Friday, September 30, 2005

Poem for Friday

By Thomas Hood

She stood breast-high amid the corn,
Clasp'd by the golden light of morn,
Like the sweetheart of the sun,
Who many a glowing kiss had won.

On her cheek an autumn flush,
Deeply ripen'd; such a blush
In the midst of brown was born,
Like red poppies grown with corn.

Round her eyes her tresses fell,
Which were blackest none could tell,
But long lashes veil'd a light,
That had else been all too bright.

And her hat, with shady brim,
Made her tressy forehead dim;
Thus she stood amid the stooks,
Praising God with sweetest looks:

Sure, I said, Heav'n did not mean,
Where I reap thou shouldst but glean,
Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
Share my harvest and my home.


I was really tempted to post "Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November..." When the highlight of your day is running out to CVS to get Motrin Sinus because you have discovered that the package in your bathroom cabinet has expired and finishing drafts of two stories with your partner in crime, it means that you have very little to post about. I suppose I could talk about the things I did not do today, like go see The Greatest Game Ever Played for which I had a pass, because screens looked blurry and I was afraid of giving my cold. The only other excitement was younger son forgetting his violin on a day when he has instrumental music at school, and me not discovering he left it in the downstairs bathroom until it was too late, but apparently the teacher let him play the full-size violin and everything was all right.

I did watch the season premiere of Smallville, which was okay despite far too little Lionel and Lex and far, far too much Lana. I see that Kristin Kreuk did not take acting lessons over the hiatus. I really have no objection to Lana in principle, but between her terrible dialogue and her inability to convey believable physical pain, it's really not fun to watch her so much of the time. I did love the Clark and Chloe hospital scene, I'm happy to have Lois as a regular, I always like scenes that remind me of the Christopher Reeve movies, but, you know, if there is never another scene involving Martha or Jonathan being in the hospital there will still have been too many on this series.

And I watched "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" which I need to review tomorrow -- one of the wonderful first season formula original series episodes, with some magnificent McCoy ranting and Spock's agreeing with Captain Christopher that he never believed in little green men. (And ha, look at the icon gave me! She has an Alan Rickman version and I said there had to be a Spock version.) My kids watched with me and we were howling at the horrible special effects, how half the Enterprise nacelles disappear against the blue screen when the ship is leaving Earth's atmosphere, and it still holds up better than, well, Smallville. Original Trek is just so damn good.

Big bright balls.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Poem for Thursday

The Unsaid
By Stephen Dunn

One night they both needed different things
of a similar kind; she, solace; he, to be consoled.
So after a wine-deepened dinner
when they arrived at their house seperately
in the same car, each already had been failing
the other with what seemed
an unbearable delay of what felt due.
What solace meant to her was being understood
so well you'd give it to her before she asked.
To him, consolation was a network
of agreements: say what you will
as long as you acknowledge what I mean.
In the bedroom they undressed and dressed
and got into bed. The silence was what fills
a tunnel after a locomotive passes through.
Days later the one most needy finally spoke.
"What's on TV tonight?" he said this time,
and she answered, and they were okay again.
Each, forever, would remember the failure
to give solace, the failure to be consoled.
And many, many future nights
would find them turning to their respective sides
of the bed, terribly awake and twisting up
the covers, or, just as likely, moving closer
and sleeping forgetfully the night long.


Am still sick and cranky. Kids had a half day of school, which meant I had an insane morning trying to get three articles done, which means I had not even taken a shower by the time they arrived. Once they were here, younger son and a friend found this:

I am not at all sure what kind of caterpillar this is but I believe it becomes a great big yellowish moth.

This one was quite slow and I am not sure whether that's because it's so late in the season or if it's getting ready to make itself a chrysalis and the kids interrupted it.

They put it in this bug jar along with plenty of sticks and greens.

And it lived happily in the bug jar through the afternoon while we went to the mall to get a new watch for older son, whose has been an hour behind since daylight savings started and he discovered that the time adjustment button did not work, but he refused to replace the old one because he was attached to it. My kids tend to get very, very attached to things. When evening came and it was time to let the giant caterpillar go, younger son became disconsolate. (I need to add that the reason we have gerbils now is that we previously had a hamster that we got as consolation for older son having had to let a caterpillar go under similar circumstances, and we have a second cat because the SPCA was in front of the pet store with kittens when we went to get said gerbil a new water bottle.)

