Sunday, September 30, 2012

Poem for Sunday and Other Counties

cutting greens
By Lucille Clifton

curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black.
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and i taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.


We had a very full and quite delightful Saturday, but it started early for a weekend so this will be quick! We did chore stuff in the morning, then went to meet Kat for lunch -- first time I've seen her outside a Renaissance faire, though I've known her online for nearly eight years -- and we shared Greek food at a place called Dimitri's, then went to Ellicott City, which was unexpectedly very crowded because there was a fall festival going on that the city web site neglected to mention. It was fine, though, because we had to park all the way up near the courthouse, which is also near the Patapsco Female Institute, rumored to be the most haunted buildings in Maryland. The ruins were closed but we walked up to the fence to see them, then walked down into the city, where we did a bit of shopping, heard some of the live music from the festival, and saw all the Halloween decorations!

The wonderful Kat is going to sell me her DSLR (the same Nikon model as my broken one) and lenses, one of which is an ultra telephoto zoom with a much greater focal range than any lens I have ever owned. I cannot begin to say how much I appreciate this! After we took her home, we went to College Park to pick up Daniel, then met my L.A. friend Lynda and her older son for dinner -- Lynda is a good friend originally from Voyager fandom whose family we have visited in California several times, and her son is now living and working about an hour from us, so since she had never been in the D.C. area before, it was a real delight to have her nearby -- then we had to rush home to pick up Adam who had just returned from his cross country meet in North Carolina, where he ran a 5K in 19:04 and got a medal!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Poem for Saturday and Savage Mill

Passing Time
By Maya Angelou

Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk

One paints the beginning
of a certain end.

The other, the end of a
sure beginning.


Friday was somewhat atypical. Adam left early in the morning for the cross country team's trip to North Carolina for an invitational meet. We had thought a couple of days ago that Daniel was coming home this weekend to see out-of-town friends who will be around tomorrow, but it turns out that he has a group project in the afternoon, so we are just picking him up Saturday before dinner. Paul worked from home; I spent the morning watching, then writing a review of Deep Space Nine's "Civil Defense", and we had lunch together. It was a gorgeous day and the deer and bunnies were enjoying the neighbors' late season gardens while I was out walking.

We went to CPK for dinner with my parents, since we had no boys to feed, then we came back home for apple pie. I had discovered that Super 8 was on Amazon Prime and I kept meaning to watch it; I thought I might dislike it because I'm really not a fan of J.J. Abrams, and indeed it had typical Abrams use of female characters (absent mothers, damsels in distress, male angst, Bechdel fail), but the beginning reminded me so much of first season Dawson's Creek when Dawson was making the bad horror movie with Jen, and the end reminded me so much of Close Encounters, and the middle stole so many elements from Matinee that I enjoyed it a lot anyway. Some photos of the Savage Mill ruins:

Orioles: YESSSSS! Nationals: NOOOOOO!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Poem for Friday and Zoo Beavers

Love Song for Love Songs
By Rafael Campo

A golden age of love songs and we still
can't get it right. Does your kiss really taste
like butter cream? To me, the moon's bright face
was neither like a pizza pie nor full;
the Beguine began, but my eyelid twitched.
"No more I love you's," someone else assured
us, pouring out her heart, in love (of course)—
what bothers me the most is that high-pitched,
undone whine of "Why am I so alone?"
Such rueful misery is closer to
the truth, but once you turn the lamp down low,
you must admit that he is still the one,
and baby, baby he makes you so dumb
you sing in the shower at the top of your lungs.


Thursday mostly involved laundry and chores when I wasn't trying to get writing work done. Adam is going to an invitational cross country meet in North Carolina over the weekend, so I realized that I had to get his school logo gear clean, plus towels and the twelve million pairs of socks he wears every week. I was hindered by the massive basement cave cricket invasion -- the temperature drops a few degrees and suddenly they all move in, probably encouraged by all the trees that have been felled since the July storms and the brand new play equipment put up today in the common area behind our house. I am midway through 2009 uploading my life to Flickr, so I should hopefully be done by the end of the year.

Adam was busy packing and talking all night to his girlfriend, so after he disappeared upstairs, we put on the Ravens game with actual NFL officials (yay!), then we half-watched Glee which started during the long injury delay, then we watched Elementary which I enjoyed on pretty much every level except the fact that I wish more mysteries had less to do with dead bodies. I thought the casting was great, liked the pacing of the episode, hope they'll make more of the setting in the future and wouldn't mind some more creative visuals, but was really happy not to have women constantly insulted and Holmes not believe he's God's gift to everything. (If you are one of the Sherlock fans who feels it necessary to run down Elementary just for existing, please take it somewhere else.)

