Sunday, February 28, 2021

Greetings from Green Spring Gardens

We originally had rain forecast for most of the weekend, but Saturday was actually a really nice day, mid-50s and overcast. We did chores in the morning, had lunch, then went to Green Spring Gardens, which we knew had snowdrops and witch hazel and we were guessing from the single bloom in our neighborhood might have daffodils. They only had a few, but they had lots of Lenten roses and winter aconite, plus a whole field of crocuses. A wedding was taking place at the gazebo in one of the duck ponds. 




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We stopped on the way home at Locust Grove to see if they had crocuses as well; they did not, but there were many birds at the feeders including a beautiful red-headed woodpecker. After dinner, we Skyped the kids, I did a Zoom birthday call with a high school friend, and we watched Tom & Jerry, mostly because it was free on HBOMax. It's cute at times, with animated animals and live actors, and Pena and Moretz seem to be having fun, but the comedy is predictable and there's really not a lot of Tom and Jerry!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Poem for Saturday and Cabin John Crocuses

Black Heroism is Unskilled Labor
By Xandria Phillips

Angela makes sure the right people die at the funeral.
A grandchild of the Tulsa Massacre, her skin
is artifice, a call to dream so nothing occurs.
When her yt colleague detonates a suicide bomber
she blocks the blast with a casket. It is common knowledge
that womanism does feminism’s housekeeping.
Much as one might travel, one guilt-trips.
In this case, to Re-Reconstruction Era fantasy.
Did I mention that everyone is a cop, and still
someone is trying to tell a story about justice.
Quiet as it’s kept, take something from the blackbox
and a little black ekes out further into the ethos,
but these stories don’t need to matter; they’re made from it.
I find no proxy here in iconography, genomes ache.
“Okonkwo hangs himself in the end” says Angela,
spoiling the final pages of Things Fall Apart.
“Angela won’t die at the end,” I say, to spoil another thing.


This poem "is written about Watchmen's Angela Abar," Phillips told "As much as I love the show, I am drawn to critique its shortcomings, particularly Black characters standing in as an artifice for change in a world of cops." 

I had a pretty quiet Friday -- chores, email, figuring out how to add watermarks to my Barbie Tarot images so that over the coming (predicted to be rainy) weekend I can upload them and change the URLs on the web pages to stop people from stealing and selling them again. I'm so glad our Star Trek Tarot images are much smaller and the other online "decks" I've made have horizontal images, not practical for actual Tarot readings (I don't believe in divination, so practical reading use has never matted so much to me). Here are the Cabin John crocuses from the past two days:

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Saw my parents briefly -- they brought Whole Foods sesame tofu -- and took a walk, and though the drizzle started while we were out, I saw my first open daffodil of the spring! And we watched WandaVision, which is fantastic this week though painful to watch: lots of things we knew had happened to Wanda from previous screen moments seen in a new light, and Hayward should die at the hands of all the monsters he's contributed to creating. Then we watched the season finale of Dickinson, which did not make up to Emily and Sue for all the disappointing obsession with men this season.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Poem for Friday and Feast of Esther

A Fairy Tale
By Jennifer L. Knox

When my father was nine years old, his mother said, "Tommy, I'm taking you to the circus for your birthday. Just you and me, and I'll buy you anything you want." The middle child of six, my father thought this was the most incredible, wonderful thing that had ever happened to him—like something out of a fairy tale. 

They got in the car, but instead of driving him to the circus, his mother pulled up in front of the hospital and told him to go inside and ask for Dr. So-and-so. After that they'd go to the circus. 

He went inside and asked for Dr. So-and-so. A nurse told him to follow her into a room where she closed the door and gave him a shot. My father fell asleep, and some hours later, woke up crying in agony with his tonsils gone. A different nurse got him dressed, and sent him outside where his mother was waiting in the car with the engine running. He couldn't speak on the way home to ask her, "What about the circus?" Days later, when he could, he didn't. They never mentioned it again. 