Anyway, I have just come off a long night of having to remind younger son that the caterpillar would die in the bug jar and is now free to seek a life of religious fulfillment or at least to spin a chrysalis and turn into a giant moth, which we will hopefully see banging into our window soon like this one. I spent the past hour chilling out watching Rome, which had less nudity but the usual fun sexual shenanigans and a lot of very nauseating violence. Very glad I am watching this on the small screen. Max Pirkis has grown up unnervingly since Master and Commander.

I also tried to watch Veronica Mars in and around the caterpillar hysteria, but all I managed to glean was that she's with the guy I hoped she'd end up with, the guy I couldn't stand is justifying my loathing and I don't like Charisma Carpenter any better here than on any other show I've ever seen her on. This one may not be long for my regular viewing list, as I really need Wednesday nights to watch Star Trek episodes so I can review them Fridays. Oh, but I want to go downtown and see Mrs. Peel's leather pants. I still owe lots of comments and e-mails; apologies again. When my head is not so stuffed that I can't see properly I will do something about that.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Poem for Wednesday

Offering And Rebuff
By Carl Sandburg

I could love you
as dry roots love rain.
I could hold you
as branches in the wind
brandish petals.
Forgive me for speaking so soon.

    Let your heart look
    on white sea spray
    and be lonely.

    Love is a fool star.

    You and a ring of stars
    may mention my name
    and then forget me.

    Love is a fool star.


Yeah, sorry I was griping yesterday, I was getting a cold on top of female trouble and have spent all day fighting off a headache and cramps with only moderate success. I took a walk in the woods in the morning in this gorgeous weather and couldn't even really enjoy that. It did inspire me to move around the music on my MP3 player, though, which finally inspired me to burn all my M4Ps from iTunes to music discs and then rip them so I can play them as MP3s. Fortunately there weren't too many.

The news just said DC has the highest gas prices in the nation. It's too soon for me to be able to tell whether Commander in Chief is any good -- had a sort of gimmicky first script, though the cast is great -- but I will take Geena Davis as my president right now. It's interesting that they didn't want to make her a Republican, even a liberal one, despite their being two Democratic presidents on TV series now -- I wish there were a Republican in the race who'd actually choose an independent running mate! Also watched Boston Legal because it was there. I enjoy seeing Boston. And The Shatner. And Spader, whom I have always run either very hot or very cold on (loved him in Sex, Lies and Videotape; hated him in pretty much everything else I ever saw him in, even that John Cusack politics movie). Tried to update my tags while watching but TV is distracting.

I owe lots of comments and e-mails but at the moment I just suck. Am sure I had something important to say -- well, not really important, as I am keeping my mouth shut about politics since I am just not up for an argument right now, though I am really glad Ms. Intelligent Design unfriended me before I had to unfriend her -- but other than having found an online recording of Alan Rickman singing an incredibly silly song, I can't think what it could have been, because that wasn't it. Shall attempt to do better tomorrow and write shorter sentences too. Tonight, for :

My son takes fencing in the cafeteria of a nearby middle school. Apparently someone decided to discard a lunchtime canned peach slice between the blinds and the window, for some reason. By the time we arrived for fencing, this was the view from outside the window.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Poem for Tuesday

The Shyness
By Sharon Olds

Then, when we were joined, I became
shyer. I became completed, joyful,
and shyer. I may have shone more, reflected
more, and from deep inside there rose
some glow passing steadily through me, but I was not
playing, now, I felt a little like someone
small, in a raftered church, or in
a cathedral, the vaulted spaces of the body
like a sacred woods. I was quiet when my throat was not
making those iron, orbital, rusted,
coming noises at the hinge of matter and
whatever is not matter. He takes me into
ending after ending like another world at the
center of this one, and then, if he begins to
end when I am resting I feel awe, I almost feel
fear, sometimes for a moment I feel
I should not move, or make a sound, as
if he is alone, now,
howling in the wilderness,
and yet I know we are in this place
together. I thought, now is the moment
I could become more loving, and my hands moved shyly
over him, secret as heaven,
and my mouth spoke, and in my beloved’s
voice, by the bones of my head, the fields
groaned, and then I joined him again,
not shy, not bold, released, entering
the true home, where the trees bend down along the
ground and yet stand, then we lay together
panting, as if saved from some disaster, and for ceaseless
instants, it came to pass what I have
heard about, it came to me
that I did not know I was separate
from this man, I did not know I was lonely.


