Sunday, May 28, 2017

Placeholder for Sunday

I had a really nice Saturday with family and friends -- first lunch at the Mountain Gate buffet restaurant in Thurmont, where we all drove with my parents and met Paul's parents and ate far too much pie (there were at least nine kinds), then dinner with Kay and Chris and their kids at California Pizza Kitchen plus a walk around the lake so Daniel and Adam could see the goslings. Now we're watching the late broadcast of Doctor Who after the Kidman-Urban-Cumming Graham Norton Show. This will be a weekend of family photos, though I forgot to take one with the Helgesens so this one is from the last time we met at Washingtonian Lake without all the kids!

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Poem for Saturday and Visiting Family

I'm nobody! Who are you?
By Emily Dickinson

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog – 
To tell one's name – the livelong June – 
To an admiring Bog!

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Daniel is home! And Adam had a great first week of his internship and got straight As! And Paul accepted a job -- this was his third offer but the one he felt best fit his interests and skills (he turned down one that was a good job but in a government agency that Trump has made noises about abolishing, and it just does not seem like a good time to become a federal employee). So other than my spine still being a literal pain in the ass, things are good!

Most of our early day was chores -- laundry, shopping for cat litter, a stop in Michael's for a piece to fix a bracelet -- plus a long phone conversation with Noelle. Adam's girlfriend Christine came over in the afternoon, hung out for a while, and came with us to pick Adam up from work, after which we went to my parents' for dinner, then left to go to the airport to retrieve Daniel!

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Poem for Friday, Red Nose Day, Son and Cat

After the First Child, the Second
By Mary Austin Speaker

for Chris Martin

To you
through whom

these sudden days
blowse & hum

thirst & quench
a tide of tensing trees

days tick by
beats in a song

my body grows
fuller each day

I think my life
has always been

for this quiet
darkness

your forehead
& eyelashes

face pressed
to my breast

your skin a texture
electrifying

my fingertips
wool on cotton

wool on glass
the fibers rise

& I can’t sleep
for being alive

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After dropping Adam off at NIH this morning, I went to physical therapy! Which was great! I mean, my back still aches and I have sharp pains shooting through my hip and down my leg when I sit for more than 20 minutes, but at least now I have exercises! We came home for lunch afterward, Paul talked to some job people, then we went to the post office to mail Maddy a package and to Kohl's so Paul could get shoes and I could get a nightgown I almost bought on sale last week which is now another few dollars cheaper. We also took a walk around the lake there to see the goslings.

We picked Adam up in the midst of a thunderstorm, had meatloaf for dinner, and watched The Handmaid's Tale and Genius with him (he has a low opinion of political dystopias, having been scarred by Ayn Rand's Anthem in school at a young age, and he doesn't have a great opinion of Einstein's useful smarts after this miniseries). Then we watched the Red Nose Day special, mostly to see the Love, Actually mini-sequel, which was cute but I don't love the original enough to be too deeply invested! Since Daniel is coming Friday and Effie is enraged about having her claws clipped, pics from his last visit:






Thursday, May 25, 2017

Rushed Thursday Entry

A Haiku

By Me

the sound of Star Trek
phasers firing in the trees
the cicadas sing

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Wrote a whole entry and LJ ate it. My day in brief, though it was long: drove Adam to a deep learning conference in College Park, had breakfast at IHOP since we were over there, went to the mall to get gifts and pick up Maddy's paycheck to send her, went to the food store, took a walk, started watching the Dirty Dancing remake, turned it off because it was mediocre to watch The 100 season finale, then turned Dirty Dancing back on to see whether it had improved (nope), Adam got home late. Three photos from Arles earlier this year:






Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Poem for Wednesday, Genius, Busy Chipmunk

For the Chipmunk in My Yard
By Robert Gibb

I think he knows I’m alive, having come down
The three steps of the back porch
And given me a good once over. All afternoon
He’s been moving back and forth,
Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs,
While all about him the great fields tumble
To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky
To be where he is, wild with all that happens.
He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows
Living in the blond heart of the wheat.
This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires
Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots,
Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter
On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.

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The highlight of my Tuesday was seeing an orthopedist, who looked at my MRI scans, took x-rays, prodded me in various places, and concluded as my internist had that the slight protrusion of one of my discs is causing all the pain, so the good news is that there's no stenosis or herniation but the bad news is that it might take months of physical therapy and meds before the pain is gone. Given that driving for more than five minutes is painful, I'm not even sure how I'm going to get to my follow-up appointment in three weeks if PT doesn't help, but obviously this is better than finding out something is really wrong with the bone. We're sad about Roger Moore but we didn't have time for a Bond marathon because of carpooling.

