Saturday, February 29, 2020

Poem for Saturday, Pokemon Evolution, Brookside Flowers

I Remember, I Remember
By Thomas Hood

I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The vi’lets, and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,—
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now ’tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from heav’n
Than when I was a boy.


It was a lot colder on Friday than earlier in the week, and we even had some flurries in the late afternoon though nothing stuck. Earlier in the day after I finished the various chores I had to get done at home, I went for a long walk in the park, did a Venusaur raid that was nearly as much of a disaster as my Blastoise raid from Thursday -- my baby account was kicked out just as the raid ended so I couldn't catch the clone Pokemon -- but it was a great day to be outdoors, so it's all good.

We had dinner with my parents, then came home and watched Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back - Evolution, having seen the original in theaters with our children back in the day. I liked a lot of the new graphics and the way they recreated many of the scenes, and I was glad to see more Mew, though not so much during fight scenes, but I really missed the music, especially "Brother, My Brother" during the climactic fight scene. Here are some more flowers outdoors at Brookside last weekend:









Friday, February 28, 2020

Poem for Friday and David Scheirer Exhibit

The Ocean
By Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Ocean has its silent caves,
Deep, quiet, and alone;
Though there be fury on the waves,
Beneath them there is none.

The awful spirits of the deep
Hold their communion there;
And there are those for whom we weep,
The young, the bright, the fair.

Calmly the wearied seamen rest
Beneath their own blue sea.
The ocean solitudes are blest,
For there is purity.

The earth has guilt, the earth has care,
Unquiet are its graves;
But peaceful sleep is ever there,
Beneath the dark blue waves.


After loud overnight thunderstorms, we had a lovely clear, much cooler day on Thursday. I did a bunch of work in the morning, then went to Park Potomac to do a Pokemon raid that wound up being a disaster -- one of my phones kept getting kicked out, so I asked a friend if he wanted to help raid, which he did, but then my phone battery died before I could catch the Blastoise -- at least the trees in Park Potomac were in bloom and I walked along the woods trail looking at all those pink blossoms! I enjoyed the weather and avoiding the news all day!

We spent the evening after dinner watching two episodes of Inspector Morse on PBS. We never know in advance which ones we're going to get, so it was a delightful surprise that one of tonight's had Sean Bean (who didn't die!), Jim Broadbent, Phil Davis, and Colin Firth's brother Jonathan, plus one of the better-written women on the show, the prison warden, who's a big improvement over the crying, fainting women of the other episode aired tonight about stolen rare manuscripts and an opera singer with stage fright on whom Morse of course has a crush.

In other TV news, last night I finished watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which I started while all the late-night hosts were on vacation/in reruns and then found stressed me out a lot less than late night infotainment even though I don't much like several of the main characters (diagnoses or not, there's a degree of meanness, self-absorption, and unacknowledged privilege that occasional recognition don't balance). The musical numbers range from entertaining to absolute genius and I listen to them over and over! From David Scheirer's Coastal exhibit at Strathmore:

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Poem for Thursday and Green Spring Blooming

The Snow Man
By Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


It was overcast and drizzly for much of Wednesday -- which my cats preferred greatly to the thunderstorms we're having at the moment -- but not too cold, so I still managed to take a walk in Cabin John Park (crocuses fully in flower but not open because of the lack of sun, snowdrops drooping, daffodils in full stalk but very few flowers yet). Plus I did three different Pokemon event raids (Armored Mewtwo, Clone Charizard, Party Hat Squirtle) with one local friend. Otherwise, my day involved writing and chores.

We watched The Masked Singer, on which yet another legendary black woman with an unmistakable voice was sent home outrageously early, which is really pissing me off. At least Lego Masters did not send the other all-women team home. Then we caught up with Miracle Workers, which is in some ways even crackier than last season, though also more overtly political; I can't decide whether it's more or less hopeful! Here are more signs from Green Spring Gardens last weekend that spring will get here eventually:









Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Poem for Wednesday and Early Spring on the National Mall

The Captured Goddess
By Amy Lowell

Over the housetops,
Above the rotating chimney-pots,
I have seen a shiver of amethyst,
And blue and cinnamon have flickered
A moment,
At the far end of a dusty street.

Through sheeted rain
Has come a lustre of crimson,
And I have watched moonbeams
Hushed by a film of palest green.

It was her wings,
Who stepped over the clouds,
And laid her rainbow feathers
Aslant on the currents of the air.

I followed her for long,
With gazing eyes and stumbling feet.
I cared not where she led me,
My eyes were full of colours:
Saffrons, rubies, the yellows of beryls,
And the indigo-blue of quartz;
Flights of rose, layers of chrysoprase,
Points of orange, spirals of vermilion,
The spotted gold of tiger-lily petals,
The loud pink of bursting hydrangeas.
I followed,
And watched for the flashing of her wings.

In the city I found her,
The narrow-streeted city.
In the market-place I came upon her,
Bound and trembling.
Her fluted wings were fastened to her sides with cords,
She was naked and cold,
For that day the wind blew
Without sunshine.

Men chaffered for her,
They bargained in silver and gold,
In copper, in wheat,
And called their bids across the market-place.

The Goddess wept.

Hiding my face I fled,
And the grey wind hissed behind me,
Along the narrow streets.


We had VVA coming to pick up donations on Tuesday, so we did a bunch of basement cleanup and gave away most of the kitchen and bedroom stuff our kids brought home from their college apartments, though the basement is still cluttered with things we need to sort and get rid of (old computer parts, kids' room furniture). I stayed in during the morning waiting for the truck, since we had assorted crates and trash cans full of dishes and stuff, not to be confused with our actual trash and recycling bins. Then I went to a raid, took a walk though it was drizzly, and did a bunch of equally unexciting chores.

We watched The Flash which I swear they only wrote because someone came up with the title "Grodd Friended Me" (and couldn't make as good as that title but at least no long gorilla arc), then Legends of Tomorrow, which also could not sustain the level of fun with Genghis Khan that one shout of "KHAAAAAAAN!" could accomplish. We also watched For Life, which in some ways gets real about things but in other ways seems ridiculously scripted and sanitized. Since we had gloomy skies all day, here are some of the spring flowers and birds that were already brightening DC last weekend:

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Poem for Tuesday and Artechouse Art

My Life in Brutalist Architecture #1
By John Gallaher

My neighbor to the left had a stroke a couple years ago. It didn't look
like he was going to make it, and then he made it. I'm watching him
now from my window as he makes his slow way across his yard
with some tree branches that fell in last night's storm. Three steps. 
Wait. Three steps. It's a hard slog. Watching, I want to pitch in. 
And we do, at such times, wanting to help. But on the other hand,
it's good to be as physical as possible in recovery. Maybe this is part
of his rehab. Maybe this is doctor's orders: DO YARDWORK. 
And here comes his wife across the yard anyway, to give a hand
with a large branch. She's able to quickly overtake him, and she folds
into the process smoothly, no words between them that I can make out. 
It's another part of what makes us human, weighing the theory of mind,
watching each other struggle or perform, anticipating each other's
thoughts, as the abject hovers uncannily in the background, threatening
to break through the fragile borders of the self. “What's it like to be
a bat?” we ask. The bats don't respond. How usually, our lives
unfold at the periphery of catastrophes happening to others. I'm
reading, while my neighbor struggles, that the squirrel population
in New England is in the midst of an unprecedented boom. A recent
abundance of acorns is the reason for this surge in squirrel populations,
most particularly in New Hampshire. They're everywhere, being
squirrely, squirreling acorns away. We call it “Squirrelnado” because
it's all around us, circling, and dangerous, and kind of funny. Language
springs from the land, and through our imagination we become
human. They're back in the house now. We name the things we see,
or they name themselves into our experience, whichever, and then
we use those names for things we don't understand, what we can't
express. Wind becomes spirit becomes ghost. Mountain becomes
god. The land springs up before us. It shakes us and pushes us over. 


