The reason I didn't bring the camera is it continues to be too big and heavy. My technical advisor recommended I buy an Olympus 4000z several years ago, simply because he had researched the one he wanted, bought it, and could therefore solve any problems I might encounter. The trouble is, the camera is too good. It has features I don't need, don't understand, and don't use. It is feature-heavy. I just wanted a point-and-shoot, but at the time I bought it, the point-and-shoots weren't as good as they are now. The irony is, in the meantime my advisor suffered a massive burglary during which his camera was stolen. And the one problem he couldn't solve for me, burglary or no, is how to put my camera on a weight-loss program. It occurred to me that if he bought a point-and-shoot, we could trade, but then I would have to go through another learning curve and I am just too lazy for that. I would rather have fine photos when I take them, and complain when I don't.
Note: JenT graciously offered her photography expertise, as she recently acquired the same camera. On purpose! And she even hand-delivered a hard-copy version of the user's manual fron the CD. The user's guide is supposed to be a significant improvement on the reference book distributed with the camera, and if I were a grownup, I would study it and stop kvetching.
I was especially frugal in packing for this excursion to the dascha because I came by train. Not just any train, as it turns out, but the very train that she rides home from work! This discovery was made only when we disembarked, but there was still time to meet Mr. She, and Little Boy She, who came to the station to collect mommy.
Anyhow, having limited myself to a modest-sized backpack and a dog, I trusted I would find suitable reading material in the Professor's home library. And I was right! I am now in the middle of the eminently readable and suitably scholarly The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz. My children have been my primary coaches in the ongoing redefinition of "family," but Coontz puts it all into a cultural and historical context.
*In case you've forgotten, Madame Defarge is the villain of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. She is constantly knitting, and uses patterns in the knitting to register names and descriptions of the enemies of the French Revolution. The names she knits are those of the people who must die for the Revolution. Thank you Wikipedia!