April 15th, a day most Americans despise. Tax Day, the deadline by which you need to file your taxes -- my birthday.
The night before my birthday, Aaron came home from class with a box of ice cream sandwiches as a pre-birthday treat. The next morning I awoke to caramels and a rainbow of oil-based colored pencils, followed by pancakes with cappuccino. A magical way to begin my day.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love to draw. Along with that, that I love coloring what I drew. While I enjoy many mediums, oil-based colored pencils are my favorite. Much to my dismay, they're also difficult to find. I used to own a supply of vintage Coloray pencils but they were stolen from me by an ass some years back. Since then all of my sketches have been, for the most part, black and white. Aware of this, Aaron returned color to my art world.
The pencils are very nice. Arranged in a splendid metal case, thin enough to travel with, but protective enough to prevent breakage. Much nicer than the old ones I used to own. Wooden barrels with a natural polish and colored ends in a nice matte finish to give you a keen sense of the color you're reaching for without having to read its name. Speaking of their names, their labeled in both German and English. I prefer the German, because in English it's, "Pale Geranium Lake," whereas in German it's, "Geranium Hell." Geranium Hell, f-yes.
After being bombarded with generous birthday wishes, I settled in at my desk and got to work with my new pencils. Having not applied color to much of anything for such a long time, I had a hard time deciding what to color first. Athera? Maelin perhaps? Maybe a Varay drawing? After much deliberation I decided on Athera, since her 6000 Views drawing had been promised in color some time ago. But what colors should I arrange for her? Her official colors were blue in life, but since this is a, "What if?" scenario sketch I could really go with anything and get away with it. Granted, as my original creation, I could really go with anything and get away with it.
I settled on lichtblau, nachtgrun, and bergblau with a Persian blau base. See? The German is much better. The finished product can, as always, be found on my deviantart.
For dinner Aaron took me out to Marrakech. A Moroccan restaurant where you're served five separate courses while being entertained by belly-dancers. We ordered a bottle of red wine for the occasion. They start off by washing your hands, then present you with a savory tomato and lentil soup, followed by a 'salad' and bread, then a mystical pastry. After that your main course is brought. I had the lamb in honey, and boy was it delicious. The meat was so tender and moist it just fell right off the bone.
Once you've finished, they wash your hands again, pamper them with orange oil, and bring you hot tea. A sweet mint and honey blend -- one of the greatest teas I've ever had and I'm kind of a tea snob. Finally you're brought a slice of nice, flaky, hot baklava. The entire meal is eaten with your hands, no silverware. A truly unique dining experience. Very fun. Very tasty.
There were two belly-dancers performing while we were there. From time to time they would approach a table to try to get the patrons up and dancing with them. Though a couple of people got up for a minute, most people were too embarrassed and refused. I got up and belly-danced with both women, with Aaron's encouragement. Almost a whole song with the second. It was fabulous.
After that the large group of Asian men seated in the corner got up and started trying to dance with her too, but only one of them had any rhythm to speak of. The rest of them kind of looked like what you'd imagine a robot trying to do ballet to look like. Which was pretty funny to watch.
One of my favorite moments of the night was when, finally, one of the dancers coaxed the old man sitting across from Aaron and I into belly-dancing with her. Ever seen a 70 year old man with a ZZ Top beard try to belly-dance? It's priceless. Probably not something I'll ever have the luck of seeing twice, but by golly I'll never forget this once. He was impressively spry for his age.
My soon-to-be mother-in-law presented me with a beautiful pair of diamond earrings and baked me a cherry pie. My favorite kind of pie, for the record. Her best friend, the lovely Jeri, gave me a candle which smells just fabulous. The sort of candle so quality in fragrance that you may not even have to light it for it to scent the room its in.
This was by far the best birthday I've ever had. I did nothing but what I wanted the entire day. And there will be more celebrations forthcoming. At the end of May we'll be headed off to Ohio then Michigan to visit my family for a week. They've all decided to withhold my presents until such a time that they can give them to me face-to-face. Tomorrow we're flying down to L.A., so I should probably finish up the laundry and get to packing.
P.S. Ice cubes melt into a surprising amount of water. Just saying.