Monday, November 20, 2017

Poem for Monday and Seneca Creek Autumn

At the Window
By D.H. Lawrence

The pine-trees bend to listen to the autumn wind as it mutters
Something which sets the black poplars ashake with hysterical laughter;
While slowly the house of day is closing its eastern shutters.

Further down the valley the clustered tombstones recede,
Winding about their dimness the mist’s grey cerements, after
The street lamps in the darkness have suddenly started to bleed.

The leaves fly over the window and utter a word as they pass
To the face that leans from the darkness, intent, with two dark-filled eyes
That watch for ever earnestly from behind the window glass.


We had a low-key Sunday with Daniel, who slept late because he wasn't quite on East Coast time and wanted to work out before we went anywhere. So I spent the morning sorting beads and repurposing earrings, then we had lunch and went to Seneca Creek State Park to enjoy the gorgeous cool weather while there are still leaves on the trees. The Gaithersburg winter light festival isn't open for the season yet but the installations are in place, so we got to see some of those, too!









We had to stop at Target on the way home to get kitty litter, then we went to my parents' for snacks, dinner, and the Patriots-Raiders game (the Ravens had already beaten Green Bay handily). When we came home we watched Eddie the Eagle because Daniel hadn't seen it and everything about that movie is pure joy. Now we're watching Madam Secretary very delayed by football, Maddy just got home from working all day, and the cats are taking turns trying to snuggle with Daniel on the couch.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Poem for Sunday, Spider-Man, Family and Cats

Lineage Is Its Own Religion
By Jennifer Militello

I was an apostle to the group of you, strangers
who had known me since I was born. I ate
of your flesh. I drank of your blood. Sipped
the elixir of your moods. Put the remainders
in the tabernacle, wiped the goblet clean with
a cloth. The crosses branded into the wafers
were your voices branded onto my heart.
I heard you live forever. I heard you rise.
The bones of you yield to the memory of flesh,
and we count our blessings and also bless.
We are bright in anticipation of death,
we are living like fissures and set against waste,
and the taste is bitter, left in our mouths.
I am dying, I am dead, lord of the losses, lord
of the faith. I take each breath and my chest
expands. Now I stand knee deep in the muck
unable to move, and if I dip my hands in,
they will fill with bracken and all the thickness
of each formless face, kicking up stones,
until you are gone, mythic lisp the lips
shape. One day, you vanish like a flash.
Confessions in a dark room. Firmaments to read
and spin like dice. I genuflect twice at the edge
of your pews. I kiss the book for you. This is what
the word of family can do. Sit at the round table.
Break bread. In the beginning, the loveless
made the world and saw that it was good.


Daniel is here! We spent the morning doing some cleaning to get ready for him, which included some spray painting and some ceiling hooks as well as some laundry, and then went to pick him up at Dulles. He had eaten lunch late, so we called my parents to see if they wanted to have dinner with us and they ended up taking us to the Original Pancake House.

Daniel had not seen Spider-Man: Homecoming and we just got it on disc last week, so we watched and very much enjoyed that -- fits in with my Marvel-themed week -- and appropriately we are now watching Saturday Night Live's hilarious skit about Batman using excessive force in non-white neighborhoods. Here are some pics of my cats, Daniel, Paul, and parents:







Saturday, November 18, 2017

Poem for Saturday and Wright on the Walls

From 'Night Is but a Shadow Cast by the Sun'
By Frank Lloyd Wright

The present is
the ever moving shadow
that divides yesterday
from tomorrow.
In that lies hope.


I had a good Friday -- bit of work, bit of shopping, Suicune raid at Marriott headquarters with friends who work there, bubble tea at the mall, dinner with parents, Blindspot. Now I'm rushing because Cheryl and I decided we really needed to watch The Avengers again because of Thor and Loki.

Here are photos from the National Building Museum's Wright on the Walls exhibit, in which museum visitors were invited to help decorate drawings of some of Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous structures (including cats, bats, monsters, "Impeach" speech bubbles, spaceships, and a penguin that I may have drawn:









Friday, November 17, 2017

Poem for Friday, The Orville, Hillwood Satyrs

The Satyr
By C.S. Lewis

When the flowery hands of spring
Forth their woodland riches fling,
   Through the meadows, through the valleys
Goes the satyr carolling.

From the mountain and the moor,
Forest green and ocean shore
   All the faerie kin he rallies
Making music evermore.

