Monday, August 31, 2015

Poem for Monday, National Gallery, Vicious

By Louise Imogen Guiney

Through all the evening,
All the virginal long evening,
Down the blossomed aisle of April it is dread to walk alone;
For there the intangible is nigh, the lost is ever-during;
And who would suffer again beneath a too divine alluring,
Keen as the ancient drift of sleep on dying faces blown?

Yet in the valley,
At a turn of the orchard alley,
When a wild aroma touched me in the moist and moveless air,
Like breath indeed from out Thee, or as airy vesture round Thee,
Then was it I went faintly, for fear I had nearly found Thee,
O Hidden, O Perfect, O Desired! O first and final Fair!


Sunday was as hot as Saturday -- August returning before it ends! We had a fairly quiet morning -- I had online arguments with representatives from both Verizon and Shutterfly over billing things -- then we went with my parents to the National Gallery of Art, where we saw the Gustave Caillebotte (wonderful Impressionist), Joachim Wtewael (hyperbolic Dutch), and Memory of Time (contemporary photography) exhibits. Then we went to Blaze Pizza, where we had birds visiting our table with hopeful expressions:

When we got home we watched a few minutes of preseason football, got bored, and watched the first sixth-season episode of Inspector Lewis -- I am trying to decide whether I want to catch up fully so we can watch the eighth season when it airs in October or whether I want to drag it out so it's not over! After that we watched the beginning of the second season of Vicious on PBS, which was utterly hilarious except that we're getting it bleeped (we watched British recordings first season, so no censorship).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Poem for Sunday and Watkins Park Animals

By Jane Hirshfield

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the  light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs–all this resinous, unretractable earth.


It was a gorgeous night and morning, but the heat is back and apparently staying for the week. I spent the morning working on one more Shutterfly project -- I have a coupon for a free calendar and another for 50% off everything, so the 2016 family calendar is getting finished and printed early. Then Paul and I went to Watkins Park, since it has been a few years and the park has a farm, a nature center, and a wetlands trail (as well as miniature golf, a train, a carousel, and a Wizard of Oz-themed playground). Here are some of the animals we saw on the farm and at the nature center, which also included many wild frogs and toads:

The reason we picked Watkins Park, besides liking it and not having been there for a while, is that Adam forgot to pack his bike helmet and phone charger, so we needed to drop them off in College Park, which is in the same county. He had to work in the afternoon, but we asked if he and Christine wanted to join us for dinner, and since they haven't started classes yet we all went to the same Indian restaurant where we ate with Paul's family when they were in the area. Then we came home, watched most of the horrible Ravens-Redskins game, and put on an Inspector Lewis which was less depressing despite the murders!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Poem for Saturday, Elogium, Bathing Bird

The Affair
By Wayne Miller


It was a desire to jump narratives—

to find himself suddenly
encircled by different lights

in the distant hills. To find
the hum of the engine

conveying him forward

had altered its tone. The self
had to be asserted

against that which seemed

merely given: the body’s
untranscendable location—

to step outside it, outside
what was visible

in the mirror in the room.


He found himself threaded
through the mouth

by his only narrative,
the body that held it

propelling him forward

through the dark, the light
of that narrative

reaching out to strike
the ground before him

in his only voice.


I spent a ridiculous amount of time on Friday working on a review of Star Trek: Voyager's "Elogium", which entailed, among other things, pulling out a VHS tape I hadn't looked at in nearly 20 years to see whether I had the original trailer recorded (I did) since only the newer, less prurient one is on YouTube. I should probably have spent more time on incisive feminist analysis of compulsory heterosexuality and Kes's decision not to have a child, but I was distracted by the glorious Janeway/Chakotay scenes.

Otherwise, it was a relatively uneventful day. Saw three bunnies while out walking, had dinner with my parents, talked briefly to Daniel who needed information for security clearance forms for work, talked briefly to Adam about the fact that there's a Target now in College Park. Now we are watching Inspector Lewis, our second fifth-season episode (previously it was one with lots of Ashley Madison scandal parallels, so very timely). Here is a bird washing in a puddle downtown near the Smithsonian:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Poem for Friday and Sophomore Move-In

Housesitting, Boston,
By Tony Trigilio

                            our first day,
a deer loitered outside the kitchen
window, chewing a clump of shrubs
in the parking lot between
their house and the commuter
rail tracks to the suburbs.
Furry ears, peach fuzz around
the antler tips, soft, dreary eyes—
afraid if I moved, I’d break the spell
of our ridiculous L.L. Bean tableau.
His legs tensed, ready to flee if I reached
for the dish soap or squeezed
the sponge too hard. We stared,
sized each other up: you are Nature—
either boring, like a robin posing
on the front lawn, or terrifying
(killer bees, tornadoes, the mysterious
cicada drone in my ears that began in this
moment, staring each other down).
I hate the grass and mosquitos—
in the Midwest, it’s never polite
to tell the truth, but I’m back East
now, where niceties waste everyone’s
time.  We’d just flown in and had lunch.
Liz took a photo.  I eventually looked
away and finished the dishes.