When we saw the beavers at the National Zoo...

...they were so ready to be fed that one was trying to gnaw through a metal door to the keeper's area.

In this regard, they remind me very much of my cats.

They also spent time swimming around with the ducks...

...who seemed miffed at having to get out of the beavers' way, as if the exhibit belonged primarily to them.

Until I saw the beaver IMAX movie I did not realize that beavers vocalized so much.

These two, however, were more interested in swimming up to each other and nudging each other.

And, eventually, they did get fed.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Poem for Thursday and National Zoo Visit

By Peter Gizzi

I've spent my life
in a lone mechanical whine,

this combustion far off.

How fathomless to be
embedded in glacial ice,

what piece of self hiding there.

I am not sure about meaning
but understand the wave.

No more Novalis out loud.

No Juan de la Cruz singing
"I do not die to die."

No solstice, midhaven, midi, nor twilight.

No isn't it amazing, no
none of that.

To crow, to crown, to cry, to crumble.

The trees the air warms into
a bright something

a bluish nothing into

clicks and pops
bursts and percussive runs.

I come with my asymmetries,
my untutored imagination.


my homespun vision
sponsored by the winter sky.

Then someone said nether,
someone whirr.

And if I say the words
will you know them?

Is there world?
Are they still calling it that?


We spent Yom Kippur morning at the National Zoo, which despite sad news last week has a lot of babies this season: we saw the cheetah cubs and fisher cat kittens, and we went to the newly relaunched Meet a Kiwi program, where they're still getting four-year-old Koa used to having strangers around so it's very small groups with no small children at present -- a nice change from the last time when kids were bouncing around and the conversation was mostly at a level targeted toward them (today we got to ask as many questions as we wanted). We also walked the Asia Trail and North American Trail, the latter of which has been renovated with more room for the sea lions. It would have been a very nice morning had I not been stung by a bee while we ate lunch.

I expected the zoo feel more mournful than it did -- there are no public memorials to the baby panda, I think because the zoo is aware that so many small children don't know that it died -- I can't tell you how many parents we walked by telling their children that the panda house was closed because the mommy and baby need to rest. I am not sure how I feel about this; no, you don't want to completely ruin the day at the zoo that you planned for a long time, especially if you traveled to get there, but I'm wondering how many of these parents are assuming their children will forget all about the baby in a month rather than planning to tell them the truth in a couple of days.

The baby cheetahs chased each other around while waiting for their lunchtime feeding.

Though the giant panda house is closed, Tian Tian was out in the yard eating bamboo.

Someone had left a condolence card for the panda keepers.

This elephant was outside eating, spraying water and generally enjoying the beautiful weather.

The fisher cat kittens were curled up sleeping with their mom through the late morning.

The North American otters chased each other while the small-clawed Asian otters slept in a huge otter pile.

Several of the young lions have left the zoo to breed at other zoos, but dad Luke and son John were still together, roaring over the wall at the female lions.

And here is Koa, the kiwi we met, along with both the main kiwi keeper and one who's training to do the Meet a Kiwi events.

We came home so Adam could go running with the cross country team -- he was put on the team for an invitational race this weekend in North Carolina, so he is training hard -- then we drove out to College Park to pick up Daniel so we could go out to dinner for his birthday. He had classes till 6 p.m. and has early classes tomorrow morning, so we couldn't spend a great deal of time there, but we went to IHOP and caught up on the latest computer gaming news -- we will see him again this weekend when we have out of town friends around, and his present has not yet arrived from, so we will continue the celebrations when he has more time! Orioles and Nationals both won, and we liked Downton Abbey S3E2, but it can't beat the Trek guest on The Daily Show.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Poem for Wednesday and Relaxing at Brookside

O servant, where dost thou seek Me?
By Kabir
Translated by Vinay Dharwadker

O servant, where dost thou seek Me?
Lo! I am beside thee.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque:
I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash:
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies, nor in Yoga and renunciation.
If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see me:
thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time.
Kabîr says, "O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath."


