littlereview: (get critical)
Snow-flakes )

Much of the U.S. northeast is currently under a great deal of snow, with hurricane-force winds and blinding precipitation. Here in the DC area, after-school activities were canceled and the University of Maryland has already delayed classes in the morning because we got...1/2 an inch of snow. (To be fair, we are supposed to get another inch overnight, and in DC terms, that's enough to paralyze the region until the three local snow plows can be sent out to the suburbs.) It was very pretty and looked like this:


Not Exactly Snowpocalypse )


Therefore, apart from chores, work, and a walk to see the above -- the bunnies were hiding in their nice warm bunny warrens -- I did little on Monday besides catch up on Downton Abbey (still rather plodding this season) and Galavant (still has gender problems but I am sad it is likely never to be back). (The cats were also hiding in their nice warm cat warrens, namely our blankets and vents.) Evening involved reading and Sleepy Hollow. Tomorrow will probably involve more of the same!
littlereview: (jewitch)
Three Moves )

Sunday was a nice day, though every hour my phone dutifully warned me that it was going to snow before the night was through -- nothing like what's going to get dumped north of us, though. We went to Black Hill Regional Park hoping to see eagles as we have before; the eagles were hiding, but we saw Canada geese, mergansers, coots, cormorants, seagulls, crows, and some ducks that were too far away to identify as well as little songbirds. We also stopped at various stores to exchange a defective shirt, get kitty litter, and pick up emergency food supplies in case the weather forecasters underestimated the snow totals. Here are some of the birds plus a snake in the Black Hill nature center:


Black Hill Regional Park )


I spent most of the evening on my butt, starting with watching the end of the men's figure skating long program at the US skating championships, very enjoyable given that we have a number of really beautiful skaters right now. We ate dinner while watching the red carpet for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, then the show itself, which mostly went precisely as expected. It delights me that Arquette and Moore are doing so well this season and I'm glad that people get more attention get more attention on TV than in movies. I thought that if Keaton were going to beat Redmayne head-to-head, it might be here -- he's older and he's American -- but now I'm thinking Redmayne is probably a lock for the Oscar.
littlereview: (photos)
Haunted )

My kids are back in College Park for the second semester of the school year. We spent the morning getting organized and packing, then went out to lunch at Minerva, which had stewed chick peas, spicy lentils, tomato curry paneer, and tandoori eggs on the buffet -- my four favorite Indian foods! Then we packed up the van and went to College Park, where we brought Adam to his dorm, took Daniel food shopping (plus got toilet paper for ourselves for the impending snowstorm), and dropped Daniel off at his apartment.

We were so full from lunch that we did not have a big dinner. Instead we went for a walk around the neighborhood to look for bunnies (there were two between our cul-de-sac and the next). Afterwards, we had a quiet evening watching the US Figure Skating Championships -- not something that would be a favorite activity for either of our sons, but pleased our cats, who snugged and tried to steal our popcorn. Here are some photos of the adorable kangaroos and wallabies lounging in the sun at the Richmond Metro Zoo last fall:


Adorable Aussies )
littlereview: (trek)
Snow flakes )

Adam (who is now certified to give volunteer income tax assistance, having passed the IRS test), Daniel (who is trying to put together an honors project), Paul (who worked from home so he could see his children), and I all had work to get done on Friday -- mine was a review of Deep Space Nine's well-done but problematic Section 31 episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" (my all-time very least-favorite Star Trek title to remember how to spell). The cats were pleased to have us all around until they realized that it meant there was always someone around to nudge them off vents, which weren't always on since it wasn't that cold until evening when the freezing rain moved in.

