littlereview: (photos)
In drear nighted December )

Quickie as we have had a very busy day! We went to Baltimore, met up with Denise, and visited the "It's a Wonderful Life" exhibit at the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory (where we met Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and discovered that the greenhouse is named after her father). After that, we all went next door to the Maryland Zoo to see the new Penguin Coast exhibit with our kids as well as all the African and Arctic animals (we had the zoo practically to ourselves and pretty much all the animals were awake and active, especially the lion cubs who were extremely rambunctious and adorable).

Then we came home, connected with Adam's girlfriend, and went to my parents' to celebrate Chanukah, which involved huge amounts of food and some presents. After that, since we may go see The Battle of the Five Armies tomorrow, we watched the last hour and a half of the extended edition of The Desolation of Smaug so that those present who had not seen it could catch up! I will post zoo pictures soon, but since I did not have time to crop them, nor to watch a single minute of the very sad Ravens game which we missed visiting actual Baltimore ravens, here are Chanukah photos plus one from the conservatory:

Chanukah Week )
littlereview: (jewitch)
The Snowdrop )

Adam's girlfriend Christine came over Saturday morning to drop off his Chanukah present -- she adopted a manatee for him -- and stayed to watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in case she decides to come see The Battle of the Five Armies with us when we go next week (yeah, you can tell I'm in a real rush). So we hung out with them for a while, ate lunch, then went to retrieve Daniel from College Park after he finished his last final.

Since we had both kids home and hadn't made any plans because we weren't sure when Daniel would be finished, we decided to go see Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. While not the most inspired installment in the franchise, it has three moments that make it worth seeing even if you're not nostalgic for the cast or premise: one involving an Escher painting, one extended Jewish joke, and one Sir Lancelot sequence with the BEST CAMEO EVER!

Since the movie didn't end till after 8 p.m., we were all hungry and stopped at California Tortilla for dinner -- I had a birthday coupon for a free burrito anyway, and neither of our kids had been in ages since the one in College Park has closed. We came home to the shocking news that Washington had beaten the Eagles! Now we are watching SNL (for Amy Adams, not One Direction)! Here are random winter scenes, some of which you may already have seen on Facebook:

Chanukah Week )
littlereview: (trek)
Opus 181 )

This will be a quickie because I'm behind again on lots of things, but I have Adam home for winter break already and Daniel arriving tomorrow after his last final (on a Saturday, harrumph, though he is happy already because he got an A+ in his very difficult OS class). Apart from picking Adam up in College Park and having lunch with him and Paul, my day mostly involved chores and work, including posting a review of Deep Space Nine's "The Emperor's New Cloak" and getting my laundry out of the dryer so Adam could put his in.

It was clear but quite chilly, though not too cold for a couple of bunnies near sunset. We had dinner with my parents, then we came home and watched American Psycho because Adam had not seen it and I wanted to remind him not to turn into a soulless automaton on Wall Street. Now Ben Stiller is on Jimmy Fallon's show and I read a tiny spoiler today that turned the third Night at the Museum movie from a "when I get to it" to "MUST SEE NOW!" movie. Because the solstice is coming fast, here are a couple of shore birds from California:

Beach Birds )
littlereview: (get critical)
From a Bridge Car )

It was another day of very small triumphs of which I am disproportionately proud! All of my holiday packages and most of my holiday cards are in the mail! And I was only at the post office for about an hour! Plus I survived a trip to the bank branch across from the mall, despite the parking lot being full for the first time in my visits over the past many decades!

In other words, I have nothing much interesting to report. Well, I did go to World Market to get a couple of family Chanukah presents, where I saw a deck of Wonder Woman playing cards that I nobly left on the shelf, then discovered that I couldn't use my $10-off-$30 coupon because I had less than $30 in my basket and figured that was a sign from above to get the cards.

We caught up on The 100 since we forgot all about it doing other things on Wednesday (as with the early HP movies, I feel vaguely guilty in that the grownups interest me so much more than the teens), and we watched Elementary, which I thought was really good this week, not something I've felt all seasons. Brandywine River Museum holiday nature critters:

Brandywine Beasts )
littlereview: (Default)
Rededication )

I have nothing exciting to report about my Wednesday, but on Thursday most of my holiday cards and packages will be mailed, and that's accomplishment enough for me. I had several conversations with my cats plus one with a bunny in a neighbor's yard, I got a Josephine Wall 2015 calendar for Chanukah, I got The Fellowship of the Ring for free from Google Play plus some Trans-Siberian Orchestra -- that's all good.

