Sunday, May 31, 2009

Poem for Sunday

Wrong All These Years -- It Isn't

soft April, but March, thin & particular, dry,
we require or dryly imagine we do. Also wrong

(this is Daido roshi, though not his words) to believe
in the 1-way linear rapturous run after roll-out

from gate, & that flight deck's sharp calibrations
tell truth. (They do, of course, as long as plane chooses

to view these downwashing south Appalachians, splay
-fingered reservoirs, parking lots' black, impermeable

lakes.) Wrong to clutch for what's bound
to be next: a lush month that scorns the unbinding

way. Right now, it's Atlanta (where else) 5 parallel infinite
concourses serving as high-security hub of the 10

-000 things. Serving well as any dimensionless point
on the star-strung mesh of hollow unfolding. The roshis

say intimacy comes (not with sweet Zephirus, showers,
the woods' inspirations) with forgetting of rapture, that lie

of an anxious serial liar, the self. With dissolution:
here/other, now/not. With just this as yes on the vergeland,

a blink before touchdown, on March 9th when
there is no before, no day after, no spring --

a white grove of Bradfords (up north at take-off,
only branches in 1st bud) laced with precision,

past full bloom, pivots. Half petal, half green.
Present. Uninvolved in ekstasis or motion.

        -- Jeanne Larsen

--------

"'When I die and go to heaven,' runs the old joke, 'I'll hafta change planes in Atlanta.' Me, whatever hub I'm flying in or out of, I try to remember what an astonishing opportunity I've been given," writes Jeanne Larsen in Poet's Choice. "I try to get a window seat. I try to recollect old Chinese seekers who went to so much effort (climbing, maybe doing breathing practice or a little internal alchemy) in order to look out at the level of the clouds. We owe our grandchildren's kids that much -- owe them attentiveness, at least -- as we burn through their air."

Far too much of this beautiful Saturday was spent in pursuit of appropriate shorts for Daniel, who is very picky. He hates zippers and buttons, he doesn't like pockets, he won't wear anything that needs a belt, and he prefers 100 percent cotton, which pretty much leaves...pyjamas. Plus they have to be knee-length, which even cotton pyjama shorts generally are not. We tried Target and Kohl's, having had no luck at Sears and Macy's, and finally convinced him to get a couple of pairs of cargo shorts, since what he's looking for doesn't seem to exist in his size. Then the boys went to the pool, in bathing suits that will hopefully fit all summer

My only accomplishment for the day was finishing my review of "Ensign Ro", which is not as articulate a review as the episode deserves. It's impossible to watch that one without thinking about the Bajoran-Cardassian arc and the Maquis, which in turn makes me think that while everyone is waxing rhapsodic over Rebootrek, I should rewatch Deep Space Nine, which I continue to believe is as good as Star Trek ever got. I didn't always love it with the same visceral adoration I had for the original series, which is grounded in a particular time and place in my own youth, but my sense of how good it is has only grown over time.


This is what has been keeping my cats occupied when they are not the Most Woeful Beasts in the Universe.


You may remember that we formerly had a front step with a big crater...


...that younger son would not let us have repaired because a chipmunk lived under the stairs.


I am pleased to report, however, that our eventual decision to repair the stairs rather than risk having them collapse does not appear to have deterred the chipmunk.


As you can see, the chipmunk has returned to torment the cats.


Daisy in particular wants to get outside and grab him, and forgets that she can't run through the window.


Apparently not even azaleas dissuade chipmunks. Maybe they eat them.


The Friday Five: Bad Habits
1. What bad habits do you have?
Procrastination. Wasting my time on pointless memes.
2. What bad habit would you most like to break? Completely freaking out over what turn out to be fairly minor crises.
3. Have you ever overcome any bad habits? What were they? I bit my nails for several years in my youth.
4. Do you have any habits other people consider bad that you rather like about yourself? What are they? Hmm. Speaking my mind? Having conversations with my cats?
5. What habit annoys you most in other people? Having to have the last word.

