Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Poem for Wednesday and Zoo Penguins

February 29
By Jane Hirshfield

An extra day—

Like the painting’s fifth cow,
who looks out directly,
straight toward you,
from inside her black and white spots.

An extra day—

Accidental, surely:
the made calendar stumbling over the real
as a drunk trips over a threshold
too low to see.

An extra day—

With a second cup of black coffee.
A friendly but businesslike phone call.
A mailed-back package.
Some extra work, but not too much—
just one day’s worth, exactly.

An extra day—

Not unlike the space
between a door and its frame
when one room is lit and another is not,
and one changes into the other
as a woman exchanges a scarf.

An extra day—

Extraordinarily like any other.
And still
there is some generosity to it,
like a letter re-readable after its writer has died.


My excitement for Tuesday was picking up my new glasses, which are exactly like my old glasses except a bit stronger for near vision. (I was next door to Goldberg's and thought about going in to get one of their excellent rye bagels but I could see through the window that they were already out of them.) Otherwise, I enjoyed the lovely weather, watched some of the baseball postseason while doing chores, and took a walk in the afternoon while the temperature was dropping ahead of the rain. 

My Voyager friends and I watched the second half of "Caretaker" before the debate, which I could only handle for a few minutes. I told Paul that we could watch sports, and because the Yankees were up like 57 runs, we wound up watching more Schitt's Creek. We have a president summoning white supremacists from a debate podium while a Fox News moderator doesn't even call him out -- even Rick Santorum thinks he's a disaster. Ugh. Look, Maryland Zoo penguins!








Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Greetings from Sandy Point State Park

Paul had Monday off -- his company said they were rewarding everyone for all their hard work, but we suspect the fact that it was Yom Kippur so some people were observing and more people had their kids off school locally. Rather than struggle to feel spiritual while watching some online service, I opted for going to the beach at Sandy Point State Park, which is on the Chesapeake in view of the Bay Bridge. There were as many seagulls as people, so it was easy to socially distance, and though it was a bit chilly for swimming, it was so relaxing to have my feet in the water and listen to the surf! 



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We came home in time to "break the fast" with my parents, which I put in quotation marks because none of us was fasting. My sister had sent them bagels and spreads and my mother made noodle kugel and brownies, so that was awesome. We came home to watch the Ravens game -- well, some of us wanted to watch the game and some of us did not care that much -- but they played terribly against Kansas City. Now watching evening infotainment because I know I can't stomach the debate tomorrow in real time and I wish I was laughing harder about Trump's tax lies but I'm mostly angry that I've paid so much more than he has!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Greetings from the Maryland Zoo

Sunday was another gorgeous day, a little warmer and overcast. It was also the last day the Maryland Zoo's southern white rhinoceros, Stubby, was going to be in his exhibit there before moving to a wildlife conservancy in Florida with other rhinos, since his companion died last year and he has been lonely. So we went to the zoo, which is admitting people in limited numbers and requiring masks in all the places people tend to stand around, so since most of the indoor facilities, the tram, and the rides were closed, we went to the outdoor exhibits and saw the penguin colony, the African animals, the Maryland animals, and the polar and grizzly bears, plus Stubby: 



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We came home in the late afternoon. I chatted with fannish friends on Zoom for a while while the Seahawks were doing everything in their power to lose to Dallas though they didn't quite manage it, which I discussed via text with older son, a Seattle fan, who was watching with his girlfriend's father, a Cowboys fan. We had dinner and watched some of the Packers-Saints game, also pretty sloppy, around Last Week Tonight, in which John Oliver was his usual optimistic self, so now I'm watching Mr. Popper's Penguins since the penguins were much happier than John Oliver.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Greetings from Huntley Meadows

It was a lovely, overcast Saturday, so after lunch we went to Huntley Meadows in Fairfax County, which we haven't visited all year. We saw a muskrat almost as soon as we got to the boardwalk, though it was diving in and out of plants in the water and then swam off so it was hard to photograph! Then we walked around the wetlands (almost no cattails this year, there are other flowering plants and lots of trees turning already) and saw many herons, egrets, turtles, ducks, a couple of kingfishers, and some splashing far away that turned out to be another (or perhaps the same) muskrat: 





2020-09-26 16.02.23 Saturday was also Daniel's birthday, so we came home for pizza, then Skyped with him and his girlfriend Kayla, whom he's visiting for the weekend, plus Adam (now looking for jobs in Seattle) and Katherine (who started her new job this week) and my parents. Afterward we watched the new episode of The Boys (I was really ready for Homelander to break Stormfront's neck, so of course they're in love instead) and I was subjected to several hours of college football, including a game I'm pretty sure Virginia Tech won by a lot over NC State although half the Hokies are out with coronavirus.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Poem for Saturday and Mount Vernon Balloon

After Morning Rain
By Sam Hamill

A few small sails, barely moving,
dot Fidalgo Bay. As the sun burns away
the last pale clouds, a confluence
of robins descends to explore
my neighbor’s garden—
brown grass, muddy beds and the last
fading roses of the year.

It is September, the end of summer.
My backyard maples turning orange
and red and gold. From my high window,
the great mountain looks
painted on the horizon line,
small mountains at its feet, then
headlands and the Salish Sea below.

I can read no more today
about the agonies of this world,
its desperate refugees, the men
of arms and gold whose death tolls
are as numberless as the stars.
I’ve grown weary, impatient,
as I’ve grown old.

After this morning’s rain, I dream
only of a woman’s gentle laughter,
her fingers on my arm as we sip wine
in the evening, telling tales,
lighting the heart’s small fires
that will get us through the rains
of autumn and dark winter.

Alone at my window, I watch
a silent world and find it
welcome, my own silence welcome.
Longing has its own quiet place
in the human heart, but love
is sometimes rapturous, noisy,
almost uncivilized, and knows
no boundaries, no borders.

And what am I but its solitary
pilgrim—lost, found, lost again—
on the long journey whose only end
is silence before the burning
of my body, one last moment
of flame, a whiff of smoke
washed clean
and gone with the rain.


Friday was overcast for much of the day and then it rained, so I didn't go anywhere exciting. I decided to upload the rest of our 2016 Seattle trip pictures since I'd started before Facebook pulled the bait-and-switch on me, and because I had to individually change the dates and locations on every single photo, that took pretty much the entire afternoon.

We watched the musical Fame since Andrew Lloyd Webber put it on his YouTube channel, and it was all right, but mostly it made me nostalgic for the movie, which it braver about both growing up gay and hanging tough to be an actress (I feel like the musical was written for high school students to perform) so I'm watching that now. Balloon launch at the Colonial Fair:

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Friday, September 25, 2020

Poem for Friday and George's Estate

When I'm Old
By Michael Holding

When I'm old and mankey,
I'll never use a hanky.
I'll wee on plants
and soil my pants
and sometimes get quite cranky.


I have nothing exciting on Thursday apart from fighting with Facebook's sucky new interface. I have a bunch of photos uploaded but I can't make them public or move them into the right albums. Either it will eventually get fixed, or people have seen all the old photos I can manage to post! After some necessary work, I went back to my neglected scanning project on old papers and found elementary school stuff in a folder with college essays! 

We caught up on The 100's penultimate episode (wondering how bad the death count will be but it's time, next week) and on the season finale of Dead Pixels (it's a ripoff that Usman's wife and her coworker weren't having sex in the kitchen while Usman was trying to defeat the Hive Mother). Now I'm watching A Simple Favor because I was in the mood for it. From Mount Vernon on the grounds around the Colonial Fair:







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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Poem for Thursday, Woodpecker, Enola Holmes

By Vincent Starrett

Here dwell together still two men of note
Who never lived and so can never die:
How very near they seem, yet how remote
That age before the world went all awry.
But still the game’s afoot for those with ears
Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
England is England yet, for all our fears–
Only those things the heart believes are true.

A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
As night descends upon this fabled street:
A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
And it is always eighteen ninety-five.


