It was a very happy birthday.
Lots of good wishes from everyone. Three presents, one complete magic, one hugging comfort, and one a CD of haunting music; and I didn't feel any lack. The wishes are worth a great deal, now, with the things going on right now that no material thing is ever really going to help. Money isn't going to make Fezzik completely well. Money isn't going to make the baby healthy or the birth easy. Things and money are so much what life isn't about right now, that it felt very right.
Living another year. Time to look back and think and wonder. Evaluate and plan and hope. Celebrate existing.
The work group had lunch together at China Spice. Boss Bill was so sick he couldn't talk for sneezing and coughing, so he was wise and decided to go home rather than continue exposing everyone. There were ten of us at the restaurant and between John and Fei and Bob and I we came up with a set of selections that were just wonderful for everyone. Something was liked by everyone. Two soups, one asparagus and crab, another the hot and sour seafood soup; a hot pot of eggplant which I loved, garlic chicken, ants on the tree which was so spicy and odd that everyone started calling it Hot Gah! after the Klingon dish (it was also the first to be finished, which might say something about Gah! and guys, or not), a very nice lo mien with everything in it, roast goose slices, a whole steamed carp with black bean sauce, and the shanghai chicken. I ate a lot of the less spicy dishes, and enjoyed everything I ate.
It was really good, and everyone was pretty happy and the whole group bill wasn't all that huge in comparison to the number of people that were there. So we did good.
Everyone got back to work well contented and I was just a bit muzzy from fighting off the cold. I managed to get a little done, but not a whole lot. John had a late meeting, so we stayed a little late, but not too badly; and when we went home, we were both still full from lunch, so John got to ride the exercise bike for a while. I puttered about and sat down with Fezzik and petted him a lot. He really liked that and just nuzzled and licked my hands whenever I stopped. That was very relaxing.
Dinner was simple but very good. Some leftover lasagna, garlic bread, and salad. After dinner I went to call Kathy and found that our phone was just dead. John used the celphone to call the phone company and they forwarded the number to my celphone. And fairly soon after that my parents called with a Happy Birthday and a complaint that our phone was busy all evening. Oops. We talked a lot, about baby, about their last trip to the Bay Area, which they found crowded, and a little about Fezzik and my work. It's funny, but the 'gifts' they gave to me for my birthday were all really for the baby. So I wasn't really counting those much, but I really did like the big, warm grey fleece shirt Mom got me. It'll be practical long after the baby's out and wandering about and spitting up on me.
The parents had actually called Kathy to ask her if she could get to me, so
she sent me email. That was funny. She also called right at the end of my
call with my parents, and I wouldn't be too surprised if there was actually
call waiting on that silly phone, but I didn't want to risk it. So I just
finished my conversation with Mom and checked the Missed Calls list after,
and it was Kathy!
Kathy is the one that gave me the magical gift. She was along for most of the ride when I was thinking of buying Gaiman's jacket, and she said that she was sorry she couldn't get it for me, either. What she did get me was much, much cooler. There is an artist named Andy Lee who has the same surname character that Kathy and I do. He's an artist. An honest to gosh comicbook artist that is a true artist. He combines old Chinese brush style art with fingerpaints, pen, and anything he can get his hands on for the effect he wants. She commissioned a series of works from him, and one of them was a portrayal of Dream with the raven and a thumbprint for an eye. If you look at Lee's gallery, you can see the kind of sweeping lines he does, and this was done in black with blue highlights and just a touch of blood red and I could see the thickness of the paint and ink on the sheets, giving it a texture that can't be obtained any other way. When I first saw it I blinked a lot at the Li character on the piece and in the chop, and then realized it just *couldn't* be Kathy and then remembered the web page she'd sent me to. Magic.
I'll likely glass it, frame it and hang it in the computer room at home.
Tom Gryn gave me the music. John gave me a hug and a promise and a bag of green coffee beans and a really cool card telling me he loved me and it was neat and funny, too. I liked that. Fezzik licked me and looked happy and healthy, that's the best thing I could have.
We got the last of Fezzik's ice cream cake out of the freezer, cut each of us a slice. Fezzik, of course, got the big one and he took it out on the porch. The ice cream was rock hard this time, so he couldn't quite manage it in one bite. Instead, he broke it up into four before eating each of those in big dog gulps. I let mine thaw a bit, while Fezzik watched it, and then ate most of it and gave Fezzik the last of the ice cream that I couldn't eat.
I'm glad the Olympics are over. I can sleep earlier.