Thursday, February 28, 2019

Poem for Thursday and Hillwood Orchids

By Charlie Smith

in rome I got down among the weeds and tiny perfumed
flowers like eyeballs dabbed in blood and the big ruins
said do it my way pal while starlings
kept offering show biz solutions and well the vatican
pursued its interests the palm trees like singular affidavits
the wind succinct and the mountains painted blue
just before dawn accelerated at the last point
of departure before the big illuminated structures
dug up from the basement got going and I ate crostatas
for breakfast and on the terrace chatted
with the clay-faced old man next door and said I was
after a woman who'd left me years ago and he said lord aren't we all.


Our car was in for what was supposed to be routine maintenance on Wednesday, so Paul worked from home so one of us would not be without a vehicle all day. I say "supposed to be" because the last time it went in for that, it came home making a strange noise whenever we turned left sharply, which he thought was because they had tightened something and it didn't seem to be causing any trouble otherwise. Turns out the car had a broken axle, which of course at this late date we couldn't prove happened the last time it was in the shop. So $500 later, I have learned that the next time the car comes home with the slightest strange thing going on, we should take it back immediately!

It was otherwise an uneventful day. We had lunch together, I did get out to the park to walk for a bit. It was Pokemon's anniversary but I still have not found a single shiny Rattata or Pidgey. After dinner we watched the season finale of The Masked Singer, which was insane, enjoyable, and reasonably satisfying apart from the fact that the person who came in third should have won (they wanted a redemption arc, not a "this person has always been awesome" storyline). Then we watched the pilot of Whiskey Cavalier, which I found predictable and unexciting -- felt like it was from a decade ago, especially the female characters. Since we're supposed to get snow Friday, some Hillwood orchids:

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Poem for Wednesday and Finding Crocuses

Epistemology of Laundry
By F. Douglas Brown

this week's last load of laundry has me stealing
my son's precious teenage time    I reenact the duty

of my father and what comes hammering back
are trips with him    pushing his cart of dirties down

the street    his southern charm waving or shaking
hands—: bus driver    mailman    neighbors get

countless invites to dinner or a Saturday bbq
my father's good morning darlin' clanks & pings

as quarters spill into the bona fide grip
of the present    my son's hands show signs

he's ready for the tedious work ahead as he storms
through pile after pile    then his precision when offering

assistance to a stranger    this chore becomes a lesson
for the two of us    this shared work turns and tumbles 

neatly folds—: a fond memory


We had gorgeous weather on Tuesday and I got to see crocuses! Cabin John Park is usually the first place I see purple crocuses -- there weren't any open yet at Brookside Gardens last weekend, nor in the usual yards in my neighborhood -- but there were already a bunch open in the park, where I wanted to walk even before I went to meet a friend who only just joined the local Pokemon group. The raid wasn't memorable but they told me how to catch Smeargle, which I did.

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My friend Annmarie is back in town for the second time in less than a month, this time for the groundbreaking for the national memorial for Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield, of which she's a veteran. She spent most of the day at the event with slightly more famous people than me, like Dick Cheney, then she met me and Paul at the Laredo Grill for Mexican food. When we got home we watched the season finale of The Gifted, sad but satisfying, and Miracle Workers, still total crack!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Poem for Tuesday and Pokemon Invasion

By Aleš Šteger

When you kill it at the edge of the pan, you don’t notice
That the egg grows an eye in death.

It is so small, it doesn’t satisfy
Even the most modest morning appetite.

But it already watches, already stares at your world.
What are its horizons, whose glassy-eyed perspectives?

Does it see time, which moves carelessly through space?
Eyeballs, eyeballs, cracked shells, chaos or order?

Big questions for such a little eye at such an early hour. 
And you – do you really want an answer?

When you sit down, eye to eye, behind a table,
You blind it soon enough with a crust of bread.


I was up too late because of the Oscars last night and had a busy day today so I will keep this short. For breakfast, I met the mom of one of Adam's friends, with whom I've been talking about getting together for ages -- we finally picked a day! We were going to have coffee but we ended up going to the Brooklyn Deli for egg sandwiches since we were hungry. Then I had to go to the post office and various chores out and about. I even snuck in a Pokemon raid at a local church, though Latias ran away.

Angela, Carrie and I had dinner plans at Lebanese Taverna, but they're moving a few doors down into a bigger space and were closed, so instead we went to the Silver Diner, which ended up being lovely because we were in a booth and talked for a long time. Then I came home for I Am the Night (still creepy and very well done) and the premiere of The Enemy Within (some questionable logic but interesting enough that I'll watch next week). Speaking of Pokemon, I was playing with the new AR camera:









Monday, February 25, 2019

Greetings from Brookside Gardens

The weather on Sunday was much more cooperative than the weather on Saturday, not too warm, not too cold, so after a fairly quiet morning and sandwiches for lunch, we went to Brookside Gardens, which now has a spring display in the conservatory and lots of geese in the ponds though the turtles are still hibernating. Only the very tips of daffodils and tulips have come up through the soil, but there are lots of snowdrops and some crocuses in the outdoor gardens. On the way home we stopped at Mom's Organic Market for quick and easy dinner stuff because we knew we were going to spend most of the evening in front of the TV.



