Thursday, August 31, 2017

Poem for Thursday and Lewis Ginter Butterflies

Who Learns My Lesson Complete
By Walt Whitman

Who learns my lesson complete?
Boss, journeyman, apprentice, churchman and atheist,
The stupid and the wise thinker, parents and offspring, merchant, clerk, porter and customer,
Editor, author, artist, and schoolboy--draw nigh and commence;
It is no lesson--it lets down the bars to a good lesson,
And that to another, and every one to another still.

The great laws take and effuse without argument,
I am of the same style, for I am their friend,
I love them quits and quits, I do not halt and make salaams.

I lie abstracted and hear beautiful tales of things and the reasons of things,
They are so beautiful I nudge myself to listen.

I cannot say to any person what I hear--I cannot say it to myself--it is very wonderful.

It is no small matter, this round and delicious globe moving so exactly in its orbit for ever and ever, without one jolt or the untruth of a single second,
I do not think it was made in six days, nor in ten thousand years, nor ten billions of years,
Nor plann'd and built one thing after another as an architect plans and builds a house.

I do not think seventy years is the time of a man or woman,
Nor that seventy millions of years is the time of a man or woman,
Nor that years will ever stop the existence of me, or any one else.

Is it wonderful that I should be immortal? as every one is immortal;
I know it is wonderful, but my eyesight is equally wonderful, and how I was conceived in my mother's womb is equally wonderful,
And pass'd from a babe in the creeping trance of a couple of summers and winters to articulate and walk--all this is equally wonderful.
And that my soul embraces you this hour, and we affect each other without ever seeing each other, and never perhaps to see each other, is every bit as wonderful.

And that I can think such thoughts as these is just as wonderful,
And that I can remind you, and you think them and know them to be true, is just as wonderful.

And that the moon spins round the earth and on with the earth, is equally wonderful,
And that they balance themselves with the sun and stars is equally wonderful.


We had gorgeous weather Wednesday -- still cool, but no rain -- though I had no car, since Paul's car was getting the radio fixed, so I enjoyed it close to home without even a single Pokemon raid in the park, until he got home and we went to pick it up. I got a bunch of work done, caught up on some mail, watched some of the Orioles game which they did not lose (nor did the Nationals, both bullpens are somehow not blowing leads).

Our neighbor and cat-sitter Rose came over to visit the cats and showed us photos from her previous career as a bodybuilder -- we had not realized that she was in The Cannonball Run and a bunch of commercials! Paul made chick'n with mambo sauce for dinner, then we watched the first three episodes of The Tick, which I enjoyed a lot though I miss Captain Liberty and Bat Manuel from the old one. Butterflies from Richmond:









Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Poem for Wednesday, The Last Tycoon, Pismo Beach Souvenirs

By Jenny Xie

His tongue shorn, father confuses
snacks for snakes, kitchen for chicken.
It is 1992. Weekends, we paw at cheap
silverware at yard sales. I am told by mother
to keep our telephone number close,
my beaded coin purse closer. I do this.
The years are slow to pass, heavy-footed.
Because the visits are frequent, we memorize
shame’s numbing stench. I nurse nosebleeds,
run up and down stairways, chew the wind.
Such were the times. All of us nearsighted.
Grandmother prays for fortune
to keep us around and on a short leash.
The new country is ill-fitting, lined
with cheap polyester, soiled at the sleeves.


Xie tells that this poem addresses "the cruel logic of cultural assimilation: putting pressure on immigrants to adopt the language and customs of the dominant culture while finding their attempts to do so flawed and inauthentic."

It rained from before dawn till after sunset on Tuesday. This was gloomy, though the temperatures were more October than August -- I don't think we got above 70 degrees at any point -- so it was also quite pleasant, especially since so much of the country is suffering under vastly worse weather conditions. My day was mostly about chores and work but I had cats keeping me company and it wasn't pouring at any point when I had to drive, though there were some periods when it was really coming down.

For dinner we had leftover Chinese food from lunch with Paul's parents last weekend, then we watched the last two episodes of The Last Tycoon, which I enjoyed greatly and discovered only after the fact that its reviews were mixed for reasons I don't quite understand -- oh, parts of it are predictable even if you haven't read Fitzgerald and parts of it are heavy-handed, but the acting is great and there are lots of interesting women and non-white people. I miss the touristy shopping in Pismo Beach:









Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Poem for Tuesday and Morro Bay

What Watches Over You
By Lorna Crozier

Sea lions gather above you,
as nosy and dispassionate as angels
who catch sight of your tasks
small and far below
before they soar to a place more troubling
than where you are, at least for now.

Underwater, angels don’t need feathers;
they don’t need choirs or saints.
The sea lions, too, get by without them.

Ocean-thick, minus legs and wings
they dive, climb and wheel around you
as if, indeed, they are your keepers
so close their whiskers graze your face.


I had lots of things to get done on Monday and instead spent most of the day bogged down in bureaucracy that required a lot of phone calls. Some of them were enjoyable (to my niece for instance) and some just frustrating. But I only got 1/3 of the laundry done and none of the online files posted that I need to catch up on, and I didn't even manage to solo a Machamp raid in my neighborhood.

