mrissa: (happy)

Today is Sunday, and my birthday is Saturday. I have already read two books (one paper, one ebook) that were early birthday presents, because I am spoiled and because apparently the concept of delayed gratification is not a strong suit at the moment. Anyway, in making a dinner reservation for this evening, I got asked, is it anybody’s birthday? and usually I lie and tell them no, because I don’t want to make the waitstaff feel obliged to sing as well as their real jobs, and I worry that they will give me a nasty piece of white cake instead of letting me decide whether I want good dessert or no dessert. But this time I chirped, “Yes, it’s mine!” Because this year, honestly, with all the horrible and disappointing news the world has brought us in the last week, I kind of feel the need for all the birthday assistance I can get.

This post is a list of things you can think about getting for yourself–or just drooling over if you don’t have the spare cash–as presents for yourself for my birthday. Sadly, I can’t get them for all of you. I am not that much of a wealthy hobbit, to be able to buy all of you these lovely things as presents for my birthday. But I will at least show you the shinies that I would get you, if I could have a proper hobbit party and give you all the proper hobbit presents that I would like to give you. (Please note that this is the opposite of the usual wishlist: I am not asking you to get this stuff for ME but for YOURSELVES. Not that I wouldn’t like it also, but some of it–like the Kickstarter stuff–I already have, and mostly: the point is you, not me.)

1. Nerd coloring books. Specifically, Dinosaurs With Jobs. Mostly I would get this for my old college friend Scott, but the rest of you might want it too.

2. Chad Jerzak Raku ceramics. Saw these at the St. Kate Art Festival. Very cool.

3. Fresh Mud Pottery. Also at the St. Kate Art Festival. So many things in the gallery, be sure you look at the slide show.

4. Elise’s Current Shinies. Ooh. Shiny. So many shinies, so few body parts to hang them from.

5. Tim always has lovely things. Here are two of his newer ones (that first link was from the Pop Art Minneapolis series, the second the newest Reader photo).

6. Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky are doing a Kickstarter. For those of us who have been yearning for another Cry Cry Cry album, even two-thirds as good will almost certainly be good enough. (Did you miss out on Cry Cry Cry? Here they are singing Northern Cross. The third member is Dar Williams. Oh, fine, here’s another: By Way of Sorrow.)

7. Julie Dillon, who has done the gorgeous art for my stories, is also doing a Kickstarter. Many ways to support her art; go look.

Any other loveliness you want to share with each other? There’s a whole week before it’s my birthday, and the comments section lies before you.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux

mrissa: (tiredy)
So I knew I was exhausted when I was trying to write some SF and come up with a planet name. "New!" I said to myself. "Planets can be New something! New something musical! Something euphonious!" And my brain promptly supplied, "New Chlamydia!" And not as an attempt to be funny. Just because it sounded nice. Yeah, so I don't think we'll be working on that story yet today. Or on anything else that requires judgment calls.

But the thing is, that's the sort of thing you can opt out of for the day. You can say, okay, tired now, beyond tired now, someone else flip the quesadillas, someone else name the planets, not me, because I am not safe without a minder.

But then there are the bits where the tired makes for more work in ways that in retrospect you should predict but you don't. Like having dry tired eyes while wearing contact lenses. Suddenly there is a period of time taken up by playing hunt-the-lens in new and exciting ways, where by exciting we mean tedious as hell. And when you are this tired you know you are clumsy, and when you are this tired and everyone else in the house is either this tired also or occupied elsewhere or is in fact a dog, you know you have to do it carefully or you will have to add "call for new contacts" to the list, which is more of a big deal when you don't wear disposables, as I do not. When you had on the list "library" and "bank" and "dry cleaners," and these simple tasks are all within five minutes of the house by car, and you still could not do them. So yah, really important to find the lens. I did. But oof. Tired like this complicates everything.

