Saturday, December 31, 2022

Poem for Saturday and Annmarie Movie Lights

Messy Room
By Shel Silverstein

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
His workbook is wedged in the window,
His sweater's been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.
His books are all jammed in the closet,
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or--
Huh? You say it's mine? Oh, dear,
I knew it looked familiar!


Nationwide's adjusters came before lunch and agreed with the mitigators that pretty much everything from the paneling to the carpet to the bookcases in our basement need to be replaced. All of that supposedly will be covered after our deductible; we lost some books, stuffed animals, and other things, but it could have been so much worse, so now it's just a huge amount of work getting things off the remaining shelves and packed in the pods that are taking up our parking space (mitigators will carry the big items but we are responsible for anything we consider valuable, meaning, you know, all the books). 

The parts of my Friday that did not involve moving things from the basement revolved around football, some very enjoyable, i.e. the Terps beating NC State in the Duke's Mayo Bowl, and some less so, i.e. Notre Dame coming back to win the Gator Bowl. We both thought we might be getting colds (not covid, we tested) but we took a walk in the afternoon in gorgeous 60 degree weather and felt better after that, so we think it's just breathing all the crap blowing around the basement. After dinner, we watched the last episodes of The Peripheral, which I mostly enjoyed. Fannish light displays at Annmarie Garden in Lights:

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Friday, December 30, 2022

Greetings from Solomons

Nationwide is coming Friday to tell us what they will and won't do re: the basement, so there isn't a lot more we can do till they arrive. Right Restoration says they'll pack up what we haven't already rescued from downstairs to store it in a pod while the carpet, walls, bookcases, etc. are dealt with, but insurance has to sign off on it first. So on Thursday morning, we took the van for its regular emissions test and on Thursday afternoon, we went to Solomons. 

We first visited Jefferson Patterson Park, which we had never done before and now I really want to go in warmer weather because it has a beach on the Patuxent! At this time of year, there's not much visible wildlife though the Canada geese are very loud. The main visitor center was closed and the Patterson estate is undergoing restoration, but we took the trail to the Eastern Woodland Indian village, which is fascinating and we had the buildings and canoe to ourselves. 

Then we went to Annmarie Garden, which is having its annual Garden in Lights display. I think it's even better than previous years -- there's little Christmas-y and there are lots of animals, lots of Marvel and Star Wars, lots of undersea creatures, an "erupting" volcano, a "swamp" with lily pads, and the visitor center is open with live music, plus there was hot chocolate. I got home in time to chat with friends and see most of the Alamo Bowl. 

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Thursday, December 29, 2022

Poem for Thursday and Miniature DC

By Mary Oliver

When I moved from one house to another
there were many things I had no room
for. What does one do? I rented a storage
space. And filled it. Years passed.
Occasionally I went there and looked in,
but nothing happened, not a single
twinge of the heart.

As I grew older the things I cared
about grew fewer, but were more
important. So one day I undid the lock
and called the trash man. He took

I felt like the little donkey when
his burden is finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing — the reason they can fly.


Other than a brief walk in the park in the late afternoon, my whole day consisted of hauling books up from the basement to the bookcases that formerly held our CDs (most of those are now in boxes in older son's room). The mitigation company was here early with blowers and dehumidifiers; they told us the entire carpet has to be torn up and replaced, which will mean removing every single thing in the basement that's not in the laundry room or bathroom, and 14/17 bookcases are trash, as well as everything else that was touching the floor from a guitar case to a TV stand. The downsizing timetable has sped up. 

In the evening we watched the Kennedy Center Honors, which I enjoyed. I love Gladys Knight, Amy Grant, and U2, and I knew Brandi Carlile, Ariana DeBose, Patti LaBelle, Garth Brooks and Sheryl Crow were performing (I did not know about Borat, but I enjoyed him, and Damon's roast of Clooney, though Cheadle should have been the honoree). Then we watched this week's National Treasure, which is total crack but so much fun and has so many callbacks to the movies, even casting, plus Willow which also had a great guest star! Here is the US Botanical Garden's annual display of DC sites in miniature:

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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Poem for Wednesday and Christmas Flashback

I Will Love You Forever (from the The Amber Spyglass)
By Philip Pullman

I will love you forever; whatever happens.
Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead,
I'll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again...