Fannish 5: Name five fannish things that never fail to cheer you up.
1. Pushing Daisies
.
2. Winn/Dukat.
3. Denny Crane.
4. The Dawson's Creek soundtracks.
5. Sarah Jane Smith.

Speaking of Pushing Daisies, I wasn't sure if it really would cheer me up after all this time and knowing there are only a couple of episodes before it vanishes to a place where Ned can't touch it and bring it back. But I loved it. I love that they did an Olive-centric episode and let Kristen Chenoweth sing! Even if what she sang was Lionel Richie's "Hello," and Daniel promptly said, "That song was funnier in Scary Movie 4 (when it was used in the Brokeback Mountain parody scene, which was admittedly hilarious). Plus what fun to see Richard Benjamin, George Segal, and Constance Zimmer on top of the main cast and the aunts! I feel very lucky to have gotten to see this show on television, even if it was too good a thing to last. And I'm sad about Susan Boyle, though of course I've never heard of the dance group that won, let alone seen them. Hopefully with the pressure of the competition off she can record and album and live her life the way she wants.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Poem for Saturday

Preludes for Prepared Piano 4: Lady Mac
By Estill Pollock


Attention all hipsters,
hepcats, swingers, a new and foreign reality.

What, in our house?
A test, to tell whether your mission
on earth is finished, the soldiers of Malcolm
attack Macbeth, camouflages with coppers
in the trees of Birnam forest.

I went to Macbeth with Marisa, this girl who goes to Muir
who random IQ'd me.
It was a pretty good show, but as I heard from people
in my acting class, the costumes were horrible.
Being queen
isn't as much fun as she thought.

So much blood, poor self-talk, like that of most of us,
doomed,
your own degrees incremental, this haunting
echo of false steps, then
I turn the word, neuter penetrating

sleeplessness.

--------

Duke Ellington's "Such Sweet Thunder" -- a montage based on Shakespeare characters -- was created for the Stratford Festival, the same festival upon which the Burbage Festival in Slings & Arrows was based. I've posted many parts of Pollock's sonnet cycle based on it before, but I was in the mood for it tonight, being sad at having no more episodes to watch.

The major event of my day was taking the Two Most Woeful Beings in the Universe (TM) to the vet. Rosie had been quite ill a few days ago -- we're still not sure why, but she spent all day sick to her stomach and eventually hid under the dining room table, mewling piteously, which is so unlike her that I called emergency care, though they said to see how she was doing a bit later and by then she was up and whining for food like her usual self. Turns out she has a badly abscessed tooth that must be pulled on Monday, meaning that once again all three cats can't be fed after midnight (since it's impossible to keep Rosie out of anyone else's dish) and there will be pathetic whimpering and feigned near-death flopping on the couch. If you hear Cinnamon meowing from where you are, which is not impossible -- the veterinary staff were quite amused at how LOUD she is when being tortured for bloodwork etc. -- please don't call the humane society, as they will just put her in another car carrier and start the cycle of misery all over.


The Most Woeful Beings in the Universe in the vet's waiting room.


After being weighed, Rosie tries to figure out a way to get back into her carrier to hide.


Cinnamon is forced to submit to the indignity of an oral exam.


Meanwhile Rosie must hold still and, more importantly, stop meowing so the vet can listen to her heart.


Plus she has to put up with having her eyes examined.


Leaping from the high exam table does not give Cinnamon a way out of the room, much to her regret.


Finally, the two cats who complained bitterly a couple of hours earlier about being put into carriers are very happy to be back inside them.


Meanwhile, at home, Daisy is faced with an empty house for the first time ever and is thus equally traumatized.


