Thursday, October 31, 2019

Poem for Halloween and Nats Win Series!

Baseball Ghosts
By Jack Sayles

The baseball ghost of Wagner rumbled in its grave,
Seeing some men's efforts caused it to loudly rave;
Till a mighty warrior came and took the tribe in hand
And found a fleety Buccaneer who just completes his band.

The baseball ghost of Bransfield shook its crumbling tomb,
Some of the efforts at first base caused it to justly fume;
But from the mists a phantom came to gambol in his place
And makes the old-time Pirates feared in the coming race.

The baseball ghost of Gibson rapped noisily outside
"Come, get a man to carry on where I left off," it cried;
A husky chap from out the west stepped quickly to the platter
And by his magic maneuvering hushed this mystic chatter.

Now the ghosts of baseball stars are silenced, so it seems,
With real live speeding meteors the Pirate club just teems;
For men like Schmidt and Bigbee -- Maranville and Young Grimm,
Tierney, "Scoops" and Barnhart, just keep the team in trim.


Happy Halloween! The Nationals are World Series champions! And watching that game, which they were down 2-0 before an awesome last three innings, has taken up my entire night! It was a good day in general, the rain held off till evening, I had lunch with my neighbor Carole at Sisters -- the Thai restaurant in Cabin John Village, which has excellent food and very good service, plus it's designed as a library/coffeehouse and has a Little Free Library right outside. Then I stopped in CVS, came home to do some chores, had leftovers for dinner with Paul, and sorted and toasted the pumpkin seeds while he carved the pumpkin. Here are pics from purchase to jack-o-lantern, I am back to the postgame festivities!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Poem for Wednesday and Longwood Chrysanthemums

The Last Chrysanthemum
By Thomas Hardy

Why should this flower delay so long
   To show its tremulous plumes?
Now is the time of plaintive robin-song,
   When flowers are in their tombs.

Through the slow summer, when the sun
   Called to each frond and whorl
That all he could for flowers was being done,
   Why did it not uncurl?

It must have felt that fervid call
   Although it took no heed,
Waking but now, when leaves like corpses fall,
   And saps all retrocede.

Too late its beauty, lonely thing,
   The season's shine is spent,
Nothing remains for it but shivering
   In tempests turbulent.

Had it a reason for delay,
   Dreaming in witlessness
That for a bloom so delicately gay
   Winter would stay its stress?

- I talk as if the thing were born
   With sense to work its mind;
Yet it is but one mask of many worn
   By the Great Face behind.


Hoarse post-sixth-game quickie after yelling a lot at the TV, first because of one of the worst calls in World Series history, then because Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg took their rage and put it into a couple of amazing innings and won the game. I had a very nice, very busy day beforehand: rushed through chores in the morning to go meet three high school friends for lunch at Cooper's Hawk Winery, where I split wonderful gnocchi and butternut squash with Linda, then home to try to get some work done, then a hastily planned but long overdue dinner with Karen at Thai House (Jim was away for work, but I brought Paul since I was changing the schedule so last minute). We missed the first couple of innings of the Nationals game, but we saw the good part! Here from Longwood Gardens last weekend are some specimens from the conservatory chrysanthemum show:

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Poem for Tuesday and The King at Winterthur

If I Were King
By A.A. Milne

I often wish I were a King,
And then I could do anything.

If only I were King of Spain,
I'd take my hat off in the rain.

If only I were King of France,
I wouldn't brush my hair for aunts.

I think, if I were King of Greece,
I'd push things off the mantelpiece.

If I were King of Norroway,
I'd ask an elephant to stay.

If I were King of Babylon,
I'd leave my button gloves undone.

If I were King of Timbuctoo,
I'd think of lovely things to do.

If I were King of anything,
I'd tell the soldiers, "I'm the King!"


I had an early doctor appointment on Monday, at which my CBC numbers were good but I got a flu shot so I have been warned I may not feel nearly so good the rest of the week. So I took it kind of easy the rest of the day, though it was so nice out that I did go for a walk at the Bolger Center before a Darkrai raid. I also got a big mirror for Adam's room via Freecycle and rearranged some photos there.

With no baseball on, we caught up on Supergirl, which needs to stop dragging out the storyline with J'onn's brother, then Black Lightning, which is all big epic violence and fragmenting central family so not holding my interest much this season, and Batwoman, which I am enjoying pretty thoroughly. From Winterthur's Costuming the Crown, items related to my favorite royal (no surprise here), George VI:

Family orders with the faces of her father and grandfather...

...on a precise replica of a dress the Queen wore for an official court photo.

Here are the same family orders, worn by royal women...

...on a replica dress for then-Princess Elizabeth's grandmother Queen Mary.

A replica of the naval uniform worn by George VI to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.

This suit and padding were made to help the 6'4" John Lithgow resemble the 5'6" Winston Churchill.

A replica of the dress Queen Elizabeth wore as she departed the plane that flew her back to Britain after the death of her father.

Because the exhibit is as Winterthur, it includes items connecting the du Pont family to the royals, like this invitation sent to H.F. and Ruth du Pont to a garden party at the British Embassy in honor of the royal visit in 1939.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Poem for Monday and Warm Autumn Canal

The Pumpkin
By John Greenleaf Whittier

Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold,
Like that which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew,
While he waited to know that his warning was true,
And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain
For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain.

