He is something of a minimalist in aesthetic so doesn’t like to receive gifts. For years, my practice has been to give him subtractive presents. This has been things like gift certificates to remove the item of his choice from a room, or a day without internet. Sometimes, it involves repairing an item which he is fond of so that it doesn’t need to be replaced.
This year, I am editing the apartment to remove some clutter.
We might go see a movie later. We might stay in. Either way, I will bake a peach cobbler.
My dad’s birthday was yesterday but we are throwing a party for him today. One of the lures of Dragon*Con, actually, was that it made it easy to be home for the festivities. Last night I took Mom and Dad out to Mikado, his current favorite restaurant, for dinner.
Today is the big shindig which will involve a pickin’ and grinnin’ as well as more food than the kitchen can hold.
If you haven’t met my dad, here he is playing Happy Birthday.
February has a cluster of births for my family. I’d planned to be home for Mom’s birthday, in addition to Grandma’s and mine, but had to shift my schedule around for the show.
However, I’d remind you about how completely awesome my mother is.Â She’s not just supportive of my brother and me, she’s also one of the most active advocates for the arts that I’ve ever known.Â She is my role model.
Dad’s been asking me to bring my violin back to Woodthrush because he’s knows that I’ve pretty much stopped playing, and I’ve resisted because a home without a musical instrument seems like it is incomplete. But, in the year that we’ve been in NYC, I’ve had it out of the case exactly twice, both times in our first month there.
I’d started playing when I was five and when I got old enough to have a full-size instrument, Dad let me have this one. He had two, but this one was the louder and I tended to be too quiet. In college, I developed tendinitis in my shoulder and we discovered that I had a congenital condition that got aggravated by, among other things, bowing. Why was college different? That’s when I started working as a puppeteer and, you know, that kind of works the shoulders a bit. I stopped being able to play for more than about twenty minutes at a time, but would still haul it out because I loved it.
But the frequency got farther apart. The interesting thing is that I’d pick the instrument up and for about five minutes could play like I’d never stopped and then it was as if my brain caught up and said, “Whoa! Whoa! Are you crazy? You can’t play this thing,” and it would all vanish.
It got progressively more frustrating to pull it out of the case and know how much my skills had dropped. I mean, I was never brilliant, but I played for seventeen years and now it’s… well, it’s like a foreign language. I look at sheet music that I remember being able to play and it’s so hard now. With the shoulder thing, it’s not like I could work at it and regain the old level.
So, since Dad asked, and it’s his birthday, I’ve brought the violin home.
I’m home for my Dad’s 70th birthday, which was supposed to be a surprise, but Grandma leaked it. Although, as it turns out, Dad was expecting me to come home anyway, so when Grandma asked what time my flight was getting in, he thought that it was just something he’d forgotten.
I’d planned on celebrating today with Mom and taking her and Dad out to dinner at Daniel. My brother and I had also arranged to fly him to NYC secretly to surprise her. Alas. These plans are all postponed.
But the birthday isn’t. I hope it is a happy one and that Dad doesn’t give you the flu as a present.
Since my plans with the folks were out, I decided to throw an impromptu party. I was figuring it would be a small turnout, you know, what with last minute notice for a Friday night. To my pleasant surprise, close to twenty people came round. We opened some interesting wines, had hors d’ouerves, ordered Chinese. Oh and cake.
AND a friend from Iceland was in town on business. A mutual friend told her about the party and brought her along to surprise me. Such happiness!
Mom and Dad called today too. Dad sounds like he’s in good spirits. On the other hand, I could clearly hear that they made the right choice to stay in Tennessee.
I also got a package from Mom and Pop K in the mail which contained, among other goodies, some of her world-famous cookies. Mmm… I’m not sharing those. Which reminds me that I have to hide them from Rob.
And I also got a Konjoined Kitty, lovingly created by Michael Schupbach. This is very cool, not only because it is adorable, but because I got to see him work through the process of developing the idea, creating it and now he’s marketing them. And I have one of my very own. Soft, cute and disturbing. What more could you ask for in a pillow/toy?
For some reason, women are supposed to be shy about their age. This has never made sense to me. I mean, it used to make social sense to mask one’s age to lengthen the amount of time one was eligible for marriage. But, hello, we are not Victorian anymore.
I am thirty-nine years old and proud of every year. Besides, Grandma is 103, so I’m just a child.
My grandmother, who still lives alone, is 103 today.
Granted, her kids take turns coming over to help with housecleaning, but she still cooks for herself. When I was home in the summer, she wanted to talk politics. She votes every election and is very adamant about doing so. It makes sense, I mean, she was alive before sufferage.
When we were home over Christmas, Rob and I took Mom’s turn cleaning (since Mom was prepping for dinner for 24). Grandma asked us to make certain that we got things put back in the same place, if we had to move them. Rob vacuumed the living room and went off to do another room. When he came back into the living room, Grandma was moving her chair. This is not a little wood thing. This is a wingback recliner. My 103 year old grandmother was shoving it back into place and wouldn’t let him help her.
Although we had serious sibling rivalry growing up, he’s a swell guy. He just got accepted to Vanderbilt where he will finish his doctorate. I’m not looking forward to calling him Dr. Harrison, but I’m still proud of him. Oh– and he’s driving up to NYC to help us move in.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]