Next Gen review will be finished tomorrow since I didn't want to rush "Ensign Ro" and none of the news editors ever gets a link posted to TrekToday on Friday night anyway. (Robin West shared this article about the new movie with me; it is sure to piss someone off but the subject matter naturally caught my attention, though I didn't see the movie so I have no opinion on whether this is, in fact, a fair or unfair assessment.) But in the unpopular opinions department, we did watch Prince Caspian, which didn't impress me at all. I thought the acting was uniformly much worse than the first film (even the Javier Bardem lookalike whom I thought was Javier Bardem in Angels & Demons till I saw him again here); the battles went on much too long and were much too reminiscent of much better ones in Return of the King, Kingdom of Heaven, and even the much-ridiculed Willow; the changes in the story were unnecessarily confusing and lent themselves to more violence than necessary; and the endless "only Aslan can save us" stuff from Lucy really got on my nerves. I'm afraid to see how these people do Dawn Treader, my favorite of the books.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Poem for Friday

Leconte High-Top
By Jonathan Williams


under the rondelay
the sun

into the wind and rain a
winter wren

again, again --

its song
needling the pines

--------

After getting up early with Adam to get our penguins campgrounds and gyms (SPP was sold out of the purple bears already but two kind souls gave us each one), I spent a lovely morning and early afternoon with Cidercupcakes watching the season finale of Merlin and a bunch of Arrested Development episodes. We went out and got California Tortilla and she brought me some of her awesome peach cupcakes, too, and afternoons really do not get any better than eating buttercream while Lucille Bluth is going "Downtown" to attempt to persuade an army officer to kick her son out of the Army.

In the late afternoon I was going to run out and do some shopping while my mother took Adam to look at suits -- Daniel stayed late for robotics -- but Adam came home with a lot of homework and then there was a huge thunderstorm, so we stayed in. It was my father's birthday, so my parents came over for dinner and made crabmeat stuffed shells and strawberry shortcake. After my parents left, we watched "Ensign Ro," which I had remembered as being good, but on studying for review, it's really terrific. So not a lot was accomplished (the laundry is still not folded) but it was pretty good for a stormy Thursday.


A sawtooth shark at the National Aquarium last weekend.


A tortoise in the Amazon rainforest habitat.


The large central ray tank (with shark enclosure to the rear) is home not only to rays, skates, and big fish...


...as well as this sea turtle, which has lost a fin and cannot survive in the wild.


The circular tank that holds the big sharks has a coral reef in its upper levels.


These birds live in the Australia habitat, but I couldn't find a sign identifying them -- anyone know what they are?


This is an Australian freshwater crocodile.


And this is one of the jellyfish in the new special exhibit.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Poem for Thursday

The Animals
By Geoffrey Lehmann


A "domesticated bearded dragon $400"
is not my idea of an animal companion.
A calf asleep on a double bed, perhaps,
or a hare with long ears
crouched under a mahogany sideboard,
thumping the floor.
Or a koala that climbed up a four-poster bed
surprising a seventeen-year-old in her nightie.

They were here before us—the animals—
and we were once them.
Without understanding we watched the sunrise
and the coming of night,
registered the changing of seasons
and dew on leaves that brushed our flanks.
We, the animals,
knew feelings, had a memory,
exchanged sounds and visual cues,
but did not know
what came before
or ask what was to come.

A neighbor sleeps with a wombat in her bed,
and her husband sleeps on the veranda.
Kangaroos watch TV through her sitting-room window.

Bottle-fed joeys get osteoporosis
if the composition of the milk isn't right.
The females make better companions.
With shy brown eyes
they hop along beside you
as you collect mail from the gate at dusk.

We were once them,
and now are their custodians.
They know we are different
and their eyes tell us to keep our promise.

Bill came home after a fortnight away.
Potted plants had been kicked off the veranda,
there was an awful smell,
and the front door was ajar.
Inside the house
chairs were overturned,
papers and cushions trampled on floors,
and in the bathroom,
wedged against the washbasin,
her putrid flesh held together by hide,
Twinkle, a pony.
A tractor winched the body out.

--------

Another from this week's New Yorker. I really dislike this one but I've read it three times so I suppose that means there's something compelling in it.