It was a relatively uneventful Tuesday -- I am not planning to fast or even to attend services on Yom Kippur, so I didn't have things that had to be completed physically or spiritually by sundown (and frankly I think that until after the election, or at least until after I stop getting a dozen calls and e-mails a day telling me I must send money or it will be my fault if the country collapses, I doubt I can get my psychic house in order). Plus I'm kind of sleepy from staying up late yelling at the television after the last play of the Packers-Seahawks game. Mostly I did chores and enjoyed the gorgeous weather (nine deer, two bunnies) and chatted with son and his girlfriend before they went out to dinner.

I am hoping that one evening this week I don't have to waste an hour fighting with LiveJournal to let me get at my saved poetry, my photos, my drafts, etc. but tonight was not destined to be that evening, so this will be short and cranky. (LJ Support tells me to run a traceroute except even that isn't working!) Anyway, we are watching The Avengers extras ( got the four-disc set, figuring for a couple more bucks we'd enjoy all the added material) and that is more enjoyable than fighting with LJ -- I'd seen the gag reel online but not the deleted scenes and other stuff. Have a good fast, those who are observing. Some Brookside Gardens photos, if they'll load:

Happy 19th birthday Daniel!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Poem for Tuesday and Homestead Farm

Frost To-Night
By Edith Matilda Thomas

Apple-green west and an orange bar,
And the crystal eye of a lone, one star...
And, "Child, take the shears and cut what you will,
Frost to-night -- so clear and dead-still."

Then, I sally forth, half sad, half proud,
And I come to the velvet, imperial crowd,
The wine-red, the gold, the crimson, the pied, --
The dahlias that reign by the garden-side.

The dahlias I might not touch till to-night!
A gleam of the shears in the fading light,
And I gathered them all, -- the splendid throng,
And in one great sheaf I bore them along.

In my garden of Life with its all-late flowers
I heed a Voice in the shrinking hours:
"Frost to-night -- so clear and dead-still" ...
Half sad, half proud, my arms I fill.


The weather Monday was incredibly beautiful, cool and sunny with a few clouds here and there. All the neighborhood deer and a couple of bunnies were out, as were most of the neighbors, several of whom I spoke with for the first time in months. If a crazy woman had not left her dog out all day long (no leash, leaving it alternately chasing animals in the woods and whining to get into its house), it would have been a perfect outdoor day.

Well, and if the Orioles had won both games in their double-header that would have been nice too, but at least the Nationals won by a huge margin. At least none of my teams were playing football after Warehouse 13 (predictable but fun -- I am not stressing about the Bad Thing because this show loves Miraculous Reversals, and yay for Jeri Ryan), because the replacement refs were as bad as ever, though not as insane as in the Ravens game last night.

I had minor things to say, but LiveJournal has been hanging all evening, refusing to load the posting and editing post pages; Pinterest has been slow too, but it keeps coming back, whereas LiveJournal has simply been impossible despite a status that says the site has worked perfectly since September 11, to which I say HAH. Here are some photos with Adam and Maddy from Homestead Farm last weekend:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Poem for Monday and Fall Great Falls

And the Intrepid Anthurium
By Pura López-Colomé
Translated by Forrest Gander

Two bumblebees
extract nectar,
sweet and bitter
from the center
of the rose-colored petals
of a flower which is not a rose.
they thud against the picture window
again and again,
fixed on escaping
with their bounty inside them,
into the air behind them,
incognizant that the path to freedom
has been eclipsed,
that they are drawn
to an illusion.
With the blood honey
in their guts
already a part of their
rapturous marrow.
And distinct.


Sunday felt like fall, with temperatures that never broke 70 degrees and that crisp leafy smell in the air. We spent the morning doing chores while Adam had his first day for the semester working at Hebrew school, then picked him up and took him to get his bike pedals repaired. He had a lot of homework to do, so afterward we took him home, then went to Great Falls to walk by the canal and enjoy the weather. It was not a good afternoon for the Redskins so it's just as well we spent little time watching the was not a good afternoon for my teams in general, though the only news that really upset me was that the panda cub at the National Zoo had died.

Rather than stress about the Ravens game, we watched the Emmys, which felt very unremarkable to me, maybe because I didn't care who won. I thought Kimmel was pretty dreadful -- the guests were the only good part -- and though Julianne Moore was terrific in Game Change, and I am sure I am the only person on LiveJournal who was rooting for Clive Owen over Benedict Cumberbatch in a category I was sure Kevin Costner would win, I couldn't have cared whether it was Modern Family again or whether Mad Men got some more excessive hype. The highlight for me was the Stewart-Colbert-Fallon "feud" and Stewart's dropping the F-bomb afterward.