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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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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.
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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!
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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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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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:
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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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When I woke up, I was still unhappy about the Senate remaining in Republican control and particularly about Beto O'Rourke and Stacey Abrams losing races where there was clear and massive Republican cheating to win, but then I started reading speeches by the new members of the Democrat-controlled House and the new Democratic governors -- the Native Americans and the Muslim women, and I read fun tweets about the despicable baker in Colorado who will have a gay governor
and Ann Coulter being reminded that she's the Wicked Witch of the West
Bottom line: of course I wish there had been a massive blue wave to demonstrate to America and the world that we aren't the bigoted, vile party of Donald Trump. (And of course Trump lived up to everyone's worst expectations in every way today -- toward the victors, toward reporters, toward his own attorney general for whom I can't even feel an iota of sympathy.) But I'm also aware that the Senate and gubernatorial races I most wanted Democrats to win are the ones with by far the most allegations of voter disenfranchisement (Gillum, like Nelson, should be demanding a recount, and Abrams has a major lawsuit against a candidate who's also supposed to be in charge of guaranteeing fair elections).
So I am hopeful that, with Democrats controlling the House and a decent number of state houses and legislatures, we're going to get a better picture of just how much the Republicans have screwed with the past two elections. I don't expect that the 30% of the electorate that actually supports Trump and what he stands for will be changed by or even listen to this information, but I am hopeful that the young people too cynical to vote will pay attention, that the unprecedented voter turnout will continue, that states will keep voting for trans rights and reproductive rights, that there's some hope for the free press.
Anyway, I don't have the energy to rant about the asshole in chief and his contempt for reporters, black people, immigrants, et al. My day was fairly quiet, which was nice: the weather was gorgeous and the leaves were falling, so I went for a long walk in Cabin John Park, and read a lot of news and talked to a bunch of long-distance friends about the election. We had Indian food for Diwali, and since we've discovered that The Gifted
is back on, we tried to catch up on that. Here are some barnyard animals from Cox Farms' fall festival:
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Following the election results on TV and four web sites at once so I am distracted, though I had a pretty nice day, at least until CNN called Texas for Ted not Beto. I did chores, had lunch with a friend, went to a Pokemon Go EX Raid at the invitation of a friend, and despite the rain I even managed to take a walk. Paul and I went to vote together in the late afternoon at our kids' elementary school, with very little wait.
Meanwhile, Adam discovered that he could not vote absentee on the day of the election, so he drove around the Beltway to vote at our polling place. Since he was five minutes away, he came by the house and we went to California Tortilla together (they were giving out free chips and queso to anyone who voted). I'll try to talk intelligently about individual election results tomorrow, so here are some photos of us voting and the sunset!
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Paul worked from home on a very rainy Monday because until about dinnertime, we only had one vehicle. I took it out after lunch to do some chores while he was on a conference call, then he took it to the dentist in the late afternoon, and eventually we went to pick up the van together. I am so stressed about the election that I ate junk food all day.
We caught up on Sunday's Supergirl
-- I've appreciated how political this season is -- and watched tonight's Legends of Tomorrow
, which I didn't watch regularly before this season but it's been hilarious. Then we put on the Titans-Cowboys game, which was somewhat cheering. Here is the glorious Foamhenge, moved to Cox Farms from Natural Bridge, Virginia:
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Things we got to do on the last day of Cox Farms' annual Fall Festival, which we have not attended in many many years, since our kids were young enough to want to go on their Haunted Hayride, but really wanted to support this year, not only because the festival has grown so impressively, Foamhenge
has been moved to the property, the farm hasn't been lobbying for dangerous pesticides the way Butler's Orchard has, and we strongly support Cox Farms' commitment to inclusiveness and social justice
1) Pet a goat
2) Get sniffed by a llama
3) VISIT FOAMHENGE
4) Watch huge pumpkins get dropped from dozens of feet in the air
5) Listen to a band play classic rock
6) Watch piglets chase each other while their mothers slept
7) Hear kids scream as they slid down the famous Dinosaur Slide
8) Drink free cups of cider
9) Eat nachos and cheese
10) Pose in lots of your-head-here wooden scenes
11) Pet a cow
12) Walk through a chicken coop
13) See goat kids, adolescent ducklings, and fluffy bunnies
14) Peruse a tractor museum under lovely autumn trees
15) VISIT FOAMHENGE AGAIN
16) Take home small pumpkins included in price of admission
and probably some other things that I am forgetting at the moment but I have photos so they may come up later in the week! It is just as well that we didn't stay home to watch the local sports teams on this gorgeous Sunday considering that they had lousy days anyway! After dinner we watched this week's Doctor Who
(not bad, but didn't blow me away) and Madam Secretary
(quite good, as usual). Here is some of my fun!
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After having brunch here, I spent most of a lovely cool Saturday with Paul and Cheryl in the Shenandoah Valley, where we went to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley to see the Maxfield Parrish and Albrecht Durer exhibits, both of which were excellent, though I confess I enjoyed the former a great deal more with the exception of the William Blake prints in the latter. We also visited the Terry Ward exhibit and the miniature houses.
There was a lot of construction going on around the gardens, so we thought we might go to Skyline Drive to see the tree color there, but there were reports of traffic backed up for many miles at the entrance to Shenandoah National Park, so instead we decided to do something equally tasteful and scenic, and went to Dinosaur Land in White Post (on Stonewall Jackson Highway, which might explain all the Confederate souvenirs in the gift shop).
We came back as the sun was going down, ordered pizza, and watched Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
, which is excellent; I thought I knew a lot about her life as an inventor, but I learned a lot more, and it's very well filmed. After Cheryl went home, we watched the end of several football games (none of which ended the way I wanted) before Saturday Night Live
. Here are photos including dinosaurs, prints, and me and Paul enacting Distracted Boyfriend:
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