting (Adrian () and I may help Tim write Trivia questions for one of their activities, which would be really fun.)
- A visit from Dad () and Louise (Dad’s girlfriend) and lunch at Foster’s (baguette french toast with raspberry syrup – mmm!). Wonderful presents, including those-really-cool-markers-that-write-on-glass-really-brightly (like restaurants use), a Potts Pottery face-shaped Brillo pad holder (Brillo pad goes in his mouth) and face-shaped egg separator (egg parts go through his mouth) and elephant bowl (trunk is handle), a beaded Warthog and Rhino (which are currently battling on my entertainment center) and a cool Escher flip book.
- Many co-workers sending you birthday wishes via IM and email
- Dinner with at Alivia’s — of note: the grit cakes (one of which I stole from under Adrian’s scallops) were astoundingly good and the cheese plate was incredible. In particular there was a blended (goat/sheep?) cheese that was semi-soft that was just wonderful. Oh, and the crackers looked like they’d been made on a waffle cone iron…very nicely textured. There was also an unfiltered wheat beer that was really citrus-y and terribly yummy (which, of course, I neglected to get the name of)
- PRESENTS!!! got me the most amazing assortment of books… some of these will make perfect sense if you know me, while others are direct references to questions we’ve pondered of late:
- Roberts Rules of Order: Born out of a conversation about Meyers-Briggs personality type and how surprising it was that I didn’t know RROO, given how big a fan I am of rules . (Conversely one could argue that RROO is really about *process* so of course I wouldn’t know them…)
- Pocket Ref: The classic geek reference (often mentioned on Mythbusters) which somehow I’d managed never to own
- A Complete Guide to the Craft of Songwriting: A few weekends ago, after one of my singing things, Adrian and I spent a few hours at the piano talking about music theory and writing music. I felt like there were a lot of concepts and conventions that I’d missed, and as a result, I was lacking the vocabulary really discuss what music is doing. This book, at least at a cursory glance, seems to answer many of those questions.
- Stickky Trees: This one is strange and wonderful. It’s a step-by-step expert system for classifying trees. Basically they start with one characteristic (number of lobes in the leaf, for instance, and based on that single thing, you learn to differentiate between, say, Oaks and Maples. Each page presents a single concept, and there’s always a quiz page right afterwards. They claim that if you don’t cheat (ie, look ahead for the answers), you’ll be able to tell the species of the most common trees in America in 30 minutes. The concept fascinates me, as it teaches in my most strongest way of learning (divide and conquer [pattern-making] and visual). I will work my way through it soon and report back on results. (BTW, there’s a whole series of these…!)
- The Big Book of Icebreakers: a very funny reference to both the conversation we’d had with Tim and Kim the other night and the fact that (someday), I may want to be a professional Julie McCoy.
- Word Nerd: Just what it sounds like — a compendium of unusual and remarkable words. Like defenestrate (which is one of my most favorite words ever.)
- 101 Things You Need to Know: I am addicted to these sorts of books… full of interesting bits , cleverly presented (in this case as a series of challenges /learning opportunities), and put together in a well-designed package (consistency of illustration style, gimmicks like checklists and wallet cards, nice paper, rounded corners, color-coordinated topics, etc). (The Worst Case Scenario books are another example of the style, as are almost any travel book by DK (The Eyewitness Guide series). I love the data, I love the art and I love the cohesive way that design and content work together. Yes, I am a geek.
- In addition to the library-enhancing wonderfulness, Adrian also got me two things that had been on the Silly Things I Want List (yes, of course I keep one) for several years: three-sided metal scale rulers (English *and* metric!) and a set of Koh-i-noor Rapidograph pens!!! squeeee! squeeee! I’ve wanted one of these sets for eons and had just never gotten around to getting myself one! Pen geek nirvana!!
- Tomorrow there’s lunch with work folks (perhaps there’ll be icing) and Wednesday night I’m going to the Bela Fleck show with Jacintha — wheee!!!
Happy me! Happy me!