The major events of my day were laundry, working on my speech for the Bar Mitzvah, and Adam's end-of-year school concert in the evening. We went with my parents and in-laws after having California Tortilla for dinner with the latter. This year, all five of the school's musical groups played on the same evening in the high school auditorium, so we heard three levels of band and two levels of orchestra. It was the teacher's 20th anniversary teaching there, so there was lots of self-congratulation in and around lots of student remarks about how mean he is, but even the sixth grade band at this school is vastly better than the band at older son's middle school, so he must be doing something right.


Adam and friends chatting before the concert started.


The intermediate orchestra tuning.


The principal of the middle school welcoming everyone to the high school auditorium.


The intermediate orchestra playing Sandra Dackow's "Flirtation."


The advanced band playing Larry Daehn's "British Isles Suite."


And a gratuitous photo of Daisy showing off her mad craft skillz.


In other happy news, we have received the squishy stress penguins that will be our party favors and are just waiting on the pewter penguin placecard holders. Well, and we have to make a board for guests to sign (with pictures of penguins, of course) and a big sign with a penguin indicating that the party is downstairs in the building. And, heh, the seating chart, now that we pretty much know who's coming and who's not. No pressure. *tears out remaining hair*

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Poem for Wednesday

Justice
By Langston Hughes


That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.

--------

I am very angry at the California Supreme Court. I have nothing cuttingly articulate or original to say, other than the oft-articulated belief that bigots shouldn't have the right to marry because it's bad for family values everywhere. How anyone can pretend this is something other than a civil rights issue is a mystery to me. The only consolation is that when I was in college, the idea that there would be gay marriage in any state during my lifetime seemed impossible, so even though this is a painful setback, I really believe that it's a temporary one. Not that that makes things better for people who've been told that tonight, they don't have the full rights of citizens in their state.

After a brief early post office run to send a package to a friend in Iraq with the army and to pick up what turned out to be a package from the Chalice Well Shop containing this pendant, I spent the morning watching the news on Sotomayor and the Prop 8 decision. After school, I took Adam for his second Bar Mitzvah rehearsal in the sanctuary, this time with interpretive speeches (both of which need more work than the Torah and Haftarah portions, but they're coming along). Traffic wasn't so bad this week, which was a relief because it rained on and off all day -- worst in the morning, when the county had a flash flood warning that made me nervous about driving on River Road.

We have now finished watching Slings & Arrows, which makes me very sad, as the whole family enjoyed it very much and the kids were attentive even during intense discussions of Shakespeare. Somehow Adam and I got into a conversation about Beethoven's Fifth at some point in the evening, and he thought he remembered that there was a scene involving flying whales and Beethoven's Fifth in Fantasia 2000, which I don't think he has seen since the year it came out (when he was four years old). We put in the DVD and although it wasn't a precise memory -- the Beethoven's Fifth animation involved abstract butterflies and bats, while the whales were accompanied by Respighi's "Pines of Rome," but I was still pretty impressed. And speaking of flying sea mammals, because they make me smile, more National Aquarium dolphin show:















Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Poem for Tuesday

My Hero
By Jennifer Michael Hecht


It's O.K. to keep hearing your worries, so long as you
stop talking to them. Shun them like a double-crossed Quaker.

Imagine how quiet it would be, like shutting off the droning ocean.
That's how our parasites must feel about our hearts.
What a racket, all that pumping. Shut up shut up.

Cicero said Chrysippus said that the life in a pig is a preservative,
keeping it fresh until we want to eat it. What then is life in us?

Chrysippus wrote more than seven hundred books, none survive.
(We have his bio in the Diogenes Laertius "Lives," and small
comments like the one Cicero preserved, about the pig.)

Imagine how much the man talked. Imagine how his daughters
felt, sitting in caf├ęs, virgins listening to young lawyers. Lawyer

ready to move from mom to virgin ears, to part the aural curtain
to the heart of the flesh, to grease up and force his listener to stay,

pressure like a fork, squeezed down inner tubes to hidden narrow
chambers. The daughters, who could not listen anymore, worked
into first-date conversation, "Of course I've had it in the ear before."

