Friday, July 21, 2017

Poem for Friday and 21st Birthday

Dinner of Herbs
By Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Oh, better no doubt is a dinner of herbs,
When season'd with love, which no rancour disturbs
And sweeten'd by all that is sweetest in life
Than turbot, bisque, ortolans, eaten in strife!
But if, out of humour, and hungry, alone
A man should sit down to dinner, each one
Of the dishes which the cook chooses to spoil
With a horrible mixture of garlic and oil,
The chances are ten against one, I must own,
He gets up as ill-tempered as when he sat down.

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Thursday was Adam's 21st birthday! He had to work, though he didn't need the car so I got to get done various chores that required going out, but when he and Paul got home, we picked up my parents and went to The Melting Pot for dinner. We all ate way too much -- we had the four-course meal, which in my case included fiesta cheese, the California salad, tofu and veggies, and three kinds of chocolate in two fondue pots -- but it was all awesome and I hope Adam enjoyed it a much I as I did. We stopped at home briefly to give him presents, then he went to College Park to celebrate properly with his friends! A few photos:

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Poem for Thursday and Little Birds

Pied Beauty
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                Praise him.

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My whole Wednesday was boring chores. Adam had one vehicle and Paul had the other, so since I had no transportation, I figured it was a good day to get work done (some of it anyway) and get things done in the house (not that you can ever tell that I got things done unless you're me). The cats found me boring and lounged around on my bed or the couch all day.

The Orioles won again really well, which was nice, though the Nats game is ongoing and not good since the bottom of the first. We caught up on Still Star-Crossed, which hasn't officially been canceled but has not picked up the cast, which means it will be soon so I might as well enjoy it while I can. Here are some of the sparrows who live on our roof:

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Poem for Wednesday, Gifted, Emmitsburg Grotto

The Atheist Wore Goat Silk
By Anna Journey

I've wanted to visit the genetically modified goat
spliced with silkworm DNA
spinning white threads from its pink udders
like a piebald spider. I've wondered how much
for a whole goat silk dress? Always I save
the spiders that shimmy near my eyes
but never the bristled silverfish
which drop to the boatwood dinner table
from the skylight. Come Indian Summer
the fuchsia bougainvillea unpurses
its dry lips, licks the sweat
from my neck. My mother tells her childhood
best friend — who's dying from liver
cancer in Jackson, who consults
a Pentecostal woman who speaks
in tongues—that her two daughters
are atheists. Meaning my little sister and me.
Somewhere there's a goat that squirts
a rare silk so bizarre maybe
no one would actually wear it. That webbed dress
sticking to my chest, the grandfather
clock, all over the bedroom walls like a past
that drags everything with it. The thread
leading back to an animal I badly
need to believe in. Its impossible milk
steams in the twilight. There’s a dress
that rises from its udders with a misted
sleeve I can almost see.

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My Tuesday was much less eventful than my Monday, though I got out long enough to pick up a Lisa Hunt painting I was having framed at A.C. Moore by a fellow fannish person (it is now hanging in my bedroom and looks fantastic). I spent most of the rest of the day doing household chores that included moving around other art and laundry. Adam worked from home waiting for his new driver's license that was supposed to arrive today but we're hoping I can sign for if it comes tomorrow.

We watched the start of the Orioles game, then the movie Gifted, which is well-acted and enjoyable (hard not to like a movie about a genius girl with Chris Evans, Lindsay Duncan, Octavia Spencer, and a halfway decent script), then we returned to the Orioles game in which they were trouncing Texas so that was nice! We also watched the start of the Nats game but they're on the west coast so now we're watching Colbert in Russia. From Emmitsburg's Grotto of Lourdes a few weeks ago:

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Poem for Tuesday, Spider-Man, Churchill, Kenilworth Lotuses

Clearing at Dawn
By Li Bai
Translated by Arthur Waley

The fields are chill, the sparse rain has stopped;
The colours of Spring teem on every side.
With leaping fish the blue pond is full;
With singing thrushes the green boughs droop.
The flowers of the field have dabbled their powdered cheeks;
The mountain grasses are bent level at the waist.
By the bamboo stream the last fragment of cloud
Blown by the wind slowly scatters away.

