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Midsummer

Jun. 21st, 2017 03:24 pm
lizziebelle: (ganesha)
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Today is the longest day, the Summer Solstice. I went down to the river early this morning, before it started getting hot, to celebrate the return of summer.

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into the woods )

Blessed Midsummer!
lizziebelle: (crow)
Not a lot has been happening around here lately. The weather has been pretty dismal, with lots of rain and grey, broody skies. This does not help my feeling of being overwhelmed by the world. I do try to get out of the house every day, but some days I fail at even that.

I did make it to the wildlife sanctuary last week, where I found lots of lovely pink lady's slipper orchids (though not nearly as many as I should have; I suspect people are picking them, as I found a lot of flower-less plants).

pink ladyslipper orchid

It was cool and green in the woods, with lots of birdsong and ferns.

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There's a red tailed hawk that's been hanging out atop the spire at the UU church downtown.

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I've seen it there several times. Must be a good lookout place for it.

These lovely little flowers have been popping up in our yard. I'm told they're called Star of Bethlehem.

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Speaking of hawks and backyards, my neighbors had to put a chicken run back in the trees because one hawk decided our backyard was an all-you-can-eat chicken buffet, and had killed several of the girls. No more chickens wandering around the yard, but I'm glad they're safe. And the guys bought a bunch of chicks, which are growing fast. They're so cute, and their little peeps make me smile. One of the hens is playing mother to them.

I went to see "Wonder Woman" the other day, and I liked it a lot. It's not perfect, but then what movie is? It was refreshing to see a strong female lead who was not just eye candy or assisting the men. I wouldn't bother to see it in 3D, though. It really didn't add anything to the experience. Save the four bucks for popcorn.

sproing

May. 18th, 2017 08:13 am
lizziebelle: (fox)
As usual, we've gone straight from cold to hot. Last week I was wearing hoodies, this week I'm digging for summer clothing and installing my a/c unit. It's supposed to hit 90° today. I got an air quality alert on my phone, even. Oy. At least it's supposed to cool down again by next week.

I went to the Arnold Arboretum the other day to enjoy the lilacs at their peak. A lot of other people had the same idea! They actually cancelled Lilac Sunday this year because the weather was rainy & windy; it didn't end up as stormy as forecast, but it still wouldn't have been a fun day for festivities.

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The lilacs were, as always, spectacular. I also took in the shrub & vine garden, and the bonsai collection. Bonsai! )

Even the birds love the lilacs.

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I'm glad I made it there before it got too hot out.

Beltane

May. 2nd, 2017 10:13 pm
lizziebelle: (artsy me)
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Beltane morning was cloudy and dreary, but it wasn't raining so I went to Cambridge to celebrate with the Morris dancers and friends. For some reason my phone didn't want to take pictures (I think it was too full of podcasts), and my camera doesn't take great pix in low light, so I didn't take too many photos. I did get a few of Justin and an anonymous fella, both dressed in cloaks and Green Man masks:

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I had wanted to go to Mount Auburn, but since it was chilly and cloudy, I decided instead to just go back home and take a nap.

In the afternoon, I walked down to the library to pick up a book they had on hold for me (Elizabeth Kostova's new one, SHADOW LAND). There were a lot of people and trucks around, due to the movie that's filming on Main Street this week. All I really know about it is that it (supposedly) stars David Spade, who may or may not have been there. His stunt double certainly was; one of the scenes they were shooting was him being thrown through the barber shop window. I didn't see anything happening, just a lot of people and cops hanging around in front of Vic's barber shop. I saw the catering truck down the street, and all the equipment trucks in the Elks Club parking lot. Today, most of it was gone.

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Exciting times in our little town. I'm more excited about the bagel shop that's opening soon.
lizziebelle: (fox)
Yesterday was the first really springlike day we've had in a while. After a cold, wet, snowy/sleety/rainy weekend, it was most welcome. After supper, I went for a walk along the river, where the water was as high as I'd ever seen it. The moon peeked through the bare branches, where buds are starting to swell.

spring moon

The woods were full of starlings and red-winged blackbirds, all singing as the sun sank into the west. It was a glorious symphony.

I saw what I thought at first was a beaver swimming in the river, but when it climbed out of the water, I saw its long narrow tail and recognized it as a muskrat.

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I know there are beavers around too, because I see the evidence of their teeth on the trees.

While I was busy trying to capture the muskrat, I totally missed the great blue heron until it took off and flew away. What a gorgeous creature! One of my favorites. I'm glad to see he's back this year.