Fifty-eight years later, he tells this story to his wife, his only explanation, when she asks him, "What are you doing home from church so early?" 

He'd walked out in the middle of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," never to return. 


The weather wasn't quite as gorgeous on Thursday as on Wednesday, yet there were more crocuses in bloom in the afternoon when we went to walk in the park again before the dog-walkers trample the early flowers, and oh do I sound cranky again? That's because I spent a huge amount of time today dealing with the fact that an Etsy seller in the Ukraine stole and printed my Barbie Tarot images and is selling the decks for $50 on Etsy, and Etsy will not do a thing about it. My choices are to take down the images -- which have been on my web site for 15 years, so I'm sure other people have downloaded them as well and I feel like are more likely to try to sell them if I can't point to a web site proving that I designed them -- or to try to get Mattel involved since they own the Barbie trademark, but Mattel will probably insist that I had no right to make the cards in the first place and I'm not getting lawyers involved to argue fair use over something from which I never intended for myself or anyone else to profit. 

Anyway, as I said, it was a lovely day out, and in addition to the crocuses on the hill and snowdrops by the woods, there were a couple of little yellow flowers and the first daffodil of the season is almost open. I did have a nice Purim celebration in the evening -- Jewish Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and even without a carnival at Hebrew school, there are posts about Esther/Ishtar and Paul made vegan brisket for dinner and mini hamantaschen for dessert, some of which we brought to our neighbors who keep bringing us awesome Moroccan food. We thought about watching For Your Consideration because the fake movie being made in the film is Home For Purim, but we couldn't find our DVD anywhere (Best in Show either, grrr) so instead we watched Tenet on demand. It felt like Nolan took ideas he had from Memento and Inception but didn't do much work on the characters. Debicki plays her character from The Night Manager, and Branagh's character is very over the top. Really glad I didn't risk my life to see it in a theater!

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Poem for Thursday and Great Falls Geese

I Am Waiting
By Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for my case to come up   
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting   
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier   
and I am waiting   
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming   
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona   
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored   
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find   
the right channel   
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth   
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed   
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered   
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did   
to Tom Sawyer   
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting   
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again   
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn   
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting   
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder


I did lots of stuff on Wednesday -- laundry because of another unfortunate cat incident and not even the same cat as the last one, chatting at lunch with my high school friends (now 2/4 vaccinated), and walking in Cabin John Park since the weather was spectacular -- the crocuses all over the hill by the amphitheater are starting to bloom, as are the snowdrops behind the train station (photos tomorrow, I did not organize them tonight)! 

Cheryl finally, finally has her power back, so we watched this week's WandaVision together, then I caught up on the first episode of Superman and Lois, which Kay had warned me was darker than she expected but I mostly liked it though it's a little predictable and Lois definitely got short shrift in the storytelling this first episode (she's almost entirely mother-wife-daughter, not reporter). Geese and ducks at Great Falls:







Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Poem for Wednesday and Great Falls Cardinals

The Bird Her Punctual Music Brings
By Emily Dickinson

The Bird her punctual music brings
And lays it in its place—
Its place is in the Human Heart
And in the Heavenly Grace—
What respite from her thrilling toil
Did Beauty ever take—
But Work might be electric Rest
To those that Magic make—


 My Tuesday, like my Monday, was okay for me personally but difficult for several people I talk to regularly, so I am still Really Ready For This All To End Globally. I saw my parents briefly -- they had their second shots this weekend, didn't feel great for a couple of days, but were out enjoying the lovely weather and brought us belated Valentine's Day presents. We, too, took a long walk, and though the snow is still slippery on the woods paths, it is increasingly melting everywhere in the neighborhood. 

