Saturday, September 30, 2017

Poem for Saturday, Inhumans, Shakespeare at the Mall

Sonnet 81
By William Shakespeare

Or I shall live your epitaph to make,
Or you survive when I in earth am rotten;
From hence your memory death cannot take,
Although in me each part will be forgotten.
Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
Though I, once gone, to all the world must die:
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie.
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read,
And tongues to be your being shall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead;
   You still shall live (such virtue hath my pen)
   Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.


My Friday was busy -- took Maddy to work, did a whole bunch of chores, did a quick Raikou raid behind the mall at lunchtime, stopped in the mall and after much fighting with Sears used points to buy two pairs of leggings for 84 cents and a Verizon reward to buy perfume at Sephora, did some very boring work stuff, went to Petco with Paul to get cat litter and stopped in Michael's, picked up Maddy from work.

We watched the two-hour pilot of Inhumans, which is two hours of my life I'll never get back. I figured after The Orville that maybe all the professional reviewers were just idiots, but no, they were write that the story was both absurd and awkward and the acting was wooden. We watched some Bones afterward for fun! Some photos from my mall visit of the Shakespeare Theatre Company costume display there:









Friday, September 29, 2017

Poem for Friday, Mount Vernon, "If the Stars Should Appear"

Love Is A Great Thing
By Thomas à Kempis

Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good.
By itself it makes that which is heavy light;
and it bears evenly all that is uneven.
It carries a burden which is no burden;
it will not be kept back by anything low and mean;
It desires to be free from all wordly affections,
and not to be entangled by any outward prosperity,
or by any adversity subdued.
Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble,
attempts what is above its strength,
pleads no excuse of impossibility.
It is therefore able to undertake all things,
and it completes many things and warrants them to take effect,
where he who does not love would faint and lie down.
Though weary, it is not tired;
though pressed it is not straightened;
though alarmed, it is not confounded;
but as a living flame it forces itself upwards and securely passes through all.
Love is active and sincere, courageous, patient, faithful, prudent, and manly.


Another quickie, this time because of technical issues -- Trillian wasn't working so I had chat problems, I had to clean up a document with lots of editing marks, thrilling things like that. I don't have much that's exciting to report anyway: laundry folded, cat food provided, walk in the park in gorgeous weather achieved (plus a Machamp raid and wild Venusaur caught). Maddy had to work through dinner so I hardly saw her today, though Adam got good news about a winter break study abroad program.

We started watching the interrupted-by-lightning Green Bay/Chicago game, though we turned it off for an hour to watch The Orville, which just keeps getting better. Last week they ran parallel ideas to a great TNG episode, "The Outcast"; this week they ripped off a terrible TOS episode, "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"...and it worked! I love all the women, especially Palicki and Jerald, and the Surprise Guest Star was awesome. From the Mount Vernon Colonial Fair:









Thursday, September 28, 2017

Poem for Thursday and Skyping Son

Set in Stone
By Kevin Carey

A rosary that was my mother's
tucked in the glove compartment of his car
and a copy of Exile on Main Street
with instructions to play track 6
when he hit some lonesome desert highway.
I love him so much my chest hurts,
thinking of him riding off into his own life,
me the weeping shadow left behind (for now).
I know I'll see him again but it’s ceremony
we're talking about after all—
one growing up and one growing older
both wild curses.
A train blows its horn
the light rising beyond the harbor,
a dog barks from a car window
and the nostalgia (always dangerous)
hits me like a left hook.
I'm trapped between the memory
and the moment,
the deal we make
if we make it this long,
the markers of a life,
the small worthwhile pieces
that rattle around in my pockets
waiting to be set somewhere in stone.


"Not so long ago, my oldest child left home to drive across the country to live," Carey told "I was treating this moment as a ceremony (for both of us) and trying to protect him on his journey with my own invented or inherited rituals...I was stuck with the memory of his childhood."

