Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Poem for Tuesday and Farm Fun

On Perseus and Medusa 
By Richard Chenevix Trench 

On Benvenuto Cellini's sculpture of Perseus and Medusa 

In what fierce spasms upgathered, on the plain
Medusa's headless corpse has quivering sunk,
While all the limbs of that undying trunk
To their extremest joint with torture strain;
But the calm visage has resumed again
Its beauty--the orbed eyelids are let down,
As though a living sleep might once more crown
Their placid circlets, guiltless of all pain.
And thou--is thine the spirit's swift recoil,
Which follows every deed of acted wrath,
That, holding in thine hand this loveliest spoil,
Thou dost not triumph, feeling that the breath
Of life is sacred, whether it inform,
Loathly or beauteous, man or beast or worm? 


Tuesday was even warmer than Monday and we had no rain during daylight hours! So I did a bunch of work in the morning, we enjoyed our bagels, then we took a walk to the park, visited the eagles, and I watched Voyager's "Memorial" with my Tuesday night group, which I hadn't remembered but was pretty good despite being derivative of other episodes. 

We had tacos for dinner (see the day), then we watched this week's Percy Jackson, the season finale, which I thought wrapped things up nicely, and now we're watching the start of the sixth season of White Collar -- also the end of a show, so I will need a new binge soon! Kelsey Creek Farm Park has gnomes in its trees and both wild and farm animals:

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Poem for Monday and Juanita Beach Swans

The Wild Swan 
By Isaac McLellan 

Ah, whence dost thou come, O bird of wide-spread wing?
From what remotest shore dost thou wondrous tidings bring?
'Mid the Northland's Arctic ice, what woes hast thou beheld,
Where the gales o'er shipwreck'd crews their savage requiem knell'd.
In thy century of life, o'er the drifting, whelming snows,
Hath the shadow of thy pinions swept o'er the grinding floes,
Where by the Pfeffer River, or King William's Islet plain,
The bones of Franklin's men in ghostly rest have lain!
Perchance the flitting shade of thy hovering wings did fall
On that desolate, gray cairn where repose the dust of Hall;
Perchance by Lena's flood, in bleak Siberian land,
Thou saw'st the lost De Long and all his dying band!
O'er Baffin's Baj', o'er Bellot's Strait, perchance hath been thy flight,
Or over shores of Labrador in tempest and in night,
Where the Indian lurk'd in ambush, with rifle and with spear,
Or Esquimau in light canoe, to stop thy swift career.
Mayhap o'er Rocky Mounts, o'er the bleak Sierra's space,
High up in empty air, hath been thy tireless race;
Thou hast hover'd o'er Pike's Peak, whose granitic boulders rise
In majesty supreme—cliffs soaring to the skies!
O'er Yosemite's green vale, where Capitain's white cone
O'er mountain range and mighty woods uproars its royal throne,
Hath been thy flight, and thou hast paus'd where Merced's waters pour:
One sheeted ghost of snowy foam, along its garden shore.
For there the wildfowl swarm,—the swan, the duck, the crane,
The pelican and gray geese, that browse the grassy plain,
Where range the bear and puma, the antelope and deer;
Far o'er that sportsmen's paradise, hath been thy free career.
Thy flocks we've watch'd at Barnegat, and Currituck's great Sound,
A league-long line of gleamy plumes, like snows o'er winter ground;
Now, whither dost thou tend? Perchance to Southern clime,
Where calm lagoons are girdled in with orange and the lime.


Monday was a gorgeous, nearly-60-degree day, and though it was overcast most of the day, it didn't rain! I did a bunch of work in the morning, plus laundry, and we went out before lunch to Blazing Bagels and to Whole Foods for lunch and additional supplies. 

