Chihuly and more

It was a hot and steamy weekend…

…okay.  Just kidding. 

I schlepped down into the city for the second weekend in a row.  If you read last Sunday’s entry, you know that this is a rarity for me.  I blame my friend, Bill.  He went to the Dallas Arboretum a few days ago and posted some great pictures to his blog.  I love the arboretum, and I am fascinated by the Chihuly exhibit that is currently on display though out the gardens.  So, I decided to braved the 100+ degree temperatures on Saturday.  I spent about three hours baking in the sun and taking lots of pictures.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a red dragonfly before.IMG_6621

 

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I don’t know the species, but this guy was very vocal and not at all happy to have me wondering around beneath his tree.IMG_6725

Chihuly.  I love this exhibit and this piece, in particular.  I’ve tried three times to photograph it.  Unsuccessfully.  This time was different.  I experimented a lot more with my manual settings.  I think it also helped that it was a virtual ghost town and I was able to take my time.  IMG_6878

I almost didn’t share this one.  I wanted to keep it all for myself.  But then, it was my favorite of the day, so how could I not share?.IMG_6881

 

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This squirrel was on to something.IMG_7050

A bee surprise

I’d love to tell you that it was my mad photography skills that captured this bee in midflight, but that would be bare-face lie.  I didn’t even know I caught this moment until I was sorting through the fruits of my labor.

What a nice surprise.

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Things I learned this week

“Knowledge is power.” – Sir Francis Bacon

…or was it Kim Kardashian who said that?

I learned this week…

…that Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson, sending a shockwave of despair through the fanatical world of Twilight fans everywhere, shattering dreams of a sparkling vampire happily ever after.  I don’t think my faith in monogamy will ever be restored.

…that water yuppies do exist.  I know, right?  I was just as surprised as you, but my research doesn’t lie.  Until this week, it was a term that was wholly unfamiliar to me.  I stumbled across it while researching houseboats in Amsterdam – a perfect place to hide someone who doesn’t want to be found, by the way.  It’s one of those words that just struck my fancy.  I’m dying to use it in the course of a casual conversation.  I haven’t figured out how I’m going to manage that yet.  When I do, I’ll let you know how it goes.

…that pumpkin patches are rarer than diamonds.  Or, so says my daughter to her friend while enthralled in a game of online Minecraft.   This is good information.

…that an orthodontist visit + a hormonal preteen entering 7thgrade + talks of a full set of braces = E.P.I.C. meltdown.  Take heed people.

…that the Cheer Moms at my daughter’s gym may have finally sacrificed their coach to the almighty Cheer God.   Their perky ponytails, color coordinated tees, and snarky, narcissistic chatter as been oddly absent from practice in recent weeks.  Now who am I going to sit and judge while I should be writing?

…that Jen Garner has made a warm and fuzzy Disney flick.  Excuse me while I bang my head on my desk.

(Pause)

Now that I’ve given myself a headache, I think I’ll go console my broken heart with an Aliasmarathon and a bag of Oreo’s.

that Donald J. Sobol died on July 11, 2012.  I’m not really sure how I missed this, but I did.  He is most noted for penning the Encyclopedia Brown seriesof kid’s books about a boy detective in high top sneakers.  I loved those books when I was young…um…younger.  RIP Mr. Sobol.

…that this week’s awww moment is brought to you by one of the bunnies I stumbled across during a recent early morning walk in the park.  I don’t believe he’s the criminal who has destroyed my flower beds, but I took his picture anyway.  You know, just in case I need to identify him in a line up.

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Around the yard

I had a busy weekend, but I did find the time to step out into the backyard with my camera.  Here are a few of the things I saw.

Texas is hot in the summer and with that heat comes grasshoppers.  All shapes and sizes.  This is one of the more interesting I came across.  He was a bit more aggressive than I would have liked.  I think I may have squealed like a pig when he dive bombed my head.IMG_6217.2
Up in the tree, I saw a tangle of hair snagged on a thin branch.  Logic tells me that it is remnants of a bird’s nest.  Perhaps a knot of hair snagged from the trash by one of the more resourceful species.  Of course, the writer in me envisions something a bit more chilling.  Is it evidence left behind after a sinister crime?  Will I find a body beneath the drooping branches of my Japanese maple?  Hmmm…IMG_6377
My oak tree is relatively young.  This is its first year of acorn production.  Awww…they grow up so fast.IMG_6395
Thunderstorms are rare commodity in my neck of the woods, this time of year.  Usually, the formidable “dome of high pressure” that tends to dominate our weather pattern, discourages substantial storm development.  It’s like we are held hostage by an alien life form who has placed a force field around us in order to deflect anything that will give us relief from the scorching sun.  IMG_6354

A book signing

I went to a book signing yesterday.