We had dinner with my parents, then had a quiet evening while Adam worked on his tax project and Daniel conversed online with friends also going to work at Amazon. We thought we might watch a movie, but by the time everyone was done with laundry and chores, it was late and we decided to watch some Adam West Batman instead. On Saturday we are taking both kids back to College Park for the spring semester, which will involve carrying computers possibly during an ice storm, plus taking older Daniel shopping for groceries. The real snow isn't supposed to get to the area until Sunday. Here are some photos from the historic Cross Street Market in Baltimore's Federal Hill neighborhood:


In South Baltimore )
littlereview: (get critical)
Purism )

We had extremely nice weather on Thursday that melted pretty much all remaining snow and gave us lots of sun -- and I would know because driving in late afternoon was a squinty affair even with sunglasses. I had a whole bunch of chores to do with the kids, after a morning during which Adam worked on the project he's been doing for all of break while Daniel, um, slept before driving us. We met my mother at Noodles & Co., then went to the bank, Staples, Ulta, Target, Kohl's, CVS, and various other places...mostly successfully for everything we needed, though we completely struck out at finding cheap plastic flip-flops for Adam to destroy in the dorm showers.

In the evening we all went to see Birdman. No matter how many raves you have heard about the directing, editing, and cinematography, it may not be enough -- I want to watch it again just to see where the cuts are hidden in what looks like a 90-minute-plus tracking shot. The acting is also exceptional. I didn't love everything about the script -- at the core, let's face it, this is yet another movie about a middle-aged man having a mid-life crisis, and the women's roles range from mediocre to somewhat misogynistic, but the technical virtuosity is incredible, and directly relevant to the humor and the theme. Some flowers from last spring to brighten up January:


Keep It Bright )
littlereview: (green little review)
Amethyst Beads )

We were warned since midday Tuesday that there would be snow on Wednesday, and indeed there was -- quite a bit falling at one point, though the temperature hovered right around freezing, so although it iced the trees beautifully, it did not stick around for long there or on the roads. Even so, I stayed inside where it was warm with cats, though Adam spent most of the day skiing with friends -- they left early when the slopes got slippery and hard to see -- and Daniel went out to lunch with my father. I am now caught up on Sleepy Hollow ("call upon your own Abigail" -- bless you, Katrina) and Downton Abbey (I'm mostly as bored as Mary always looks -- stop making Anna and Bates miserable, already -- except when Violet has a secret past or Carson is trying to figure things out).


In the Snow )


The snow had turned to slush in the evening and mostly dripped off the trees, so while Adam was out visiting some friends who couldn't go skiing, the rest of us saw The Theory of Everything. What I'll remember about it primarily is the acting: Redmayne is extraordinary, Jones also terrific, though obviously the demands on her aren't the same. The screenplay is a bit of a disappointment, too little science and way too much hagiography of the devoted wife a la A Beautiful Mind -- Jane Hawking is more interesting in real life than she ever gets to be in the movie. The directing is fine, but I'm still aggravated that this and The Imitation Game get so much more awards consideration than Selma. But I was delighted to see David Thewlis playing Remus Lupin again!
littlereview: (Default)
Toad )

My Tuesday started with some entertainment, namely squirrels discovering that we had put a pumpkin left over from Halloween on the deck and proceeding to gnaw their way to the seeds, even though we'd cut the top off to help them. I did some laundry and some cleaning-up-the-basement, not that you'd notice since it's mostly the laundry room that benefited. Paul worked from home to wrestle with our new modem, which did not cooperate much on Monday -- it's better now, knock wood -- and Adam did tax stuff, though we all got to have lunch together. If I had known earlier that it was Penguin Awareness Day, I would have done more to make people aware of penguins!

We went to see Foxcatcher, which in many ways is not my kind of movie (wrestling + murder + pathetic women's roles despite big name actresses = nope), though the performances are superb, even though the fact that this movie got two Oscar nominations in those categories and Selma got none is unforgivable. We ended up having California Tortilla for dinner because the chicken the meat-eaters were going to eat looked questionable. I paid almost no attention to the State of the Union (sorry Obama) and none whatsoever to the rebuttal -- I figure Stewart and Wilmore will cover the best parts much better than the news will. Some Hillwood Gardens toads from last spring:


Happy Toads )
littlereview: (jewitch)
For Selma )

I had a very nice holiday Monday! We all went to Mason Neck State Park in Virginia along with my friend Annmarie, who moved back to the greater DC area last fall but whom I've scarcely gotten to see since then. The park is famous for its nesting eagles, and we managed to find a pair of them near one of the boardwalks. There was ice on Belmont Bay but also snails and seagulls, and the sun on the water was beautiful. On the way back to Annmarie's, we stopped for Starbucks for the men and Cold Stone for the women (I have priorities for my calories and they involve chocolate chips), plus we visited with her cats!


