Monday, August 31, 2020

Greetings from the Audubon Society

The weather on Sunday was beautiful, low humidity and sunny, so after lunch and some chores, we went to the Audubon Naturalist Society's Woodend Sanctuary, which we've never visited even though it's only 15 minutes from my home on the grounds of a 1928 estate with a mansion designed by John Russell Pope. The ruins of a spring house, ice house, stone steps, and well are on the grounds, as well as plantings and structures by local naturalists and students. There were very few people and plenty of flowers.







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We had leftover pasta for dinner so that we would have time to Skype with the kids; both sons' girlfriends are in the midst of exciting job changes despite the pandemic, so they have more exciting long term plans than we do, heh. Afterward we watched Lovecraft Country, which remains excellent, and then the end of Black Panther on ABC while waiting for the 20/20 special about Chadwick Boseman to start, which was well done considering how fast they had to throw it together and really sad.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Greetings from Brookside

We had a fairly quiet but nice Saturday. It rained through the morning, so we just did stuff around the house, then the storms passed through and we decided to go to Brookside Gardens, where there were many summer flowers in bloom, many turtles and frogs in the pond, and not a lot of people! (Wildlife photos from camera tomorrow, these are us from my phone.)

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In the evening we watched Black Panther because we don't have a copy of 42 in the house and there was really nothing else I was in the mood to watch. It's so much sadder than the last time I watched it, and Killmonger's story is tragic no matter how much I resist yet another absolute patriarchal monarchy framework. I'm going to miss Boseman's non-MCU work even more.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Poem for Saturday and Bunnies

A Painter's Thoughts
By John Yau

I want to paint in a way that the “I” disappears into the sky and trees
The idea of a slowed down, slowly unfolding image held my attention

Variations on a theme are of no interest. A bowl and cup are not ideas.
I want my painting to be what it contains: it should speak, not me

The idea of a slowed down, slowly unfolding image held my attention
I paint things made of clay, just as the pigments I use come from the earth

I want my painting to be what it contains: it should speak, not me
Brown and ochre stoneware bowls beside a white porcelain pitcher

I paint things made of clay, just as the pigments I use come from the earth
I place the pale eggs on a dark, unadorned tabletop and let them roll into place

Brown and ochre stoneware bowls beside a white porcelain pitcher
The dusky red wall is not meant to symbolize anything but itself

I place the pale eggs on a dark unadorned tabletop and let them roll into place
I want to paint in a way that the “I” disappears into the sky and trees

The dusky red wall is not meant to symbolize anything but itself
Variations on a theme are of no interest. A bowl and cup are not ideas.


This week has been shit and I'm so glad it's over. Nothing terrible happened to me personally -- it's just been more of the same, not seeing my friends, not having any idea when I can see my kids or even whether they'll be living where they're living now when I do, not even really seeing my neighbors -- which would be okay if there was an end in sight, but we're obviously not even close to that, and between the ongoing horror of how black people are treated by the people who are supposed to protect them and the RNC and its supporters spouting dangerous insanity, it's been extremely demoralizing.

Tonight I'm really sad about Chadwick Boseman, who I always thought was talented and committed to a lot of wonderful things and now know was also extremely brave and selfless. It was not an eventful day here: we went to return a DVD at the library and got home just as the thunderstorms started, so we didn't get in much of a walk, and I did a couple of the new Mega Pokemon raids remotely with local people. I did talk to niece because of a Charles Manson meme that made me think of her, heh. And we watched Atomic Blonde, which was very violent and diverting. It seems like a good night for local bunnies:

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2020-08-25 18.22.04

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2020-08-11 18.07.58

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Friday, August 28, 2020

Poem for Friday and I Want To Be a Cat

Luck is not chance
By Emily Dickinson

Luck is not chance —
It’s Toil —
Fortune’s expensive smile
Is earned —
The Father of the Mine
Is that old-fashioned Coin
We spurned —


Yeah, I got nothing. I mean, I have things to say but other people are saying them better and I'm too tired to figure out whether hashtags can be a solution when they've also been so much of the problem. I read and watched more news than was good for my mental health, but many people have it so much worse right now that I couldn't look away and then I couldn't concentrate on anything else.

By evening I needed a distraction, so we took a walk and after dinner we watched Jumanji: The Next Level, which I liked better than Welcome to the Jungle but couldn't pass a quiz about; I enjoyed the body-swapping but the men still get more interesting, less typical things to do than the women. Here's the sort of day -- well, week -- well, life -- that Daisy has been having:

2020-08-16 widecat

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Poem for Thursday and Collecting Dice

Red Wine Spills
By L. Ash Williams

I am hovering over this rug
with a hair dryer on high in my hand
I have finally, inevitably, spilled
red wine on this impractically white
housewarming hand-me-down from my cousin, who
clearly, and incorrectly, thought this was a good idea

With the help of a little panic,
sparkling water and a washcloth,
I am stunned by how quickly the wine washes out,
how I was sure this mistake would find me
every day with its gaping mouth, reminding me
of my own propensity for failure
and yet, here I am
with this clean slate

The rug is made of fur,
which means it died
to be here

It reminds me of my own survival
and everyone who has taught me
to shake loose the shadow of death

I think of inheritance, how this rug
was passed on to me through blood,
how this animal gave its blood
so that I may receive the gift of its death
and be grateful for it

I think of our inability
to control stories of origin
how history does not wash away
with water and a good scrub

I think of evolution,
what it means to make it through
this world with your skin intact,
how flesh is fragile
but makes a needle and thread
of itself when necessary

I think of all that I have inherited,
all the bodies buried for me to be here
and stay here, how I was born with grief
and gratitude in my bones

And I think of legacy,
how I come from a long line of sorcerers
who make good work of building
joy from absolutely nothing

And what can I do with that
but pour another glass,
thank the stars
for this sorceress blood
and keep pressing forward


It has been such a wrenching, exhausting day just keeping up with the news and I didn't pay a single moment of attention to the Repugnicans -- I went from looking at California wildfire maps to Gulf Coast hurricane maps, from being outraged at Washington football as the other piece of the sexual harassment story came out to being so proud of the athletes who refused to play in the wake not only of an entirely unjustified shooting but a murderous teenager with a gun being treated better by police than any number of innocent black victims, from trying to keep up with the latest rising covid numbers to being relieved that my county has now passed even stricter mask laws.

So yeah, apart from washing towels and cat blankets, finishing up an overdue writing project, and taking a walk in the late afternoon (it was a one-bunny, no-frog day), I did not get much done. We spent the evening after the Nationals game watching ESPN cover the sporting events not being played and listening to the players and coaches talk about what this fourth anniversary of Kaepernick's initial protest meant to them and why they felt it was so important to disrupt games as usual now. I hope everyone in coastal surge areas has gotten to safety. My brain is fried so here's some of my dice collection, which I'm afraid has grown in isolation despite having no one to play DnD with:

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2020-08-10 12.55.37

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Poem for Wednesday and Canal Turtles

The Adventures of a Turtle
By Russell Edson

The turtle carries his house on his back. He is both the house and the person of that house.
           But actually, under the shell is a little room where the true turtle, wearing long underwear, sits at a little table. At one end of the room a series of levers sticks out of slots in the floor, like the controls of a steam shovel. It is with these that the turtle controls the legs of his house.
           Most of the time the turtle sits under the sloping ceiling of his turtle room reading catalogues at the little table where a candle burns. He leans on one elbow, and then the other. He crosses one leg, and then the other. Finally he yawns and buries his head in his arms and sleeps.
           If he feels a child picking up his house he quickly douses the candle and runs to the control levers and activates the legs of his house and tries to escape.
           If he cannot escape he retracts the legs and withdraws the so-called head and waits. He knows that children are careless, and that there will come a time when he will be free to move his house to some secluded place, where he will relight his candle, take out his catalogues and read until at last he yawns. Then he’ll bury his head in his arms and sleep....That is, until another child picks up his house....


I don't even know where Tuesday went, apart from an hour looking for a photo that I never found despite checking all three floors of the house, so I'll just jump to evening, when we watched the film of The Deep Blue Sea because I wanted to watch it after having seen the recording of the play with Helen McCrory. For some reason I found the characters easier to relate to in the film, maybe because the ages seemed more appropriate for the characters (Rachel Weisz seems closer in age to Tom Hiddleston than Simon Russell Beale even though she's actually 11 years older than the former and 9 years younger than the latter) and the subplot with the expecting couple was cut in favor of more background with the husband and his mother. Plus it felt less strictly British -- there was more yelling and crying -- despite more obvious visual metaphors for rebuilding after the war. Meanwhile it's late and I can't even with the RNC so have some Pennyfield Lock turtles:








Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Poem for Tuesday and Summer Park

A Dream Within a Dream
By Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


Monday was uneventful -- editing, laundry, etc. I found a pair of lobster claw clasps to turn a necklace into a mask holder -- I would have done another but don't have gold-tone lobster clasps and don't want to buy 50 -- and made myself a pair of Biden-Harris earrings which no one will be close enough to see before the election but hey, I made Obama-Biden earrings then did not make Clinton-Kaine earrings and we all know how those elections turned out.

Otherwise my day involved getting bagels and trying to keep certain cats out of other cats' dishes. We took a walk in the evening after it cooled off, talked to neighborhood dogs and a couple of neighbors, then we watched Knives Out again -- you can't believe I was watching the stinkfest, even Colbert was too much in that regard, I turned him off and watched the end of Frozen 2. From Cabin John Park and between here and there on Sunday:

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Greetings from Wi-Fi

I have been fighting for the past hour with my internet (it wouldn't let the Roku or the Google Mini talk to it at all, nor my phone when I tried to use Google Home to fix them) so I will keep this short. We didn't do much anyway: took a walk in the park after lunch so we'd be in the woods out of the sun, then Skyped with my kids and parents after dinner. Lovecraft Country was almost over by the time we were done, so we watched baseball until Last Week Tonight, then Lovecraft Country afterward (more Indiana Jones than horror movie this week, which I appreciated). Have some canal flowers:



Sunday, August 23, 2020

Greetings from the Canal

Watching the Adam Driver SNL rerun and laughing so I'll be quick. Quiet morning, some cleanup, brunch, then we went to Pennyfield Lock, where it was drizzling so the frogs were quiet and hiding but the canal was swollen, the heron was fishing, the luna moths were bumping bottoms, the deer and fawn were grazing until they spotted dogs and ran to hide, and there were many turtles though almost all of them were floating in the canal:

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The Os won and the Nats split, so that's okay. We caught up on the two episodes of The 100 that we had missed and I was nervous that in its last weeks it was turning into the Bellamy Show -- I do not need to see Clarke, Echo, and Octavia all swooning over his return -- so I have been perfect happy with the twist in that storyline. Women have carried this entire show; it should be a woman who's the messiah, preferably Indra!