There were no second dates. Fierce Chrysippus sisters, full of hate.
There were no surrenders. That’s why I'm so tender about my
resignation. Because all these years later a nation of one feels
like one too many. Caesar was tough, but not by himself
did he conquer Gaul. The superlative for all alone is all.

--------

From this week's New Yorker.

Once again, the morning weather looked iffy -- and the afternoon weather involved thunderstorms with torrential rain and hail -- so rather than going to the pool after lunch, we went to see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. It was fun on about the same level as the first movie -- perhaps down a tick because the gimmick is no longer novel and some of the exact gags are repeated, but for me, that was much more than made up for by Amy Adams' Amelia Earhart. Spoilers: I was petrified they'd write her as a love interest for Ben Stiller, and they toyed with that a bit -- you'd never know from this movie that Earhart was married to George Putnam -- but even if she's a bit more caricature than character, she's independent and fun-loving and hailed as a role model not only for women but everyone who wants to fly. The film was worth the flight of admission for me to see Earhart flying the Wright Brothers' plane through the Air & Space Museum, then flying her Lockheed Vega over the National Mall.

Dementordelta asked me about her boyfriend Darth Vader in the movie, so in fairness I will report, for people who are not obsessed with Earhart like I am, that some of the other cameos don't work nearly so well. Robin Williams' Teddy Roosevelt is only in the movie for a couple of minutes; Pocahontas makes an appearance but she still doesn't get nearly enough to do, even though Custer (who's a buffoon) is actually willing to listen to her; and as for Vader, nearly his entire appearance is covered by the TV commercial (he doesn't speak, which is a blessing if they couldn't get James Earl Jones to do his voice, but he shares the tiny scene with Oscar the Grouch when they both want to join evil lisping villain Kahmunrah (who can't hold a candle to Michael Palin's evil lisping villains anyway), and they get ridiculed in favor of the equally preposterous Ivan the Terrible and Napoleon.

It's fair that all the historical figures act like cliches because they're waxworks come to life, but the Smithsonian has an actual Oscar muppet, so he should be more in character. At least anachronistic boyfriends Octavius and Jedediah have some wonderful moments both together and separately; Owen Wilson's Jed has the bigger role, but ironically it's the closest thing in the script to a damsel in distress, while Octavius gets to ride a squirrel and rescue him. There's not any family drama this time -- Larry's son appears as briefly as Teddy Roosevelt and is entirely supportive in a Galaxy Quest nerd sort of way. And the Smithsonian itself looks terrific, even if it has acquired a "Washington Art Museum" with such works as Rodin's Thinker that the National Gallery (not actually a part of the Smithsonian) doesn't have.

The National Aquarium does have dolphins, though they're in Baltimore. We saw them on Saturday:

















We had pizza with my parents to end Memorial Day weekend, then came home and watched a couple of episodes of the Slings & Arrows third season. I instinctively dislike Barbara, and sympathize greatly with Geoffrey when he calls her the Lizard Queen, which has been bothering me because not only is it unlike me to root against a strong female character even if the show seems biased against her, but I really dislike doing it when another character on the show is taking cheap shots about her ethnicity. And what's worst is that I agree with her interpretation of Goneril, which the white men who have all the power on the show are ridiculing. But tonight I had a revelation about her that made me laugh out loud: she's a wannabe Theatah Ahhctress who's nevertheless rich, famous, and happy to be both, all because of a huge sci-fi franchise! Name that star, hee!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Superpoke Pets Trade Wish List

I have a Superpoke Pet, Pengueny, on Facebook. This listing (also in the SPP forum here) is for people who might be interested in trading items from the Superpoke Pets store.

