Saturday, July 31, 2021

Poem for Saturday and Canal Frogs

From 'The Vision of Sir Launfal'
By James Russell Lowell

And what is so rare as a day in June?
     Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
     And over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
     An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
     Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
     Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
     The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
     To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
     Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
     With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,—
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

Now is the high-tide of the year,
     And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
     Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop over-fills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
     That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For other couriers we should not lack;
     We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,—
And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
     Tells all in his lusty crowing!


Friday was quite warm and sticky, not very eventful. I did some chores, watched some Olympics, mostly swimming and tennis, and took a couple of walks -- it was a very good baby bunny day. But the major good news is that older son does not have covid, though he still doesn't feel well (I told him to go get a strep test, but I think I had used up my mom nag quota for the week).  

Burden of Truth is back, with another storyline about First Nations vs Canadian policies stacked against them, which was very interesting and relevant last season. Plus we watched Jungle Cruise on Disney+, which was surprisingly enjoyable though very derivative of a LOT of adventure in the jungle movies, including several of Disney's own! Blunt and Johnson are fun! Canal frogs: 








Friday, July 30, 2021

Greetings From My Backyard

I'm not sure where Thursday went but I know where the night went -- we tried to watch the women's gymnastics individual all-around on the Roku, but the feed kept cutting out (too many people watching). So instead we watched late, with the sound off while I was on my fannish chat and distracted because Daniel, who hasn't felt well for a couple of days, was telling me he got a covid test although he's been vaccinated for weeks (no results yet). 

And my in-laws called to say one or both of Paul's brothers are talking about visiting them the weekend we already have a paid, nonrefundable reservation to go to the beach, for which I have been waiting all summer. I need my two days out of the entire year to see the ocean. Anyway, I am distracted and cranky about everything except Suni Lee. Here is what happens when the squirrel swings on the bird feeder and scatters the seeds: 








Thursday, July 29, 2021

Poem for Thursday and Brookside Roses

My Pretty Rose Tree
By William Blake

A flower was offered to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said 'I've a pretty rose tree,'
And I passed the sweet flower o'er.

Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turned away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.


My Wednesday was quiet, at least until the thunderstorm tonight that made the lights flicker, but I got to talk to two of my high school friends at lunchtime, watch the men's gymnastics all-around at the Olympics, and fold laundry around a cat who wanted to sit on the clothes in the basket. The bunnies were hiding when we walked today, maybe too hot for them. 

We've spent most of tonight watching swimming live from Tokyo -- Caeleb Dressel, Katie Ledecky -- and now I'm watching the start of the second season of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes on Disney+ because "The Fall of Asgard" in the first season is everything I could have dreamed in a cartoon. Some of the roses at Brookside Gardens last weekend: 


2021-07-24 14.43.16





2021-07-24 14.43.33

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Poem for Wednesday and Baby Bunnies

Rabbit Is Up to Tricks
By Joy Harjo

In a world long before this one, there was enough for everyone,
Until somebody got out of line.
We heard it was Rabbit, fooling around with clay and wind.
Everybody was tired of his tricks and no one would play with him;
He was lonely in this world.
So Rabbit thought to make a person.
And when he blew into the mouth of the crude figure to see
What would happen,
The clay man stood up.
Rabbit showed the clay man how to steal a chicken.
The clay man obeyed.
Rabbit showed him how to steal corn.
The clay man obeyed.
Then he showed him how to steal someone else’s wife.
The clay man obeyed.
Rabbit felt important and powerful.
Clay man felt important and powerful.
And once that clay man started he could not stop.
Once he took that chicken he wanted all the chickens.
And once he took that corn he wanted all the corn.
And once he took that wife, he wanted all the wives.
He was insatiable.
Then he had a taste of gold and he wanted all the gold.
Then it was land and anything else he saw.
His wanting only made him want more.
Soon it was countries, then it was trade.
The wanting infected the earth.
We lost track of the purpose and reason for life.
We began to forget our songs. We forgot our stories.
We could no longer see or hear our ancestors,
Or talk with each other across the kitchen table.
Forests were being mowed down all over the world.
And Rabbit had no place to play.
Rabbit’s trick had backfired.
Rabbit tried to call the clay man back.
But when the clay man wouldn’t listen,
Rabbit realized he’d made a clay man with no ears.


Tuesday was pretty quiet around here, in part because of the heat and in part because I got distracted watching Olympics coverage though I should never have gone on Twitter while Simone Biles was trending and every racist on the internet was there. Also, every idiot who can't comprehend a CDC announcement was blathering conspiracy theories, including a lot of people who should know better. We watched some of the gymnastics reruns and some live swimming (Katie Ledecky grew up 10 minutes from me) and took a walk as late as possible to keep cool. 