All leads up to saying that we are within the one month birthday ban, and guess who is not having a birthday party this year? No, this is not the "we're having a small birthday party but not a big one" kind. Nor the "we are having one in a park so I don't have to clean" kind. I am just not endowed with enough monkey energy to do the other things I am doing and also have a birthday party, so birthday party I will be having none. I will be poking my mom to see if she will make me rotini and chocolate cake and serve it to a few other family members. And if I find extra Mris lying around in Montreal, then I can have a random party later in the summer or early fall. But Fourth Street has completely kicked my butt, so there will not be the mountains of fruit and cheese and the birthdaying this year in Minneapolis*. There will be doing the things I am meant to be doing normally but not quite managing, I hope.

I quite like birthday parties. But I also like not falling over and staying fallen over. So we do what we do and do the best we can with it. And try not to think about having children's cartoons set on planets named by people who are just as tired as new parents.

*Edited so that [ profile] lydy doesn't yell at me now that I'm not quite so tired: nor even in Eagan. Although I have in fact had birthday parties in each and even in St. Paul.
mrissa: (Default)
I quit reading five different books yesterday. You'd think this would be fodder for another "I can in fact quit you" tagged post, but most of it was just tired stuff--poor prose, sexism, stuff I've ranted about before and do not need to do another chorus of.

But there was one thing. One author was giving us his character's thoughts. And the character thought: No! No!! No!!!

And I thought: no. Quick flowchart of choices: are you 12 years old? And has the calendar year passed Anno Domini 1922? If so, don't do that. If not...still don't do that, but we'll maybe excuse you.

Today is my 33 1/3 birthday. My first third of a century! I am going to have an ice cream cone. Well, and a new dishwasher I didn't really want, but these things happen. The ice cream part is the birthday part.
mrissa: (hippo!)
1. So [ profile] alecaustin and I were IMing about our own tendencies in worldbuilding, and his tendencies towards cathedrals with grotesques and gargoyles. And I started to say, "Everyone likes cathedrals!" when I realized that I had neglected several prime cathedral-building opportunities in my worldbuilding in favor of cultures/groups with a flatter, more utilitarian, or generally less opulent architectural approach. And what popped into my head is, "My stuff is more Frank Lloyd Frazetta." I am mulling both the serious and the silly bit of that.

2. My godson is 9. He picked out a birthday card for me that his mother was sure I would find Just Awful. It is a hangman puzzle that lists H _ _ _ Y B _ _ T _ _ _ _, and then on the inside the answer proves to be HAIRY BUTTOCKS. I am aware that I have a 9-year-old godson, so I was not the least bit horrified at this. We are, however, looking for amusing alternatives. [ profile] timprov proposes HELPY BINTURONG. Other suggestions welcome.

3. We have further evidence that I am not being obvious when I think I'm being obvious. Hands who's surprised.

4. Our lettuce may go to seed and not be producing edible crop at any time when our tomatoes and cucumbers are producing edible crop. While not the end of the world, this would annoy [ profile] markgritter. Still, being able to make lettuce wraps and top other people's hamburgers with our own garden produce is very nice indeed, and the eggplant is flowering promisingly, and the tomatoes have set fruit.

5. My birthday is Tuesday! This is sort of implied by #2, I know, but I haven't been going on about its approach. There is edamame hummus, though, and there is a bit of strawberry cake still, and the hearth is full of presents and cards, and I am so very very fond of birthdays. This year the scones will be whole wheat raspberry. I will report back in if they're awesome.


Jul. 26th, 2010 04:17 pm
mrissa: (out with friends)
So. Birthday.

I have had the traditional birthday scone, and some lovely leftovers for lunch, and then my young friend F. invited me along for tea with her and some other friends (it's always best to make sure that someone has the authority to do that when they're a kid and the youngest member of an already-established event and not the guest of honor, but in fact it worked out all for the best), so that's all been really good. And I've had good e-mails and lj and FB greetings and cards and packages, and a family party last night, and lo these many fine things. And very soon a chocolate raspberry malt. And I am reading about a sixteenth century heretic, and as I said on e-mail to a friend, nothing says birthday like sixteenth-century heresy. And there is a fair amount of birthdaying yet to come even aside from sixteenth-century heresy.

I am still struggling with the side-effects of this new treatment, and I'm still having a hard time talking about it, but today is good, today is quite tolerable in that regard and good in other regards, and I hope you're having a very good my birthday, too.
mrissa: (Default)
I don't mean to go all Bert Blyleven on you*, but it's 12 days to my birthday.

