Thursday, November 14, 2019

Poem for Thursday and Boeing Museum of Flight

Flying at Night
By Ted Kooser

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like


I had a busy morning! First I went for my regular mammogram at a different place than I've gone the past several years, though it was actually the first practice where I ever had one (they've moved to a different building, which is easier to get to and has free parking). Then I stopped at Home Depot for screws for cabinet door pulls, and while the screws were a bit complicated -- apparently the right width screws with wide heads come standard in 1 1/4" rather than 1" length -- I discovered that I could buy drill bits that fit our electric screwdriver, and since I had a $5 gift card from Verizon Up, they ended up costing almost nothing. After that, I stopped to get bagels and was going to eat one for lunch, but while walking out I realized I was next door to Dunkin' and had not yet tried their Beyond Sausage croissant sandwiches, which has now been remedied (they're quite good and my cats were quite eager to take mine from me).

My afternoon was not as exciting: getting gas on the way home, folding laundry, installing aforementioned cabinet door pulls until the electric screwdriver stopped working because I forgot to charge it, trying to steal my napkins back from Effie, doing a quick raid at the Bolger Center, organizing some photos, and even doing a little computer work. Eventually we had leftover Chinese food from Sunday for dinner, then we watched the rest of this season's Jack Ryan -- which is well-acted and interesting but also a fictionalized case study in why so many people in Latin America distrust the U.S. government no matter how much it proclaims it's just there to protect their democracy, and I mean the purported good guys on the show -- around The Masked Singer, still my favorite hour of total ridiculousness each week. I was in the mood for photos from the Museum of Flight in Seattle from earlier in the fall:

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Poem for Wednesday and Longwood Blooms and Bamboo

By Yosano Akiko
Translated by Dennis Maloney and Hide Oshiro

Poet, sing of this night
Alive with lights and
The wine served.
Our beauty pales
next to the peony.

Spring so short,
In what can we
Find immortality?
I let his hands fondle
My vigorous breasts.

Goodbye my love
For a night at Fuzan spring
I was your wife.
Now until the end of the world
I demand that you forget me.

Did we part
or a thousand years ago?
Even now I feel
Your hand on my shoulder.


My morning and a big chunk of my afternoon were taken up by an unexpected writing project. By the time I got out of the house, there were flurries in the air, so I only took a short walk in the park, then came home where it was warm and worked on a different project, this one involving kitchen cabinets. By then Disney+ had recovered from its early glitching!

After dinner we watched the first episode of The Mandalorian, which was a little too space-western for me until the end and then I loved it. Afterward we watched the sneaker study of The World According to Jeff Goldblum, which was hilarious, followed by another violent episode of Jack Ryan. Some more photos from Longwood Gardens' Blooms & Bamboo exhibit:




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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Poem for Tuesday and Huntley Meadows Wildlife

Tell Me Not Here, It Needs Not Saying
By A.E. Housman

Tell me not here, it needs not saying,
What tune the enchantress plays
In aftermaths of soft September
Or under blanching mays,
For she and I were long acquainted
And I knew all her ways.

On russet floors, by waters idle,
The pine lets fall its cone;
The cuckoo shouts all day at nothing
In leafy dells alone;
And traveller’s joy beguiles in autumn
Hearts that have lost their own.

On acres of the seeded grasses
The changing burnish heaves;
Or marshalled under moons of harvest
Stand still all night the sheaves;
Or beeches strip in storms for winter
And stain the wind with leaves.

Possess, as I possessed a season,
The countries I resign,
Where over elmy plains the highway
Would mount the hills and shine,
And full of shade the pillared forest
Would murmur and be mine.

For nature, heartless, witless nature,
Will neither care nor know
What stranger’s feet may find the meadow
And trespass there and go,
Nor ask amid the dews of morning
If they are mine or no.


We had beautiful, unseasonably warm weather on Monday to make up for the cold front that's coming tomorrow, but I did nothing exciting -- laundry, kitchen cleanup, getting a blister changing drawer pulls, walk in the park, Pokemon raid in a church parking lot. I didn't do anything Veterans Day-specific except talk to some veteran friends and raid with people off work for the government.

We watched the fourth episode of Watchmen, which is still dark but holding my interest, and His Dark Materials, which I find a little hard to get into, having never read the books and only seen the mediocre movie once. Then we watched the final episode of Catherine the Great, in which I loved Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke and the sets and costumes but not much else. From Huntley Meadows:









Monday, November 11, 2019

Poem for Monday and Emmitsburg Grotto

The Holy Water
By Daniel Ladinsky

No one lives outside the walls of this sacred place, existence.

The holy water, I need it upon my eyes: it is you, dear, you – each form.

What mother would lose her infant – and we are that to God,
never lost from His gaze are we? Every cry of the heart
is attended by light’s own arms.

You cannot wander anywhere that will not aid you.

Anything you can touch – God brought it into
the classroom of your mind.

Differences exist, but not in the city of love.

Thus my vows and yours, I know they are the same.

I have just peeled the skin from the potato
and you are still contemplating its worth,
sweetheart; indeed there are wonderful nutrients in all,
for God made everything.

You joined our community at birth.

With your Father being who He is, what do the
world’s scales know of your precious value.

