Saturday, November 11, 2006

Birthday Weekend: Day 2 of 4 ...

This morning, Jay and I talked for nearly two hours.

We saw each other Tuesday night, and again on Friday afternoon, which is much more than we usually see each other. So how we also managed to spend nearly two hours on the phone this morning is a bit beyond me. But we did spend a fair amount of time talking about music, and we could both go on forever about music. So there you go.

While we talked, Jay mastered the art of sending pictures from his camera phone. Camera phones don't capture the greatest quality, but considering that their primary function is to transmit voice data packets, not images, they do a pretty good job of capturing a moment.

The food at Allen's is unquestionably sensational. But for photography purposes, the lighting is not. Doreen sent the pictures she took with her phone and the best word to describe the illusion of the bags under my eyes in them is "grotesque." Jay managed to capture a couple shots that are a bit more viewable, though I'm not happy with them all together. And no, I'm not one of those people who always carps about their photos. If I take a good photo, I'm happy to admit it. I don't scour it for a flaw, but Friday was not my hair's best day. And the lighting in the room didn't help. Some days, you just have it goin' on, and some days you don't. Friday was a don't. Dave, though, is one of those insanely photogenic people. I believe he's incapable of taking a bad photograph.

The weather today was rainy and cold. Blech. But I had written out a couple thank-you notes and had some other things to mail, so I thought I'd best get to the post office before it closed.

Right. You're ahead of me, aren't you? Yeah, it's Veterans' Day. The post office, however, is open all the time for self-service, so I served myself.

I was feeling a good Christmas card vibe, so I headed to Maria's Hallmark next. Finding Christmas cards is the annual bane of my existence, but today, the third box I picked up was the winner. Ah, but there were only three boxes. I needed four. A very helpful woman retreated to the back room to see if she could find more. She was gone at least 15 minutes, bless her heart. No luck. But there are almost as many Hallmark stores as Starbucks, so I was sure I'd find another box.

I went to Fran's Hallmark. No dice. I drove to Louise's Hallmark. Nada. I drove rather out of my way to another Hallmark, the proper name of which I do not know. Bupkus. For the love of God. I headed toward the mall and became ensnarled in traffic that felt like it was the day before Christmas. As soon as I could turn off the main road, I headed for home. It's November 11. I don't have to have the fourth box just yet.

But as I was driving toward the mall, speeding along the highway in the wind and rain, I saw a rainbow in the northern clouds. The left arc of a rainbow. And, in quick, furtive glances east, I found the right arc. And, because I am a complete sap, I started to cry. It was just so hopeful. And then, as if on cue, the clouds to the west parted and the late-afternoon sunlight exploded onto everything around me. It looked like a painting. And then, within seconds, I found myself driving in the gray mist again.

Tonight was dinner at my parents' house with my brother and sister-in-law and nephews and niece. Mom puts forth a ridiculous amount of effort for our birthdays, cooking eveything we want. She's exceptional. Dinner was sensational.

She bought beautiful, fragrant flowers for the table. I commented on them. "You're taking them home," she said. "You have to take something home the night of your party, since you don't want your gift until Monday." Mom thinks of everything.

So the flowers came home with me. They're sitting on my dining-room sideboard. I snapped a shot of them. I like the way it came out. I think it looks like a Renaissance painting.

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