"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Taking Time to Smell the Flowers

So I'm here in Virginia (right outside DC) having a great time! I love this place. There is so much to do. So much to see. I get so caught up in touring around, making sure we see everything. But one thing to keep in mind even when on vacation:

Take time to smell the flowers.
Dip your feet in the fountain as the case may be.

We've managed to go to The Natural History Museum which has many of its exhibits back opened (new ones, too), the Sculpture Garden and fountain outside Archives, and also to Fort Washington on the Maryland side of the Potomac.

* First, speaking of The Natural History Museum, have you seen the forensic's exhibit with all the skeletons? What are your thoughts on displaying these? I guess it's no different than displaying mummies, but still, it was a bit...well, it made me think.

** Second, I really can't recommend Fort Washington enough. It's got secret tunnels, tons of steps, old bricks (though I didn't take any for my collection), and the background of war on the Potomac. It's never crowded and the kids love it. Yeah, so do it!

*** And third, speaking of bricks, my dad gave me two awesome ones for my antique brick collection which now brings my collection to three. The biggest question is how to get them back to Austin.

Tomorrow we're off to the Smithsonian Museum of American History (newly opened after remodeling). I'm psyched to see what they've done with it. Anyone been?

I've gotten no writing done thus far, though I'm hoping my parents will babysit a bit in the two upcoming weeks (hint, hint).

But I have been reading.

On the reading front, I forgot to mention how addictive a read The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams is. I could not put this book down. Seriously.
And I read The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan which finishes off his Percy Jackson series nicely.
Also, I started the second Fablehaven book, Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull, which I'm loving. There's something about this world that really grabs me which I find wonderful in MG fiction these days!

Movies watched:
Inkheart (not the best, but entertaining)
The Naked Jungle (Has anyone seen this? It's an old movie with Charlton Heston and is FABULOUS. Top notch. Watch it. And it's based on a short story written back in the 30s.)

Other than that, I want a Sangria recipe. Anyone have a favorite they want to share?

Hope everyone is having a great summer!


Miriam S.Forster said...

I totally need to read the entire Percy Jackson series. I keep forgetting about that!

Why would you have trouble getting bricks back to Austin? Don't they fit in your suitcase. Or are they like pyramid-stones? :-)

Danyelle said...

Virginia sounds wonderful. :D

I think I'd be a bit freaked out to see skeletons. Plaster skeletons I can do, but real ones make me squeamish.

Yay for new antique bricks! ;-) I really enjoy the Fablehaven series too. :D

Have a great time!

Jim Danielson said...

I shudder to think how much extra the plane fare would be with the added weight of 2 bricks.

And, I need to end the rest of the Percy Jackson series.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Your vacation sounds wonderful. Except for the skeletons. That might creep me out. But it would probably make for a great scene in a book!

I keep looking at those Fablehaven books and thinking I should read them.

Christina Farley said...

We must be on the same wave length because I just posted something similiar to this on our http://www.migwriters.com/

Sounds like you are having a great time. And now I must read Chosen One!

Anonymous said...

Jen Robinson recommended The Chosen One, too. Definitely on my list. Glad you're having fun! Share the sangria recipe when you get it!

Robyn said...

Hmm, A lemon, lime and orange cut into wedges. One cup of strawberries,one small can of pineapples, the kind that are diced use the juice too. A couple tbsp of sugar, a little lemonade or you can use orange juice too.One or two shots of triple sec, a bottle of wine and about four cups of ginger ale. After pouring the wine, squeeze the juice from the cut fruit. Then drop the wedges in the container too. Put the pineapple juice, sugar and triple sec in and chill for about 24 hours. That's important to let the flavors come together. You don't have to use the triple sec. You can use gin. You can leave that step out and it's still very delicious.

We went to DC a couple years back. It was a home school vaca. Sounds like you're having FUN, FUN, FUN. Except for the skeletons. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Yes, you do, Miriam!!!!! I can't believe you haven't! And the bricks will fit in the suitcase, but they are heavy!

Virginia is a blast, Danyelle! And yeah, the skeletons were kind weird to look at!
So have you read all four Fablehaven books?

I think I'll need a whole new checked bag for the bricks, Jim :) They are HEAVY!

Exactly, Sherrie! It would make a great scene for a book. I love museums and touristing (?) for that very reason!

PJ Hoover said...

You must read it, Christina! I highly recommend it! And I'll buzz over and read your post!

I will share it, Becky! And Jen's review swayed me, too. I was on the fence and it pushed me over!

Thanks, Robyn!!!! I will give it a try! I've been looking for a good recipe, and there is nothing like recommendations. Actually just like book reviews, too, isn't it!

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

lynn said...

Speaking of bricks, did you get to see the Natural History Museum's exhibit on soil? Part of it is about bricks, and I think they have an example of a brick from all fifty states, along with a soil column. It's crazy how dirt in one area can differ so much from dirt in another!

How long are you in town?

Justus M. Bowman said...

