Monday, February 28, 2011

On My Birthday

This past week has been filled with friends, firsts, and some incredibly great experiences, all leading up to today, my 24th birthday!

You may be asking yourself, "Why would you spend your birthday blogging?"

Well, inquisitive reader, this is pretty much what I've seen since 10 a.m.:

Yesterday and today have comprised the 16-hour drive from the Baltimore area to Troy, AL.  So when I finally got tired of reading an hour or so ago, I decided I may as well do something productive for the last few hours of today's drive.  Plus, a lot has happened since my last entry!

[Quick plug: yesterday in the car I finished reading David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas.  It's easily among the best books I've ever read.  I don't understand why this book isn't more's simply brilliant.  My friend who recommended it put it best when she said, however, that while the investment in the story is difficult, the pay-off is huge.]

Last week we found ourselves near Washington, D.C., one of my favorite places in the country, performing at The Barns at Wolftrap, one of my favorite venues in the country.  It's also great to visit D.C. because, coincidentally, I have quite a few friends who moved there after graduation!

The Barns at Wolftrap.
With family friends Sassan and Jessie!
Running with Shannon somewhere near Vienna, VA.
With college friends Shannon, John, Emma, Matt, Alan, Blake, Kim, and Andrew!
On Saturday, we were staying in a hotel just south of Baltimore, so some of my friends drove up from D.C. and we grabbed lunch at Mama's on the Half Shell.  I originally planned to have chicken, because I'm just not a big fan of seafood, but since I was in Baltimore with seafood-savvy friends, and since I know I like crab, I decided to be adventurous!  I've written about my picky ways pre-Barrage, so this meal was notable because it was my first crab cake, and, moreover, it was the first time I'd ordered only seafood for an entire meal!

With Blake, Matt, Kim, and Alan.
Little did I know, though, the day's excitement was just beginning.

That afternoon, we were back at Patterson Mill High School in Bel Air, MD, where we'd previously played my first year in the group.  We were enjoying our dinner in the faculty lounge when, seemingly out of nowhere, the room began to fill with orchestra students singing "Happy Birthday."  Before I knew it, I was holding a giant card signed by the orchestra students, enjoying a bunch of balloons, and marveling at a box of two dozen, incredible cupcakes.

Please notice the incredible cupcake toppers.  Some say "Happy Birthday Taylor" and some have the Barrage logo!

My mom had struck again!  In typical fashion, she had contacted the orchestra teacher ahead of time and had arranged for a pre-birthday surprise.  And even though she did the same thing last year, I had no expectation it would happen again -- truthfully, it hadn't even crossed my mind!

I must give a shout-out to Shelley Stannard, a student's mom and owner of the Flavor Cupcakery in Bel Air.  Not only did she generously donate all of the cupcakes, but I also think the Oreo cupcake I had may just have been the best cupcake I've ever eaten.  It was that good.

Also, the birthday card, made by the school's art teacher, Sandra, was easily the most creative birthday card I've received. The finer points of her creativity included: writing my name in the Barrage font, turning the violin scroll into a cupcake, making the tuning pegs candles, making the f holes into 2 and 4, and cleverly writing "happy birthday" in the strings.  Ingenious!

And, finally, a special thank you to Shane Jensen, the orchestra teacher at Patterson Mill who orchestrated the whole thing!  (Pun very much intended.)

After the show, I had to figure out a way to keep the balloons even though they wouldn't fit in our van.  So, naturally, I put them in the back of our gear truck! 
(Tonight, I moved them into my hotel room.) 

It was truly a wonderful surprise and a great night!

This morning, on our way out of Charlotte, we planned for a birthday breakfast at a neat place called Terrace CafĂ©.  Breakfast already being a strong contender for my favorite meal of the day, it's even more awesome having it double as my celebratory birthday meal!

Blowing out the candle on my free birthday dessert!
All things considered, I had a great week and an incredible birthday.  Thank you to my parents, Barrage, and all those at Patterson Mill HS for making my on-the-road birthday as normal as possible.

And while I don't feel wiser or more mature, 24 is already off to a good start! 


Josephine said...

Do you have a favorite section of cloud atlas? I'm not sure I do; I was just wondering. Also, what wonderful people you know and come in contact with!

ashley said...

Haha, about the patterson mill thing, thank you for including us on your blog!! That was so sweet of you!! We had a lot of fun surprising you! (:

-Freshman Viola Player,