Thursday, January 31, 2019

Poem for Thursday and Winter Deck Visitors

Birds At Winter Nightfall (Triolet)
By Thomas Hardy

Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone
From holly and cotoneaster
Around the house. The flakes fly!--faster
Shutting indoors that crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone!


Wednesday started chilly, then we had an afternoon snow squall and now it's very cold, though not by current standards in Chicago and Milwaukee, nor even as cold as it was in New York when we were there a couple of weekends ago. So I really was not in the mood for being outdoors much, though I did walk in the park for a few minutes to get to a Palkia raid. Mostly I worked at home around cats who wanted to be in my lap and on my table to keep warm.

In the evening we watched The Masked Singer, which I've read has been picked up for another season -- I'm really not a talent show fan but this show is compulsively watchable and I'm sure they ordered the judges to sound like complete idiots just to get people mocking them on Twitter. I'm having trouble watching late night comedians this week because Chris Christie is everywhere, ugh! Some photos of the birds in the snow these past several days:








Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Poem for Wednesday, First Man, Snowstorm

The Bear, The Fire, And The Snow
By Shel Silverstein

'I live in fear of the snow,' said the bear.
'Whenever it's here, be sure I'll be there.
Oh, the pain and the cold,
when one's bearish and old.
I live in fear of the snow.'

'I live in fear of the fire,' said the snow.
'Whenever it comes then it's time I must go.
with its yellow lick flames
leaping higher and higher,
I live in fear of the fire.'

'I live in fear of the river,' said the fire.
'It can drown all my flames anytime it desires,
and the thought of the wet
makes me sputter and shiver.
I live in fear of the river.'

'I live in fear of the bear,' said the river.
'It can lap me right up, don't you know?'
While a mile away
you can hear the bear say,
'I live in fear of the snow.'


Paul worked from home because we had a plumber coming to look at the upstairs bathroom (verdict: sink fixture needs to be replaced, so we need to go pick one out). Since the schools were closing early and most of the county recreation facilities were shut for impending snow, this was just as well. Since First Man is now streaming, we watched that while working (verdict: very well acted, stunningly filmed, fantastic score, some weird, depressing script choices). And I got the laundry folded.

It was snowing quite hard by 5 p.m., but a friend who was in the neighborhood for a Kyogre raid offered to give me a ride to the first local Palkia raid at a nearby church, so I gratefully accepted since I did not want to drive with it coming down so hard. We watched The Flash, in which Nora still does not make any sense, then caught up on the Supergirl we missed, in which Nia and Kara are awesome and the show finally replicates Smallville's growing-up-super is like growing-up-gay parallel. Snow pics:

2019-01-29 17.43.58

2019-01-29 17.43.46





2019-01-29 17.44.27

2019-01-29 22.38.50

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Poem for Tuesday and Tip of Manhattan

Song of the Sea
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming

Timeless sea breezes,
sea-wind of the night:
you come for no one;
if someone should wake,
he must be prepared
how to survive you.

Timeless sea breezes,
that for aeons have
blown ancient rocks,
you are purest space
coming from afar...

Oh, how a fruit-bearing
fig tree feels your coming
high up in the moonlight.


I had a nice, busy Monday because I had a bunch of things I wanted to get done before being trapped in the house by a snowstorm on Tuesday. I met Karen and Jim for lunch at the Big Greek Cafe, which was lovely because I have not seen them since before the winter holidays -- it's been a crazy month -- then I did a bunch of shopping on Rockville Pike, including stops at both A.C. Moore and Michaels which were both unsuccessful since they've both removed their holiday sale sections in favor of Easter merchandise! Pier 1 still has some winter things but World Market, not much.

In the late afternoon I took down a bunch of Star Trek collectible plates that have been hanging precariously in our bedroom (one nearly fell during the roof repairs) and put up some more nautical decor that's much more my style of the past decade. I love the advent of turtle and starfish-shaped sparkly string lights. We had veggie gyros for dinner, since I brought Paul some of the spicy feta from lunch. Now we're caught up on Black Lightning, which was very sad tonight, and Madam Secretary, which was frustrating. Here are some photos from Battery Park last week:

