Category Archives: entertainment

Free Reading Friday: Prayers for the Stolen

prayers for the stolenAlthough I’ve already posted reviews of several other Eliot Rosewater book nominees for the 2017-2018 year, Prayers for the Stolen was actually one of the first ones I read this summer. When I borrowed it from the school library at the end of May, I didn’t realize I actually already owned a copy.

I’d read about the book as part of an offer one of the publishing companies makes to teachers: preview copies for only $3 each. The idea is to see if the book is one you might want to teach in class and then order an entire class set or two. I often take advantage of this deal as I’m always looking for new books that might be interesting to teach. Plus, cheap books…who can pass that up?

The blurb in the catalog was enticing to me. A story about a young girl in a rural Mexican village where all the men leave in order to seek their fortunes. A town where girls disappear with such regularity that mothers purposely make their daughters look ugly and dig holes in their yards in order to hide girls so the cartels won’t kidnap them. A town where girls are educated, but only when there is a teacher willing to come to the village. A town where it is not uncommon for a best friend to disappear, but is unheard for her to ever return.

Except, of course, in this book she does.

Jennifer Clement offers up a beautifully disturbing book. While targeted at a YA audience, I think adults will find equal merit in this book. I find it hard to type the word “enjoy” as the book deals with very serious issues including child slavery, kidnapping, murder, drug cartels, alcoholism, adultery and abandonment and has so much tragedy in it. Still, I found the book captivating and could not put it down. Clement’s prose is poetic and haunting.

Ladydi, the main character (named because her mother was obsessed with Princess Diana), is a young woman in one of the most vulnerable situations imaginable. And yet, she rises through each horrific event and becomes stronger. She is powerful and empathetic and will open reader’s eyes to a world they’ve probably never even thought about before. It’s so easy to turn our backs on problems we cannot see, especially when they exist far from our doors, if not far from our borders.

 

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Free Reading Friday: The Handmaid’s Tale

HandmaidThe start of the school year means I have to get the summer reading I assigned to my Advanced Placement students finished. Don’t misunderstand, I never assign them a novel I have not read before, but before teaching any novel I re-read and annotate it.

I can’t even count the number of times I have read The Great Gatsby.

I first read The Handmaid’s Tale in my early 20’s. As much as it disturbed me then, I never really thought of it as a reflection of society or any sort of actuality…at least not in the US where it is set. I saw it more as a statement against conservative politics and the danger of letting religion take too strong of a hold on society. I thought of it as a warning to women not to forget some very, very dark times of old.

And while the book is still all of these things, reading it again today, considering the current state of our government, it no longer seems a reflection of things past, but frighteningly of those that may come.

Now, I still don’t believe it could ever get to the disturbing, disgusting levels Offred describes, one message keeps jumping out to me: people can get used to anything if given no real choice and no real voice. Even as Americans, we are willing to sacrifice a disturbing amount of our freedom for “safety.” The Patriot Act is living proof.

We are also seeing scary cuts and changes to reproductive care in this country. Health committees, made up of entirely men, are making decisions about what health services women can receive. State governments are making laws requiring women to get their rapist’s permission in order to get abortions. Planned Parenthhod, the largest single provider of women’s health care, may be defended.

We are seeing news called “fake” and access to our government, one that is supposed to be “for the people, by the people,” restricted from reporters. We are demonizing single mothers and trying to restrict governmental benefits for them. We are also seeing a rise in people demanding we, as a nation, return to “Christian values,” and trying to mirror local, state and national laws on the Bible.

Our country and Gilead are merging in very upsetting ways. Now, more than ever, this is an important book for people to read. It is why Hulu decided, 30 years after its first publication to turn the novel into a modern series.

I’m very interested to see what my students think of its relevance to today’s world.

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Throwback Thursdays: Doll Houses

dollhouse boxWhen I was a kid, one of my good friends had the most amazing dollhouse I’d ever seen. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was something straight out of a museum really. It actually reminds quite a bit of the dollhouse at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, although it might have been a tad bit smaller. I know the house had 8 rooms in it and was almost as long as we were if we laid down beside it. Not only was her dollhouse huge, but it was fully furnished with the tiniest and most detailed furniture and accessories I could imagine. The kitchen had tiny little fruits on the table. The baby’s room had a tiny cradle, and even tinier blankets and rattles. The laundry room actually had infinitesimally small boxes of laundry soap that we could actually read the names of.