A bit out of the norm for me.  There are very few things that can entice me enough to schlep down into the city, fight crowds of rude strangers,and waste hours standing in line doing nothing but waiting.  I won’t do it for a Black Friday deal.  I won’t do it for a movie premiere.  I wouldn’t do it to meet Sting.

I will do it for Daniel Silva and his master Israeli spy/assassin/art restorer, Gabriel Allon.

I went early in the morning with the intention of getting some writing done.  I did, though not as much as I would have liked.  You see, I have a problem.  I am an addicted people-watcher, so writing in public often proves distracting.  Yesterday was no different.

While I sat in the café, sipping a venti unsweetened iced green tea, my writing flow was continuously interrupted.  First, there was the two women who wanted to know if my name was Kristin.  No, not me.   Then there was the older woman in a burnt orange blouse, lime green Crocs, holding a moderately sized postal box.  Her fidgeting was what initially caught my eye.  She didn’t order a drink, couldn’t sit still, and at times, paced.  At first, I thought maybe I should be worried about the contents of her box.  I mean, if I were writing this scene, there would be something like wires, a brick of C4, and a cell phone detonator in that box.  After ten minutes or so, I realized she must be waiting for someone.  I imagined it was a date with a man she’d met on a matchmaking website.  I wondered if she shouldn’t have maybe picked a different shirt to go with those shoes.  She definitely was not dressed for husband nabbing.  Turns out she did not have a bomb, and she wasn’t on a blind date.  She was a calligrapher.  Inside the box were beautifully addressed wedding invitations.  The bride-to-be was late, paid by check, and didn’t seem to notice the older woman’s lack of fashion sense.   I was disappointed.

Around eleven, a flash of movement in my peripheral drew my attention away from Anna and her troubles.  It took a second or two for my brain to register what my eyes were seeing.  Jerry Garcia, wearing a brightly hued Hawaiian-style bowler shirt over faded blue jeans and Birkenstocks, was unwrapping a straw for his blended frappuccino – caramel macchiato with no whip, if I were a betting gal.  As he walked away slurping, I texted my husband.  His reply: “You know he’s dead, right?”  Killjoy.

At noon, I moved my party upstairs.  I wanted to get my choice of seats.  I did.  Row one, seat 4.  Right in front of the podium and signing table.  A half an hour later, an older gentleman sat down one seat over from me.  He quietly read his book – not a Silva novel. Tsk tsk.  A few minutes later, a bulldog of a man with a shiny bald head sat between us.  They were friends, but their meeting here was by chance.  They chatted like catty women.  First, bemoaning the pros and cons of employment.  The bald man has a job in the surgical department of a local trauma center, the other was an IT technician who failed to keep up with changing technology.  He blames his troubles on his age – 68.  As happens, they soon began to compare their various health issues.  These conversations always make me smile.  It’s like a competition.  Who has had the most surgeries?  The most chronic diseases?  As it turns out, both men have had prostate cancer – with troubling complications.  I could describe for you in grave detail the extent of their complications, but it would likely scar you for life.  I know I will never be the same.

Thirty minutes out from the main event, the venti iced green tea I drank earlier came back to haunt me.  I needed to use the restroom, but I didn’t want to give up my prime seat.  I asked the elderly woman to my right if she would hold my spot while I ran downstairs. She smiled, patted my arm, and pulled a menacing cane from underneath her seat.  She said: “Go right ahead, honey.  I got my cane. I’ll whack ‘em if they get too close.”  Yikes.

silvaAt 2, Daniel Silva arrived with little fanfare.  He was much as I expected.  Handsome in that scholarly way, with an unassuming air and an intelligent wit.  He spoke of his characters with the love of a proud father.  I found it endearing.  I also thought he exhibited a great deal of patience with the group gathered, especially during the question and answer segment.  Some asked interesting questions; some did not.  A few even bordered on offensively stupid.  He handled it smoothly, though there were two occasions when I swear I saw his right eye twitch.