Today we're back to rain, so no forays in search of the peepers my friends have been telling me they've been hearing. Perhaps tomorrow. I crossed over the river on my way home, and it's even higher than yesterday. I'm very glad I don't live closer to it!

So I see that more people are abandoning LJ because of the new TOS. I have no immediate plans to go anywhere, and I'm sad to be losing even more folks here. I do have a mirrored Dreamwidth journal, but this is still my primary residence, for now. I'm loathe to give it up, after all the wonderful folks I've met here. I hope you don't all leave, but if you do, please let me know where I can find you elsewhere on the interwebs (if we haven't already connected).
lizziebelle: (fox)
I have been in dire need of some spring, so on my way back from mom's today, I stopped at the Arnold Arboretum, hoping to find some signs.

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The sun had disappeared, but it was still fairly mild. I found snowdrops popping up beneath the bare trees, and most of the snow was gone. One adorable little girl in a princess dress found the trees irresistible.

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signs )

By then, it had started raining lightly so I headed back to the car and home. My spirit has been lifted by the little signs of spring I found in one of my favorite places. Hopefully spring will come for real, and soon!
lizziebelle: (little me)
A few months ago, I entered a contest at my favorite radio station to win tickets to see Green Day, and I actually won! After feeling like it was forever away for ages, the date finally arrived on Friday. What better day to see them than on Saint Patrick's Day? I was wearing green for more than one reason.

There was never any doubt who I would take with me: my awesome niece, who is a huge GD fan.

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The show was in Worcester, which is much closer to me (and easier to get to) than Boston. Willow met me at my office, and we drove to downtown Worcester and parked in the garage located conveniently next door to the venue. I had a gift card for a restaurant that's across the street from there, where we had the cheese & charcuterie board. It was quite delicious!

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I had only been to the DCU Center once before (when it was still called the Centrum), many years ago when I saw Paul Simon (with Willow's parents). It's a pretty large place; we were on the second level to the right of the stage. Close enough to see what was going on, but not close enough to see the performers' faces. But hey, free, so I'm not complaining!

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The opening band, whose name I cannot remember, was actually pretty good. Punk, young, and energetic. You could definitely hear the influence of GD, along with the Ramones and a bit of the Alarm. The drummer was relentless, going directly from one song to another. He reminded me a bit of Dave Grohl. At one point they did stop, and the singer said that the first show he ever went to was Green Day, and it changed his life. Indeed.

And then the main event began. I have always liked Green Day, but now I love them. What an amazing show! Great light show, sparks and bangs, flames (flames!), and the music was so, so good. Billie Joe was so great. He talked a lot, urging us all to unite and stay together, fight the good fight, encouraging everyone to sing along. He totally had the crowd in his hands. Three times (three!) he brought someone up on stage with him; all three were kids in their 'tweens, and they all killed it. The first and second kids he brought up to sing, and they were both great, especially the second one, who ran around the stage and leapt off the steps that went up to the drummer. The third one was the youngest, maybe 11, and he played the guitar. Billie Joe showed him what to do, and he totally nailed it; he then proceeded to run around, playing back-to-back with the bassist and generally acting like a rock star. Best night of his life, I bet. And then Billie Joe told him he could keep the guitar! Everyone cheered.

Green Day at the DCU Center

I stood for nearly the whole show, dancing to the music. I did have to sit for a bit because my back was unhappy about standing on concrete for so long (it's still a bit sore today), but the show was so full of energy, I didn't feel tired till nearly the end. Definitely the most energetic show I've ever been to. I was afraid I'd be the oldest person there, but there were a few old fogeys like me in the crowd, and we all smiled when we caught each others' eyes. Rock & roll is ageless. Even punk. If you're at all a fan, I heartily recommend seeing Green Day live. One of the best shows I've ever been to.
lizziebelle: (artsy me)
I was in Boston today with over 100,000 others to rally for Women's rights, and it was amazing. What made it even better was all the people I know who were there, and in sister marches all over the country. I know people who marched in New York, Washington, Binghamton, Albany, Seneca Falls, Ithaca, Peoria, Seattle, Austin, L.A., Montpelier, and Raleigh. And probably other places as well. Reading my Facebook feed today was wonderful, which is quite a change from what it's been lately.

I took the train in with a couple of friends. There were a lot of people at our stop, mostly women but there were men and kids, too. Carrying signs, and wearing pink pussy hats. There was a palpable excitement in the air. I complimented a trio of women on their hats, and they gave me one from a bag of them that they were carrying. I have a pink pussy hat!

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Ours was the third or fourth stop on the line, and it was already standing room only. They picked up more people at the next stop, then they stopped letting more people on board. They did add another train afterward, but they were totally overwhelmed and unprepared. They never even took tickets.

