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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.

2011 Portland, Oregon, USA
Yesterday’s surprise adventure was a furniture caper with neighbors. It may not yet be at an end. Neighbors to the west carried a table across the street to display on the Free Corner, and I thought someone in the neighborhood might want the table, so I asked my neighbor to the east, with whom I was having a lovely chat, to help me carry it back across the street to my parking strip, where it now sits, waiting to see if neighbors upstairs or across the street might want to give it a home.

2010 McLeod Ganj, India
For today’s adventure, I paged through my copy of Swan's Practical English Usage, where I discovered seven pages of discourse markers, the difference between "each" and "every," the unsavory origins of the insult "sod," and a very thin square of napkin with silhouettes of a carrot and a radish sketched on it.
Yesterday, I talked with my friend Leslee in Japan, where, just as in northern India, it was drenching rain. I couldn’t see anything past the trees just beyond the balcony when the clouds rolled in. It rained so hard I had to close the window and jam two towels up against the door to the balcony, under which a puddle was crawling. We laughed and laughed.
I spoke briefly with her Japanese husband, asked him the location of the keys. This is the only thing I know how to say in Japanese, from back when his wife and I shared a room and there was only one set of keys to it.

2009 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
We started yesterday early with a pilgrimage up Apparition Hill in Medjugorje. The walk turned out to be easy enough, as I wasn’t barefoot, walking with a cane, or carrying someone in a sedan chair. The town below is highly commercialized. As we walked and walked, disoriented in a town in which every souvenir booth looks like every other souvenir booth, I taught my Polish friend Marta the words “reverent” and “irreverent,” and she agreed with me that depending on the circumstances, either of these opposites can be the appropriate attitude.
The use of three currencies simultaneously in Medjugorje was a source of some bewilderment.
There was a splendid storm, with real rain, which was thoughtful enough to wait to begin until we were under the little shelter of the bus stop. The bus didn’t come. A taxi driver offered to take us for 10 euros, probably a very good price, since he was going that way anyway. He turned out to be a little nuts – maybe just lack of sleep – and it was unclear whether the speed at which he took the downhill curves or the magnificent vista spread out before us took our breath away.
I spoke a fair amount of Spanish yesterday with the keeper of the Turkish House while Marta repeatedly thwarted one of the seven resident turtles’ attempts to go into the kitchen. The keeper, whose name is pronounced Zinita, though I don’t know the spelling, called me Magdalena, so I have yet another new name.
The bridge that gives Mostar its name was a casualty of the Balkan Wars. A display of photographs and a video recount the destruction and rebuilding of the exquisite little structure, which is both a symbol and practical link between two sides of a river. We continued on to the former front line. “Dramatic” is the word the guidebook uses. I’d say shocking. A lot of rebuilding has gone on in the last 16 years, but the town is still full of ruins with signs warning of their danger.
For the day’s last adventure I held the computer near the window so that Hyphen, with whom I was chatting on Skype, could hear the call to prayer.

2008 Sillamae, Estonia
I love this place. The only museum in town - “You’ll never find it with a map,” explained the receptionist at the hotel who gave me verbal directions - is closed for repairs, one of the first signs I learned to read in Russian, though they didn’t bother with a sign here. I learned the museum’s status from a woman who came running up to me as I put my hand on the doorknob, and told me simply and sympathetically, “Remont,” the word for “repairs.” The closure went without saying.

2007 Granada, Nicaragua
At first I thought I had completely forgotten to have an adventure yesterday, but one came to me at the restaurant El Tercer Ojo, “The Third Eye” also called Tres Ojos, “Three Eyes,” Imelda used to call it. It began with a little square box with a folding screen over the top to keep flies away from the food within. All lacquer red, it was enchanting enough that I asked the waiter if he knew where it came from – India – and if they might be sold hereabouts – yes. I am considering a tradition of acquiring objects from third countries in second countries, and from fourth countries in third countries, and so on. I am looking forward to India even more now.

2003 Blagoveshchensk, Russia
I had been speculating on the nature of a brown lumpy item in one of the yards, but had not come to a conclusion, when a man walked into the yard and the lump instantly rearranged itself into a dog, which it has since remained.
When Slava resorts to his native Russian, he does it with something like ferocity, as if he is a wild animal that has broken free of a cage built of vocabulary and grammar.

1994 Bandon, Oregon, USA
The morning air smells like cordite after the best fireworks display in years. On the way home we saw a red flare with a parachute burning steadily as it slowly drifted to the river’s surface, its long, steady light reflected in the rippling water. It may have been the most beautiful thing I saw last night.

1993 Bandon, Oregon, USA
For yesterday’s adventure I built a rosary. Actually I built two and destroyed one. The one I didn’t destroy is made of hematite, and is more of a suggestion of a rosary than a confident example of one. It is reverent, but edgy. I wonder what sorts of prayers it will provoke.

1985 Bandon, Oregon, USA
In Walden, Thoreau wrote about walking in darkness, and I remember doing that down the long driveway to the schoolhouse where I used to live, with no small amount of difficulty. But last night I spent a great deal of time in the dark and it was no work at all to walk into the house after the fireworks and find the dark cool and inviting, as if it was not so much an absence of light as a different kind of light.

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