Saturday, March 25, 2017

Poem for Saturday and Hubby's Birthday

Basketball
By Cole Lowman

I'm at half court
I look at the board
2 seconds left am I gonna score
I look at the basket I look at me
I pull back my arm and yell
Kobe

--------

Friday was Paul's birthday and we spent the entire day with family. We took Adam and Maddy to Hanover to see their grandparents and have lunch at Hibachi Buffet Grill followed by cake back at their house, then we drove home, dropped Maddy off at work, met Christine at our house, and went to my parents' for dinner and more cake!

Over the course of the evening we discovered that Christine had never seen Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and since we've been meaning to see it again since we got back from Carcassonne since so much of it was filmed there, we watched that. After Christine went home, we Skyped with Daniel. Now we're hoping Wisconsin comes back against Florida!














Friday, March 24, 2017

Poem for Friday and Frying Pan Farm Park

Epilogue
By Amber Tamblyn

I took a break from writing about the dead
and drinking from writing about the dead
to walk around my childhood neighborhood.
Everything’s for rent. Or for sale, for ten
times the amount it’s worth.

Palm trees are planted in front of a mural
of palm trees under the Ocean Park Bridge.
In the painting, the metal horses of a carousel are breaking
free and running down the beach. Why didn’t I leave

my initials in cement
in front of my parent’s apartment in the eighties?
Nikki had the right idea in ’79.

I walk by a basketball court, where men play
under the florescent butts of night’s cigarette.
I could have been any of their wives,
at home, filling different rooms in different houses
with hopeful wombs. Agreeing on paint color

samples with their mothers in mind.
I’ll bet their wives let their cats go out
hunting at night like premonitions of future sons.
They will worry, stare out the front window,
pray that privilege doesn’t bring home bad news
like some wilted head of a black girl in nascent jaws.

To say nothing of the owl who’s been here for years. I hear him

when I’m trying to write about the deaths I’ve admired.
I hear him when the clothed me no longer recognizes
the naked. I hear him while writing and shitting and sleeping
where my mother’s seven guitars sleep.
I hear him in my parent’s house,
their walls covered in my many faces,
traces of decades of complacence.

My childhood neighborhood is a shrine to my success,
and I’m a car with a bomb inside, ready
to pull up in front of it and stop
pretending.

--------

Adam had lots of homework on Thursday and Maddy was fighting with her financial aid paperwork for school, so we had another quiet morning doing assorted chores. In the afternoon Maddy was meeting friends from work at the mall and we took Adam to get him new sneakers, plus we got Menchie's froyo now that there's one in the mall (it was pretty good but I think Yogi Castle is pretty good too, and neither one is Cold Stone Creamery).

The news over the past two days have been so stressful that we spent the evening watching basketball -- we're very sorry Purdue lost, ambivalent about the Michigan game because we generally support Big 10 teams but our Oregon relatives are very happy, and very proud of Xavier for beating Arizona (now it's less awful that Maryland lost to them). Here are some more photos from Frying Pan Farm Park earlier in the week:
















Thursday, March 23, 2017

Poem for Thursday, Doctor Strange, C&O Canal

Moon Missing
By Allan Peterson

I was so worried the hickory I recognized
had died from salt burn in the last hurricane
I may have passed by vervain and apple haw
like they didn’t matter, but this spring
it put out seven shoots from its base.
Still, the oldest trick is the moon missing,
then the “new” moon appears,
though we know it’s the old one, and we pretend
to be taken in like the mother or baby
behind the bath towel.
Really it’s the moon winking,
being the stone that holds stones and now footprints.
And when I tell Frances, I see she is a moon
motionless in the doorway, skin reflecting
a lamp, a face that awakens on paper.

