Sunday, May 19, 2019

Greetings from Great Falls

The repair company arrived bright and early to touch up the paint and check the closet door track, so I am cautiously optimistic that the major repairs are finished in the upstairs bedroom and we can put it back together before older son arrives next week! After lunch, we went to Great Falls, where the goslings and many turtles had apparently moved upstream by the canal because of repair work, but there were ducklings right by the visitor center and a big cranky-looking snapper near the canal construction, plus herons flying over the very high water of the river:





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We stopped at the Bethesda Co-op on the way home. Paul wanted to watch the Preakness, so even though I keep saying I am never looking at horse racing again, I saw the race and worried a lot about the horse that threw its rider at the start getting involved in an accident. (One of the fillies died at Pimlico yesterday and the sport really needs to stop.) It's fitting that the horse nearly bumped by the disqualified Derby winner ended up winning. We watched the Nationals game, then the rerun of last season's SNL finale before this season's started.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Poem for Saturday and Maymont Mansion

Happy Hour
By Lee Ann Roripaugh

I always forget the name,
even though it was the flower

the hummingbirds
loved best. They came in pairs—sleek,

heads, the clockwork machinery
of their blurred wings
thrumming swift, menacing engines.

They slipped their beaks.
as if they were swizzle sticks, deep
into the blue

throat of delphinium and sucked
dry the nectar-
chilled hearts like goblets full of sweet,

frozen daiquiri.
I liked to sit on the back porch
in the evenings,

watching them and eating Spanish
peanuts, rolling
each nut between thumb and forefinger

to rub away
the red salty skin like brittle
tissue paper,

until the meat emerged gleaming,
yellow like old
ivory, smooth as polished bone.

And late August,
after exclamations of gold
flowers, tiny

and bitter, the caragana
trees let down their
beans to ripen, dry, and rupture—

at first there was
the soft drum of popcorn, slick with oil,
puttering some-

where in between seed, heat, and cloud.
Then sharp cracks like cap
gun or diminutive fireworks,

peas catapulting skyward like
pellet missiles.

Sometimes a meadowlark would lace
the night air with
its elaborate melody,

rippling and sleek
as a black satin ribbon. Some-
times there would be

a falling star. And because
this happened in
Wyoming, and because this was

my parents’ house,
and because I’m never happy
with anything,

at any time, I always wished
that I was some-
where, anywhere else, but here.


My Friday had several nice surprises. We didn't get as much rain as was forecast in the morning, so I got to go for a walk in the park. The repair people not only steam cleaned the carpet in the upstairs bedroom closet, but the entire bedroom, so it's the cleanest it has been since older son was about 6. And Karen and Jim were unexpectedly available for dinner, so we went to the Yard House, which has lots of inexpensive happy hour appetizers including many vegetarian options -- the food was very good and we hadn't seen them in ages, so that was lovely!

There were new Pokemon released in PoGo today too, but I haven't caught them yet, though I confess I started a new account for raiding -- it's reached level 21 in 3 days. We got home in time for Agents of SHIELD, whose timelines have me confused but at least May is getting tons to do, then we caught up on Cloak and Dagger (so dark and violent, though I appreciate that they're doing a decent job with the Voudon practices) before Graham Norton with Octavia Spencer and Will Smith. Here are some photos from Maymont of their casual, accessible decorating style:









Friday, May 17, 2019

Poem for Friday and Lewis Ginter Butterflies

To A Butterfly
By William Wordsworth

I've watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless!---not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again !

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister's flowers;
Here rest your wing when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We'll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.


It was really nice out on Thursday, sunny and not too hot, so it was just as well I had chores that had to be done out of the house, because it gave me an excuse to spend two hours walking in the park. The in-house chores are hopeless this week but hopefully tomorrow the repairs will be conclusively FINISHED, as they are supposed to be, and then I can spend five days putting our sons' rooms back together before the younger one graduates and the older one arrives for a visit.

You may have noticed that I'm not talking about politics: that's because all I can do is scream, and my focused energy has gone to writing letters to people who can actually do things. None of you need me to post a meme to know my position on reproductive rights! We watched the finale of The Big Bang Theory, which was sweet, then we caught up on Gentleman Jack, which was great, and Billions, which was mean. Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens butterflies:









Thursday, May 16, 2019

Greetings from Chaos

One day I'm going to be organized but it's apparently not happening this week and probably not happening this month, considering that we have a graduation next week and then traveling and meanwhile we have bookcases blocking an upstairs bathroom and piles of stuff on Adam's room's floor. Paul got me up crazy early to try to do some organizing in son's room now that the closet is rebuilt, but until they replace the closet carpet, there's a lot we can't do, and we're not sure whether they're going to inspect the paint which looks like it's peeling already along one wall. On a positive note, this is the 4000th thing to go wrong with the house this month and I did not threaten anyone on Twitter over it.