Quickie because we were Skyping Daniel a day late for his birthday, since he was at game night and having cake with friends. My day was not exciting enough for much reporting anyway; it was hot, I did chores, I took a walk, I took Maddy to work so she wouldn't have to walk in the heat.

We had chick pea and peanut stew, then watched Inspector Morse -- a fairly sexist episode, ugh -- then, since we had an hour to kill before the so-so season premiere of Designated Survivor, we watched the SEAL Team premiere, which features a far better cast than script.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Poem for Wednesday and Lewis Ginter Butterflies

By Elana Bell

    We have put up many flags,
    they have put up many flags.
    To make us think that they are happy.
    To make them think that we are happy.
                --Yehuda Amichai

Everywhere, in the fertile soil of this land,
we've planted flags. Flags sprout like the hair
from an old man's nostrils. Blue and white
or red, black, green and white, they shroud
windows, standing in for a family
you can't see: a flag instead of the mother
who hums and spices the lentils, a flag
for father, who runs the blade against his cheek
each morning with the rooster's kukuku.
Later, in the dark, he holds his wife
while the children sleep wrapped in flags.
Flags grow in the garden, flags from the beaks
of muted birds. Shredded flags drape phone wires,
flags hang from the pines like dead hands—


Tuesday was Daniel's 24th birthday, though I only talked to him via Google Messenger because he had work, then game night with birthday cake, so it sounded like he had a good day. Mine was too -- I did some shopping, then met Denise for lunch at Yuan Fu (vegan Chinese) where I have not been in far too long. Maddy needed a ride to the mall just when I needed to go to the post office behind it; that's where I was when a Snorlax hatched inside the mall, so I joined the local raid group and caught it.

I stopped to get cat food and raisin bran on the way home, though I did not fold laundry because I'd bought some fairy lights earlier at A.C. Moore and had to arrange them in bottles when I got home. After dinner, we put on the Nationals game, which was not a happy experience, but at least the Nationals have clinched their post-season spot, whereas the Orioles, already out of contention, lost to the Pirates by an embarrassing margin. Here are some photos from Lewis Ginter's butterfly exhibit and summer gardens:









Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Poem for Tuesday and Mount Vernon Fair

By Jacqueline Woodson

When the kids in my class ask why
I am not allowed to pledge to the flag
I tell them It's against my religion but don't say,
I am in the world but not of the world. This,
they would not understand.
Even though my mother's not a Jehovah's Witness,
she makes us follow their rules and
leave the classroom when the pledge is being said.

Every morning, I walk out with Gina and Alina
the two other Witnesses in my class.
Sometimes, Gina says,
Maybe we should pray for the kids inside
who don't know that God said
"No other idols before me." That our God
is a jealous God.
Gina is a true believer. Her Bible open
during reading time. But Alina and I walk through
our roles as Witnesses as though this is the part
we've been given in a play
and once offstage, we run free, sing
"America the Beautiful" and "The Star-Spangled Banner"
far away from our families—knowing every word.

Alina and I want
more than anything to walk back into our classroom
press our hands against our hearts. Say,
"I pledge allegiance..." loud
without our jealous God looking down on us.
Without our parents finding out.
Without our mothers' voices
in our heads saying, You are different.

When the pledge is over, we walk single file
back into the classroom, take our separate seats
Alina and I far away from Gina. But Gina
always looks back at us—as if to say,
I'm watching you. As if to say,
I know.


Monday was a chore day so this will be a boring entry. It was nice out, albeit hot for September, and I got out to the park for a bit, but mostly I did work and laundry and listened to people argue about Discovery (including people who did not watch Discovery), which was nevertheless preferable to listening to the handful of people I know agreeing with the thing in the White House about suppressing the free speech of football players.

