Saturday, March 24, 2018

Poem for Saturday, Family, Captain America

Aristocrats: "I Think I Am Becoming A God"
By Keith Douglas

The noble horse with courage in his eye,
clean in the bone, looks up at a shellburst:
away fly the images of the shires
but he puts the pipe back in his mouth.
Peter was unfortunately killed by an 88;
it took his leg away, he died in the ambulance.
I saw him crawling on the sand, he said
It's most unfair, they've shot my foot off.

How can I live among this gentle
obsolescent breed of heroes, and not weep?
Unicorns, almost,
for they are fading into two legends
in which their stupidity and chivalry
are celebrated. Each, fool and hero, will be an immortal.
These plains were their cricket pitch
and in the mountains the tremendous drop fences
brought down some of the runners. Here then
under the stones and earth they dispose themselves,
I think with their famous unconcern.
It is not gunfire I hear, but a hunting horn.


Daniel and Adam are here and we are watching Captain America: The First Avenger so I will be quick! Daniel and I went to Bagel City for lunch, got in line to order, and spotted my mother in line ahead of us, so she ended up getting us lunch and extra bagels, then Daniel and I came home and caught him up on some Last Week Tonight while I did chores and he played video games.

Paul came home early to hang out with him, then Adam arrived and they compared Kirby versions before we went to my parents' for dinner and birthday cake for Paul (whose actual birthday is Saturday, so then we're going to see his parents). Here are a few photos from our day, including the early spring post-snow view off the deck:






Friday, March 23, 2018

Poem for Friday and Post-Snow Day

It Sifts From Leaden Sieves
By Emily Dickinson

It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.

It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain,—
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.

It reaches to the fence,
It wraps it, rail by rail,
Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil

On stump and stack and stem,—
The summer’s empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.

It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen,—
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.


Daniel is here, visiting for Paul's birthday! Adam is coming tomorrow. After a fairly quiet morning of work, chores, brushing snow off the minivan, and a quick lunchtime stop for a Pokemon raid at which I caught a shiny Lugia, we went to National Airport to get son and ate dinner there at Ben's Chili Bowl, which has vegetarian chili dogs. The snow melted over the course of the entire day, so that by evening the bunnies were out eating the grass in between the remains of snowmen.

Son wanted to catch up on the new Kirby game and had no strong feelings about evening entertainment, so we continued our Marvel marathon with the first Thor, which remains awesome in pretty much every way and is in a lot of ways more fun to watch now, since it was the film that first really engaged me with the MCU and introduced me to Hemsworth and Hiddleston (I mean, I'd seen them in a couple of other things but never really paid attention). I love pretty much all the films from Thor on!







Thursday, March 22, 2018

Poem for Thursday and Snowy Spring

A March Snow
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Let the old snow be covered with the new:
The trampled snow, so soiled, and stained, and sodden.
Let it be hidden wholly from our view
By pure white flakes, all trackless and untrodden.
When Winter dies, low at the sweet Spring's feet
Let him be mantled in a clean, white sheet.

Let the old life be covered by the new:
The old past life so full of sad mistakes,
Let it be wholly hidden from the view
By deeds as white and silent as snow-flakes.

Ere this earth life melts in the eternal Spring
Let the white mantle of repentance fling
Soft drapery about it, fold on fold,
Even as the new snow covers up the old.


We spent the first full day of spring enjoying an all-day snowstorm. It wasn't very cold -- I'm not positive it was below freezing even in the morning -- but it snowed from dawn till nearly dusk, so we had almost four inches on the ground before it started to turn to slush. Tomorrow morning will be treacherous because the slush is going to ice over, but hopefully most of it will melt away during the day. The neighborhood was silent for hours before people emerged to sled and clean up.

Apart from taking walks in the snow and three rounds of shoveling, we had a quiet day -- Paul worked from home, Maddy was off work, we caught up on Black Lightning and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I folded laundry and cropped photos. In the evening we watched what I hope will be the final episode of The X-Files, not its finest hour but a fine note to end on dramatically and ship-wise, and then Iron Man 2, which I will never love but I'd like better than the first one just for Natasha!









Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Poem for Wednesday, Incredible Hulk, Longwood Gardens

Vernal Equinox
By Amy Lowell

The scent of hyacinths, like a pale mist, lies
    between me and my book;   
And the South Wind, washing through the room,   
Makes the candles quiver.   
My nerves sting at a spatter of rain on the shutter,   
And I am uneasy with the thrusting of green shoots           
Outside, in the night.   

Why are you not here to overpower me with your
    tense and urgent love?


Happy first day of spring! We had freezing rain all day, which turned at times into sleet and hail and finally snow. And more snow. Our forecast has gone from 2-4 inches to 5-10 inches, everything in the area is going to be closed tomorrow, I didn't even fold the laundry today because there is no doubt that I'm going to be stuck in the house tomorrow and can fold it then. I went out for about twenty minutes to get a couple of things done but otherwise stayed near home watching my daffodils slowly collapsing under the weight of ice and snow.