See! the shaggy pelt doth grow
On his twisted shanks below,
   And his dreadful feet are cloven
Though his brow be white as snow—

Though his brow be clear and white
And beneath it fancies bright,
   Wisdom and high thoughts are woven
And the musics of delight,

Though his temples too be fair
Yet two horns are growing there
   Bursting forth to part asunder
All the riches of his hair.

Faerie maidens he may meet
Fly the horns and cloven feet,
   But, his sad brown eyes with wonder
Seeing-stay from their retreat.


Laptop is wrangled! That is, I'm sure there are a lot of little things I'll want to tweak, but it's finished syncing with my Dropbox and Google Drive and it's up to speed now and I am loving the fast browser and backlit keyboard and superb track pad! I need to figure out why every program I own adjusts its fonts for the screen size except Photoshop, in which the menus are so small I can barely read them, and I need to figure out the advantages of OpenOffice vs. LibreOffice because I'm not paying for MS Word on yet another computer.

My day was good in other ways: the weather was gorgeous, I walked in the park, then I had a lot of shopping to do and it was all successful (Adam's bike, new towels, some holiday gifts, and, um, Taylor Swift's Reputation, plus the food store). This week's The Orville was not my favorite -- c'mon, Brannon Braga, mediocre TNG holodeck episodes are not the ones you should be trying to recreate -- nor was the Steelers' fourth-quarter blowout after a relatively close game with the Titans. From Hillwood this spring, little musical satyrs:







Thursday, November 16, 2017

Poem for Thursday and Brookside Leaves

At night, by marriage:
By Lisa Ciccarello

Here is how I control my heart: I string each thought one behind the next, like beads.

I wear the answers I am waiting to give. The jewelry becomes heavy as soil.

My long blink is a scream & a yes. There are things I have to say, but they do not yet know the questions they must ask. & a blink is no word; if they misunderstand—

A heart is just soil. Ask anyone. A heartbeat is a blink. A long blink is a scream. A longer blink is sleep. All night I am screaming.


Still wrangling laptop which is taking forever to sync my Google Drive, still working on various other chores that didn't get done yesterday while downloading programs. Not a lot to report from my day apart from a lovely long lunch at Mirch Masala in the mall with my friend Mel after raiding a Suicune and a Porygon, both of which I caught. Plus I walked in the park.

Rose visited us and the cats, then we watched some college football (don't quiz me on the games) and Designated Survivor, which now apparently wants to be Madam Secretary but has less well characterized family members and too many petty conspiracies. Here are some photos from Brookside Gardens a few weeks ago when the leaves were still very shiny:









Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Poem for Wednesday and Seaglass Carousel

By Jaya Savige

Dense night is a needs thing.

You were lured
     in a luminous canoe
said to have once ruled
     a lunar ocean.

     The 2 am soda pour
of stars is all but silent;
only listen — 

   sedater than a sauropod
     in the bone epics
it spills all the moon spice,

     releasing a sap odour
          that laces
     us to a vaster scale
          of road opus.

A carousel of oral cues,
these spinning sonic coins.

A slide show of old wishes.


I spent all of Tuesday morning and half the afternoon waiting for FedEx to deliver my new laptop, which looks awesome -- backlit keyboard, touchscreen, great touchpad, DVD burner, everything I wanted -- though I had so many things to download and install that I really can't comment on whether it does the biggest thing I needed, namely works a lot faster than my old one!

I only half paid attention to The Flash while trying to get Photoshop installed, though I did catch the "You're a wizard, Harry" joke; we watched some of Ken Burns' Baseball too. I'm still midway through trying to get Freemake installed and my Start Menu organized, so I will keep this short and give you a few Seaglass Carousel photos from New York!





Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Poem for Tuesday and Grotto of Lourdes

Grotto of Egeria
By George Gordon, Lord Byron

Egeria! sweet creation of some heart   
Which found no mortal resting-place so fair   
As thine ideal breast; whate’er thou art   
Or wert,—a young Aurora of the air,   
The nympholepsy of some fond despair;
Or, it might be, a beauty of the earth,   
Who found a more than common votary there   
Too much adoring; whatsoe’er thy birth,   
Thou wert a beautiful thought, and softly bodied forth.   