The atmosphere was quite festive. It felt to me like being at a Pagan festival on bonfire night. Lots of smiles, laughs, camaraderie. We got off at Back Bay and started making our way up Boylston Street. I tried to meet up with a Facebook friend, but we never managed to find each other so the three of us headed across the street to the Common.

There were people pouring onto the Common from all sides. We found a spot to stand, toward the back of the crowd. It didn't take long for it to fill in behind us, with hundreds more people streaming in all around us. I have never seen so many people in one place before. I can't even imagine what it was like in Washington.

Lots more pix )

I found my friends at the station, with plenty of time to get a ticket, eat something, and use the bathroom. The train was pretty full, but not nearly as crowded as it had been on the way in. The conductor had started taking tickets, but he never made it to us as more people got on at the next two stops. He was funny though, joking around with the kids on the train. We thanked him when we got off.

Seeing all of my friends and relatives who were protesting all over the country today was so uplifting and heartening. Getting messages of support from those who couldn't go made me so proud that I was there. Seeing the footage from all the cities made me feel a kinship with all those who stand up to the fascism that is rearing its ugly head in our capitol. I hope the message was heard.

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lizziebelle: (sherlock)
January 1st, for me, is simply the day I put up a new calendar. It's rather arbitrary, with other days making more sense to me (solstice, for one). But I decided it was a good day to pay a visit to Walden again, as it was relatively warm and sunny.

As was the case last time I went, a lot of others had the same idea. Parking was free today, and the visitor center was open (yay, bathrooms). I wandered down to the pond after saying hello to Henry and the replica of his cabin.

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Most people were walking on the beach, and there was a bunch of college-age kids who started stripping off their clothes and heading toward the water.

Yep, they went into the water... )

I'll have to pick a non-holiday, non-weekend day to go back sometime.
lizziebelle: (moon)
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It's been an eventful couple of weeks since last you saw me here. I started my new job last week, and so far I like it very much there. It's a cool company (they do websites and digital marketing), and everyone has been very nice. They provide lunch for us every Thursday, and once a month we do a potluck. Today was this month's potluck, and I made lacy oatmeal cookies, which were very popular. I have to take the recipe in tomorrow so people can make copies of it. They have a wine & cheese club every other Friday at 4:00; last week I brought a nice Irish cheddar with porter, which was appreciated. There was also candied bacon and bacon-infused bourbon, in addition to other cheeses and wine. I have found my people. *g*

There's a cooler (like you see in stores) stocked with soda, seltzer, energy drinks, and beer. Yes, beer! They also have a microbrew club. There are gumball machines (for which you don't need coins) filled with Skittles, M&Ms, and pistachios. They even have a couple of Keurig machines, with all the fixings. They take good care of their employees!

It's a ten-minute commute, all on back roads so I don't have to get on the highway. I'm not sure how that's going to be when it snows, but we'll see. There are lots of shops and restaurants in the vicinity (not that I go out for lunch all that much, but it's nice to have options). There's even a lovely atrium in our building.

atrium

My second day on the phone, I got a live one. They're seriously considering us, and if we get it, it's a pretty big sale. My boss is really happy. The CEO high-fived me. I've been sitting in on the calls so I can learn the process. So many new terms to learn! It's all very interesting. I now know the difference between a CRM and a CMS. I've lost track of how many times my boss has said "Good job" to me. So nice to hear.

So yeah, lots of things to be happy about. Which makes the election and its fallout all the more heartbreaking. So much anger, so much pain. I've been spending a lot less time on social media because of it. I'm just sick over what's happening. I don't have it in me to be an organizer, but I will do everything I can to help those who are, and those who are affected. If they start registering Muslims, I will stand in line and register myself. I will stand up to hate wherever I see it. We must not allow it to take over. There are more of us than there are of them, even though they are louder.

I am doing what I can to share positive and beautiful things on Facebook, because somebody's gotta do it. Not to minimize the bad, or belittle anyone's pain, but because I believe in reminding people of the good in this world. To show what we're fighting for. Just like Samwise Gamgee.

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I haven't been able to write since the election. I'm giving up on NaNoWriMo, for now. November isn't the best month for me anyway, and with all that's going on, my brain just can't get into that space right now. Maybe in January, when it's deep winter and going outside isn't as good an idea. I'm scribbling short ideas down for when I do have the brain for it.

Hopefully this weekend, I'll be able to corral some brain cells into putting together a new calendar. It's way past time for me to do that. Oh, and I found out my company did Lulu's website! Small world.