Adam is very much enjoying his internship, though in typical fashion he is finding dozens of related papers and textbooks to read and doing much extra work. Because he now has all his grades for the semester, four As and one A+, after we picked him up we took him out to dinner at Grand Fusion where we had lots of wonderful tofu (orange, salt and pepper, Thai basil, satay). I missed the beginning of The Flash season finale though I'm more concerned with the end -- if That Person had died I could have lived with it, but are they switching focus entirely? -- followed by the newest Genius (uggh Albert your background and era are not excuses) and the one before, which son had missed. Local chipmunk seed gathering:

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Poem for Tuesday and American History

Elsa Is Involved in a Clandestine Love Affair
By Angela Veronica Wong

There is no fixed place and by that I mean
take a look at things that are. Split by the
turn of year, its newness and all it brings,
which of its possibilities can we trust?
Elsa is involved in a clandestine
love affair which, let’s be honest, should be
all love affairs until they’re over. She finds
herself dreaming of children and many
other delicacies. Sugared eggs. A
lost palace. But night brings a great expanse
and it’s much too quiet in these hallways.
On her back, Elsa holds her breath, her hands
beneath her, resisting, resisting. That
temptation can be such a dirty rat.

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The poet told Poets.org that this poem is from a series of sonnets about a fictional mistress of Louis XV exploring gender and colonialism, but I don't believe for a single second that we're not supposed to hear Disney and Frozen in the lost palace and dangerous hands.

Paul needed to go downtown for clearance and security checks that some of his potential employers require, so since I needed to be awake early anyway to get Adam to NIH for the first day of his internship there, I drove into DC with him. While he was getting fingerprinted and dealing with paperwork, I went to the Smithsonian's Museum of American History, where he eventually met me. We went to several of our favorite exhibits, including the Gunboat Philadelphia and the Machine Age, as well as the new one on Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. Then we went to the Reagan Building's food court for lunch, where we ate Mediterranean food and I caught an Aerodactyl.

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The EPA from the front of the National Museum of American History

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George Washington as Greek god

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Brown Box prototype video game system

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Commercial ship replica from the start of the nautical exhibit...

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...and SS United States deluxe passenger cabin items from near the end

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Me and a Lego model of the Statue of Liberty

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An exhibit on Japanese-American prison camps during World War II

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From a Reagan Building exhibit on World War I, a British recruitment poster featuring George V

When we got home, we caught up on the weekend television we missed, namely the distressing season finale of Elementary and last week's Matrix-y Doctor Who. We went to pick up Adam, who had a long and very good day working out his research plans with the professor in whose lab he'll be working, and came home for leftover gumbo. In the evening we watched the season finale of Supergirl (not the best they've done this season but plenty of Cat, some Lena, and gratuitous Superman, so I was happy) and James Corden's prime time Carpool Karaoke special, plus another episode of Genius for Adam. Given both the local and international news these past two days, we needed distraction.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Poem for Monday and Brookside Butterflies

A Person Protests to Fate
By Jane Hirshfield

A person protests to fate:

“The things you have caused
me most to want
are those that furthest elude me.”

Fate nods.
Fate is sympathetic.

To tie the shoes, button a shirt,
are triumphs
for only the very young,
the very old.

During the long middle:

conjugating a rivet
mastering tango
training the cat to stay off the table
preserving a single moment longer than this one
continuing to wake whatever has happened the day before

and the penmanships love practices inside the body.

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Quickie because we're watching some Genius with Adam, who didn't get to see the first few episodes while he was finishing his semester. Earlier, after a quiet but somewhat upsetting morning following the news from the University of Maryland of an on-campus murder that appears to be a hate crime, we went out in the lovely cool weather to Brookside Gardens for the butterfly exhibit and so Adam could see the goslings and turtles.