Or maybe not.

I had two books signed, took several photos for the little old lady with the cane and her friend, and left before the SRO crowd swooped in for the kill.

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10 things I learned in my 30s

Yesterday, when I sat down at the computer, my intent was to write a new blog entry updating my outline revisions and finish last week’s “Things I learned.”

That didn’t happen.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  I was having one of those days when every neuron in my brain was misfiring.  Ideas banged around inside my head like jumping beans, but I was powerless to capture and harness them.

Eh, it happens sometimes.  So, I checked my email, trolled Facebook, hit a few entertainment sites, and wondered if Catholic school is really the best choice for Suri Cruise.

That’s when I noticed the date.

July 16.

Hmmm…it appears that I have survived the month since my 40th birthday without suffering any adverse side effects.  A stark contrast to a decade ago.  Turning 30 nearly did me in and I spent four years recovering.    However, the years that followed were a time of great personal growth for me.  I discovered a lot about myself, the world around me, and my place in that world.  Here are 10 things I learned in my 30s:

10.  Eating junk food makes you fat.  In my twenties, this was a foreign concept.  I ate what I wanted, drank what I wanted, and suffered very little in the way of consequences.  In my thirties, my body rebelled.  All of those excess calories translated into excess pounds and my jeans size suddenly expanded – from size 4 to size 14.

9.  Losing weight requires effort – and sweat.  With excess weight gain comes the desire to shed those pounds.  Of course, laziness and gluttony made me fat and my first instinct was to find a method to lose without exerting too much energy.  A quick fix.  I tried the Cookie diet, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the starvation diet, the “screw it I’ll just stay fat” diet.  I bought pills and potions and patches.  Nothing worked, and why would it?  The fact of the matter, and something I had to learn the hard way, is that if you want to lose weight, you have to change your lifestyle.  And by change your lifestyle, I mean you must put down the potato chips, get your ass up off the couch, and sweat – a lot.  Every single day for the rest of your life.

8.    Love the skin you’re in.  Cleanse, hydrate, and moisturize.  Do it twice a day, everyday and your skin will reward you with a healthy, youthful glow.  Trust me on this.

7.    Change is painful; change is good.  I’ve never been one to embrace change.   Early on in my thirties, I shied away from it, built a nice safe bubble around my life, and stared out as the world passed me by.  Then suddenly, that world shifted.  In the span of just a few months, I lost my home to fire, my father to cancer, and learned my mother had breast cancer.  In the blink of an eye, everything changed.  It was devastating, yet empowering.  I discovered through it all, that I am strong, capable, and resilient.

6.    Take heart in lessons learned.    Contrary to what I like to tell myself, I don’t know everything.   I have found that life is more than happy to fill in the blanks.  I just have to pay attention and take heed.

5.   A happy life begins with happiness within.   In Henry V, Shakespeare wrote, “Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.”  I’ll admit, I’ve never completely comprehended the true meaning behind Shakespeare’s words, but I like the quote just the same.  To me, it embodies the struggle of self-acceptance I endured throughout my 30s.  I am a personality fraught with flaws and quirks and insecurities, and I have learned to like me just as I am.   After that, the rest came easy.

4.   Being a joiner is not a bad thing.  I am, by nature, an introvert.  I prefer to stand on the periphery – watching, assessing, judging.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with that – most of the time.  However, to fully engage with life, I found that sometimes I have to step off of the sidelines and into the fray.   It’s scary, but the rewards are endless.

3.   The only way to conquer fear is to face it head on.  Anyone who knows me, or reads my blog, knows that I have a laundry list of phobias.  I am scared of flying, boating, drowning, camping, bears, sharks, brain-eating amoeba, and math.  If there is one thing that I learned in my 30s, it is that one can’t live their life defined by fear.  It stunts personal growth and makes for a boring existence.  So, in the last few years, I’ve gone whale watching in an inflatable raft (yikes), taken a sunset cruise into the shark infested waters off the Keys, flown a dozen or more times, and taken four semesters of math – back to back.  I’m still working up to camping with bears and swimming in a lake full of brain-eating amoeba.  I don’t feel the need to rush.