I had my leftover pancakes from Richmond for lunch and frozen veggie riblets for dinner, after which we watched two more episodes of The Last Tycoon, which remains heavy-handed in certain storylines but is pretty effective in others, fair to its women characters so far, and extremely well acted. Here are some of the sea lions, otters, and other animals in Morro Bay near San Luis Obispo:









Monday, August 28, 2017

Poem for Monday, Three Lakes and Lewis Ginter

By Matsuo Bashō
Translated by Lucien Stryk

Wake, butterfly --
it's late, we've miles
to go together.


We spent Sunday in Richmond with Cheryl, meeting first at Three Lakes Park, where we brought picnic food and walked around to see the turtles and skinks. Then we met Lin at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which has both the Butterflies Live exhibit in the conservatory and Wild Art, a display of nature-inspired and created installations like "Earth Healer" and "Turtle Island" in the photos below. The gardens were also having a Late Summer Lawn Party with music, tours of Bloemendaal House, and displays of costumes and early bicycles.









We went to dinner with Cheryl at River City Diner (I had breakfast food, which is about all my stomach can handle after a week of vacation and a week of end-of-summer meals out), then we drove home in moderate traffic in time to stop for kitty litter before putting the trash out and watching Endeavour, which has been excellent this season and clearly aiming for modern relevance despite the pre-Morse setting. Afterward we watched another episode of The Last Tycoon, which is doing the same, sometimes heavy-handedly but the acting makes it worth it.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Poem for Sunday and Pismo Beach Shore

On A Play Twice Seen
By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Here in the figured dark I watch once more;
There with the curtain rolls a year away,
A year of years — There was an idle day
Of ours, when happy endings didn't bore
Our unfermented souls, and rocks held ore:
Your little face beside me, wide-eyed, gay,
Smiled its own repertoire, while the poor play
Reached me as a faint ripple reaches shore.

Yawning and wondering an evening through
I watch alone — and chatterings of course
Spoil the one scene which somehow did have charms;
You wept a bit, and I grew sad for you
Right there, where Mr. X defends divorce
And What's-Her-Name falls fainting in his arms.


After a quiet morning organizing and printing photos to take with us, we spent Saturday afternoon with Paul's parents in Thurmont, where we ate lunch at Simply Asia, watched wedding video and looked at California photos, then went out for ice cream and donuts for dessert though I was too full to eat either. They were sad not to have been at the wedding but happy to see pictures.

We got home in the early evening, swept the deck and did some cleanup in the backyard, watched some baseball and some football (yay Orioles, yay Nationals, LOL L.A. football), then watched several episodes of The Last Tycoon, which is excellent. Speaking of California pictures, here are some photos of the shore, pier, and boardwalk at Pismo Beach last week, which I already miss!









Saturday, August 26, 2017

Poem for Saturday and Point Dume

Location LA
By Martha Ronk

Never arriving in a city missing in locational drift
plates shifting under building facades and whipped décor,
seas rising and falling at the edge of amusements
and surf. The migrations migrating elsewhere,
monarchs lost on their way south, children coming north
in droves on their way to anywhere else.
The city of lost souls blowing in the Santa Ana winds
and people who are not us no matter who we are.
Where is she now, he asks, what ever happened to the girl
named for a saint, the one with the ankle tattoo
the one who dropped out, lost out, & only just arrived.


I had an unexpectedly fun Friday when Alice and Avery unexpectedly came to visit after we both decided we needed a play date (which sadly involved too little play for the latter, since we schlepped him to Kohl's and stuff, though we did find a Dratini while dragging him on a walk around Washingtonian Lake). And we didn't even find the Sonic video game he wanted at GameStop or Target! We also went out for bagels and knishes at Bagel City and ate some candy, so it was not all child torture.

After Alice went home, I finished my California trip Shutterfly book, then Paul arrived and we went to have dinner at my parents' house. In the evening we Skyped with Maddy, who may be coming back to this coast soon, and watched the Seattle-Kansas City game, which the Seahawks won with twice as many points (unfortunately the Nationals did not have a good evening, but the Orioles beat Boston 16-3). Now we're catching up on John Oliver and sad Weekend Update isn't On Demand.









Friday, August 25, 2017

Poem for Friday and School Year Start

By Adelaide Crapsey

I know
Not these my hands
And yet I think there was
A woman like me once had hands
Like these.


Extreme quickie after day out of the house and an hour tonight fighting with Flickr to get these photos posted. I had no vehicle, so Laurie and her son came over to play, then Alice and her son picked us up and we went on a couple of Pokemon raids before going to the mall for lunch and GameStop. Alice and Avery had an afternoon appointment, so I hung out here with Laurie and Elijah and we caught up.

Eventually we caught up with our spouses (she picked Hal up from work in Carderock, Paul came home so we could retrieve the car) and met at Lebanese Taverna in Bethesda for dinner. So it was a lovely long day with friends! These photos are from yesterday, son getting ready to go back to college, having lunch and dinner before going back to college, being possessed by a cat before going back to college, and heading off to a party at college!