Cold and Clear )


Since this was just about the only evening this week when Adam did not have plans either to see friends at different colleges or to work on an accounting project, and since it was MLK Day, we went to see Selma. It is excellent -- yes, some historical inaccuracies, just like those universal stories of the human spirit The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, but terrific acting and very good directing, extremely well-paced, especially the saddest scene in the movie, which is a stunner. Really, the Academy had to nominate Meryl again for a mediocre role while ignoring Lorraine Toussaint?
littlereview: (green little review)
Agamemnon 179-183 )

It was a rainy Sunday. We all slept late except Adam, who was working on accounting studies, and read the paper and caught up on chores. Then we had lunch and went to Gulf Branch Nature Center in Arlington with Daniel driving us. It was muddy but not too wet to walk around the path in the woods, and we saw the owl and squirrels outside, plus the amphibians, reptiles, fish, bees, and historical displays inside.


Gulf Branch Nature Center )


Adam went out with friends for dinner and a movie; the rest of us watched the awful Green Bay loss to the Seahawks, then had dinner with my parents while watching the first half of the Patriots-Colts game (I didn't care much who won but wow, that was painful to watch). We came home for the second half, though I spent more time uploading photos than really paying attention. Happy MLK Day everyone!
littlereview: (photos)
Night )

We did a bunch of chores on Saturday, including moving a shelf unit down the basement. Then we took Adam (driven by Daniel) to get new running shoes and sneakers, and I had a small crisis because all jewelry in The Icing was for sale for $5 or less, but I managed to spend under $30 and got the nautical bracelet and necklace anyway.

Paul's parents were in town, unfortunately for the funeral of someone they'd known for many years, but it meant that we got to have dinner with them. We went to Grand Fusion, the Chinese-Thai restaurant where the three of us who eat vegetarian can get awesome tofu and the other three can get awesome chicken and seafood.

After Paul's parents went home, Adam went to work on accounting homework and the rest of us (along with Cheryl long distance) watched The Addams Family and Addams Family Values -- it had been forever and I needed an Anjelica fix! Now I need a penguin fix, so here are the ones at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore:


Tuxedo Junction )
littlereview: (trek)
During the Montenegrin Poetry Reading )

We had a pretty quiet Friday. Adam and his girlfriend went running at the high school track, then went out for coffee together. Daniel worked on sorting and organizing things. I wrote a review of Deep Space Nine's "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang", which seems more mediocre in retrospect, though my major Star Trek activity for the day mostly involved the impromptu Voyager reunions online to celebrate the show's 20th anniversary. Paul went to work and cats snuck onto the vent under his desk.

We had dinner with my parents, then Adam went to watch movies with friends. The rest of us watched Before I Go To Sleep, the Nicole Kidman-Colin Firth-Mark Strong thriller for which I was completely unspoiled and therefore quite surprised by the ways in which it was not like Memento, which at the outset it seemed to mimic. It's not a great film, but it's worth watching, and Kidman is quite good in it though I often find her phony. From Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, the Richmond-in-miniature train display:


Mini-Richmond )
littlereview: (get critical)
Sleepy Hollow )

Among other familial disasters last weekend, Daniel broke his phone screen at Molly's Bat Mitzvah, so on Thursday we took it to be repaired -- there's a local place that agreed to replace the screen for a reasonable price -- so since Daniel needs driving practice, we drove all around the area, stopping at Best Buy to get him a case and taking various back roads just to get some mileage in. Meanwhile, Adam went to track practice at school with college friends to visit high school friends. It was very bright and sunny, though cold -- a nice day to be out.

We tried to watch Los Miserables, the Spanish-language modern soap opera adaptation of Les Mis on Telemundo, but we couldn't get the translation subtitles to work and none of us speaks Spanish well enough to follow the dialogue. I must find a subtitled version! Instead we watched a bit of the Critics' Choice Awards, which were virtually identical to the Golden Globes in major categories (and it's going to be an Oscar season of glorifying white men as usual) before Elementary, where I wanted more cloning. From Sleepy Hollow Cemetery last weekend:


Winter Stones )
littlereview: (get critical)
Love Letter to a Stranger )

I actually felt well enough and it was actually not-freezing enough to go for a walk on Wednesday, even though we got enough of a dusting of snow in the morning that schools were delayed and even though the bunnies stayed warm in their warrens so I didn't see them. I am still coughing on and off, which is getting more annoying by the moment, but I made the whole neighborhood loop without getting winded!

We all saw Boyhood, which is phenomenal -- longer than The Hobbit yet feels half the length, superbly directed and acted (Patricia Arquette better get an Oscar nomination in the morning). In fact my only real complaint about it is the title, which makes it sound like yet another coming of age movie about a white boy when in fact the women are for the most part well-written and just as much a focus.

Now we are watching Julianne Moore on The Daily Show -- she better get a nomination in the morning too, though not having seen Still Alice, I won't know who to root for -- and trying to figure out how we're going to get everything done in what remains of the kids' winter vacation. Here are some pics from last October of the adorable flying foxes in the "bat cave" at the Richmond Metro Zoo:


Flying Foxes )
littlereview: (get critical)
Hospital Writing Workshop )

We got no winter precipitation on Tuesday, sandwiched between freezing rain on Monday and snow forecast for Wednesday, but I did not go anywhere adventurous -- my throat is still not back to normal and my voice keeps going out on me. I took Adam to a friend's for a movie marathon and lunch, then Daniel drove me to pick him up since he is working on getting the license he has put off for five years. I did a bunch of work and folded our travel laundry and we caught up on the episodes of Galavant and Madam Secretary that we missed (you can see how low Downton Abbey has slipped on my list).

Adam came home only to go out again for dinner and to go bowling with friends; the rest of us had salisbury steak, interrupted by a cat who decided to be sick in the kitchen in the middle of dinner, ugh. We watched Agent Carter, which I'm liking but not loving the way Tumblr is -- Atwell is wonderful and it's a delight to see Fonseca, but the storylines are not impressing me. Then we watched Forever, which I am loving despite this week's Bechdel fail and a certain degree of predictability. Here's a last batch of winter lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, where one of the themes this year was bicycles:


Bicycle Lights )
littlereview: (photos)
The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight )

We started the day with freezing rain and had cold rain for the rest of Monday. It wasn't terrible, since the forecast was for potentially hazardous weather, but it wasn't pleasant to be outside. Paul worked from home, starting very early in the morning so that in the middle of the afternoon we could go see Into the Woods. I liked it, didn't love it, though I should add that it's not my favorite Sondheim musical by a long stretch, and except for Bernadette Peters I'm not particularly attached to any of the original cast. Streep's singing is vastly better here than in Mamma Mia, though I find Blunt somewhat overrated. Pine and Magnussen's "Agony," sung while straddling a waterfall, is the most pleasant surprise. I like Kendrick, too, though Cinderella's motivations never make any sense.

