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zoo

Victoria is on a Best Friends for Frances jag. I think it's one of the least charming Frances books, but even suboptimal* Russell Hoban is good. Since there's a picnic in the book, she has been a picnicking fiend lately. We've picnicked all over the house and yesterday we decided to picnic at the zoo. All you need to meet the picnic standard is a blanket and a food item, so it's not a big deal. We kept waiting--in vain--for Christopher to come along, though, so we got a late start. We left the house shortly after 2pm.

My big zoo commute tip: use the Cleveland Park metro stop to get TO the zoo and the Woodley Park stop to go home. Make gravity work for you.

It was almost 3:30 when we got there and the first attraction was a half-dozen deer that had wandered into the Asia Trail construction area. Locals. The hippo lumbered toward us and yawned impressively, then it snorted four times. I had never heard that before. It sounded like a pig grunting only ten times louder. By the third snort, Victoria was out the door. We were looking in the reptile house when the building closed. I was glad to be there at all: usually, Victoria won't go into any of the small, dark buildings. Thanks to Frances, she was interested in seeing the snakes and frogs. The guard swept us all out the door, but we were almost done anyway.

The buildings close at 4:30 in the winter, but the zoo is open until 6pm, so we walked down to see the lions and tigers but they were all inside. We sat by the deserted lemur island and had a picnic. On the way back up the big hill, we stopped to marvel at the camel. His mouth was covered with frothy spit. Then he yawned hugely and when he closed his mouth he gave a faint high whistle several times. He repeated this three times and then started walking directly toward us and Victoria took off. She has a sharp flight reflex.

It was dark by the time the subway came above ground and Victoria fell asleep on the train. Brian had just arrived home from Denver and he called to offer to pick us up at the station. I thought he was being awfully nice. When we got to the house, I saw his bag on the porch, so I think he just got home and couldn't find his house key. No reason why he couldn't be awfully nice AND forgetful, I suppose.


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*got that word from a Swiss guy marketing his CMS, I liked the word a lot better than the software

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