In the evening we were busy trying to figure out whether we could fix rather than replace the vacuum cleaner (verdict: failure) and how to load labels into the new printer (verdict: success), though we managed to watch Les Miserables: The History of the World's Greatest Story. Here are some holiday trees from Winterthur's Yuletide, including a Downton Abbey tree and one in Winterthur servants' quarters:

Yule Trees )
littlereview: (jewitch)
Weave in, My Hardy Life )

Tuesday was supposed to be the day on which I got everything done that didn't get done last week, like printing holiday card address labels, folding laundry, sorting things to freecycle, and putting away my birthday DVDs. Instead, even though it rained all day so I avoided being outside as much as possible, it took me two hours to tag and upload photos from the past weekend and I didn't get to half of what I wanted to get done.

I did have a lovely evening with [personal profile] artemis_prime and her hubby, who came over to have latkes and celebrate the first night of Chanukah with us. She had to leave early to meet her mom, but he stayed to watch Virtuosity (he'd never seen it, of course Russell Crowe is not a hardship for me) and Phantasm (we'd never seen it, hahahaha). Here is Noah's Ark handcrafted of natural materials at the Brandywine River Museum:

Noah's Ark )
littlereview: (green little review)
To a Young Girl at a Window )

I got to spend Monday with Cheryl, who stayed over after we got back late from the Brandywine Valley on Sunday night. We watched the very sappy, predictable, Disneyfied A Princess For Christmas over breakfast, then spent the rest of the day -- apart from a break to pick up Indian food for lunch and another break to take a walk to see bunnies -- with Richard Sharpe (Gold, Battle, Sword).

Because we could, we also watched a couple of Shoujo Cosette episodes before Cheryl had to go home. Paul and I had dinner and worked on various chores before catching up on Once Upon a Time. My seasonal cards are going to be a bit late arriving overseas, but they're New Year rather than holiday cards at least. Some photos from Longwood's outdoor light display; will post indoor lights soon!

Dark December )
littlereview: (little review)
I spent all day Sunday in the Brandywine Valley with Paul and Cheryl, seeing Winterthur's Yuletide displays and the Downton Abbey exhibit again, then the Brandywine River Museum's Enchanted Castles and Noble Knights, Christmas critters, and train display, then Longwood Gardens' bird-themed holiday gardens and conservatory. One pic from each, more tomorrow!

Delaware and Pennsylvania )
littlereview: (jewitch)
Song Book )

We spent most of Saturday with Daniel, Adam, Paul's parents, and Christine on the Frederick Museums by Candlelight tour, starting in Brunswick, where because Clair and Cinda were running late, we made ornaments at Past & Present Antiques. Then we all met for lunch and visited local museums and farms!

Around Frederick )

Adam and Christine needed to get back to the University of Maryland to get ready for finals next week, so we dropped them off, then took Daniel to the Blaze Pizza in College Park for dinner before dropping him off too. We got home in time for The Graham Norton Show and Martin Freeman on SNL!
littlereview: (trek)
A Gift )

I had a whole bunch of work to get done on Friday. I needed to write a review of Deep Space Nine's "Prodigal Daughter", which required that I finish watching the episode, since I got interrupted last night with various family phone calls, and I had a bunch of chores I blew off on Thursday that are still only half-done. We had pretty, chilly weather, meaning cats who wanted to sit on me (or on the heating vent) and "help" the whole time.

In the late afternoon, we picked up my parents, then went to College Park and picked up my kids so we could drive to Silver Spring for dinner at Eggspectation (I had eggs benedict with feta and potatoes, like I always do there because their hollandaise is exceptional). I actually get to see my kids two days in a row because tomorrow we're taking them to see their other grandparents in Brunswick. From the Maryland Zoo Penguin Coast opening:

Maryland Penguins )
littlereview: (jewitch)
Jabberwocky )

I had a nice, kind of low-key birthday, which was exactly what I wanted since I'm seeing my parents and kids on Friday and my in-laws on Saturday. Paul worked from home so we could go out to lunch together, though after a morning of sorting stuff to freecycle and things like that, I was startled to look outside and see snow coming down. Fortunately none of it stuck, so we went to Minerva for Indian buffet, then stopped at Kohl's so I could exchange something I bought the day before. Then we came home and I folded laundry and took a walk to see bunnies!