I got up early on Monday to get fasting blood drawn for routine tests, and of course they made me wait half an hour past my appointment, so when I left I was hungry and cranky and promptly went home to eat an entire bagel with cream cheese. Then I did some work and went out to do an EX raid courtesy an invitation from a friend in my local Pokemon group, after which I went out for coffee (well, hot chocolate) with a different person from the group and made a couple of stops in the mall, mostly to try on a Vera Bradley sling bag in one pattern that I wanted to order for less than half price from the outlet in a different pattern if I liked the way it felt for carrying little camera stuff.

We had a TV catch-up night around The New Pope, which was awesome -- I love Malkovich but I have missed Jude Law, and I can't wait to see them have a faith-off! I also really liked this week's Doctor Who, thought they did a great job starting a two-parter and balancing a flashback story with a new character alongside the companions and villains. And we caught up on Zoe's Extraordinary Playlist, which remains pretty uneven -- maybe I'm biased from watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend at the same time, but it makes me want more creative use of music and more independent women. Here are more photos from Future Sketches at Artechouse of us exploring the code!

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Poem for Monday and Brookside Flowers

Verger, Winter Afternoon, Galilee Chapel
By Gillian Allnutt

Durham Cathedral, March 2004

Careful, here,

as polishing cloth across a floor,
police officer,

Air closes over the angel's departure.
Always, in the air. The river
in the floor

inhabits it, as light inhabits water
or the heart's interior
or here.


My sister and her husband were in town to see my parents on Saturday evening, so on Sunday morning we went to my parents' house for brunch and hung out over bagels for a while. Then Paul and I went to Brookside Gardens, which already has some daffodils plus many snowdrops, crocuses, and other flowers that aren't usually so abundant at this point in February, though since it was nearly 60 degrees, it didn't seem all that odd despite the absence of turtles in the ponds with geese and herons. There are also lots of orchids and snapdragons in the conservatory.



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We stopped at Mom's Organic Market on the way home, where we got Beyond Burgers that we had for dinner. Then we watched Batwoman and Supergirl, the latter's 100th episode, whose ending I did not love even if Kara probably needed it, but I appreciate that the writers devoted the show's much-hyped anniversary to Supercorp, its great central love story -- no amount of tossing Mon-El or Winn at Kara could diminish her obsession with Lena. Afterward we watched the King's Speech episode of The Windsors, which of course I thought was awesome!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Greetings from Flowering DC

I had a very lovely, long day downtown on Saturday, starting before 10 a.m. because we had tickets for the Future Sketches exhibition at Artechouse, which was amazing as are all their installations -- this one was Zach Lieberman's attempt to approach the question, "What does code feel like?" with graphic art, music, and multimedia. Pokemon Go Community Day started right as we were leaving the exhibit space, so I spent a couple of hours walking through the gardens around the National Mall running into friends, catching Rhydons, and discovering that daffodils, violets, hellebores, witch hazel, redbuds, and crocuses are blooming all over the place!

We saw a movie filming and had lunch in the cafeteria at the National Gallery of Art (a good place for quick veggie burgers and also for catching Pokemon), then went to see True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870, which was gorgeous and made me want to travel, and Raphael and His Circle, which thrilled me less but was still well done in a very small space. We stopped in the Smithsonian Castle on the way back to the car so I could get this year's cherry blossom festival pin and I chased a Trubbish that I couldn't catch to the Air & Space Museum. Then we stopped at home briefly to feed the cats before going back out to Giant for this week's groceries.

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Paul made peanut soup for dinner for Washington's birthday, which we ate with sharp cheddar and crackers followed by vegan chocolate ice cream. We caught up on the Graham Norton episode we missed Friday (Timberlake and Kendrick not that funny) before watching Judy, in which Renee Zellwegger is actually as good as everyone said, something I really doubted was possible, though it's such a sad biopic (L.B. Mayer almost a cartoon villain, Mickey Deans written as a predictable asshole, Sid Luft sadly sympathetic since we only hear about his bad marital behavior in the past tense, Judy's friendship with Rosalyn the only bright moments).