Thursday, May 31, 2018

Poem for Thursday and Warm Weather Canal

Needles and Pins
By Shel Silverstein

Needles and pins,
Needles and pins,
Sew me a sail
To catch me the wind.

Sew me a sail
Strong as the gale,
Carpenter, bring out your
Hammers and nails.

Hammers and nails,
Hammers and nails,
Build me a boat
To go chasing the whales.

Chasing the whales,
Sailing the blue
Find me a captain
And sign me a crew.

Captain and crew,
Captain and crew,
Take me, oh take me
To anywhere new.


On Wednesday morning we were visited by a plumber who informed us that fixing the drain in the basement that is causing our washing machine to leak was going to cost quite a bit more than we expected, and Maddy lost her job. So it was a fairly shitty day in most regards, other than the kids in Seattle seem happy.

We caught up on Billions (Maria Sharapova!) and watched the first episode of Patrick Melrose (amazing but depressing), plus I spoiled myself for the last five minutes of The Americans to find out whether we can watch the past two seasons (sounds like yes). From the C&O Canal last weekend, sights of summer:









Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Poem for Wednesday, Solo, Huntsman, Baseball

A Helping Hand
By Mark Hamill

Lightsabers are red
Lightsabers are blue
By chance you find mine
Return my hand too


I spent a lovely relaxing Tuesday with Cheryl, who arrived around lunchtime, so we got fried eggs on black Russian bagels at Goldberg's, then came home to eat and watched both Snow White and the Huntsman and The Huntsman: Winter's War. I'd seen the first one before, was not very impressed by it and didn't remember most of the plot, so I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Charlize Theron chewing scenery and Chris Hemsworth in leather make up for how miserable Kristen Stewart looks trying to play the damsel in distress before she finally gets to kick ass late in the film. The sequel, which I hadn't seen, is a lot more fun, since Emily Blunt gets to chew scenery at Charlize's side, and Chris and Jessica Chastain have a lot more chemistry than Chris and Kristen did, though they should have given the latter at least a cameo appearance!

When Paul got home, we went out for our primary reason for Cheryl's visit: so we could see Solo together. I didn't adore it the way I adored, say, The Empire Strikes Back when I first saw that, but I liked it a lot, especially once it got going in the second half, which had a lot more humor. The action sequences went on longer than I thought they should have and it could have used more Thandie Newton and Phoebe Waller Bridge, but Alden Ehrenreich was pretty good and Donald Glover was fantastic, plus it's always a pleasure to see Paul Bettany and Woody Harrelson (the latter along with Glover and Bridge comes close to stealing the movie). Good women's roles, fun cameos, childhood memories safe though several of the new characters wind up being more interesting than Han. Some more photos from the Orioles-Nationals game on Memorial Day (the Os lost again today):





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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Poem for Tuesday and Orioles Game Birthday

blessing the boats
By Lucille Clifton

              (at St. Mary's)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back     may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that


On Monday morning, my father's birthday, we picked up my parents and some of their best friends and drove to Baltimore, where we met my sister, her husband, and two of their kids at Camden Yards for the Orioles-Nationals game. My sister's husband had gotten us all a suite from which to watch as well as lots of food, and it was all quite lovely except for the final score (which my father appreciated, being a Nats fan, but a 6-0 shutout with so many double plays against them that I lost count sucks for the home team). Because it was Memorial Day, the teams were in uniforms honoring the military and they were giving out patriotic Orioles shirts.




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My sister and her family flew back late in the afternoon, and we took my parents and their friends home, then came back to our house to our hungry cats and niece who had forgotten her keys when she left before 7 a.m. for work. We watched Supergirl, which was pretty good except when Winn was onscreen, and Elementary, where Joan and Marcus were awesome together as always, interspersed by the Capitals-Golden Knights which ended even more frustratingly than the Orioles game did, considering that the Orioles have been terrible all season while the Capitals are in the Stanley Cup final, but at least there's more drama there than the NBA tournament -- again!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Poem for Monday and C&O Canal