I watched Voyager's "Twisted" with my regular group, and though it was about as bad as I remembered, it's always fun to watch with them and we talk about theater and family stuff for so long that I forgot Superman and Lois was on and will have to catch it on demand tomorrow. We watched a couple more Dickinson episodes instead, which the whole second season is far too much about the boys, bleh, and an episode of Chopped, which delightfully had an ice cream disaster. Cardinals at Great Falls: 








Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Poem for Tuesday and Carderock

A wounded Deer – leaps highest –
By Emily Dickinson

A wounded Deer – leaps highest –
I've heard the Hunter tell –
'Tis but the ecstasy of death –
And then the Brake is still!

The smitten Rock that gushes!
The trampled Steel that springs!
A Cheek is always redder
Just where the Hectic stings!

Mirth is the Mail of Anguish –
In which it cautious Arm,
Lest Anybody spy the blood
And "you're hurt" exclaim!


Monday was okay except for the parts that sucked monumentally, which I feel like sums up the past 11 months and I am less okay with it every time it happens. I have one friend who lost a relative to COVID, another friend who just had two relatives diagnosed, and a third just has general insensitive family shit that's upsetting and directly related to the pandemic, and it is so very tiring. Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet day that started with winter weather and ice-coated branches, then got a bit warmer and clear enough for a nice walk before dinner (peanut soup for George Washington's birthday, which is Mount Vernon's fault). 

We half-watched this week's Antiques Roadshow -- I was getting cat treats and cleaning out the water fountain -- then we watched this week's Snowpiercer, which suffered from a severe lack of Melanie and it's making no sense to me in this iteration of the franchise that no one has simply bumped Wilford off already, though of course I want Sean Bean around to chew scenery and Daveed Diggs longer. Plus we watched some more Dickinson, which I am still enjoying though I keep forgetting it's supposed to be Emily Dickinson because too much sex, too little poetry. Here are some more photos from Carderock the weekend before last: 








Monday, February 22, 2021

Poem for Monday and Great Falls Sunday

The Daisy Follows Soft The Sun
By Emily Dickinson

The Daisy follows soft the Sun—
And when his golden walk is done—
Sits shyly at his feet—
He—waking—finds the flower there—
Wherefore—Marauder—art thou here?
Because, Sir, love is sweet!

We are the Flower—Thou the Sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline—
We nearer steal to Thee!
Enamored of the parting West—
The peace—the flight—the Amethyst—
Night's possibility!


 I spent lots of Sunday on Zoom/Skype calls and texting people, so it feels like I had a very social day even though I only spoke to my spouse in person. The weather was lovely -- well, around freezing but no atrocious wind chill, so the snow was melting enough to go walking at Great Falls -- a little slippery on the wooden walkways but the geese, cardinals, ducks, and vultures did not seem to mind and the ice in the river looked spectacular. 

After Zooming with my fan friends, having dinner, and Skyping with my kids, parents, and in-laws for Paul's father's birthday, we watched the beginning of the second season of Dickinson, which has Frederick Law Olmsted as a character, whom I know a lot about from living in Chicago, though I don't like how poor Sue is being written and I really wish there was more poetry being read instead of just a lot of talk about thinking about it. 


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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Greetings from Kanto Province

Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. was Pokemon Go's Kanto Tour event, and since there's a pandemic and a lot of ice on the ground, it seemed like a perfect day to catch a lot of Pokemon and do a lot of remote raids. I got to do some in the morning with friends in England, and in the afternoon with local friends -- I even got to see Kim, with whom I went to middle school and high school, from our respective vehicles -- and I tried to do one in the evening with Adam's girlfriend Katherine in Redmond though our timing ended up not working out. 

So it was a pretty social day, and I got my shiny Ditto and a few other shinies and finished all the research despite a glitch booting me out of a crucial Mewtwo raid. I sorted and traded while watching -- what else -- Detective Pikachu, because it starts with basically the first scene from Mewtwo Strikes Back and makes me nostalgic for original Pokemon, and now we're howling through Saturday Night Live's sea shanties and Bridgerton intimacy coordinator issues. I forgot to take pictures in the park, so here are Pokemon at home: