Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Greetings from Google

Google Drive has spent the entire evening making me uninstall Backup & Sync in favor of the new Google Drive, which does not sync the same way or with the same folders as before, and it has made both my desktop and laptop work at a crawl, so I am behind on everything and shall keep this brief. It was a quiet day though that is not a complaint: the weather was gorgeous, my arm and armpit are a little sore, the Chauvin verdict was a monumental relief though the whole situation is also unspeakably sad. 

We took a late walk after watching the verdict and some of the initial reaction, had enchiladas for dinner, and watched Supergirl and an episode of The Irregulars in between baseball innings. Here are some photos from around Baltimore on the way to and from the zoo, including a St. Vincent de Paul Church (of which I am fond because I taught at DePaul in Chicago), a George Washington statue with public commentary, and some crab apples and gulls around the reservoir in Druid Hill Park: 

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Lyrics for Tuesday and Maryland Zoo Birds

Seven Shades Of Blue
By Beth Nielsen Chapman
I want to hold you now
And listen to you breathe
It's like the ocean sound
Whispering through the trees
In the hollow of your shoulder
There's a tide pool of my tears
Where the waves came crashing over
And the shoreline disappears.

Baby close your eyes
Fly back there with me
Where the phosphor shines
Green flashlights from the sea
Our nets were full of soft shells
And our hearts were free from toil
And we made love on the kitchen table
Till the water reached a boil.

We hold it all for a little while, don't we...
Kiss the dice, taste the rain
Like little knives upon our tongue
We can do no wrong when the lights come on
And the music plays
And we take the stage like we own the place
As if time were cheap and the night forever young.

So let 'em turn my soul
Seven shades of blue
And with the ocean's roll
I will wave to you
And the birds will sing my laughter
And the whales will steal my song
And I'll be ok forever after
And the world will get along.


 I'm rewatching Dawson's Creek on Netflix and although most of the pop hits have been replaced because of the way the original music rights were established, a cautionary tale that resulted in this show and Felicity losing much of their soundtracks on DVD/streaming, the song above is still in the episode and since it's the reason I discovered Beth Nielsen Chapman, that alone would be a reason I still love the show. (Mary Beth Maziarz would be another. Jann Arden would be a third, though I do miss the Paula Cole theme song.) 

I had a pretty quiet Monday trying to catch up after a busy weekend. Now that all adults in the U.S. are eligible to receive the vaccine, I feel less uncomfortable about saying that I got my second one on Sunday (in Baltimore, which is why we were there and went to the zoo afterward) and while I had an achier arm after the first one, this one made me very sleepy so I had trouble focusing on anything. I am extremely glad to have had the vaccine and to have only small side effects. I got most of the laundry done, at least! 

We caught up on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, which is less infuriating this season than last season in that women talk to each other about something other than boys, but I still wish we saw more of Zoey the genius and not always Zoey the daughter/girlfriend/best friend. Then we watched Debris, which is really excellent but I'm also getting stressed about Finola's father and where that is going. Here are some of the birds in the African Journey section of the zoo, some in the aviary and some in the grasslands: 








Monday, April 19, 2021

Greetings from Baltimore

We spent Sunday in Baltimore, where the weather was gorgeous and, masks and social distancing aside, it almost felt like life before the plague. We went to Druid Hill Park to see the crab apples and sculptures, then to the Rawlings Conservatory to see the tulips planted all around it -- I'm pretty sure it's open inside, but until we're both fully vaccinated, a humid greenhouse does not seem like a good option. Then we went to the Maryland Zoo, which had a lot of people (timed tickets are required) but didn't feel crowded except in spots where everyone wanted the best view of the new resident rhinos, the baby prairie dogs, and around the lunch area, which we avoided. 

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Obviously those are all selfies, will post proper animal and flower pictures during the week! We had "ham" and cheese pie for dinner, then we watched The Nevers, which is pretty great (and yes I know I'm not supposed to say that or possibly even to watch it because of Joss Whedon, but he left the production a couple of episodes in, and there are many awesome women on and writing the show). Then we watched the new Kate Winslet HBO show, Mare of Easttown, which may end up being either too violent or too depressing to stick with but also has a lot of great actresses involved, and then John Oliver decided anyone who watches his show already knows the atrocities of this week and did a surprisingly light show. 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Greetings from Sugarloaf

