January 1st, 2006

little review

Poem for New Year's Day

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Happy New Year! We had a very full last day of 2005 which started in the morning with one of younger son's friends arriving to play before younger son was fully awake. Since it was the second-to-last day of the Napoleon exhibition at the National Geographic Explorers Hall, we went there after lunch, and the exhibit did not disappoint in the least -- though the patron is clearly a Napoleon apologist and the historical cards have justifications of nearly all the emperor's excesses, even the disastrous Russian campaign, there were all sorts of artifacts that have never been in the US before, and it is really a thrill to read love letters in Napoleon's handwriting, to see fabric from his coronation robes and to get to stand next to some of his furniture and snuff boxes and long underwear. There's a lot of detail about how Napoleon advanced the aspirations for public education and modernization that were the goals of the French Revolution before the Terror, and since I've been reading so many British authors on how thoroughly despicable Napoleon was, it's interesting to get the opposite perspective. He certainly treated the Jews better than any of his predecessors in France, most countries he conquered and those he did not; he forced Portugal to allow Jews to reopen synagogues that had been closed since the Inquisition. It's also easy to forget how important Napoleon was to the fledgling United States and freedoms that were codified here before anywhere else. The kids, whom we had thought might be sick of museums after two days of art museums over their winter break, were very attentive and younger son wants a canopy bed like Joseph Buonaparte's.

We were going to stop by the National Gallery of Art to see the illuminated manuscripts on loan from the Getty Museum -- we had seen then at the Getty several years ago -- but we couldn't get into either of our usual parking lots near the museum, and we had so many other things we wanted to do that we decided it wasn't really essential. So we drove around the National Mall and looked at the monuments in the late afternoon light, then went to get some essentials at Target and discovered that all Christmas candy was 75% off...guess what we had for dessert tonight. We had fondue for dinner as we do one night every Chanukah, which means the whole house will smell like frying oil for a week but is worth it; meatballs, chicken nuggets, bread, cheese...yum. And apaulled had also gotten a Friendly's Jubilee Roll. When we finished eating we went back to Gaithersburg for the Seneca Creek State Park annual Winter Lights Festival, which we also do every year (and tonight was the last night for 2005). Back home we watched the end of the Giants/Raiders game with its unfortunate outcome for the Redskins, then Dick Clark's irrepressible rockin' New Year's Eve -- the kids asked to stay up to watch the ball drop, and we let them.

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Hope everyone has had a wonderful start to 2006! Sequel to this post last year...

Things that happened in 2005...
Snow and Superbowl.
February: Older son spent many weekends in Silver Spring working on science fair project while we went sightseeing.
March: London, Greenwich, Birmingham, York, Whitby, Scarborough, Durham.
April: Stonehenge, Avebury, Portsmouth.
May: Kingdom of Heaven, Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith on screen.
June: Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula.
July: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in print.
August: Rehoboth Beach.
September: Renaissance and Colonial Fairs.
October: Pumpkin picking, leaves turning at state parks.
November: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on screen.
December: New camera; lots of museum visits.

Things I'm looking forward to in 2006...
Superbowl party, visiting my sister in NY.
February: Valentine's Day.
March: Visiting Longwood Gardens and other Brandywine Valley places over spring break.
April: Seeing Great Big Sea with ribby.
May: The Da Vinci Code on screen.
June: Likely driving south to Nashville and Memphis.
July: Likely visiting Monticello and Williamsburg.
August: Going to the Delmarva beaches.
September: My older son's Bar Mitzvah.
October: MD and PA Renaissance Faires.
November: Autumn parks.
December: My birthday and Chanukah.