Monday, June 25, 2018

Greetings from Jurassic World

After a morning of unpacking some stuff and packing up some other stuff, we were going to have a relaxing afternoon and evening with Cheryl, but as we loaded the car with boxes of fannish stuff I was delivering to her, we discovered that it had a flat tire. By the time we got out in the van, I-95 had two new backups, Google Maps sent us a different way, and we really did not think we were going to get to Potomac Mills before Jurassic World started (we'd already bought IMAX 3D tickets). After a lot of honking and running through the parking lot, we did manage to make it inside, without enough time to get drinks so I was headachy and thirsty in the 3D glasses until I got distracted by the film itself.

I enjoyed Fallen Kingdom; it's pretty dark compared to the others, but I think my adrenaline was so high that I wasn't nearly as bothered by people getting eaten alive as I might normally have been. Then we had dinner at the Silver Diner in Dale City and went to see Ocean Orchestra at Mason District Park, which was lovely if bittersweet since lead singer Lisa will be gone for a year while finishing her doctorate out of state, so this is the last concert with her in a long while. They did a new song and Steve put on his Green Man garb despite the heat. We made it home without a lot of traffic, but then Paul's parents called with some terrible news about someone close to them, so there went the evening.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Greetings from Toyland

I spent most of my waking hours Saturday sorting books, Barbies, and action figures, a great many of which are getting donated and a few of which are getting sold; in fact, two big boxes and three small boxes of Star Trek books and toys have already been picked up by a recipient, and two big boxes of Barbies are waiting to depart. We did go out for a bit and I went to two Regice raids with my Pokemon social network in Cabin John Park, where there were lots of squirrels, chipmunks, and cardinals keeping us company, but that was the extent of the fun!

My bedroom closet is about half back to normal and the dresser no longer has dolls in it, though now I have to sort glass figurines so it's still a week before anything will look decent. The cats, fortunately, are excited about all the boxes, though Cinnamon is sneezing a lot and Daisy threw up twice so I'm a bit worried, though it's probably just all the stress of being in the hotel with crappy AC and having strangers in the house. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales as an evening distraction while getting through email and stuff.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Greetings from Somewhere

On the first full day of summer, it rained most of the afternoon and the temperature never got above 70. Which was fine, though the new comforter I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy got a bit rained on, as did the new cat blanket from Tuesday Morning. Otherwise my day was laundry and really more packing than unpacking -- now that my Star Trek books are clean, I am going to give most of them away, because let's face it, I am never rereading 98 percent of them.

The cats are relieved that the beds have covers on them again, at least, and are back on their usual eating schedule. I got a few more gifts but I didn't even manage to get to a Regice raid. After a bunch of work and a quick dinner, we caught up on The 100 before putting on the disastrous Orioles game, which is still not over in the 14th after they needed three outs in the ninth for a win. Tomorrow: more attempts to get some aspect of my life in order.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Greetings from Chaos

There may not be poems for a few days while I try to get my life and house back in order. We got up Thursday morning and tortured the cats by forcing them once again to get into carriers to be placed in the car, but then to their great relief we arrived at home, which is finally less than 120 degrees upstairs. I have only seen dead bugs, and only a few of those, but there is staining around one of the bedroom outlets indicating that they were probably hiding in there (I do not want to think about the fact that it backs up to our neighbor's bedroom in the adjoining townhouse, but will hope we put in enough diatomaceous earth).

I allowed myself to be distracted for an hour in the early evening because Pokemon Go got Regice raids and, much more importantly, launched its social function that allows friending, gifting, and trading, so I went to a raid and friended most of my local raiding group, plus some out-of-town friends who play. Late in the evening, we watched this week's episode of The Handmaid's Tale, which is both harrowing and devastating; even worse than the systematic rape storyline is the freakishly relevant characterization of what happens to children torn by the government from their parents. Herons from Huntley Meadows last summer:

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Greetings from Extended Stay Rockville

Up early, a few pieces of clean laundry shoved in grocery bags, cats terrorized into carriers, then we headed to our hotel room (originally meant to be two to spread out the cats) for the day while exterminators heated our upper floor to 130+ degrees. We can testify to this because when we ran home to sign off on it after they finished, it was hotter than hell upstairs. We were able to leave the cats alone for an hour because the three younger ones, who are usually our social cats, spent literally five hours hiding under the bed, while our timid old lady cat curled up on the couch, ate three meals, and only seemed moderately out of sorts.

