A Weekend Offline

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:21 pm
melydia: (cutting ties)
[personal profile] melydia
One of my Things is to spend a weekend "unplugged" (by which I actually mean offline). Another one is to pick out a library book by its cover and spend the weekend reading it. I decided to do both at the same time this past weekend.

The book I chose was Lost History by Kitty Ferguson, a collection of (nonfiction) tales about people who made scientific advances but are more or less unknown today. It was very interesting. Finishing it within the weekend wasn't a requirement of the Thing, but I managed it all the same.

I allowed myself my daily crossword and minimal email and texts, but nixed all social media, video games, and RSS feeds. I know this is not a big change for some people, but I spend a large chunk of my free time in front of a screen.

Besides reading, I did some writing, gluebooking, cleaning, shopping, and organizing. I didn't do any drawing, but I wasn't in the mood so I'm not beating myself up over it. And we had dinner with friends yesterday evening, followed by a game of Dixit, which was a lot of fun. The art in that game is amazing.

I also did a fair bit of sleeping, but I suspect that on normal days I would have just mindlessly surfed the internet and/or played a million rounds of solitaire in lieu of napping. So it's not like I was any less productive.

Was I kinda bored sometimes? Yeah. Did I want to play a round BoardKings or a couple levels of Nibblers? You bet. But I was strong. (Never mind that I logged into BK within ten minutes of my alarm going off this morning.) Would it be healthy to close the laptop more on the weekend? Of course. Will I actually do it? Doubtful.

Maryland Lighthouse Challenge

Sep. 21st, 2017 09:01 pm
melydia: (owl)
[personal profile] melydia
I first heard about the Maryland Lighthouse Challenge a month or two ago and for some reason decided I wanted to do it. I haven't the foggiest idea why I wanted to do it. I'm not especially fond of lighthouses, and besides, I'd actually visited all of these in the past (though I had not been inside all of them). But I got it into my head that I needed to do this, so I did.

On Saturday, Bill, Kate, and I did the lower peninsula: Fort Washington, Piney Point, Point Lookout, Drum Point, and Cove Point. Sunday I went off by myself (Kate was busy and Bill was done) and got the other five: Chesapeake Lightship, Seven Foot Knoll, Concord Point, Hooper Strait, and Choptank River. They give a souvenir at each stop. This year was coasters, but I also purchased a set of the stamps from the last challenge (2015) and a greatly reduced-price t-shirt from the 2013 challenge, when the souvenir was fake dollar bills.

Saturday was lovely, if a tad warm. We started at Fort Washington, which is just really neat, and later in the day we found lunch at a surprisingly good Chinese buffet where Kate and I got the same fortune cookie fortune about us having "good luch".

Sunday was kind of rough. I breakfasted in Baltimore, then headed to Havre de Grace, then discovered that the trip down 301 from there to St. Michaels is two hours of hell. It's a big pile of absolutely nothing. No restaurants, no houses, no billboards. No exits - it's all crossroads - which means no signs telling you if anything is nearby. Since there is literally nothing on that drive, I was quite hungry by the time I got to St. Michaels, but when I learned that my final lighthouse in Cambridge was only 30 minutes away, I powered through. Afterward, I stopped at The High Spot, the same restaurant I ate at when I toured the area back in 2015. Still tasty.

While on the pier to the final lighthouse, I noticed a white smudge next to a duck in the water. I was just thinking it looked like a jellyfish when I realized there were literally dozens of them, close enough to the surface that I could take photos with my cell phone. So cool! I had no idea there were jellyfish in the Chesapeake (or in Choptank River, which this technically was). The weirdest part was that they were only on one side of the pier.

Six was touring lighthouses on her own at the same time, so originally we were planning to meet up at my final stop in Cambridge. However, I got there around 1:30 and decided I didn't want to wait, so we ended up meeting in Annapolis around 5:30. Yes, it took me that long just to get across the danged Bay Bridge.

I guess visiting all those lighthouses in two days is an accomplishment of sorts, but the best part was that I managed to draw a little sketch of every lighthouse I visited, filling a page each day (plus one larger sketch of the lightship because I am bad at spatial reasoning). I'm really pleased with how they turned out.

Still, as interesting as that little adventure was, it completely wore me out. Thus, this weekend I plan to go offline. Well, not really - I'm going to still do a bit of email and texting - but I'm going to avoid social media, video games, and TV as much as possible. I'm not very good at relaxing, so I'm hoping I might be able to force myself into rejuvenation. If that makes any sense.

Speaking of which, I am exhausted and need to go to bed. After cleaning the cat box and doing the dishes. Bleh.

Washingtonian

Sep. 12th, 2017 08:52 pm
melydia: (minesweeper)
[personal profile] melydia
My mantra of late seems to be "do it anyway." I run super slowly but I do it anyway. I don't want to wash the dishes but I do it anyway. I kinda suck at drawing but I do it anyway. This morning I didn't want to make my breakfast but literally told myself, "Do it anyway." I can't decide if this is a healthy way of looking at the world. Or if I care either way.

The weather has been simply delightful this week. I hope it stays that way.

Saturday I went into DC for the first time in ages in order to attend a sketch outing at the Capitol. I took the first (or maybe second) train of the morning, which was uncharacteristically peaceful (I may have slept from Rosslyn to Metro Center), then stopped for breakfast at Pete's Diner. It was a legit diner: teeny tiny, big old counter with stools bolted to the floor and the railing to put your feet on, Buddha statues everywhere and incense burning right in front of me, counter covered with every condiment you could possibly want (including maple syrup, olive oil, and Old Bay). The food was passable but I loved the ambience.

After my leisurely meal I still had a couple of hours to kill, so I browsed the Library of Congress. I'd taken the official tour a few years ago but this was my first time exploring the exhibits. It was fantastic and I kind of want to live there. Not only is the building interior ornate and gaudy and gorgeous, the exhibits are really good: lots of information but not so huge as to lose focus or become overwhelming. I saw exhibits on early US maps (a Virginia one from 1862 was especially interesting as the only town marked in all of Fairfax County was Centreville), pre-Columbian America, courtroom sketch artists, America in WWI, Bob Hope and political humor, and the Gershwin brothers.

After that, I met up with my fellow sketchers outside the Capitol visitor center. I already knew Katya and Glen, plus another fellow named Robert was there too. He was very nice. Reminded me of someone but for the life of me I can't think of who. We split up to go draw for a couple hours (well, sort of - Katya and Robert split up; Glen and I sat next to each other on a bench and drew the same view). I drew it twice: one that was mostly just the Statue of Freedom and the very top of the dome, and then the building as a whole with a big fat pen and no watercolor. Then we joined up again for lunch at Union Station and shared our drawings. (Glen's drawings were fantastic.)

After lunch, Glen had to leave and Katya and Robert wanted to go to the Library of Congress. Since I'd spent the morning there, I split off and wandered the Capitol visitor center. Not too exciting, really, and I wasn't interested in taking the tour either. So I wandered down a couple blocks and collected dust at Firehook Bakery, sipping my coffee and nibbling at my seven layer bar as I blathered in my notebook for a while. It was very peaceful, and the weather was so perfect I actually sat outside.

Then it was time to go home. I wanted to catch the train before 5:30, which is when the Smithsonians close and presage a great stampede of tourists heading back to their hotels or wherever, since dinner options on the Mall are pretty scarce. But it was no problem, and I was actually in one of the new trains. Those are pretty slick.

For some reason, my unusually pleasant DC outing has made my always variable tolerance for the DC metro area to take a bit of a dip. Maybe I should go on a road trip. Like, an overnight solo one. Not sure where to, but Veterans Day is a long weekend, so that's a possibility.

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Contents of this journal include: sneeze fetish references and lots of hurt/comfort, short fics and/or WIPS, everything from gen and het to slash and femslash, everything from G to NC-17, random ramblings about my life and fandom obsessions.

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