Since moving to Maryland in 2005, my husband and I haven’t made trips back to the Midwest for Thanksgiving. The first few years, we still made a traditional meal as we had done for years when we hosted the family get-togethers. And we had way too many leftovers for way too long.
In 2009, we finally asked ourselves why we kept spending half the day in the kitchen for a meal that lasted less than an hour. That was the first year of our new tradition—heading down the road (er, Metro tracks) to Washington, DC, and spending the day at some of the museums, followed by a stress-free, relaxing dinner at a great restaurant. No long day of cooking and no dishes to clean! This year, we also took in the opening day of the “Seasons Greetings” display at the US Botanic Garden Conservatory.
So why not kick off December with some colorful, seasonal photos? And we’ll wrap up with a tidbit from this month’s work on Death Out of Time.
The Fun Holiday
The entry to the display was simply done, with traditional red poinsettias and winter berries with some minimalistic trees, lights, and ornaments.
Inside, things were a “bit” more colorful. Mixed in with the regular plants were more poinsettias and other holiday decorations. The exhibit includes models of the major buildings and monuments on the Mall made from plant materials. The photo below shows the Washington Monument in the foreground with the Reflecting Pool leading back to the Lincoln Memorial.
One of my favorite sights wasn’t holiday-related at all. It was a poster showing various medicine bottles from the 1800s. And this particular item was too good not to photograph. Let’s hear a round of applause for — Brain Workers!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this holiday kickoff. And no, I haven’t let my writing slide. I finished my PerNoReMo by adding 21,736 words to Death Out of Time, which beat my goal of 300–500 words per day. I also have the new plot straight in my mind and a much better idea of what remains to be done for this rebuild. My next goal? Finishing the rebuild’s first draft. I’m keeping quiet about that target date! But as promised above, here’s another tidbit from Death Out of Time. The scene takes place in the cafeteria of the Natural History Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and features the book’s three main characters.
“Do you live here, too, or are you visiting?” one of the women asked.
Luckily, his mouth was full, and Avery answered for him.
“He’s our cousin visiting from Kansas.”
“How nice to have family for a personal tour,” she said.
Landry nodded and smiled as he swallowed. “It is,” he said, hoping Madeleine wouldn’t kick him under the table for speaking. But he couldn’t sit mutely when someone talked to him.
“What do you do for a living?” she asked.
And he certainly couldn’t ignore a direct question. “I’m a historian,” he said, taking another bite of pizza and forcing his eyes to look at her face and not her low-cut top and bare arms.
“Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place for that,” she said.
“That I have,” Landry said and washed down his pizza with something called cola. It was too sweet for his taste, and he had wanted a beer. But Madeleine wouldn’t let him have one—probably afraid it would loosen his tongue. But he should have chosen bottled water like she had.
“Do you have a favorite time period?”
“Colonial,” he replied, hoping she would stop asking questions. The situation could get awkward if she didn’t. He didn’t want to slip up and have the rest of his trip canceled.
Avery rescued him once more, asking the woman, “So, do you live around here?”
Landry breathed a sigh of relief as the conversation turned away from him.
There are some “tells” in here, but this is a first draft, and they’ll be worked out in future revisions. And so, back to work for me!