Sad news: I’ve ended the cat-centric “JonesAndPond” Twitter account I started a couple years ago; if you were following it for pictures of Martha and Amelia, there’s always here, and the Flickr “companionkittens” tag.
Hopped over to the National Aquarium in Baltimore last Sunday. We wanted to be out of the DC area while the white supremacist rally was on (though it turned out to be a failure) — but even not counting that, we also wanted to take Ezra on his first aquarium trip to see some fish and turtles and sharks.
I’d forgotten how very linear — and exhausting — the crowd flow in the main “Blue Wonders” part of the Aquarium was, parading you past tank after tank after tank before depositing you in the Rainforest, then ramp down shark alley, and an anticlimactic underwater viewing area all in not-so-quick succession, with only a small upstairs cafe for respite along the way. We knew better and retreated back to the larger cafeteria downstairs for an early lunch when Ezra got cranky, but it wasn’t an easy backtrack through the mazelike layout, nor was the return trip via elevator to where we left off entirely intuitive.
Still, we saw a nice variety of aquatic wildlife, lots of sharks, plus some golden lion tamarins in the Rainforest. I also learned the giant sea turtle in the reef is named Calypso.
The main aquarium experience ends with an interactive guestbook where a touchscreen invites you to construct a phrase of up to six words selected from a limited, aquatic/conservation vocabulary, for display on a big projection screen. Ezra mashed at the touchscreen a bit to say SWIM HUMANS HEALTH HEALTH HUMANS.
I haven’t been to Baltimore for a while and have been terrible about keeping up with friends there. Must come back again.
Back from Ocean City, MD for a seaside weekend. This was Ezra’s first trip to the beach and his first time to touch an ocean, which he found enjoyable. (I really thought he’d be scared and crying like I was at that age but he literally jumped right in to the experience.)
We stayed at Safari Motel on the boardwalk, slightly old but livable beachfront accommodations with a view of the ocean (if you look sideways from the room) — and a gorilla on the balcony.
Had a chance to walk along the boardwalk to Trimper’s Rides for Bill Tracy’s classic Haunted House dark ride, which I’ve wanted to ride for years. Would have been too intense for Ezra, however, so he did several rounds on the Wild West Train.
Not having had oysters for a while, I was also glad to try the Chesapeake Steampot, at Hammerheads to get my fill of briny shellfish. Ezra sampled some too.
Other stuff I still want to try for next time: Jolly Roger, Thrasher’s Fries, probably a bunch of other stuff we missed. But for now it felt good to get in the ocean again; it had been a while.
GoPro Session video of the ride over Long Bridge out of DC into North Virginia, from the back of a VRE commuter train. In addition to the usual DC landmarks, watch for the WMATA Metrorail train, and an airliner on approach to DCA:
(It’s a view I’ve always wanted to capture on video, but I’ve always hesitated to actually stand up and do the recording. As it is, when I walked to the back fo the train to record the scene, one passenger did give me an alarmed look that seemed to express a sentiment like “OH NO THAT BROWN PERSON IS AFFIXING A SMALL CUBE TO THE TRAIN DOOR” — but she looked relieved when I said “It’s a camera.”)
At two years of age, our son Ezra has officially graduated from “baby” to full-fledged “toddler.” He is completely off milk bottles and baby food, walks and runs and goes up and down stairs and really enjoys the wading pool.
He can now speak in short phrases, can say “hi” and “bye” and “please” and “thank you”, and has even learned to be defiant and say “NO”. He’s learning his letters and recognizes Os and Bs on sight, and can count from one to two, maybe three if he concentrates. Dogs are all puppies, but cats are cats, and he can tell Martha from Amelia.
Water is agua, juice is “jees.” He can identify his favorite foods, and is especially fond of blueberries (“boobappies”) and watermelon (“nenin”). Elevators are his favorite thing but he has mixed them up with “alligator” which he has abbreviated to “aggie.”
Outside he collects spiky sweetgum pods, picks wildflowers, and has dubbed the stream under the park bridge “turtle poop water.”
He’s also extremely enthusiastic about trains. He watches Chuggington and random railfan videos on YouTube, and likes to say hi and bye to the Metro and VRE as they pass by.
He knows his way around an iPad, and has figured out Neko Atsume and PokemonGO — although he seems to think the point of the game is to feed wild Pokemon berries rather than catch them.
Happy birthday, kid, welcome to the terrible terrific twos.
As Ezra is no longer a baby, the “Baby Ezra” Flickr photo album that has tracked his progress from ultrasounds to toddlerhood is now closed to updates, though new photos will still be added to the Ezra tag.
Joined family in Orlando for a trip to Disney World and the 2018 McDonalds International Convention. Last such family trip to Disney World was in 2006 so it had been a while, and there are many more of us now: total group size was 13. Very happy that the rest of the family finally got to meet Ezra, especially Dad, who had not met his grandson yet.
First off, there were some nice blossoms right outside the Library of Congress, which I snapped first just in case I never made it to the Tidal Basin this year due to busyness.
Around peak bloom time, I ran over to the Tidal basin with my NEX3N for a quick cherry blossom lunch break.
Along the way I discovered a walking route from L’Enfant to the Tidal Basin via the Rosa Parks bridge, an old railroad span converted to pedestrian overpass over Maine Ave SW behind the Mandarin at L’Enfant. I see the bridge from the train every morning but didn’t know it was publicly accessible, greatly shortening the walk from L’Enfant to the Tidal Basin.
Time was short so I pretty much just went from Maine Ave to Jefferson Memorial and back, snapping photos along the way and swapping between fisheye lens and telephoto.
Also paused at Jefferson Memorial for a bit; haven’t been in there for a few years.
We went back over the weekend to bring Ezra over for his first hanami but he mostly napped. (Was also his first ride on Metro, which went well.)
Also tried a cherry-blossom-themed donut at Dunkin. It was … a donut.