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We had turk'y roast for dinner and watched the season finale of Madam Secretary, which was, as it often is, a bit pedantic but a happy world. I got $15 sandals delivered from Kohl's and three cats spent a lot of time fighting over the box they came in. On Monday Adam starts his internship and Paul has work-related chores to do, on Tuesday I get to see the orthopedist who hopefully can tell me how to fix my back!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Poem for Sunday, Goslings, Beauty and the Beast

Love
By James Russell Lowell

True Love is but a humble, low-born thing,
And hath its food served up in earthen ware;
It is a thing to walk with, hand in hand,
Through the every-dayness of this work-day world,
Baring its tender feet to every roughness,
Yet letting not one heart-beat go astray
From Beauty’s law of plainness and content;
A simple, fire-side thing, whose quiet smile
Can warm earth’s poorest hovel to a home;
Which, when our autumn cometh, as it must,
And life in the chill wind shivers bare and leafless,
Shall still be blest with Indian-summer youth
In bleak November, and, with thankful heart,
Smile on its ample stores of garnered fruit,
As full of sunshine to our aged eyes
As when it nursed the blossoms of our spring.
Such is true Love, which steals into the heart
With feet as silent as the lightsome dawn
That kisses smooth the rough brows of the dark,
And hath its will through blissful gentleness,—
Not like a rocket, which, with savage glare,
Whirrs suddenly up, then bursts, and leaves the night
Painfully quivering on the dazed eyes;
A love that gives and takes, that seeth faults,
Now with flaw-seeking eyes like needle-points,
But, loving kindly, ever looks them down
With the o’ercoming faith of meek forgiveness;
A love that shall be new and fresh each hour,
As is the golden mystery of sunset,
Or the sweet coming of the evening-star,
Alike, and yet most unlike, every day,
And seeming ever best and fairest now;
A love that doth not kneel for what it seeks,
But faces Truth and Beauty as their peer,
Showing its worthiness of noble thoughts
By a clear sense of inward nobleness,
A love that in its object findeth not
All grace and beauty, and enough to sate
Its thirst of blessing, but, in all of good
Found there, it sees but Heaven-granted types
Of good and beauty in the soul of man,
And traces, in the simplest heart that beats,
A family-likeness to its chosen one,
That claims of it the rights of brotherhood.
For Love is blind but with the fleshly eye,
That so its inner sight may be more clear;
And outward shows of beauty only so
Are needful at the first, as is a hand
To guide and to uphold an infant’s steps:
Great spirits need them not; their earnest look
Pierces the body’s mask of thin disguise,
And beauty ever is to them revealed,
Behind the unshapeliest, meanest lump of clay,
With arms outstretched and eager face ablaze,
Yearning to be but understood and loved.

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It was gloriously cool on Saturday and no cats woke me early. We picked up Adam from his movie marathon, ate lunch, and went to Kohl's because he needed some new clothes before starting his internship and I had a pile of coupons and Kohl's bucks, though I used some of that to buy myself a pair of Skechers super-bouncy flip flops because my feet are killing me from standing all day and the flip flops are spongier than any of the slippers! We also took a walk so we could see the goslings:

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Christine came over for dinner (vegetarian crab cakes) and movie-watching, which included Beauty and the Beast (not my favorite fairy tale by a long stretch for a whole list of reasons; the cast is okay but whose bright idea was it to let Emma Thompson and not Audra McDonald sing the title song?) and an old Aussie TV video from when Hugh Jackman played Gaston. Then we saw Graham Norton and now we're on to the season finale of Saturday Night Live. I'd vote for Dwayne Johnson over many Republicans...

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Poem for Saturday and Early Cicadas

O, Shrill-Voiced Insect
By Meleager of Gadara
Translated by Rory Egan

O, shrill-voiced insect; that with dewdrops sweet,
Inebriate, dost in the desert woodlands sing;
Perched in the spray-top with indented feet,
Thy dusky body’s echoing harp-like ring.
Come, dear cicada, chirp to all the grove,
The Nymphs and Pan, a new responsive strain;
That I, in the noontide sleep, may steal from love,
Reclined beneath the dark overspreading plane.

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Adam is home for the summer! Well, technically he isn't home now, since he's at an all-night movie marathon with the friends with whom he's doing all-night movie marathons since they were in high school together, but he starts his NIH internship on Monday so he will be staying here when he isn't traveling to Greece for an academic conference. We picked him up in College Park late in the morning after his last exam (he doesn't have all his grades yet but it sounds like he did very well), took him to the food store to get lunch food for the week and ice cream for the party, and dropped him off at the movie marathon.

Apart from that, it was a fairly ordinary day which started much too early when one of my cats knocked over my jewelry box, requiring an hour of restoration. Friday also involved vacuuming and laundry, a visit to the neighbor's fish pond to see the frog living there for the summer, finally evolving a Kabutops, and dinner with my parents. We watched the first episode of American Gods but I have to admit it didn't grab me. The other exciting thing around here has been the surprising noisy emergence four years early of many Brood X 17-year cicadas, which is probably from warm winters but could be a sign of the End Times!

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