August 2017

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[personal profile] village_of_geckos and her boyfriend left this morning after visiting since Monday afternoon. What a great time we had! I miss them already! Monday, we basically chilled and went to Arooga's for dinner. Tuesday was our big day: We spent the day in Gettysburg, which is about 45 minutes northwest of us, and had a firepit at night. We went through the museum, hoofed all over the battlefield and town, had dinner and beer at a local microbrewery, and climbed the tower on Culp's Hill. Last night, we had a massive cookout and crab feast with my parents. In between, we managed to solve all of the world's problems and catch up from the past three years since we saw each other last in Ireland.

I just sent off my first unit of lesson plans to my principal, so that's water under the bridge, although I'll still probably be working on materials (especially graphics, since my work laptop doesn't have Photoshop) over the next few days. I'm hoping to get ahead and stay ahead. I'd like to be able to show up at work on Monday and print out the materials for the next two weeks. How awesome that would be.

I've been "writing"--mentally, of course--quite a bit lately. Original and fanfic. I'm not quite to the point of putting anything to paper, although I'm considering just diving into the AMC prequel, t'hell with being prepared. After all, I didn't prepare at all to write AMC; might as well keep with the spirit, eh? I have a couple of chapters on the prequel from years ago. I'm trying to discipline myself into making room for my own time again. What a concept! I've backed off a bit from certain commitments I've taken on in the past few years, given up entirely on some and moved others lower on my list of priorities.

Speaking of AMC, Bobby is reading it. I am still not sure that was a good idea; it is very long, and he's still never made it all the way through The Silmarillion. I've been told it stands on its own quite well; I suppose this will be the test of that. Last I checked, he was at the end of Chapter Four and was--like most people who read AMC--liking Carnistir the best. He told me that he liked it, but he would.

I have registered for my fall grad school classes. I'm starting later this year, which I hope will help and give me a chance to get lesson plans and materials created well in advance of when they're needed. I'm taking two classes: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and the History of Religion. The first class is an eight-weeker; another good thing, as I'll only have one class for half of the semester and will still earn six credits.

Okay, now for some random pictures, mostly butterflies, a coupla sunflowers, and one random Phil.

I take pictures of pretty much the same species of butterflies every year. I always tell myself I won't take any more, then a really gorgeous example of a particular species appears in the garden, and I'm off for the camera. I'm a total girl when it comes to butterflies; I love them and could happily install myself by our butterfly bushes for hours.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

These things are everywhere around here but will probably always be my favorite butterfly. When I was a kid, the ones at my parents' house grew so used to me that I could touch and handle them while they fed.

male

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female, black type

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Eastern Black Swallowtail

We get a lot of caterpillars for these in the garden, since we grow carrots, dill, and fennel, all of which are food plants for the caterpillar.

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Buckeye

I love these.

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American Painted Lady

Part of the reason that I planted lantana (aside from really liking lantana, although we're too far north for it to overwinter) was because, when I first encountered it in Virginia, it was covered in butterflies, including buckeyes. Alas, the painted lady is the only species I ever see on either of my two varieties of lantana. This gorgeous little critter--I can't say lady since, despite the name, it could be a man-butterfly!--has been visiting the garden regularly for the past few days. It's normally really skittish but let me photograph it today.

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Most of our sunflowers got eaten this year, but Bobby planted one kind in a container, and those made it.

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A weird thing sighted in the yard, aka Phil.

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With blue ball, of course.
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