Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Poem for Wednesday and Kenwood Cherry Blossoms

Yoshino Mountain
By Yosa Buson
Translated by David G. Lanoue

Sakura, sakura
they fall in the dreams
of sleeping beauty

Petals falling
unable to resist
the moonlight

Wind blows
they scatter and it dies
fallen petals


Tuesday was just as gorgeous a day as Monday, a bit warmer, and since Paul had no afternoon Zoom conferences, we planned at lunchtime to go to Kenwood, the Bethesda neighborhood with over a thousand Yoshino cherry trees. Parking isn't allowed in the neighborhood, so we left the car up a side street and walked to the central area, which in addition to the cherry blossoms has lots of forsythia, magnolia, flowering ground cover, daffodils, and the earliest tulips. There were a number of other people walking around but almost everyone was masked, including the children, and people were respectful of other people's personal space. 


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We ate leftovers for dinner because we were running tight on time (for one thing, my little laptop was refusing to acknowledge that it has a camera and I still don't know what's wrong). My Voyager group watched "Maneuvers" -- the one where Chakotay goes off after Seska and she steals his DNA -- and while it's more interesting than some of the surrounding episodes, I don't like how many characters are written, especially how Seska turns from a woman I love to hate into a woman who's simply despicable. Afterward I watched Supergirl purely for the SuperCorp (which did not disappoint), then Michigan vs UCLA (in which the Wolverines did).


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Poem for Tuesday and Neighborhood Cherry Blossoms

Sakura at Kan'eji Temple
By Masaoka Shiki
Translated by David G. Lanoue

The cherry blossoms:
Being ill, how many things
I remember about them

Scatter layer
by layer, eight-layered
cherry blossoms

Moon at twilight
a cluster of petals falling
from the cherry tree

cherry blossom petals
blown by the spring breeze against
the undried wall


Monday was a spectacularly beautiful day after the rain of Sunday, cool and breezy. I looked for excuses to take walks, even just to the Pokemon gym, and in the afternoon we walked in a different direction than usual so we could see the cherry blossoms two blocks away coming into full bloom, plus lots of forsythia and hundreds of daffodils. 

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We interrupted basketball after dinner to watch the two-hour season finale of Snowpiercer, which had good performances and some decent twists, but if that one cast member is gone next season, I make no promises that I will keep watching; the fact that we're still subjected to LJ and Audrey while female scientists get short shrift pisses me off.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Greetings for Cherry Blossom Season

We had rain on Sunday morning and Sunday evening, but there was a period in the afternoon when it was overcast and warm, so we went looking for local cherry blossoms, which are expected to peak in the next couple of days. The streets in our neighborhood are a bit behind the ones downtown, but the ones around the mansion in Rockville Civic Center are pretty full and the ones in Cabin John Park are stunning. Plus there are daffodils and forsythia everywhere and redbuds starting, so lots of pink and yellow!


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Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet day, apart from a brief period of thunder and wind when the cats went to hide down the basement. I folded laundry while watching early basketball, and our evening TV after dinner and Zoe's Extraordinary Playlist (better, since Zoe's love life was not a plot point this week) was the Maryland women playing the Texas woman and the Terps lost to the Longhorns by shooting terribly. I would have been okay with losing to Dawn Staley but I really want women's teams coached by women to win.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Greetings for Pesach

Happy Passover! This is a quick entry while watching the end of SNL after a busy day: morning chores, early lunch, drive to Mount Vernon to see the new lambs (plus lots of flowers in the upper gardens, skinks in the woods, and actors playing various Washington-era residents talking about life there). We hit traffic on the way home and discovered that it was from people in the various parks along the Potomac, looking at the cherry blossoms from there since the Tidal Basin streets are closed to traffic for social distancing. 

We went to my parents' for the first night of Passover and a very informal seder, though I'm not sure it was less organized than last year's, when we had more people on Zoom. We talked at various points in the evening on Google Meet with my kids, my sister and one of my nieces, and we ate lots of great food made by my mother (charoset, matzoh ball soup, carrot souffle, real and fake chicken, various desserts). When we came home, we watched a bit of basketball plus the season two finale of Ghosts. More downtown photos later! 

