Saturday, February 23, 2019

Poem for Saturday, The Spy Who Dumped Me, USBG Succulents

Counting What the Cactus Contains
By Pattiann Rogers

Elf owl, cactus wren, fruit flies incubating
In the only womb they’ll ever recognize.
Shadow for the sand rat, spines
And barbary ribs clenched with green wax.
Seven thousand thorns, each a water slide,
A wooden tongue licking the air dry.

Inside, early morning mist captured intact,
The taste of drizzle sucked
And sunsplit. Whistle
Of the red-tailed hawk at midnight, rush
Of the leaf-nosed bat, the soft slip
Of fog easing through sand held in tandem.

Counting, the vertigo of its attitudes
Across the evening; in the wood of its latticed bones--
The eye sockets of every saint of thirst;
In the gullet of each night-blooming flower--the crucifix
Of the arid.

In its core, a monastery of cells, a brotherhood
Of electrons, a column of expanding darkness
Where matter migrates and sparks whorl,
And travel has no direction, where distance
Bends backward over itself and the ascension
Of Venus, the stability of Polaris, are crucial.

The cactus, containing
Whatever can be said to be there,
Plus the measurable tremble of its association
With all those who have been counting.


I was reminded of that poem earlier this week and wanted an excuse to post it. My Friday started slow and quiet, then my neighbor Rose came to visit for a while, and I didn't even get the laundry folded before I got an invitation to a Latias raid. Paul and I went to my parents' house for dinner, where my sister was visiting for the day after going with my mother to the American Craft Show in Baltimore. I haven't seen her since Thanksgiving, so that was very nice!

When we got home, we watched The Spy Who Dumped Me, which is pretty much exactly what I expected except with more killings -- I was hoping the R rating was for more raunch and nudity! The cast is great and the actors are clearly having fun, but the plot is unnecessarily convoluted and violent, though the girl power (villains as well as heroes) makes it enjoyable. Here are some of the cacti and fruit trees last week at the US Botanic Garden, including coffee and cocoa:

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Poem for Friday and USBG Flowers

Street Lamps in Early Spring
By Gwendolyn Bennett

Night wears a garment
All velvet soft, all violet blue...
And over her face she draws a veil
As shimmering fine as floating dew...
And here and there
In the black of her hair
The subtle hands of Night
Move slowly with their gem-starred light.


After a day of snow on Wednesday, we had gorgeous weather on Thursday! Denise came over, we went to Cava for lunch, we hung out with the cats, we did a couple of Pokemon raids, and we generally enjoyed being out in the sunshine while snow melted off roofs and cars all around us. After she went to visit other friends for dinner, I went to the park and took a muddy but nice walk in the woods!

I don't usually watch The Big Bang Theory, but when I heard that William Shatner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Smith, and Wil Wheaton were playing DnD in tonight's episode, of course I had to see that. I do always watch The Orville, and this week's was great, though I will be sad if a certain character doesn't see the error of his ways. From the US Botanic Garden last weekend:

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Poem for Thursday and February Snow

The Snow That Never Drifts
By Emily Dickinson

The Snow that never drifts —
The transient, fragrant snow
That comes a single time a Year
Is softly driving now —

So thorough in the Tree
At night beneath the star
That it was February’s Foot
Experience would swear —

Like Winter as a Face
We stern and former knew
Repaired of all but Loneliness
By Nature’s Alibi —

Were every storm so spice
The Value could not be —
We buy with contrast — Pang is good
As near as memory —


There were a couple of inches of snow on the ground when we woke up, and although we only got about four inches total, we had snow falling most of the daylight hours. Since everything in the area was closed, I didn't get any further than a quarter of a mile from my house. Paul worked from home and we watched Endeavour together in the afternoon.

We had soup for lunch and veggie burgers for dinner because it seemed like that kind of a day, and in the evening we watched the penultimate episode of this season of The Masked Singer, in which it turned out everyone was right in the first place about one person. Because I never got out and was boring, this is all I have to show for my Wednesday:

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Poem for Wednesday and Hanover Shoe Farms

At Grass
By Philip Larkin

The eye can hardly pick them out
From the cold shade they shelter in,
Till wind distresses tail and main;
Then one crops grass, and moves about
- The other seeming to look on -
And stands anonymous again

Yet fifteen years ago, perhaps
Two dozen distances surficed
To fable them : faint afternoons
Of Cups and Stakes and Handicaps,
Whereby their names were artificed
To inlay faded, classic Junes -

Silks at the start: against the sky
Numbers and parasols: outside,
Squadrons of empty cars, and heat,
And littered grass: then the long cry
Hanging unhushed till it subside
To stop-press columns on the street.

Do memories plague their ears like flies?
They shake their heads. Dusk brims the shadows.
Summer by summer all stole away,
The starting-gates, the crowd and cries -
All but the unmolesting meadows.
Almanacked, their names live; they

Have slipped their names, and stand at ease,
Or gallop for what must be joy,
And not a fieldglass sees them home,
Or curious stop-watch prophesies:
Only the grooms, and the grooms boy,
With bridles in the evening come.


We woke on Tuesday to warnings about snow starting by midnight, which got more dramatic over the course of the day. One by one, closings were announced for Wednesday -- our local schools, the rec centers, the University of Maryland, Paul's office. So I reluctantly postponed my Wednesday lunch plans with the mother of one of Adam's best friends and went out to get things done that I won't be able to do if I can't drive out of the neighborhood, including taking a walk in the park, where I ran into Pokemon friends.

We had leftover Thai food for dinner before The Gifted, which has been great this season, partly because it's a very good cast but partly because it's such a short season that the storylines don't drag and the CW could take a lesson from that for its superhero shows. Then we watched Miracle Workers, in which God a.k.a. Steve Buscemi gives Bill Maher what he deserves and ridiculous problems afflict Daniel Radcliffe. From Hanover Shoe Farms on Sunday with my in-laws, here are some of the mares and foals we got to meet:

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Poem for Tuesday, Afternoon in DC, Crooked House

Songs of Innocence: Laughing Song
By William Blake

When the trees do laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;
When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
When the greenwood laughs with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by,
When Edessa and Lyca and Emilie
With their sweet round mouths sing 'Ha, Ha, He!'

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread,
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of 'Ha, Ha, He!'


On Monday Paul and I went downtown with Alice and Jeremy and their son, starting at the US Botanical Garden which is glorious with flowers in this winter season, then stopping at the Air and Space Museum before crossing the mall for lunch at the National Gallery of Art -- where, truth be told we spent more time trading Pokemon and looking in the gift shop than admiring art -- but it was great to spend an afternoon with all of them, which none of our schedules has permitted in a while!

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We stopped at Giant for toilet paper, laundry detergent, and fresh crusty bread on the way home, so we could have hollandaise chick'n with crusty bread and butter for dinner while doing laundry. We have too much Valentine's Day candy still in the house! After dinner we watched Crooked House, which I knew nothing about besides Agatha Christie and Gillian Anderson, so there were a lot of fun casting surprises, but the ending was much darker than I was expecting. At least there are flowers outside!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Poem for Monday, Baby Horses, Utz Factory, Sunday TV

Astrophil and Stella 41: Having This Day My Horse, My Hand, My Lance
By Sir Philip Sidney

Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance
Guided so well that I obtain'd the prize,
Both by the judgment of the English eyes
And of some sent from that sweet enemy France;
Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance,
Town folks my strength; a daintier judge applies
His praise to sleight which from good use doth rise;
Some lucky wits impute it but to chance;
Others, because of both sides I do take
My blood from them who did excel in this,
Think Nature me a man of arms did make.
How far they shot awry! The true cause is,
Stella look'd on, and from her heav'nly face
Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.


We spent Sunday afternoon in Hanover with Paul's parents, taking Adam and Katherine with us. We went to lunch at the Hibachi Buffet, then drove to Hanover Shoe Farms, where we saw several mares with foals and many more horses out galloping in the fields. On the way back to Clair and Cinda's house, we stopped at the Utz Factory Store, where we got discount chips and chocolate covered pretzels. Then we celebrated Clair's birthday a day early at their house before leaving just as the sleet began to fall.

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Near home, at least, we've only had rain. Adam and Katherine had too much homework to finish to have dinner with us (UMCP has classes on President's Day), so we had late sandwiches while watching Supergirl (yay Nia), Victoria (so many layers of ahistorical tripe and dramatic hyperbole), and Madam Secretary (a bit contrived as well, but without the aristocracy-adoring, empire-excusing stuff). Now we're watching John Oliver's breakdown of impending Brexit scenarios, each of which seems worse than the previous one.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Poem for Sunday and Gaithersburg Gaming

Apology for Apostasy?
By Etheridge Knight

Soft songs, like birds, die in poison air
So my song cannot now be candy.
Anger rots the oak and elm; roses are rare,
Seldom seen through blind despair.

And my murmur cannot be heard
Above the din and damn. The night is full
Of buggers and bastards; no moon or stars
Light the sky. And my candy is deferred

Till peacetime, when my voice shall be light,
Like down, lilting in the air; then shall I
Sing of beaches, white in the magic sun,
And of moons and maidens at midnight.


I had a nice busy Saturday in Gaithersburg, starting with lunch with Karen at Thai House, which Paul and I had not been to before; we had green curry and tofu with peanut sauce, and they were both fantastic, plus I got to see Karen. Then we went to Washingtonian, where we stopped in Kohl's for men's shirts and women's Skechers on a huge sale.

Then we walked around the lake along with throngs of gamers for Pokemon Go Community Day, at which I caught many Swinub including several shinies and evolved several Mamoswine. Adam (who does not play) and Katherine (who does play) came and met us at Starbucks and we walked around the lake again with them so we could catch more shinies.

After walking for hours, we went to BGR for dinner and Lilly Magilly's for dessert, though I was too full for cupcakes. Afterward, Adam and Katherine went back to College Park and Paul and I came home to watch some Endeavour and the excellent, very depressing movie Apostasy, about a single mother and her daughters and their experiences as Jehovah's Witnesses.

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