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I got to spend Monday with Cheryl, who came up to see Spider-Man: Homecoming with me, which was also a good excuse to have lunch at the mall (she had Indian, I had Mediterranean) and do a bit of window shopping before the movie, which holds up extremely well on a second viewing. Then we came back to my house and watched Churchill, which is one of the recent spate of sad elderly statesman portraits -- in this case not because of his lost daughter or depression but a sort of PTSD from the first World War. It's well acted and I loved James Purefoy's George VI.

We took a walk before Cheryl went home and saw several bunnies, including the baby around the corner. After she left, Paul and I had barbecued chick'n while waiting for Adam to get home and watched some baseball -- even the Orioles managed not to lose on Monday! -- before Will, the utter-crack young Shakespeare faux biography which wants to be A Knight's Tale but mostly comes across as a mediocre Renfaire sketch. Tomorrow I must watch some Martin Landau. Here are some more photos of the lotus flowers blooming at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens:

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Poem for Monday and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Lotus
By Rabindranath Tagore

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying,
and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my
dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to
me that is was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this
perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

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We all slept late on Sunday, did chores, had lunch, and went to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, where the lotus blossoms and water lilies are in bloom (the Lotus and Water Lily Festival was on Saturday, but we figured it would be much more crowded then). Most of the frogs and turtles were hiding, but we saw lots of fish, egrets, herons, songbirds, and dragonflies, plus hundreds of huge pink lotus flowers and many water lilies in warm but not stifling weather:

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We stopped at the food store and for Starbucks/Baskin Robbins and got home just as the Nationals finished another high-scoring game against the Reds. Adam went for a run before dinner, I took a shower and folded laundry, we has (veggie) barbecue for dinner with macaroni and potato salad, and we watched the start of the Red Sox game. But we turned it off since Adam had never seen The Shawshank Redemption so we could watch that instead. Now I'm sad about Martin Landau and wanting to watch Space: 1999!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Poem for Sunday and Claude Moore Colonial Fair

From 'Cape Hatteras'
By Hart Crane

Breathe deep, mine eyes, the frosty saga of eternal suns
From unseen depths and dreams undreamt,
I sing the gleaming cantos of unvanquished space
By thought I embrace the universal
With wings of mind I sail the infinitude
Glory! 'tis the stars which beckon man's spirit and set our souls adrift!

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Though it was quite hot on Saturday, so we were late getting started and did a bunch of morning chores, Annmarie came over for eggwiches by , then the three of us went to Claude Moore Colonial Farm for the summer colonial fair. We didn't do much shopping -- we smelled all the soaps and looked at the costumes, but only bought fans and small jewelry -- but we had bread, cheese, and ginger beer, and we got to see piglets, chickens, turkeys, geese, and a cow hiding in the woods.

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On the way home, we stopped for ice cream at Baskin Robbins since we were warm and sticky. After Annmarie went home, and I went out to get kitty litter and ended up having dinner nearby at Lebanese Taverna (I had collected enough stamps for a free platter). We walked around a bit before coming home and watching Orphan Black and Breaking Through the Clouds, a documentary about the first Women's National Air Derby that is so much better than the History Channel's Amelia Earhart crack!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Poem for Saturday and Folklife Fun

The Circus Animals’ Desertion
By William Butler Yeats

I

I sought a theme and sought for it in vain,
I sought it daily for six weeks or so.
Maybe at last being but a broken man
I must be satisfied with my heart, although
Winter and summer till old age began
My circus animals were all on show,
Those stilted boys, that burnished chariot,
Lion and woman and the Lord knows what.

II

What can I but enumerate old themes,
First that sea-rider Oisin led by the nose
Through three enchanted islands, allegorical dreams,
Vain gaiety, vain battle, vain repose,
Themes of the embittered heart, or so it seems,
That might adorn old songs or courtly shows;
But what cared I that set him on to ride,
I, starved for the bosom of his fairy bride.

And then a counter-truth filled out its play,
`The Countess Cathleen' was the name I gave it,
She, pity-crazed, had given her soul away
But masterful Heaven had intervened to save it.
I thought my dear must her own soul destroy
So did fanaticism and hate enslave it,
And this brought forth a dream and soon enough
This dream itself had all my thought and love.

