Sunday, October 31, 2021

Greetings for Halloween

Quickie after unfortunate ending to World Series game, which we started watching at the home of my elementary school friend whom I've seen on Zoom nearly every week for the past year but haven't seen in person in ages. Her husband's mother is visiting, and since she went to the same high school as my parents, they thought it would be fun for us all to have dinner together and ordered Chinese food for everyone. My father brought his high school yearbook and Paul made a Frankenstein pistachio cheesecake for dessert (not knowing that my friend's older son would be home from medical school, nor that he's allergic to pistachios). 

We looked at lots of old photos and talked about a lot of sports -- these are the friends who throw the Super Bowl party we've attended for many years -- though none of us is happy about how this World Series is going. Earlier in the day, Paul and I went to Great Falls to see how high the water was after the storm, though it wasn't as bad as we've seen after snowmelt. Here are some photos of our evening, will show off turtles at Great Falls after Halloween -- blessed Samhain if this is a spiritual holiday for you, and enjoy trick-or-treating and/or booze if it's more secular! 

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Saturday, October 30, 2021

Poem for Saturday and Halloween Decorations

Ghost Music
By Robert Graves

Gloomy and bare the organ-loft,
Bent-backed and blind the organist.
From rafters looming shadowy,
From the pipes' tuneful company,
Drifted together drowsily,
Innumerable, formless, dim,
The ghosts of long-dead melodies,
Of anthems, stately, thunderous,
Of Kyries shrill and tremulous:
In melancholy drowsy-sweet
They huddled there in harmony.
Like bats at noontide rafter-hung.


After one final bout of scanning and lots of packing and taping, I have sent three boxes off to Texas A&M, one containing nothing but zines, one a mix of fan club newsletters and correspondence, and one with over a thousand photos from Star Trek conventions and appearances (if you ever sent me photos of Kate Mulgrew for Now Voyager, they will be archived permanently in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Research Collection at the Cushing Memorial Library & Archives).  

Paul had an appointment for his Covid booster at Walgreens, which conveniently is also our nearest FedEx pickup place, so I labeled the boxes and hauled them inside in a shopping cart while he was checking in and waiting for his shot. Since he had to wait 15 minutes before leaving, we also checked out what little was left of the Halloween candy, which is already giving way to Christmas candy and holiday-themed slippers and decorations. 

We had dinner with my parents but could not face the thought of watching the Braves win at home, so instead we binged the rest of the third season of the BBC's Ghosts, which was great, and watched the first few episodes of the American remake, which wasn't as bad as some people had warned me (though the guy playing the husband is terrible). Since it's practically Halloween, here are the cupcakes my mom got and some of our neighborhood decorations: 

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Friday, October 29, 2021

Poem for Friday and Glenstone Autumn

Whim Wood
By Katherine Towers

into the coppery halls
of beech and intricate oak
to be close to the trees
as they whisper together
let fall their leaves,
and we die for the winter


I said yesterday that I finished my scanning project, but it turned out that I was wrong. Texas A&M's library not only wants the Now Voyager newsletters for their zine collection, they want the fan club correspondence as well, and it took me all day to sort the four boxes of that sitting in the basement for the past 20 years to remove the entirely personal, the entirely trivial ("Here's my check and address"), and things like holiday cards and the postcard exchange. I scanned a lot of letters from people who are now my good friends, and it was a fun nostalgia trip. 

