I’ve been happily occupied with my family’s visit over the past week. I was visited by my parents (who live in Maine) and my younger sister (who lives in Minnesota). My older sister and her husband could not gather with us this year. Fortunately, we saw them at Thanksgiving.
My parents and sister came on the Friday night before Christmas. We went to a candlelight service at my church on Christmas Eve and regular service on Christmas morning. We had Christmas dinner at our Virginia relatives’ house, which involved wonderful food, playing the card game Hand and Foot, and paying much attention to my cousin’s new baby.
The day after Christmas, we went downtown to the National Mall to see the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. My sister had not seen the World War II Memorial either, and neither she nor I had seen the FDR Memorial which is right next to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, around the Tidal Basin.
Then we walked over the Arlington Memorial Bridge to Arlington Cemetery. My mom had heard about a man from Maine who donates several thousand wreaths to be laid at headstones in the cemetery. And there they were:
For the rest of their visit, we played lots of games, including several rounds of Settlers of Catan and Carcassone. We also went out and saw War Horse. My younger sister flew back to Minnesota on Wednesday night and my parents drove back to Maine yesterday morning.
I received some bookish gifts for Christmas, including lovely Penguin cloth-bound editions of Pride & Prejudice (strangely I have never owned a copy of this book) and Middlemarch (my own used copy features a stranger’s annotations). My parents gave me the Penguins as well as a book called The Dam Committee by Earl H. Smith, which is a mystery set in Maine. My mom keeps an eye out for local authors and book signings.
My uncle gave me Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear. I don’t generally gravitate toward biographies, but I trust my uncle’s instincts. My older sister sent me a CD called Jane Austen Entertains which consists of vocal and instrumental performances of music from Jane Austen’s own library. Very cool.
This morning, I went to a nearby Starbucks and met up with Frances of Nonsuch Books who was my Persephone Secret Santa. She presented me with Noel Streatfield’s Saplings, a Persephone I had heard good things about from others’ reviews and had caught my interest. We chatted for a little while about our holidays, books and blogs and D.C. Hopefully we can have another D.C. area blogger get-together not too long from now.
I have vague plans of catching up with my reviews this New Year’s long weekend (for I have off work on Monday). So I might put up a few posts soon. In the meantime, Happy New Year to all of you out there!