How are you all holding up? I've been reading your posts, even though I haven't been posting or commenting all that much. I'm glad we're all here.

almost over

Nov. 5th, 2016 08:27 am
lizziebelle: (artsy me)
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There is still some color left, but more and more trees are bare now, ready for winter. I'm trying to get out every day to enjoy what's left of autumn before it's all gone.

golden

I went to see "Doctor Strange" on Thursday night. They had a secret screening a day early, so I got to beat the weekend crowds. I absolutely loved it! I had high expectations, and they weren't let down. I even didn't mind (much) that Benedict had an American accent in it. He was fantastic, just perfect for that role. Everyone in it was great. I will probably see it again in the theatre, and buy it when it comes out on DVD. Such a treat, especially after being disappointed in the last couple of Marvel movies.

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I start a new job on Monday, and I'm both nervous and excited. It's for a web services company, which is right up my alley (much more so than the last couple of gigs). I worked really hard to get it, too; in addition to the phone and in-person interviews, I had to do a couple of test calls so they could hear my phone manner and pitch style. I really hope this works out, because the company sounds awesome.

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I am attempting to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I haven't had a lot of words yet, but I'm pretty happy with what's come out of me so far. I've had a couple of fun ideas about how to structure the story, partially inspired by a classic of horror literature that has come up repeatedly in the last month or so. Figuring out how to work it all in has been a fun challenge.

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I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
lizziebelle: (crow)
Not a lot has been going on around here lately, but autumn continues to be beautiful, so I'll share some more of it with you.

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oh, the lovely colors! )

We had some very intense weather the other night, wild thunderstorms and heavy rain & wind. Dark and stormy night, indeed. We even had a flash flood warning! I was very glad to be on the second floor (first floor, for you Brits). I was worried we'd lose power, but we only had a couple of flickers. Not everyone was so lucky!

Today is very windy, and much cooler, but sunny. The light coming in the north-west side of the house is orange from the maple tree out back.

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October

Oct. 12th, 2016 04:45 pm
lizziebelle: (crow)
A lot of you live in places where you don't have autumn like we do in New England. Here you go.

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Autumn in New England )

It's been deliciously cool, and mostly sunny and nice. I love this time of year! This is the best time to live here.

seasonal

Sep. 27th, 2016 07:04 pm
lizziebelle: (moon)
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Autumn has arrived in New England. Trees are starting to turn colorful. Although, with this drought, they'll probably not be as colorful as usual this year. But at least it's cooler, and there is rain this week.

reservoir overlook on the rail trail

I went farther into the Marlborough end of the rail trail the other day, and found this fabulous lookout over the reservoir. I'll have to go back up there when the trees are more autumnal.

a touch of color along the river

This is another shot I need to go recreate when autumn is further along. I love living near the river.

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lizziebelle: (artsy me)
The other day, I saw this snapping turtle sunning herself by the falls.

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She turned to look at them, perhaps thinking how refreshing a cool shower would be.

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turtle adventure )
lizziebelle: (crow)
While walking back from the library the other day, I came across a tiny, newly-hatched snapping turtle trying to make its way over the sidewalk. As it was heading straight for the road, I picked it up and carried it over to the edge of the woods, heading toward the river.

li'l snapper

It didn't struggle, or even move, once I picked it up. It didn't even move when I struggled, one-handed, to dig out my camera and take its portrait. It sure was cute.

If it makes it to adulthood, it will be anything but cute.

huge snapper

I spotted this adult snapper downriver a bit, a few weeks ago. Its shell was at least a foot across.

I know it's unlikely that my little rescue will make it to adulthood; the odds are against it. But at least it didn't end up as roadkill in front of the Elks Club.
lizziebelle: (little me)
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I got up at 5 a.m. to walk over to the Elks Club and see a bunch of balloons get inflated. It was wicked awesome, to use the local parlance.

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There were a lot of them, and I got to see them in all stages from being unfolded, filled with air, and rising from the ground.

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There were a surprising number of people there. I didn't expect to see so many folks out at the crack of dawn.

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I was also surprised that there weren't any news crews around, although the guy on Team Peacock who looked familiar turned out to be the evening news dude from channel 7. Which is an NBC station, hence the peacock theme and design on the balloon.

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They'll probably be there later, since the fest is going for the whole weekend.

I would have stayed to watch them take off, but the sky was overcast and not conducive to lovely soaring balloon photos, so I headed back home and took a nap.

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I was glad I got to see it this year. Last year, it happened the weekend I went to NYC so I missed it. If it's clearer tomorrow morning, I might go back and get more pictures. But not as early this time. Things didn't really start getting interesting till around 7:00.