Paul left (faux) beef and sweet potato stew in the slow cooker all day, so after a walk, we ate that for dinner. Then I packed up the rest of the correspondence, realized I should ask about convention photos and wrote to the Texas A&M librarian, and watched the beginning of the Green Bay-Arizona game before turning off the sound for my Thursday night fannish Zoom chat, though only three of us could come this week. The end of the Packers game was very enjoyable! Here are some photos from Glenstone last weekend, including a grasshopper and lots of changing leaves: 

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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Poem for Thursday and Cabin John Color

Song for the Woolly Mammoth
By Lauren Moseley

When glaciers trapped a third of Earth’s water and drained the Bering Strait, humans
journeyed to this land where wind swept the steppes of snow, exposing grass

that would be plucked by mammoth trunks and ground by washboard teeth.
Up to thirteen feet, their tusks curved helically and would intertwine if they went on

a little longer. The beasts’ dense hair—brown, blonde, or ginger—swung like a skirt
about their flanks. I want to rest my head against that shaggy coat, to crane

my ears, to be protected from the giant short-faced bear. I want to be
their baby, wrap my trunk around my mother’s, watch the wild horses of Beringia

canter across the steppes in tawny, fine-boned movements. The thick fat
under my hair keeps me warm when the sun goes low, and I grow into

an eight-ton bull, pierce the ice with my tusks and drink from glacial pools.
The wind is bitter, but my strongest features have grown bigger than my father’s.

When summer comes I must find a mate, and it only takes a few tusk locks to show
my strength. After our calf is born, I see upright creatures eyeing him from the mesa.

I will fling them against the icy mountains. They wear our hair as if it were
their skin. Still, I will live through many winters, through each warm season’s

hardheaded matches. I know the range that slopes like the hump on my back, sunsets
redder than the long-toothed cat’s gorging mouth, how musk oxen form a wall of horns

and still fall prey to the blade thrown. I know how many herds have fled, and the curves
of carcasses stripped to bone by men, wind, and time. I do not know that I am gone.


Wednesday was less blustery than Tuesday and looked like fall, though it was practically shorts weather by afternoon. I finished up my scanning project, talked to my high school friends on Google Meet at lunchtime, talked to niece on the phone for an hour, and in the late afternoon Paul and I took a walk at Locust Grove to see whether the maples were as red as they were last year, though we seem to be a little behind (no complaints, I love when fall color extends well beyond Halloween). 

We stopped at Giant for taco sauce so we could have tacos for dinner. I could only stand a few minutes of the Astros-Braves game, so we watched the season finale of Fantasy Island (mindless and enjoyable, like the original, with momentary Ricardo Montalban cameo), then we watched the first couple of episodes of the third season of the BBC's Ghosts (very fun and reasonably clever). Here's how pretty the woods looked with trees down from the wind and a frog in the little pond: 

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Poem for Wednesday and Cathedral Gargoyles

The Cyclone
By James Whitcomb Riley

So lone I stood, the very trees seemed drawn
In conference with themselves.--Intense--intense
Seemed everything;--the summer splendor on
The sight,--magnificence!
A babe's life might not lighter fail and die
Than failed the sunlight--Though the hour was noon,
The palm of midnight might not lighter lie
Upon the brow of June.
With eyes upraised, I saw the underwings
Of swallows--gone the instant afterward--
While from the elms there came strange twitterings,
Stilled scarce ere they were heard.
The river seemed to shiver; and, far down
Its darkened length, I saw the sycamores
Lean inward closer, under the vast frown
That weighed above the shores.
Then was a roar, born of some awful burst!--
And one lay, shrieking, chattering, in my path--
Flung--he or I--out of some space accurst
As of Jehovah's wrath:
Nor barely had he wreaked his latest prayer,
Ere back the noon flashed o'er the ruin done,
And, o'er uprooted forests touseled there,
The birds sang in the sun.


Tuesday was very windy, though I really can't complain given that I have relatives on both coasts dealing with the effects of bomb cyclones. I did a bunch of scanning from the zines I am going to send to Texas A&M's library special collection, then I did a bunch of sorting and packing. It turns out that the librarian I've been corresponding with about donating the zines has a graduate degree from the University of Maryland and is significantly involved in fandom, which is awesome. I wanted the zines in a good home! 

We took a walk in the chilly early evening, had a quick dinner, and I got onto my Voyager call but we decided to wait a week to watch "Future's End" so everyone could be there, so we just talked for two hours instead! Afterward, we looked at the Braves-Astros score and decided we'd rather catch up on What We Do in the Shadows (NOOOOOO) and some of the Fantasy Island reboot. This event was on my Facebook memories today so I figured I would share some National Cathedral Gargoyle Tour flashback photos: 








Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Poem for Tuesday and Lake Needwood Autumn

The Heat of Autumn
By Jane Hirshfield

The heat of autumn
is different from the heat of summer.
One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.
One is a dock you walk out on,
the other the spine of a thin swimming horse
and the river each day a full measure colder.
A man with cancer leaves his wife for his lover.
Before he goes she straightens his belts in the closet,
rearranges the socks and sweaters inside the dresser
by color. That's autumn heat:

her hand placing silver buckles with silver,
gold buckles with gold, setting each
on the hook it belongs on in a closet soon to be empty,
and calling it pleasure.


Monday started out feeling like summer with rain and a cold front forecast for later, so I woke up with a bit of a weather headache and was a little sleepy all day. It was mostly a chore day for me anyway -- loads of laundry moved around piles of books also moved. I wanted to put some of the art books upstairs and get rid of some fanzines I haven't looked at in 20 years, but I found some real treasures I've meant for ages to donate to one of the universities that keep zine libraries and some that are purely personal treasures, like autographed copies by friends from fandom of many, many years. 

We took a walk in the late afternoon just as the rain started and wound up getting pretty wet, though it was also cooler and smelled good out, then I scanned some art from the zines I had found and wrote to potential recipients. We had sausage with cider apple sauce for dinner before a Monday episode of The Masked Singer (the World Series will be on Fox on Wednesday), followed by the Seahawks-Saints game in very rainy Seattle where I'm hoping my kids have power since I've read that there are a lot of outages. Here are some photos of the leaves turning at Lake Needwood over the weekend: 

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Monday, October 25, 2021

Greetings from Glenstone

We had yet another beautiful, unseasonably warm day on Sunday, which worked out well because we had tickets to visit Glenstone. We did a bunch of chores in the morning and went to the museum after lunch for the last day of the exceptional Faith Ringgold exhibit, plus the superb new Jeff Wall photography exhibit and the Arthur Jafa multimedia exhibit. Of course we also saw the many outdoor sculptures, plus grasshoppers, caterpillars, a praying mantis, a frog, and lots of lovely autumn sights, plus Split-Rocker still in bloom. 

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We stopped at Giant to get sauce for the pumpkin ravioli we got at Roots Market as well as cat food and pistachios, all of which were eaten during the evening. We started watching the Colts-49ers game, took a break to watch the family war on Succession, and went back to the rainy game (our kids too were suffering from the effects of the bomb cyclone; Daniel drove home from Portland in the rain, and Adam's neighborhood had damage to trees and fences, though he managed to have friends over for Halloween festivities anyway). 


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Greetings from Lake Needwood

Saturday was a gorgeous fall day, so after doing some housework in the morning, we had soup and grilled cheese for lunch, then went to Lake Needwood to walk -- first around the lake where we saw ducks, cormorants, herons, and turtles, then along the creek where we saw hawks and squirrels. There were plenty of red and yellow leaves plus still enough green for beautiful contrast, and not a lot of people on the trails. Before coming home, we stopped at Roots Market for the new Beyond Chicken and a bunch of other things. We ate the Beyond Chicken for dinner with tater tots and chocolate malt balls we got there.


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After a brief conversation with Daniel, who's in Portland with his girlfriend, where they had dinner with his aunt and uncle from Salem, we we watched Dune on HBO Max. It didn't feel to me like the next Star Wars (to be fair, Lucas swiped some things from Herbert), but I enjoyed the world-building and the performances, and the details are sticking with me better than both the books, which I haven't read since high school, and the movie from the '80s, which I rewatched most recently with younger son a few years ago. If we're being honest, though, I'm looking forward more to the Avatar sequels.  Let's just not talk about the Terps or Dodgers!