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Our evening from 6 p.m. on when red carpet coverage began consisted entirely of the Academy Awards. I loved not having a host; the show felt quicker and less full of itself, and I appreciated the range of presenters, which was a big improvement on the range of nominees and winners in a lot of categories. I love big maxi dresses like Vivien Lhuillier's layered wedding gowns, but what is with all the little-girl-looking floofy shoulders and sleeves? I felt like a lot of people wanted to look like Taylor Swift 10 years ago, which even Taylor Swift doesn't want any more. Regina King looked gorgeous but why was she wearing a dress she couldn't get up the steps in without Chris Evans' help? (She couldn't have known he'd be sitting there, ha!)

Of course the dress everyone will remember from this year's Oscars is Melissa McCarthy's bunny dress. She should win an Emmy for appearing at the Oscars in the bunny dress. I feel like the bunny dress won Olivia Colman the Oscar over Glenn Close; though I loved Olivia's performance, I did not expect it at all, and neither did Olivia, apparently, since she had no draft of a speech just-in-case, which was charming and will probably help her win another Oscar. Glenn should win an Oscar for pretending to be happy when Olivia thanked her from the stage.

I really thought The Favourite was going to win Best Picture if Roma did not, and I am still queasy that it was Green Book. Really? REALLY? I was mad enough when that won screenplay, since I was very, very happy for Mahershala, would have been okay with it if Viggo won, wouldn't even have objected if it won in directing or cinematography categories, but the screenplay is everything that is NOT good about the film for reasons I'm sure I don't have to explain to anyone reading this. Okay, racially insensitive pablum.

It's nice that Black Panther won costume and production design and soundtrack, it's awesome that Cuaron won for cinematography as well as best foreign film, and I don't really understand the difference between sound editing and sound mixing but it's charming that Bohemian Rhapsody won those and Best Actor without one single person mentioning Bryan Singer, who presumably hired all of them. Our power went out from the high winds for a few minutes right after the In Memoriam segment, so apparently I missed Barbra introducing Spike, but I'm very happy for him, too. Really the whole show was worth watching for Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee's bromance, especially without a host to gum up the works.

What else? Did they call Helen Mirren to be a presenter and she said, only if Jason Momoa walks me in? (Jason, you could have trimmed your beard. You aren't playing Aquaman this week.) I liked the Deadpool Google ad, I loved Jennifer Hudson, I LOVED Bradley and Gaga and I agree with the media that life would be sweet if they were dating but I don't believe it for one second. So, lessons learned: next year no host, someone other than the director's guild nominating directors because otherwise women directors and their movies will continue to be overlooked, and stop old white guys from choosing Best Picture. We're far from the shallow now!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Poem for Sunday and Utz Treats

Young Summer Sating
By Pattiann Rogers

We heard that first summer coming,
sounding low like heralding drums rumbling
far away, like a desert freshet, like a torrent
of rain all-enveloping, cascading down
a stone-dry arroyo unstoppable.

And some of us saw it coming in declensions
through the distance, the spinning bowls
and rolling barrels of its hot brasses glinting
among the cloud shadows on the plains
and on into the darker buddings of the forest.

And we felt the sound of sun sprouting,
pushing and parting bindings of sizzling
chee and wheat grasses, an airy swarm
of midges, scattered lacewings, checkered
whites, bee breath everywhere, the hard
beginnings of pomes and pips. We heard
the vines, already smothering, bosky
pea bush, rabbit bush, snakeweed flowering
one after the other, all repeating their chords
of climbing blossoms, blinding the ears.

Prairie swallows, kingbirds, blackbirds, larks,
swirled and darted over the flows of the land,
sounding their triangle notes, into the delves,
attacking and courting, frantic with purpose.
We believed in light and its roiling forms.

The fragrance of this new born summer
was the purest force, rank, sweet, meaty,
and rotten, heady powder, lilac talc, one brief
dusting of paprika-pepper plucking like a guitar
barely there, a remembrance of cinnamon.

That first summer came suffocating
with temptations of pain, not ardor, though
we called the ardor pain, the way it could take
anyone unwillingly and the body had to move,
to run to catch up, the allure, once a cry, once
the terror of laughter (a night singer throughout
singing an encore in solo), to follow, finally
grasping, swinging over, lifted, carried away,
every faith in the body holding on.