After a hectic morning getting ready, we took Adam to College Park to start his sophomore year at the University of Maryland. Though he entered as a freshman planning to double major in finance and accounting, his brother, his two roommates, and his girlfriend, who are all engineers, have expanded his interests, and he's now planning to earn a dual degree in finance and computer engineering. He is working this weekend at the freshman orientation program in the business school, so he got to move in with most of the first-years. Here are some of the move-in sights, including the student union Testudo, a Terps sombrero, and the bees in the School of Public Health garden plus a Terrapin Trail bunny:

As you can see, we had lunch with Adam in the student union, then he had training at the business school so we took the scenic walk through the woods to the Terrapin Trail Garage. We came home, finished up various work and chores, took a walk on which we saw six more bunnies, and had dinner with our relieved cats who had seen all the luggage in the morning and zoomed all over the house. I watched one of my favorite Voyager episodes from back in the day so I can review it -- nope, time has not killed it -- then we watched the Lewis Carroll episode of Inspector Lewis because the Orioles score was depressing and the 49ers weren't exciting us. The weather is gorgeous tonight, hoping it lasts this weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Poem for Thursday, Riley's Lock Birds, The Duchess, Space Cowboys

Flower Of Timid Hue
By Georgiana Spencer Cavendish

And yet remote from public view
Flower there is of timid hue,
Beneath a sacred shade it grows,
But sweet in native fragrance blows.
From storms secure, from tempests free,
But ah! too seldom seen by me.
For scarce permitted to behold
With longing eyes each grace unfold.

My bosom struggles with its pain
And checks the wishes form'd in vain;
Yet when I perchance supremely blest,
I hold the floweret to my breast,
Enraptur'd watch its purple glow
And blessings (all I have) bestow.
The gentle fragrance soothes my care
And fervent is my humble prayer
That no dread evil may beset
My sweet but hidden violet.


The temperature barely hit 80 on Wednesday so it was a really gorgeous day to be out doing things! Adam had a bunch of chores, including stopping at my parents' because my mother got him new jeans, going to the bank to deposit his summer paychecks, and running into CVS with me. We also picked up Paul for lunch and went to Tara Thai so Adam could get pad see ew before going back to College Park for the semester on Thursday.

Since Adam and I both had laundry to sort and fold, we put on The Duchess to watch while we did that (good cast, pretty cinematography, Keira and Hayley, see poem above). Then we had dinner and watched Space Cowboys, which was chosen after a discussion of nearly every other movie we own, with Cheryl watching long distance, paused for a bit to Skype with Daniel when he got home. Riley's Lock herons and wood ducks:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Poem for Wednesday, Date Night, Barn Swallows

The World Is Too Much With Us
By William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God!  I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.


Adam got up early to go on a kayaking trip in Colonial Beach with Christine, so I got up and did chores, and had a relatively unexciting day apart from four neighborhood bunnies and working on various projects. Plus I got a present in the mail that I'd ordered for a friend, decided that I wanted to keep it, and ordered another! And I got to see Adam's high school girlfriend Maddy briefly when she stopped by to pick up her brother's canteen.

When Adam and Christine got back from kayaking and a reportedly excellent late lunch at a French Thai restaurant in Virginia, they decided they wanted to watch Date Night, so we watched with them (I'd only seen it once and had forgotten that Mark Ruffalo was in it). The Orioles are having such a terrible month that I won't even talk about what happened afterward! Some Brookside Gardens barn swallows plus barn swallow babies:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Poem for Tuesday, Oxford Murders, County Fair

By Lizette Woodworth Reese

No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass.
On either side, smitten as with a spell
Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass,
Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell
Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush.
But 'long the orchard fence and at the gate,
Thrusting their saffron torches through the hush,
Wild lilies blaze, and bees hum soon and late.
Rust-colored the tall straggling briar, not one
Rose left. The spider sets its loom up there
Close to the roots, and spins out in the sun
A silken web from twig to twig. The air
Is full of hot rank scents. Upon the hill
Drifts the noon's single cloud, white, glaring, still.


Monday was hot and I had a lot of stuff to get done, so I have little that's exciting to report. I did get to have lunch with Adam and go out for ice cream with him, but he was mostly busy reading in anticipation of returning to school in a couple of days. Also, I talked to the woman who is fostering the kittens Heather rescued, and they are doing really well -- she thinks they will be adoptable in a week or so!

Paul made veggie meat loaf for Adam for dinner. Then, after rolling our eyes at the Bengals' first quarter and much discussion about what we were in the mood for, we watched the John Hurt-Elijah Wood movie The Oxford Murders, which was not particularly well-scripted (forget the math gobbledygook, the women's roles are atrocious) but is at least well-acted. Some more things we saw at the county fair: