Sunday, June 30, 2013

Poem for Sunday and Rockville Civil War

A Slash of Blue
By Emily Dickinson

A slash of Blue—
A sweep of Gray—
Some scarlet patches on the way,
Compose an Evening Sky—
A little purple—slipped between—
Some Ruby Trousers hurried on—
A Wave of Gold—
A Bank of Day—
This just makes out the Morning Sky.


We dropped off Adam at Glen Echo to work and went to downtown Rockville on Saturday for Montgomery County Heritage Days, which this year are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, in this case with a reenactment of the day when Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart invaded Rockville en route to the Battle of Gettysburg. We got cold chocolate drinks and went to Beall-Dawson House, which had craft demonstrations, the Washington Revels, the Federal City Brass Band, and several reenactors, then we went to Courthouse Square to see J.E.B. Stuart ride into Rockville and capture Union soldiers:

After the raid, we went to pick up Adam, then came home so he could make brownies to bring to my cousin's house where we will be having lunch on Sunday after the unveiling ceremony at Aunt Shirley's grave. In the evening, after having my first five suggestions rejected by Adam and Daniel, we ended up watching GoldenEye, which neither of them remembered and I haven't watched in probably a decade -- I'm not a big Bond fan whether it's Connery or Craig, but I have nostalgic affection for The Spy Who Loved Me, and I can watch Brosnan and Bean in anything, especially breaking each other's hearts.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Poem for Saturday, For the Cause, Tintin, Testudos

Air And Angels
By John Donne

Twice or thrice had I loved thee,
Before I knew thy face or name;
So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame,
Angels affect us oft, and worshipped be;
Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing I did see.
But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
More subtle than the parent is,
Love must not be, but take a body too;
And therefore what thou wert, and who,
I bid love ask, and now
That it assume thy body I allow,
And fix itself to thy lip, eye, and brow.

Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
And so more steadily to have gone,
With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love's pinnace overfraught
Every thy hair for love to work upon
Is much too much, some fitter must be sought;
For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme and scatt'ring bright, can love inhere.
Then as an angel, face and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure doth wear,
So thy love may be my love's sphere.
Just such disparity
As is 'twixt air and angel's purity,
'Twixt women's love and men's will ever be.


On Friday the weather went back and forth between extreme heat and pouring rain, though not as much thunder as the thunderstorm warnings suggested that we might. Daniel chatted with friends online; Adam went to play tennis and have lunch with my father while I was working on a review of Deep Space Nine's "For the Cause" (I can never remember which Eddington episode is the Valjean/Javert one; sadly, it's "For the Uniform," not this one).

We saw bunnies, had Greek food for dinner with my parents, came home so Adam's friends could come visit him for a while, then watched The Adventures of Tintin, which has a great cast of voice actors, has absolutely stunning animation, and is a lot of fun (though if you're looking for any female character of consequence, you need a different animated movie). Here are some pics from UMCP that I meant to post months ago:

The athletic center's Testudo...

...McKeldin Library's Testudo...

...and the Stamp Student Union's Testudo.

Graveyard of teams from major athletic triumphs.

A photo-covered Terp-celebrating Fear the Turtle statue in Hornbake Library.

Byrd Stadium, where the football team plays...

...and Cole Field House, where the basketball teams played before the Comcast Center was built.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Poem for Friday, Goslings, Good Night and Good Luck

The World Doesn't Want Me Anymore, and it Doesn't Know It
By Sean Singer

I am the corner and the cab's glow-up roof.
A tuba and air synth march down Stanton St.

Do a rhumba for an espresso foam by the green lights.
Notice how this dude in the yellow pants is embarrassing himself.

Trying their best to dougie to "My Favorite Things"
And a sexy woman poured-into jeans twirl-a-whirls.

When we see what we were in New York
And what we leave behind

Only stay human is great
Leave your weakness in a jar.


I was supposed to catch up on things Thursday that got set aside because I was busy watching the Supremes dump DOMA on Wednesday, but I was looking for a photo from a trip taken years ago and came across a bunch of photos from elementary school, and posted a couple of them, and spent a lot of time afterward on Facebook catching up with the people in those photos. I am not sorry about this at all -- this is why I stay on Facebook despite privacy concerns, corporate issues, etc. In my defense, I did get the laundry folded.

