Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Poem for Tuesday and Squirrel Feast

To A City-Park Squirrel
By Amos Russel Wells

Dear little exile from woodlands dear,
How can you keep your wilderness grace,
How can you bound so merrily here,
Shut in this narrow and formal place?

Still your fancies are forest-free,
Still as gallant you swing and glide
From dusty tree to skeleton tree
As once you roamed through the woodlands wide.

Surely you must, on a witching night,
Flee from the prisoning haunts of men,
Over the housetops take your flight,
And bathe yourself in the woods again!


Monday was a Monday -- things that had to get done, laundry, a new fuzzy heated blanket on the couch that made the cats suspicious until they started fighting over it. The weather was gorgeous and Paul had a conference call in the late afternoon so we took a walk early, where we saw lots of squirrels and sparrows and one bunny hiding under a neighbor's bush. Also, this happened to what's left of our jack-o-lantern. 









There was mixed good news -- terrible coronavirus numbers and my governor being half-assed about shutting things down, but everyone besides Trump has finally declared it over, which will make it harder for him to start a war to stay in office and Biden has the makings of a cabinet. We watched Antiques Roadshow, then the second half of the Bucs-Rams game, and now The Fate of the Furious is destroying my remaining brain cells.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Greetings from South Mountain Farms

The weather was gorgeous on Sunday, so after a late breakfast/early lunch, we decided to go to Caprikorn Farms, which is usually part of the Valley Craft Network tour around Middletown, though most of the artisans are online-only right now. The blacksmith from Penguin Forge was at Caprikorn Farms, but our main reason for visiting was to see (and feed!) the goats and get goat cheese. Since we were out in the hills, we stopped at South Mountain Creamery to see the calves and get some of the holiday ice cream flavors, too.

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I came home to chat with my friends online, then we watched some football and had dinner (the Ravens had already managed to lose to the Titans and the Packers lost to the Colts, boo). We talked to our kids about Skyping with their grandparents on Thanksgiving, watched the end of the Raiders-Chiefs game, and now I'm watching Furious 7 because I got a free copy from linking my Movies Anywhere to Fandango or something and I've never seen any of these films and The Rock is in this digging Taylor Swift and so is Elsa Pataky. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Greetings from Cabin John Park

Our Saturday plans were serially thwarted -- we were going to go to Croydon Creek to hike, but there was an accident that had the road there moving at a crawl, so we turned around to go to Carderock, but construction had part of the road and the parking lot closed, and Great Falls was at capacity, so we wound up taking a walk at Cabin John Park, which by then at least had very few people! It was very nice out, mid-60s, and it was a Pokemon Community Day, so I was catching shiny Magmars all along the creek.

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We had Greek food for dinner with my parents, then came home and watched the rest of The English Game -- I liked the storylines about the unwed mothers and the class conflicts better than the actual football, I'm afraid, and of course Julian Fellowes had to credit all positive developments to the benevolence of aristocrats rather than the hard work of working class people. That was so annoying that I felt less bad about watching Pac-12 football afterward (and the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special again, hahaha!) 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Poem for Saturday and South Mountain Creamery

Self-Portrait as the Changeling
By Halee Kirkwood

           after RenĂ© Auberjonois 

Wet, where all I had longed for

was the determined touch of softness. Wet,

           I watched the solids come and go.

           I counted feet, that ache 

and echo of planets, became 

the prosecutor and defense

           of my own heart, that red-tailed escape

           from the struggle to represent 

the shapes required of love. 

A rose bud, briefcase

           or snarling mutt, pea soup,

           blood blister—I knew hate most 

not as these but in my 

formlessness, poured into a coffee cup 

           my keeper mimicked to sip.

           I could not honey my clay. 

The shape of our star days, 

a hum in the rookery of birds

           I'd know, and never be.

           And when I found my people— 

when my people meddled 

with me—they opened a hole

           to home in the punch-clock

           of deep space I was destined 

to fall through. 


Kirkwood told Poets.org about being drawn to Odo from Deep Space Nine because he "can mimic the shape of just about anything, yet struggles to become an entity unto himself" and "when he finally finds the homeworld he longs for, he must reckon with his people’s tyranny and hostility towards those he loves," an experience familiar "concerning queerness and mixed-raceness, of a hometown that doesn't love you back and which you can't resist returning to." 

Friday was warmer than the past few days and really smelled like fall, probably because the neighborhood service people were vacuuming up the leaves on the street. I goofed off most of the morning reading SPN finale reactions online, which is pretty silly considering how little I've seen of the show (though today at Jessica's suggestion I did watch the Groundhog Day episode "Mystery Spot" which is pretty great). We took a walk to enjoy the weather, I caught a shiny Sandshrew, and we had poutine and veggie sausage for dinner, which was great. 