2.   Nurture healthy relationships, eliminate the bad.   Relationships are hard.  They are even harder when they don’t work.  It took a long time for me to accept that sometimes it is best to cut my losses and walk away.  Once I did, I was free to devote my energy to the relationships in my life that do work.

1.   Youth is relative.  If you perceive yourself as old, you are.

Early morning walk in the park

The other morning, just as the sun was rising, I went for a walk in the park by my house.  I sat on a bench, listened to the sounds of the dawning day, and watched a robin shake off after a bath in a mud puddle. 

It was a great morning.

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A trip to the country

I live in the city.  I’m pretty happy here in my concrete jungle surrounded by towering buildings, master plan housing developments, and jammed freeways.  But every now and then it’s nice to leave it all behind and go exploring.  My mother-in-law lives a couple of hours northwest of Dallas down a dusty farm to market road, in the middle of nowhere.  On a recent visit, I brought along my camera. 

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Cactus in bloom.

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Grasshoppers – a real problem for local farmers; cooperative subject matter for me.

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I’ll be honest, the Black Widow spiders creeped me out, but not enough to keep me from trying to get just the right shot.

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My Writing Buddy

He doesn’t contribute much, but he keeps me company and never snores.

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An update and an award

Usually, I post these self-shaming updates on Sunday, but I was too busy watching Roger Federer reclaim the top spot in men’s tennis.

One must have clearly defined priorities, right?

In between break points, I did manage to pull myself away from the television long enough to take a good hard look at my WIP.  I haven’t really done that since JuNoWriMo ended.  I was a little scared, but it wasn’t all that bad.  There are parts that work, parts that don’t, parts that scream WTF.   It could have been worse.   It needs to be better.

After reading through 90 or so pages of material, I decide that Anna needed a brother.  So, I added him, and then I killed him.  Cold, I know, but necessary.  It will add an emotional element and focus to the story that I felt was lacking.  Of course, adding (and killing) an important new character means that the underlying dynamic of my story has changed and therefore, an outline revision is in order.

I can’t tell you how much that thrills me.  You know, because outlining is my favorite part about the writing process.

Moving on.  I want to take a minute to acknowledge and thank Julie over at Word Flows for the Lucky 7 Meme Award she tossed my way a couple of weeks ago.  These sort of things always put a smile on my face.  Thank you, Julie!

Of course, this one is a little different from most.  It requires giving up a piece of my WIP for the world to see.  That’s not something I am comfortable doing outside of my writing group.  If it had been anyone else, I would have bowed out, but for Julie, I will do it.

The Lucky 7 Meme Award Rules are as such:

1. Go to the 7th or 77th page of your work in progress.
2. Go to the 7th line of the page.
3. Copy the next 7 sentences or paragraphs. Remember, they must be as they are typed.
4. Tag 7 authors.
5. Let them know they’re it!
 

So, here are my 7 lines – unedited and raw.

That’s all I’m willing to give.

“Rome, however, remained constant. The streets and lanes were still narrow and winding, paved in worn uneven cobbles.  The stucco facade of the old buildings were still faded and covered in graffiti. Smart cars, motor bikes, and scooters still clogged every conceivable inch of space.  Life moved on.

Anna inhaled.  Even through the fog of her grief, it felt good to be home.

She didn’t live far from the piazza, just around the corner on the Vicolo Moroni, a street so confined she could touch the walls on either side.  Her flat was on the top floor of a Renaissance era structure the color of salmon.  A heavy wrought iron gate shielded an intimate courtyard with a bubbling fountain and potted orange trees from view.   The entrance to the…”

There you have it.  Doesn’t tell you much, does it?

***There seems to be a formatting difference.  In Word, this excerpt is truly 7 lines.

Things I learned this week

I learned this week…

…that two months of twice weekly physical therapy sessions for a yoga-induced hip injury will result in thinner, more defined thighs.   I still have hip pain, but my thighs look much better in a pair of shorts. 

…that while I was able to eke out 30,000 words during JuNoWriMo, I am now questioning the relevancy of about half of them.  I suppose the point of the exercise isn’t to create a work of literary genius, just to get the juices flowing.  I succeeded in that, though I think I may need a big roll of Bounty to sop up all of that flowing juice.