Maddy had plans with former work friends in the evening, though she had dinner with us first. Paul made veggie beef echiladas, and he and I watched the start of the Cowboys-Cardinals game, then some Bones episodes (the one with the Guy Fieri type cook and the one with the bullied boarding school girl). Trevor Noah just did a great job dissecting everything that's wrong with the president butting into the NFL. From Mount Vernon's Colonial Fair:









Monday, September 25, 2017

Poem for Monday and Frederick Farm Fairs

Three things hold me captive
By Baltasar de Alcanzár

Three things hold me captive
of love, and of the heart –
the lovely Inés, ham
and eggplant prepared with cheese.

It is this Inés, O lovers,
who has me taken in such a powerful way
that has left me abhorring
all that isn’t her.
She kept me a year out of my senses,
until on a certain occasion,
for luncheon she gave me ham
and eggplant prepared with cheese.

To Inés went the first accolade,
but then it was arduous to judge
between the three of them, how much
of my soul each one could claim.
In taste, in means and weight,
I couldn’t make a distinction,
I already wanted Inés, but now
I want the eggplant with cheese as well.

Inés alleges her beauty
but the ham is from Aracena,
and the cheese and the eggplant possess
a Spanish pedigree most ancient.
In faith they are so close in merit
one cannot judge them dispassionately.
To me they seem almost one and the same,
Inés, ham and the eggplant – all three.

At least to negotiate thus
between my new-found loves,
will compel Inés to confer her favours on me,
and part with them a little less dearly.
Since she will have as a counterbalance,
(if she will not listen to reason,)
to compete with a loin of ham
and eggplant prepared with cheese.


We had some ambitious plans for Sunday that included possible apple picking or walking around downtown, but we also had a bunch of chores to do, so we ended up being somewhat less ambitious after watching the Ravens embarrass themselves in London in the first of many crazy football games today. We had a bunch of shopping to do, so we stopped at the mall and some local stores, walked around Washingtonian Lake, and fixed up some things around the house.

My parents had a friend over for dinner and invited us to join them; they ordered pizza, we brought cookies and Maddy, and we ate out on the deck. Then we came home and declined the one free hour of Star Trek: Discovery in favor of the DC football game against the Raiders; I generally try to avoid them but even the jerk of an owner joined the players' solidarity display during the national anthem. Some farm festival photos around South Mountain:

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Poem for Sunday, Crafts and Hanover, Sleepless in Seattle

Love Song
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.


I had a very nice, very busy Saturday. In the late morning after Maddy went to work for the day, we met friends at Hot Fired Arts in Frederick, where we fused glass and painted pottery (which must now be fired in a kiln so we won't have the finished products for a couple of weeks). The rest of the group was going out for a late lunch/early dinner, but we ate bagels from Dunkin' Donuts next door because we needed to go straight from Frederick to Hanover.

Paul's aunts Jean and Nadine and their husbands (both Bobs) were visiting his parents -- Clair even donned the clown suit in which he used to visit kids in the hospital for them, though I'm not sure a clown suit was ever a good idea for sick kids -- and they had just finished touring around Gettysburg when we arrived. We went to Hibachi Buffet for dinner, then drove home and now we're watching Sleepless in Seattle because we've never seen it before (and, Seattle). A few pics:








Saturday, September 23, 2017

Poem for Saturday, Orville: About a Girl, Invertebrates

Ode to Spot
By Data
(Though Supposedly Really By Brannon Braga)

Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature;
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.


I spent the autumnal equinox mostly doing unexciting things, though I got outside again to enjoy the weather, which was gorgeous, and met friends in the mall for bubble tea and raiding a bit after lunch. (I spent an hour in AC Moore and wound up not buying a single thing, which is either a major failure or a big success depending on whether decoration or saving money is the priority.) I don't care whether McCain opposed the health non-care bill out of principle or ego; I'm still glad.

Maddy had to work all day and into the evening while we had dinner with my parents, then came home to catch up on The Orville, which I thought was pretty great...okay, scientifically ridiculous and in some ways infuriating but I could say the same thing about the several Next Gen episodes of which it reminded me. Now it's the end of the UVA game. From the now-closed National Zoo Invertebrate House and the Smithsonian Insect Zoo (warning, spider):