The Most Rockingest of Birthdays

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:
    1. 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…)
    2. Pocket Ref: The classic geek reference (often mentioned on Mythbusters) which somehow I’d managed never to own
    3. 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.
    4. 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…!)
    5. 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.
    6. 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.)
    7. 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.
    8. 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!

10 Odd Things about me, for you, in memey goodness

IdiomSavant (who was kind enough to play trivia with me last night) tagged me with this here meme, so here goes:

Here’s how you play: Once you have been tagged, you have to write a blog with 10 weird or random things, facts, or habits about yourself. At the end, you choose 10 people to be tagged, listing their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says, “Tag, You’re it” on their profiles and ask them to read your blog. You can’t tag the person who tagged you.

  1. I have owned two R2D2 costumes in my life. My first, made by Dad, was in the fourth grade (and won my a Girl Scout Halloween costume competition).  The second, made by me, was 20 years later and won me universal acclaim at Charlie Goodnights, back when there was still a dance club attached to it.
  2. I’m fussy about which seat I sit in at a restaurant table.  I like to have my back to the door, but that’s not because of any Godfather-like paranoia, it’s because otherwise I won’t be able to see all the people…what if there were something *fun* going on behind me and I missed it?!Interestingly, my Dad (dtnorman) is fussy too — and with exactly the same preferences, creating a sort of race to the table when we eat together.  Luckily, my Dad’s a Good Southern Gentleman, which means I get to follow the host/hostess to the table, which means I get there first.  Ha!
  3. I throw righthanded and cartwheel lefthanded.  When I throw. Or do cartwheels.Let’s just say that this one isn’t as relevant now as it was when I was five.
  4. I don’t like top sheets. At all.  Either you tuck the top sheet in at the bottom (I am assuming no one tucks it in at the top… that would just be silly), in which case I can’t stick my feet off the bottom of the bed like I to do, or you leave it untucked at the bottom and I get all tangled in it and hot and bothered (and not in a good way).And I don’t suppose it’s any surprise that I *hate it* when the top sheet is tucked in all the way up the side of the bed — TRAPPED!!!

    Hm.  Don’t like sleeping bags either…. particularly not those mummy ones <shiver>

    OTOH, I *love* the European method of having a bottom sheet and a duvet with a cover and letting the duvet be the top sheet (with the duvet cover getting washed on the same schedule as the bottom sheet).  I was exposed to this (much more practical, IMHO) sheeting set-up when I was in France the summer after my junior year of high school (though I don’t think I adopted the system until somewhat later), and at this point I forget that most people *don’t* do it this way until I stay at someone’s house.

    BTW, this does pose one problem because King sheets tend to be sold in sets more than singles.  Don’t know why that is, but seems to be the case.  I’ve even been known to make my own duvet covers when I could only find flat & fitted in the style I wanted.

  5. I revere good grammar and am quite paranoid about writing poorly.  I have been known to completely rewrite paragraphs to avoid tricky bits like semi-colons (which I know how to use with words like “however” or “on the other hand” or “therefore” but which often feel odd otherwise).
  6. http://www.lintqueen.com/albums/album07/carryon.jpg (this is #6 but the number isn’t showing in the HTML and I’m tired of fussing with it)
    I’m an enormous fan of “always having everything you might ever need within easy reach” (which may just be a nice way of saying I’m incredibly lazy).  When I was small I used to create “packs” with all the things I anticipated needing during the course of my day:  crayons, paper, scissors, paste, Snoopy, books (Ms. Piggle Wiggle was a favorite) and snack, etc.  All the goodies would go into an old-fashioned carry on bag and I’d tote them around all day. 

    In my current life this is most obvious in the prevalence of lipglosses… one by sofa, one by bed, one at desk, two in purse, [heaven only knows how many in bathroom], one in car, etc.

  7. Jeremy is my favorite boy name. I think that’s because of The Jeremy Mouse Book, which is now out-of-print and for which I paid $100 from a used bookseller.  I *really* liked that book.
  8. Everyone should have one body part (of their own) that they really do love (OK, preferably I’m sure we’d love all of our 2000 parts, but that’s just a soap commercial talking):  I love my feet.  I have tiny, cute feet.
  9. I almost always sit with my legs crossed or one leg tucked up under me.  Even now, at my nice, ergonomic, home desk chair, I am sitting “Indian style” criss-cross applesauce (this is the term all the young kids are using these days, I’m told.
  10. My dream job would be to be a public speaker (not with, you know, a plan and everything… more like “get paid to talk to people randomly”) or maybe a professional party guest.

Here’s who I tag:

  1. thebroomecloset
  2. Sarah
  3. dtnorman (won’t do it, but worth a shot)
  4. endersjewel
  5. fmi_agent
  6. jhvilas
  7. curvyart
  8. jklgoduke
  9. laurahcory
  10. Sarah (but a different Sarah)

Home again, home again

I’ve just gotten home from five days at DeBordieu with my roommate from high school, her husband, their two children, a good friend from high school, his wife (artykim), their two children, and another couple (who have also become friends) and their (single) child (1).

Kudos to all you parent-people.  They (the littles) are VERY energy consuming (and I think I might be a wee bit lazy).

The weather couldn’t have been nicer and I got more than my share of lounging-on-the-beach-time (without, for a change, getting completely lobsterfied).  Read two grown-up books, two People magazines, one O magazine and several children’s books (and think I’m going to buy the Lemony Snicket series for myself).  Frolicked in the ocean and in the pool (2).  Walked many miles on the beach.  Got a blister the size of a dime on the bottom of my foot (3).

Rode nine (!!) miles on a bike.  One of those was with a flat tire.  Yes, that wasn’t very bright, but honestly I didn’t know the thing’d gone flat.  The thinking went something like “Well, Gina, of course it’s getting harder to pedal. You just rode more than six miles, three of which were on a fire road/carriage path, on an old-skool, gearless (and somewhat rusty) bike.  You can do it!  Keep pedaling!”  Eventually, though, my pep talk failed and I climbed off, only to find that the rear tire was as flat as the proverbial pancake.

Whoops.  I suppose that would be the problem.  Mr. Nice Security Man came by just a minute or so afterwards, fortunately, and he was kind enough to load the bike in the back of his pickup truck and take me the last two blocks home.

Napped.  A lot.  Also was able to sleep significantly later than all the parental units (see above, re: Hard Work Involved In Child Raising).

We also ate far better than I’m accustomed to eating, as generally I eat whatever’s leftover from the last time I ate dinner out (which I also do far too often).  At the beach we had lasagna (veggie — and delicious!), baked chicken, panzanella, fresh vegetables, etc. etc.  Well balanced — and tasty — meals.

The strange thing (and the only part of this post that’s even a tiny bit profound) was the juxtaposition of remembering these sort of trips from my childhood — when I thought “Ah, someday that’ll be me” — and actually *being me* in one of these sort of trips.  A bunch of families at the beach with their kids…everyone playing in the ocean…and I’m one of the adults (chronologically speaking, anyway)!

(1) Whew.  For anyone counting that’s 5 children, all under the age of 7.  Though they all were pretty darn well-behaved, that’s still 5 children more than I’m used to dealing with for more than an hour or two at a time.

(2) I am part dolphin, I think.  I float beautifully (no comments from the peanut gallery, please).  I love swimming underwater and flipping over waves.

The sand and salt I like less well.  Basically I want a wave pool the size of the Atlantic.

(3) From *sand*!!  I know I say I’m a Delicate Southern Flower (from a ease-of-skin-damage POV at any rate), but this is ridiculous.