And when the Fool and Blind Man stole the bread
Cuchulain fought the ungovernable sea;
Heart mysteries there, and yet when all is said
It was the dream itself enchanted me:
Character isolated by a deed
To engross the present and dominate memory.
Players and painted stage took all my love
And not those things that they were emblems of.

III

Those masterful images because complete
Grew in pure mind but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder's gone
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

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I spent much of Friday with Alice and Avery, who had an early appointment in Bethesda, then came to get me so we could get Starbucks, sneakers for Avery at the Nike Factory Store, bug bands at REI, various craft things at AC Moore, and free Baskin Robbins mint polar pizza samples. Then we came back to my house and watched Pokemon: The First Movie while eating bagels plus Pokemon cookies that Alice made.

We had dinner with my parents and cake to kick off Adam's birthday week, then Adam went out with friends and Paul and I came home to watch some Versailles and be climbed upon by cats. It was a good evening to see bunnies and toads! Here are some more photos from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival last weekend -- trapeze lessons, clown school, a caravan, model & model-maker and more:

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Poem for Friday and Pretending To Be Innocent Cats

If You Were Coming In the Fall
By Emily Dickinson

If you were coming in the fall,   
I’d brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I’d wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I’d count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen’s land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I’d toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time’s uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

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The poem is Colin's fault! Quickie, I ran very late this evening trying to fix the printer after the Katniss jammed the buttons and looking up stupid things, so I didn't get anything done that I intended because we were all the while catching up on Orphan Black and watching the WWII movie-propaganda movie Their Finest, both of which were excellent.

Before that, we had dinner with my parents at Panera because they had discovered that there were lobster rolls on the menu and had heard that Paul was deprived of one last week when Not Your Average Joe's ran out of lobster even though we specifically went there so he could have one. Adam came with us for dinner, then went out with friends.

The early part of my day was uneventful -- chores, work, more of which must get done tomorrow! Here is the aforementioned Face Of Evil, with her sister and one of her friends, looking innocent:

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Poem for Thursday and Canal in Summer

Ode to Love
By Jennifer Militello

Place its toothpicked pit in water, watch the grist
of its insides grow. Witness its populous bloom,

honeycombed with rough. Its cobblestones grip
the heart in its mitt, a closed fist thickened

and gritty as silt. The swamp of the plumb beat
adamant as weeds. The dish of which is salted

by complexities or cries. It is a house in which
we cannot live, the quiver on the arrow

we cannot launch. It grows late over Nevada
as we watch. Strikes its gullies: we grow burnt

as a moth. Mimics a sleep of archives and
the small lies all forget. Mimics all laughter

broken by the time it leaves the mouth.
With its moving parts, its chimes, its gleam,

it muddies our archways, lying low, gives off
noise and steam; its mechanics clear the fence.

It must be wooed. Must be quieted. Hush. It must
be soothed. Has a snag. Has a bleed. A drape.

Flaps awkwardly, at its edges, a heron. At
its center, a wide bottom perfect with fish.

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I had no vehicle on Wednesday -- one was with Paul at work, the other was with Adam in College Park -- but Alice and Avery came over, took me to the mall, went shopping with me (we were pretty good in Gamestop apart from Avery discovering he had enough money to buy a video game and me discovering the $4 sale t-shirts were buy-one-get-one, and we did not buy Alex and Ani Wonder Woman bracelets, stopped for Starbucks and cream cheese for the bagels I already had, and ate while watching Pokemon 2000, which I have on VHS left over from my kids' childhood!

Paul and I had thought about going to the Big Train minor league game, but it was still 95 degrees as evening approached, so we decided it was just not the night for it. (Same with my intention to take a walk, though I did see a bunny with Avery during a brief sojourn to catch Ash's Pikachu.) Adam stayed in College Park until late, so we had breakfast for dinner (eggs, facon, English muffins with marmalade) and watched some Versailles. Here are some photos from the C&O Canal last month (warning for Shalini: several pics down there is a snake):

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