The Birthday Post

I am now in that limbo between forty and the answer to everything.

It was a quiet birthday. We’re all rubbing against one another uncomfortably here at home; no one is used to having all four family members home all the time for more than three days in a row, and we don’t know what to do with ourselves. The day started off very nicely, and then we kind of got irritated with one another, but it ended nicely again. We had sushi as a birthday treat, and Owlet devoured a kappa maki and Sparky decided that he liked sake sashimi (which he has liked on again and off again since he was three… mostly off again). Now I am excited, because this means we can go out for sushi together and everyone can eat something.

The birthday may have been quiet in person, but online there was a riot of birthday wishes and greetings in forums and through Twitter and Facebook and via e-mail. It took me ages to read through them all, in several sittings. Thank you again, everyone!

My birthday is also my parents’ wedding anniversary. My rudimentary math skills tell me that as I was born on their fourth wedding anniversary, they have now been married for forty-five years.

I had an early birthday dinner with my in-laws before they left for a month on holiday in Cape Breton, which was lovely. They gave me a teacup and saucer that had been owned by HRH’s maternal grandmother, and I had my tea in it the very next morning. I love gifts like that, that come with meaning and history. They also donated to my Saving Up for an iPad 2 fund. My parents sent me money for the same fund (and blew me away with their generosity!), and HRH and the kids also gave me a gift certificate toward it. I am over halfway there already. I want to get it before I leave for my conference on the first weekend of August, because then I will be able to Skype with the kids each night. The Windows laptop that could handle Skypeing is now dead, the old iBook that is a glorified typewriter can’t run the program or load the web-based interface, and my iPhone doesn’t have a front camera.

The iPad is the result of a long research- gathering and decision-making process. It was evident that I needed an alternate work computer. I use my iPhone all the time via wi-fi through the day, and I also wanted a larger e-reader where I wouldn’t be turning a page every five seconds. I liked and coveted the iPad, which answered most of my needs, but I couldn’t justify it since I couldn’t use it for editing, which is the majority of my work. Track Changes is my main tool, and iPad apps didn’t handle it. If I needed a backup unit to work with while travelling or if my desktop went down again (please no, not any time soon, or ever again, really), then investing in a computer-like thing that couldn’t be used for work was pointless. So I kept looking at small laptops half-heartedly, which would let me work but not provide an easy e-reading experience or the casual online messing about and communicating I enjoy doing. It was starting to look like I’d have to buy two separate units, and if I was being responsible (and that was essential, because money has been really, really bad) it would have to be the laptop first. And frankly, that made me cranky, because I wanted the fun thing first, after a couple of years of making do in pretty much every area of life.

At least… the iPad apps couldn’t handle Track Changes editing until a couple of months ago, when app developers began to provide the Track Changes function in response to the demands of users. And when I discovered that, my dilemma was solved, and the iPad was a go! I decided that I’d ask for money and gift certificates for my birthday, and when my paycheque from my first freelance job after a year off came in, I’d make up whatever was left and buy one. I’ve got the Bluetooth mini Apple keyboard that came with my first Mac mini to pair with it, so I’m not limited by the touch keyboard if I do work on it. Now my last decision is whether to go for the black one, to minimize the grunge-collection, or go with the white, which will blend in with the documents and books I’ll be reading and working with. And what kind of case I’ll get for it, of course.

We enjoyed a lovely dinner with Eric yesterday at his new house. All aspects of the visit were lovely, and future visits will be even lovelier when Soo and Ro move up to join him next week. The evening ended with cheesecake, of which I am not a fan, but this one changed my mind. Not only that, he sent me home with the remaining 3/4 of the cake. I don’t know if this is a universal un-disliking of the cheesecake genre, or just of this one particular kind from this specific bakery, but I’ll take it! I have disliked cheesecake mostly for its (a) leaden texture and (b) the heavy taste of cream cheese, a food I don’t like. This one was feathery light, tasted of butter and cream, and was more like a mousse with only the faintest nuance of cheese. A fabulous thick graham crust, a light cheese layer that had the texture of a heavenly vanilla sponge cake, and heavy whipped cream on top of the cheese layer with a pile of seasonal fruit and sliced almonds along the sides… really, it was divine. And the sausages he grilled for supper (particularly the broccoli-cheese ones) along with the watermelon-feta salad… I think I ate from the moment we got there till the moment we left, either grazing while we prepped food or formally partaking of supper. And that includes eating the tiny apples off the trees in his backyard, with fruit so sweet and somehow fizzy that they tasted like apple candy.

And finally… seven years ago yesterday, Sparky came home from the hospital to properly start life with us as a family. The middle of July is full of celebration in my family, and I am thankful for all of it.

3 thoughts on “The Birthday Post

  1. terry

    hi autumn
    love reading your posts. you write in a very beautiful, heartfelt way. I wish you and yurs a great summer. xo

  2. Cate

    The family that eats sushi together, stays together. Did you all use chopsticks? Their use frequently makes for great entertainment.

    Love the teacup idea. What a great gift that was!

    Skype is a great invention. I’ve used it to chat with my mom, who lives in Australia. I’ve also had a job interview via Skype. Ah, this living in the future stuff…

    What is this Track Changes using iPad that you speak of? I need to look into that. The sole reason I’ve not gotten my next book published is because I dread having to do the final formatting and upload on my laptop, which has been giving me fits in the last few months and required a complete re-set. Every time I look at it, my shoulders sag.

    I found an iPad case from Brookstone, which has the keyboard as part of it. Very handy, as I like to see the whole screen when I’m typing. The on-screen keyboard takes up half the screen, and I can’t type on it as fast as I would like. I’ve recently seen a scanner device that can scan documents directly to the iPad. I’m sure there’s a printer for iPad as well.

    I hope you enjoy it when you get it.

  3. Autumn Post author

    Cate: The app I’ve decided on is CloudOn. It links to Dropbox, so I finally set up an account on that as well. There are a couple of others, but this one is free, and seems to have the best reception so far. I’m looking forward to getting a stylus and using some of the handwritten note-taking apps, too.

    Terry: Thank you! And to you and yours, as well.


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