It rained most of Saturday, especially during peak afternoon hours when I wanted to do something outdoors, which put a damper on various plans we made. We had a nice morning -- we went to my parents' house for bagels with my sister before she headed back to New York -- and came home to do some chores. I dragged Paul out to try to catch some Clampert during the Pokemon Go event, but it was no fun walking in the park in steady rain, so we went to CVS and Giant and came home sans shinies.

After dinner (veggie chick'n with tomatoes and lentils), we tried to watch Roma but could not get the stupid Netflix trial to work, so instead we binged all the available episodes of I Am the Night, which was as violent as I feared but very well acted and nicely filmed (feels like a period piece, extremely creepy where it should be), though there's a little too much fictional Chris Pine, even though I like him, when there should be more Fauna Hodel. Fun from the Utz Factory Store last weekend:

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Poem for Saturday, The Spy Who Dumped Me, USBG Succulents

Counting What the Cactus Contains
By Pattiann Rogers

Elf owl, cactus wren, fruit flies incubating
In the only womb they’ll ever recognize.
Shadow for the sand rat, spines
And barbary ribs clenched with green wax.
Seven thousand thorns, each a water slide,
A wooden tongue licking the air dry.

Inside, early morning mist captured intact,
The taste of drizzle sucked
And sunsplit. Whistle
Of the red-tailed hawk at midnight, rush
Of the leaf-nosed bat, the soft slip
Of fog easing through sand held in tandem.

Counting, the vertigo of its attitudes
Across the evening; in the wood of its latticed bones--
The eye sockets of every saint of thirst;
In the gullet of each night-blooming flower--the crucifix
Of the arid.

In its core, a monastery of cells, a brotherhood
Of electrons, a column of expanding darkness
Where matter migrates and sparks whorl,
And travel has no direction, where distance
Bends backward over itself and the ascension
Of Venus, the stability of Polaris, are crucial.

The cactus, containing
Whatever can be said to be there,
Plus the measurable tremble of its association
With all those who have been counting.


I was reminded of that poem earlier this week and wanted an excuse to post it. My Friday started slow and quiet, then my neighbor Rose came to visit for a while, and I didn't even get the laundry folded before I got an invitation to a Latias raid. Paul and I went to my parents' house for dinner, where my sister was visiting for the day after going with my mother to the American Craft Show in Baltimore. I haven't seen her since Thanksgiving, so that was very nice!

When we got home, we watched The Spy Who Dumped Me, which is pretty much exactly what I expected except with more killings -- I was hoping the R rating was for more raunch and nudity! The cast is great and the actors are clearly having fun, but the plot is unnecessarily convoluted and violent, though the girl power (villains as well as heroes) makes it enjoyable. Here are some of the cacti and fruit trees last week at the US Botanic Garden, including coffee and cocoa:

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Poem for Friday and USBG Flowers

Street Lamps in Early Spring
By Gwendolyn Bennett

Night wears a garment
All velvet soft, all violet blue...
And over her face she draws a veil
As shimmering fine as floating dew...
And here and there
In the black of her hair
The subtle hands of Night
Move slowly with their gem-starred light.


After a day of snow on Wednesday, we had gorgeous weather on Thursday! Denise came over, we went to Cava for lunch, we hung out with the cats, we did a couple of Pokemon raids, and we generally enjoyed being out in the sunshine while snow melted off roofs and cars all around us. After she went to visit other friends for dinner, I went to the park and took a muddy but nice walk in the woods!

I don't usually watch The Big Bang Theory, but when I heard that William Shatner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Smith, and Wil Wheaton were playing DnD in tonight's episode, of course I had to see that. I do always watch The Orville, and this week's was great, though I will be sad if a certain character doesn't see the error of his ways. From the US Botanic Garden last weekend:

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Poem for Thursday and February Snow

The Snow That Never Drifts
By Emily Dickinson

The Snow that never drifts —
The transient, fragrant snow
That comes a single time a Year
Is softly driving now —

So thorough in the Tree
At night beneath the star
That it was February’s Foot
Experience would swear —

Like Winter as a Face
We stern and former knew
Repaired of all but Loneliness
By Nature’s Alibi —

Were every storm so spice
The Value could not be —
We buy with contrast — Pang is good
As near as memory —


There were a couple of inches of snow on the ground when we woke up, and although we only got about four inches total, we had snow falling most of the daylight hours. Since everything in the area was closed, I didn't get any further than a quarter of a mile from my house. Paul worked from home and we watched Endeavour together in the afternoon.

We had soup for lunch and veggie burgers for dinner because it seemed like that kind of a day, and in the evening we watched the penultimate episode of this season of The Masked Singer, in which it turned out everyone was right in the first place about one person. Because I never got out and was boring, this is all I have to show for my Wednesday:

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