Sunday, December 31, 2023

Greetings from Woodinville

We spent the morning watching football -- first the start of Penn State losing to Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl, and then the main event, Maryland vs. Auburn in the Music City Bowl. Though the Terrapins had a better record, the Tigers were favored, particularly since Maryland's starting quarterback didn't play, so it was a particular delight when the Terps went up 21-0 in the first quarter and stayed ahead the whole game, winning 31-13. 

We ate lunch while watching the game. Then we went out, first to Molbak's, which was nearly sold out of everything after the holiday season in preparation for the store closing, then to World Market, where we picked up lingonberries and a few other things we'd hoped to get at Molbak's. After that, we parked by the Woodinville Dragonfly Sculpture Bridge and walked along the Sammamish River Trail, where we saw herons, mallards, buffleheads, and crows.

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When we came home, we watched the season finale of What If...? with Cheryl -- I loved that it was all about Peggy Carter, and I loved seeing Peggy fight alongside Kahhori, but it was much too much Big Battle for me, not enough cleverness. Now we're watching The Creator, which is well acted and steals in good ways from Blade Runner and Ex Machina with a little Iron Giant thrown in, though again there's a bit too much battle, too little intellect.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Greetings from SAM and the Sheraton

Paul only had to work half a day on Friday. So we had a morning of sorta working while watching bowl games, followed by two episodes of What If...? with Cheryl -- the awesome one with the Ten Rings (all the Thor parallels, Odin still being a terrible parent, Hela getting the arc she deserved) and the even more awesome Avengers in 1602 (Thor-Loki-Hela as the siblings they always should have been, Hamlet, Peggy Carter saving the universe). And we had bagels for lunch. 

Then we went downtown, first to the art museum for the Hokusai and Calder exhibits -- the former of which had The Great Wave made in Legos alongside a huge retrospective of Hokusai and his teachers' and students' art, the latter visible from the long lines for Hokusai. We visited the Sheraton's gingerbread village, this year Wonka-themed. Then we walked to Westlake Park to see the holiday lights there before coming home for this week's For All Mankind, and now we're watching the Barbie movie.

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Friday, December 29, 2023

Greetings from Bellevue Botanical Garden

I had a quiet Thursday morning doing chores while watching a couple of bowl games, then we had lunch, went for a short walk in the neighborhood, and went out in the late afternoon to the Bellevue Botanical Garden for the Garden d'Lights show, which isn't a holiday light show so much as a recreation of the summer gardens in light, plus Pacific Northwest animals and some fancy plants.

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We came home for a quick dinner (peanut noodles, yay) and talking to half of my usual Thursday night chat group -- everyone else was off holidaying -- before this week's Reacher (still crazy violent but all the women kick ass) and a special on Dale Chihuly on PBS, Roll the Dice, about the development of the Rotolo sculptures. Now we're watching Penguins: Meet the Family. Sorry to be quick!

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Poem for Wednesday and Farrel McWhirter Park

The Viole(n)t Cat 
By Dan Taulapapa McMullin 

I hear you
Outside my winter studio
Moaning in the alley below my bedroom window
Calling for god the machine of all magics
All spells written on our bodies
All the right incense of rank summer
The flowers breaking through the confusion

You speak for all of us
By that I mean me
You speak for me myself and I
This morning tomorrow’s and
My midnight always now, moan for me
I moan full bridge
Field of lavender
The bridge to Olosega
White sand road and men’s voices
Beneath the road flows the sea between two islands
Lavender stream
The spirits of the sea
My lovers


Wednesday was warm and overcast for much of the day, though I was chatting with one of my high school friends and her daughter for most of the morning so I only saw it from windows. After we had finally caught up on everything, Paul and I had lunch and took a walk before the rain arrived -- no eagles today, but lots of ducks and coots -- then I watched the first three episodes of WandaVision with Kristen, after which we watched today's What If...? with Cheryl (entirely in Mohawk and Spanish, apparently in a universe where the Spaniards settled further north). 

We had leftover Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes from Christmas Eve for dinner, then I made Paul watch Ladies of the '80s: A Divas Christmas -- I could not handle any more college football bowl games I didn't care about. It stars Linda Gray, Morgan Fairchild, Donna Mills, Nicolette Sheridan, and Loni Anderson as divas who were all on a soap opera together and are doing a Christmas reunion special, and Christopher Atkins plays Gray's love interest just like when he was practically underage on Dallas. It's as bad as you'd expect! The woods at Farrel McWhirter Park in Redmond:

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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Poem for Tuesday and Evergreen Lights

Life is Juicy 
By Leonard Bernstein 

(Written in a cottage on the mucky shore of Lake Mah-kee-nak 
Stockbridge, Massachusetts 2 July 1947) 

Life begins in the waters—
Not the deep, but the borders of land:
The stagnants that nourish the sterile earth
Like a juicy gland.

Life is the seed of the marriage
Of liquid and solid events.
In the coves, in the swamps, in mysterious pools,
Our heartaches commence.

Life is the pulp and the slime,
The marshmallow bellies of frogs,
Their thyroided eyes, their eggjellies caught
On the rotting logs.

Life is the algae, the roe;
The army of maggoty breeds
Devouring the corpse of a very old perch
Adrift in the weeds.

Life is the plasm, the cells,
The fat symbiotics in pairs;
The ankledeep fungoids which darkly provide
The crawfish with lairs.

