Monday, December 31, 2018

Greetings from Richmond

We spent a lovely Sunday in Richmond, where we drove in the morning and met Cheryl at Mexico Restaurant for lunch, after which we went to Maymont and walked all through the gardens, farm, and nature center in unseasonably warm weather. We had thought we might visit the mansion as well to see the holiday decorations, but it was so late in the afternoon that we decided instead to stop at Starbucks for coffee and hot chocolate.

Then we went with Cheryl to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where we met Adam's girlfriend and her parents and brother to see the GardenFest of Lights, which this year had several displays based on painters and paintings. From there, our large group went to the River City Diner for dinner, then drove home with Adam and Katherine, who accompanied him to College Park for New Year's Eve with their college friends. More pics when I am more awake!

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Poem for Sunday and Family Time

Evening Hawk
By Robert Penn Warren

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.
               His wing
Scythes down another day, his motion
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
The crashless fall of stalks of Time.

The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.

Look!  Look!  he is climbing the last light
Who knows neither Time nor error, and under
Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings
Into shadow.

          Long now,
The last thrush is still, the last bat
Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics.  His wisdom
Is ancient, too, and immense.  The star
Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

If there were no wind we might, we think, hear
The earth grind on its axis, or history
Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.


We all drove to Thurmont on Saturday to meet Paul's parents, his brother David, David's wife Maria, and three of their kids at Simply Asia, where we had a really nice lunch and I caught up on lots with my nephews. We walked up the street to Dunkin' Donuts for dessert before heading in separate directions.

We've had a quiet evening here watching college football (ugggh Alabama) around Outlaw King, which Daniel and Adam had not seen. And we played Sentinels of the Multiverse, where Baron Blade killed our entire family of superheroes despite our successful destruction of his moon laser! A few photos:

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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Poem for Saturday and Foggy Evening

By Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


It was a rainy Friday so we did not do much outdoors that was exciting. Adam spent the entire day visiting Katherine in Fredericksburg; Daniel went out to lunch with my father, then we watched the last two episodes of the Merlin miniseries, which was enjoyable though the women's roles stink.

A friend sent me an invitation to the new Deoxys EX raid just before dinner, so I went and raided with my local PoGo group, then we had dinner with my parents and caught Daniel up on Doctor Who around the Alamo Bowl. After all the rain during the day, the temperature went up a bit and we had amazing nighttime fog:

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Poem for Friday and Roof Finished

In This World
By Kobayahi Issa
Translated by Robert Hass

In this world
we walk on the roof of hell,
gazing at flowers.


Daniel and Adam went downtown on Thursday (for separate lunch dates, though they rode the Metro together) while we stayed at home waiting for the roof to be finished, and now it is! They did a good job cleaning up the outside, though Daniel's room still needs a lot of work -- like a new ceiling and possibly new carpet. We went to the Silver Diner waiting to go to the Metro, then stopped at Giant on the way home to get stuff to make sundaes because we missed dessert.

Almost by accident because we saw that it was on Amazon Prime, we watched Legend, which I have not seen in a couple of decades so I had not realized how much Peter Jackson swiped from it. Now we're watching the Merlin miniseries with Sam Neill, which has more cheesy fantasy tropes but a great cast. Here is one photo of the new roof (composite, since cedar shakes aren't sustainable and can't be recycled anyway) and another of Effie hiding in a bag:

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Poem for Thursday and Fixing the Roof

The New Roof
By Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

On the heather-thatch the rain
Fell unheard the whole night long;
And no sound came through the dark
Save the flooded Cawburn's song.

On the fine new iron roof,
Patter, patter falls the rain,
Till it seems as though each drop
Drums upon my aching brain.

As I lie and wonder where,
Wakeful too, my soldier lies
'Neath the deadly leaden rain
Falling from the foreign skies.


On Wednesday, the roofers finally arrived to fix our roof after the floods of this summer! They aren't finished yet, though they expect to be tomorrow. We were pretty much stuck in the house in the morning because of the truck backed up over the sidewalk into which the remains of the old roof were being dumped, so we had lunch together and watched Darkest Hour, which the kids had not seen.

Eventually, when we could get out, Adam went for a run and I went for a walk just to get some fresh air. Then we had dinner and watched part of the Kennedy Center Honors, followed by Venom which the kids also had not seen. So everyone had a reasonably good day except for the cats, particularly Katniss, who spent the entire day down the basement hiding, and Effie, who slunk up occasionally:

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Poem for Wednesday and Christmas in Hanover

Christmas Night
By Conrad Hilberry

Let midnight gather up the wind  
and the cry of tires on bitter snow.  
Let midnight call the cold dogs home,  
sleet in their fur—last one can blow  

the streetlights out.   If children sleep  
after the day’s unfoldings, the wheel  
of gifts and griefs, may their breathing  
ease the strange hollowness we feel.  

Let midnight draw whoever’s left  
to the grate where a burnt-out log unrolls  
low mutterings of smoke until  
a small fire wakes in its crib of coals.


On Christmas morning we picked up my parents and drove to Paul's parents' house in Hanover, where we had an early dinner of Swedish food, exchanged presents, and tried to fix their cable TV, which apparently needs someone better versed in Verizon boxes than any of us. We drove home at twilight and watched one of our top Christmas movies, Die Hard, which I am so pleased is now widely acknowledged to be a Christmas movie! Now we're watching Harry Potter and arguing over Rowling's inconsistencies, so more tomorrow. Hope everyone had a nice (holi)day!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Poem for Tuesday, Cabin John and Washingtonian

Christmas Eve
By Bill Berkson

     for Vincent Warren

Behind the black water tower
under the grey
of the sky that feeds it
smoke speeds to where a pigeon
spreads its wings

This is no great feat
Cold pushes out its lust
We walk we drink we cast
our giggling insults

                           Would you please
leave the $2.50 you owe me
I would rather not talk about it
just now           Money bores me I would like
to visit someone who will stay
in bed all day           A forest is rising
imperceptibly in my head
                                                  not a civilized park

I think it would be nice this "new
moral odor" no it would not mean
"everything marching to its tomb"
                                                            The water tower
watches over us            Is there someone
you would like to invite        no one.


We had a very low-key Christmas Eve. Adam got home around lunchtime from his movie marathon, we all hung out for a while reading news parodies, then we went to Cabin John Park for a walk by the creek (surprisingly low given the high water at Great Falls). Later we went to Washingtonian for dinner with the Helgesens and their older son's girlfriend; CPK was trying to close early, but when they realized all nine of us were pissed off and they still had pick-up orders to finish, they let us eat there. We walked back along the lakeside to see the displays, then came home and watched Crazy Rich Asians since Daniel and Adam had not seen it. Merry Christmas if you celebrate!

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Monday, December 24, 2018

Poem for Monday and Great Falls in Shutdown

Poem Ending with a Sentence by Heath Ledger
By Frank Bidart

Each grinding flattened American vowel smashed to
centerlessness, his glee that whatever long ago mutilated his

mouth, he has mastered to mutilate

you: the Joker's voice, so unlike
the bruised, withheld, wounded voice of Ennis Del Mar.

Once I have the voice

the line

and at

the end
of the line

is a hook

and attached
to that

is the soul.


Adam is at an overnight movie marathon, and Daniel came with us to walk at Great Falls, which was physically open but the overlook was blocked off because the Potomac River was in flood stage and the bathrooms were locked because of the government shutdown (though for anyone interested, it's free to get into the park right now). Plus we stopped at the Bethesda Co-op.

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Paul is doing a lot of the cooking for Christmas, since his mother doesn't feel up to making all the traditional Swedish foods (they offered to take us out for dinner but there were votes here for meatballs). So after dinner with my parents, he cooked while we watched Madam Secretary and the end of the Seattle game, which pleased Daniel -- it's been a weekend of great games!