--------

Maddy worked early and Adam had plans for lunch and hiking with a friend from school, so Paul and I did chores, had lunch together, and went for a walk in the park where there are now buttercups instead of crocuses and light green leaves coming in to replace sickly brownish flowers on the trees. I spent the rest of the afternoon screaming at PayPal and Groupon on the phone (warning: Groupon will try to refund non-delivered items with Groupon Bucks, pretending they can't refund PayPal purchases).

Adam and Maddy came home for dinner (homemade deep-dish pizza), and Christine, who had been at the beach with her parents, came to visit. She had not seen Doctor Strange, which we just got on Blu-Ray, so we watched the movie plus the deleted scenes and gag reel -- we all agreed that the deleted scenes had some fairly important character moments that established why we should care about Strange and why Kaecilius was evil. Here are some animals we saw yesterday along the C&O Canal:














Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Poem for Wednesday, Canal Animals, Jeff Goldblum Movies

Dream of Heaven
By Chard deNiord

I’d smoke cigars all day and into the night
while I wrote and wrote without
any hope or slightest assurance
that anything I’d written actually mattered
or rose to a standard of literary merit.
I’d languish in the smoke that did me in
and call it the cloud of my unknowing,
so sweet in its taste, such as it was,
of Cuban soil. That would be paradise
in heaven that’s so overrated as endless
bliss it kills to imagine as a place for living
forever, no less, with nothing to do
or lips to kiss. I’d curse, therefore,
with the best of them—the legion
of Saved—as I sharpened my pencils
and smoked my Punches in the simple room
that I’d be given with a desk for writing
and bed for remembering the things
I’d forgotten. And reading too, I almost
forgot. I’d read and read since I’d be done
with sleeping, but dreaming, no, still dreaming
a lot. I’d live to live again with moments
of dying to see how “lucky” I was. I’d use
my body as an eidolon with invisible wings
that fluttered in the void as if it were air
and hummed in the dark in which I could see.

--------

Alice came to visit Maddy on Tuesday and we all ended up having lunch together at Bombay Bistro, which has lots of vegetarian choices and always has kheer which is awesome. After Alice went home to retrieve her son, we went to walk along the C&O Canal, which almost looked like spring -- some daffodils, some turtles, some ducks and geese, some crazy squirrels! We also discovered that Adam had never seen The Big Chill, so in honor of Jeff Goldblum, we watched it for the first time in years -- still the best soundtrack ever.















Paul made shish kebab and Mediterranean couscous for Nowruz, then we watched The Flash musical episode, which was awesome -- in addition to the two Glee stars from that and Supergirl, we got gratuitous John Barrowman and Victor Garber, a pair of gay dads, and a better ending than La La Land. Then we were going to watch The Fly but our copy was crappy, so we watched The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish, in which Goldblum, Hoskins, and Richardson are hilarious and the plot is insane!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Poem for Tuesday and Frying Pan Farm Park

The Farmer
By W.D. Ehrhart

Each day I go into the fields
to see what is growing
and what remains to be done.
It is always the same thing: nothing
is growing, everything needs to be done.
Plow, harrow, disc, water, pray
till my bones ache and hands rub
blood-raw with honest labor—
all that grows is the slow
intransigent intensity of need.
I have sown my seed on soil
guaranteed by poverty to fail.
But I don’t complain—except
to passersby who ask me why
I work such barren earth.
They would not understand me
if I stooped to lift a rock
and hold it like a child, or laughed,
or told them it is their poverty
I labor to relieve. For them,
I complain. A farmer of dreams
knows how to pretend. A farmer of dreams
knows what it means to be patient.
Each day I go into the fields.

--------

Monday was a very nice day -- not too warm but partly sunny -- so after lunch and some homework by everyone, we went to Frying Pan Farm Park (which I always have to explain is named for its panhandle, not because anyone cooks the animals!) to see the lambs, kids, piglets, and calves born there this spring. There were lots of baby piggies belonging to two different moms, a Duroc and a Yorkshire cross, and a trio of jumping Suffolk and Dorset lambs, plus there were horses, bunnies, chickens, turkeys, ducks, peacocks, more goats and cows, plus interloper pigeons and geese!

















We went to the Silver Diner since we had a coupon for Paul's upcoming birthday, then we went to both Trader Joe's and World Market, the latter in part because we were looking for avocado lime dressing for Maddy but we couldn't find it in either place. Adam has been on a Jeff Goldblum kick, so since he had never seen it, after Supergirl (which needed WAY less Winn and WAY more Sorbo and Hatcher), we watched Earth Girls Are Easy, which I haven't seen probably since it was new. I know how politically incorrect it is but it's also hilarious and has great music!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Poem for Monday, Logan, Robin of Sherwood, Brookside Snow

Robin Hood
By John Keats

To a Friend

        No! those days are gone away
And their hours are old and gray,
And their minutes buried all
Under the down-trodden pall
Of the leaves of many years:
Many times have winter's shears,
Frozen North, and chilling East,
Sounded tempests to the feast
Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
Since men knew nor rent nor leases.

        No, the bugle sounds no more,
And the twanging bow no more;
Silent is the ivory shrill
Past the heath and up the hill;
There is no mid-forest laugh,
Where lone Echo gives the half
To some wight, amaz'd to hear
Jesting, deep in forest drear.

        On the fairest time of June
You may go, with sun or moon,
Or the seven stars to light you,
Or the polar ray to right you;
But you never may behold
Little John, or Robin bold;
Never one, of all the clan,
Thrumming on an empty can
Some old hunting ditty, while
He doth his green way beguile
To fair hostess Merriment,
Down beside the pasture Trent;
For he left the merry tale
Messenger for spicy ale.

        Gone, the merry morris din;
Gone, the song of Gamelyn;
Gone, the tough-belted outlaw
Idling in the "grenè shawe";
All are gone away and past!
And if Robin should be cast
Sudden from his turfed grave,
And if Marian should have
Once again her forest days,
She would weep, and he would craze:
He would swear, for all his oaks,
Fall'n beneath the dockyard strokes,
Have rotted on the briny seas;
She would weep that her wild bees
Sang not to her—strange! that honey
Can't be got without hard money!

        So it is: yet let us sing,
Honour to the old bow-string!
Honour to the bugle-horn!
Honour to the woods unshorn!
Honour to the Lincoln green!
Honour to the archer keen!
Honour to tight little John,
And the horse he rode upon!
Honour to bold Robin Hood,
Sleeping in the underwood!
Honour to maid Marian,
And to all the Sherwood-clan!
Though their days have hurried by
Let us two a burden try.

--------

I had plans on Sunday to go downtown with my family and Cheryl to see the cherry blossoms, but there are very few cherry blossoms -- the early ones died and the late ones haven't opened yet. So instead after lunch we went to Arclight, where Maddy had to work and the rest of us went to see Logan since Adam hadn't seen it yet and the other three of us were happy to see it again. Despite the violence it may be my favorite X-Men movie since the first, though I feel like it's better appreciated by people who've seen the other eight and know the history of the main characters. It feels shorter than its 2+ hours.

We spotted a bunny when we drove home, so we went for a walk to see it up close. Then we watched the end of the second season and beginning of the third season of Robin of Sherwood, which we need to remember to watch more often because I always enjoy it immensely (I've never seen the whole series before). After Cheryl went home, we had tofurkey roast because it's one of Adam's favorites and watched this week's Madam Secretary which he mocked throughout (which is typical for him watching political shows). From Brookside Gardens last weekend, some snow, the season's first turtle, and some greenhouse family pics:












Sunday, March 19, 2017

Poem for Sunday, Brookside Orchids, I Love You Phillip Morris

Elegy Composed in the New York Botanical Garden
By Eugenia Leigh

Catmint—tubular, lavender, an ointment
to blur the scar, bloom the skin. My mouth has begun
the hunt for words that heal.

In the garden, I am startled by a cluster
of sun-colored petals marked, Radiation.
Piles of radiation. Orange radiation, huddled together

like families bound by a hospital-bright morning.
And behind them: a force of yuccas
called Golden Swords. A bush or mound

of sheath-like leaves sprouting from a proud center.
And isn’t that the plot?
First the radiation, then the golden sword.

I remember, incurably,
your mother. The laughter that flowered
from her lips. I’m sorry I have no good words

to honor her war. It crumbled me to watch you
overwhelmed by her face
in the daffodils outside your childhood home.

--------

We had a slow morning, as both Adam and Maddy slept till after noon, which I foolishly spent doing laundry instead of making my free one-day special Shutterfly magnets that I worked on tonight so I'm very behind on social media! Once everyone was awake, we had sandwiches, took Maddy to work, and went to Brookside Gardens for its orchid show and the water paths. The cherry blossoms that were opening earlier this month have all turned brown and the daffodils are drooping, but there are still lots of flowers in the conservatory.













We came home to the news that Wisconsin had defeated Villanova, which is fine with all of us -- my sister was a Badger -- and watched most of the Northwestern-Gonzaga game, which Gonzaga may have won but they were upstaged by 1) bad officiating and 2) Northwestern Crying Boy. I can't deal with basketball all day and son couldn't care, so in the evening we watched I Love You Phillip Morris, which none of us had seen, was free On Demand, and I've been in a Ewan mood this week. I liked it much better than American Pastoral!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Poem for Saturday and NCAAW Terps Win

Fast Break
By Edward Hirsch

In Memory of Dennis Turner, 1946-1984

A hook shot kisses the rim and
hangs there, helplessly, but doesn’t drop,

and for once our gangly starting center  
boxes out his man and times his jump

perfectly, gathering the orange leather  
from the air like a cherished possession

and spinning around to throw a strike  
to the outlet who is already shoveling

an underhand pass toward the other guard  
scissoring past a flat-footed defender

who looks stunned and nailed to the floor  
in the wrong direction, trying to catch sight

of a high, gliding dribble and a man  
letting the play develop in front of him

in slow motion, almost exactly
like a coach’s drawing on the blackboard,

both forwards racing down the court
the way that forwards should, fanning out

and filling the lanes in tandem, moving  
together as brothers passing the ball

between them without a dribble, without  
a single bounce hitting the hardwood

until the guard finally lunges out  
and commits to the wrong man

while the power-forward explodes past them  
in a fury, taking the ball into the air

by himself now and laying it gently  
against the glass for a lay-up,

but losing his balance in the process,  
inexplicably falling, hitting the floor

with a wild, headlong motion
for the game he loved like a country

and swiveling back to see an orange blur  
floating perfectly through the net.

--------

Adam's spring break started on Friday, so since we needed to be in College Park anyway and several games of the first round of the women's NCAA tournament were being played there, we picked up my father and went to the Xfinity Center to watch Maryland play Bucknell -- a wonderful antidote to the Maryland men's terrible defeat to Xavier though not a super-exciting game considering that Maryland won 103-61, setting a school scoring record.

We had lunch at the stadium (which has veggie burgers even when the full food court isn't open) and watched the beginning of the West Virginia-Elon game (which was very close at the half though not by the end), then went to meet Adam at the student union, where we got St. Patrick's Day ice cream at the dairy while waiting for him. The seating area backs up to the baseball stadium, so we got to see a bit of the Maryland-Princeton game while we ate.

















Once we had retrieved Adam, we came home to get Maddy, who arrived back in the area very late from L.A. after a delay due to the snow, and dropped her off at work, then went to my parents' house for dinner. Adam has a lot of homework to do over his break and wants to get as much sleep as possible, so our plans for the week are very up in the air, especially since the cherry blossoms are mostly dead and we may get more flurries on Sunday morning!