I am super cranky tonight because I just read an article about how the virus is mutating and getting worse, and although I had a lovely lunchtime conversation with my high school friends (who have all had kids at home the entire shutdown), they all felt strongly that we should not go visit our kids on the west coast until -- I guess until there's a vaccine that works and is widely distributed? So probably 2022 if it hasn't mutated again -- and we're past the equinox so the long miserable dark of winter is coming. 

And Facebook will no longer let me switch back to "legacy" mode and change photo dates and albums, grrrr. Plus I'm sad about Gale Sayers' death even though I've known he had dementia for a long time; I had Brian's Song streaming on YouTube while doing work today and realized that the Kirk/Spock "this simple feeling" scene in sickbay in Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a direct visual echo of the hospital scene at the end of the former, and I may need to write an article on American masculinity and the development of the concept of bromance in film. I love how Piccolo accepts that Sayers is a better football player, can outrun him and teach him his own position, and rather than suffering white male fragility grows from this. 

At least The Masked Singer is back, and although Nick Cannon should have been made to apologize publicly for the anti-Semitic shit he condoned this summer and although Jenny McCarthy and Robin Thicke are hugely problematic, I am very happy to be distracted by giant singing giraffes and a pair of snow owls (I'd love it to be Donnie and Marie but I'm betting they're the Houghs or someone not as interesting). Afterward, we watched Enola Holmes, which was surprisingly great, funnier than I expected and loads better than Sherlock's sister episodes both in terms of girl power and in terms of relevant period politics! 





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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Poem for Wednesday and Copperhead Camouflage

The Imagined Copperhead
By Andrew Hudgins

Without intending to hide,
the imagined copperhead
hid on the path ahead,
unseen on bronze leaves, unheard,
and a mortal likelihood   
at every step. This was childhood,
mine, the wood’s jihad   
against a boy who’d
intruded among monkshood,
wasp, tick, and nettles haired
with needles. Scrub brush abhorred
him with a horde
of  welts, bites, and stings, but he’d
never seen a copperhead,
though he’d looked hard
taking, as he’d been ordered, heed.
The snake wasn’t a falsehood,
though, to him. Dread
was his nature, and he hared
through sunlight and shade, head
swiveling for the copperhead
he’d begun to covet, the ballyhooed
killer a camouflaged godhead
on which his inborn faith cohered,
and his priesthood.


Tuesday was quiet, nice weather, I sent texts on behalf of Biden-Harris for National Voter Registration Day and watched the squirrels and chipmunks chase each other on the deck, plus some bluejays, a woodpecker, and some little yellow finches. We saw a murder (the crow variety) too, when we took a walk in the afternoon, plus deer, the cul-de-sac bunny, and a baby bunny in the yard two doors down that I'm not sure we've seen before, though it could be one of the ones from a different cul-de-sac showing up here. 

My Voyager fan friends from over 20 years ago and I started our rewatch in the evening and that was huge fun -- we'd forgotten details from "Caretaker" and it's just awesome to be able to message through the whole thing with people I knew through the whole craziness of that era. I also saw the Nationals walk-off victory and some of the miserable Orioles-Red Sox game before I put on Due South because I could not stomach the news. These pics are mostly the baby copperhead from Black Hill Park, just so you're warned!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Greetings from What Time Is It

Facebook has decided this evening that whether I'm using the old or new format, I'm not allowed to see my own photos except in album view (nor reply to comments people left on them), and Blogger apparently sets of Facebook's content warning triggers, and LiveJournal is supposed to be down for maintenance, so no one may see this entry anyway and I'll keep it short. 

It was a gorgeous day without much excitement, though I did set foot in a grocery store. We had gone to take a walk at Cabin John Park and stopped at the local vegetable stand, but they were out of corn and cider and Paul was so disappointed that we risked a dash in and out of Giant (no crowds, no lines, everyone had masks on). We're getting most food delivered tomorrow. 

The bunny on our cul-de-sac was munching in our neighbor's yard and the cats were all piled on beds upstairs in honor of the cooler weather. We watched Antiques Roadshow and football in the evening (not rooting for the Raiders even if they're in Vegas now). Here is some music from Mount Vernon's Colonial Fair yesterday, including violins being made by a local craftsman: 

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