Evening TV started with The Mandalorian, which finally has some momentum, then The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, which starts slow and juvenile but then turns into one of the most fun things I have ever seen; it's like Robot Chicken wrote a Star Wars script with Red Letter Media and the execs at Disney and Warner Animation agreed to film it! I don't want to spoil anything but one cameo is funnier than the next! Afterwards, we put on The Princess Switch: Switched Again, which I found only bearable when Evil Vanessa Hudgens was onscreen! South Mountain cows:


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Friday, November 20, 2020

Lyrics for Friday and Mary in Emmitsburg

Brothers in Arms
By Mark Knopfler

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home was the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptism of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As a battle raged high
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

So many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We are fools to make war
On our brothers in arms


That song goes with The Crown this week as well as SPN. My Thursday was pretty quiet. I spent most of the morning upstairs, sorting clothes that need to be given away, putting away laundry, and organizing various things. We didn't have lunch till about 2. Apart from a walk in the woods, most of the rest of my day was fannish, which was a fun flashback to days of yore. I watched the pretty mediocre Voyager episode "Emanations" with my rewatch group, meeting Thursday this week because someone had a Tuesday conflict. 

Then I watched the Supernatural finale, which seemed pretty terrible to me, although since I've seen maybe 8 episodes of the show's 15 seasons, I'm not really entitled to an opinion. I have watched the convention episode, the fan fiction musical, the "stuck in TV genre shows" episode, the Dean-and-Sam-switch-with-Jensen-and-Jared episode, which are some of the most fun TV ever, and after the finale we tracked down the "Scoobynatural" animated crossover episode, which is magnificent. Some Marys at the Emmitsburg Grotto of Lourdes: 









Thursday, November 19, 2020

Poem for Thursday and Hadley's Park

Twice a Week the Winter Thorough
By A.E. Housman

Twice a week the winter thorough    
Here stood I to keep the goal:    
Football then was fighting sorrow    
For the young man’s soul.    
Now in Maytime to the wicket
Out I march with bat and pad:    
See the son of grief at cricket    
Trying to be glad.    
Try I will; no harm in trying:    
Wonder ’tis how little mirth
Keeps the bones of man from lying    
On the bed of earth.


We woke to temperatures in the 30s on Wednesday and because of the wind chill it never got much warmer. I took a walk in the morning to a gym to do a Pokemon raid, then I was on Zoom for an hour and a half with my high school friends before lunch. The afternoon was not exciting, a bunch of chores, though we took a walk to enjoy the crisp air (chipmunks hibernating, bunnies hiding, squirrels trying to steal food). My favorite story of the day was the tiny owl found and rescued from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to a wildlife sanctuary.

We did not watch any of the NBA draft, though we did hear about it via Google. I was looking up the draft because of The Masked Singer -- coincidence? At the recommendations of one of my friends, we started watching The English Game, which I had thought was more about the history of English football and less about the social upheaval of the era. It has an awful lot of Julian Fellowes' worship of the myth of the benevolent aristocrat who fixes all social ills, but also a lot of interesting women, so we'll stick with it. Fall color at Hadley's Park plus a squirrel:






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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Greetings from Fake Britain

Rushing after long written conversation with a friend. We had a pretty, chilly Tuesday, much of which we spent bingeing the rest of this season's episodes of The Crown, though we did take a break to walk in the woods and see the gorgeous sunset. Now I'm wondering whether I would have liked The Crown better if we'd spread it out or whether it just would have been less concentrated dislike. I was apparently defriended by a British acquaintance for having opinions on Netflix's real person fiction about the royals, which feels strange mostly because I suspect that if I cared about the Queen as a head of state, I'd be a lot more pissed off at the series writers, though maybe it feels different to younger people who don't remember the real events on which this season is based. 

Charles goes from being merely spineless and selfish to pathetic and incompetent -- it is impossible to hope that this character will be king one day, it's as if the series writers want us to hope his mother outlives him. It's not as simple as generating sympathy for Diana, because even the Queen can't do that; she can show much more sympathy and offer comfort to her dogs and a stranger invading her bedroom (and that equally selfish, whiny little shit Andrew -- the show's silence about his marriage to Sarah Ferguson, which in the real world seems to have been weirdly successful despite their long-ago divorce, serves to prove that Andrew-on-the-show is right that he could do pretty much anything and no one would care since he's too far out of line for the throne). 

Even if you think Diana was a gold-digging bimbo, it's hard to argue that her work with AIDS patients wasn't deeply felt and influential, but the show spends a lot of time suggesting it was just her hunger for attention she wasn't getting from her husband. Plus there's a lot of ambivalence about Thatcher, whom I was instructed for years to admire her for shattering glass ceilings, and being American and in high school during the Falklands War and my earliest understanding of the South Africa situation, I wasn't sure I was supposed to judge British post-colonial policy, so since I hardly knew about her domestic policies, I found her preferable to Reagan at least. At least she's not a perpetual cipher like the Queen. I feel like she deserves better most of all. Around Lake Needwood: 



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