Despite a tornado watch -- we got some rain, but fortunately nothing worse-- I also took the kids to get haircuts. Adam now has a buzz cut, which means less hair to worry about when he's running, but I am definitely not used to it yet. My hair is just shorter for the summer and I need advice about good conditioner and hair dye for dry hair that's never been tested on animals. After the haircuts, Adam drove us to the mall so we could get frozen yogurt. We also got his final report card for the year: straight As in all honors and AP classes.

After dinner we watched Good Night and Good Luck, which we had never seen and is only free on Amazon Prime through Saturday. It's excellent, both the performances and the script (not sure the black and white film adds a great deal, but it isn't distracting and gives the movie a rather timeless feel). The McCarthy hearings seem very timely at the moment as well as the perspective on the relationship between advertising and news reporting. Here are the Washingtonian Lake goslings whom I saw again on Wednesday, now all grown up!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Poem for Thursday, Dumped DOMA, Bunnies

Sonnet 116
By William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


I pretended to get work done on Wednesday, but as soon as the DOMA/Prop 8 decisions were handed down, I pretty much only watched the news for the rest of the morning. Both the TV coverage and the internet/social media commentary were glorious -- of course I stayed away from Fox News and Focus on the Family (though someone defriended me on Facebook minutes after I posted Marylanders for Equality's graphic there). Finally the Supreme Court did something that did not make me want to send more than half of them back to the 1800s where they belong.

Then I went to lunch with Kay, abandoning older son who was still asleep and sending younger son off with my parents to drive and try on pants. We ate at Tara Thai, then I stopped at Charming Charlie's sale (finally the blue petal necklaces are half price) and walked around the lake to see the goslings, one set of which are practically adults while the other set are still dinosaur-looking. I also had to stop at CVS, where it looked like the sky was going to open up and we got a thunderstorm warning, but it hardly rained at all.

Not a good night for the Orioles, but the Nationals won, though we mostly watched some South Park with the kids before the new Futurama, then since younger son had read the book we watched the first episode of Under the Dome (and based on that and what he told me about the book, I don't care if we never watch the second episode). Tonight I really miss Jon Stewart on The Daily Show though Oliver did sing some Les Mis. I am behind on everything so have some more neighborhood bunnies for now:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Poem for Wednesday and Spring Tulips

Wanting is -- What?
By Robert Browning

          Wanting is -- what?
          Summer redundant,
          Blueness abundant,
           -- Where is the blot?
Beamy the world, yet a blank all the same,
-- Framework which waits for a picture to frame:
What of the leafage, what of the flower?
Roses embowering with naught they embower!
Come then, complete incompletion, O comer,
Pant thro' the blueness, perfect the summer!
          Breathe but one breath
          Rose-beauty above,
          And all that was death
          Grows life, grows love,
              Grows love!


We had August weather on Monday even though June isn't over yet -- extremely hot, extremely humid until just now when thunderstorms hit and now it's very slightly cooler but very wet. Paul worked from home because a guy was coming to check out the recently broken garbage disposal (which we ended up having to replace due to a partially shredded measuring spoon embedded in the motor); Adam worked in our neighbor's yard in the morning; Daniel went out to lunch and to play miniature golf with my father.

In the afternoon I was out with Adam to take his bike to the shop so the chain can be fixed (as it turns out, it needs lots of bits tuned up and won't be finished for two weeks). While we were driving so Adam could get some practice in, Sharkie called to see if we wanted to meet for dinner at Lebanese Taverna. So I went home, left Adam to go to track practice, picked up Paul, and went to meet Sharkie and her husband, who showed us their awesome Alaska photos when we didn't have hummus on the table.

When we got home, I decided it was time to test our new bargain Blu-Ray of Shakespeare in Love to make sure Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush looked as good as ever (mmmmm, they did, though Daniel for whom we brought back shawarma declined to watch with us and Adam mocked most of the movie). This was less stressful viewing than the news at least; Massachusetts did a good job electing a new senator but don't get me started on the Supreme Court. Here are some photos of tulips from Brookside Gardens and DC in the spring:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Poem for Tuesday and Beetle Pics

The Wife-Woman
By Anne Spencer

Maker-of-Sevens in the scheme of things
From earth to star;
Thy cycle holds whatever is fate, and
Over the border the bar.
Though rank and fierce the mariner
Sailing the seven seas,
He prays as he holds his glass to his eyes,
Coaxing the Pleiades.