While it was not behind glass, she was never really allowed to play with it. Or at least not when she had friends over. I’m not really sure if she got to play with it when she was alone. Not that it mattered to me. I was perfectly happy to spend hours just staring at all of the tiny fixtures in that amazing house. I am not sure I have ever envied anything the way I envied Tiffany’s doll house.

Well, maybe the Colleen Moore Fairy Castle dollhouse at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, but that was in an actual museum and had a weeping willow try that “wept” real water. Even though I got to see the Moore castle at least once a year when I visited my dad, to me that doll house was a true fairy tale, whereas Tiffany’s doll house, which I saw every couple of weeks, was a reality.

I had a few dollhouse-like toys. I had a Little People A frame dollhouse when I was really young. One year I got the Barbie Dream House for my birthday. That was amazing and I loved it greatly, but it didn’t quite fit the niche of the dollhouse I always wanted. Everything in it was plastic and for giant Barbies. There was nothing small and delicate and artistic about it.

I knew my parents couldn’t afford a dollhouse like the one Tiffany had, but it didn’t stop me from wanting one.

old dollhouseWhen I was in my late teens, my great-aunt, who knew how much I’d always loved dollhouses, gave me this one. It only has one room and after some recent research, I’ve learned it was sold in catalogs between 1910-1920 for about $1.25. When I was a kid, I remember it had some metal furniture that looked very old-fashioned (there was an ice box). While I don’t have any of the furniture, it looked just like the furniture found on this dollhouse history website that was manufactured between 1920-1930. This makes sense as my great-aunt was born around 1915 (there is some debate about what year she was actually born).

It was very sweet of my great aunt to give me this treasure of hers, but I was not only afraid of breaking it, but also a bit disappointed that there was only one room to decorate.

Even as an adult, I still wanted a dollhouse. There was a store, about two hours from my house in a crafty little town that sold doll house kits and all that perfect little, tiny furniture and whenever I visited, I used to spend forever in it. There was a hardware/crafty store I used to go into when I’d visit with my parents and they always had these amazing dollhouse kits. I knew I could never build one, but I would just stare wistfully. I remember telling my dad that when I had a daughter of my own, she was getting an amazing dollhouse.

Seven years ago, I finally had a daughter of my own and one of my first thoughts was: this little girl is getting a dollhouse. For her first birthday, my aunt got her her very first dollhouse: another Little People one. She definitely loved it. So did my son. It was perfect for her because at 1 most of her toys went straight into her mouth. It also got me dreaming about her “one day” dollhouse.

daddy doll houseFor Christmas that year, my dad surprised both my daughter and me by refurbishing a dollhouse that had belonged to the daughter of a friend of his. He didn’t tell me about his project because he wanted to surprise both of us. Even though he put all that time and effort into painting it and finding new carpet for the my daughter, as soon as I saw the house, I knew that he’d really done it for me. He knew how much the dollhouse meant to me and that while my daughter would eventually love it, she wasn’t even two yet, so she couldn’t appreciate it the way I did.

Little did I know that it would be my dad’s last Christmas with us. His beautiful gift, to both of us, is still something we both cherish, although my daughter is still a bit too young to realize the full importance of it.

Since he fixed up the dollhouse over 5 years ago, my daughter has added a couple of additional “dollhouses” to her room. Two Christmas’s ago, my aunt got my daughter Elsa’s Frozen palace. Although it’s a dollhouse the same way Barbie’s Dream House was (at least in my eyes), my daughter still calls it her dollhouse and loves it.

doll house backAnd earlier this week my daughter spent her very own money on a 3-D dollhouse puzzle by Melissa and Doug. Of course while my daughter spent her money on the dollhouse puzzle, it was really my son and I who put it together. My daughter has never been a huge fan of puzzles, however my son is obsessed. The newest dollhouse is pretty cute and actually has movable furniture, two dolls, a cat and a dog to play with. Unlike her Elsa castle it did not come pre-assembled, but the hour and a half we spent putting it together was considerably less than my dad spent on her first one. She loves it and it appears her room is now turning into a small village.