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Greetings from Locust Grove

Friday was nearly 80 degrees and sunny -- daffodils everywhere, magnolias coming into bloom, bluebells starting. I didn't get a lot done -- I was watching the wrens and chipmunks out the back window when I was at my computer, and I took a walk in the neighborhood in the morning and at Locust Grove in the afternoon, where the bees were buzzing, the frog who was underwater with eggs in the tadpole nursery last time was poking out of the pond this time, the flowers were in bloom all over the hill, and the earliest bluebells were peeking out (warning: there is a large beetle in these photos): 

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We had samosas and vindaloo for dinner before watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier long distance with Cheryl. It is extremely well done, very well acted, socially relevant, upsetting, moving, and laugh-out-loud funny all at the same time; I'm not sure which was my favorite part, the scene with the therapist that seemed written entirely for fangirls or the scene in Baltimore that hit so many issues with humor and pathos. Then we watched some more Ghosts, which is just straight-up entertaining, plenty of rom-com cliches and occasional moving backstory.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Poem for Friday and Neighborhood Deer

The Fallow Deer At The Lonely House
By Thomas Hardy

One without looks in to-night
    Through the curtain-chink
From the sheet of glistening white;
One without looks in to-night
    As we sit and think
    By the fender-brink.

We do not discern those eyes
    Watching in the snow;
Lit by lamps of rosy dyes
We do not discern those eyes
    Wondering, aglow,
    Fourfooted, tiptoe.


Thursday morning was still damp, but the weather got drier and warmer as the day progressed. I don't have a lot that's exiting to report -- got some work and some laundry done, did a Pokemon raid, chatted with a neighbor, took a walk to see the daffodils and emerging hyacinths. We watched bad Georgia voting news and Biden's press conference, and had basketball on the TV on and off during the afternoon too. 

I'm sad about Jessica Walter, too sad for AD reruns. Kay recommended yesterday that we watch the BBC's Ghosts, so we did that after dinner, and it's hilarious -- it's about a woman who inherits a British mansion from a distant relative, then winds up able to see the ghosts of all the previous inhabitants. Here are some photos of the largest group of friends we've seen in the woods this spring: 

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Poem for Thursday and Rainy Birthday

Poem on a Rainy Birthday
By Roderic Vincent

  – for Jess

Her smaller hand holds
the hand that holds
the umbrella. It's wetter
out there, and in here
things might get romantic.
A roof over our heads,
the homely chat of rain
on a tent. But this is what
we cannot do together:
there isn't room under
this canopy. We could be
huddled from the world,
but we fight over the handle,
hand over fist, the flag
of victory wobbling above.
She calls me selfish when
I only want to protect
and provide full coverage
for her. I'm skirting the over-
hang of trees, steering her
round a lamppost. Above all
I want to avoid a clash
with oncoming umbrellas.
I give no thought to the equal
distribution of territory.
She offers to withdraw
the little floral fold-out
brolly from her handbag
but I won't put up
with that – it's tantamount
to separate bedrooms.
She tells me it's my height,
the difference between us
that makes this so awkward.
She says she'll take it,
leave me half-in half-out,
one shoulder jostling hers,
the other exposed,
but I'd be left wondering
what people think
of a man who expects the woman
to carry the umbrella.


Wednesday was Paul's birthday -- another quiet one, since we're not safe to be out and about, even though our governor keeps telling restaurants and movie theaters to open faster than he can get the vaccine distributed. It was also rainy, so we didn't get out during the day, though the Maryland women's basketball team played in the early afternoon (and beat Alabama by a big margin) so at least we got to watch that. 

The rest of my day involved Zoom, Skype, and phone calls -- with two of my high school friends at lunchtime (the third was visiting her youngest child at school), with our kids and parents in the evening for long distance birthday celebration, and with my brothers-in-law at night after dinner with my parents, who got dinner and beignets from Founding Farmers plus birthday cake -- and The Masked Singer plus more basketball. 


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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Poem for Wednesday and My Daffodils

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
By William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


It was a lovely spring Tuesday, 65 degrees, flowers everywhere. I spent the morning doing something ridiculous (fine, I found out that was about to erase all free readings and though I haven't played with the site since around 2009, I wanted to save all the pretty images using different virtual decks, so I had to make PDFs), then I scanned some more old documents, including -- okay, this is even more ridiculous -- our wedding registry and the blood tests proving we did not have syphilis before we got married. 

We watched some women's basketball, though Maryland doesn't play again till tomorrow; the Big 10 ladies are representing better than the gentlemen. I watched Voyager's "Cold Fire" with my usual Tuesday night group -- not a great episode but it does have the moment when Beltran, excuse me, Chakotay is checking out Mulgrew's, excuse me, Janeway's butt on the bridge. Then we watched Superman & Lois, which had a better balance this week of domestic drama versus super-powered stuff, and we caught up on Debris. These are in my front yard:


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