I really like birthdays. This year I am very tired, and birthdays perk me right up.

I don't think that anybody should buy me a present who wouldn't otherwise buy me a present. I dislike trolling for presents. However. If you are a person who was already trying to think what to get me, a caffeine-free tisane with ginger and no anise in it is very welcome indeed. Staff of life, ginger. Staff. Of. Life. I went through one box of the spice tisane I'm using most in the two weeks since [ profile] alecaustin went home: I distinctly remember opening it the morning he left, and now it is gone. And I've been drinking other tisanes sometimes still.

There are rumors about other things that are the staff of life, and this is my 2^5 birthday, but "to the fifth" should not be a theme, because I am not at all a good drinker, and a fifth of anything would last me to my 3^5 birthday.

Mostly you should get me a chatty e-mail for my birthday, really. Or string, or nothing.

Not actually string, unless you've done something good with it, but if I'd left the string out, it wouldn't have been a Tolkien reference. So there you have that part.

You can get me a Tolkien reference for my birthday if you like. Those are nice, and they often fit.

*/obligatory [ profile] laurel reference
mrissa: (amused)
The Smothers Brothers didn't do this bit yesterday, and [ profile] timprov had never seen it, so I had to dig it up on YouTube. Here you go:

It's the one with cravasses and the Folk Singer's Manual.

They look just like that now, too. Only maybe a little different.

It was a good birthday in several directions. And now I am trying to figure out how I could fill meringue castles with fudge or whether there's something else nice that can go in a meringue castle.
mrissa: (happy)
Happy my birthday to you! I have already had a scone and am going to go have a workout in just a minute. Yesterday my mom made lunch for [ profile] markgritter, [ profile] timprov, herself, Dad, Grandma, Aunt Ellen, Uncle Phil, and me, with chicken salad and fruit and cake and both of my favorite kinds of fruit bread. Today, the Smothers Brothers! And fruit crisp and pizza and godkids and many other happy birthdayish sorts of things.

Before I begin the progression of birthday fun, I wanted to say that we went and saw Grandma's apartment, and is it ever nice. I feel so good about her moving in there. I'm so glad Mom found it (and so glad it's this close to our place!). It was practically all the guys and I could talk about in the car on the way home. I had ridden past the outside in a car before, but yesterday we went in and saw the facilities and Grandma's specific apartment, which already has a sign on the door telling the other residents her name and welcoming her. They have gone past attention to detail and very nearly along the road to miracle working: the chairs in the common room, for example, are of a design that would be easy for seniors who were shaky to get in and out of, but they're also comfortable and attractive. They've managed to do all sorts of accessibility and general approach things so that this really seems like a pleasant building for older folks who are still in good health and independent. There are rolls and coffee in the downstairs common room every morning, and I really like the idea that Grandma can go down and introduce herself to her neighbors when she wants to but doesn't have to have them on top of her if she wants her space.

I feel like we could have overcome a suboptimal living circumstance because Grandma is in a better position than a lot of people who would be moving to a new city in their late 70s. But we don't have to, because this place is really, really good.

I opened some of my cards and presents yesterday and will get more today, but this year my big present is having Grandma moving up here.
mrissa: (Default)
Happy Mris Looks Like A Murderer Day!

My birthday eve, you see, is the occasion of the baking of the traditional double-chocolate cherry scones. (This year I put in hazelnuts because Grandma is here.) And that means halving and pitting a bunch of fresh cherries, and that means my fingers look like I have been cheerfully slaughtering people all morning. Well--I suppose you couldn't tell from the fingers whether it was cheerful or not.

Still, this is an important thing, the making of the scones. I didn't make them last year because of the vertigo, and it was particularly important not to have Mom make them, because part of the point is that she did all the work 31 years ago and I just showed up, so the least I can do is make her scones. This year I have been having some bad vertigo days compared to the weeks preceding, but I'm still okay enough to make scones for us for tomorrow morning. Hurrah for progress, however minimal.
mrissa: (grandma)
I have just noticed that I have been so careful not to say anything about Grandma's moving dates in case something goes wrong with the people who are buying her house or whatever that I have not mentioned how soon it's supposed to be coming. I mean, it's not just superstition: even if the people who are buying her house have done everything right, things can go wrong with mortgage companies at the last minute. Strange and arcane are the ways of real estate transactions. It all makes me very nervous, because it doesn't feel like it just depends on people being sensible, it feels like it depends on people being sensible and having form XJ447b62 filled out properly instead of form XJ447b62a.

But: failing anything strange and arcane going wrong, my grandma will live here in the south suburbs in slightly less than two weeks.


I keep saying to her, "Everything is going to be so much better when you're here, Grandma." And I really do think it will.

She's coming up for her last pre-move visit this weekend, for my birthday, and we're going to see Aunt Ellen and Uncle Phil and the Smothers Brothers (consecutive, not concurrent) and generally have a fine old time. And then the next time I see her after that--good Lord willing and the creek don't rise--will be when she's moving in. To be 15 minutes away from me.


I have other pre-birthday things to accomplish--the making of the ritual birthday double-chocolate scones, for example, but that has to wait so they're fresh. Nobody wants stale scones. (Note to [ profile] zorinth: I don't mean to taunt you, but they're very like my chocolate bread. Sorry.) It'll be a busy-ish week with that and other things. And then at the end of it there will be birthday and Grandma.
mrissa: (getting by)
I have just had an e-mail exchange with a friend wherein I mentioned my impending birthdayness, he said he/they would have to remember to get me something*, I said I didn't mean to be hinty, and he said he'd prefer that I hint than that he forget.

People. You cannot forget my birthday. I don't mean you will remember. Noooo, I mean I will remind you.** Because I love my birthday. It is my favorite holiday ever except Christmas Eve and perhaps Lucia Day. I think everybody should get something nice on my birthday, ice cream or something. I have taken to responding to, "Happy birthday!" with, "Happy my birthday to you!" I am like the queen in this regard if few others.

I am still trying to work out the details of my birthday party. I'm having one, but I'm afraid it's going to be a much smaller one this year. This means many of the people who have enlivened past birthday parties will not be invited to this one. It's not because I don't like you any more, dear hearts. It's that I am pretty drastically short of energy. Last year it was extremely important to me that I have a big birthday party in the face of the vertigo. I don't have that much energy for grand gestures of defiance this year. I just...don't.

As I go backwards in my lj tagging past entries, I am struck by how much more mental and emotional energy I had for howling at the moon then. I thought 2008 was awful, but 2009 has taken the fight right out of me. I'm not giving up on the PT, and we're still seeing slow progress. I can do things I couldn't do this time last year. But also I admit that I am more resigned in some small areas. When I bruise myself, when I break things, when I can only enjoy part of something. I am frustrated when I have to say no to things that would be fun because I physically can't do them, and I'm particularly frustrated when I'm afraid that the friends I'm saying no to are getting the message that I don't want to instead of the message that I just plain can't. But the frustration is the small sigh, not the shower of tears.

I don't think this means I'm doing better with it. I also don't think this means I'm doing dangerously badly, since I'm still doing the PT etc., all the concrete stuff that will continue to make things better in measurable, concrete ways, and since the lack of emotional energy is comparatively limited. I'm still finding the energy and the focus to write, or rather I'm finding those things again after the early days of PT. And there's been a lot going on in my family lately, some of it really good but all of it pretty intense. I'm just...not long on cope right now, and it feels like vertigo-related outbursts will harm more than they help.

I thought about not mentioning the birthday party thing, but I've had so many years of "bring your neighbor's best friend's cousin if you like" sorts of birthday parties that I was afraid some of you would feel you'd personally offended me if there wasn't some kind of late-July/early-August invitation coming your way. And realio trulio you haven't, and I hope I haven't offended you, either, by bringing it up. I know it's not good manners to bring up parties people aren't invited to. But I am tired all the way through my bones, and I need to make my birthday party a little lower-key this year so as not to exacerbate that. I hope that's not hurtful to anyone.

*He is wrong. Remembering to get me something is strictly optional. I am extravagantly pleased with presents but not the least bit perturbed by their absence.
**July 26. Now you are reminded.
mrissa: (thinking)
I am still celebrating my birthday until Saturday at least, and probably thereafter (because I haven't scheduled with everybody I intend to schedule with, and I doubt that all of that will happen before Saturday). But I have been asked how my "real" birthday was, and it was good. It was very good indeed. I was given sparklies and books and gooseberries and recipes and shoes and the gift of not having to shop for shoes. (Shoes are always a double gift for me, because not having to shop for shoes is such a darn relief.) And lo these other splendid things. And I'm not done, did I mention that part? It's so good.

I am enjoying a little bit of the traditional post-birthday choice paralysis when it comes to books, not helped by the fact that some of my long-standing hold items came in at the library. I enjoy the post-birthday choice paralysis. It never lasts longer than it takes for me to need another book anyway; as soon as I need one, I find myself able to choose. But the waffling is nice.

Lots of people wished me a birthday free of vertigo. And That didn't happen. At all. As I'm pretty sure they expected. But:

I'm thinking back to a post [ profile] rosefox made awhile ago. She was talking about sexuality/queerness, but I was thinking of it as applied to race and sex and disability in fiction as well. The oversimplified version of the theory she was talking about (and ascribing to Rick Bowes, possibly*) was that there are three stages of having a queer person in fiction: 1) ACK!; 2) exploration of the queerness; 3) story about something else completely. And Rose was saying that she wanted another step beyond that, where the story was neither focused on the character's sexuality nor treating it as completely irrelevant, and I was thinking that I want that with race/ethnicity and gender and disability and really all sorts of other character traits, too. I see why it's sometimes interesting and sometimes necessary to have "What is it like to have a girl do these things?" stories, or "How does it change this story if the characters are black?" stories. But I feel like there are too cases where people assess whether it "matters" or not whether a character is female (/black/gay/blind/whatever) by judging whether someone was actively trying to stop them from doing something based on that trait. It can be a good story. But it's not the only way that a trait can matter.

Take The True Tale of Carter Hall, for example. Thomas Allen Lin. Called Tam because his little sister couldn't say Thomas when she was learning to talk, and it stuck. He's Chinese-American. (And not, you will note, Chinese. There are plenty of good stories to be told about born-in-China Chinese people in North America. But this is not one of them; one of the things that makes me absolutely crazy furious is when non-white people are assumed to be Not From Here due to being non-white. Will having a third-generation Chinese-American character in one hockey fantasy fix this? No. But it can't hurt.) Does it "matter" that he is Chinese-American and playing hockey? Well, on the one hand, no: there is nothing inherent that should make Chinese-American people any better or any worse at skating, stick-handling, etc. And would people picket a minor league team demanding an end to the Yellow Peril? One would most certainly hope not; not in Bemidji in 2008. I would be shocked. (I am frequently unpleasantly surprised by the newspaper. But shocked rarely.) But name for me the famous Chinese-American hockey players. I'll wait. No, good try, but Richard Park is Korean. Does it matter if you are not just the only non-white guy on the team, but the only non-white guy on any of the teams you play? Does it matter if pros of your race/ethnicity in your sport can be counted in a very short conversation? Well, yah. I think it does. Does it stop you from doing what you love to do? No. But motivational speeches aside, stopping you or not stopping you are not the only things that count. I think that's very lazy writing, frankly, and lazy social thinking. If your character interactions can be summed up in a yes/no checkbox, you're probably doing it wrong. (Oh, how many LOLauthors there could be with "Nuance: ur doin it wrong." Sigh.)

Tamora Pierce's Alanna books are dealing with the cases where someone comes out and says, You Can't Because You're A Girl. It's a pretty standard plot, done well. Her later Keladry series makes me happy because it recognizes that the world does not leap back in amazement and say, Wow, I Guess Girls Can! We Will All Reform Our Views! just because one girl did. It acknowledges that while being the first is interesting, being the second is interesting, too, in ways that are underexplored in this genre. But there are more steps down that road to take. There are more ways to explore gender mattering and not mattering in that fictional cultural context. Pierce can of course go down other roads if she likes, but this one has miles and miles ahead on it.

On the New Writers panel at Fourth Street, [ profile] mmerriam said he wanted to see more disabled characters who just were disabled, who weren't there to have their disability miraculously healed at the end but who just got on with it, whether it was saving the world or contacting the aliens or what. Who were blind, or deaf, or had mobility problems, or any of a number of things, some of which show up in the real lives of the people reading this, but who were neither defined by that nor able to completely ignore it. I think there's a little more of that in books these days. I hope so. I loved how Hilary McKay handled Sarah and her wheelchair in the Casson family books. It mattered. It just didn't dominate. It wasn't the only thing that mattered.

So, circling back: did I have vertigo on my birthday? Yes. Did it matter? Yes. Did I have a good birthday anyway? Yes. Definitely. And I hope to continue to do so.

*Edited to add: Rick notes that first, this is not his theory originally, and second, he certainly doesn't see it as the be-all and end-all of what can be done with sexuality in fiction, much less other character-related topics. I think no one should have assumed the second point anyway, but it's still good to keep in mind.
mrissa: (out with friends)
My parents always make noises about how it isn't actually my birthday until 11:57 p.m. on July 26, but they never actually made me wait that long to start celebrating, and I don't think you should wait that long to start having a good day, either.

I am eating my scone, in a tradition I made up for myself as an adult, and I opened the card from our family in Stockholm, to observe an older tradition. Twenty years ago, for my tenth birthday, we were in Ludvika staying with family, and they did the traditional Swedish birthday morning for me. They woke me singing and brought in presents and a lovely banana breakfast torte. My mom was afraid I'd get up before they were ready and spoil the whole thing, but they'd sent me enough Swedish children's books that I knew.

I don't have any firm plans until mid-afternoon and my family party. I will think of lovely and birthdayish ways to entertain myself. (Well, and PT.) My grandparents are driving up this morning -- they couldn't come last night because of another family member's health stuff -- so there's no hurry to get down to my parents' hours in advance of the party.

Yesterday the timing of dinner plans worked out that I got some good solid one-on-one time with [ profile] matastas before dinner and [ profile] dlandon after dinner. I think one of the things that's been socially hardest with the vertigo is that I feel like it's very hard for me to propose social interactions where the other person does all the work ("will you drive down here and get me, but I can't cook or bake or anything," basically), and that's wound up with less one-on-one time than I really prefer. I know it's not something that's unique to only children, but I think that does contribute to how much the back of my brain expects that one-on-one interactions are the norm. And group things can be lovely, too. It was just nice to have a chance for one-on-one conversation with each of two of my friends. A good start to my 30th birthday weekend.
mrissa: (Default)
Hard day yesterday. A couple of small falls early and then a bad fall in the kitchen. Broke one of my remaining favorite big mugs. I hate breaking things. (When I was at Oregon State for their NSF-REU ten years ago, they gave us accounts with the food services on campus. The money on our cards couldn't be given back to the department or transferred directly to an OSU student -- although I could and did pay for some of the meals of guys in the program who ran out of food money before the program was over due to eating a great deal more than I did -- but you could use it in the campus coffee shop. So I bought myself four tall mugs with stars all over them, and several pounds of good coffee, tea, and tisane for myself and relatives. I loved those mugs. There's one left now.)

Still and all, there were also some very fine things about yesterday, and I just got a FedEx delivery of fleur de sel caramels and burnt caramel sauce from [ profile] markgritter. It's very hard to remain glum in the face of very high quality dark chocolate-covered caramel. At least it is for me.

And I have had fun plans with people I care about all week, and I have fun plans with people I care about for all of next week, too. And there are some boxes and cards waiting for me -- I opened the caramels on instructions from [ profile] markgritter, because they had a cold pack in them and all, but the rest is waiting for tomorrow. I find that very cheerful.

The random-play of MP3s seems to believe that tomorrow is not my fifth birthday, nor my 30th, but instead my 17th: we have a lot of older and newer music -- most of what we have is not from that specific time and radio-play type, in fact -- but what am I getting? Cranberries. Live. Soul Asylum. Alice in Chains. And now 10,000 Maniacs. Silly MP3s! I am not going to go put on a flannel shirt, so stop hinting! And [ profile] greykev has more than that one 10,000 Maniacs tape and bagpipe music now! You can branch out, too, o computer! (Clicked "next." Green Day. From Dookie. Thanks, computer.)
mrissa: (helpful nudge)
I'll bet many of you thought I was going to turn 30 on Saturday. But no! My niecelet called tonight to wish me a happy birthday, and [ profile] seagrit prompted her, "Are you going to ask Auntie Mris how old she's going to be?" And Amber said, in that you're-silly-mommy voice kids learn so quickly, "No! She will be five." So okay then. I guess I'm going to be five.

We agreed that 5 and 30 are both Big.

She also wanted her mommy and daddy to "turn it on": she couldn't see me while she was talking to me, and therefore the thing must not be properly turned on. She wanted to show me the ketchup bottle from which her dinner ketchup had come, and how she could run, and how she did the end of "Ring Around the Rosie."

My niecelet is awesome.
mrissa: (Default)
My birthday is one week from today. In case you missed the signs and omens: one week. Exactly seven days. And then I will be thirty. I am doing a few of my crazy birthdayish things, like making sure we have the stuff in the house for my mom's and my baking projects, and checking my Amazon list with a magazine held up over half the screen so that I can see how many things have been bought off my list without seeing what. (I consider this the digital equivalent of shaking one's wrapped presents to see if they make a noise like Legos. Or, y'know, something else. But mostly it was the "is this a Lego pack or not" ritual, although if there was a pleasing slide and heavy thump, it might be a book wrapped in a shirt box to be sneaky, which was a good sign, especially as that usually meant it was either a big thick book or more than one paperback.)

(I remember for my mom's fortieth birthday my dad wrapped a brick with plane tickets to go see her favorite cousins taped to it. When we handed her the box and asked what she thought it was, she said, "Uff da, it feels like a brick!" And it was. There's no fooling us! We are experienced present-shakers.)

The last few days have featured pretty bad vertigo-related nausea off and on. Whee. I am not only bored of how bad it's been but bored of talking about how bored I am of it, so...yah. Other stuff, posthaste. [ profile] markgritter and I are taking Robin and Lillian (and their dad!) to the Science Museum's special effects/Star Wars exhibit anyway. We will get me a wheelchair, and I will sit outside the OmniMax theater with a book while they watch the movie, since I am not able to watch regular movie theater screens, much less IMax shows that are intended to make people vertiginous. I am determined to have a good time, and I think the others are as well. [ profile] porphyrin and [ profile] timprov told us to have fun in their absence, and I'd hate to disappoint them.
mrissa: (hippo!)
1. I am writing a short story for one of you. It's called "Twelve Things You Don't Know About Dryads." (There is a reason for this title, but the person whose story it is doesn't know the reason yet.) Yesterday I sat down with a creamy thick piece of notepaper and a pen with leafy green ink and wrote down eighteen possible section headings. I crossed out six. Now I have to reorder the remaining twelve. But I think this is good. The first three were usable but tepid. I'm sorry to have to miss #15. I am happy with this process, though. It was satisfying in more than one way.

2. One of the things I crossed off the dryad list was, "Who last really impressed them." Who last really impressed you? It was much more of an lj question than a dryad question, I think. ("Why dryads do not use lj" was not on the list.)

3. I got two hours of extra sleep this morning and feel almost human as a result. Still nauseated this morning. Still much vertigo. But far better to have nausea and vertigo without feeling like I'm going to lose structural integrity and melt into a little puddle of exhaustion on the floor.

4. I have a birthday present! I don't know what it is or from whom, but an Amazon box arrived addressed to me, and I hadn't ordered anything for myself, so I had [ profile] markgritter check to see if it was a birthday present, and it was. So it will remain unopened for another 11 days. (This is actually my second birthday present of the year, but the first one arrived in June and was not clearly labeled, "BIRTHDAY PRESENT: DO NOT OPEN." So I opened it. It arrived from a different country, whose inhabitants were less confident of the mails than this occasion warranted.)

I suspect that I am putting a bit too much emotional weight on this birthday being a good one. But there are some years when you really sort of need a good birthday. And I am the easiest person in the world to make happy on and around my birthday. Time with friends and family is the very best thing. Lj comments and e-mails are great. Cards/postcards and phone calls are happy-making. And I maintain that I am the easiest person I know to buy presents for, since a wide variety of types and prices of gift will make me flat-out gleeful, and not only do I have a long list of happy-making options readily available online, I am also pleased with things not appearing on that list. We already have plans for the birthday-related baking being accomplished (by Mom and me, so it'll be fun time together rather than me flailing at vertigo limitations). I have a family party and a friend party planned, with other family and friend options on the horizon. This seems like it's going to work out.

5. [ profile] markgritter and I are trying a new restaurant this evening. I like getting past the "we should do that sometime" phase to the "sometime is now" phase.
mrissa: (Default)
I had some people over for cake last night. Every time I do something like this, I have to remind myself that I like more people than I can chat satisfyingly with in an evening, more people than I could fit in the house, and so I have to invite a subset of the people I like. And then I do, and then I still don't get to talk enough to half of the people involved. Still, a good time had by all, particularly by me, and my house has a new motto! Courtesy of the youngest scion of the house of [ profile] haddayr. We're thinking of having it embroidered to hang:

"[ profile] mrissa's house: it's not icky."

I think one of the reasons I have such good birthdays is that I have such broad good expectations of them. I loved walking in the rain with the dog on my birthday. If it hadn't rained, I would have been pleased that it had stayed so clear and fine on my birthday. If we'd been in a tornado warning, I probably would have enjoyed snuggling in with a fresh book. I am pleased by presents I knew I wanted and presents I didn't know I wanted. Presents of objects, presents of ideas, presents of experiences, presents of greetings. I am even pleased by absence of presents, because I don't like anybody to feel that a gift (to anyone at any time) is an obligation, and if they didn't give me one, it clearly means that they don't feel a gift is an obligation, and so I have succeeded in that regard, and that makes me happy.

I have more birthday happiness ahead of me today with a few more people, and I have arrangements to make for more good things in my life, and all in all, it's been a good time to be the [ profile] mrissa lately.
mrissa: (happy)
Hey! It's my birthday! I'm 29! Happy my birthday!

[ profile] the_red_shoes wants me to be happy on my birthday, so she linked to all the Pete Seeger videos on YouTube. Eeeeee. I am listening to them with bouncy glee while I finish my birthday scone. One of them got me all sniffly and excited, because it's Pete and his grandson singing "Well May the World Go," and oh wow oh wow, especially when you hit the choruses, Pete's grandson has his voice and his exuberance. And an obvious love of his grandfather and his grandfather's music. And a band. Whose albums I must now own.

Also, we should all age so well as Pete Seeger, fierce and energetic.

Later I will open presents, take a dip in the hot tub, work on the book because I want to, have a good lunch but I don't know what yet, read something good, have dinner at Rice Paper and ice cream at Sebastian Joe's with two of the people I was with 29 years ago today (plus [ profile] markgritter). I might bake something. I might not. Depends on what I feel like doing, because it's my birthday.

What are you making today? Stories, lunch, earrings, amends, programs, a living, a better life, connections, a garden, a bit of room to relax?
mrissa: (Default)
My pleasures today are domestic and imaginary. The last pan of oatmeal raisin cookies is out of the oven, and so the house smells like cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, with oats to steady them. This is one of the scent-combinations that says, "Someone loves this house," to me. I'll soon have to figure out what we're having for dinner and who's cooking it, but until then, we'll have the smell of spice cookies.

The book is booking. Book book book. It's being enough fun and absorbing enough that I will be surprised if I take my birthday off this year. I can, of course. It's my birthday. I can do what I like, approximately, within reasonable limits. It's just that I suspect that what I like will involve some book, and that's a good thing.

(Thursday is my birthday. Somewhere around Saturday my brain switched over into pre-birthday mode. Birthday! Birthday birthday! I like birthdays. We are very good at birthdays in my family.)

I'm enjoying this period of rereading before my birthday. I got to open the presents from [ profile] seagrit and [ profile] jffgrnfld and Amber when they were here, and [ profile] markgritter finished his copy of HP7, but I'm going to hold off until after my birthday to dive into that pile, because lots of rereading all at once feels like fun right now.

Okay. Dinner cogitating. Then more book.

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