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam,
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!


Quickie after the misery that was the World Series game tonight, which my father was at (I'm blaming the more infamous spectator at the game for how the Nationals played). It was otherwise a very nice day -- oh, it rained all morning and we did chores, but then the sun came out, the temperature went above 70 degrees even though it's October, I went to do an EX raid in Potomac Village, then we went to the C&O Canal to take a walk and see the ducks, frogs, and turtles who looked just as surprised about the warm weather!

We stopped at the Bethesda Co-op, at Giant, and at the local fruit stand to get a pumpkin for Halloween, ate chana masala and tikka masala for dinner, and put on the game, which was so depressing that we turned off the end to watch Madam Secretary (which started late because of football, though neither of the local teams played -- the Ravens because they had the week off, DC because they played Thursday, and Seattle won so older son was pleased). Here are a few photos of our unexpected summer afternoon in fall:

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Greetings from the Brandywine Valley

We got up early to get an estimate on getting the deck refinished, then had a long lovely day in the Brandywine Valley. We went first to Winterthur, which was hosting a holiday boutique in the visitor center and Costuming 'The Crown' in the museum. Plus we went on the Fashionable Furnishings tour with one other couple, which included many things on the sixth floor no longer on the introductory house tour, including the du Pont bedrooms, an insanely large billiards room, and some magnificent furniture. We had a picnic in the woods beforehand.

Then we drove to Longwood Gardens, which was thankfully less crowded that predicted because it was drizzling, though it never turned into serious rain. We walked out to see the autumn meadow (and I did a Darkrai raid there with locals), then we visited the holiday train display on the way to pumpkin soup in the cafeteria. By then it was dark, so we went to the carnation display in the conservatory, followed by the final evening fountain display of the summer season. It is just as well we didn't watch more than the very end of the Nationals game!

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Poem for Saturday and Cabin John Halloween

By Diane Lockward

Deep-blue hue of the body, silvery bloom
on its skin. Undersized runt of a fruit,
like something that failed to thrive, dented top
a fontanel. Lopsided globe. A temperate zone.
Tiny paradox, tart and sweet, homely
but elegant afloat in sugar and cream,
baked in a pie, a cobbler, a muffin.

The power of blue. Number one antioxidant fruit,
bantam-weight champ in the fight against
urinary tract infections, best supporting actor
in a fruit salad. No peeling, coring or cutting.
Lay them out on a counter, strands of blue pearls.
Pop one at a time, like M&M’s, into your mouth.
Be a glutton and stuff in a handful, your tongue,
lips, chin dyed blue, as if feasting on indigo.
Fruit of the state of New Jersey.
Favorite fruit of my mother.

Sundays she scooped them into pancake batter,
poured circles onto the hot greased griddle, sizzled
them gold and blue, doused with maple syrup.

This is what I want to remember: my mother
and me, our quilted robes, hair in curlers,
that kitchen, that table,
plates stacked with pancakes, blueberries sparkling
like gemstones, blue stars in a gold sky,
the universe in reverse,
the two of us eating blueberry pancakes.


Have spent the evening watching the Nationals lose to the Astros, which is not nearly as enjoyable a way to spend the evening as watching the Nationals beat the Astros which will hopefully happen tomorrow. It was otherwise a reasonably nice day -- gorgeous weather, so before dinner with my parents who are also undoubtedly bummed about tonight's game, I took a walk in Locust Grove and around Cabin John Park, which is set up with a Spooky Train Ride and a Spooky Hike for the season:

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Poem for Friday and Brookside Chrysanthemums

By Louise Bogan

I had come to the house, in a cave of trees,
Facing a sheer sky.
Everything moved,—a bell hung ready to strike,
Sun and reflection wheeled by.

When the bare eyes were before me
And the hissing hair,
Held up at a window, seen through a door.
The stiff bald eyes, the serpents on the forehead
Formed in the air.

This is a dead scene forever now.
Nothing will ever stir.
The end will never brighten it more than this,
Nor the rain blur.

The water will always fall, and will not fall,
And the tipped bell make no sound.
The grass will always be growing for hay
Deep on the ground.

And I shall stand here like a shadow
Under the great balanced day,
My eyes on the yellow dust, that was lifting in the wind,
And does not drift away.


I know this is a frequent theme in this blog, but it happened again today: I had a Shutterfly coupon for a freebie, this time an easel calendar which Paul wants for his desk at work because he doesn't have anywhere convenient to hang a wall calendar, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time working on it because of web site problems (meanwhile Shutterfly also claims it delivered at 3:40 yesterday the wall calendars I ordered last week, and guess what were NOT delivered at 3:40 yesterday?).

So, yeah, lots of annoyance, at least the weather was gorgeous when I finally got out to walk. I got my lab results back because now I can see them online when my doctor gets them, so I know my vitamin D was on the low side, so I needed the sun! Although there was no World Series game tonight, I was stuck watching sports because DC was playing Minnesota (fortunately the Vikings led all game and won easily). From Brookside Gardens last weekend, the chrysanthemum display in the conservatory:

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