Although I've thought Gracepoint wasn't up to par with Broadchurch in most ways -- lots of inferior performances, though I've had more issues with Beth, Mark, and Paul than with Ellie, who's probably the most different but I've mostly found her convincing -- I thought the finale was really well done, and the similarities and differences worked for me. Watching Elementary afterward, I realized how much this season has been frustrating me. I got some awesome presents -- the Mystical Cats Tarot, Orphan Black on DVD -- and Paul made me this:

littlereview: (photos)
The Bee Is Not Afraid Of Me )

I'm a day late for Emily's birthday, sorry. My Wednesday was very nice in that I got taken out to lunch for my birthday a day early by [personal profile] vertigo66, who brought me caramels, hot chocolate, and hand cream! It was chilly and windy but quite nice out, so I walked around the lake at Washingtonian to see the seagulls, then stopped in Kohl's looking for a simple black shirt to wear under a cardigan where I ended up finding another cardigan, a purple one (I was very tempted by the Elsa-from-Frozen leggings but I reminded myself that I needed clothes I could wear visiting my kids). Here is a dog with cherry blossoms:

Maybe for my birthday LiveJournal will fix Scrapbook so I can post more photos. We had a fairly evening after dinner -- watched Arrow to see if John Barrowman made up for our creeping apathy (not really but I still like it loads better than Gotham), watched The 100 to see whether it made any big changes for the mid-season (not yet clear), watched Nashville to see which couples would still be together in February (predictable except for one thing, not nearly enough music). The news just keeps getting better, by which I mean now I have to sit through Stewart and Colbert covering coverage of other words, not!
littlereview: (get critical)
Like Any Good American  )

Tuesday was a chore day, though a reasonably successful one: the alcove around the coat closet has been completely cleaned out and the shoe racks moved (and it would have been vacuumed if the &@$&% vacuum cleaner were working, which it is not, auuugh). And LiveJournal's Scrapbook is not working either for the third day in a row -- I can see old photos but I can't upload new ones, so I can only post photos from weeks ago, like these from the Amish Markets in Hanover, Pennsylvania when we were last there:

Locally Made )

I have just watched Stephen Colbert and Jack Kingston say goodbye to Washington so I am laughing too hard to type, but I don't have much more to say anyway -- I watched Agents of SHIELD in which Skye is an even MORE special snowflake ugh and Forever in which the entire cast continues to delight, I have been given Guardians of the Galaxy on Blu-Ray as an early birthday present which I am looking forward to watching, and I may or may not be seeing my kids for my birthday depending on their schedules!
littlereview: (green little review)
Wide Sigh )

After an early morning visit by the plumber, who had to put new pipes in the basement since the old ones were below code and who discovered that what was wrong with our bathtub was that they'd reversed the hot and cold controls, I got to spend most of Monday with Cheryl! She took me out to lunch, we went to Charming Charlie for what was supposed to be a quick stop and wound up being about an hour of looking at all the holiday jewelry -- sparkly snowflake rings -- and getting several bargains in the sale section -- buy one get one free -- then we went to see Mockingjay Part 1, which remains excellent, especially Julianne Moore facing off against Jennifer Lawrence.

We saw the movie in Gaithersburg, which is apparently on the news all over the place tonight because a plane crashed into a house, killing six people, which is terrifying though we were fortunately on the other side of the county. We avoided traffic from that and from Stephen Colbert and Prince William's visits and came back to my house to watch Magic in the Moonlight since we have not shared a Colin Firth fix in weeks. After she went home, Paul and I had a quick dinner and watched PBS's pledge-drive Jackie Evancho special from Longwood Gardens. We are pleased that the Terps have been invited to a bowl game! Speaking of turtles, from Meadowlark Gardens in spring:

Some Local Reptiles )
littlereview: (little review)
Cahoots )

Because our fall apparently has not sucked enough, this morning our water heater broke and started spewing water in our basement. It didn't damage anything significant, but the water heater itself had to be replaced, plus the pipes had to be brought up to current county code and a whole host of other plumbing issues have emerged because of this that we really did not need on top of every other emotional and financial drain of the season. After a long and frustrating day during which we did not visit farms or the county pottery show or anything else we'd thought of doing, and during which we spent our entire travel budget for 2015, the only thing I really wanted was a hot shower in my own bathroom, and I couldn't even have that.

We thought there might be a silver lining in that we dragged out all the stuff long languishing in the back of the laundry room to put on Freecycle, but the Freecycler who was supposed to pick up our ancient portable crib and plastic kids' basketball hoop wrote in the evening to apologize and explain that her dog had died. So although I hear it was a nice day out compared to the past several, I hardly saw the sun and am really not a bundle of joy at the moment. We did watch Once Upon a Time, which I liked -- all the characters with agency were women, apart from Gold who's going to get his ass kicked -- and we're only a week behind now on Madam Secretary. Here is the Salon Doré from the now-closed Corcoran Gallery:

Gilded Room )
littlereview: (green little review)
Ghazal: In Silence )

I had a somewhat chaotic but fairly nice (and very rainy) Saturday. After the cats got us up early to be fed, we went back to sleep and slept late, then had to rush to get to College Park to pick up Adam, who was coming to our area for a couple of hours to interview a friend of my parents' for a business class. Then we took him back with the intention of dropping a few things off for Daniel, but Daniel REALLY overslept -- he was apparently up most of the night working on a class project -- and since we hadn't heard from him, we stopped in the campus bookstore.