It was gorgeous out and I did take a nice walk in the park, where I saw a slug and lots of squirrels, plus I did an Azelf raid. We went to Giant when Paul got home, then we watched the Taron Egerton Robin Hood, which is just as bad as all the reviews said though it was very entertaining watching Ben Mendelsohn play Alan Rickman playing the Sheriff of Nottingham -- his line reading on "I'm going to boil you in your own piss!" is tonally identical to Rickman's on "I'm going to cut your heart out with a spoon!" But the screenplay is crazily nonsensical, violent, and anachronistic. What We Do in the Shadows was much funnier, and in that case at least intentionally so. Here are a couple of photos of irises:



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Poem for Wednesday and Brookside Flowers

I Years Had Been From Home
By Emily Dickinson

I years had been from home,   
And now, before the door,   
I dared not open, lest a face   
I never saw before   
Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.   
My business,—just a life I left,   
Was such still dwelling there?   
I fumbled at my nerve,   
I scanned the windows near;
The silence like an ocean rolled,   
And broke against my ear.   
I laughed a wooden laugh   
That I could fear a door,   
Who danger and the dead had faced,
But never quaked before.   
I fitted to the latch   
My hand, with trembling care,   
Lest back the awful door should spring,   
And leave me standing there.
I moved my fingers off   
As cautiously as glass,   
And held my ears, and like a thief   
Fled gasping from the house.


Months after the leak that required the new roof and major upheaval in our home, Daniel's childhood bedroom once again has a closet! The room has been painted, so nothing has been replaced yet (and there are lots of things that need to be sorted for donation or shipping to Seattle), but we have insulation in the ceiling again so it won't be painfully cold or hot in there if we want to have guests and there isn't any exposed wood. Unfortunately, this took all day, so I did not get out even when the rain stopped.

When the painters finally left, we ate leftovers while watching the season finale of The Flash, which was reasonably satisfying though I wasn't as moved as I suspect the producers hoped -- I don't think I'm capable of crying over superhero deaths, they come back too often during sweeps months. Then we watched The 100, those kids just can't catch a break though at least they're resilient, and Fosse/Verdon, which is always superbly done and heartbreaking. Here are flowers from Brookside Gardens last weekend:






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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Poem for Tuesday and Brookside Geese

Birds Punctuate the Days
By Joyce Clement

the nuthatch inserts itself
between feeder and pole

two mallards drifting
one dunks for a snail

a mourning dove
lifts off

a red-eyed vireo catches
the crane fly midair

a down feather
bobs between waves

exclamation point
wren on the railing
takes notice

mergansers paddle toward
morning trout swirl

em dash
at dusk a wild goose
heading east

question mark
the length of silence
after a loon’s call

one blue egg all summer long
now gone


I stayed up way too late on Sunday night watching the Game of Thrones rebroadcast after reading a lot of internet hysteria about the episode so I am kind of sleepy, but I slept better understanding what people were so mad about. (Having only watched the first season up until Sean Bean's last episode, I was always rooting for them to throw the Iron Throne into the sea and form an automonous collective, and I am wondering whether that's kind of the point of the show, though I reserve the right to a feminist rant if what I think is going to happen does happen next week.)

Anyway, it was a slow day, since my cats were cold this morning and three of them did not want to let me get out of bed, so I ran behind on article stuff and the laundry isn't even folded. But I had a nice evening, since I had plans with Angela and Carrie for dinner. We met at Chuy's, and I went to the shopping center a bit early because I had a World Market coupon, but I ended up not getting anything besides a bunch of Pokemon. Chuy's has a nacho bar at happy hour, which is a very dangerous thing! And I had cheese enchiladas, which were very good.

I got home just in time for Legends of Tomorrow, which is always fun, then we caught up on last night's A Discovery of Witches, which was more violent onscreen than I thought was necessary, particularly since they felt compelled to bleep the one instance of the F word in the episode. After that, we watched most of The Enemy Within, which no one is sure whether it's ending next week or getting picked up for another season. If they have a finale that explains why Erica does what she does, I'm fine either way. From Brookside Gardens, so many geese!









Monday, May 13, 2019

Greetings from Hanover

I spent Mother's Day with my parents, Paul's parents, and Adam in Hanover, where we went to lunch at the Hibachi Buffet Grill, then Skyped with Daniel before coming home. Adam had arrived with the good news (and a certificate) that he will be graduating Cum Laude in a couple of weeks. He gave me a bowl he made in a pottery class he and Katherine have been taking this semester. My mother gave me a turtle ring she knew I wanted (I gave her a charm with the birthstones of her children and grandchildren) and we got Paul's mother a puzzle and photo note pad with her grandchildren.

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We weren't very hungry for dinner after such a big lunch, so after Adam headed back to College Park and his final papers and presentation, Paul and I had sandwiches while watching Supergirl, which did some stupid things with the aliens but gave Alex and Lena such nice moments that I forgave them, and Les Miserables, in which Javert is even more psychologically and homoerotically obsessed with Valjean than in most of the movie versions. But I gather that no one else will have seen that, because everyone watched Game of Thrones and is screaming about that all over the internet.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Greetings from Brookside Gardens and Ryme City

The morning weather forecast indicated that it would not rain until evening, so after an early lunch, a cleaning of the entire first floor of the house due to a cat who ate too much, and an EX raid in Cabin John Park, we went to Brookside Gardens to see whether we could find the goslings there. We found six families of them! Plus we saw many baby turtles (and rescued two of them from sidewalks where people were riding scooters), many adult turtles, frogs, herons, snakes, fish, flowers, a wedding, and some rain:

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Then we went to see Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, where we ran into a couple of the people from my Pokémon raiding group. I loved the movie, which has lots of references to the anime my kids grew up watching; it's a little predictable and quite goofy but it has a great cast and I bet people who grew up playing the game caught even more references. We ran into my parents while having dinner in the food court afterward, then came home and watched Mewtwo Strikes Back, to which the new film is a direct sequel.