Sunday, November 18, 2018

Greetings from Frederick County

We had a really nice, very busy Saturday starting with a morning showing of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which I liked a lot -- not as much as the first one and not as much as any of the HP films, but because I'm less emotionally invested in this generation, I'm also less troubled by any of the WTF moments, and the film is gorgeous, especially the parts set in Paris. I'll do a post tomorrow about things I loved (the sewers!) and things I hated (everything connected to Nagini).

As for the rest of my day, we went to the Valley Craft Network farm and studio tour around Frederick, came home for dinner, then picked up Daniel at the airport! Here are the pics:

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Visiting happy muddy piggies at Caprikorn Dairy Goat Farm.

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Feeding very eager goats who ate the bag as well as the animal crackers.

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Hoof prints on my coat after escaping from the pen at goat dinnertime.

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Hard cider at Distillery Lane Ciderworks in Jefferson.

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The back of the War Correspondents' Arch at Gathland.

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Being licked by a calf at South Mountain Creamery, where we got eggnog and ice cream.

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Kiparoo Farms' sheep near sunset on the hill behind the farm, where we looked at yarn and woolens.

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Daniel watching the head of his company being parodied by Steve Carell on SNL.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Poem for Saturday and Brookside Pre-Christmas

Accepting Heaven at Great Basin
By Nathalie Handal

When you doubt the world
look at the undivided darkness

look at Wheeler Peak
cliffs like suspended prayers

contemplate the cerulean
the gleaming limestone

the frozen shades
the wildflowers

look at the bristlecone pine
a labyrinth to winding wonders

listen to the caves
sing silently

remember the smell of sagebrush
after a thunderstorm

that Lexington Arch
is a bridge of questions

in the solitude of dreams
that here

distances disturb desire
to deliver a collision of breaths

the desert echoes
in this dark night sky

stars reveal the way
a heart can light a world.


I had a nice Friday in gorgeous weather after the Thursday snow. Alice came over after a nearby appointment, then Maddy came and met us and we went to the Silver Diner for brunch (I had eggs benedict, of course). Then we wandered around World Market since it was right there and took Maddy home, so I have finally seen her new house -- and two pets, though only one of the roommates was around. It was so gorgeous that I went to the park in the late afternoon, came home and swept wet leaves and remaining snow off the deck.

We had dinner with my parents while our kids had dinner in Seattle with friends from here who have moved out there. Came home in time for Blindspot (thank you Kurt for finally getting a clue), after which we watched Carriers, which I had expected to be more like Contagion and less like, well, a post-apocalyptic hellscape; Chris Pine was very good in it but wow is that a dark movie (and I own it, freebie for linking UV accounts). Here's a happier thing, preparations for the winter holidays at Brookside Gardens:







Friday, November 16, 2018

Lyrics for Friday, Snow Day, Alan Doyle

Sea of No Cares
By Alan Doyle, Sean McCann, and Chris Trapper

When you're in love there's no time and no space
There's a permanent smile on your face
Your friends all complain that you're going insane
But the truth is they're just afraid

Hey somewhere
You threw your fear in the sea of no cares
Hey somewhere
You threw your fear in the sea of no cares

When you decide that what counts is inside
Your friends all say "It's a lie"
But there's no brighter light than the look in her eyes
When you're walking her home through the night

Hey somewhere
You threw your fear in the sea of no cares
Hey somewhere
You threw your fear in the sea of no cares

Let yourself go with the tide
There's an angel by your side

Back at the bar getting cynically stoned
Your friends are drinking alone
But it's funny, they don't even cross your mind
When she asks you into her home

Hey somewhere
You threw your fear in the sea of no cares
Hey somewhere
You threw your fear in the sea of no cares


I had a very unusual November Thursday in that we woke up to snow. Paul thought about going in to work, but the county first delayed schools, then closed them when the snow started coming down harder and mixed with sleet, making the roads a mess. So he worked from home and I had a fairly quiet day working on a photo book. My kids had dinner together in Seattle, since younger son is there for a job interview.

We had tickets in the evening to see Alan Doyle at the Barns at Wolf Trap, and I was nervous about going because the local roads were a mess. But the concert was amazing -- Canadian country singer Whitney Rose opened and Doyle did a mix of his newer music, Great Big Sea songs, songs he and Russell Crowe did together...most of my favorites, and as always he had the audience singing along, clapping, and dancing!

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Poem for Thursday and Colonial Fair

The Fire
By Katie Ford

When a human is asked about a particular fire,
she comes close:
then it is too hot,
so she turns her face—

and that’s when the forest of her bearable life appears,
always on the other side of the fire. The fire
she’s been asked to tell the story of,
she has to turn from it, so the story you hear
is that of pines and twitching leaves
and how her body is like neither—

all the while there is a fire
at her back
which she feels in fine detail,
as if the flame were a dremel
and her back its etching glass.

You will not know all about the fire
simply because you asked.
When she speaks of the forest
this is what she is teaching you,

you who thought you were her master.


My Wednesday was pretty uneventful apart from preparations for the snow with which we're being threatened overnight, though I have a good friend dealing with a family health emergency that stressed me out all day on top of worrying about the California fires and the dumpster fire in the White House. When Paul came home, I dragged him to an EX raid at the Shriver Aquatic Center so we could stop at Trader Joe's and World Market to prepare for the snow that did not read the manual that says no snowing till after Thanksgiving.