The priest and the prostitute – they weigh the same before the Son’s
immaculate being,
but who can bear that truth and freedom,
so a wise man adulterated the
every wise man knows this.

My soul’s face has revealed its beauty to me;
why was it shy so long, didn’t it know how this made me suffer
and weep?

A different game He plays with His close ones.

God tells us truths you would not believe,
for most everyone needs to limit His compassion; concepts of
right and wrong preserve the golden seed
until one of God’s friends comes along and tends your body
like a divine bride.

The Holy sent out a surveyor to find the limits of its compassion
and being.

God knows a divine frustration whenever He acts like that,
for the Infinite has
no walls.

Why not tease Him about this?

Why not accept the freedom of what it means
for our Lord to see us
as Himself.

So magnificently sovereign is our Lover; never say,
“On the other side of this river a different King rules.’

For how could that be true – for nothing can oppose Infinite strength.

No one lives outside the walls of this sacred place, existence.

The holy water my soul’s brow needs is unity.

Love opened my eye and I was cleansed
by the purity of each


Sunday was another cool, gorgeous day. After a few morning chores, we drove to Thurmont to meet Paul's parents at Simply Asia, where I had excellent Kung Pao and General Tso's tofu. Then we went to the Grotto of Lourdes shrine at nearby Mount St. Mary's, which probably had more glorious fall color a couple of weeks ago but was still very pretty and it's always a good day when I get to drink from a holy water spring. When we drove back into Thurmont, we had Baskin Robbins with my in-laws before coming home.

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We weren't very hungry for dinner -- eventually we had sandwiches, after I folded laundry and did thrilling things like that -- then we watched Batwoman and Supergirl on the CW's girl power night (the former still enjoyable though I'm already sick of Mouse, the latter finally giving us some decent Lena material although I wish they'd cut short this whole Evil Dictator storyline), followed by Madam Secretary, even more didactic than usual but I don't care, I love the show and the characters. John Oliver is the best craziness!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Greetings from Fairfax

It was a chilly, lovely November day that demanded to be enjoyed outdoors, so after a brief visit to the small, very crowded Icelandic Association holiday bazaar at the American Legion post in Fairfax, we went to nearby Huntley Meadows, where the herons and geese were plentiful despite the chill but we saw only one turtle and it dove before I could get a photo into the unexpectedly high water (the beavers have been busy, there were several new dams, though we did not see the beavers themselves).

We drove home under an amazing fall sky, stopped at the food store, and had stew for dinner because it was that kind of day. Then we watched part of Ron Howard's Beatles series on PBS, followed by the first three episodes of the new season of Jack Ryan, which is more violent than I prefer to watch and the female characters thus far are more types than fully developed people, but I'm sure I'll watch the rest of the season so maybe they will get better storylines. A few pics over the course of the day:




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Saturday, November 09, 2019

Poem for Saturday and Winterthur Leaves

Messy Room
By Shel Silverstein

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
His workbook is wedged in the window,
His sweater's been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.
His books are all jammed in the closet,
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or--
Huh? You say it's mine? Oh, dear,
I knew it looked familiar!


November actually felt like November on Friday -- temperatures in the 40s, leaves falling everywhere. I had a fight with my computer, which decided to run so many Windows Update programs simultaneously that it didn't want to run anything else, so I was very slow getting anything done and went out instead looking for Team Rocket Pokestops, but there wasn't a single one in the park after the one raid I did. I got a protective dining room tablecloth, not the most beautiful because it's vinyl, but the cats hate the way that feels on their paws, so it's working because they're staying off the table!

We had dinner with my parents, who are still celebrating the Nationals victory. Then we watched the first episode of HBO's His Dark Materials, which I enjoyed though I haven't read the books and hardly remember the not-great Golden Compass movie, so I can't be a good critic for fans. Then Vudu had a Hobbs and Shaw viewing party, and while I know next to nothing about the Fast and Furious franchise apart from liking The Rock, I managed to win the Pandemic: Legacy board game, which I guess we will play with the kids when they're here in the winter! Fall color from Winterthur:

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Friday, November 08, 2019

Poem for Friday and The Crown at Winterthur

The Watchman
By Charles Kingsley

'Watchman, what of the night?'
'The stars are out in the sky;
And the merry round moon will be rising soon,
For us to go sailing by.'

'Watchman, what of the night?'
'The tide flows in from the sea;
There's water to float a little cockboat
Will carry such fishers as we.'

'Watchman, what of the night?'
'The night is a fruitful time;
When to many a pair are born children fair,
To be christened at morning chime.'


Thursday was a nice quiet day, which I needed after an unexpectedly social week, though I still haven't folded the laundry. We had rain forecast for afternoon, but it didn't arrive until nearly evening (which is arriving early now that daylight savings has ended), so I even got in a long walk in the park at the start of the Team Rocket GO event, which I'm already sick of and there's like five more steps. Still more fun than listening to pundits talk about Michael Bloomberg, though.

We have no Thursday shows, so we caught up on Catherine the Great, which is acted much better than it's written, and Watchmen, which thus far is pretty great in both regards though I never read the comic so I'm just taking it as it is -- I haven't even rewatched the movie in years. Here are some reproductions of Elizabeth II's dresses from Winterthur's Costuming The Crown exhibit in honor of the fact that the Queen has apparently decided not to wear fur in the future!