Monday, April 30, 2018

Poem for Monday, Relatives, McCrillis Gardens, Westworld

Villanelle Of Spring Bells
By Keith Douglas

Bells in the town alight with spring
converse, with a concordance of new airs
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

People emerge from winter to hear them ring,
children glitter with mischief and the blind man hears
bells in the town alight with spring.

Even he on his eyes feels the caressing
finger of Persephone, and her voice escaped from tears
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

Bird feels the enchantment of his wing
and in ten fine notes dispels twenty cares.
Bells in the town alight with spring

warble the praise of Time, for he can bring
this season: chimes the merry heaven bears
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

All evil men intent on evil thing
falter, for in their cold unready ears
bells in the town alight with spring
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.


My father's brother Mickey and his wife Lesley were in town because her company had meetings in DC, so in the morning we went downtown with my parents and Adam to meet them for brunch at Juniper in the Fairmont Hotel. It was yummy and very fun to see them! Then we drove back, and Adam, who had slept in his car after getting to our house after 2 a.m. (we had a miscommunication about not putting the chain on the door), took a nap for several hours while Paul and I went to McCrillis Gardens to see the early azaleas.


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Adam woke up for dinner, then stayed to watch Westworld (a talky, thoughtful episode, more violence implied than shown for a change) and Timeless (mostly predictable and Adam mocked the conventions of TV drama in the storyline, but also some nice shipper moments and I will never say no to a suffragette storyline). Now Adam is headed back to College Park and I will be stuck at home without a car tomorrow since one of our vehicles is in for service, so I have no excuse for not getting my work done!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Poem for Sunday and Brookside Full Spring

A Red Flower
By Claude McKay

Your lips are like a southern lily red,
Wet with the soft rain-kisses of the night,
In which the brown bee buries deep its head,
When still the dawn's a silver sea of light.

Your lips betray the secret of your soul,
The dark delicious essence that is you,
A mystery of life, the flaming goal
I seek through mazy pathways strange and new.

Your lips are the red symbol of a dream,
What visions of warm lilies they impart,
That line the green bank of a fair blue stream,
With butterflies and bees close to each heart!

Brown bees that murmur sounds of music rare,
That softly fall upon the langourous breeze,
Wafting them gently on the quiet air
Among untended avenues of trees.

O were I hovering, a bee, to probe
Deep down within your scented heart, fair flower,
Enfolded by your soft vermilion robe,
Amorous of sweets, for but one perfect hour!


We had gorgeous mid-70s weather on Saturday, so after catching up on email and the news and eating lunch, Paul and I went to Wheaton Regional Park to enjoy the spring. We saw lots of animals (frogs, snakes, snapping and slider turtles, sparrows and swallows, tadpoles and catfish, geese though no goslings), the early azaleas, and the thousands of tulips planted at Brookside Gardens. It could not have been a nicer day!


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Before coming home, we stopped at Roots Market, where (in addition to chocolate covered almonds) we got pumpkin ravioli and pesto sauce that we had for dinner. Then we caught up on Blindspot, which has been great this season, and Agents of SHIELD, which after nearly boring me into quitting for a couple of years has also had a really good season; I'm wondering whether/how it's going to integrate the events of Infinity War and its sequel.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Poem for Saturday and Avengers: Infinity War

The James Bond Movie
By May Swenson

The popcorn is greasy,
and I forgot to bring a
Kleenex. A pill that’s a
bomb inside the stomach
of a man inside The
Embassy blows up. Eruc-
tations of flame, luxur-
ious cauliflowers gigan-
ticize into motion. The
entire 29-ft. screen is
orange, is crackling
flesh and brick bursting,
blackening, smithereened.
I unwrap a Dentyne and,
while jouncing my teeth
in rubber tongue-smart-
ing clove, try with the
2-inch-wide paper to
blot butter off my fingers. A bubble-
bath, room-sized, in which 14 girls,
delectable and sexless, twist-
topped Creamy Freezes (their
blond, red, brown, pinkish, lav-
endar or silver wiglets all screw-
ed that high, and varnished),
scrub-tickle a lone male,
whose chest has just the
right amount and distribu-
tion of not too curly
hair. He’s nervously
pretending to defend
his modesty. His
crotch, below the
waterline, is
also below the
frame—but unsubmerged
all 28 slick foamy boobs.
Their makeup fails to let
the girls look naked.
Caterpillar lashes, black
and thick, lush lips
glossed pink like the gum
I pop and chew. Contacts
on the eyes that are
mostly blue, they’re
nose-perfect replicas of
each other. I’ve got
most of the grease off and
on to this little square
of paper. I’m folding it
now, making creases with
my nails.


Cheryl came to visit me on Friday so we could go see Avengers: Infinity War together! Though first we went out for bagels, them came back home and watched 12 Strong (because Chris Hemsworth) and some Detective Loki to see whether the latter was any good but it was hard to follow even by anime non-linear storytelling standards.