In the afternoon, we walked to the park, saw the eagles over the dock, and did some more chores. Now we're watching the end of the fifth season of White Collar. Here are the trumpeter swans we saw at Juanita Beach Park on Saturday, some fuzzy in the rain:








Monday, January 29, 2024

Greetings from Bellevue

We stayed home Sunday morning and did chores so we would be all rested and ready for the Ravens game at noon! We had our shirts and our hats and our snacks, so everything went great until the game actually started and the Ravens started losing to the Chiefs (apparently the league reaaalllly wants Mahomes and Kelce in the Super Bowl, not to mention Taylor Swift, so they sent the one league official under whom the home team's win rate drops from 56% to 40%). 

We left the house before the game ended -- of course, right when it started to rain -- and went to the Bellevue Botanical Garden to see whether anything was in bloom. There was lots of witch hazel, quite a few hellebores, some snowdrops, some aconite, a couple of crocuses, and a few other flowers, but the real delight was hearing Pacific Northwest tree frogs singing to each other through the woods! We also stopped at Kelsey Creek Farm to see some animals. 

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We stopped at Safeway on the way home looking for a couple of things we forgot on Saturday, then we came home for most of the Detroit-San Francisco game, which also did not end the way I wanted though the Lions were leading for most of the game. Now we're watching fifth season White Collar after this week's The Way Home, where we may finally be getting to the Jacob story...and thank goodness, because I am really, really sick of the Elliot-wanting-Kat-to-love-him story!

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Greetings from Juanita Beach

It rained on and off on Saturday, fairly hard at times, but it was pretty warm, so we watched the ice dance competition at US nationals on TV around lunch, then we went to Juanita Beach Park so we could see the trumpeter swans that winter there before they head back to Canada and Alaska. We also saw buffleheads, wood ducks, wigeons, mallards, and we heard red-winged blackbirds though we didn't spot any. It was a gorgeous day to walk on beaches and on boardwalks in the woods, even if hats and raincoats were necessary. 







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We stopped at the Safeway in Kirkland on the way home to get food for the week, then we came home, watched the pairs competition at US nationals, ate dinner, and put on Set It Up because Kay told me she thought I would like it and she's usually right. I did like it -- the cast is entertaining, the women are there for each other, the men know they're jerks -- and it's set in the New York of White Collar, which we're coming to the end of so I hope the rumors of a revival are true. Now to see if SNL is any good this week...

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Poem for Friday and Neighborhood Eagles

The Eagle 
By Anna Letitia Barbauld 

The tawny Eagle seats his callow brood
High on the cliff, and feasts his young with blood:
On Snowdon rocks, or Orkney’s wide domain,
Whose beetling cliffs o’er hang the Western main,
The royal bird his lonely kingdom forms,
Amidst the gathering clouds and sullen storms;
Through the wide waste of air he darts his sight,
And holds his sounding pinions poised for flight;
With cruel eye premeditates the war,
And marks his destined victim from afar:
Descending in a whirlwind to the ground,
His pinions like the rush of waters sound:
The fairest of the fold he bears away,
And to his nest compels the struggling prey;
He scorns the game by meaner hunters tore,
And dips his talons in no vulgar gore.


We had rain forecast on Friday, but it didn't arrive until quite late in the day. Still, I didn't get out in the morning -- I did get to talk to Alice in Florida, and to message with younger son, who is visiting a friend in Maine -- and one of the neighborhood eagles decided to sit in the tree right above our hummingbird feeders, so although we didn't see any hummingbirds all day, we did see their much larger cousins. We walked to the park in the afternoon, saw the waterfowl there, then came home for spaghetti. 

After dinner, we watched Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1, mostly because I wanted to see Rebecca Ferguson, Hayley Atwell, Vanessa Kirby, and Pom Klementieff, and I ignore Tom Cruise action sequences. It was okay, barely passed the Bechdel Test, had lovely scenery, was longer than necessary but they wanted two movies. We also watched the end of the fourth season of White Collar so we could find out just how bad Neal's dad really is. Speaking of the local eagles, here they are around Marymoor and Idylwood:

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Friday, January 26, 2024

Poem for Thursday and Chihuly Baskets

Basket of Figs 
By Ellen Bass 

Bring me your pain, love. Spread
it out like fine rugs, silk sashes,
warm eggs, cinnamon
and cloves in burlap sacks. Show me

the detail, the intricate embroidery
on the collar, tiny shell buttons,
the hem stitched the way you were taught,
pricking just a thread, almost invisible.