2019-01-20 15.05.15

2019-01-20 15.01.21


2019-01-20 15.30.01

2019-01-20 15.20.48

2019-01-20 15.33.54A

2019-01-20 15.00.13


Monday, January 28, 2019

Poem for Monday, Rent, Cabin John Park

By Tim Dlugos

"You knew who I was
when I walked in the door.
You thought that I was dead.
Well, I am dead. A man
can walk and talk and even
breathe and still be dead."
Edmond O'Brien is perspiring
and chewing up the scenery
in my favorite film noir,
D.O.A. I can't stop watching,
can't stop relating. When I walked down
Columbus to Endicott last night
to pick up Tor's new novel,
I felt the eyes of every
Puerto Rican teen, crackhead,
yuppie couple focus on my cane
and makeup. "You're dead,"
they seemed to say in chorus.
Somewhere in a dark bar
years ago, I picked up "luminous
poisoning." My eyes glowed
as I sipped my drink. After that,
there was no cure, no turning back.
I had to find out what was gnawing
at my gut. The hardest part's
not even the physical effects:
stumbling like a drunk (Edmond
O'Brien was one of Hollywood's
most active lushes) through
Forties sets, alternating sweats
and fevers, reptilian spots
on face and scalp. It's having
to say goodbye like the scene
where soundtrack violins go crazy
as O'Brien gives his last embrace
to his girlfriend-cum-Girl
Friday, Paula, played by Pamela
Britton. They're filmdom's least
likely lovers—the squat and jowly
alkie and the homely fundamentally
talentless actress who would hit
the height of her fame as the pillhead-
acting landlady on My Favorite Martian
fifteen years in the future. I don't have
fifteen years, and neither does Edmond
O'Brien. He has just enough time to tell
Paula how much he loves her, then
to drive off in a convertible
for the showdown with his killer.
I'd like to have a showdown too, if I
could figure out which pistol-packing
brilliantined and ruthless villain
in a hound's-tooth overcoat took
my life. Lust, addiction, being
in the wrong place at the wrong
time? That's not the whole
story. Absolute fidelity
to the truth of what I felt, open
to the moment, and in every case
a kind of love: all of the above
brought me to this tottering
self-conscious state—pneumonia,
emaciation, grisly cancer,
no future, heart of gold,
passionate engagement with a great
B film, a glorious summer
afternoon in which to pick up
the ripest plum tomatoes of the year
and prosciutto for the feast I'll cook
tonight for the man I love,
phone calls from my friends
and a walk to the park, ignoring
stares, to clear my head. A day
like any, like no other. Not so bad
for the dead.


We had a quiet Sunday morning with various projects we put off while our kids were home, then we had soup and crackers for lunch and went to take a walk at Locust Grove in Cabin John Park. The snow is gone and the trails are pretty muddy, but there's some ice on the creek and in puddles on the ground, and there are cardinals and eastern bluebirds in the trees, so it's quite pretty. We stopped at Giant and CVS on the way home.

In the late afternoon, we picked up Maddy, who is moving back to California very early on Monday -- she has better job prospects out there -- and went to meet Alice, Jeremy, and Avery at the Metro 29 Diner. We haven't all had dinner together since not long after Maddy moved out here, so that was lovely! Then we came home for Rent on Fox, also lovely and nostalgic and powerful. We'll have lots of regular Sunday TV to catch up on.

2019-01-27 14.00.04

2019-01-27 14.26.03

2019-01-27 14.08.00

2019-01-27 14.08.29

2019-01-27 14.20.45

2019-01-27 14.31.39

2019-01-27 17.37.12

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Poem for Sunday, Breathe, Washingtonian Lake

I Could Not Tell
By Sharon Olds

I could not tell I had jumped off that bus,
that bus in motion, with my child in my arms,
because I did not know it. I believed my own story:  
I had fallen, or the bus had started up
when I had one foot in the air.

I would not remember the tightening of my jaw,  
the irk that I’d missed my stop, the step out  
into the air, the clear child
gazing about her in the air as I plunged
to one knee on the street, scraped it, twisted it,  
the bus skidding to a stop, the driver
jumping out, my daughter laughing
Do it again.

I have never done it  
again, I have been very careful.
I have kept an eye on that nice young mother
who lightly leapt
off the moving vehicle
onto the stopped street, her life
in her hands, her life’s life in her hands.


Adam spent Saturday morning packing and reading about his upcoming classes while I tried to get the house in some semblance of order. At lunchtime, we went to Minerva for the Indian buffet, and since we were nearby, we also stopped at Kohl's to get Adam a new belt, though since most of the winter clothes are on a big sale, Paul and I also grabbed some bargains. Then we walked around Washingtonian Lake to see the geese and gulls standing on the ice.

2019-01-26 15.46.06

2019-01-26 15.27.40

2019-01-26 15.42.13

2019-01-26 15.28.16

2019-01-26 15.42.23

2019-01-26 10.37.25

2019-01-26 17.18.42

When we got back to the house, Adam packed up his car and headed to College Park. Paul and I watched the free dance at the US figure skating championships, followed by Breathe, the Andrew Garfield film about the polio victim turned activist for the disabled, which is fairly formulaic as such biopics go (loyal wife, quirky humor, privilege that makes progress possible) but well acted and nicely filmed. We're still full from lunch so we just nibbled for dinner!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Poem for Saturday and Seaglass Carousel

By Jaya Savige

Dense night is a needs thing.

You were lured
     in a luminous canoe
said to have once ruled
     a lunar ocean.

     The 2 am soda pour
of stars is all but silent;
only listen — 

   sedater than a sauropod
     in the bone epics
it spills all the moon spice,

     releasing a sap odour
          that laces
     us to a vaster scale
          of road opus.

A carousel of oral cues,
these spinning sonic coins.

A slide show of old wishes.


