Monday, November 30, 2020

Greetings from Rockville

A lot of our Sunday plans were made with the assumption that we would be stopping at World Market to pick up a curbside order that we had placed so we could get Black Friday prices without paying for shipping. Unfortunately, though World Market's web site warned that the online shopping experience might be slow due to increased demand, it failed to mention that stores were running days late in fulfilling online orders for pickup. So we went to Woottons Mill Park, where we walked along Watts Branch and visited the mill site; then, since we hadn't received a pickup email, we went to Rockville Civic Center to walk around Glenview Mansion (the original plan was Croydon Creek Nature Center but there was a deer cull going on in the woods, ugh). 

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At that point, it was late in the afternoon, so I called World Market, which informed me that my order might not be ready till Tuesday and that was if items remained in stock. So we came home, I chatted for a couple of hours with fan friends, we ate Thanksgiving leftovers from my mother for dinner plus our pecan pie for dessert, we watched Lucy Worsley's 12 Days of Tudor Christmas on PBS which was extremely enjoyable especially the marchpane chess set. Then we watched The Lost City of Z, which was better acted than written -- probably my favorite Robert Pattinson performance and Charlie Hunnam and Tom Holland are great, but it has serious racism and colonialism problems ignored after a couple of nods, like the underwritten wife's role. 


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Greetings from Mount Vernon

It was very nice out again on Saturday, so we decided after lunch -- and after it became obvious that Maryland had too many players out with positive coronavirus tests to beat Indiana -- to go see the sheep at Mount Vernon and the views of the river. We didn't go into the mansion, so I'm not sure how decorated it is for the season, but we briefly saw the decorated Christmas trees in the part of the visitor center that opens onto the grounds and we got to admire Aladdin the camel, visiting for the holidays to celebrate the fact that George Washington once brought a camel to Mount Vernon to entertain his grandchildren: 

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We had ravioli for dinner, caught up on the Pac 12 games that were actually being played, then because we had randomly come across it the other day and we saw both prequels, we watched Angel Has Fallen. I could feel my brain cells shriveling as we watched -- Morgan Freeman should be very happy that his character was in a coma for most of the movie. At least Danny Huston looks like he's having fun playing (spoiler alert) That Exact Character Danny Huston Plays In Every Single Movie; Gerard Butler just looks cranky and puffy with bad fillers. I feel less embarrassed about having watched bad princess Christmas rom-coms!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Greetings from Seneca Creek

Friday wasn't quite as warm as Tuesday but it was still a nice day. We did some chores around here in the morning, then we had lunch and went to Seneca Creek State Park, which was setting up for Gaithersburg's annual Winter Lights Festival. We walked along the creek and around the light installations and watched the sun start to set, then we came home and had burgers. 

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We watched The Mandalorian at lunchtime because I kept bumping into spoilers and wanted to see it before I saw any more (I loved it, I love the whole direction of this season, cast issues aside). In the evening we couldn't decide what we were in the mood for and wound up watching Gemini Man, which isn't great but isn't terrible; Will Smith does a lot of work in interesting locales.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Greetings for Thanksgiving

It was 70 degrees on Thursday, for which I heartily give thanks. We watched the scaled-back Macy's parade to see the musical numbers, then we had an early lunch (anticipating a big dinner) and went to walk along the C&O Canal, where the turtles apparently did not remember that winter was coming and were out sunning on logs while the ducks enjoyed the duckweed. Then we came home to clean up and went to my parents' for dinner -- I mostly ate the side dishes, which are my favorites -- and watched Washington beat Dallas. 

We came home to connect Paul's parents and Skyped with them, my parents, and our kids, who were celebrating Thanksgiving together at Daniel's girlfriend's house; we'd talked to my sister earlier with my parents. Afterward (and after The Masked Singer, which for some reason they moved to Thursday), we watched Jersey Boys because we've never seen it (it's okay, not great, though I enjoyed the music). I didn't manage to upload the canal photos yet so here are a few of our Thanksgiving and our kids' Thanksgiving: 

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Greetings from Great Falls

Paul had Wednesday off, so we slept late and had a quiet morning, then I chatted for a while with my high school friends, and then we went to Great Falls. It was overcast and cool, and the reptiles and amphibians are hibernating, but we saw lots of birds -- wrens and sparrows, black and turkey vultures, hawks, ducks, geese, a great blue heron. We had chili bowls for dinner and I talked to my college roommate on the phone for an hour.


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Then we watched Happiest Season, which I enjoyed though I didn't completely adore, partly because of my overall resistance to Christmas movies. I love Kristen Stewart in everything, and Dan Levy's wry schtick works very well in this story. But the Big Family Squabble, played as broad farce, undercuts the emotion of the main characters in the moment and makes it hard to take certain family members' changes of heart seriously, a frequent flaw in the genre.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Greetings from Caprikorn Farms

Paul doesn't have to work on Wednesday, so we're watching Baby Driver late because we've never seen it (yes, I know just about everyone in it is canceled, and it is crazy violent but extremely well edited as everyone said). So I will be brief. We had a quiet morning doing work, took a walk in the gorgeous weather, saw two bunnies, ate dinner early, then I watched Voyager with my Tuesday group ("Prime Factors" -- one of the first season's best), after which we watched Draft Day because it was super-cheap on Vudu and it's a Chadwick Boseman movie with lots of pro football cameos. Caprikorn Farms this past weekend: 



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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Poem for Tuesday and Squirrel Feast

To A City-Park Squirrel
By Amos Russel Wells

Dear little exile from woodlands dear,
How can you keep your wilderness grace,
How can you bound so merrily here,
Shut in this narrow and formal place?

Still your fancies are forest-free,
Still as gallant you swing and glide
From dusty tree to skeleton tree
As once you roamed through the woodlands wide.

Surely you must, on a witching night,
Flee from the prisoning haunts of men,
Over the housetops take your flight,
And bathe yourself in the woods again!


Monday was a Monday -- things that had to get done, laundry, a new fuzzy heated blanket on the couch that made the cats suspicious until they started fighting over it. The weather was gorgeous and Paul had a conference call in the late afternoon so we took a walk early, where we saw lots of squirrels and sparrows and one bunny hiding under a neighbor's bush. Also, this happened to what's left of our jack-o-lantern. 









There was mixed good news -- terrible coronavirus numbers and my governor being half-assed about shutting things down, but everyone besides Trump has finally declared it over, which will make it harder for him to start a war to stay in office and Biden has the makings of a cabinet. We watched Antiques Roadshow, then the second half of the Bucs-Rams game, and now The Fate of the Furious is destroying my remaining brain cells.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Greetings from South Mountain Farms

The weather was gorgeous on Sunday, so after a late breakfast/early lunch, we decided to go to Caprikorn Farms, which is usually part of the Valley Craft Network tour around Middletown, though most of the artisans are online-only right now. The blacksmith from Penguin Forge was at Caprikorn Farms, but our main reason for visiting was to see (and feed!) the goats and get goat cheese. Since we were out in the hills, we stopped at South Mountain Creamery to see the calves and get some of the holiday ice cream flavors, too.

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I came home to chat with my friends online, then we watched some football and had dinner (the Ravens had already managed to lose to the Titans and the Packers lost to the Colts, boo). We talked to our kids about Skyping with their grandparents on Thanksgiving, watched the end of the Raiders-Chiefs game, and now I'm watching Furious 7 because I got a free copy from linking my Movies Anywhere to Fandango or something and I've never seen any of these films and The Rock is in this digging Taylor Swift and so is Elsa Pataky.