Monday was my older son's birthday so in the morning I...why am I explaining this when I got maybe three comments after saying my younger son had come home early from school because he'd hit his head? You're here for fannish stuff and maybe pictures or poetry. Unfortunately I don't really have any fannish stuff at the moment, as I'm not watching any Monday night shows and I didn't have any time to read today.

I didn't even manage to transcribe the Marina Sirtis-LeVar Burton interview I was supposed to do for TrekToday. There is something wrong when I am living in dread of having to sit through one more Sirtis interview, and the prospect of trying to dredge some new information out of yet another Connor Trinneer interview is making me want to run screaming. My editor was trying to be nice and said I could do the interviews in two parts but there is just not enough interesting material for two articles, I don't think! Perhaps I am just cynical, since there seems to be enough for ten Shatner articles a month.

I have been doing this for too damn long. All of this. The fortune in my fortune cookie at the Chinese buffet tonight said I would soon be in a new line of work. Am thinking these days I could write ad copy and feel like less of a sellout than I do as a professional science fiction fan, particularly since I am barely even a fan nowadays. Then again I am not even sure who I am actually talking to here, either...

Got new live October Project CDs with some of the songs we heard them do in Philadelphia and Vienna that aren't out on a studio album yet. Having survived an evening of fencing lessons, Skies of Arcadia and Furby, I'm going to listen, because this is a very awesome thing. Yes, I am getting my period -- what makes you ask?

Bunny on a leash at Rock Creek Park Day. This is the first time I've ever seen anyone walking a rabbit outside of a backyard or a county fair.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Poem for Monday

The Most of It
By Robert Frost

He thought he kept the universe alone;
For all the voice in answer he could wake
Was but the mocking echo of his own
From some tree-hidden cliff across the lake.
Some morning from the boulder-broken beach
He would cry out on life, that what it wants
Is not its own love back in copy speech,
But counter-love, original response.
And nothing ever came of what he cried
Unless it was the embodiment that crashed
In the cliff's talus on the other side,
And then in the far distant water splashed,
But after a time allowed for it to swim,
Instead of proving human when it neared
And someone else additional to him,
As a great buck it powerfully appeared,
Pushing the crumpled water up ahead,
And landed pouring like a waterfall,
And stumbled through the rocks with horny tread,
And forced the underbrush--and that was all.


Another from Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World on nature poetry. "Robert Frost looking at a woodpile or watching a buck swim toward him across a lake is not the same as Keats hearing a nightingale or Wordsworth regarding a waterfall," notes critic Robert Pinsky. "Frost deals directly with [the] question of human meaning and natural being in one of his greatest poems...the last phrase has two opposite meanings: that was the All, and that's all there was." Pinsky adds, "the difference between nature and humanity is made haunting yet distinct -- partly by entertaining fictional similarities between the two."

Had a family-oriented Sunday. Wrote my articles early while the kids had Hebrew school. Then they had a friend over at lunchtime, my in-laws came, younger son had soccer practice, and afterward we all went to my parents' house for an early celebration of my older son's birthday which is Monday. Son received a used copy of Skies of Arcadia for the GameCube which he desperately wanted, as well as gift certificates to the local card store to get the Magic deck he wants. Plus, you know, books and stuff, but the games are what he was excited about. And younger son was given some money from his grandparents which combined with all the money he has saved over the past several weeks was enough to reimburse me for his Furby, which he now has and is not even jealous about older son's birthday. So peace reigns. Gee, twelve years ago right about now I was in labor...