Katniss decided to help herself to my hummus at lunchtime, which necessitated some research into whether hummus is dangerous for cats because it contains garlic (apparently not enough garlic to be a problem, though garlic cloves are not good for cats). Now she and Effie are sleeping on or under vents while Cinnamon is watching Avengers: Age of Ultron with us and Cheryl because we really wanted a movie with a great Stan Lee cameo. Here are some more photos from the Mount Vernon Colonial Fair last weekend:

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Poem for Wednesday and Mount Vernon Sheep

Achieving Perspective
By Pattiann Rogers

Straight up away from this road,
Away from the fitted particles of frost
Coating the hull of each chick pea,
And the stiff archer bug making its way
In the morning dark, toe hair by toe hair,
Up the stem of the trillium,
Straight up through the sky above this road right now,
The galaxies of the Cygnus A cluster
Are colliding with each other in a massive swarm
Of interpenetrating and exploding catastrophes.
I try to remember that.

And even in the gold and purple pretense
Of evening, I make myself remember
That it would take 40,000 years full of gathering
Into leaf and dropping, full of pulp splitting
And the hard wrinkling of seed, of the rising up
Of wood fibers and the disintegration of forests,
Of this lake disappearing completely in the bodies
Of toad slush and duckweed rock,
40,000 years and the fastest thing we own,
To reach the one star nearest to us.

And when you speak to me like this,
I try to remember that the wood and cement walls
Of this room are being swept away now,
Molecule by molecule, in a slow and steady wind,
And nothing at all separates our bodies
From the vast emptiness expanding, and I know
We are sitting in our chairs
Discoursing in the middle of the blackness of space.
And when you look at me
I try to recall that at this moment
Somewhere millions of miles beyond the dimness
Of the sun, the comet Biela, speeding
In its rocks and ices, is just beginning to enter
The widest arc of its elliptical turn.


It rained much of Tuesday, keeping me in the house (and in my PJs, ha) until after noon, though I got a decent amount of work done in that time. Then I went out to the park for a little while before Paul came home and we ran out to Giant.

We watched The Gifted instead of The Flash -- it's holding my interest better, though those mutant groups need to put aside their differences and work together -- and Black Lightning -- a bit too diffuse this year, needs more family, less conspiracy.

My west coast in-laws have returned to their home, which is great, though I have two friends having crises this week which is upsetting for me too. Here are some happy sheep at Mount Vernon in the late afternoon during the Colonial fair last weekend:

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Poem for Tuesday, Marvel and Me

By Stan Lee

When God made man he went all out
As far as we can tell
He made some black, He made some white
And other shades as well
He placed them on the verdant Earth
To live and love and thrive
He favored none, He loved each one
And kept that love alive
Now the Lord’s perplexed and growing vexed
At those who’d mar his plan
Instead of love some practice hate
A practice we must ban
We all must share this tiny sphere
On which we live and die
Respect for all, in every way,
Should be our battle cry
It’s not too late to initiate
Friendship between the races
So let’s heed the call of the Lord of All
With the love that He embraces


I had a nice Monday -- the rain held off till evening, so I could get to the park, and I met my mother at the synagogue's annual holiday boutique, where I ran into many people I know, including friends from high school, parents of my kids' friends from preschool, and longtime friends of my mother. Plus we caught up on Sunday's Supergirl (still appreciating the sociopolitical bent of this season) and saw tonight's Legends of Tomorrow (was the show always this good or has it really stepped up its game?).

But the day was overshadowed by the news of Stan Lee's death, which I wouldn't have guessed would hit me so hard. It's not like it was unexpected -- he was in his 90s, had been ailing, had lost his wife of seven decades -- and it's not like I grew up a big fan of comic books, I don't think I even knew who he was till I was in college. Still, he is irreplaceable as an entertainer and as a person, a champion of seeing the humanity in villains and accepting flaws in heroes. Here are some moments he gave me personally:

With Paul at the Science Museum of Virginia's science fiction exhibit.

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With Angela at Captain America: Civil War.

With my kids on the Walk of Fame.

With Denise after seeing The Avengers.

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With Noah Syndergaard as Thor in New York after a Mets game.

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With Cheryl at Black Panther.

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With friends at Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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With my family at MoPOP's Marvel exhibit.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Greetings from Mount Vernon

It was a gorgeous day on Sunday, warmer than Saturday with pretty much no clouds. We met Cheryl at Mount Vernon for the annual Colonial Fair, which had been postponed from September because of Hurricane Florence. It's always been held before in late summer, so we're used to being there trying to get out of the heat, whereas today it was in the 50s at the warmest, so although there were fewer vendors because of the rescheduling, it was a lovely afternoon and we got to have the awesome bread and cheese sandwiches and gingerbread sold there.

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After visiting the animals and buying peanuts and honey in the gift shop, we all drove into Alexandria, where we had dinner at Bilbo Baggins, which has the best brie en croute around and right now has absolutely phenomenal butternut squash soup too. Then we came home for Doctor Who, which I loved -- another real historical moment with political implications, portrayed without excess metaphor -- and Madam Secretary -- highly oversimplified as usual but with a lot of heart and a fun side story about international chess, featuring a romance and everything!