one’s “birfdays” is apparently that time of year when one is allowed, even encouraged to toss grammar and spelling conventions out of one’s window and substitute whichever letters one prefers for whichever letters one does not… or something. (^_^) in any event, i am thirty years old, as of a couple of days ago, and so i thought i’d share some hideously embarrassing photos from the memorable event… for those of you not in the know, my mother has developed a habit of setting strange things on fire and placing them atop my father’s birthday cake. i believe it started with my father’s 50th, when mom thought that something humorous was appropriate, but didn’t want to go the standard (and thus un-funny) route of black hats/candles/et-over-the-hill-cetera. she placed 50 candles atop his cake, and carted the thing into the other room for my dad to test his lungs upon. fast forward several years, and she’s still lighting abnormally large amounts of candles on fire and placing them on birthday cakes. but i’m only 30, and we only had the number of candles on hand for father’s birthday, which of course were used at that joyous event: aaand the aftermath (some of the candles turned out to be of the type that don’t go out (oops!) so we had to dunk them in water to stop them relighting themselves): so you can well imagine that we expected something silly, despite the fact that my preferred birthday “cake” is in fact a lemon merangue pie: and so we got it: in case you don’t recognize them, those sticks of metal atop my pie are sparklers. like, fourth of july sparkler sparklers. which would have been well and good, except that once they were done sparkling (yeah, i wasn’t trying to blow those things out, thanks) we discovered they’d left behind a little extra iron for us: nutritious!(?) well, we ate it anyway, because pie is yummy, and especially lemon merangue, which i always ask for for my birthday. mom takes cake and dinner requests for our birthday, so i also had lasagne roll-ups this year, which i have been craving for some time. and they had plenty of spinich in them, which was especially delicious (i can’t believe i just said that. adult much?). as for presents, i spent friday hanging with the madre, saturday hanging with my youngest sister and her friend (who was spending the night and is basically my other youngest sister) and then sunday i got my fancy lasagne roll-ups and a lot of naptime, which was also delightful! i also got some dollars, which are going straight into the savings account for when i find an apartment that doesn’t make me wear my headphones all the time in order to avoid my neighbors’ noise. speaking of which, they were acting up the other day, circa 11 pm, and i decided that if they were allowed to be so constantly noisy, i would be too, so i started singing. now, i’m not bragging here, but i do happen to have a bit of a voice, and after i got myself warmed up, i busted out the maya sakamoto anime opening themes and let ’em have it. sure enough, it quieted right down, and sure enough, i haven’t heard too much out of ’em since. i believe we term that a victory. (^_^) so remember, where cops and landlords fail to quiet your overly-rambunctious neighbors, try singing. loudly. in foreign languages. (^_^) anyhow, back to saturday, and the other youngest sister. she, being nearly sixteen, and more than usually precocious for her age, gave us quite an entertaining time, especially after she’d eaten all the merangue off her pie and had three sodas in the course of one evening. now, i’m not saying she was being silly, i’m just pointing you to my new up ‘do (partially obscured by the darkness of the window, thank god) and i’ll let you make up your own mind. (^_^) in other news, NaNo fast approaches. a little too quickly for my tastes, if truth is to be told. (^^;) i’ve got a translation contest i’m entering (due date: Nov 30 ahahahahahahaha–) and i’ve decided to finally take the plunge and learn shorthand. i’ve decided on gregg, via the free textbook thing linked precisely one post ago, which is the anniversary edition. i do have a book on the simplified edition on reserve at the library, but it hasn’t come in yet. it’s not that difficult necessarily, but i can see already that it requires more time than i’ve got before NaNo to get up to speed with. even the simplified edition, which has far fewer short forms (181, yeah, “fewer”) and even with the realization that i probably don’t need most of those short forms (not going to be using a lot of business terms in this year’s novel, although the governmental ones will come in handier than you might at first imagine), i think it’s still a little much to expect to use it to write my whole novel. which is a shame, because that means i’ll have to type some of it up at work, which is always a cause of consternation and wrist pain. while at home, i’ll be typing my words on my lovely Brother EP43 electric portable typewriter. that’s right! my old new baby, complete with aftermarket fimo-clay platen knob (made by your truly)! oh yeah, that’s how we do it! (^_^)-b that is my avatar for the NaNo boards. i donated some dollars to Camp NaNo this past summer (founding donor ftw~) so there’s a little halo above my avatar on the boards, and it’s in just the right place to give the brother a halo. it’s an angelic typewriter? (not the way my plot is, or rather isn’t progressing…) it’s a thermal machine (meaning that instead of each letter slapping against an ink ribbon in order to make an impression on the paper in the shape of a letter, it heats up a thermal tape with electrical impulses and bonds the ink to the paper in the shape of a letter) only i can’t get cartridges for it any more, so i’m typing on thermal fax paper. which comes in 96′ foot rolls. I KNOW, HOW AWESOME IS THAT? PRETTY AWESOME! (^_^) and i will definitely be taking it to write-ins with me. the kick off party is at the library branch that’s literally down the street from me, so i’ll be going to that (omigod next sunday!) and i’ll be carting it out to as many write-ins as i can get to. probably, that means the sunday afternoon ones, but if there are some more that fit my schedule, i’ll be there, too. i have the whole week of thanksgiving off, so i should be able to fit something in there. anyhow, i’m off to find something (anything?) out about my plot, so i’ll let you get back to your normal lives now. if you’re on google+ and want to find some fellow NaNoists over there, here’s a search for you: https://plus.google.com/s/nanowrimo. enjoy~ ~meredeth. (this post brought to you by OMIGODITSNANOAGAINIMALITTLEEXCITEDCANYOUTELL!!!???) .