When Paul came home, we went to the movies! I wrote a spoiler post on LiveJournal because I assume people reading this may not have seen it yet (I liked but didn't adore it; it's a hard movie to love, and even given that this is a comic book universe, there are elements I struggle to reconcile, though my love for pretty much all these characters is pretty much undiminished).

Afterward we ordered pizza and took a walk to see bunnies while waiting for it to arrive, then after Cheryl went home we caught up on Timeless. I am still processing what happened to the MCU so will probably have more to say about it in the days ahead. In the meantime I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Poem for Friday, Rockville and Gaithersburg Goslings, Thor Ragnarok

Final Farewell
By Tom Clark

Great moment in Blade Runner where Roy
Batty is expiring, and talks
about how everything
he’s seen will die with him —
ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion,
sea-beams glittering before
the Tannhauser Gates.

Memory is like molten gold
burning its way through the skin
it stops there.
There is no transfer.
Nothing I have seen
will be remembered
beyond me.
That merciful cleaning
of the windows of creation
will be an excellent thing
my interests notwithstanding.

But then again I’ve never been
near Orion, or the Tannhauser

I’ve only been here.


It was Take Your Child To Work day on Thursday, which I took as a good enough excuse to go meet Paul at his office because he had spotted goslings around the pond in back and I wanted to see them! We took a nice walk around the water and saw flowers, koi, and a frog as well before he had to go back to work. Then I went to stop at Target for a couple of things and walked around Lake Washingtonian, where there were at least 18 goslings in a big group with 6-8 adult Canada geese! Four in Rockville, four in Gaithersburg:




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I did a quick Pokemon raid at Cabin John Park and we had tacos for dinner. On Friday afternoon I'm going to see Avengers: Infinity War with Paul and Cheryl, so I really needed to see Thor: Ragnarok again one more time because there's pretty much nothing in that movie that doesn't give me joy, and I'm happy to have a conversation about congnitive recalibration and "YES! That's how it feels!" with anyone going on about how mean Thor was to Loki; I'm far more worried about how the Russos may have treated him.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Poem for Thursday and Meadowlark Tulips

In General
By Pattiann Rogers

This is about no rain in particular,
just any rain, rain sounding on the roof,
any roof, slate or wood, tin or clay
or thatch, any rain among any trees,
rain in soft, soundless accumulation,
gathering rather than falling on the fir
of juniper and cedar, on a lace-community
of cobwebs, rain clicking off the rigid
leaves of oaks or magnolias, any kind
of rain, cold and smelling of ice or rising
again as steam off hot pavements
or stilling dust on country roads in August.
This is about rain as rain possessing
only the attributes of any rain in general.

And this is about night, any night
coming in its same immeasurably gradual
way, fulfilling expectations in its old
manner, creating heavens for lovers
and thieves, taking into itself the scarlet
of the scarlet sumac, the blue of the blue
vervain, no specific night, not a night
of birth or death, not the night forever
beyond the frightening side of the moon,
not the night always meeting itself
at the bottom of the sea, any sea, warm
and tropical or starless and stormy, night
meeting night beneath Arctic ice.
This attends to all nights but no night.

And this is about wind by itself,
not winter wind in particular lifting
the lightest snow off the mountaintop
into the thinnest air, not wind through
city streets, pushing people sideways,
rolling ash cans banging down the block,
not a prairie wind holding hawks suspended
mid-sky, not wind as straining sails
or as curtains on a spring evening, casually
in and back over the bed, not wind
as brother or wind as bully, not a lowing
wind, not a high howling wind. This is
about wind solely as pure wind in itself,
without moment, without witness.
Therefore this night tonight--
a midnight of late autumn winds shaking
the poplars and aspens by the fence, slamming
doors, rattling the porch swing, whipping
thundering black rains in gusts across
the hillsides, in batteries against the windows
as we lie together listening in the dark, our own
particular fingers touching--can never
be a subject of this specific conversation


I spent an insane number of hours Wednesday on the phone with two banks, Equifax, Experian, the county police (with whom both Equifax and Chase suggested I file a report), and various places where I had orders placed that probably won't go through because I had to cancel credit cards. I couldn't leave the house until FedEx arrived with the credit card that started all this (which I can never use, since I wasn't the one who requested it and just wanted to make sure it didn't fall into the hands of whoever did), so I was stuck until late afternoon, at which point it was raining but I went to the park for twenty minutes anyway.

