For the record, Saturday is the Czarina’s birthday. She’s not expecting a big blowout, and we’re planning to celebrate very quietly. Breakfast out, maybe a movie, and then hiding inside until the big yellow hurty thing in the sky returns to Hell. A typical August for the both of us.
Anyway, she claims that she doesn’t really want anything for her birthday, but I know better. She’s getting two things for her special day, and the first is her very own Fresnel spot lens. Considering that one of the things that Texas has in excess is sun, she’s wanting to conduct experiments in making pendants and castings using her own glass, melting it with her own solar forge. If this works, we’re planning to experiment with making our own helenite from volcanic ash: I gave her a slab of helenite I picked up when I lived in Portland, Oregon, and she’s been itching to make something interesting out of it ever since.
The other item she’s receiving is both unorthodox and extremely orthodox at the same time. Specifically, I’m getting her a Galapagos Toob. For those who don’t have kids, or who aren’t interested in science toys, the company Safari Ltd. offers sets of small plastic figures in a long rectangular tube, usually on a particular theme. Those Toobs range from Jamestown settlers to baby dinosaurs, and the Galapagos Toob contains a set of stereotypical Galapagos Islands fauna. Besides the typical tortoise, it includes two varieties of iguana (land and marine), land crabs, a penguin, a frigatebird, and both red-footed and blue-footed boobies in full challenge display.
Now, the Czarina may think this is odd, but I’m actually engaging in a very old Dallas ritual. I’m just joining a multitude of male residents in this city in buying his wife a pair of fake plastic boobies for her birthday. I just don’t have to worry about these ones rupturing. (And that’s when the elbows struck, Your Honor.)