Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In which we bid good-bye to 26 year old Liam, and Elisabeth gets a silly photo with one of her favorite authors.

Every year there is one delicious month where Liam and I are the same age. This month has started. Happy birthday, Liam! Goodbye 26 year old Liam! We celebrated his birthday in his favorite manner, which is to say we did not celebrate much at all. Liam does not care for fuss on his birthday, as he does not see it as any different than other day. He is aware, though, that birthdays mean a lot to me and let's me do nice things for him. In years passed this has included: making him dinner and sticking a birthday candle in it; making him his morning coffee and sticking a (tall) birthday candle in it and singing at him; making him chocolate chip cookies (which he prefers over cake in general) and sticking birthday candles in them; giving him an empty envelope with a note acknowledging that he hates receiving superfluous gifts, and then giving him a cupcake with a birthday candle in it.
Each year we hide Liam's birthday from well-meaning friends who make a big deal about his birthday. I have to remain cryptic about his actual birthdate when people start fishing for it. I can only say that, like Harry Potter, he is born in the last days of July, and he has many interesting scars. No magical powers have manifested as of yet, nor are we are of any prophecies surrounding him.

We've spent the last few weekends enjoying the summer. The annual Market Days festival brought three days of near-100 degrees heat and such humidity that governments warned citizens to stay indoors. A massive windshear tore through Main Street at 11 p.m. on one of the Market Days, destroying booths and tents for many vendors. Fortunately, the town was abed at that hour and nobody was hurt, but many vendors lost their inventories (thankfully, many were insured). Gibson's lost a tent or two, but fortunately none of our inventory was damaged. I was scheduled to walk up and down Main Street dressed as Waldo from Where's Waldo in promotion of the Bookstore's Where's Waldo downtown scavenger hunt, but with the long sleeves and knee socks that the costume requires, I would have surely succumbed to heat sickness very quickly. I didn't wear the costume, in the end. I still nearly overheated in my sundress and parasol.

We enjoyed a concert by my favorite string quartet rock band, Darlingside, in Bicentennial Square on Saturday night, the close of the Market Days festival. The next day we joined Dan and Marie for a tubing adventure down the Merrimack River. The river had been quite high and swift in the weeks previous (11 people had drowned in the State so far in the month by then), so we were quite cautious in our preparations. The trip downriver took about two hours less than last year, indicating how much faster the river was flowing. Our giant beautiful river looks so deceptive and slow as it serenely rolls past!
We had a snazzy double tube with head rests and a cooler compartment between the seats and netting in the bottom of the tubes to prevent fish from coming up and attacking us from beneath (probably not why the netting was there, but it's something that bothers me so that's how I choose to interpret it). None of us sunburned! Last year we had left the sunscreen bottle at the cars and all suffered for it on our six hour float down the river. I was fortunate that I had my parasol with me last year, but the others were not so lucky. Last year Liam's Irish skin burnt horribly, and Dan and Marie got sun poisoning severe enough to miss several days of work. This year we brought sun protection in the form of creams and (in Liam's Irish white skin ways) protective clothing that we didn't mind getting wet (not shown) and stayed burn free!

Here is a picture of the dog:
Liam was trying to take a picture of the dog with his new hiking dog-panniers, but Nashua's attention was swiftly diverted by a moth. I am especially impressed with the way he seemed to dislocate his jaw to attack his airborne prey.
I hosted a book-signing event at the Bookstore for Terry Brooks, legendary fantasy author (his Sword of Shannara made the New York Times Bestseller list back in 1977, the very first fantasy novel to hit the NYT list, ever. He was the first fantasy author after Tolkien to capture the public's heart. He's had 23 #1's since.):
"Shall we do a serious picture, or a silly one?" I asked.
"Oh, silly I think," he said.
I was thrilled. Authors never seem to want to do silly pictures.
He is a very nice man. I enjoy his events very much.

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