Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Poem for Wednesday and Discovering with Hubble

Hubble Photographs: After Sappho
By Adrienne Rich

It should be the most desired sight of all
the person with whom you hope to live and die
walking into a room, turning to look at you, sight for sight
Should be yet I say there is something
more desirable: the ex-stasis of galaxies
so out from us there’s no vocabulary
but mathematics and optics
equations letting sight pierce through time
into liberations, lacerations of light and dust
exposed like a body’s cavity, violet green livid and venous, gorgeous
—beyond good and evil as ever stained into dream
beyond remorse, disillusion, fear of death
or life, rage
for order, rage for destruction
beyond this love which stirs
the air every time she walks into the room
These impersonae, however we call them
won’t invade us as on movie screens
they are so old, so new, we are not to them
we look at them or don’t from within the milky gauze
of our tilted gazing
but they don’t look back and we cannot hurt them


I had so much to catch up on Tuesday and only barely made a dent! I put off answering lots of emails, sorting lots of photos, and doing lots of laundry while son was here, plus I brought back a lot of photos and papers from my in-laws to scan and I haven't even taken those out of boxes yet. It was quite cold, so the melted snow had frozen on the woods paths and we had to walk on the better-scraped sidewalks. 

My Voyager group watched "Alter Ego" which is an awful episode except Janeway and Chakotay dressed for a luau (they got leied). Then we finally watched Doctor Who's "Eve of the Daleks" which was okay -- some fun moments, nice character stuff, I liked it better than most of last season. When we dropped Daniel off at Dulles, we were happy to see that they had an exhibit on the Hubble telescope: 

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Greetings from Black Hill Regional Park

Monday was quite cold, but the snow had stopped and the warmer overnight temperatures meant not much accumulation on roads. So after some morning chores and some lunch, we decided to spend MLK Day at Black Hill Regional Park. The trails by the water weren't clear but the roads were, so we walked around the nature center, where songbirds and woodpeckers were taking turns at the feeders, then along the road to the dog park, after which we drove over to the boat launch, where there was one lone kayak but many hooded mergansers plus some mallards in the parts of Little Seneca Lake that weren't frozen. 




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We stopped at both Trader Joe's and Giant for supplies for the coming week -- there was more fresh produce this week, though the dairy cases are still pretty empty -- plus I went into Hobby Works to use my birthday coupon for glow-in-the-dark dice. We had soup and cheese for dinner since we had fresh bread to have it with, then we watched the rest of Station Eleven, which I really liked, including most of the changes from the book, though there were two that bothered me because it shifted agency from several characters to a single character and I thought that undercut the sense of interconnectedness.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Greetings from Dulles

Quickie, we're catching up on Station Eleven, though we're not going to finish tonight, after a lot of hours of watching pretty one-sided football while snow fell the whole afternoon and evening. Fortunately, it didn't start till after noon, just as we got home from dropping Daniel off at Dulles -- which has an exhibit of Hubble Telescope photos in the walkway from the garage to the terminal -- for his flight to Seattle, and the temperature is above freezing now, so it is slowly melting away. A few airport and snow pics: 


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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Greetings from Utz Terrace

We spent most of Saturday in Hanover, visiting Paul's parents at their new home at Utz Terrace. It's been a difficult move for them, but because of their health issues they really can't drive any more, and they'll have an easier time visiting with people and even going to church this way. We stopped at Catoctin Mountain Orchard to bring cherry pie and cider, and we spent time setting up their computer (we tested it by Skyping with Adam in Seattle) and helping sort and put away some of their things. 

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We drove home through Westminster under a gorgeous sunset, stopped at California Tortilla at Daniel's request to pick up dinner since they don't have any of the chain in Seattle -- they now have tofu as an add-on to all the burritos, yay -- watched most of the Bills-Patriots game (must admit that ended the way I was hoping), and now we're watching Space Jam: A New Legacy, also at Daniel's request, and it's both funnier and more clever than the reviews suggested (Death Ray vs. Charles Ray! The "Michael Jordan" cameo!). 


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Poem for Saturday and Family Stuff

Snowy Night
By Mary Oliver

Last night, an owl
in the blue dark
an indeterminate number
of carefully shaped sounds into
the world, in which,
a quarter of a mile away, I happened
to be standing.
I couldn’t tell
which one it was –
the barred or the great-horned
ship of the air –
it was that distant. But, anyway,
aren’t there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness. I suppose
if this were someone else’s story
they would have insisted on knowing
whatever is knowable – would have hurried
over the fields
to name it – the owl, I mean.
But it’s mine, this poem of the night,
and I just stood there, listening and holding out
my hands to the soft glitter
falling through the air. I love this world,
but not for its answers.
And I wish good luck to the owl,
whatever its name –
and I wish great welcome to the snow,
whatever its severe and comfortless
and beautiful meaning.


I had a pretty quiet Friday while the men here worked -- scanning, sorting, filing, trying to catch up on things. We also finished watching Lovecraft Country with Daniel (I still think it deserved a second season). It was pretty chilly by the time we took a walk in the late afternoon, and we had dinner from CPK (which now has plant-based barbecue chicken pizza) with my parents after passing our covid tests. 