My only other news involves trying to help my cousin get her father's files off his six-year-old Macintosh that he hasn't turned on for three years and that apparently has a near-defunct mouse, pretending to be interested in the outcome of the Patriots game, finishing even crazier crackfic than the last crackfic and watching Desperate Housewives, which must also be like crack because I don't even like it but I can't seem not to watch it. We completely lost track of the time while at my parents and missed The West Wing season premiere and I am absolutely kicking myself for not having set the VCR much earlier in the day; we knew Rome would rerun so I'm not worried about that one, but TWW probably won't replay the opener till mid-season reruns start! Woe! (Anyone local reading this, if you happened to tape/TiVo it, can I trade you favors...?)

Here are some more photos from Rock Creek Park Day, this time some of the critters brought by Reptiles Alive for the 115th birthday festival. More turtles for you, !

This is actually an amphibian, but none of the audience for Reptiles Alive seemed to mind, as it did lots of jumping in its carrier.

A painted turtle got some show time. Note the other turtles in the carriers and the really cool big bullfrog, too.

Afterward the kids mobbed the carriers to see the animals inside.

Park rangers admired the "bracelet" worn by the Reptiles Alive speaker...

...before it slithered up her chest and beneath her ponytail to become a necklace.

Inside the nature center after the shows, we also met one of the permanent residents. Rock Creek Park has many such specimens living in the surrounding woods.

You all may have noticed that underwent some overhauling this weekend. Since the archive is down, offered to put all fic in the community into its memories so people could find it, and I switched it from S1 to S2 so that we could have links on the main page. If anyone has layout suggestions, archive suggestions, link suggestions or other suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Poem for Sunday

The Hawthorn Tree
By Louise Gl├╝ck

Side by side, not
hand in hand: I watch you
walking in the summer garden--things
that can't move
learn to see; I do not need
to chase you through
the garden; human beings leave
signs of feeling
everywhere, flowers
scattered on the dirt path, all
white and gold, some
lifted a little by
the evening wind; I do not need
to follow where you are now,
deep in the poisonous field, to know
the cause of your flight, human
passion or rage: for what else
would you let drop
all you have gathered?


From Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World, this week on nature poetry. "Someone has asked me if contemporary poets write nature poetry," writes Robert Pinsky. "I suppose it depends on what you mean by the term 'nature.'" He calls the poem above "a model not only of narrative economy, but also of respect for the natural object. Even though the tree is made to speak, in some essential way it survives as a tree, not a mere puppet for the writer. The tree is tall enough to see, it is aware of its immobility, it views the field beyond the garden as poisonous, and human behavior as destructive as well as transparent...'Gathered' is a word that sometimes means 'understood,' and that seems to be part of the point here. Nature is itself and other; understood in a way morally but in another way not moralized, not contorted into a symbol."

Despite the bump on his head, my younger son seemed well enough (and wanted) to play soccer, so this morning he had a game, then we took awhile getting organized and decided not to drive the hour and a half to the Patuxent River War of 1812 reenactment. We thought about going to the Iraq war protest downtown but chickened out on the transportation situation and went instead to Rock Creek Park Day at Rock Creek National Park, a big park within DC that encompasses a nature center, planetarium, stables, hiking trails, gardens and a Civil War fort. We stayed in the vicinity of the former since that was where most of the activities were and we were particularly interested in seeing Reptiles Alive and the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia, which had brought snakes, turtles, frogs & toads and falcons, hawks & owls respectively to the park's 115th birthday festival.

There was also a climbing wall and a local fitness group was giving out stepometers, which pleased the kids. In the evening they were planning astronomy programs on using the night sky as an Underground Railroad compass and a look at Andromeda, but the skies were overcast so we didn't stick around. The Reptiles Alive show was targeted more for younger children than ours, though ours are always happy to see snakes, toads and turtles even when the woman in charge is encouraging everyone to say "EWWW!" when she announces what some of them eat, but the kids were particularly excited by the raptors which we saw among a very small group of people because the guy in charge was rather dry and talking much more for the adults in the audience than the kids. The Raptor Conservancy's traveling birds are all disabled, which is why they are kept in captivity, and the great horned owl is under the impression that the speaker is her significant other, and it was fascinating to see them up close. It was a very gray, drizzly day and I was not all that close to the birds and using my little camera to avoid getting the big one wet, so all these pictures had to be photoshopped to brighten them and they still need work...