The mosses of thy fountain still are sprinkled
With thine Elysian water-drops; the face   
Of thy cave-guarded spring, with years unwrinkled,   
Reflects the meek-eyed genius of the place,   
Whose green, wild margin now no more erase   
Art’s works, nor must the delicate waters sleep,
Prison’d in marble; bubbling from the base   
Of the cleft statue, with a gentle leap   
The rill runs o’er, and round, fern, flowers, and ivy, creep   

Fantastically tangled; the green hills   
Are clothed with early blossoms, through the grass
The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills   
Of summer-birds sing welcome as ye pass;   
Flowers fresh in hue, and many in their class,   
Implore the pausing step, and with their dyes   
Dance in the soft breeze in a fairy mass;
The sweetness of the violet’s deep blue eyes,   
Kiss’d by the breath of heaven, seems coloured by its skies.   

Here didst thou dwell, in this enchanted cover,   
Egeria! thy all heavenly bosom beating   
For the far footsteps of thy mortal lover;
The purple Midnight veiled that mystic meeting   
With her most starry canopy, and seating   
Thyself by thine adorer, what befell?   
This cave was surely shaped out for the greeting   
Of an enamoured Goddess, and the cell
Haunted by holy Love—the earliest oracle!   

And didst thou not, thy breast to his replying,   
Blend a celestial with a human heart;   
And Love, which dies as it was born, in sighing,   
Share with immortal transports? could thine art
Make them indeed immortal, and impart   
The purity of heaven to earthly joys,   
Expel the venom and not blunt the dart—   
The dull satiety which all destroys—   
And root from out the soul the deadly weed which cloys?

Alas! our young affections run to waste,   
Or water but the desert; whence arise   
But weeds of dark luxuriance, tares of haste,   
Rank at the core, though tempting to the eyes,   
Flowers whose wild odours breathe but agonies,
And trees whose gums are poison; such the plants   
Which spring beneath her steps as Passion flies   
O’er the world’s wilderness, and vainly pants   
For some celestial fruit forbidden to our wants.   

Oh Love! no habitant of earth thou art—
An unseen seraph, we believe in thee,   
A faith whose martyrs are the broken heart,   
But never yet hath seen, nor e’er shall see   
The naked eye, thy form, as it should be;   
The mind hath made thee, as it peopled heaven,
Even with its own desiring phantasy,   
And to a thought such shape and image given,   
As haunts the unquench’d soul—parch’d—wearied—wrung—and riven.   

Of its own beauty is the mind diseased,   
And fevers into false creation;—where,
Where are the forms the sculptor’s soul hath seized?   
In him alone. Can Nature show so fair?   
Where are the charms and virtues which we dare   
Conceive in boyhood and pursue as men,   
The unreach’d Paradise of our despair,
Which o’er-informs the pencil and the pen,   
And overpowers the page where it would bloom again?   

Who loves, raves—’tis youth’s frenzy—but the cure   
Is bitterer still: as charm by charm unwinds   
Which robed our idols, and we see too sure
Nor worth nor beauty dwells from out the mind’s   
Ideal shape of such; yet still it binds   
The fatal spell, and still it draws us on,   
Reaping the whirlwind from the oft-sown winds;   
The stubborn heart, its alchemy begun,
Seems ever near the prize—wealthiest when most undone.   

We wither from our youth, we gasp away—   
Sick—sick; unfound the boon—unslaked the thirst,   
Though to the last, in verge of our decay,   
Some phantom lures, such as we sought at first—
But all too late,—so are we doubly curst.   
Love, fame, ambition, avarice—’tis the same,   
Each idle—and all ill—and none the worst—   
For all are meteors with a different name,   
And Death the sable smoke where vanishes the flame.


Cheryl stayed in town on Monday so we could go to the holiday boutique at Washington Hebrew, where we met my mom and several of her friends and my friends, including my third grade teacher, then we went to look at holiday shiny things at Pier One and World Market around lunch at Bagel City. In the late afternoon, we met Paul at Arclight at the mall to see Thor: Ragnarok again. It's even better on a second viewing, Hemsworth and Ruffalo look like they're having a great time, and Hiddleston as usual steals all his scenes.

We had leftover Chinese food from Saturday for dinner while trying to keep up with this week's Supergirl and catching up on Sunday night's Madam Secretary (I knew the Stevie storyline was going exactly where it's obviously now headed). Here are some photos from Emmitsburg's Grotto of Lourdes near Mount St. Mary's, where the sculpture always looks stunning set among the autumn leaves and where there are now statues of Our Lady of Lavang and Saint Charbel Makhlouf as well as the European saints and Mother Seton:









Monday, November 13, 2017

Greetings from DC

Went to see the awesome Mean Girls musical with Paul and Cheryl, then ordered pizza and watched the first two Thor movies, so generally very good day. Here are bunnies and us -- more tomorrow!