Thursday is my writing day. It’s my day off from the day job and I stay home, writing flawless prose in my beauteous new office.

Except I don’t. Today, for instance, I have been in real life to the Salvation Army (getting rid of stuff), Ikea (buying more stuff), and Barnes & Noble, where I bought nothing. I don’t know what it is about visiting a bookstore with a gift card in hand; it freezes me up and I debate every likely book and decide it’s either too much or I won’t like it. Once I’m home I suffer nonbuyer’s remorse.

Then I came home and visited eBay and Amazon. Just doing my bit for the economy…

By far the most exciting event of my week so far was Monday morning in MacPherson Square in downtown Washington, DC. This is a very cleaned-up photo of what is a much-used square; it’s inhabited by ducks (although there is no source of water there), pigeons, and humans who, sadly, have nowhere else to live. (This is three blocks or so from the White House, to our nation’s shame.) On Monday, there was another visitor to the square, a red-tailed hawk who was breakfasting on a pigeon, about six feet away from an admiring crowd, who were gathered the other side of one of the fences erected to keep either the ducks or the homeless out (who respectively fly over or push them down).

Red tailed hawks quite happily live in the city–they enjoy architectural features such as high ledges and the abundant food supplies (pigeons, squirrels, rats etc.). You can visit a website,, devoted to Central Park’s famous red tailed hawks.

Also in the neighborhood is one of Benjamin Henry Latrobe‘s masterpieces, the Decatur House Museum, which I visited recently. It’s a fabulous example of cutting-edge federal style, all clean lines and simplicity with very little ornamentation. I was particularly struck by the hallway and staircase–this is an artist’s impression of the hallway although I believe in Decatur’s time it would have been carpeted, not tiled. The original paint colors, an elegant pale blue-gray and yellow, have been restored, and one of the things I really loved is that the doorway itself is curved. It’s supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the US–one of the ghosts, of course, being Stephen Decatur himself who was killed in a duel.

So tell me about your week–have you been busy with holiday preparations, busy avoiding them, done anything useful or enjoyable? If you’re looking for further entertainment, here, thanks to the Smart Bitches, are two fabulous opportunities to Dress a Regency Heroine and Dress a Regency Hero. Enjoy!