This is Smoke, a screech owl nearly blinded in a car accident. The speaker said that he does not realize he is only a little bitty owl and tends to posture and play to crowds.

Here he is from a distance to put his size into perspective. This is as big as he's going to get.

Big Girl, a red-tailed hawk who is also nearly blind after a car accident.

Hipster, a barred owl whose hip was crushed in a car accident.

Nipper, a kestrel. This bird has permanent damage to its wings after being hit by a car.

I didn't catch the name, but this is a female great horned owl that had been kept as a pet and released into the wild. She was then found trying to steal hot dogs from children. She is considered unsafe for release, as she wants nothing to do with other owls and gets close enough to human civilization to do serious damage to people with her very strong talons.

Another bird whose name I didn't catch, this broad-winged hawk is yet another accident victim. He is newer to "public speaking" and was somewhat skittish, trying to flap away, so I didn't use a flash, hence all the photos are blurry.

Sunday is Hebrew school and soccer practice and in the afternoon my in-laws are coming to celebrate older son's birthday a day early, so I will be running around a lot of the day. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend, and calmer now that Rita is ashore.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Poem for Saturday

By Kahlil Gibran

Let us go and gather grapes in the vineyard
For the winepress, and keep the wine in old
Vases, as the spirit keeps Knowledge of the
Ages in eternal vessels.

Let us return to our dwelling, for the wind has
Caused the yellow leaves to fall and shroud the
Withering flowers that whisper elegy to Summer.
Come home, my eternal sweetheart, for the birds
Have made pilgrimage to warmth and lest the chilled
Prairies suffering pangs of solitude. The jasmine
And myrtle have no more tears.

Let us retreat, for the tired brook has
Ceased its song; and the bubblesome springs
Are drained of their copious weeping; and
Their cautious old hills have stored away
Their colourful garments.

Come, my beloved; Nature is justly weary
And is bidding her enthusiasm farewell
With quiet and contented melody.


My quiet morning was interrupted by a call from my son's elementary school to tell me he had fallen off a jungle gym, hit his head on a bottom rung and had an enormous bump on his head. Of course I rushed over to pick him up, called the doctor and watched for signs of concussion...and mostly saw signs of a bored kid being encouraged to lie down and avoid yammering when that was what he wanted to do. He has a horrible purple bruise on his forehead and another lump under his hair, but no nausea, no headache beyond the spots that were injured and we are supposed to wake him up every few hours tonight just to make sure he doesn't lose consciousness.

I had to bore poor at lunchtime; she was going to come over for a spot of mischief but since I had a child in the room we had to settle for gossip and her report on A History of Violence which she saw at a sneak preview. Do I like Viggo enough to get over my general aversion to Cronenberg's particular forms of violence? I can't decide, but I think I will put Flight Plan and The Corpse Bride higher on my to-view list, anyway. Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra's performance at the Tacoma Park Folk Festival was on local TV in the late afternoon so my kids and I watched that, then we had Shabbat dinner with my parents, then we came home and watched Threshold which remains entertaining and rather X-Files-ish and Molly so should do it with Cavanaugh. In and around all this I wrote a possibly-not-very-coherent review of "Arena".

Given this excitement, we are going to forego the Renaissance Faire tomorrow as it's a long way from home, and as we are going to have a long day Sunday with Hebrew school, soccer and my in-laws coming to visit for my older son's birthday on Monday. If son is feeling up to it we may go to a War of 1812 reenactment and accompanying craft fair; if son is not feeling up to it we may go to the movies or something quiet. The only thing he wants is to watch the new Furby movie on TV tomorrow morning!

A heron on the rocks at Great Falls in the C&O Canal National Park trying to catch fish in the rather low waters of the Potomac River last weekend.

Despite the relatively low water mark, parts of the falls were still flowing more freely than they were last year when they were blocked by debris left over from Hurricane Isabel.

Here is the bridge from which that photo was taken, seen from the path down the hillside near the towpath. Again, compare to last year when it was completely dry beneath!

But here you can see how many very dry rocks there are. This is how it looks in a stormy season.

Because the river is so low, shells (mostly Asian invaders) and leaves have been left high and dry among the rocks.

The park service at the Virginia side of Great Falls National Park has finally finished rebuilding its overlooks. You can see the leaves just beginning to change.

