Today is my birthday (I feel strange drawing attention to that, because I don’t generally draw attention to myself, which is weird … because I blog … but I’m mentioning it because I want to talk about my gifts), and the Hobgoblin gave me three news books: The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud, Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl, and Calvin Trillin’s About Alice. I’m excited about the two novels both because they look good and because I’m in need of some contemporary fiction right now. I’m still reeling from The Street of Crocodiles (more on that later) and want something likely to feel a little more familiar. And I’m excited about the Trillin book because I’ve heard wonderful things about it, and I read an excerpt of it in the New Yorker a while back that was really beautiful.
The Hobgoblin also got me some cycling tank tops (special because they have pockets in the back) and a sweater. We went out to a fancy restaurant last night to celebrate, which is standard for us — we agree that everything should be celebrated with a trip to a fancy restaurant, preferably one we haven’t been to before. Oh, and a good friend of mine got me the Jane Austen action figure, which I’m really excited about — it comes complete with writing desk and a quill pen, and the box has this wonderful quotation on it: “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”
Today we went on a group bike ride, which turned out to be wonderful. It was three hours, with about a dozen people, and I was happy with it because for the most part everybody kept a reasonable pace — not too fast — so I worked hard but didn’t kill myself trying to keep up with the others. It was a beautiful day, upper 30s and so warm enough to be comfortable (especially with my toe warmers!), clear, and sunny. The only problem was that the roads were wet, and riding on wet roads with a group can be a bit gross because the tires of the person in front of me spray water and road grit directly at my face. I know the taste of dirty road water all too well. But otherwise, I couldn’t have asked for a better ride.