Rose visited with treats for the cats, we had leftover Thai food from my mom for dinner, then Cheryl, Paul and I (in our respective houses) watched The Incredible Hulk to continue our MCU marathon, though Cheryl was confused about whether Ang Lee's Hulk counts as its backstory and I have to admit I'm not clear on the reboot/sequel relationship there, since the later movie's origin story is rushed through behind the opening credits. Since Wednesday will be a whiteout, here is some color from Longwood Gardens:









Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Poem for Tuesday, Iron Man, Longwood Winter Blues

Paris and Helen
By Judy Grahn

He called her:  golden dawn
She called him:  the wind whistles

He called her:  heart of the sky
She called him:  message bringer

He called her:  mother of pearl
           barley woman, rice provider,
           millet basket, corn maid,
           flax princess, all-maker, weef

She called him:  fawn, roebuck,
           stag, courage, thunderman,
           all-in-green, mountain strider
           keeper of forests, my-love-rides

He called her:  the tree is
She called him:  bird dancing

He called her:  who stands,
           has stood, will always stand
She called him:  arriver

He called her:  the heart and the womb
           are similar
She called him:  arrow in my heart.


Monday was a gorgeous day, nearly 60 degrees and mostly sunny, so although I had work to do, I also went to two different parks to enjoy the weather because even though I have daffodils blooming in the front yard, we're supposed to get snow on Tuesday. I don't mind snow in the winter, but enough already, the equinox is tomorrow just after noon! I saved laundry to do when I'll be stuck in the house, since I hate driving in snow. I don't even get to have lunch with Karen.

Cheryl, Paul, and I decided we should rewatch the entire MCU leading up to Infinity War, so we started in the evening with the first Iron Man. I hated it the first time I saw it and I still dislike so much of it -- the sexual politics, the generic Afghan villains with no articulated political grievances, the glorification of firepower -- at least that's out of the way! Here are some photos from Longwood Gardens yesterday, the conservatory blooming in Winter Blues:









Monday, March 19, 2018

Poem for Monday, Winterthur and Longwood

The Poppy
By Jane Taylor

High on a bright and sunny bed
A scarlet poppy grew
And up it held its staring head,
And thrust it full in view.

Yet no attention did it win,
By all these efforts made,
And less unwelcome had it been
In some retired shade.

Although within its scarlet breast
No sweet perfume was found,
It seemed to think itself the best
Of all the flowers round,

From this I may a hint obtain
And take great care indeed,
Lest I appear as pert and vain
As does this gaudy weed.


The weather on Sunday was gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky, and I spent most of it with Paul and Cheryl in the Brandywine Valley. We were thwarted at our first planned stop because the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon had all the roads closed around the art museum, but that just gave us more time in the gardens after we ate lunch in Winterthur's lovely visitor center. The March Bank is only just coming into bloom there but there were plenty of crocuses and some daffodils as well as the winter aconite and glory-of-the-snow. Inside, we went to see the exhibit on iconic sports memorabilia, including a Honus Wagner baseball card on loan to go with some Wagner items from Winterthur's own collections.

From there we went to Longwood Gardens, which is having a Winter Blues Festival of blue flowers in the conservatory including blue poppies and cineraria, plus orchids all over the conservatory and daffodils and tulips in the fruit house section. There's not much blooming in the outdoor gardens yet but the grounds are always pretty. We drove home while it was still light and went to Attman's Deli for breakfast-for-dinner before Cheryl had to go home. Then we watched the unfortunate end of UMBC's wild ride in the NCAA tournament, though they kept it close for most of the game, and saw this week's Timeless, not guessing that while we were taking a break from basketball, Xavier would get bounced from the tournament by Florida State!








Sunday, March 18, 2018

Poem for Sunday and Brookside Orchid Show

The Butterfly
By Matsuo Basho
Translated by Michael R. Burch

The butterfly
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid


We had rain and even flurries in the forecast for Saturday, but except for a bit of sleet, we got little precipitation that lasted more than a few minutes. So after lunch, we went to Brookside Gardens, which was having an indoor orchid show and sale, and after visiting that, we walked around the pond and admired the daffodils and forsythia.









We stopped at the food store on the way home to get Irish cheddar to have with our Irish veggie beef stew. Then we got some upsetting news -- Paul's brother David's wife Maria and her son were locked in a supply room in a store at Thousand Oaks Mall, which had a live shooter situation. They were fine, but traumatized, and at least one woman died.

We watched the Ohio State-Gonzaga game, then I'd had enough of basketball and we watched the new Jumanji. I enjoyed the actors within the game but the high school cliches were a bit overwhelming and I'm already forgetting what it was about, wish it had parodied women's roles in video games more, and didn't laugh as much as I wanted.