I have:

HABITATS:
24-Hour Petness Gym
Ancient Greece
Aquamarine Room
Art Deco Room
Artsy Creative Studio
Ashley Tisdale's Room
Astonishingly Argyle Room
Atlantic Adventure
Autumn Leaves
Azure Kitchen
Baby Blue Room
Backyard Bonanza
Barnyard
Bayside Sunset
Beach
Beach Sunrise
Beachhead Battalion
Blue Ghetto
Blue Hospital Room
Blue Polka Dot Room
Candy Shoppe
Charming Beauty Salon
Charming Coral Room
Charming Country Cottage
Chef's Kitchen
Chocolate Shoppe
City Construction Site
City Toy Store
Cityview Street
Classic Vineyard
Coconut Records Room
Construction Site
Country Village
Craft Room
Dance Studio
Dungeon Style Bathroom
Flowery Field Of Flowers
Fluffy Feeling Bathroom
Football Stadium
Forest Creek
Frosty Campground
Futuristic Crib
Groovy Green Room
Ice Burg Escapade
Inauguration Stage
Japanese Room
Japanese Tea Garden
Keith Urban Red Room
Kyle's Garage
Lake Wannaadoptapet
Lakeside Campground
Laundry Room
Lavender Lounge
Little Old Pet in a Shoe
Lovebug Room
Lush Rainforest
Magical Woods
McPet Burger Joint
Moorish Palace
Mt. Petmore
Naval Academy
Night Sky
North Pole
Old West Ghost Town
Orbiting Space Station
Outdoor Concert
Outdoor Tennis Court
Outdoor Wedding Garden
Patriotic Room of Patriotism
Paw Print Playground
Paws Pet Store
Peachy Beach
Penthouse Loft
Pet Bay Aquarium
Pet Hotel Lobby
Pet Playground
Pet's Coffee Shop
PetClub Bar
Petrodome Stadium
Pets of Caribbean
Pink Baby Room
Pink Ghetto
Poke Badlands
Poke Gulch
Preppy Pet Bedroom
Princess Habitat
Quaint Spring Garden
Relaxing Game Bedroom
Roller Rink of Retroness
Romantic Bedroom
SPP Shopping Mall
Sakura Room
Scenic London View
School Room
Seaside Shoreline
Snazz-tastic Music Store
Space Adventure
Spooky Cave
Summer Home Backyard
Sunny Campsite
Sunny Front Porch
Sunny Hillside
Sunny Summer Backyard
Sunnyside Up Room
Super P. P. Market
SuperPoke! Land
Sweet Tooth Heaven
T.G.I. Pets Restaurant
The Shamrock Shakes
The Town that Time Forgot
Thrilling Tribute
University Dorm Room
University of Slide
Volleyball Court
Walk in the Park
Watermelon Room
We The Kings Room
Western Opry
White Shore Beach

And everything that came out from September-December 2009 incl. Halloween and Christmas coin items.

