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Greetings from Frederick County [Nov. 18th, 2018|12:56 am]
We had a really nice, very busy Saturday starting with a morning showing of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which I liked a lot -- not as much as the first one and not as much as any of the HP films, but because I'm less emotionally invested in this generation, I'm also less troubled by any of the WTF moments, and the film is gorgeous, especially the parts set in Paris. I'll do a post tomorrow about things I loved (the sewers!) and things I hated (everything connected to Nagini).

As for the rest of my day, we went to the Valley Craft Network farm and studio tour around Frederick, came home for dinner, then picked up Daniel at the airport! Here are the pics:

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Valley Crafts )
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Poem for Saturday and Brookside Pre-Christmas [Nov. 17th, 2018|12:56 am]
Accepting Heaven at Great Basin )

I had a nice Friday in gorgeous weather after the Thursday snow. Alice came over after a nearby appointment, then Maddy came and met us and we went to the Silver Diner for brunch (I had eggs benedict, of course). Then we wandered around World Market since it was right there and took Maddy home, so I have finally seen her new house -- and two pets, though only one of the roommates was around. It was so gorgeous that I went to the park in the late afternoon, came home and swept wet leaves and remaining snow off the deck.

We had dinner with my parents while our kids had dinner in Seattle with friends from here who have moved out there. Came home in time for Blindspot (thank you Kurt for finally getting a clue), after which we watched Carriers, which I had expected to be more like Contagion and less like, well, a post-apocalyptic hellscape; Chris Pine was very good in it but wow is that a dark movie (and I own it, freebie for linking UV accounts). Here's a happier thing, preparations for the winter holidays at Brookside Gardens:

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Ready for Winter )
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Lyrics for Friday, Snow Day, Alan Doyle [Nov. 16th, 2018|12:47 am]
Sea of No Cares )

I had a very unusual November Thursday in that we woke up to snow. Paul thought about going in to work, but the county first delayed schools, then closed them when the snow started coming down harder and mixed with sleet, making the roads a mess. So he worked from home and I had a fairly quiet day working on a photo book. My kids had dinner together in Seattle, since younger son is there for a job interview.

We had tickets in the evening to see Alan Doyle at the Barns at Wolf Trap, and I was nervous about going because the local roads were a mess. But the concert was amazing -- Canadian country singer Whitney Rose opened and Doyle did a mix of his newer music, Great Big Sea songs, songs he and Russell Crowe did together...most of my favorites, and as always he had the audience singing along, clapping, and dancing!

2018-11-15 22.16.08
Wolf Trap and Weather )
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Poem for Thursday and Colonial Fair [Nov. 15th, 2018|12:50 am]
The Fire )

My Wednesday was pretty uneventful apart from preparations for the snow with which we're being threatened overnight, though I have a good friend dealing with a family health emergency that stressed me out all day on top of worrying about the California fires and the dumpster fire in the White House. When Paul came home, I dragged him to an EX raid at the Shriver Aquatic Center so we could stop at Trader Joe's and World Market to prepare for the snow that did not read the manual that says no snowing till after Thanksgiving.

Katniss decided to help herself to my hummus at lunchtime, which necessitated some research into whether hummus is dangerous for cats because it contains garlic (apparently not enough garlic to be a problem, though garlic cloves are not good for cats). Now she and Effie are sleeping on or under vents while Cinnamon is watching Avengers: Age of Ultron with us and Cheryl because we really wanted a movie with a great Stan Lee cameo. Here are some more photos from the Mount Vernon Colonial Fair last weekend:

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Colonial Fair )
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Poem for Wednesday and Mount Vernon Sheep [Nov. 14th, 2018|12:48 am]
Achieving Perspective )

It rained much of Tuesday, keeping me in the house (and in my PJs, ha) until after noon, though I got a decent amount of work done in that time. Then I went out to the park for a little while before Paul came home and we ran out to Giant.

We watched The Gifted instead of The Flash -- it's holding my interest better, though those mutant groups need to put aside their differences and work together -- and Black Lightning -- a bit too diffuse this year, needs more family, less conspiracy.

My west coast in-laws have returned to their home, which is great, though I have two friends having crises this week which is upsetting for me too. Here are some happy sheep at Mount Vernon in the late afternoon during the Colonial fair last weekend:

2018-11-11 15.28.06
Washington's Sheep )
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Poem for Tuesday, Marvel and Me [Nov. 13th, 2018|12:53 am]
Respect )

I had a nice Monday -- the rain held off till evening, so I could get to the park, and I met my mother at the synagogue's annual holiday boutique, where I ran into many people I know, including friends from high school, parents of my kids' friends from preschool, and longtime friends of my mother. Plus we caught up on Sunday's Supergirl (still appreciating the sociopolitical bent of this season) and saw tonight's Legends of Tomorrow (was the show always this good or has it really stepped up its game?).

But the day was overshadowed by the news of Stan Lee's death, which I wouldn't have guessed would hit me so hard. It's not like it was unexpected -- he was in his 90s, had been ailing, had lost his wife of seven decades -- and it's not like I grew up a big fan of comic books, I don't think I even knew who he was till I was in college. Still, he is irreplaceable as an entertainer and as a person, a champion of seeing the humanity in villains and accepting flaws in heroes. Here are some moments he gave me personally:

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Because of Stan )
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Greetings from Mount Vernon [Nov. 12th, 2018|12:28 am]
It was a gorgeous day on Sunday, warmer than Saturday with pretty much no clouds. We met Cheryl at Mount Vernon for the annual Colonial Fair, which had been postponed from September because of Hurricane Florence. It's always been held before in late summer, so we're used to being there trying to get out of the heat, whereas today it was in the 50s at the warmest, so although there were fewer vendors because of the rescheduling, it was a lovely afternoon and we got to have the awesome bread and cheese sandwiches and gingerbread sold there.

2018-11-11 15.28.32
Farm and Festival )


After visiting the animals and buying peanuts and honey in the gift shop, we all drove into Alexandria, where we had dinner at Bilbo Baggins, which has the best brie en croute around and right now has absolutely phenomenal butternut squash soup too. Then we came home for Doctor Who, which I loved -- another real historical moment with political implications, portrayed without excess metaphor -- and Madam Secretary -- highly oversimplified as usual but with a lot of heart and a fun side story about international chess, featuring a romance and everything!
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Greetings from Wheaton [Nov. 11th, 2018|12:56 am]
After a quiet morning, I had a really nice afternoon because we told Adam that we were going to Brookside Gardens and asked whether he and Katherine wanted to join us so she and I could catch Cyndaquil together for Community Day, and to our surprise he said they'd meet us there. So she and I caught a lot of Pokemon while Adam filled us in on his travel plans next week for several more job interviews on the west coast, hopefully outside the fire zone.

It was chilly by the time Community Day ended in the evening, so we all went to Methi, an Indian and Nepalese restaurant in Wheaton that none of us had ever been to before, and while it was not glamorous, the food was great. Then Adam and Katherine drove back to College Park (a campus probably bummed about the Terps' loss that afternoon) and we came home to catch up on Graham Norton and watch SNL, didn't want to miss McKinnon's probable last Jeff Sessions.

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Color and Cyndaquil )
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Poem for Saturday, Goodbye Paramount Ranch [Nov. 10th, 2018|12:58 am]
Walking the Dunes )

My Friday was not exciting compared to my Thursday -- I went out in the rain to do some chores, I did some work on the computer, we had dinner with my parents and are now all caught up on The Gifted. But mostly I watched the news because I was worried about people I know and places I love in California, and the news was not good.

It sounds like the fire in Griffith Park by the zoo was isolated and the relatives on my side of the family are out of range of the big fires, but Paul's brother David's family was evacuated from Thousand Oaks and my nephew is living what is sometimes every kid's dream in that his school has burned down, at least partially.

I know it's just buildings and not even homes, but I was very sad to hear that Paramount Ranch has burned down. Most people know it now as Westworld's Western town, but Westworld hadn't aired when we visited in 2016; we knew it from many older TV shows and movies. These aren't the photos I intended to post today, but I'm sorry it's gone:

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Paramount Ranch )
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Poem for Friday and Kensington Antique Row [Nov. 9th, 2018|12:22 am]
I Opened a Book )

For reasons not worth getting into, I went to Kensington on Thursday after breakfast -- okay fine, the only way to catch a Nincada in Pokemon Go is to complete the research quest to find five bug-type Pokemon, but it's very rare to get that quest from a Pokestop, and someone I knew said he got it at a stop in a park in Kensington that morning. I was just going to stop at the park, spin the Pokestop, and go home, but it was right near Antique Row, which I had somehow never visited despite having lived in the county for many years and driven right past it on the way to University Boulevard.

So since it was a gorgeous day, I decided to take a walk. I looked at books and glassware and jewelry and dolls and rare collectibles and all kinds of fun things in about 10 stores. Plus I visited the historic train station, which has a B&O Railroad station master's house though that's only open when the farmer's market is taking place in the parking lot, and the Antique Row tea shop though I didn't wait in line for food. I don't know why it took me so long to visit but I will certainly be back. Here are a few photos, including a train reflected in the bookstore window and the Maryland National Guard:

2018-11-08 14.06.37
Antique Shops )


Because I hadn't had lunch by the time I left Kensington after 4 p.m., I stopped for Indian food at Mirch Masala in the mall, so I wasn't very hungry for dinner. We watched Crazy Rich Asians, which is finally streaming, and it is every bit as great as I was told; I'm rarely a fan of any rom-coms, but this is only a rom-com superficially in its structure, it's a family drama with a lot of funny moments, a stellar cast, gorgeous views of Singapore and the locations in Malaysia that doubled for it, and lots of interesting women who I wish had talked more about their lives and less about their men!
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