Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Poem for Wednesday and Great Falls Vultures

What The Thrush Said: Lines From A Letter To John Hamilton Reynolds
By John Keats

O thou whose face hath felt the Winter's wind,
Whose eye has seen the snow-clouds hung in mist
And the black elm tops 'mong the freezing stars,
To thee the spring will be a harvest-time.
O thou, whose only book has been the light
Of supreme darkness which thou feddest on
Night after night when Phoebus was away,
To thee the Spring shall be a triple morn.
O fret not after knowledge -- I have none,
And yet my song comes native with the warmth.
O fret not after knowledge -- I have none,
And yet the Evening listens. He who saddens
At thought of idleness cannot be idle,
And he's awake who thinks himself asleep.


It was unseasonably warm but rainy on Tuesday, so I did not have an eventful day outdoors. I had a quiet morning getting work done; after lunch, we dropped off Maddy at the mall so she could return some things, went to the park while waiting for her, then picked her up and went to the food store. I took a walk around the neighborhood before dinner in between bouts of drizzle, which was lovely in the temperate weather.

We watched The Flash's part of the CW's four-night DC event but I have to admit that apart from cheerful Supergirl, I didn't care about what was going on with any of the angsting, self-involved heroes. For some reason I can put up better with the angsting of the self-involved nobles of Versailles, whose season finale we watched afterward! Vultures by the water, on the rocks, and in the sky at Great Falls last weekend:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Poem for Tuesday and Great Falls Virginia

Why I Don't Piss in the Ocean
By Maggie Dietz

Once my sister told me that from her summit at the city
pool she could see the yellow billows spread like gas
or dreams between kids’ legs. In something the size of the sea,
you can’t be sure who’s watching from above. Let’s say
it’s the Almighty, twirling His whistle, ready to blow it
at any moment and let loose the bottomless Apocalypse:
the ocean would make bone of a body, coral of bone.
Piss, and a tiger-fish darts through a skull-hole, a weed
weaves itself through ribs. You, too, have seen
the bulbs flash from the sea. You, too, have felt
it breathing down your neck. You eat fish. You’ve heard
that mermaids sing. My dreams are as beleaguered as the next
Joe’s, my happiness as absurd, but I’m not going to go
piss in the ocean about it. No, not in the ocean.


I expected Monday to be quiet and routine, but Alice had an appointment in Bethesda, so Maddy and I went to lunch with her at Zoe's Kitchen, then stopped at CVS and Starbucks for necessities (lightbulbs, hair stuff, and caffeine). When we got back, I did my best to catch up on everything that didn't get done Thanksgiving weekend and took niece to work.

We caught up on Sunday's TV including the Elementary "it's people!" episode in between Supergirl (awesome women this year though I still miss Cat) and Timeless (awesome women this week, at least). Here are some photos from Great Falls, Virginia yesterday, including Matildaville ruins, vultures on the beach, and canoes going over the falls:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Poem for Monday and Great Falls Virginia

Station 40, Chiriu: the Poet Ariwara no Narihira at Eight Bridges
By Debora Greger

What is sky but water, more water,
crossed by eight bridges?
Is the ancient poet in a rush to reach land?

No, he's already one of the Six Immortals.
How long before the papery iris-petals
he admires wrinkle? They barely grow beards.

In a thousand years, pilgrims will come.
They will stand where he stood. Where, they will ask,
are the flowers that empurpled his poem?


Daniel is back in Seattle, from which we are chatting about the endless Chiefs-Broncos game, and Adam is back in College Park, where he is working on a computer science project, while Maddy is upstairs getting ready to work her fifth day in a row tomorrow after a very long, busy weekend. Paul made us and my mother brunch in the morning (my father stopped by briefly but he had a tennis game), then we dropped Maddy off at work and drove Daniel to Dulles, where he was glad to find his flight could get NFL broadcasts.

Since we were already in the state, we went with Adam to the Virginia side of Great Falls, which was chilly but not crowded, so we had no problem scrambling over the rocks to watch the kayakers come down the river and to see the dozens of vultures that apparently nest in rocks we can't see from the Maryland side. Eventually we took Adam to the University of Maryland, came home for dinner and to retrieve Maddy, then watched this week's Madam Secretary, much of which stretched credulity, and Westworld, which remains excellent.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Poem for Sunday and Visiting Relatives

By Louis Jenkins

I take the snap from the center, fake to the right, fade back...
I've got protection. I've got a receiver open downfield...
What the hell is this? This isn't a football, it's a shoe, a man's
brown leather oxford. A cousin to a football maybe, the same
skin, but not the same, a thing made for the earth, not the air.
I realize that this is a world where anything is possible and I
understand, also, that one often has to make do with what one
has. I have eaten pancakes, for instance, with that clear corn
syrup on them because there was no maple syrup and they
weren't very good. Well, anyway, this is different. (My man
downfield is waving his arms.) One has certain responsibilities,
one has to make choices. This isn't right and I'm not going
to throw it.