GOLD:
Fire Breathing Dragon Plushie
Catnip Loving Plushie
Harmless Cave Bat
Gluttonous Acorn-Munching Squirrel
Enchanted Fountain
Oceanic Fish Tank
Quena the Llama
Moon Goddess
Peek-A-Boo Meerkat
Snoozing Puppy
Medusa's Hair
Happy Hippo
Pig in the Mud
Hatching Bluebird
Heidi the Hermit Crab
String Petlights V1
String Petlights V2
String Petlights V3
Amazing Jumping Bunny Plushie
Tickle Me Farmer Plushie
Tickle Me SPP Lion
Tickle Me Duck
I Love SPP Balloon Trio
Primary Candle Trio
SPP Punching Bag
Santa Christmas Card
Fauna the Summoning Unicorn
Mab the Summoning Unicorn
Blossom the Summoning Unicorn
Jumbo Dark Fairy
Dragon Fairy
Turtle Fairy
Magical Genie Lamp
Toucanny Toucan
Diving Dolphins
Mirror of Fortune
Crystal Ball of Fortune
Great Meowgician Plushie
Vampire Panda
Roddy Fly Trap
Magical Wand
Flying Dragon Posse
Nesting Chicken Dolls
Rocking Peacock Plushie
The Birdie Feeder
Curious Mouse
Bashful Petal the Skunk
Blazing Apollo Crown
Dancing Pilgrim Plushie
Dancing Chief Turtawa Plushie
Pro Blacksmith
Bunny Hatter Plushie
Frog Prince
Bottle Ship
Greedy Pirate's Chest
Swinging Swashbuckler
Swashbuckler's First Mate
Shady Swashbuckler
Flying Dragon Kite
Powdered Peek-a-Boo-Wig
Flickering Penguin-o-Lantern
Tarot Cards
Floating Magic Carpet
Flying Witch Kitty Plushie
Self-Lighting Hanukkah Menorah
Dreidel Spinning Plushie
Poinsettia Carol Plushie
*Frosty Portrait
*Olive the Owl Plushie
*Gretchen the Owl Plushie
*Jonny the Kitty
*Julie the Kitty
*Stevie the Kitty
*Hungry Honey Bear
*Cherrio Chimney Sweeper
*Dental Denial Plushie
*Ice Cream Vendor
*Toasting New Years Plushies
*Party Popper Plushie
*Magical Maggie
*Candy Cane Painter Elf
*Krazy Kids Table
*Pas de Deux
*Honeymooning Plushies
*Umbrella-ist Penguin Plushie
*Turkey Love Plushie
*Cute Newspaper Boy
*Penguininja
*Ribbon Dancer
*Fashion Photographer
*Magicking Penguin Plushie
*Penguin Sproingers
*Cozy Penguin Reader
*String Quartet
*Water Balloon Fight Plushies
*Tossing the Ol' Pigskin Players
*Caveman Penguin Plushie
*Tickle Me Patriotic Penguin
*Penguin Bobble Head
*Penguin Natural Zoo
*Beach House Escape
*Mystical Woodland Cottage
*New York City Harbor
*Colonial Petstown
Sparkling Poolside Paradise
Royal Pet Port
Magical Forest
Petagra Falls

* = not for trade unless your offer blows my mind

COIN ITEMS:
Floating Candelabra
Herbert the Hermit Crab
Octie Plushie
Snow Plushie
Pirate Puppy
*Scarecrow Penguin
Right and Left Cherub Wing
Knight Ringle
Chivalrous Suit of Armor
Magical Mirror (rare)
Boo Boo Bear
Jay Bear
Jon Bear (rare)
Striped Balloons
Surveillance Camera
Petbook Basic
Sleepy Porcupine
Creature Down Under
Army Hero Plushie
UFO
Extraterrestrial Probe Ship
Anti-Gravity Caffeine
Martian Antennae
Alien DNA Capsule
Martian Lander
Jumbo Pig
Jumbo Bunny
Jumbo Sheep
Egg Chair of Affection
Sputnik Sparkle Lamp
Victorian Stained Window (rare)
Antique Stained Glass Window (8)
Heart Wall Mirror
Oval Wall Mirror
Potbellied Stove
Mini Volcano
Plushie Love Carriage
Peterella Carriage
Get-It-Clean Washer
Get-It-Clean Dryer
Raining Cloud
Gentle Snow Cloud
Lightning Cloud
Bowling Sheep Plushie
Sparkling Platinum Vase
Spinning Star Pinwheel
Pop Corn
Starry Night Window (round and rectangular)
Northstar Refrigerator
Humfig Microwave
Dragon Disguise Penguin
Dragon Disguise Cow
Jumbo Pig Plushie
Jumbo Chicken Plushie
Jumbo Tiger Plushie
Jumbo Sheep Plushie
Jumbo Turtle Plushie
Jumbo Bunny Plushie
Jumbo Panda Valentine Plushie
Jumbo Puppy Valentine Plushie
Jumbo Tiger Valentine Plushie
Jumbo Turtle Valentine Plushie
Jumbo Dragon Valentine Plushie
Jumbo Penguin Valentine Plushie
Full set of 12 Chinese zodiac plushies
All three secret service plushies
All five Faberpet eggs
Most potted flowers
Parrots (old pirate parrot plus red, green, blue parrots)

and many other toys, furniture, etc. from last December to the present -- ask please.