I'm afraid I can't contribute to your antique brick collection.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

In my life before retirement, I had a job that took me to DC about three times a year. It is a wonderful tourist town, that’s for sure. This time of year the heat and especially the humidity can be sapping, though. I love most all the Smithsonian museums. The National Portrait gallery is also really good..all those historical figures in there. To my regret, I missed the “new” American history museum. Closed the last time I was there. But, I can always go back. Have fun and be safe.

Best regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

adrienne said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Good luck traveling with bricks! :D

My husband says sangria is just red wine and lemonade. Time to experiment!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks for all the recs. Someday, I will check out Fort Washington. I don't remember visiting it, but it's been a looong time since I've been there. I'm going to put Naked Jungle on my netflix list. I love a good ol' movie.
I'm glad you are having a terrific time. I think the transporting of bricks could be a fascinating plot point!

Trisha Pearson said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. I'm glad you're having a good time.

The skeleton thing might bother me a bit too. You've got to wonder how the people those skeletons belonged to would feel about being displayed for the world to see.

PJ Hoover said...

I did see that, Lynn! It was way cool! I'm here until the 12th with a side trip to PA over the 4th. That's right - you live here, right? We're about a mile from Mount Vernon.

Justus, I have faith if you keep at it, you'll be able to contribute to the brick collection :)

The portrait gallery is great, Galen! We went last year, though it worried me with the kids that they would touch something!

Definitely time to experiment, Adrienne! Thank the husband! Yummy!

Tricia, I love the idea of incorporating the brick transportation as a plot point in a future book! What fun!

Yeah, my wonders, too, Trisha. Would the mummies be happy they were being viewed from ancient Egypt?????

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Lauren said...

I have seen the Naked Jungle and it is very good. I want to see it again now. Humm...maybe it is on netflix.

I didn't know that you collected antique bricks. How interesting!

I have a friend with a good sangria recipe. I will ping her and see if she feels like sharing.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Lauren! Let me know if she comes through!
And yes, The Naked Jungle is totally worth watching again and again!

Heather Zundel said...

You've probably already been there by now, but the American History Museum is completely awesome. I went back four times while I was still there, and I still didn't see it all. I have to admit, my favorite parts were the history of transportation, the cello/music room, and Dorothy's slippers. I was sad Darth Vader wasn't on display anymore, or the Nauvoo sunstone. I hope you are having the time of your life over there PJ. Great post. Makes me miss DC all the more.

PJ Hoover said...

We just went today, Heather! loved it! I think it's my first time actually seeing the ruby slippers which I find so hard to believe!
I wish you were here, too!

Shelli said...

sounds fun!

lotusgirl said...

I love DC. We went to the Natural History museum when I was there in Feb. Seeing the bones did seem like an invasion of that person's privacy on a visceral level, but intellectually I thought they were fascinating.

Lady Glamis said...

I'm so happy to hear you're having a great time! Yes, when I was there in February I saw the forensics exhibit. It was really interesting, but made me a little jittery. The soil exhibit was my favorite though. Was that still up when you went? My dad's a soil scientist, so I had to love it. Haha. It was really good!

PJ Hoover said...

I'm having a blast, Shelli!

That's right, Lois. You and Michelle, who commented right after you, went. It was totally intriguing, but just a bit weird. At what point does science allow for bones to be used?

A soil scientist. How cool, Michelle! Yes, it was still up and great!

Angela said...

Ha, looks like we're on the same page with posts! I would love to visit the States a bit more. I've never been to Washington before and it's just supposed to be a fabulous place.

Kelly said...

My son just finished the last Percy Jackson as well. He devoured that series. OH! And we finished Emerald Tablet together a month ago and I keep meaning to tell you, I loved sharing it with my son!! Great read!!
There is so much to see in DC! I haven't been there since I was 12!

Tess said...

What a fun vacation. We did Virginia and DC last year and it was amazing. Hot, humid...but amazing.

PJ Hoover said...

DC rocks, Angela! You'll have to get there sometime!

You officially made my day, Kelly! Thank you so much for telling me! And thank you so much for reading!

Yes, Tess! Hot, humid, amazing! So much to do and see! I love it here!

Thanks for visiting!

C.R. Evers said...

sounds like you are having a blast!

I'll have to check out "The Chosen One" Sounds good.

I felt the same about inkheart. It was entertaining, but . .. well, we all know how the book into movie things usually go.

Keep having fun!

carla said...

did you see James Frey is gonna do YA now?

lovely :)

PJ Hoover said...

Yes, I agree, Christy! Why don't books translate to movies very well. And check out The Chosen One!

:) Saw that, Carla. Very interesting!

Keri Mikulski said...

Enjoy!! :)

You work so hard - you deserve a fun break.

Carrie Harris said...

The forensics exhibit is actually my favorite. But I worked in pathology for a long time, and I'm weird. ;)

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Keri! Hope you have a great weekend!

Why did I know that, Carrie :)
It was really cool, but ya know, just kinda weird to see all the not-so-old bones.