I must finally be a "grown-up", because my answer to the question, "what do you want to on your birthday?" was "get this furshlugginer report done and to the client by the end of the month."
... no, seriously. I actually had a dream the night before last about being hijacked by friends and family and getting dragged off to a "fun" gathering, while all the while thinking, "But I wanted to get stuff DONE this morning! I told my manager that I'd have that on his desk! I'm losing HOURS of work!" When I actually woke up and got to work, there was a palpable sense of relief. I was wholly engaged in the problem-solving, both the data analysis and the minutiae of layout and production. I was busy non-stop, and enjoying myself thoroughly. With as many birthdays as I've spent without gainful employ, being occupied might be the Best Present Ever.
Getting my paycheck AND a quarterly bonus on my birthday is right up there, too.
Another Truly Excellent Present: after a year of record-low rainfall, the "storm gates are finally open", as our local TV weather announcers like to say. We're getting wave after wave of storms that are doing their level best to make up for the last year in the span of a couple of weeks. We're close enough to the edge that we'll probably still be in official drought conditions for the rest of the year, but next year looks like an El Niño year, so things might get REALLY wet.
(Eventually, Californians will understand that an "average rainfall year" almost never happens: our "average" is the mean between five years of drought and two years of flooding. Once we start planning accordingly ... well, then climate change will screw up the pattern, but nevertheless.)
The juxtaposition of Birthday and Rain has brought an amusing wave of pleasant nostalgia, triggered during the long commute home yesterday. The big El Niño of '78-'79, which brought an end to the long drought that shaped my childhood years, corresponds neatly to the release dates of the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which shaped my teenage years. Hearing pouring rain playing its staccato on a metal roof always brings me back to the lazy days I spent curled up in the back of our motor home, pouring over the latest volume of AD&D (or, more often, some unofficial supplement from some third-party vendor).
The cheap bindings, terrible typesetting, and cheesy art based on cheap dime store toys didn't matter. For all my critiques of "dungeon fantasy", I remember the open-eyed excitement and possibility of High Fantasy, of a hobby built around creating entire worlds. I've got that rare wave of wanting to play a D&D-style RPG again, though it might be better served by getting back to work on my own High Fantasy Magnum Opus.
It's possible my "grown-up" status may still be in some degree of dispute ...