Eventually he texted and we went over to his apartment. The good news is, he has a job offer from the company that in all likelihood would be his first choice not just because it's a great company but because he has friends already working there and living in the city. The bad news is, he broke his phone (and by the time we left the student union to drive to his place, the basketball game had just let out and traffic was completely insane from one side of campus to the other). We got everything straightened out but we were very late to get to Sharkie's!

Sharkie let us play Cards Against Humanity even though her birthday present was at home since I thought I'd have time to stop there first. I mostly had cookies for dinner, which I say with no regret. When we finally got home, we fed our neglected cats and watched The Maze Runner, which was enjoyable until we started getting an explanation for what was going on -- maybe the sequel will make more sense, but decent acting was wasted on a contrived wannabe Hunger Games. From last winter, orchids at the US Botanic Garden, including the ones in the ladies' room:

Bright Blooms )
littlereview: (trek)
In a Landscape: IV )

I know I am very dull this week -- we are hitting the weeks around the solstice when I think I need a UV lamp, especially when we have several gray days in a row. I spent the morning finishing a review of Deep Space Nine's "It's Only a Paper Moon" and the afternoon I watched Magic in the Moonlight, which had gorgeous scenery and Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy, and in every other way was such a Woody Allen comedy (which I was already feeling guilty for watching) that I wound up pretty aggravated.

We had dinner with my parents and talked briefly to Daniel, who accidentally broke his phone so we will need to call in the warranty to get him a new one, then we caught up on Elementary (which I enjoyed a lot this week) and Gracepoint (which has only one more week and I am SO hoping they lied about changing the Broadchurch ending). We have had a lot of cats sitting on heating vents and pacing in the back window because of squirrels, plus hiding from invisible indoor menaces like this:

Cat and Squirrel )
littlereview: (photos)
It Sifts from Leaden Sieves )

I'm watching Christopher Walken chomp scenery as the most flamboyant pirate ever in Peter Pan Live (getting his hook polished, getting the first on his ass blown out, singing with a crew that must have been kicked out of Penzance for too much simulated sodomy, excuse me, leap frog -- seriously, there are more stereotypical moves in this than there were in La Cage Aux Folles) and I don't have a lot to report besides chilly weather, bunnies, chores, and an article I'm not much in the mood to write. So have some Scott's Run scenery:

The Potomac in Late Fall )
littlereview: (get critical)
The Times Are Nightfall )

Nothing this week is getting done on anything like the schedule I planned. This is partly my own fault for not managing my time very well and partly the fault of every place I have ever shopped, donated, clicked for a petition, promised to call my senator, or simply clicked through without clearing my cookies -- not that I read every email, mostly I clicked "unsubscribe" but it still took a ridiculous amount of time. Yeah, I have no exciting accomplishments to report except rearranging my DVDs to reflect the fact that after Cyber Monday sales, I now own all five Twilight movies.

We watched Arrow to keep up with the Flash crossover, which was moderately diverting but did not make me say "Damn, if only I had kept up with the show," then we watched The 100, which is incapable of letting anyone be a good guy or a bad guy for more than a couple of weeks at a time -- I am all in favor of ambiguity in storytelling and people being multidimensional, but it's starting to feel like whiplash -- and Nashville, which needed more music, less soap. We had rain all day, I did not see any wild animals, just sleepy cats, and I am thinking I would not mind being here:

Zuma Beach )
littlereview: (photos)
My Death )

Once again it took an insane amount of time to get through my email in the morning, and I wish to inform nonprofits, like retailers the day before, that I unsubscribed from more of them than I donated to. Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet Tuesday, cold and rainy and mostly dark; Paul worked from home because he had phone conferences, we had lunch together, and late in the day we started cleaning up the front hall closet area so we can make some attempt to organize the living room, though for as long as younger son's bike lives here, we can only change so much.

I am having a weird social media week -- someone I've been friends with in real life since college unfriended (not just unfollowed) me because I post daily, which she finds a distraction, and once (!) used Facebook messenger to send a group message. I love the way Facebook lets me stay in touch far better than the occasional letter or phone call ever did. I am confused when people would rather cut ties completely on the grounds that they can't keep up with everything; does anyone really find being overlooked more offensive than not being connected at all?

In actual news, I was entertained by the medieval sex scandal revealed by Richard III's DNA and happy for the umpire who came out. Tuesday is our busy TV night: I liked the Flash-Arrow crossover (I like the women on the latter), was only half-interested in Agents of SHIELD (can Skye and Ward both go to Mars or something?), really liked Forever (though we've seen one too many clueless woman manipulated by romantic interests, I'll take what I can get in the time the show has left). Some pics of National Cathedral's ongoing rebuilding after the 2011 earthquake which did tens of millions in damage:

Under Construction )


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