Adam had gone to IHOP with Christine for pancakes while we were watching the musical, and afterward they came back to our house, where Christine decided that since she had never seen The King's Speech, they should watch it with me. You can imagine what a hardship that was not for me (Daniel watched too and was laughing at all the appropriate parts). Because of how late we started the movie, we ended up eating dinner quite late, though we did not miss any significant parts of the college football national championship (I was kind of rooting for Ohio State in Big 10 solidarity even though I usually root against them and my west coast relatives were rooting for Oregon). Here are some photos celebrating Sleepy Hollow's most famous fictional resident and his creator, including his burial place:


Chasing the Headless Horseman )
littlereview: (jewitch)
We are home from New York, much to the relief of our cats, who apparently wanted fresh food and teasing with lasers and toys more than they wanted to sleep on the vents without anyone ordering them to move. We had brunch this morning with my extended family and a lot of my niece's friends at my sister's house, then drove home through scenic New York and New Jersey, which had snow on the ground and ice on the lakes and rivers even though it was warmer than Saturday. We're supposed to have ice storms up and down the east coast overnight, too.

We got home in time to unpack (mostly) and watch the Golden Globe Awards, though I missed most of the fashion show beforehand. Adam wanted The Grand Budapest Hotel to win, so he was happy; I was very happy for Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore; we haven't seen half the nominated films nor most of the TV shows, so I didn't have strong opinions in a lot of other categories. Here are some photos from the Bat Mitzvah reception -- my kids, my parents, one niece, some souvenirs, me trying to be Joe Flacco (a loss only slightly mitigated by the Cowboys' defeat):


At the Bat Mitzvah )
littlereview: (little review)
Post-Bat Mitzvah quickie, as this is the state I am in after numerous potato knishes, some wonderful fruit salad, too much pasta, one ice cream sundae, and two amaretto sours:



Earlier in the day I got to have lunch with my college roommate and her S.O. (awesome Greek food), then we stopped at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to see Washington Irving.

Temple service was lovely (niece was great; cantor chanted the Michigan fight song), party was carnival-themed, got to see lots of friends, danced awkwardly, had fun. More tomorrow!
littlereview: (green little review)
Hello from New York, where my family is gathering for my niece Molly's Bat Mitzvah on Saturday. I didn't do much on Friday besides traveling, apart from posting a review of Deep Space Nine's exceptional "Chimera" and rushing to pack (we had to stop in College Park on our way to I-95 because a son who shall remain nameless had left his suit in his apartment).

I'm still coughing -- hoping not to keep my family awake all night -- and I still don't have a voice, meaning that once the dance music starts, I probably won't be able to have a conversation. But I get to see my college roommate Tracey and her partner for brunch, and we might visit Sleepy Hollow Cemetery if the weather cooperates! From the drive:


Bridges and Lights )
littlereview: (green little review)
Sea and Rain: Lake Michigan )

THIS COUGH CAN STOP ANY TIME REALLY. I won't complain about the cold weather, I won't complain that we still have snow and ice everywhere, but I would like my voice back for the weekend and I would like not to be exhausted from coughing. I got to have a quiet morning, at least, watching Deep Space Nine's "Chimera" since I need to review it, and although I'm not sure it's in my top three best episodes of the series, it is definitely in my top three episodes I love the most, so it's always awesome to have an excuse to rewatch it.

Adam went to an afternoon murder mystery party (with the boy who had surgery a week ago, so that was great news); the rest of us went to get haircuts (mine is not dramatic, just trimmed layers). We had a late dinner with Adam's girlfriend and watched some Adam West Batman with her, then watched Elementary -- any episode in which Sherlock must argue why Bella should have ended up with Jacob instead of Edward in Twilight is by definition a good one. Some of Marjorie Merriweather Post's chandeliers at Hillwood:


Fancy Lights )
littlereview: (get critical)
Winter Study )

I have reaaaallly had it with coughing. (So, apparently, has Cheryl, whom I or someone else gave the bug -- apologies!) I had another relatively quiet day doing things like hanging up hooks in my closet for scarves and folding laundry while watching Pride on demand (it's excellent -- great cast, funny and touching screenplay, really uplifting story on a horrific news day from Europe).

Adam went for an interview for a possible internship, and we had some kind of awesome pistachio and white bean noodle casserole when he came home, then we all watched Gone Girl, which I did not like -- mostly detestable characters, a streak of really intense misogyny, performances and directing not as riveting as I expected except the awesome NPH. More Lewis Ginter garden lights:


Zoo in Lights )

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