Saturday was a gorgeous day, so after lunch we went on the Countryside Artisans spring tour, which is mostly outdoors and socially distanced -- we started at Breezy Hill Farm, where I had my fingers nibbled by a baby goat and got nuzzled by an alpaca, then we went to Heron's Meadow Farm, where we bought tea, then Something Crafty studio, which has goats, chickens, and peafowl as well as crafts, then Art of Fire studio, which in addition to glassblowing has several cats wandering around, and finally Dancing Leaf Farm and Sugarloaf Studio, the former of which has the sheep that produce the wool for the yarn and the latter has beautiful art of the backyard views of Sugarloaf Mountain. These are just us enjoying the animals: 

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We came home briefly to feed the cats, then had dinner with my parents, who had food delivered from Clyde's, which was great. Then we came home and watched Godzilla: King of the Monsters, interrupted by a call with our kids, one of whom had been out hiking to Twin Falls and the other of whom had just bought a paddleboard and was testing it on the river. Once again I felt like there was not enough Godzilla in a movie with Godzilla's name in the title, but hey, the more monsters, the merrier, I guess!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Poem for Saturday and Crab Apple Color

Crab Apple Trees
By Larry Schug
I’m tempted to say these trees belong to me,
take credit for blossoms that gather sunrise
like stained glass windows,
because eighteen springs ago
I dug holes for a couple of scrawny seedlings,
spread their roots in a bed of manure,
watered them, supported them with stakes and twine
until the saplings could stand alone in the wind.
But now, the flowering crabs in my yard,
like grown children, have business of their own,
bumblebees to feed,
and small sour balloons to inflate
by the time autumnal flocks
of robins and cedar waxwings
come to them for sustenance.
My reward is in the way my eyes
gorge on brilliant blossoms,
the sweet aroma my nose inhales
like a rich dessert
in a restaurant for the senses.


My Friday was pretty uneventful. Had a long phone conversation with my sister and a long text conversation with my oldest friend, both about health care and our kids to a large degree. Went for a walk in the afternoon to see the emerging azaleas and crab apples that are already getting green among the pink. 

I loved this week's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on pretty much every level -- Sam's arc, Bucky's arc, Walker's arc, what happened with Zemo, the training montage, the guest star I'm betting we'll see a lot more of. I really would like Karli to be redeemable and I really hope Sharon has not turned villain. 

Then we caught up on The Flash, which did not hold my interest except when Caitlin was around, and Kung Fu, which again I liked a lot -- good balance of drama and action, interesting characters, hints of a big broader picture, a bit of humor though it could use a bit more. The aforementioned crab apples: 

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Friday, April 16, 2021

Poem for Friday and Locust Grove

The Good-Morrow
By John Donne

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not wean'd till then?
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den?
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown;
Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.


Thursday was a ridiculously nice day, so much so that I snuck out at lunchtime to do a Pokemon raid and went for a walk at Locust Grove, which has a carpet of bluebells near the nature center and several frogs in the tadpole pond and the new waterfall fountain out front. It was so pretty that I convinced Paul to go take a walk there in the late afternoon, too, to listen to the spring peepers and see the dogwood and redbuds along the woods path. 


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 I gave a neighbor's son a bunch of big plastic toys that had to be hosed down first, including an easel, so I spent lots of time outside, which was lovely. Plus I chatted with friends after dinner (huzzah for vegan fish sticks) while we had the Nationals-Diamondbacks game on mute, which was a good thing because after a couple of good early innings, it was a big disaster for the Nats. And Colbert's a rerun, so I'm watching the end of this phase of the MCU and already miss it! 


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Poem for Thursday and Canal in Spring

By Jane Kenyon

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.

                    It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.


I had a really nice long call at lunchtime with my high school friends, one of whom is dealing with a family situation that people in my family have some expertise about, so after two and a half hours on Zoom and then actually eating lunch, I then got to talk to my sister quite a bit, plus I had some Freecycle and Marketplace pickups so I got a tiny bit of the clutter out of the house. It rained all day, so I did not go looking at scenery, though I did admire damp flowers and do a couple of long distance Pokemon raids. 

We watched The Masked Singer, which was highly complimentary to the unmasked, followed by The New Mutants, which I thought was better than its reviews, though the whitewashing of two major characters is disturbing. It doesn't contribute anything major to the X-Men mythology but I like how it explored its particular corner and characters. We put on the White Sox-Cleveland game while it was still a perfect game, which didn't last but even a no-hitter is exciting to watch! From the C&O Canal last weekend: