December 14th, 2008

little review

Poem for Sunday

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I slept late -- I feel like the past week's stresses caught up with me with a vengeance -- and had to rush to get ready when Daniel got back from working at Hebrew school, because Frederick County was having a Museums By Candlelight festival at which many local attractions were free for the holidays. We went first to Gambrill House at Monocacy National Battlefield, which we'd seen before from the outside, but never entered; the 1870 building was once the home of miller James Gambrill, but now houses the Historical Preservation Training Center of the National Park Service, and today was offering tours of the Victorian mansion and crafts for children. From there we went to the fabulous Brunswick Railroad Museum, which we had visited near Christmas many years ago when Daniel was still train-crazy; they have a Victorian Christmas display and Santa visits the playroom, but the main attraction of this museum are its exhibits on the development of the B&O Railroad, life in a 1900s Maryland railroad town, and a massive model railroad depicting the stations between Washington, DC and Brunswick through Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Point of Rocks, and Catoctin.

From there we went to Gathland, which we visit each fall to see the glorious woods surrounding the ruins of the Gath estate, but the museum has always been closed when we were there. Today it was open, so in addition to the War Correspondents Arch, we got to see some of George Alfred Townsend's writings and artifacts of his life there with his wife. We headed around South Mountain to the Dahlgren Chapel at Turner's Gap -- another building we have seen many times while visiting Washington Monument State Park on our fall tours, but had never been inside before today. The little church is now deconsecrated, was serving cider and cookies and had its bell tower open for people who wanted to climb up and ring the bell. Since it was nearby, we went from there to the South Mountain Creamery to buy cheese and egg nog and visit the calves. Then we went to Ostertag Farm, which dates to the 1700s and had singers and decorations (including large-scale model trains running on a track around the walls) plus cookies by the fireplaces.

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I'm feeling very wiped out -- I think this week was more stressful for me than I let on to myself. We had soup and cheese for dinner, then watched The Dark Knight, which I thought might shock me or disgust me or secretly thrill me, so I was surprised to discover that my major reaction was apathy. I was bored during parts of it, thought it went on too long, and really wasn't as impressed by the acting as everyone had told me I would be; Heath Ledger was interesting to watch, sure, but I thought his subtle, intense performance in Brokeback Mountain was a lot more memorable -- don't get me wrong, it's fine with me if he gets a posthumous Oscar for this one, I just don't think the character was written all that well. The only scene I really loved in the whole movie was Collapse ) The rest of it felt very heavy-handed and overly earnest even for a comic book movie...perhaps especially for a comic book movie. Definitely not my thing, though preferable to Iron Man in my book!