Unclasp it like jewels, the gold
still hot from your body. Empty
your basket of figs. Spill your wine.

That hard nugget of pain, I would suck it,
cradling it on my tongue like the slick
seed of pomegranate. I would lift it

tenderly, as a great animal might
carry a small one in the private
cave of the mouth.


We had nice weather on Thursday -- in the 50s, but only minor drizzle -- and we saw raccoons for the first time since last summer, swimming under the walkway to the docks and running into the wetlands. Plus both eagles were in one of the big trees between our neighborhood and Marymoor Park, and the cormorants were hanging out near Idylwood. 

I had laundry to fold, and older son suggested that I watch Greyhound, which he said reminded him of Master and Commander even though it's about a World War II destroyer rather than a Napoleonic frigate. It's based on a book by C.S. Forester, so I understand the similarities, and I really enjoyed the movie, which is really well paced and acted. 

My Thursday night chat group got together in the evening, then we had dinner and now we're watching some fourth season White Collar. Here are some of the pieces in Dale Chihuly's Basket series and his collection of the locally woven indigenous originals upon which the sculptures are based, on display at Chihuly Garden and Glass downtown: 

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Thursday, January 25, 2024

Poem for Wednesday and Wolf Haven Prairie

Mima Mounds Prairie 
By Janet Partlow 

The Mima prairie sprawls out in front of me,
snagged in the feet of the Black Hills.
Late winter winds shear off the iced hills,
swirling restlessly around the mounds.
In my mouth the metal taste of snow.

On the prairie, last year’s bunch grass:
stiff hollow stalks rattle together like sabers.
Cold creeps up my back

Greening mats of kinnick kinnick carpet the mounds
Tiny flower bells emerge from clots of lichens
Faint pink flash of bloom tantalizes my eyes.

Soon enough, the sun will return:
the hot breath of summer and the smell of vernal grass
sweet-baked in the heat.
Now, the west wind sings a chilly dirge to the Mima Mounds.
Deep in the soil, the shooting stars sleep.


It rained on and off on Wednesday, though the only time it came down really hard was while we were out walking in the park and the whole way home! Fortunately we had hats and waterproof coats, just in case. And I was happy to be indoors the rest of the day, because I talked to my high school friends for two hours in the morning, ate Swedish cheese for lunch, did some chores, and watched the last two excellent episodes of WandaVision with Kristen. 

Paul talked to his father on the phone while we were walking back from the park; he has several minor health complaints, but every time he's going to see the doctor about one of them, he starts the conversation with "I'm dying..." which is always unnerving until we ascertain that he's out of nose drops or his tooth is bleeding from a dental procedure. We had couscous and now we're watching White Collar. The Mima Mound prairie at Wolf Haven International:








Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Poem for Tuesday and Scandinavian Specialties

Without Skill But With Strength 
By Johanna Ekström 
Translated by Carol Berg 

Without skill but with strength 
you lifted me out of my grief— 
Utterly calm 
as one who knew
that to snatch a thing up 
allows little bits 
to drop away 


Tuesday was a gorgeous day -- temperature above 50, quite a bit of sun though we also had some drizzle, mergansers as well as geese and both eagles at Idylwood. I did some work and also some skiving to watch the first episode of the second season of The Way Home, which was entertaining though they picked up with a new mystery instead of addressing what happened to Jacob. 

My Voyager group watched "Virtuoso" which I had remembered as being a pretty bad episode about the Doctor, and it was, though last time I thought it was mocking the show's fans and this time I thought it was mocking the show's actors! Later we watched Percy Jackson -- underworld more impressive than Hades -- and the start of the fourth season of White Collar. Scandinavian shopping:

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