You can see my whole set here.
lizziebelle: (ganesha)
Last weekend was my family reunion. It's always good to see everyone, and this year we had quite a few of the cousins (my generation) attending so we managed to corral all of us and get some pictures.

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There are (I think) 23 of us, so having 15 all in one place is pretty good.

Actually, one of the folks in the pic is a cousin from Germany, who was visiting with his daughter. So make that 14. Still a pretty good showing.

It was nice to meet Hannes, our German cousin. His mother and mine are first cousins. I'm not sure what that makes us; second cousins? I can never keep that straight.

Back at work on Monday, we had two days of sales meetings. Fortunately, my team didn't have to attend all the modules. It's hard for me to sit through long meetings. I need to get up and stretch, and walk around once in a while! We were supposed to all go to Dairy Queen again, but it was rather gloomy outside so they brought in ice cream & toppings, and we did make-your-own sundaes. That was fun. It was my birthday that day (Tuesday), and one of my coworkers spilled the beans so they all sang to me. That was fun, if slightly embarrassing.

After work, I met a friend at her now former house so she could give me an extra TV they had, since mine had bit the dust a while ago (all I've had to watch since then is a 13" old-fashioned tube set). Well, the darned thing is HUGE, and it was an effort for both of us to get it into the car. There it stayed until today, when my landlord dropped by (for another reason) and nicely helped me carry it upstairs, and waited while I cleared off the bookcase where we put it. Whew. I had to do some rearranging, but I think I've found a good arrangement.

I had to go to Target to pick up an HDMI cable, and after I attached all the cords I turned it on. Great picture, but no sound! That was frustrating. I called the electronics department at Target, but the guy there was little help. So I looked at the back of the cable box, and noticed there was an audio out jack (actually, a pair of them) which matched jacks on the TV. Aha! I think. So I went back to Target (it's only 5 minutes away) and bought an audio cable. It took a couple of tries in different jacks on the back of the TV (there are so many of them!), but now I have sound! And HD picture! And the thing really is huge, I think it's 40". So now I have a bigass television, and I'm watching the opening ceremonies from Rio on demand. Nice. I don't have a remote or a manual, but hey, it was free. I really can't complain.

An aside: why do the Olympic opening ceremonies have to be so weird? Who started that trend?

Last night, I got together with friends for a nice cookout-and-cocktails evening, complete with cupcakes for my birthday.

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My friends are awesome. But they made me take home the leftover cupcakes. I had one for breakfast, because I could.

Oh, and the other night we had a smoke alarm malfunction in the house. Fun times.

So it's been quite the week. I hope I have the spoons for tomorrow's Lammas Faire, which is here in Hudson now.
lizziebelle: (crow)
Another festival has come and gone. It seems to take forever to get here, and then is gone in a flash. It was so good to be there, in a place that feels like home. Our little village springs up each year like Brigadoon, always changing but ever the same.

Walking along the drive one day, I happened to look up at the sky (I do that often) and saw a rainbow splashed across the clouds.

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If that's not an omen, I don't know what is. It was glorious. A perfect reflection of the colorful village below.

I got to play my ukulele with my friend Snoo. I learned a new song: "Leaving on a Jet Plane." Shades of my childhood.

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The weather was hot for most of the week. The only time it rained while I was there was early one morning, before I got up. My tent stayed nice and dry.

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I saw lots of birds around camp, including a new one for me: an American redstart. I thought at first it was an oriole, but the patterns weren't quite right, and it was smaller. The pic above is a fledgling robin, waiting for his mama to feed him. He hopped around our kitchen area, and onto the grill. I didn't tell him we had cooked chicken on that grill the night before. ;)

I proposed having a write-in at camp for anyone who wanted to come and write. Two of my peeps took me up on it, and we wrote (and talked about writing) for three of the days we were there. I like writing with other people; it was one of the things I enjoyed most about Nanowrimo.

The last morning, when I went up to the lot to get the car, the sun was coming up and a mist was rising from the pond. It was so beautiful.

misty sunrise

A perfect ending to a great week.
lizziebelle: (moon)
I leave tomorrow for Sirius Rising festival. I couldn't leave till then for various reasons, but I'm trying not to stress about it. There's quite enough stress in my life, thank you very much. I'm looking forward to being there, being set up, and being handed a cocktail around this time tomorrow.

I discovered the Prisma app, thanks to various cousins posting on Instagram. Oh my, is it fun. I couldn't put it on my phone because I don't have the latest OS, but I did put it on my iPad. It's probably a good thing I don't have it on my phone; I waste enough time on it as it is!

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It's rather addicting.

I'll most likely be posting on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, so I'll see some of you there!

June 2017

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