LOOKING TO GET:
Minnie the Kitty
Playing with Icicles Plushies
Kissing Plushies
Magical Spinning Wheel
Ookpik the Snowy Owl
Winter Cardinals
The Ice Princess
Spinning Dreidel
Splashy Autumn Fountain
Pencil Poking Palace Guard Fun
Chipper Shoveler Penguin
French Guard Penguin Plushie
King Candy
Pengy Chapetlin
Groundhog Peek-A-Boo
Benjaturtle Franklin Plushie
JayB the Hamster
Musical Snow Globe
Exotic Aquarium
Lavishly Large Aquarium
Excalibur Sword & Stone
Pumpkin Picker Plushie
Barber Plushie
Glamorous White Peacock
Penguin User Portrait
Tickle Me Penguin Plushie
Party Panda Plushie
Excalibur Sword and Stone
Zoo Wonderland

I'm open to offers/requests for combinations in trades. But please note that I do have a pretty good idea what items are worth -- don't ask me to trade you a rare item for something that's currently in the shop, or to send you gold in exchange for a bunch of random items you happen to have. I prefer to trade gold for gold unless you're offering something on my wish list.

Poem for Monday

This Wren
By Paul Otremba


For no reason at all this wren, this little mound
of pencil shavings. But what appears is too bleared,

too gray sluice of clouds covering the window
so the kitchen goes dim. So this wren eating beneath

scratches of juniper, of field grass, little mounds
of graphite in the beak. For no reason I let

the sauce simmer, the reduction gone syrup.
Then she enters, asking about the drawing, a turkey,

five fingers dragging a wind through the grass,
and the wren goes on with the little mounds of seed.

More questions arise about the timing, the meat of it,
the delicacy of a still, cold center. For no reason at all,

rosemary, Money Jungle, track "Fleurette Africaine,"
and the wren finds a hole in the rosebush,

while she places heavy plates in orbit around the table,
singing a wordless "Fleurette Africaine," a little wren,

a little monster, sweet door in the rosebush.
For no reason at all a monster in the wren's nest.

--------

The plan for the day was to go to the Virginia Renaissance Festival, but we never made it, due to the forecast for rain and the fact that we slept terribly the night before due to the thermostat being set to heat instead of air conditioning and this error being discovered far too late for the house to be comfortable at a reasonable hour even with all the windows open. The smallish faire is nearly two hours away from where we live, and we were ambivalent about whether we were up for a drive so long when it might have been raining by the time we got there. Then Adam was invited to visit a farm with a friend, which he wanted to do as soon as he heard that there would be cows and swimming in a creek.

So we ended up having a relatively quiet Sunday. I talked on the phone for a long time with MamaDracula, then we took Daniel to Target to replace his backpack, which has self-destructed too badly even to survive till the end of the school year. And then we had grilled burgers and corn with my parents, who are back from Georgia.

In the evening, we watched the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS rather than fighting the crowds downtown to hear it over speakers live at the Capitol. I know we're supposed to watch uncritically and let it tug at our heartstrings, yet I cannot help noting that Katherine McPhee is not up to singing Barbra Streisand's arrangement of "Somewhere," and Brian Stokes Mitchell overdoes "Go the Distance" even more than Michael Bolton...which is really saying something. However, Colm Wilkinson -- the best Phantom of the Opera I ever saw -- did "Bring Him Home" from Les Miz as movingly as ever. And after that I showed the kids the first episode of Slings & Arrows season three: "Who's gonna play Lear? Is it William Shatner?"


These three parrots at the National Aquarium were very playful on Saturday.


They live in the Amazon Rainforest section of the building, along with many other birds, a few small mammals, and many reptiles and fish.


I'm not sure what inspired this grooming menage a trois, but it was very amusing to watch.


And the bird in the middle appeared to be having a great time.


The scarlet ibises were mid-moult and were all more pink than red.


The Atlantic puffins are always hard to photograph through the thick glass of their habitat but I can never resist them.


This parrot, a pink galah, was sleepy when we visited the Australia habitat...


...but the tawny frogmouth was awake and suspicious, even though the flying foxes were off display for the day.