In Which Our Heroine Has a Happy

26 July 2004

Happy birthday to meeeeeee!

It was a good picnic yesterday, it was it was. Perfect weather, tons of good food (most of which is in my kitchen right now -- as we were putting stuff away, I kept shouting, "Aaack, this isn't mine!", and Mark and Lydy kept saying, "It is now!"). But you don't have to take my word for it; as testimony, we have the first complete sentence Mark ever heard from Master Gavin T. Orser:

"I'm not going home now."

His parents may have thought that four and a half hours of picnic would be quite enough picnic, but apparently they were wrong.

We had a picnic spot close to the parking lot with lots of tables available. I thought we'd have a much harder time finding tables on such a gorgeous weekend day, but ours was a very good spot, visible and close to parking, hurrah.

I crashed hard when we got back from the picnic. I'm still a bit crashed. I think I've been standing and walking in insufficient shoes too often for the last four days. (I spent most of the picnic standing or bouncing around to see the latest arrivals or in one case running after an escaped toddler.) My legs feel weird. I'm going to have a banana to make sure it's nothing potassium-funny. I'm also still slightly dehydrated. But hey, my fridge has juice boxes in it for the first time ever.

Poor, poor, overworked fridge.

The only disaster was that the Jello de-gelled after spending the afternoon at the picnic (it didn't get stuck in the cooler), so when we turned to go up the driveway here, the un-Jello splashed all over my khaki shorts. Strawberry former-Jello. I'm hoping it'll come out of them. I used cold water and pretreated, but strawberry Jello seems like it'd be hard to get rid of. It'd annoy me to have to go shopping for another pair of khaki shorts right after my birthday, but I'm not sure I can go a week without them in the summertime, so I guess we'll do what we need to do.

The part that didn't spill has re-gelled in the fridge. I'm sure you were worried about that.

I already got to talk to Michelle, my grandparents, and my dad (he's out of town on business, so I'm talking to him and Mom separately) for my birthday. I think I'm going to open presents after supper, but I may decide not to wait that long. I really, really enjoy this. I enjoy the e-mail greetings. I enjoy the cards and the phone calls and the presents. I am deeply birthday-appreciative. I have so much fun with this. I try to encourage other people to have fun with it, too. (With my birthday as well as with their own.)

I'm going to work some and do some chores and also laze about some. With a heavier emphasis on lazing than on a normal day, I think. I'll finish Dragon's Lair and start -- well, who knows what there will be for me to start. There are Amazon boxes sitting promisingly on the hearth. (The hearth is the birthday present location in our house because that's where they go in my parents' house.)

In Marsha's journal today, she says, " Tripped into the magic confrontation finally--only because I had the images of the Indians coming over the hill and attacking the cowboys. Thank heavens I watched westerns in my youth." Yes. Yes indeed. Some things like that are important in ways that aren't predictable; you can't say in advance, "I need to watch a Tom Stoppard play about Tristan Tzara and Lenin so that I can write a book about a rock band, robots, and genetic engineering." You can just feel glad that you have.

But. If Marsha hadn't watched westerns in her youth, the confrontation might have gone differently, but I have faith that it would have gone. It's an interesting kind of puzzle we do with inspirations. It's not like a jigsaw puzzle, where the picture is known and the pieces are set, and if you lack one specific piece (watching westerns, say, or reading Turkish history, or double-majoring in biochem and Chinese in college) you're just out of luck. You do what you can with the pieces you have, or with what you see in the pieces you have. Maybe you could have made a puzzle that resembles "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte," and you didn't see the pieces you have that way, and it turned out a lot more like Mary Poppins. Or you didn't have any umbrellas at all and ended up with Holst's "Venus" instead. All of them are good things to have.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's good to have more tools than a hammer, so that not every problem looks like a nail, but that the main thing is staying alert and open. (As often happens, I'm not saying this to argue with Marsha but rather as something I thought about because of what she said. A side point, rather than a disagreement.) My dad and I were talking about how we've been disappointed in a particular artist's recent work, and he thought it was lack of interesting recent influences. I think he's probably right. Paul Simon is one of the clearest people this way: you can tell very clearly what influenced him before writing "Rhythm of the Saints," say, as opposed to "El Condor Pasa." Others of us aren't quite so clear about it, but still: other people, other influences keep us thinking, keep us off-balance, keep us from veering out of the right kind of crazy into the wrong kind of crazy.

I have been interrupted by the UPS man bearing another present for meeeeeee and by my godfather calling to wish me a happy birthday (the Dave one, not the Joe one). Such a good day.

You have a good one, too, okay? It would make me happy if you did. After all, it's my birthday.

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