I cannot love them; and I feel your glad,
Chiding from the grave,
That my all was only worth at all, what
Joy to you it gave,
These seven links the Law compelled
For the human chain--
I cannot love them; and you, oh,
Seven-fold months in Flanders slain!

A jungle there, a cave here, bred six
And a million years.
Sure and strong, mate for mate, such
Love as culture fears;
I gave you clear the oil and wine;
You saved me your hob and hearth--
See how even life may be ere the
Sickle comes and leaves a swath.

But I can wait the seven of moons,
Or years I spare,
Hoarding the heart's plenty, nor spend
A drop, nor share--
So long but outlives a smile and
A silken gown;
Then gaily I reach up from my shroud,
And you, glory-clad, reach down.


I was writing and doing laundry and stuff this morning until lunchtime, when my mother came to pick up Adam to go shopping (she has actually found someone in the family who likes to go look at clothes with her, heh). That was around the same time that the National Zoo announced that Rusty the Red Panda had gone missing from the enclosure where we saw the red pandas just a couple of weekends ago, and all of DC came to a screeching halt as everyone sat at computers refreshing the National Zoo Twitter feed, the fake National Zoo Red Panda Twitter feed, and various news sites until someone spotted Rusty in Adams Morgan and zookeepers showed up to recapture the poor guy.

After that kind of excitement, I could barely muster the energy to take a walk, eat dinner, and watch Tristan and Isolde, which has Henry Cavill and Mark Strong with long hair, plus Rufus Sewell not playing a villain for a change and lovely shots of Irish landscapes. Then we watched this week's Warehouse 13, in which Pete made references to Kryptonite, the impossibility of the Browns winning the Super Bowl in his lifetime, and the Philosopher's Stone being from Harry Potter, so it was a great geek episode. Now John Oliver is claiming that Jon Stewart isn't doing The Daily Show because he escaped from the National Zoo, so my day has come full circle.

Earlier this year Adam was taking photos of bugs in extreme close-up as part of a photo project. One afternoon while I was walking, I found a huge beetle and when a neighbor saw me trying to put it on a log so I could carry it home without its scary pincers grabbing me, she kindly loaned me a plastic container. Here are some photos of the beetle and of Adam taking photos of the beetle -- I started with the latter because I know from the cicada photos that some people really, really hate it when I post insects without a spoiler warning:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Poem for Monday and Hanover Snacking

By Daniel Hoffman

I am yours as the summer air at evening is
Possessed by the scent of linden blossoms,

As the snowcap gleams with light
Lent it by the brimming moon.

Without you I'd be an unleafed tree
Blasted in a bleakness with no Spring.

Your love is the weather of my being.
What is an island without the sea?


Paul's parents are going on a trip around the country to visit relatives, so since they are leaving next week, we went to visit them on Sunday. It was raining when we left home and drizzling when we reached Hanover, but for the rest of the day, the weather was sunny and warm. We had a minor disaster when we tried to go to Isaac's Deli in Hanover for lunch only to discover that it had closed, but we went to the one in York instead and they still have tomato pepper jack cheese soup, which is really delicious. Otherwise we had a low-key afternoon, stopping at the Snyder's and Utz factory outlets for snacks and discussing computer and Kindle issues with my in-laws before they take off for points west.

We watched the bunnies in backyards and lamented that all our baseball teams had lost, but we were too full for a proper dinner, so we drove home in a surprising amount of traffic past Frederick and reheated stuff while watching The Yellow Handkerchief, which had some screenplay issues that bugged me (and visit a spoiler site if unexpected animal deaths bother you, though as is too often the case people treat animals with more sympathy than women in certain situations) but the performances are all quite good unless you're very picky about the accents, including Kristin Stewart who is unfairly reviled almost all the time and Eddie Redmayne who is completely dorky in this film. Do not want 90 degrees tomorrow!