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I thought I would write a quick post about how wonderful and thoughtful my husband is--he came up with a wonderful surprise for my birthday (yesterday)!

Randall had been telling me for days that he had something special planned. All he would tell me is that we were doing something that could only be done in the triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill), and that his later than anticipated arrival (Elisabeth's awards ceremony was that afternoon) meant that we might have to start that day and finish another day.

So, he picked me up from work at 3:30, and he said he really wasn't sure we would be able to finish that day because we would have to be "out by 5:00." Interesting. We drove up to Durham, and then he told me to close my eyes and kept saying things like "I hope I can find it." When I opened my eyes, I saw a sign for the Tuba Exchange! Some of you know, but some of you don't, that I am a tuba player. I started in 7th grade and played through high school, quit in college, and started up again in grad school. I played actively when we lived in Colorado, but after we moved to NM in 1997, I didn't play because I didn't own a tuba (all the other groups I played in had a tuba I could borrow). We've talked for years about buying one, but it seemed so impossible (my dream tuba costs about $10,000).

This place was amazing. It's the only place in the country that specializes in tubas, and they ship instruments everywhere. Being surrounded by hundreds of tubas was really something. If you go to the web site (http://www.tubaexchange.com/) and click on Historic Collection at the very top, you can get a feel for it.

My lips haven't touched a tuba since I was pregnant with Elisabeth 9 years ago, so I was kind of nervous about trying them out, but I started with a used instrument (http://www.tubaexchange.com/used-product-detail.asp?PID=Sear/Cerveny681). That was fine, but I wanted to try more. We walked over to the other building where he keeps the new instruments, and he talked through the options. I had always wanted a Miraphone, but Vince was really pushing the St. Petersburg line, which he said was much better and quite a lot less expensive. He had a brand-new shipment of 88 St. Petersburgs he was very excited about. I played it, and the difference between that and the used one I had tried was remarkable. I decided that was the one I wanted, so we bought it on the spot! It's the one featured on the top level of the home page (or see http://www.tubaexchange.com/product-detail.asp?PID=STP-202N). It has a nickel finish, so it's silver colored instead of brass, and it's beautiful! It came with a free "gig bag" (for all the many gigs I'll be doing--ha!), and a free mouthpiece (which is good, since I don't have a clue where my old one is). I don't know how much I'll get a chance to play before we move to NM, but I'm really hoping I can get connected to a community band or orchestra before too long.

After shopping, we went to dinner at Brasa (a Brailiam restaurant where they bring the meat out on skewers) and then window-shopped for a while.

I had a wonderful day yesterday. Between Randall's attention, and the surprise lunch my co-workers threw for me, I felt so special! It's a big birthday (40), so it's nice to have the celebrations be extra-nice.


Very cool! Happy Birthday, Susan! Randall, that was a great surprise.

Thinking of you, Karin

That is so cool Susan! Happy Birthday and congrats!

All our best,