NatGeo Wild's Golden-Girl-and-Big-Cats special Betty White Goes Wild! is on Disney+, so we watched that, and now we're watching The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, which is not quite as hilarious as the first one but lets Salma Hayek kick a lot of ass and has some enjoyable guest stars, all playing over-the-top versions of what they're best known for, so it's very fun. Here are just a few family pics from the past couple of days: 

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Friday, January 14, 2022

Poem for Friday and December Canal

Here in the Time of the Winter Morn
By William Moore

Here in the time of the Winter morn, Love,
I see the Sunlit leaves of changing hue
Burn clear against a sky of tender blue,
Here in the time of the Winter morn, Love.
Here in the time of the Winter morn, Love,
I hear the low tone bells of changing song
Ring clear upon the air the full day long,
Here in the time of the Winter morn, Love.
I hear the bells, I see the changing leaves,
And one lone heart for Summer silent grieves,
Here in the time of the Winter morn, Love.


I had my first OB-GYN appointment of the covid era on Thursday -- I'd made the appointment before Omicron, but it had been so long that I didn't want to postpone it any more -- so every part of me has been examined and prodded by doctors in the past couple of days, which is all good. I spent most of the rest of the afternoon scanning some of my father-in-law's papers (photos, articles about his churches, genealogy) which we're bringing back to him on Saturday. 

Paul made deep-dish pizza for dinner and we played Mini Rails, then I chatted briefly with my fannish friends while Daniel was in the shower. Before and after, we watched most of the rest of Lovecraft Country, including the scene that made me stop watching it for several months the first time -- still one of the most grotesque things I've ever seen -- and now we're watching the penultimate episode, this show's version of the Tulsa Massacre. The canal last month: 






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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Greetings from Mesopotamia

Extreme quickie, we're watching Eternals, which I am enjoying more than its reviews though that is largely a function of Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie kicking ass (Richard Madden looks fine but I'm still mad at him for cheating on Taron Egerton in Rocketman). Before that, we watched this week's Book of Boba Fett, which had some new elements I enjoyed, and took a walk before eating enchiladas for dinner. 

 It was otherwise a quiet day. I did a bunch of chores and scanned a bunch of Paul's parents' photos and papers (these are the ones they want back, which I wanted to make sure we had copies of; there are lots of letters they don't want to save but we do). Paul and Daniel took turns having phone meetings and we watched some Lovecraft Country together in between. Here is one of the many visitors to our deck during this snowy season: 


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Poem for Wednesday and USBG Farm Trains

The Farm
By Joyce Sutphen

My father’s farm is an apple blossomer.
He keeps his hills in dandelion carpet
and weaves a lane of lilacs between the rose
and the jack-in-the-pulpits.
His sleek cows ripple in the pastures.
The dog and purple iris
keep watch at the garden’s end.

His farm is rolling thunder,
a lightning bolt on the horizon.
His crops suck rain from the sky
and swallow the smoldering sun.
His fields are oceans of heat,
where waves of gold
beat the burning shore.

A red fox
pauses under the birch trees,
a shadow is in the river’s bend.
When the hawk circles the land,
my father’s grainfields whirl beneath it.
Owls gather together to sing in his woods,
and the deer run his golden meadow.

My father’s farm is an icicle,
a hillside of white powder.
He parts the snowy sea,
and smooths away the valleys.
He cultivates his rows of starlight
and drags the crescent moon
through dark unfurrowed fields.


I had to get up early on Tuesday for my first in-person check-up since the pandemic started, with my "new" doctor of two years whom I've seen online three times. She's great and I am now vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia, which my A1C apparently makes me eligible for under 65. Everyone here had work to do on Tuesday, so it was otherwise a pretty quiet day with a walk in the cold in the late afternoon. We had Impossible Burgers for dinner. 

My entire Voyager group was able to come watch "Fair Trade" tonight -- bad episode, good viewing -- and afterward we finished bingeing HBO's Watchmen with son, which remains excellent. Here are some of the model trains that were on display at the US Botanical Garden, which traveled past models of sustainable farms including a Kansas wheat farm, a Mexican onion farm, a Nepalese terraced rice farm, and a California artichoke farm: 

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Poem for Tuesday and January Frogs

Twice a week the winter thorough
By A.E. Housman

Twice a week the winter thorough
   Here stood I to keep the goal:
Football then was fighting sorrow
   For the young man’s soul.

Now in Maytime to the wicket
   Out I march with bat and pad:
See the son of grief at cricket
   Trying to be glad.

Try I will; no harm in trying:
   Wonder ’tis how little mirth
Keeps the bones of man from lying
   On the bed of earth.


Monday was pretty quiet here -- Daniel was recovering from Magfest (not literally, his covid test was negative and he got no contact tracing alerts), and I had laundry and various chores. Meanwhile Paul's parents moved today with Jon's help from their house into a senior living community, which my father-in-law had been dreading but it sounds like he was already making friends and playing violin with people. It's going to be quite an adjustment for them both, but everyone thinks it will be much better for them in the long run. 

We discovered that Daniel had never seen HBO's Watchmen series, so we watched a few episodes of that around dinner, and it remains both excellent and relevant though I forgot just how violent it is, towards animals as well as people. Then we watched the important part of the Alabama-Georgia championship game, which ended the way I had hoped it would, though I didn't hope too much because of how the SEC championship game finished. We still have snow on the ground, so here are the surprise visitors we saw on New Year's Day: