Thursday, August 31, 2023

Poem for Wednesday and Ballard Animals

Blue Vase
By Cynthia Zarin

Because you like to sleep with curtains drawn,
        at dawn I rose and pulled the velvet tight.

You stirred, then set your hand back on my hip,
        the bed a ship in sleep’s doubled plunging

wave on wave, until as though a lighthouse
        beam had crossed the room: the vase between

the windows suddenly ablaze, a spirit,
        seized, inside its amethyst blue gaze.

What’s that? you said. A slip of light, untamed,
        had turned the vase into a crystal ball,

whose blue eye looked back at us, amazed, two
        sleepers startled in each other’s arms,

while day lapped at night’s extinguished edge,
        adrift between the past and future tense,

        a blue moon for an instant caught in its chipped
                 sapphire—love enduring, give or take.


On Wednesday I returned to the dentist to get a crown on the tooth whose ancient filling was damaging the tooth beneath it. They make the crowns right in the office, which is convenient in that no one needs a temporary one, but it makes for a very long appointment, which would have been annoying had I not been able to chat with my three high school friends via Zoom while I was waiting and if the OFMD season 2 trailer had not dropped. I was afraid to eat anything before the appointment because being practically upside down and given anesthesia sometimes makes me nauseous, so I was also very hungry! We stopped at World Market on the way home to get various food items. 

I only wanted to eat mushy stuff for lunch (peanut butter & jelly and yogurt), then we watched some baseball -- not a good day for the Orioles, but the Mariners pulled out a win -- and walked to the beach in chilly, slightly damp afternoon weather. Our evening entertainment has been Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which isn't as good as Raiders or Last Crusade and doesn't even pass the Bechdel Test, but is still better than Temple of Doom and Crystal Skull, and that is really all I asked; plenty of nostalgic callbacks, Too Many Nazis, and a gimmick about on par with the supernatural in the other movies, no aliens. Animals we saw in Ballard Locks and the fish ladder: 

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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Poem for Tuesday and Last Night's Mariners

By Amy Lowell

I do not care to talk to you although
Your speech evokes a thousand sympathies,
And all my being’s silent harmonies
Wake trembling into music. When you go
It is as if some sudden, dreadful blow
Had severed all the strings with savage ease.
No, do not talk; but let us rather seize
This intimate gift of silence which we know.
Others may guess your thoughts from what you say,
As storms are guessed from clouds where darkness broods.
To me the very essence of the day
Reveals its inner purpose and its moods;
As poplars feel the rain and then straightway
Reverse their leaves and shimmer through the woods.


My Tuesday involved a dentist appointment at which I learned that an old filling had not only cracked, but cracked the tooth beneath it, meaning I need to get a crown tomorrow, and then the first thunderstorm we've had since moving out here, meaning that the cats were beside themselves at not having a basement to hide in. In between, I had to deal with finding out that the post office had lost a package of mine (you have not been in voicemail hell or internet hell until you've tried to submit a tracking number that neither system will accept, though when you finally get through you learn that it was the right number tall along). 

So other than chatting with most of my Voyager group, who ended up deciding we didn't need to watch anything this week so we just talked for an hour and a half, and watching Ahsoka with Cheryl, it was not my favorite day. I still have a sore throat from trying not to choke on my own spit while having my teeth cleaned, sure to get worse tomorrow; how do seniors not die of pneumonia after dentist appointments with the new waterboarding tools? And the Mariners lost their starting pitcher to illness and two of their best players to injuries, so they lost to the As. So here are some photos from happier times last night: 

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Greetings from T-Mobile Park

Quickie, just back from the Mariners game with Adam and Katherine -- Seattle beat Oakland 7-0 on a lovely cool night with the air quality much improved from the weekend, so it was a gorgeous night to be in the ballpark, and it was both Native American Heritage Night, so there were boats, dancers, arts, and special guests, as well as limited-edition Mariners jerseys created by Muckleshoot Tribal artists, plus Grateful Dead night, so there were tie-dye Mariners t-shirts with dancing bears and music during the game. 

I ate an acai bowl and lots of peanuts for dinner (everyone else had garlic fries with various other courses) and we got to see multiple home runs with fireworks and the Aquaman trident. And we met former Mariners pitcher and current broadcaster Ryan Rowland-Smith, whom we recognized at first more from his lovely Australian accent which we've heard often on TV than from anything else when he stepped into the elevator with us! Now we're watching the series finale of Miracle Workers and I will catch up on things tomorrow! 

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Monday, August 28, 2023

Greetings from Green Lake

Sunday was the second day of global Pokemon Go Fest, so after a quick morning walk at Idylwood Park to get a jump on the day's research, we went to Green Lake to meet Daniel and Cahaya. We walked around the lake with the dogs and did many raids together, stopping for lunch at the excellent Bongos Cafe for Caribbean food. They had brought me pins from Pokemon Go Fest in New York earlier in the month, and we brought them Pokemon-themed tea from one of the arts festivals. Katherine was on call so she could only raid remotely, but she joined us for a few and caught more shinies than I did. 

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We stopped to get drinks and acai at Kitanda on the way back to Daniel's house, where we got my parents and Adam on a Skype call before heading home in the afternoon. After lunch and snacks out, we weren't hungry for dinner, so we made sandwiches while watching late-in-the-day baseball. Then we watched Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Disney+ because I'd been in the mood for it since seeing an ad for it the other day; it's actually a better movie than I had remembered, not as sharply focused and edited as the first but the messiness makes it more emotional for me, particularly whenever T'Challa comes up.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Greetings from Ballard

I spent Saturday with my friend-in-fandom of many years Pam and her husband Rick, whom I'd seen at a couple of conventions and talked to online many times in the past 25 years, but had not simply hung out with since they visited us in Maryland in 1997! They had been at the aquarium, so we met them downtown, walked through Pike's Market, then headed to Ballard for lunch at the Thai restaurant Secret Savory and a visit to the locks, which already have lots of salmon passing through -- and therefore seals hunting the salmon. Despite the wildfire haze, it was a lovely day and so great to spend time with them!

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It was also the first day of Pokemon Go Fest, so I went to Idylwood Park in the morning to do some research and a couple of raids, then caught lots of Pokemon over the course of the day to eventually capture Diancie and a bunch of other new and rare creatures. Though we didn't see most of the Mariners or Orioles games, they both won -- the Mariners by a lot, the Orioles squeaking by -- and in the evening we watched You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, a lot of which is very cringey, not least on the occasions when it's somewhat on the nose about performative upper class Reform Judaism. 

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Poem for Friday and Alki Sightseeing

Family Reunion
By Jeredith Merrin

The divorced mother and her divorcing
daughter. The about-to-be ex-son-in-law
and the ex-husband's adopted son.
The divorcing daughter's child, who is

the step-nephew of the ex-husband's
adopted son. Everyone cordial:
the ex-husband's second wife
friendly to the first wife, warm

to the divorcing daughter's child's
great-grandmother, who was herself
long ago divorced. Everyone
grown used to the idea of divorce.

Almost everyone has separated
from the landscape of a childhood.
Collections of people in cities
are divorced from clean air and stars.

Toddlers in day care are parted
from working parents, schoolchildren
from the assumption of unbloodied
daylong safety. Old people die apart

from all they've gathered over time,
and in strange beds. Adults
grow estranged from a God
evidently divorced from History;

most are cut off from their own
histories, each of which waits
like a child left at day care.
What if you turned back for a moment

and put your arms around yours?
Yes, you might be late for work;
no, your history doesn't smell sweet
like a toddler's head. But look

at those small round wrists,
that short-legged, comical walk.
Caress your history--who else will?
Promise to come back later.

Pay attention when it asks you
simple questions: Where are we going?
Is it scary? What happened? Can
I have more now? Who is that?


Paul had a dentist appointment on Monday, possible trouble from an old root canal, so I took a ride with him while he was getting x-rays and went to Gamestop, DSW, and a thrift store that turned out to be run by a church group, which would have been more fun for me to browse in if they had not been blasting Christian rock. Then we went to the pharmacy at Target to pick up antibiotics and I tried on clearance rack clothes while waiting. This is the most gratuitous shopping I've done since we moved out here, so it was entertaining! 

In the late afternoon, we walked to the beach, from which the hills were a bit hazy from wildfire smoke but there were still plenty of ducks and a flock of geese. Then we came home for dinner, watched some of the Orioles game and some of the Mariners game, and saw this week's episodes of Billions (every time I really hate Chuck I remember what his father is like) and Foundation (Sareth is smarter than Seldon, she should have Dawn's baby instead of Day's, and the writers really need to start writing Gaal better). Some views around Alki Point:

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Friday, August 25, 2023

Poem for Thursday and Pacific Reef

A Sonnet at The Edge of the Reef
By Craig Santos Perez

        the Waikīkī Aquarium

We dip our hands into the outdoor reef exhibit
and touch sea cucumber and red urchin
as butterflyfish swim by. A docent explains:
once a year, after the full moon, when tides swell
to a certain height, and saltwater reaches the perfect
temperature, only then will the ocean cue coral
polyps to spawn, in synchrony, a galaxy of gametes,
which dances to the surface, fertilizes, opens,
forms larvae, roots to seafloor, and grows, generation
upon generation. At home, we read a children’s
book, The Great Barrier Reef, to our daughter
snuggling between us in bed. We don’t mention
corals bleaching, reared in labs, or frozen.
And isn’t our silence, too, a kind of shelter?


Thursday was a fairly quiet day around here, with nice weather though wildfire smoke is returning and it was a little hazy out. I mostly did chores early, then we walked to the beach, I played some Pokemon, and when we got back I watched the Orioles win while chatting with my Thursday night regulars. 

We watched the new Shelter, which I'm enjoying a lot though not sure how the modern mystery is going to live up to its Holocaust storyline. And we watched What We Do in the Shadows, with Nandor and Laszlo's three-times-a-week sex life and a vampire roast! Seattle Aquarium Pacific coral reef animals: 

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Thursday, August 24, 2023

Poem for Wednesday and Seattle Aquarium Mammals

Sonnet: To the River Otter
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Dear native brook! wild streamlet of the West!
How many various-fated years have passed,
What happy and what mournful hours, since last
I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Numbering its light leaps! Yet so deep impressed
Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
And bedded sand that, veined with various dyes,
Gleamed through thy bright transparence! On my way,
Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled
Lone manhood’s cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless child!


I got to talk to all three of my good high school friends on Wednesday morning and watch part of Infinity War with Kristen in the afternoon, which is good because a lot of the rest of my day was very frustrating. I had a package that was supposed to be delivered by FedEx, got a message it was here with a photo of an apartment with no number visible but certainly not mine, was put in voicemail hell, was eventually spoken to rudely by a FedEx operator, and was ultimately told that only the shipper could investigate a lost package (and when I tried to email the shipper, their mailbox was full). I know we're supposed to try to order less from Amazon, but on the very rare occasion I've had a problem with Amazon, they've either refunded my money or reshipped my item immediately -- none of this nonsense where no one will take responsibility for a screw-up. 

And when we finally went out for a walk (belatedly, because I also had to scream into the voicemail void with my insurance and pharmacist about a prescription), we inadvertently shut Effie inside the closet in which we hadn't noticed she was hiding, so although it was a lovely day for a beach walk, I came home to find that most of my socks, half of my t-shirts, and all my hanging robes had been scattered all over the closet floor whole she tried to dig her way out. So I had to clean that up, missing a bunch of the Orioles game which at least they won by a lot (the Mariners blew their game in the 10th). At least Ant-Man: Quantumania is on Disney+ now, although that's my least favorite of the series, and we just watched that because we were sure we missed a bunch of things the first time. And in a minute I get to see a few seconds of Loki. Marine mammals we met at the Seattle Aquarium: 

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