: Name 5 shows you're watching in the new television season.
1. Threshold
2. Commander in Chief
3. The West Wing
4. Smallville (still)
5. Veronica Mars (still)
All subject to change if any of them start or continue to suck.

: Sell your soul for complete control.
1. What kind of lighting is around you?
A candle, a torchiere lamp and a ceiling light that isn't on.
2. What do you think of your singing voice? It's awful. My ear is pretty good, so I know I can't reproduce the notes.
3. Who do you try to please? Myself, my family, some of my friends.
4. Describe your last dream: It involved being in a big fancy bathtub surrounded by flowers where I knew I was supposed to be getting the kids ready to go somewhere but I didn't feel like getting out. (Quick, is the tub a womb or a tomb?)
5. When is the last time you bought flowers? In that dream I suppose...hahahaha! I honestly don't remember. It would probably have been some time when they weren't for me but a gift for someone who was ill etc.

: Fate, conspiracies and sweets.
1. Do you have a dream you will always strive to achieve until your dying day?
2. Do you believe in fate or free will, or something else? Some combination of the two. There are many things within our control and many things not within our control.
3. Marilyn Monroe. Conspiracy or tragic accident? Tragic accident.
4. Favourite childhood sweets/candy? Mounds Bars and Junior Mints.
5. Favourite cocktail (alcoholic or virgin) and its ingredients? Depending on whether I'm drinking alone or in company and with or without food, very weak pina colada (watered-down rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, very little ice) or a screaming orgasm without the vodka and diluted with milk (Bailey's Irish Cream, Amaretto, Kahlua).

While I have you back here where my children are highly unlikely to look, the archive for , the Aubrey/Maturin fan fiction community, is in urgent need of a new home, as the previous host can no longer afford it the space or bandwidth. There are more details in this post. I can't offer to host it as I don't have the space and I am trying to get all fan fiction off my personal domain anyway, but I wondered whether anyone here knew where the archive might find a permanent home -- it's not very large and the fandom is relatively small, so this wouldn't be like hosting an archive for a big Harry Potter pairing! And you would be doing O'Brian slash fans a very great service!

And speaking of fic, I must recommend that Lupin/Snape fans go look up , whose wonderful Lupin stories I have been beta reading, which has been pure pleasure.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Poem for Friday

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When descends on the Atlantic
    The gigantic
Storm-wind of the equinox,
Landward in his wrath he scourges
    The toiling surges,
Laden with seaweed from the rocks:

From Bermuda's reefs; from edges
    Of sunken ledges,
In some far-off, bright Azore;
From Bahama, and the dashing,
Surges of San Salvador;

From the tumbling surf, that buries
    The Orkneyan skerries,
Answering the hoarse Hebrides;
And from wrecks of ships, and drifting
    Spars, uplifting
On the desolate, rainy seas;—

Ever drifting, drifting, drifting
    On the shifting
Currents of the restless main;
Till in sheltered coves, and reaches
    Of sandy beaches,
All have found repose again.

So when storms of wild emotion
    Strike the ocean
Of the poet's soul, erelong
From each cave and rocky fastness,
    In its vastness,
Floats some fragment of a song:

From the far-off isles enchanted,
    Heaven has planted
With the golden fruit of Truth;
From the flashing surf, whose vision
    Gleams Elysian
In the tropic clime of Youth;

From the strong Will, and the Endeavor
    That forever
Wrestle with the tides of Fate;
From the wreck of Hopes far-scattered,
Floating waste and desolate;—

Ever drifting, drifting, drifting
    On the shifting
Currents of the restless heart;
Till at length in books recorded,
    They, like hoarded
Household words, no more depart.


My Mabon included pumpkin candles and vanilla body lotion which is really all it needed to make me feel like it was fall, despite the temperature. Today in honor of the equinox I took some of the karma coins I have managed to collect (I have never bought anything from but somehow I accumulate these anyway) and had my cards read, just to see what the coming seasons have in store. Here's my reading:'s shorthand reading of this is that I should be a member of a successful team, but I may have to kick my team's ass, I should not wait for them to get things done, I need to start over at something I have never tried before and see what happens, and I need to use my gift for mediation. My reading is that I need to do a better job kicking my own ass, not depend on being part of a team to feel like I'm getting things done, and instead of starting over at things I have never tried before I need to try more publicly at the things I keep private. Now I just wish I knew whether to apply this to family, work, play time or all of the above.