Life is the scaly and scummy,
The poisonous green without breath;
The marinal maze whose only solution
Is ultimate death.

For Death is the crisp and the clean,
The fine oxidation, the rust,
The spermless, the painless, the classic, the lean,
The dry, dry dust.


Tuesday felt like a Monday, so it was pretty quiet around here apart from having college bowl games on TV for a lot of the day, albeit with the sound off so we could get things done. We had gorgeous weather, so we walked to the park and down the dock to see the eagles. Only three of us from my Voyager group made it online because of the holidays, so we chatted for an hour and a half, which is always lovely. Then we watched the Captain Carter What If...? episode with Cheryl (Peggy and Natasha! Loki having a punchable face! The Natasha-related guest star!). I am really enjoying everything about that show. 

We watched the season finale of Slow Horses, which I did not love -- other than physical kicking ass, the women have seem sidelined and diminished this season, and there were far more guns than clever quips. Then we watched Maestro, all of whose controversies I have followed, and I agree with many of them (less Bernstein's nose on Cooper, which seems unnecessary but not outrageous, than all the aspects of his life they ignored in favor of his relationships), but then they got to Mahler in Ely Cathedral and WOW. Cooper and Mulligan can both have Oscars. Lit trees at Evergreen Arboretum:

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Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Poem for Monday and Christmas Weekend

Before the ice is in the pools 
By Emily Dickinson 

Before the ice is in the pools,
      Before the skaters go,
Or any cheek at nightfall
      Is tarnished by the snow,

Before the fields have finished,
      Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder upon wonder
      Will arrive to me!

What we touch the hems of
      On a summer’s day;
What is only walking
      Just a bridge away;

That which sings so, speaks so,
      When there’s no one here,—
Will the frock I wept in
      Answer me to wear?


Apart from a family Zoom chat with my parents, Paul's parents, both his brothers, and several of the grandkids, most of my Christmas was devoted to entertainment. In the morning, we watched the Doctor Who Christmas special, which was very enjoyable -- fantasy, musical, mystery! We had Swedish meatballs for lunch while watching the Raiders-Chiefs game before we chatted with relatives (I didn't care about that game, but the Ravens had a great evening against the 49ers, which made me happy). 

We went to see Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which I enjoyed even more than I was expecting. Fine, it was loud, busy, overall predictable and I wish there had been more Atlanna and Mera, plus more pretty underwater Atlantis scenes without huge battles in the way, and several of my favorite bits were pillaged from The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Iron Man. But if the first movie was Wet Thor, then this one is Wet Thor: Ragnarok, and I loved those aspects so much that all else is forgiven! 

We watched tonight's What If...? episode with Cheryl (Tony being so Tony and Jeff Goldblum being so Jeff Goldblum with a Hot Wheels racetrack, plus Valkyrie, yay). Then we watched the most recent Reacher episode (still too violent for my taste), and now we're watching Asteroid City, which is even stranger than usual for Wes Anderson -- quite meta, a lot of scenes about acting and photography making obvious references to metaphors for acting and photography, with a great cast. Holiday photos:

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Monday, December 25, 2023

Greetings for Christmas

We had rain all of Sunday morning, which was fine because Paul was cooking Swedish meatballs and I was uploading files, though we both took a break to watch What If...? with Cheryl because it was the only time we could do it together (the Happy saves Christmas episode, with its Die Hard references, Justin Hammer reading about Science Bros, and "Thor is just a little schmoopy noodle going through the cosmos"!). Then we ate lunch and went to walk in Marymoor Park, where it was drizzly when we arrived and part of the river trail was closed due to flooding, but then the sun came out and we had a lovely view of the windmill. 

We watched the end of the Seattle victory and the start of the Dolphins win before we went to pick up Adam and visit his pets, then took him to Daniel's house, which is the only place we can currently gather due to Cahaya's cat allergies. We had brought Swedish rye bread, meatballs, mashed potatoes, dill carrots, and a bunch of different Christmas cookies -- all things Paul's mother used to make for Christmas Eve -- while Adam had made a cranberry-pecan pie. So we ate a lot, then we walked Theo and Thandi in the neighborhood near Green Lake where there were lots of houses decorated for the season. Merry Christmas if you're celebrating!

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Sunday, December 24, 2023

Greetings from Everett

Saturday was a gorgeous day, a bit foggy in the morning while Paul was making Swedish rye bread for Christmas Eve and I was trying to straighten out a post office issue while half-watching the Camellia Bowl. Then we ate lunch, went to a couple of local parks so I could do a couple of Wyrdeer raids, and drove to Everett, where we went to see the Funko HQ holiday stuff (the Star Wars and Marvel sections were closed for remodeling, but a lot of the actual Pops were on a big sale), then walked to the center of town to see the Christmas lights. 

Since we were in the area, we then drove to the Evergreen Arboretum, which has many of its trees lit up and a display of gnomes; it's not a very large garden but it's free and there's lots of gorgeous color. We stopped to see the waterfront and thought about driving to Tulalip Casino to see their lights, but the traffic was terrible, so we came home for dinner, watched What If...? (Corey Hart! "Van Halen"! Howard Stark dad jokes! Peggy and Wendy!) and now we're watching The Return of the King extended edition with Eowyn and the Rohirrim being awesome.

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