Unlike my friend Tiffany’s house, my daughter plays with all of her dollhouses. Right now two of them are full of large plastic doll furniture and dolls, but my daughter is only 7 and not quite ready to turn any of them into art pieces. She may never be. And that’s ok. As much as that perfect, beautiful dollhouse with the tiny oranges and paintings and delicate bedding was my dream, I love watching my daughter actually play with her dollhouse. I won’t lie and say that when all the furniture gets turned upside down, I don’t sneak in there and fix it. And it does pain me greatly when I see the mess she makes in the rooms. But, I take a deep breath and try to remember that my dreams are not her dreams. Just because I liked to play one way doesn’t mean she has to.

I may not have gotten to have the dollhouse I always dreamed of, but she gets to.

all three dollhouses

 

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Free Reading Friday: Vengeance Road

Vengeance RoadI am not generally a fan of Westerns. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. I LOVED Deadwood, but I think that might have a bit more do do with my overall love for Timothy Olyphant. I also really like Westworld, but it’s not exactly a typical Western.

I was, however, a die-hard Little House on the Prairie fan as a kid. I can’t even count the hours I spent reading and re-reading all of the books. I still remember trying to grasp how Ma’s waist could be small enough that Pa’s fingers could touch when he wrapped his hands around it. When I was 10 I had no idea what a corset was. I also spent way more hours than any child probably should in front of the TV watching reruns of the show pretty much every day after school. My mom was really strict on what I was/wasn’t allowed to watch and Little House was on the approved list. So I devoured it.

I dressed up as Laura Ingalls for at least three different Halloweens. I also have a picture of me, in the fifth grade in a very 70’s (it was a Goodwill find), very pink, very Little House inspired dress. Thankfully I left the bonnet at home. Probably only because it was yellow and even I knew it would clash. That’s right, I loved the prairie so much that I wore it as part of my every day life. I was sooooooo not cool. But I LOVED me some prairie life.

I think my love for those good ol’ Little House days was probably what led me to grab Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman from the stack of books that arrived at my school library right before the start of summer.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the cover hinted at nostalgia and it’s on the Eliot Rosewater nominee list, so I added it onto my already considerably large pile. As is usual, my eyes get a little bit bigger than, well, my time, during the summer. I always think I’m going to get more reading done than I actually do. While I was certainly no slouch this summer (so far I’ve finished 22 books), I still see 4 books sitting on my piano bench and I think realistically I’ll only get through one or two more before classes start.

Despite its wild west exterior, for some reason I was not actually expecting this book to be about the actual Wild West. I really like going into books with no preconceived notions at all. It’s often a delightful surprise.

And it was with this book. From the opening line, “It weren’t no secret Pa owned the best plot of land ‘long Granite Creek, and I reckon that’s why they killed him,” I felt myself being pulled into the old West, a genre I’m not entirely comfortable in, but as I’ve said, have some serious, specific love for.

The first chapter of this book reminded me more than a bit of True Grit, a movie I quite enjoyed. The plot is only similar at the root–a young girl sets off to avenge the death of her father and along the way picks up two men who agree to help her. Both groups track the killer through “Indian country” and violent shoot outs happen along the way. Like the movie, the main characters have to show a lot of “true grit” during their journey. Huh…that really does make them sound quite a bit alike, doesn’t it?

The big differences lie in the ages of the main characters–Kate is 17 and the Colten boys are far nearer her age; Kate isn’t looking to bring her father’s killer to justice and the Colten boys aren’t actually interested in her revenge; and like most YA novels, there is a love story thrown in.

I quite enjoyed this book. It was a tad hard to adjust to the outdated and horrific grammar (“I were supposed to think she were dead”), but since it added so much to the voice and authenticity of the story, I told the English teacher in me to “shut pan” and get on with reading.

One thing I really like about this book is that I think it has a wide appeal. I think freshmen would like it just as much as seniors and boys just as much as girls. It has a good balance of action, adventure, romance and coming of age to satisfy a variety of readers. If readers can get passed the old-fashioned setting (I know this can be a struggle for kids), I think they will find it a highly enjoyable read. I like that it is a great window into a genre which is not as widely known or read.

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Throwback Thursday: Strawberry Shortcake

Old School Strawbery SCWhen I was a child, there was not much I loved more than my collection of Strawberry Shortcake dolls. I can’t even count the number of hours I sat in my bedroom, Shortcake and friends spread all over my floor, creating elaborate stories of their lives. Although I saw all the 1980’s TV specials surrounding the Strawberry gang (Big Apple City being my favorite)* I preferred to have my dolls live out the adventures I came up with for them.