Paul took me to Cava for dinner after a trip to the grocery store (he ate the last English muffin in the house for breakfast and took the last bagel in the house with him for lunch when we were out of bread and I couldn't go out to get either, so he knew he owed me). Then Cheryl and I decided to wait on the Fantastic Four movies since we're too Infinity War-focused this week  so we watched The Avengers -- the first one. Tomorrow we may watch Thor: Ragnarok or we may decide to save that in case we need it to put us in a better mood on the other side of the new movie! Tulips from Meadowlark Gardens last weekend:









Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Poem for Wednesday, Identity Theft, Frying Pan Farm

Storm Warnings
By Adrienne Rich

The glass has been falling all the afternoon,
And knowing better than the instrument
What winds are walking overhead, what zone
Of grey unrest is moving across the land,
I leave the book upon a pillowed chair
And walk from window to closed window, watching
Boughs strain against the sky

And think again, as often when the air
Moves inward toward a silent core of waiting,
How with a single purpose time has traveled
By secret currents of the undiscerned
Into this polar realm. Weather abroad
And weather in the heart alike come on
Regardless of prediction.

Between foreseeing and averting change
Lies all the mastery of elements
Which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter.
Time in the hand is not control of time,
Nor shattered fragments of an instrument
A proof against the wind; the wind will rise,
We can only close the shutters.

I draw the curtains as the sky goes black
And set a match to candles sheathed in glass
Against the keyhole draught, the insistent whine
Of weather through the unsealed aperture.
This is our sole defense against the season;
These are the things we have learned to do
Who live in troubled regions.


My morning was calm and my early afternoon was kind of nice -- I took a walk in the drizzly park and bumped into friends -- but my evening has pretty much thoroughly sucked. Last night Paul asked me whether I had tried to log into our bank account online at three in the morning because he got an alert that someone had tried and failed to log in. I said of course not, I was asleep. He figured it was a one-time phishing thing, changed the password, and we figured that was that. Today I got a call from one of my credit card companies, telling me that they had had to decline a request to cancel my card because whoever made the request put in the wrong name for my mother's maiden name. They asked whether it was myself or my spouse who had made the request. I said no, canceled the card, went through the fraud procedures, and while this was going on, I got an email from my other credit card company telling me they had successfully canceled my card and were overnighting me a new one. I had never requested that either card be canceled.

After a lot of phone calls, I now know that someone called from what both banks had recorded as my own phone number, at a time when I was in my house so the call was certainly not really placed from here. Whoever called not only knew my credit card and bank card numbers, but also the last four digits of my SS, my mother's maiden name, my addresses and phone numbers -- things they didn't get from a skimmer or going through my purse. In other words, this is professional identity theft, possibly from the Equifax hack or one of the other big ones. Right now I have NO working credit cards (and can't risk having a new one sent, since someone tried to have two new credit cards overnighted to my house; I assume they'll be watching for my mail/FedEx deliveries), and for all I know someone is at this moment trying to take out a mortgage or something in my name.

And the person I would once have called about this, who straightened out my credit years ago when someone with the same name as mine had bad phone bills and credit card bills showing up on my report -- my first employer, my father's very longtime friend, a lawyer who specialized in creditor's rights -- died a few weeks ago. So my evening has involved a lot of changing passwords and looking for information on various credit card and credit agency web sites. Cheryl kept me company online even though I couldn't deal with watching a movie: I half-watched The Flash whose season can't end soon enough, then the season premiere of The 100 which seemed pretty awesome (the new villains have a woman in charge, as always on this show!) but I couldn't give it my full attention. Here are some of the animals and their babies we saw Sunday at Frying Pan Farm Park:





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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Poem for Tuesday, Logan, Meadowlark Gardens Animals

Green Heron in Rain
By Larry Schug

The light’s not right, too much glare
for a photo through the rain-streaked window,
and not being a painter or sketcher
I turn to words to capture and convey
the image of a solitary green heron,
its rusty breast, pointed crest, stiletto beak,
preening gray/green feathers worn like a cape;
gripping a branch of a fallen aspen
with long feet, orange as its legs.
The steel gray pond bubbles and ripples in the rain,
backdrop of shimmering quicksilver,
a scene that could move an agnostic soul
to believe in the hand of some god,
with no religion to muddy the image, within or without.


Rush job while watching a whole bunch of Avengers on Jimmy Kimmel Live (that is going to be a theme this week) after going out to dinner at Lebanese Taverna with Paul, Karen, Jim, Angela, Lena, and Carrie. My day wasn't exciting anyway; morning work and chores, two lunchtime Pokemon raids at Park Potomac since they were on the way to Walgreens and I needed to go there anyway for hair stuff CVS doesn't carry, afternoon work and chores, then Paul came home and we went out to meet everyone for dinner.

We missed a chunk of Supergirl but I'm not very sorry, then we watched Logan with Cheryl -- sad, but a really terrific film -- which brings us to the end of our X-Men viewing till Deadpool 2 arrives, woe! Though we will probably rewatch the Fantastic Four movies next to see if they're as bad as we seem to remember (I remember liking Chris Evans, Ioan Gruffudd, and Jessica Alba, so how bad can they be, really). From Meadowlark Gardens yesterday, here are some of the animals out enjoying the spring weather!