Anyway, I'm tired and feeling completely dorky so instead of an original photo tonight, you all get the Google meme, swiped from various places on my flist of the few that I actually managed to read today in between stupid stuff like organizing the kids' drawers now that the old clothes have been cleaned out. People do spring cleaning, but fall cleaning seems more important to me. In that spirit, in some obscure way that made sense to me twenty minutes ago, here the first pictures brought up by Google Image Search for:

1. The age you will be on your next birthday. (39 on December 11th; this is a T-39.)
T-39. Image hosted by

2. The place you live. (Potomac.)
Potomac River. Image hosted by

3. Your favorite color. (Green. Oh that photo! I should learn to play golf!)
Green. Image hosted by
ETA: Photobucket dumped my naked golfers on the green! Waah!

4. The place you want to get married. (I got married in Washington, DC at a restaurant called Pisces.)
Pisces. Image hosted by

5. Your favorite fruit or vegetable. (Coconut.)
Coconut. Image hosted by

6. Your favorite animal. (Cat. And this one has books which is even better.)
Cat. Image hosted by

7. The last name of your favorite actor or actress. (Fletcher, as in Louise.)
Fletcher. Image hosted by

8. The name of a pet. (Cinnamon. Who is a #6.)
Cinnamon. Image hosted by

9. Your favorite song. (Have many...I went with Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Jubilee.")
Jubilee. Image hosted by

10. A bad habit of yours. (Daydreaming. Two mermaids in one meme, this must mean something!)
Daydreaming. Image hosted by

11. Your middle name. (Erica. Water seems to be a theme here too.)

I did this meme several months ago, and had to put in my first name instead of my middle name, and the first image it brought up was a hurricane. That would be appropriate tonight. Interestingly, I picked the same song (I think I knew better both times than to choose October Project's Return To Me for fear of getting the poster from that David Duchovny movie) and got a completely different image, and then forgot I'd even used it before.

Today would have been my father's mother's 90th birthday had she not passed away shortly after her 70th. I look more like her each year.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Poem for Thursday

After Years
By Ted Kooser

Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer's retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.


Late last night we spent hours and hours sorting and packing things for the National Children's Center hurricane collection and early this morning we put three large moving boxes and eleven large garbage bags of clothes, toys, diaper bags, etc. out for them to collect. This is tiring work and you have to ask yourself questions like is it stupid to save that New York t-shirt that hasn't fit either of your sons in five years just because it has the Twin Towers on it, let alone the ones they made in nursery school with their handprints on them. It is even scarier though when your husband goes through his drawers and finds a pack of brand new bright red briefs at the very bottom that you can only hope his mother gave him for Christmas when you weren't looking or something. *g*

I saw my mother briefly, as she had new sweatclothes for older son and had promised to buy some wrapping paper to support younger son's school but had not looked at the samples yet; I ran out for a couple of shopping chores and remembered it was Jungle Noise Day at California Tortilla, so I went in and made a tiger noise so I could get free chips and salsa with my turkey chili; my whole family watched "Arena" so I can review it Friday, having a great time since we were all at Vasquez Rocks together and have seen them several times in TV episodes recently and it's always fun to watch Shatner push styrofoam rocks off the top; hubby and I watched Rome since we missed this week's episode Sunday so we could watch the Emmys. I really enjoy that series, suspect it has absolutely nothing to do with reality, but it has other virtues such as James Purefoy full frontally stark naked. Mmmyeah!

This C&O Canal barge no longer traverses the waterway as it was damaged by Hurricane Isabel. It has been closed to visitors to Great Falls National Park since then, but this weekend people were allowed to come aboard and try on Colonial clothing.

George Washington conceived of the canal, trying to come up with a business scheme to make the Potomac River navigable. Unfortunately by the time it was finished, the railroads were already making it obsolete.

One of the park officers, in period costume, explains how the lock system works... people watch water fill this one almost completely.