And I had to come up with a LOT of stories because I had a lot of dolls. With the exception of Peach Blush and Banana Twirl, I had every single member of the Shortcake collection. I even had both villains, the Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak (my mom loved to say his name) and Sour Grapes. My favorites were Mint Tulip (a world traveler from Holland) and every single one of the “baby” characters, but especially Lem & Ada because they not only smelled like lemonade, but came from England. Even in my early years I desperately wanted to be British!

I even had two of the large “blow a kiss” dolls, which really did live up to their names. Push on their tummies and they “blew” strawberry scented air at you. Plus, they were fairly cuddly, so I slept with mine.

I loved those dolls.

Sadly, when I moved in with my dad during high school, my mom decided to get rid of pretty much all of my toys. Out went my collection of Cabbage Patch Kids (including original preemies, astronauts, cornsilk hair, twins, and circus dolls). Out went all of my Barbies. Out went two first edition American Girl dolls and several of their accessories (Kirsten and Samantha). And out went my good friend Strawberry and all of her friends.

When I found out the fate of my beloved childhood toys, even though I was in college and married, the tears were real my friends.

Fast forward a few decades. I had a niece and while shopping for a present for her, I was delighted to see Strawberry Shortcake attempt a comeback. Sure, she wasn’t quite the same ol’ gal, but she still had a cute, if more modern dress and the delightful promise of a room filled with the light scent of artificial strawberry. Although my niece was a bit young for the dolls (she was born in 2003, same as the re-release), I was excited.

new strawberry shortcakeFast forward another decade later and I now had a daughter of my own. Not only that, she was just starting to hit the age I was when I got my first Strawberry Shortcake doll. I couldn’t resist. I had to get her one.

Even though Strawberry and her friends have been updated (their skirts are decidedly shorter I noticed), my daughter still loves them. She loves their brightly colored hair. She loves their yummy smells. She loves that I not only know the names of all of her dolls, but can tell her stories about playing with my own dolls…just like hers.

Strawberry classic in boxLast year when Kenner released the 35th edition Strawberry Shortcake, I thought I would lose my mind. Sure, she wasn’t the actual doll I played with as a child, but she looked just like her. She smelled just like her. With one click of a button, I was able to get a piece of my childhood back. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one nostalgic about her. My aunt, knowing how much of my life I devoted to the dolls, also bought me one. This meant that while I got to keep one, I could give the other to my daughter. Who loves her nearly as much as I did.

My happiness was increased while visiting Comic Con earlier this year. I came across a display of Pop! figures and found not just my beloved Strawberry Shortcake, but Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin, Huckleberry Pie and even the nasty ol’ Pieman. I bought both Strawberry and Lemon (I’ve always been a sucker for lemon scented anything). They are both currently on display in my classroom. My students LOVE that the smell like fruit. That’s right, even the Pop! figures are scented.

I was even happier to find remakes of the original dolls on sale at Toys R’ Us. Although I haven’t bought them for my daughter yet, Christmas is coming and I think Santa might have to leave a pack (or two) in her stocking.

*I actually still can recall some of the lyrics to songs in several of the movies, specifically the movie song from Housewarming Surprise and the song Strawberry and Orange Blossom sing when they first meet each other in Big Apple City. My brain is a strange, strange place.

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Free Reading Friday: The Trials of Apollo, the Dark Prophecy

Trials of ApolloMy son became obsessed with Greek mythology in second grade. I’m not sure exactly what sparked it, but I think they did a short mythology unit in class. That combined with the copy of Terry Deary’s The Groovy Greeks (part of his Horrible History series) I gave him sparked an interest that is still thriving three years later. He actually loved the Groovy Greeks and Deary’s Top Ten Greek Legends so much that he’s read each of them a few dozen times.

He also loved them so much that I knew we had to get more books about Greek myths for him. My husband bought him a copy of D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, which he loved when he was a child. Each night before bed they read them together. Once they finished the book, my son took over and started rereading all of the tales himself. I had to find more.

Although I’d never read any of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, I’d been a teacher long enough to know that my students loved them. My kids RAVE about Percy Jackson and his adventures. They love Percy so much that even mentioning the movies made of the books send them into fits of rage because the movies “ruined” the books. I’ve actually had kids so passionate in their rants about how the movies destroyed these beloved books that I had to ask them to calm down, take a few breaths and have a seat before letting them talk again.