…that the agony of defeat is a bitter pill to swallow (whoa – cliché much).  For weeks, I have engaged in a battle of wills with the bunny who lives in my front bushes and has made my ornamental sweet potato vines a dinner staple.  I tried everything short of the BB gun the scary man down at the local home and garden store suggested to deter his incessant munching, but nothing works.  He continues to dine freely, and my garden looks like it was hit by a swarm of locust.   I have come to realize that I am waging an unwinnable war against a rodent whose addiction far outweighs my need for the coveted “yard of the month” honor.  I am going to bow out now before I end up sitting on a bar stool next to Elmer Fudd and Carl Spackler slamming whiskey shooters.

..that I have become numb to Texas summers.  This week my mother asked me if it was hot outside.  I said, “No.  It’s only 95.”

…that Katie Holmes has left Tom Cruise.   I really wish I had something witty to say about this, but in all reality, who didn’t see this coming?  Tom Cruise, that’s who.

…that Roger Federer has pulled his head out of his ass overcome injury and secured a place in the Wimbledon final.  I have threatened for years to pull my allegiance and endorse a younger, up and coming player.  Federer, after all, is long in the tooth  and his days in the sport are numbered.  So far, though, I haven’t been able to bring myself to actually do it.  Of course, if he loses to Nadal one more time, I’m outta here.  I swear it.

…that nothing sucks the fun out of doing something nice for someone than the expectation that it be repeated for everyone.   Feeling obligated to do or to give something,  especially when it involves someone I don’t particularly care for, tends to bring out some of my least attractive personality traits.  I become spiteful and petty, almost competitive in my passive/aggressive rebellion.  I’m not proud of myself, but that won’t stop me from finding a new more creative way to avoid doing what everyone expects me to do without uttering a single word of protest.

…that I didn’t learn all that much this week. 

…that this week’s awww moment is really more of an ahhh moment.  This week we went to our local lake to partake in the Fourth of July festivities and fireworks show.  I snapped this picture from the bank while kicking back, watching the half-baked drunken crowd, and crunching on a sno-cone.  It was a fabulous night.

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Fireworks–a learning curve

I’m relatively new to this whole photography thing.  Full on manual settings still scare me, though I have advanced to only using an auto setting for shutter speed – in most circumstances.  By and large, the tried and true method of trial and error has worked well for me.  I am starting to have a bit more confidence behind the camera. 

Last night, I decided to try my hand at shooting fireworks. Of course, to do that I had to remove my shutter safety net and slow the speed all the way down to “bulb”.  Yikes.  I didn’t even know there was such a setting – thank you, Google.  Anyway, it was a fun night and I took lots of pictures.

At first glance, I was not overwhelmed by the pictures – from a realist perspective.  However, on closer inspection, I think there is an abstract quality to the photos that is far more interesting and quite pleasing to the eye. 

There is plenty of room for improvement, but I am pretty pleased with the results especially given that this was my first time.  Next time I will have a tripod and one of those nifty hand held clicker things. 

 

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Independence Day

As I said in yesterday’s blog post, I recently had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. with my family.  It was an amazing trip that left me filled with a sense of patriotism and pride.  I thought today, our nation’s celebrated day of independence, was a fitting time to post of few of my photographs.

Friendship Arch, ChinatownIMG_3254

A view of the Capitol taken as I crossed the streetIMG_3285

The Washington MonumentIMG_3398

The World War II MemorialIMG_3465

A funny fish water feature at the base of a statue.IMG_3575

The Jefferson Memorial IMG_3647

A woman working in the lab at the Smithsonian’s Natural History MuseumIMG_3794

The Capital dome.IMG_4024

The front steps of the Capitol.IMG_4179

The Capitol dome and the Stars and StripesIMG_4226

The Lincoln MemorialIMG_4363

Big crowdsIMG_4415

Lincoln’s statue.IMG_4450

Arlington National CemeteryIMG_4619

The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  This picture is flawed but I was struck by the expression on this young Marine’s face.IMG_4626

Changing of the guard.IMG_4638

The Eternal Flame.IMG_4608

Things I learned on vacation…

…and beyond.

You might have noticed that, with the exception of a few photographs, I’ve been largely absent from the blog in recent weeks.

Or then again, maybe you haven’t. 

