Monday, January 31, 2022

Greetings from Great Falls

Sunday was a nice warm 35-degree day, so after brunch, we went to Great Falls to see how much ice was in the river. There was lots, and the canal was so frozen in spots that people were walking across it. We also saw many birds from ducks and geese dodging the ice and currents in the river to bluebirds and golden-crowned kinglets in the trees to vultures and herons flying over the water. We missed most of the Bengals-Chiefs game, which is fine because Cincinnati won. 








We also missed most of the 49ers-Rams game, in which I had less interest because I knew I was going to root for the Bengals in the Super Bowl already, but the main reasons I wasn't paying attention were Around the World in 80 Days, which I have been enjoying more than the first couple, and Billions, which I have been enjoying less without Axe. Then we started watching The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, which so far is, well, very weird! 


Sunday, January 30, 2022

Greetings from Hanover Shoe Farms

The snowstorm making much of the east coast miserable this Saturday mostly missed us -- we got maybe half an inch -- but it was about 16 degrees, so we spent as much of the day indoors as possible. We drove up to visit Paul's parents in Hanover, which is a nice trip because we pass a lot of farms with animals, and we hung up some of their art and got to tour more of Utz Terrace because there have been no positive covid tests in two weeks, so more people are allowed in the public areas. We also Skyped with my parents and Adam.

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We brought more old family photos back with us, so scanning them will be a project next week. We stopped at Kohl's on the way home to drop off returns to be shipped to Amazon and picked up dinner from Cava, plus we Skyped with older son. Then we watched Spencer, my third Diana in a year after The Crown and the musical, this one possibly the best-acted but rigidly written (the storyline has dramatic pretensions, even the ghost of Anne Boleyn). Stewart is as good as I'd heard but the Queen is a cipher and Charles not even a full human. 


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Greetings from the National Gallery

We had snow most of the day on Friday, but nothing stuck till after dark, so we got to take a walk after lunch in thick falling flakes but the ground was clear, even the grass where there were squirrels and lots of birds. We're going to see Paul's parents on Saturday if weather permits, so I scanned the last remaining papers of theirs I had, including some cheesy Swedish jokes and some newspaper articles my father-in-law wrote. 

We watched Tick, Tick... Boom!, which I loved so much more than I expected -- the utter genius of Sunday alone would have made me a fan for life, and the Broadway cameos -- then we watched Encanto to see something more cheerful also by Lin-Manuel Miranda (lots of it reminded me of Moana, whose songs I mostly like better, though I reserve the right to change my mind on subsequent viewings, which it sometimes takes. 

Some photos from last month from the National Gallery of Art's excellent exhibit The New Woman Behind the Camera -- about how women used photography for both artistic and personal expression starting in the 1920s, and changed the profession -- which ends January 30, so people know to go see it before it closes: 

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Friday, January 28, 2022

Poem for Friday and Winter Birds

To a Bird Singing in Winter
By John Castillo

Why, why, little bird, so cheerfully sing,
When all things around look so sad?
The prospect at present, as touching the spring,
Gives cause to be sorry, not glad!

Had April appear’d in loveliest hue,
And made the green meadows look gay,
Thou merrily might’st have mounted thy bough,
And warbled thy minutes away.

But summer’s far off, and still in the copse,
The cold winter’s snow doth descend,
Fierce winds, and sharp frosts, may yet blast thy hopes,
And bring thy sweet song to an end.

By craft of the boys, in bush, or in wood,
Thy foot may be caught in a snare,
And thou whilst seeking a morsel of food,
Be a captive, ere thou art aware.

Why merrily sing, when thou hast no barn,
In which to lay up thy grain?
Why warble thy notes, while unthankful man,
So often is heard to complain?

Why cheerfully sing when there are no flowers,
Or sun in the valley to shine?
’Tis proof that thy prospects are brighter than ours,
Thy heart more contented than mine!


Thursday was much like Wednesday, though a bit colder. I finished scanning all the genealogy files, five big binders' worth (next week there may be more photos, I'm not sure yet). Otherwise my day involved laundries and cats and squirrels and catching a few Pokemon. 

We watched some of the Wisconsin-Nebraska basketball game, then I had my Thursday fangirl Zoom chat, and then we watched a couple of episodes of Secrets of the Whales on Disney+. Here are some of the birds that have been hanging out in our backyard in the cold weather: 








Thursday, January 27, 2022

Poem for Thursday and Marine Memorial

By Sarah Gambito

You will transcend your ancestor’s suffering

You will pick a blue ball. You will throw it to yourself.

You will be on the other side to receive.

Green leaves grow around your face.

Hair stands on your body.

You look at old photographs

that say:

The bread is warm!

A child is a blessing!

That’s what I said!

I meant it!

You could say this is a poem.

Like the great halves of the roof

that caved and carved together.

Found us before words

and tender-footing.

Before wrongdoing

and the octaves of blue

above us all.


My Wednesday was mostly more scanning and looking things up so I wouldn't have to scan them, with a long lunch to talk to my high school friends. I've never been big on genealogy, in part because it's so hard to trace Ashkenazi Jewish families after the Holocaust, but since my mother-in-law had so many addresses where her English and German relatives lived, I looked up my great-great-grandparents' address in Warsaw that was in my great-uncle's book about growing up in Brooklyn, and to my surprise the address still exists, though I have no idea whether it's the same building. 

We took a walk before dinner -- the wind chill was pretty bitter, but the light is staying longer in the evenings, and it put us in the mood for soup and cheese. After dinner we watched Legends of Tomorrow, which has been very stylized and clever and fun this season, and The Book of Boba Fett, which I forgot wasn't an episode of The Mandalorian and I'm looking forward to how they reconnect, since Boba Fett's return was on that show in the first place. Here are several views of the Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial on the Potomac River from last weekend: 








Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Poem for Wednesday and Wildlife Refuge Birds

A Pizza the Size of the Sun
By Jack Prelutsky

I'm making a pizza the size of the sun,
a pizza that's sure to weigh more than a ton,
a pizza too massive to pick up and toss,
a pizza resplendent with oceans of sauce.

I'm topping my pizza with mountains of cheese,
with acres of peppers, pimentos, and peas,
with mushrooms, tomatoes, and sausage galore,
with every last olive they had at the store.

My pizza is sure to be one of a kind,
my pizza will leave other pizzas behind,
my pizza will be a delectable treat,
that all who love pizza are welcome to eat.

The oven is hot, I believe it will take
a year and a half for my pizza to bake.
I can hardly wait til my pizza is done,
my wonderful pizza the size of the sun.


I had plans to get tons done on Tuesday, but a friend whom I hadn't spoken to for a few weeks called. She's recovering from covid, so she hasn't gotten out in many days, and we talked for hours, which was great but the laundry still isn't folded. I did scan the full folder on one of Paul's eight great-grandparents (one of the six Swedes -- tomorrow I may get to the one English one), and we took a walk and saw the winter jasmine blooming before leftover stuffed pizza. 

 I watched Voyager's "Coda" with my Tuesday night group -- an episode I absolutely adored when it aired, even before it aired when we all first saw the preview for it, that then led to four years of disappointment but I still remember all the reasons we loved it, too. After that and chatting, we watched the first episode of The Gilded Age, which has great actors (mostly great actresses) but is very Julian Fellowes. Tundra swans and black ducks at Mason Neck: 








Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Poem for Tuesday and Boats by the Pentagon

The Paltry Nude Starts on a Spring Voyage
By Wallace Stevens

But not on a shell, she starts,
Archaic, for the sea.
But on the first-found weed
She scuds the glitters,
Noiselessly, like one more wave.

She too is discontent
And would have purple stuff upon her arms,
Tired of the salty harbors,
Eager for the brine and bellowing
Of the high interiors of the sea.

The wind speeds her on,
Blowing upon her hands
And watery back.
She touches the clouds, where she goes
In the circle of her traverse of the sea.

Yet this is meagre play
In the scrurry and water-shine
As her heels foam ---
Not as when the goldener nude
Of a later day

Will go, like the centre of sea-green pomp,
In an intenser calm,
Scullion of fate,
Across the spick torrent, ceaselessly,
Upon her irretrievable way.


Monday was even warmer than Sunday, and I got to take a walk in the park since we were driving right past it on the way to pick up the car, which needed a tail light repaired but otherwise just had basic maintenance. The rest of my day involved three laundries and several hundred pages of scans of Paul's mother's family ancestry research -- she is descended from some of the oldest immigrant families in Pennsylvania, from the Palatinate and Lancashire in the early 1700s. 

We caught up on Superman and Lois (always glad for LGBT storylines but I'm already tired of the teen drama) in time for the new episode tomorrow that we'll have to catch up with later (I'm never off my Voyager call in time, which I don't mind a bit). Then we watched the season premiere of Snowpiercer, which I've been eagerly awaiting since the end of last season though I'm really hoping Jennifer Connelly is back kicking Sean Bean's ass and not only in flashbacks. Boats by the Pentagon: 

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Monday, January 24, 2022

Greetings from Mason Neck

Sunday here was a practically balmy 35 degrees -- lower with the wind chill, but felt warm after last week -- so after a bunch of chores and a quick lunch, we drove the 45 minutes to Mason Neck to the Elizabeth Hartwell Wildlife Refuge. We saw a hermit thrush on a stump as soon as we started the woods path to the river, where many trees and branches were down from ice, and the partially frozen Potomac was full of mallards, black ducks, and the tundra swans that winter in the park. There was a guy with a telescope who spotted an eagle while I was trying to see whether the beavers would come out of their lodge. 







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We had to drop the car off because the service light has been on, so we came home and retrieved the van to drive back. Then we watched the end of the Rams-Tampa Bay game, which was an unexpected pleasure (sorry not sorry, Tom Brady), and the beginning of the Bills-Chiefs game, which we then interrupted for the season premiere of Billions, which loses a lot of energy without its Axe to grind but I'll give it a couple of episodes (the yet-another Peloton heart attack alone endeared me to it, heh). I'm not particularly sorry Kansas City beat Buffalo because I was planning to root for the Bengals either way next weekend.