Panels can be opened to let through just a little water at a time instead of opening the gates.

People on the towpath are surrounded by the sounds of waterfalls on both sides.

This really is George Washington week in this journal. Now we are debating whether to go to the Renaissance Festival this weekend with my parents, as it's one of the few times they could go, or whether to go to a War of 1812 re-enactment at Jefferson Patterson Park. Now a giggle for the night: Clinton and Lewinsky condoms! I just want to know whether the Clinton one won't have actual sex but thinks oral sex doesn't count, and whether the Lewinsky one overflows onto your dress. (I just thought of this because Joy Behar said on Bill Maher that George Bush is a liar and she'd like to bring back the blow job...)

Hope everyone in Texas and that part of the Gulf is out and safe with what you need. What a nightmare.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Poem for Wednesday

By Philip Larkin

At one the wind rose,
And with it the noise
Of the black poplars.

Long since had the living
By a thin twine
Been led into their dreams
Where lanterns shine
Under a still veil
Of falling streams;
Long since had the dead
Become untroubled
In the light soil.
There were no mouths
To drink of the wind,
Nor any eyes
To sharpen on the stars'
Wide heaven-holding,
Only the sound
Long sibilant-muscled trees
Were lifting up, the black poplars.

And in their blazing solitude
The stars sang in their sockets through
the night:
'Blow bright, blow bright
The coal of this unquickened world.'


Tuesday morning I had to go back to the dentist to get my bite guard tightened, because I could flick it out of place with my tongue which could be a choking hazard if I did it in my sleep. So now it is even less attractive as it covers more territory on my front teeth, but in case I have forgotten to sing its praises here, I have not been getting headaches and my jaw has stopped popping when I open it widely! I did not ask the dentist whether my tooth enamel looked better -- the main reason he suggested that I get a bite guard was because I was wearing down my molars, he didn't even know I got migraines -- but I assume it must be helping with that too. So that is all good! Then I met for lunch at the place where we were originally going to have lunch last week but I made her postpone till today because I knew I had to be down there for the dentist anyway. I fear I may have lost her to the new BSG along with so many others. I wish it hadn't put me to sleep repeatedly, honest!

And I wish I felt something other than mild amusement when Firefly is on; I enjoy it but it hasn't captured my imagination. I wonder whether something in me now resists all science fiction on the ground that it feels like work watching it...but wait, I really enjoyed Threshold and did not have any "oh crap I'm going to have to do a ratings article on this" sense at all while watching, so that can't be it. I was explaining that for me to watch a show consistently, I have to be completely in love with at least one character but really preferably with the relationships between the characters, and that doesn't happen all that often or all that predictably for me. It worked in several different directions with X-Files, it worked with the supporting players on La Femme Nikita even though I never cared all that passionately whether Michael and Nikita ended up together...oh wait, but then what's my excuse for watching Dawson's Creek? It sure wasn't that I cared whether Joey ended up with Dawson or Pacey!

Okay, trying not to think about Hurricane Rita or the Roberts vote or Wiesenthal's death or the bird flu or even the idiots in the music industry who want to raise iTunes prices -- way to send everyone back to Kazaa and Limewire without guilt! Instead I shall just mention that I want this, because to have a Lego Durmstrang ship would satisfy both my tall ship fetish and my Harry Potter fetish, but sheesh these things are expensive. I can get an entire dress from for that! Oh, and has just tried to kill me by pointing out these Sean Bean pictures at . I believe she may have succeeded. Ah well, some of my photos, which are not as exciting:

The woman in the naturalist's tent catches up on her embroidery.

A churn overflowing with butter. In the same tent, people could take turns turning a millstone to grind wheat.

Mike Johnson, purveyor of fine walking sticks, canes, crutches, peg legs & other fine furniture. He offered to make my son a wooden leg but told him he would have to remove his actual leg to get the measurements right. *g*

Outside the chandler's tent, hand-dipped candles dry...and, in the heat, begin to melt a bit.

In one of the tents occupied by a carpenter, one of the assistants waits to help potential customers with custom-made chairs.

A display of handmade brooms.

And George Washington's cattle. Well, not his cattle -- probably not even descendants of his cattle -- but it's a nice thought. *g*