That’s okay.  Sometimes, I don’t even notice when I’m missing. 

June turned out to be busier than I anticipated.  I had an impromptu week-long visit from two of my nephews, participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, turned forty, traveled to our nation’s capital on vacation with the family, and had an unexpected sharp increase in caseload at the office.  This inability to adequately judge my level of anticipated activity seems to be a recurring theme in my life.  You would think by now I’d have worked out the kinks.

As you can imagine, all of this activity came with a laundry list of new things learned.  Over the last month, I learned…

…that no matter how you try to spin it, turning forty sucks.  And, please, spare me the “forty is the new thirty” bullshit.  Turning thirty sent me into a depression so deep it took four years to recover.

…that my nephews think that I may not be completely human.  Here’s how that conversation went:

Nephew #1:  Aunt Peggy, don’t you ever get tired of typing (I was working on my NaNoWriMo word count).

Me:   No.

Nephew #2 (in a hushed voice):   Aunt Peggy is a cyborg.

This revelation was followed by a fit of giggles.   Of course, in response, I gave them my best stink eye.  I have a reputation to uphold, after all.  This earned me a fresh round of giggles.  It seems my stink eye needs an upgrade.  I’ll have to work on that.

…that as humans, we have been conditioned to stand in line, to patiently wait our turn. It is ingrained in our psyche even as we whine and cry and complain about it.  If you have ever had the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. or any tourist hot spot, for that matter, you know that a great deal of time is spent standing in line.  There are lines for transportation, lines for security, lines for admittance, lines for viewing.  It is the way the world works, and something that we’ve come to accept as the natural order of our day-to-day lives.  It brings us comfort, gives us a sense of organization, and takes the thought process out of our hands.

At the National Archives, they like to mix it up a bit.    Sure, they shuffle you in like herds of cattle.  Force you through a line for the metal detector, another to search your bag, then corral you into a long snake-like line at the base of the steps into “the vault.”   However, once you cross the threshold into the room that holds our nation’s most revered documents, the rules of the game suddenly shift.   You will be instructed to go against your intrinsic nature.  Lines are not permitted.  You must move freely about the room and view the displays at your leisure.  Such a radical departure from the norm will cause you to cast a panicked look at the person standing behind you.  They will appear as shell-shocked as you feel.  No lines?  Crazy talk.  That’s simply not the way these things are supposed to work.  Of course, in reality such instructions are futile.  Humans behave invariably in the manner in which they are most accustom.  On my visit to the National Archives, that’s exactly what the masses did – they filed into the room, walked directly to the exhibit at the far left, and worked steadily to the right, in a nice neat single file line.  Myself included.

No line?

That’s the most barbaric thing I’ve ever heard.

…that in large metropolitan areas where public transportation is consistently utilized, there are rules of etiquette that must be followed when riding the escalators that lead to and from the underground metro system.  Stand to the right, or get your ass run over.  Lesson learned.

…that my family doesn’t understand or share my love for history.  This week I learned that some of the Dead Sea scroll fragments, along with other artifacts from the time period, are on exhibit just up the road in Ft. Worth.   So thrilling!  After a little digging, I discovered that in addition to the exhibit, there will be a series of lectures offered on varying subjects related to the scrolls and their impact on the history of Judaism and beyond.   I enthusiastically shared this news with my husband, my mother, my best friend, and my daughter.  All of them metaphorically patted me on the head and said “you have fun with that.”  I guess that means I shouldn’t buy them a ticket.

…that taking 5 days off in the middle of Camp NaNoWriMo is detrimental to the success of the project.  I did manage to rack up 30,000 words in the first 20 days.  That’s pretty darn good for me so I’m going to take a page out of the Book of Sheen and declare myself a winner.

…that the path that hugs the Tidal Basin and offers up a view of the Jefferson Memorial across the water, looks better in my head than it does in person. I will now have to adapt a scene I’ve already written to accommodate the lack of suitable spots for a clandestine meeting.  Bummer.

…that my daughter thinks my detailed character profiles complete with photographs are “cute.”   I’m not really sure, but I think she is mocking me.

…that last, but not least, this week’s (month’s) awww moment is brought to you by a duck I encountered while visiting the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.  I had the distinct impression that he was a waterfowl on a mission.  His waddle was very determined.

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