On Saturday we picked up my parents and drove up to Paul's parents' house in Hanover, though Maddy couldn't come because she had to work just after noon. We went to the Hibachi Buffet for lunch, then we went back to Clair and Cinda's house and watched the Michigan-Ohio State game, which was great until the second overtime. Maryland beat Rutgers, which I cared about more!

We drove home through a lovely sunset, dropped off my parents, stopped at the food store, then came home, where Adam's girlfriend met us and we all played Machi Koro, taking a break to retrieve Maddy and check out the score of the Florida-Florida State game. Now Adam is interviewing Daniel about working at Amazon for a class on leadership. A few pics from our day:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Poem for Saturday, Doctor Strange, Geese

A Few Surprising Turns
By Ira Sadoff

Ultimately the air
Is bare sunlight where must be found
The lyric valuables
                —George Oppen

A few surprising turns follow us everywhere.
I was shopping for something to replace
what I once felt. Weren’t there buildings there
where we once lived, fully furnished
and looking out on the sea? Didn’t we distill
from neighbors the necessary codes
and gestures? At the core we were all traipse
and meander, governed by fill in the blank.
But it was here, the ramshackle Cape Cod
with rattling shutters eaten away
then revived, mended and painted over.
It takes just a scent of sea spray
to bring back the once was: skimpy,
the bikini, the beach, the conversation,
the veil of summer, skimpy the engine
that chugs toward love, skimpy the cover
of the universe. Thanks to this fragrance
we can sit under our favorite cedar,
or picture the old dreaded barber shop.
Now I want my hair touched, and my cheek.
I want the salt rubbed out with a handkerchief.


Everyone here slept late -- Maddy because she stayed up all night watching Gilmore Girls, the rest of us because we stayed up not-quite-so-late watching Westworld. Then we had lunch, took a walk, and went to the mall to see Doctor Strange -- a nightmare to get to given the state of the Black Friday parking lot, but just as enjoyable the second time, and Daniel and Adam are better versed in Infinity Stones than I am.

We had Thanksgiving seconds with my parents and watched some football, then came home for more Westworld while everyone caught up on email, homework, etc. (plus we watched some Arizona-Arizona State while people were in the shower). Maddy has worked very long hours this week and got off an hour late tonight. I didn't take any photos today, so here are some from last July at Great Falls of this spring's goslings:

Friday, November 25, 2016

Poem for Friday and Thanksgiving Dinner

The Thanksgivings
By Harriet Maxwell Converse

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him.
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on.
We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands.
We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all.
We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadowsfor our shelter.
We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunderand lightning that water the earth.
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good.
We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thankall its trees.
We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs,the stars.
We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant occasion.
We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit's music, and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies on this occasion.


I spent Thanksgiving like a lot of other people I know did: breakfast and Macy's Day Parade with Paul and the kids, early football, superb Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' (fake turkey for three of us, real for the rest, plus sweet and mashed potatoes, carrot souffle, cranberry sauce, and lots of dessert), then driving Maddy to work, catching a Snorlax in the park, coming back to my parents' for the Washington-Dallas game, dessert, then home for a movie (Victor Frankenstein, which we'd seen before though Daniel and Adam had not). Hope everyone else who celebrates had as nice a day! A few pics:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Poem for Thanksgiving

When Giving Is All We Have
By Alberto RĂ­os

            One river gives
            Its journey to the next.

We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.

We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.

We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—

Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.

Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:

Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.

You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me

What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made

Something greater from the difference.


I have both my sons at home, and Maddy is baking in the kitchen and Christine is playing with our cats. I did laundry in the morning, dropped Maddy off at work, then we went to College Park, picked up DP Dough, and ate it at Adam's apartment before driving him home. We spent the afternoon watching The Force Awakens because Daniel had never seen it, picked up Maddy, and had pot pie for dinner.

Christine came over while Adam and Maddy, who had gone shopping together earlier, were baking apple pie for Maddy to take to work tomorrow where the staff is celebrating Thanksgiving together between movies though being a vegetarian she probably won't be able to each much. She watched Harry Potter movies in the kitchen while the rest of us watched Kubo and the Two Strings, which we all liked, especially the visuals.