I'll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment.
And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart.

Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams... 

And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one. They'll have to take two, one of you and one of me.


My day involved a huge amount of cleaning up things in the basement and taking stuff to the county dump and scheduling things with mitigation companies and insurance who are coming tomorrow and Friday to start drying us out and figuring out what our damage is going to cost. (The wall is going to have to be hacked open to replace the pipe, but since we have no intention of using the hose for the next three months, that can wait till after things are dry.) 

My evening involved watching Voyager's "Infinite Regress" with three of my five regular Tuesday night friends, an episode I hadn't remembered but it was pretty good, then watching the series finale of His Dark Materials, which I didn't love -- I don't think Pullman is as progressive as he thinks he is, since God may be dead but love is still only admirable when it's chaste and sacrificial. Here are some of the Christmas decorations at my in-laws' home in Hanover: 

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Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Greetings from DC

 I was having a perfectly nice Boxing Day, after eggnog waffles and eggs for brunch, we went downtown to the National Gallery of Art to see the Sargent in Spain exhibit and the holiday poinsettias, we visited the US Botanical Garden which has the annual winter flowers and DC monuments in miniature plus the train display in the outdoor garden, we walked by the US Capitol Christmas tree and the Canadian Embassy Christmas tree, we parked at Union Station which has the 32-foot Norwegian Embassy Christmas tree and a large menorah. 

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So that was a lovely day and we came home for Impossible burgers and tater tots. Paul thought he heard a hissing noise downstairs, and it turned out that the pipe that leads to the back hose, which I had asked him before the polar vortex if there was a way to shut off, had exploded and water was pouring all over the basement. We managed to get a plumber out to block off the correct pipes so we can have water on in the rest of the house, but the carpet and everything touching it, which includes more than a dozen bookcases, is ruined.


Monday, December 26, 2022

Greetings from Hanover

We had a quiet Christmas morning, since we don't celebrate in this house, but then we drove up to visit Paul's parents in Hanover, where their Lutheran home was decked out for the holiday. They were having some chaos since my mother-in-law had lost her glasses and their internet was flaky, but eventually we Skyped first with Daniel and Adam and my parents, then with Paul's brother Jon and his wife Brooke and their twins, plus we ate cookies and found the glasses prescription. 

We drove home under a gorgeous sunset looking at lots of holiday lights, Paul made Chinese food (sesame tofu and kung pao tofu) for a traditional Jewish Christmas dinner, and we lit the menorah for the last night of Chanukah. Then we watched the greatest Christmas episode ever, Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight!, in which Loki kidnaps Norse Santa, and we just watched Tom Brady's great comeback against the Cardinals! Photos from various holiday dates and places: 

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Sunday, December 25, 2022

Poem for Sunday and Holiday Lights

The Coming of Light
By Mark Strand

Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.


Merry Christmas! We had a pretty quiet Christmas Eve day because it was 16 degrees, but given that I know people who can't drive down the street because of ice and other people who have no power, I am not complaining. Paul got me one of those little fireplace space heaters for Chanukah, necessitating that I clear out the corner where I wanted to put it, which meant we had to move several shelves of DVDs out, and that took all morning. 

In the afternoon there was an unexpected (to me) Pokemon raid event, so I went to a few gyms and got a shiny Hisuian Avalugg! We ate leftover Swedish meatballs, then spent the evening watching that awesome classic Christmas movie, Die Hard, followed by the end of the third season of Staged, set on Christmas Eve, which is by turns hilarious and bittersweet. Here from various light shows we've seen are Christmas and Chanukah lights: 

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