We worked in the hotel room while half-watching World Cup games, stopped at a couple of stores for things like pillowcases, ate dinner at the BGR at Washingtonian Lake, and are now watching The Incredibles (the first one) on the Roku, which I'm very proud I figured out how to work on the hotel TV. Who knows when or if we'll get to the sequel with the whole house to put back together. Now Daisy has deigned to curl up on the bed, Katniss is inspecting the temporary litter box, and Effie is back under the bed after the air conditioner made a menacing noise. This is pretty much what our late afternoon looked like:

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Placeholder for Wednesday

I took lots of pictures today of articles I wrote that were printed in newspapers in magazines that I have had to throw out. And I took a lot of pictures of things I knew had to be recycled and could probably find online if I ever wanted but just in case, I wanted to make sure I had a record of. Considering that I was digging deep under the bed, where I store my most precious things because I was afraid they were going to mildew or get hit by a flood in the basement, I saw shockingly few bedbugs given that we have torn the entire house up over them -- maybe 6 in all. Bedbugs and mosquitos are exempt from my belief that all creatures are glorious and precious. Thanos can snap his fingers and make them all disappear.

Apart from a trip to the dump and a stop to get Cava for dinner, my entire day consisted of cleaning, tearing apart home decor, shoving things in closets and drawers, dumping massive amounts in the trash. I did not watch the news because I had little enough energy for any of it. Here is one photo to sum up my day, and don't worry: of all the things I discovered in plastic containers under the bed that have to be thrown out, from Star Trek scripts to cards my kids drew for me to a children's book about Eleanor Roosevelt, this one was by far the easiest to take to be pulped.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Poem for Tuesday, In the House

The Purge
By Marge Piercy

Beware institutions begun with a purge,
beware buildings that require the bones
of a victim under the cornerstone, beware
undertakings launched with a blood
sacrifice, watch out for marriages
that start with a divorce.

To break a champagne bottle over the prow
of a boat is prodigal but harmless; to break
a promise, a friendship much more exciting
(champagne doesn’t squeal); but doesn’t
the voyage require a lot of sightseeing
and loot to justify the splatter?

Give it up for me, she says, give him
up, give her up, look only in my eyes
and let me taste my power in their anguish.
How much do you love me? Let me count
the corpses as my cat brings home mangled
mice to arrange on my doormat like hors d'oeuvres.

But you know nobody dies of such executions.
Your discarded friends are drinking champagne
and singing off key just as if they were happy
without you.  One person’s garbage is another’s
new interior decorating scheme. If she is your
whole world, how quickly the sun sets now. 

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Let's stick with the good things. All my Barbies worth saving are safely in either my dresser or my linen closet, since we're throwing out a massive shitload of linens and have a metric fuckton of clothing sitting clean in bags in the basement. (The Harry Potter Legos and Lord of the Rings action figures under the bed are a total loss.) Paul has done the unthinkable and thrown out all his bootleg CDs of Grateful Dead concerts, since he has saved most of them as mp3s. We're down to two last major laundries to be done, six bedroom shelves to be emptied (and we have to deal with Daniel's room, since Maddy, who was supposed to have cleared out Sunday night, is currently up there asleep).

Oh wait -- good things! We took a break to watch the season finale of Supergirl, which was a lot better than I had dared to hope: they didn't kill the character I thought all season was a goner so another character could have an insta-family, they are apparently getting rid of my least favorite character without killing him off, and I still love Lena Luthor. And starting Thursday I can start selling my remaining crap, dumping more books, etc. We'd been talking about sinking some money into this house to fix things, and this has all been an ultimately beneficial reminder from above that we'd rather save the money and get our crap in order for when we're ready to move!

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Poem for Monday and Jurassic World

Don't Ever Feed a Dinosaur
By Baudelaire Jones

Don't ever feed a dinosaur.
He might bite off your arm.
That is, if he's a carnivore,
If not, he'll do no harm.

It's not hard to tell the difference.
It's a cinch to diagnose.
If you can see his teeth, you know
You're standing much too close!

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On Sunday we took the vast majority of Paul's comic book collection to the county recycling facility, along with years' worth of letters, cards, school papers, old calendars, and the like. (Since people scream when I tell them we destroyed books, I will add that they only could have been saved if we had enough space to leave them for heat fumigation or paid to have them frozen, neither of which made sense financially or in terms of trying to live our lives since we'd have had to take weeks to sort everything, and it's not like I'd take friends up on offers to use their dryers just in case there's any bugs in them, though we haven't seen a single one beyond our bedroom.) It was a revelation how many books people throw out/recycle! The county dump was a revelation -- I'd only ever been to the first part, where you leave computer parts and scrap metal -- I did not expect to see thousands of books, bins overflowing, a used bookstore's worth, all waiting to be pulped.

Right now we're watching Westworld's OMFG IS THAT THEIR IDEA OF A FATHER'S DAY EPISODE. I'm hoping I eventually experience the euphoria that people tell me decluttering brings, when I realize that we're out from under the burden of all this old crap and can pick up and move wherever we want. I thought my in-laws were insane when they sold all their stuff and spent two years driving around the country, but in the internet age that seems far more doable, since it's not like I could only talk to people in two-minute long distance phone calls, I could text and Facebook message from anywhere and it's not like I've ever been attached to this house as such. Younger son spent the weekend hiking in the mountains with visiting friends, and I am ready to move out west as soon as he takes a job there! Here are some photos from the Jurassic World exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, since we watched that movie with Cheryl to complete the cycle before Fallen Kingdom opens:

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Poem for Sunday and Pokemon Community Day

What Kind of Times Are These
By Adrienne Rich

There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.

I've walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don't be fooled
this isn't a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.

I won't tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won't tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it's necessary
to talk about trees.

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It was a Pokemon Go community day on Saturday, so I took a break from home disasters to go to Cabin John Park for an hour while Paul was at Home Depot and caught several shiny Larvitar. Then we went to Washingtonian to stop at Target and I evolved a big fancy Tyranitar. Otherwise my day consisted entirely of laundry, throwing things out, and wrapping things in plastic until late evening, when I watched Jurassic Park III (the one with William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, and the dinosaur who plays the crocodile from Peter Pan only with a phone instead of a clock) with Paul and Cheryl. Three photos of my day:

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Poem for Saturday and Assateague Animals

Assateague Island, October
By Marjorie Saiser

For an hour my son stands in the bluegreen ocean,
his shoes slung over his shoulder, looking east past
the place where
in the shell-green water,
the water swells,
past the place where
the wave, though it has no beginning, begins.
Every seventh wave
against his ankles, calves, knees,
splashing up onto his old hiking shorts.
He has said the crash of the water is a breathing.
I sit on the sand. I too hear
the planet breathing
blow after blow,
my breath slows
matching.
That time when I pulled
your hair in anger. I am sorry.
Let this wave heal it. That time when
I made you, a little boy,
so carefully apologize
for what didn’t matter.
Let this wave heal it.
When I didn’t write you, afraid
your father would misread.
Let it be carried up
Like a handful of small white bubbles.
When I fussed over you.
When I couldn’t stop
even though you hated fussing.
Let this wave wash that.
When I talked too much
in front of your friends,
Let this water and foam
take it.
When you were in the hospital, fighting
The bars, the rails, my arms
To climb out of bed.
Let this wave take that away.
When I was busy growing up
and you needed me. Let this whole
sky-green ocean swell up
and breathe it away.
Tomorrow we will go to the
Vietnam Memorial, you and I.
It will be raining. We will stand
with others in the rain
and I will cry for the pink rose on the ground
and the old man holding a
black and white umbrella.
I will cry and you,
who do not cry,
will put your palm
like a rose
on the shoulder of my damp coat.
Name after name
name after name
rolls in us and upon us
healing you, healing me.

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My day involved laundry, cleaning, more laundry, two showers to make sure nothing was crawling on me because even though I had no evidence anything was, I now feel at all times like something might be, a visit from a roofing specialist who asked for three times the going local rate to fix our roof, a visit with the next door neighbor who's also trying to fix her room (we have similar storm and squirrel issues), a visit with our cat-sitting neighbor who brought our happy cats treats, a late dinner of sandwiches after all this socializing, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park with Cheryl and Paul. Rather than reiterate my rage about my house, my life, not-my-president, and various other things, here are photos of things I wish I were seeing on Assateague Island right now!

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Poem for Friday and House Mess

Cleaning a Fish
By Dave Smith

In her hand the knife, brisk, brilliant as moon-claw,
shaves the flesh. It grazes the white
belly just over the heart.
Underneath, the coiled fingers
are cradling a soft flesh
as if it were the jowls of the aged

man propped for a while on the bench in the park.
The head is not severed, the eyes not out.
Blue, they appear to flash odd ways
where a tree makes a live shadow.
Mostly the eyes are dead.
Nothing is in them

except the intense blue of sky the tree allows.
There is no conspiring of nerves,
no least event recalled
by a limb’s high arching,
or even a girl’s ascension
from a forgotten distance of water.

But there is something as she lifts the meat.
It is enough to draw down her gaze.
Now her arm rises against
yellow hair fallen
white in a childish face.
She is still as a leaf barely clinging.

I come to her like a cat in the stunned grass
and touch her to see the startled,
upthrusted gleam of her face.
At brow and each cheek
like gathered beads of mist
scales leap with the sun, and are dead.

No word passes between us, but something electric
as a flash of steel makes her
cry out just once. Squatting
at the yard’s edge, she
sings beyond any thought.
Her knife flies as lethal as love
and cuts quickly in like a hurried kiss.

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My day was mostly crap until evening, when after hours and hours of cleaning and laundry plus a trip to Home Depot, we sat down and watched Jurassic Park long distance with Cheryl. And let's just leave things at that.

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This chipmunk has been enjoying visiting with the cats...

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...who in turns are enjoying the newly clean dining room table.

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This is the dog who told us there were no bedbugs in the kids' rooms. Let's hope he was right. His name is Van Gogh.

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We have thrown out thousands of pieces of paper from essays we wrote in college to trip brochures to vaccination records to disclosure agreements from credit cards we no longer have.

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Even if I don't end up having to throw a bunch of this out, it will never look quite like this again.