For a Birthday
By Thom Gunn

I have reached a time when words no longer help:
Instead of guiding me across the moors
Strong landmarks in the uncertain out-of-doors,
Or like dependable friars on the Alp
Saving with wisdom and with brandy kegs,
They are gravel-stones, or tiny dogs which yelp
Biting my trousers, running round my legs.
Description and analysis degrade,
Limit, delay, slipped land from what has been;
And when we groan My Darling what we mean
Looked at more closely would too soon evade
The intellectual habit of our eyes;
And either the experience would fade
Or our approximations would be lies.
The snarling dogs are weight upon my haste,
Tons which I am detaching ounce by ounce.
All my agnostic irony I renounce
So I may climb to regions where I rest
In springs of speech, the dark before of truth:
The sweet moist wafer of your tongue I taste,
And find right meanings in your silent mouth.


It was very warm and sticky on Sunday morning, as I discovered when I went to meet Pokemon friends in the park, where I caught my second shiny Ho-oh in as many days. We had eggs for lunch and went to the C&O Canal, where the water was lower than we expected because it had been diverted into the very high Potomac River -- probably a good decision, given that we had afternoon rain forecast, though the worst of the storm went northeast and did massive damage in Ellicott City, which has only just recovered from the 2016 flood. There weren't many people by the canal and we saw lots of frogs, turtles, birds, and wildflowers.

Our kids went to the Woodland Park Zoo together in Seattle, then Daniel went to his regular Dungeons and Dragons game night and Adam went to meet up with his roommate for the summer in Bellevue. Maddy had to work in the heat. Meanwhile I went out to dinner with Karen, Erin, and our husbands at Matchbox, where I had a very good pear and goat cheese salad and we shared a brownie ice cream sundae. When we got home, we watched this week's Westworld and last week's Graham Norton Show. Tomorrow is a big birthday for my dad so I will be spending it with my parents, sister, nieces, and friends watching baseball!



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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Poem for Sunday, Post-Airport Great Falls, Amazing Spider-Man 2

A List of Praises
By Anne Porter

Give praise with psalms that tell the trees to sing,
Give praise with Gospel choirs in storefront churches,
Mad with the joy of the Sabbath,
Give praise with the babble of infants, who wake with the sun,
Give praise with children chanting their skip-rope rhymes,
A poetry not in books, a vagrant mischievous poetry
living wild on the Streets through generations of children.

Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away
With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle
As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning,
Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh
Of the wind in the pinewoods,
At night give praise with starry silences.

Give praise with the skirling of seagulls
And the rattle and flap of sails
And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell
Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor.
Give praise with the humpback whales,
Huge in the ocean they sing to one another.

Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries
We know that the winter is over.

Give praise with mockingbirds, day’s nightingales.
Hour by hour they sing in the crepe myrtle
And glossy tulip trees
On quiet side streets in southern towns.

Give praise with the rippling speech
Of the eider-duck and her ducklings
As they paddle their way downstream
In the red-gold morning
On Restiguche, their cold river,
Salmon river,
Wilderness river.

Give praise with the whitethroat sparrow.
Far, far from the cities,
Far even from the towns,
With piercing innocence
He sings in the spruce-tree tops,
Always four notes
And four notes only.

Give praise with water,
With storms of rain and thunder
And the small rains that sparkle as they dry,
And the faint floating ocean roar
That fills the seaside villages,
And the clear brooks that travel down the mountains

And with this poem, a leaf on the vast flood,
And with the angels in that other country.


We got up very early on Saturday to drive Adam to the airport for his flight to Seattle, where he will spend the summer interning at Microsoft, sharing housing with another University of Maryland student and hanging out with his brother when he has time. He is staying with Daniel tonight since his summer housing isn't available till Sunday, so the two of them went out for food and to the beach once his plane landed. We will have to wait until July 4th weekend to see them!

Since we were out early and there was rain forecast for the afternoon, we decided to go to Great Falls, where the river has been very high from all the rain. We saw a lot of animals, including turtles, snakes, a skink, a toad, herons, ducks, geese, and lots of other birds. I did a bunch of chores during the expected storm, then after dinner we watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Cheryl (still well acted but the pacing is awful). Happy Sunday!




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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Poem for Saturday, Geese and Grandparents

How Happy Is the Little Stone
By Emily Dickinson

How happy is the little stone
That rambles in the road alone,
And does n’t care about careers,
And exigencies never fears;
Whose coat of elemental brown
A passing universe put on;
And independent as the sun,
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute decree
In casual simplicity.


Another quickie because we have to get up before 6 a.m. to drive Adam to the airport for his summer in Seattle! We had a nice day -- I took him to meet Paul at his office for lunch and we all walked by the pond to see the geese and goslings (plus a cormorant and a heron) afterward, then Adam went out with a friend from school for bubble tea and I went to a Pokemon raid, then we all went to my parents' house for Mexican food, then we came home for several hours of laundry and packing interspersed with a phone call from Paul's parents and this week's episode of The Handmaid's Tale (go girls!). Here are a few pics from the goose pond and dinner plus one from Not Your Average Joe's the night before:

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Poem for Friday and Pretty Brookside

By Jean Valentine

You came in a dream, yesterday
--The first day we met
you showed me your dark workroom
off the kitchen, your books, your notebooks.

Reading our last, knowing-last letters
--the years of our friendship
reading our poems to each other,
I would start breathing again.

Yesterday, in the afternoon,
more than a year since you died,
some words came into the air.
I looked away a second,
and they were gone,
six lines, just passing through.

for Adrienne Rich


Quickie, Adam is here, we're watching Ghostbusters (2016, because he'd never seen it, as we discovered earlier watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), after going out to dinner at Not Your Average Joe's with my parents to celebrate my father's birthday a few days early. Before that, I got my hair cut and colored.

The rest of my day was low-key (or would have been had it not involved two incidents of cat vomit -- one of which was all over my bed -- and a flooded basement, apparently something stuck in one of the pipes necessary for the washing machine after the cat vomit). Have a few pics from Brookside Gardens earlier this spring:




Thursday, May 24, 2018

Poem for Thursday and Courtyards Moving Day

The Daughter Goes To Camp
By Sharon Olds

In the taxi alone, home from the airport,
I could not believe you were gone. My palm kept
creeping over the smooth plastic
to find your strong meaty little hand and
squeeze it, find your narrow thigh in the
noble ribbing of the corduroy,
straight and regular as anything in nature, to
find the slack cool cheek of a
child in the heat of a summer morning—
nothing, nothing, waves of bawling
hitting me in hot flashes like some
change of life, some boiling wave
rising in me toward your body, toward
where it should have been on the seat, your
brow curved like a cereal bowl, your
eyes dark with massed crystals like the
magnified scales of a butterfly's wing, the
delicate feelers of your limp hair,
floods of blood rising in my face as I
tried to reassemble the hot
gritty molecules in the car, to
make you appear like a holograph
on the back seat, pull you out of nothing
as I once did—but you were really gone,
the cab glossy as a slit caul out of
which you had slipped, the air glittering
electric with escape as it does in the room at a birth.


Paul and I spent a big chunk of Wednesday in College Park moving Adam's things out of the Courtyards, a momentous occasion in that our two kids each spent two years living there (and had pretty good experiences, though Adam says he has no nostalgia for his apartment). We made the mistake of not insisting that he bring some of his stuff here while he was commuting back and forth the past couple of weeks to see friends closer to home, so there was a lot to pack and clean and drag to the dumpster, but now it's all crammed in our basement until next fall, and we went to an extremely late lunch at Pho D'Lite before coming home in an unnecessary amount of traffic.

Adam is spending the evening at a movie marathon with the high school friends with whom he has had such marathons for several years -- I believe he brought The Nice Guys, which we saw a year ago today. Paul and I had sandwiches for dinner since we weren't very hungry after our late lunch out, then we watched the season though hopefully not series finale of Timeless, which we missed on Friday. It finished before the Capitals beat the Lightning to earn a trip to the Stanley Cup final, huzzah! Here are a few photos of Courtyards so I remember how the public spaces looked. Adam was not in the mood for posing, but you can see and read about him on one of his adventures here!

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