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I was born in July, and one day has never felt like enough to celebrate the marvel of existing in this form, so for years now I have been having adventures – my favorite gifts – on many of the days in the month of my birth. Some of the best, and occasionally the worst, are documented here.

2010 McLeod Ganj, India
Three low-impact adventures for 3 July:
First, a scratchy throat made me yearn for hot lemon and honey. I added the cardamom and cloves that live in my kettle. Yum.
Second, what is it about seeing the place where you live in the movies? Recognition and surprise at the same time? I had a little Tibetan film fest and saw a stretch of road I walk almost daily. Aww.
Third, monkey on the windowsill. Not cute. Not welcome. Magic word: Shoo!

2009 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Late yesterday we were walking around the Quarantine Building, and Marta said, “Dubrovnik is more beautiful than Woodge.* I know your heart is breaking.” I had begun to enumerate Woodge’s glories unparalleled by Dubrovnik – rickshaws, a long straight street – just before Marta slipped and fell into the ocean. She wasn’t hurt and so far all I’ve heard that got wet was her copy of Dubrovnik In Your Pocket, which can be easily replaced. Still, I believe she was prudent to say, “Sorry, Woodge.”

*The Polish city many people know from the English spelling as Lodz, which lacks three Polish diacritical marks, is pronounced Woodge. It is a city especially dear to my heart.

2008 Tallinn, Estonia
At the Russian market, each member of our Quirky Tour group was given 5 EEK (Estonian kroon) and told to return with something weird. I won the contest with a booklet of Russian crossword puzzles I had bargained hard for. The prize included one of somebody else’s radishes, and the opportunity to observe, rather than participate in, group squats while quacking like a duck.

2007 Granada, Nicaragua
For my adventure yesterday I investigated the old hospital with Miguel and Haminton, who were born there. It is all ruins now, filled timecards from time gone by, and words like Rayos Equis (x-rays,) and wild parakeets. Miguel joked about a man who was lying in the shade of a tree near a staircase and carrying on about something I couldn’t make out: “He isn’t ready to leave the hospital yet.”

2004 Kazansky Station, Moscow, Russia
The biggest members of the Apiaceae, the carrot/parsley family of plants, that I have ever seen grow along the railroad tracks less than an hour from here. They are bigger than dinner plates, the size of platters.

1998 Portland, Oregon, USA
I just now thought of a matrix linking importance and ease of filing. The first of the four categories to be filed would be the “Easy and Important” items, and the last would be the “Difficult and Not Important” items, aka Recycling. Filing the “Easy and Not Important” items could be a reward for filing the “Difficult and Important” items. The advertising jingle, should things progress that far, could be “Born to Be Filed.” Get your matrix running.

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