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Strange encounters, weekend edition

A cooling breeze coming in through the windows, the warm rays of an early summer sun. I love lazy Saturday mornings when we're slow to rise and a soft sleepiness hangs around for a time before the get-up-and-go takes over. It's the perfect time for a book, or a crossword, or a puzzle, and definitely the perfect time for discovery. Then again, what isn't the perfect time for discovery?

Do you think Iris is wondering what's gotten into us? Crawling around on the ground in a tangle of wires making a variety of frightening sounds and shooting things into the air. She may think we're off our rockers.

She should see us at other times.

Later in the morning we went to the Ann Arbor library book sale. All books were half off their already obscenely low prices so it was hard to resist. We brought home a number of treasures—Calvin picked up a couple of dragon stories and I got a couple of photography books and a beautiful copy of a 1960s Field Guide to the National Parks of East Africa. I love books like this because they have that wonderful book smell, because they are usually very well made, better made than most new books, and because they are primary sources in their own right. History changes as we write about it, and if I want to read about African Wildlife in the 1960s, the best way to do so is in a book from that time. But at the checkout the man helping add up our total felt the need to mention to me that the 1960s guide might not be so accurate anymore. Thanks anyway guy.

After the sale we stopped by our favorite downtown lunch spot, where Calvin devoured not only some truffle pizza, but also his new book on the summer Olympics (another library sale find). This is the first Olympics that he is really aware of, and he's very excited about the swimming and other water sports in particular. We were explaining that they show the most popular sports on a tape delay late at night (something that I, and much of the Twitter world, apparently, find excessively annoying), and that they'd likely be on after bedtime. At that moment the people sitting next to us politely interrupted, asked Calvin about his interest, and then negotiated a later bedtime for him. The Olympics come around so rarely, they argued for him. He was allowed to stay up until 10.

After lunch, shopping at the fair trade shop next door, my quiet perusal of the book shelf was interrupted by an elderly store worker who suggested I read to Calvin a book about "a boy with no toys of his own", unlike the children we're used to, she added. She then proceeded to complain to me about her granddaughter's bursting toy chest and overflowing bedroom. I told her that we try to keep the toys in our house somewhat limited, though "educational products" and books are pretty much coming out our ears, and we chatted briefly about that side of our culture before she up and tried to sell me a toy made by underprivileged children somewhere in the world. I thought she was joking, but she wasn't. I did not enlighten her on the irony of that exchange.

We did go home with our overflowing bags of books, however, and spend the afternoon reading, and snapping circuits, and walking dogs, gardening, discovering, exploring, grilling dinner, and living the lazy summer life. And if you ever want to know about wildlife in 1960s African National Parks, just ask me.

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