Since it was Adam's last full day at home before his winter break ends, he decided to start cleaning his room for the big move in the spring. He is much better at decluttering than I am -- I can tell you where I got pretty much everything I own, I get attached to inanimate objects very easily -- so now I have a few extra penguin figurines and he has far fewer McDonalds toys. We both got rid of some clothes, at least.

We had dinner with my parents after I went to a big Groudon raid where we're hoping to trigger an EX raid next week. Then we came home and watched the women's long program at the U.S. figure skating championships while Adam tested our guitars since he's taking a guitar class with Katherine next semester. Here's the Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park, but photos don't do it justice, so here is a video clip as well!

2019-01-20 15.13.53

2019-01-20 15.12.43

2019-01-20 15.13.56

2019-01-20 15.11.29

2019-01-20 15.13.52

2019-01-20 15.11.30

2019-01-20 15.13.48

2019-01-20 15.12.32

2019-01-20 15.07.50

Friday, January 25, 2019

Poem for Friday, Downsizing, September 11 Museum

Full Flight
By Bob Hicok

I'm in a plane that will not be flown into a building.
It's a SAAB 340, seats 40, has two engines with propellers
is why I think of beanies, those hats that would spin
a young head into the clouds. The plane is red and loud
inside like it must be loud in the heart, red like fire
and fire engines and the woman two seats up and to the right
resembles one of the widows I saw on TV after the Towers
came down. It's her hair that I recognize, the fecundity of it
and the color and its obedience to an ideal, the shape
it was asked several hours ago to hold and has held, a kind
of wave that begins at the forehead and repeats with slight
variations all the way to the tips, as if she were water
and a pebble had been continuously dropped into the mouth
of her existence. We are eighteen thousand feet over America.
People are typing at their laps, blowing across the fog of coffee,
sleeping with their heads on the windows, on the pattern
of green fields and brown fields, streams and gas stations
and swimming pools, blue dots of aquamarine that suggest
we've domesticated the mirage. We had to kill someone,
I believe, when the metal bones burned and the top
fell through the bottom and a cloud made of dust and memos
and skin muscled across Manhattan. I remember feeling
I could finally touch a rifle, that some murders
are an illumination of ethics, that they act as a word,
a motion the brain requires for which there is
no syllable, no breath. The moment the planes had stopped,
when we were afraid of the sky, there was a pause
when we could have been perfectly American,
could have spent infinity dollars and thrown a million
bodies at finding the few, lasering our revenge
into a kind of love, the blood-hunger kept exact
and more convincing for its precision, an expression
of our belief that proximity is never the measure of guilt.
We've lived in the sky again for some years and today
on my lap these pictures from Iraq, naked bodies
stacked into a pyramid of ha-ha and the articles
about broomsticks up the ass and the limbs of children
turned into stubble, we are punch-drunk and getting even
with the sand, with the map, with oil, with ourselves
I think listening to the guys behind me. There's a problem
in Alpena with an inventory control system, some switches
are being counted twice, switches for what I don't know—
switches of humor, of faith—but the men are musical
in their jargon, both likely born in New Delhi
and probably Americans now, which is what the flesh
of this country has been, a grafted pulse, an inventory
of the world, and just as the idea of embrace
moves chemically into my blood, and I'm warmed
as if I've just taken a drink, a voice announces
we've begun our descent, and then I sense the falling.


Adam goes back to College Park on Saturday for his final semester, so I am having a quiet week hanging out with him as he attempts to do work for NASA when just about every resource he needs is impacted by the shutdown. After lunch we watched Downsizing, which was not at all the comedy advertised after the first half hour; for a while it was really good, an allegorical drama about privilege, cultural arrogance, and impending environmental catastrophe, but then it kind of went off the rails with a badly written romance and an incredibly bizarre apocalypse scenario.

Paul made Ethiopian food for dinner, after which we watched The Orville (very original Star Trek even where bad science is concerned) and the women's short program at the US Figure Skating Championships (I'm sad Mirai and Gracie aren't there). Here are a few photos from last weekend from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which do not begin to do justice to the experience of being there. No photos are allowed in the In Memoriam gallery, nor in the enormous exhibit with the timeline of and artifacts from the attacks. May be triggering:

The South Pool memorializes the spot where the South Tower of the World Trade Center once stood. Names of victims are carved around it.

Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning by Spencer Finch (the letters of the quote from Virgil are made from WTC steel).

A pre-1968 street sign for a section of Greenwich Street eliminated by the World Trade Center complex, saved by an engineer who worked on the construction.

Steel from the North Tower floors 96-99 showing the impact of the plane.

A display of the sights and sounds from that morning.

Vesey Street "Survivor's Stairs" remnant.

A portion of the slurry wall beneath the World Trade Center, which did not collapse after the attack and thus stopped the Hudson River from flooding into subway tunnels beneath the city, and the "Last Column" which remained upright after the Towers collapsed.

The water in the memorial pools flows in sub-zero temperatures into the night.