Running late this evening because I watched Voyager's "Resolutions" with several of my friends from when the episode first aired, who joined my usual rewatch group, plus a couple of JetC people I didn't know who are friends of friends. That was awesome -- like a mini-reunion only of people from my own corner of fandom, and while some of the people I was closest with are gone (I keenly felt Becky's absence), it's delightful to share that episode the way we once did. Thanks, Kate Mulgrew, I owe you for that. Here are some baby bunnies from my cul-de-sac:

2021-07-26 18.08.03

2021-07-26 18.07.37

2021-07-26 18.06.58

2021-07-26 18.05.58

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Poem for Tuesday and Muskrat Love

Deep in the Quiet Wood
By James Weldon Johnson

Are you bowed down in heart?
Do you but hear the clashing discords and the din of life?
Then come away, come to the peaceful wood,
Here bathe your soul in silence. Listen! Now,
From out the palpitating solitude
Do you not catch, yet faint, elusive strains?
They are above, around, within you, everywhere.
Silently listen! Clear, and still more clear, they come.
They bubble up in rippling notes, and swell in singing tones.
Now let your soul run the whole gamut of the wondrous scale
Until, responsive to the tonic chord,
It touches the diapason of God’s grand cathedral organ,
Filling earth for you with heavenly peace
And holy harmonies.


My Monday was, well, a Monday -- some stuff got written, some laundry got done, the birds got fed and then a squirrel went swinging on the feeder, scattering seed everywhere, so we had a little mouse alongside the sparrows, cardinals, chickadees, and occasional chipmunks on the deck. It was quite hot early on and pretty sticky when we took a walk, then some storms blew through and it cooled off a bit. 

We watched mostly surfing in the Olympics coverage -- I never get tired of looking at beaches and waves -- and saw this week's Republic of Sarah (consistently interesting) before PBS's screening on POV of Mayor, the funny-sad, fascinating documentary about the mayor of Ramallah during Christmas week and Prince William's visit. From the C&O Canal on Sunday, the muskrat munching in the lock: 








Monday, July 26, 2021

Greetings from the Canal Again

We had brunch on Sunday with my parents and Nicole, who then flew back to New York and her family. We picked up Cava for three of us and Shake Shack for the other two and hung out in the kitchen for a while (without Paul for part of it because Shake Shack left the avocado and bacon off his burger and he went back to get it fixed). After we left, we messaged our kids, who originally had plans to see each other but Adam wound up on call, then we took a walk along the C&O Canal, this time with my camera (as you can see, we saw the muskrat, plus many frogs and turtles, and later a rainbow): 






2021-07-25 17.32.38

2021-07-25 17.48.45A 

 We stopped at Giant and the vegetable stand on the way home, ate a small dinner on the late side since we weren't very hungry after lunch, then watched some Olympic highlights (hoping the gymnastics team pulls it together), Wellington Paranormal (werewolves, hilarious) and Dead Pixels (disgusting bodily functions) before John Oliver gave a brief summary of the history of housing discrimination and racist lending laws. We watched almost none of the games, but I am feeling rather ambivalent about the fact that the Orioles picked this weekend to play decently; they swept the Nationals! 


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Greetings from Brookside Gardens

I spent a lot of Saturday with my parents and my sister, who is visiting them after a get-together with some of her high school friends in the area. We met at Brookside Gardens, where we walked around and saw the wildlife and flowers in and out of the conservatory, then later we met for dinner at Trapezaria, where I had tirokafteri and the fabulous feti me meli, which of course I couldn't finish. 

2021-07-24 14.06.02

2021-07-24 14.05.48

2021-07-24 15.02.33


2021-07-24 14.36.02

2021-07-24 19.25.57 

Apart from watching Olympic tennis, some skateboarding, and men's gymnastics, we caught up on the season finales of Kung Fu and Crime Scene Kitchen. I found the former quite satisfying -- whenever two women face off over enormous power, I enjoy it -- and the latter made me very hungry for napoleons, which was one of the required desserts (the other was a multi-tier chocolate cake)!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Greetings from the Canal

Quickie, watching Saturday's Olympic events (mostly tennis, a bit of fencing) after Friday's delayed broadcast of the opening ceremonies, which were nice but I feel very ambivalent about the fact that these Games are being held at all, with so many Tokyo residents objecting and the possibility of a super-spreader event from a variant emerging. I thought Kyrgyzstan won the uniform fashion show and my favorite bit were the live-action depictions of the pictographs representing the different sports. I've seen enough movies that the drones make me nervous. 

 I had a pretty quiet day otherwise. I exchanged a bunch of emails with my college roommate and another friend in New York because Brandi Carlile tickets at Wolf Trap went on sale in the morning and we wanted to get them (we're also seeing Mary Chapin Carpenter outside Philadelphia next month). Then in the mid-afternoon we went to walk along the canal; I stupidly forgot my camera, so have no good photos of the muskrat, green heron, or many frogs and turtles we saw, but we stopped at the co-op on the way home so I do have fresh produce. Don't expect greatness: 

2021-07-23 17.04.07

2021-07-23 17.23.06

2021-07-23 17.14.31

2021-07-23 17.56.30A

2021-07-23 17.03.54

2021-07-23 17.04.09A

2021-07-23 17.58.17