Many of my students read the books in elementary school, so I went to our local library and got a copy for my son. In hindsight it was a bit reckless of me. I keep a pretty tight watch on what my kids read/watch/listen to as I try to walk the dangerous tightrope of keeping them too protected and letting them grow up too fast. I only just allowed my son to read the 4th Harry Potter book (despite my undying love for them) because he’s a pretty sensitive kid and I was not sure how well he’d handle how dark the books get.*

But for some reason, I just handed over the Percy Jackson books without so much as a nod. It wasn’t until a few of my students expressed surprise that I was letting him read them so young that I also checked out a copy and started reading. That’s right, he was on the last book of the series when I was on the first. Granted by the time he got to book 5 he was almost done with second grade, but he was still only barely 8.

Like my son, I fell in LOVE with the series. While I thought in hindsight I should have probably made him wait a little longer, I was glad we had them to talk about. I immediately launched into the Heroes of Olympus series and part way through the book realized my son would need to be a bit older to read them.**

When I finished that series I devoured the Kane Chronicles, which I liked, but not quite as much and which I did let my son read in third grade.

I was thrilled that just as I’d finished all of his other books Magnas Chase: The Sword of Summer came out. I don’t know much about the Norse gods, so I was very excited for this series. And I do love it. It actually might be my favorite series so far. I am really excited the next book will be out in early October.

To tide me over though, I started his latest series, The Trials of Apollo, which he is writing concurrently with Magnas Chase (that man is talented). The latest book in his Apollo series is The Dark Prophesy.

I may not love Apollo quite as much as I love Percy Jackson or Magnus Chase, but I still find this series very fun to read.

It probably doesn’t hurt that this particular book is set in my hometown (Indianapolis) and his depiction of the city, including naming a favorite eatery of mine (Cafe Patachou-which has the best chicken salad and cinnamon toast in the city), is accurate. My son just finished the book last night and he loved the fact that he has walked along the same canal as Leo and Apollo (although he was on a Pokewalk) and has ridden the same zoo train they do (he was, in fact, obsessed with it as a small child). Riordan’s descriptions of the town are pretty darn accurate and made the book even better for us.

I like that this series seems geared at a slightly younger audience than Magnus Chase. Don’t misunderstand, I love that Riordan has the Magnus series, which is geared more to late middle and high school students. However, my son, isn’t quite ready for Magnus. There are moments in The Dark Prophecy that I am not quite sure he is ready for either, but they either went over his head or he’s more ready than I thought because he didn’t mention anything. There are subtle discussions of Apollo’s romantic relationships, but nothing too mushy or mature.

I like that Riordan has included Emmie and Jo and that they get to teach Apollo a bit about love and sacrifice. I think this it is good to show kids strong, healthy relationships and families, especially ones that don’t fit the cookie cutter mold. Kids develop empathy through reading and Riordan’s books always do a wonderful job of showing characters who not only need empathy, but also show great empathy. I love that this book deals a lot with the idea of second chances.

And, Leo is back. I like Leo

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Throwback Thursday: The Smithsonian

spider.jpgI’ve had quite a few recent posts about my recent trip to DC. You might be getting a little worried that I don’t get out of the house much. I assure you I do not only leave my house daily, but even leave the state several times a year. However, this recent trip has so much significance for me because I a) got to take it with my best friend, b) got to visit one of my oldest friends who I rarely get to see and c) got to revisit some places from one of my favorite childhood vacations. Although the trip was only about 4 days, it was the triple threat of trips.

Saturday and Sunday of the trip were great because my dear friend, who is a reporter in DC, was able to have both days off to hang out with us. It was fun having our own personal tour guide who didn’t actually make us look like tourists. I didn’t have to do any planning or figure out the Metro. Where he led, we followed. And it was great fun and great food.

Sadly, he had to go back to work on Monday, so my bestie and I were on our own to explore until dinner time. It was on this day that we got delicious blueberry pancakes at Lincoln’s Waffle Shop, a hole in the wall kind of place with crazy curving counters and a necessity for giving up personal space in exchange for some pretty tasty food. It was also on this day that we got to explore Ford’s Theater and the Petersen House, a real nostalgic trip for me.

It was also on this day that we decided to head back to the National Mall and hit a few of the Smithsonian museums. The first time I ever visited DC with my parents, I was enthralled by the museums we visited. While I loved the National Air and Space Museum for its space capsules and astronaut food, I was equally enamored with the National Museum of American History for the Star Spangled Banner flag and Judy Garland’s ruby slippers.

In addition to their simply amazing collections, which are contained in a series of splendid buildings which make up the “largest museum, education and research complex” in the world, one of the best parts about visiting any of the Smithsonian museums is that they are absolutely free. The same is true of Ford’s Theater and the Petersen House. It may be a bit costly to stay in DC if you don’t have a friend’s couch to crash on, and food and drinks are way more expensive than most other places in the country, but there is a darn lot of awesome, free entertainment in the city. There are actually 23 different Smithsonian places to visit, including some cool gardens and a zoo.

I don’t actually remember whether or not we made it the the National Museum of Natural History when I was a kid. It seems like a place we would have stopped, but my memories might be running together with the Field Museum in Chicago, which we also visited quite a bit during my childhood.

My bestie really wanted to see some dinosaurs, so we decided to begin our trip at the Natural History museum. As we made our way toward the hall advertising dinosaurs, our plans were thwarted. We ran into the same roadblock we’d found the day before at the Washington Monument: the exhibit is closed…until 2019.

I’m not entirely sure what is going on in DC, but it seems like some majorly good parts of the city are closed until 2019 or, like the main branch of the national library, 2020. Although, considering what is going on politically in this country, it does seem to make sense. The national library, a great place of learning and knowledge, closed until 2020…I wonder…

But I digress.

Although we were disappointed we could not wander around a hall exclusively created for showing off dinosaurs, the sign describing the coming exhibit did mention that bits of the original exhibit had found temporary homes in other corners. So, we set off once again to explore.

fossils.jpgIf you’ve ever wanted to see what any animal would look like stuffed, this museum will be Nirvana to you. There were giraffes, lions, bats, ermines, mice…you name it, it was there and stuffed. It was actually a bit creepy because they were both so life-like and so dead at the same time. We hurried through this bit and took in a more interesting exploration of evolution. We actually went through the exhibit backwards, so we joked about “de-evolving.” We did, get to see a model of Lucy, which was pretty cool. We also got to see some really neat fossils, which I had to get pictures of for my son. He is a HUGE fossil freak. He has several fossils his grandfather has given him and he loves them.

He also loves all sorts of bugs, which is why I know I will have to bring him back here some day soon. The second floor of the museum has a really cool live section, complete with a butterfly garden and several insect/amphibian/reptile inhabitants. The giant spider in the picture at the top of this post is an example of just one of the terror-inducing, I mean, critters who calls this museum his/her home. I took this picture to show my son, but just looking at it makes me shudder. There is no zoom and that picture is not blown up. That is the true size of that spider (shudder).

We thought about taking time to go in the butterfly habitat, but there was actually a cost for it (you get to feed them) and quite a line, so instead we just gazed at the cool butterfly hatchery next to it.

butterflies.jpg

Because this is the natural history museum, there are not only animals and fossils, but also lots of gems, including the Hope diamond. My bestie and I both agreed that the diamond in its current setting is a bit gaudy, but I thought the history behind it was pretty darn fascinating. It’s hard to imagine that the diamond, which currently weighs in at 45.2 carats, was actually over 112 carats when it was first found. What is even crazier to me is that when the diamond was donated to the Smithsonian in 1958, it was sent to DC in the mail. Yes, that’s right, a 45.2 carat diamond was sent through the US Postal Service. It was insured, of course, and there is even a picture in the gallery of it being stamped. The insurance cost just under $150.

Although we wanted to spend a lot more time exploring other museums, I got horriblystone guy sick as the day wore on. We tried resting in the cafe in the basement, but my stomach was not having it, so we had to leave all too soon. On our way out we did pop into the gift shop where I got my son some cool dice made of some sort of stone and an even cooler jellyfish paperweight for my husband. We also got to see this guy from Easter Island.

Despite my rolling tummy, I was still able to navigate the Metro with relative ease. I even managed to find the tea store a friend had suggested. My hope was that a calming cup of herbal tea might help settle my stomach. Teaism provided just that and before we headed back to my friend’s apartment, I was feeling better. We may not have been able to visit anymore museums that day, but we did get to have some truly tasty noodles at DC Noodles and played Settlers of Catan well past my usual bedtime.

 

 

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