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Poem for Friday and Post-Snow Day [Mar. 23rd, 2018|12:34 am]

It Sifts From Leaden Sieves )

Daniel is here, visiting for Paul's birthday! Adam is coming tomorrow. After a fairly quiet morning of work, chores, brushing snow off the minivan, and a quick lunchtime stop for a Pokemon raid at which I caught a shiny Lugia, we went to National Airport to get son and ate dinner there at Ben's Chili Bowl, which has vegetarian chili dogs. The snow melted over the course of the entire day, so that by evening the bunnies were out eating the grass in between the remains of snowmen.

Son wanted to catch up on the new Kirby game and had no strong feelings about evening entertainment, so we continued our Marvel marathon with the first Thor, which remains awesome in pretty much every way and is in a lot of ways more fun to watch now, since it was the film that first really engaged me with the MCU and introduced me to Hemsworth and Hiddleston (I mean, I'd seen them in a couple of other things but never really paid attention). I love pretty much all the films from Thor on!

After the Snow )
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Poem for Thursday and Snowy Spring [Mar. 22nd, 2018|12:04 am]

A March Snow )

We spent the first full day of spring enjoying an all-day snowstorm. It wasn't very cold -- I'm not positive it was below freezing even in the morning -- but it snowed from dawn till nearly dusk, so we had almost four inches on the ground before it started to turn to slush. Tomorrow morning will be treacherous because the slush is going to ice over, but hopefully most of it will melt away during the day. The neighborhood was silent for hours before people emerged to sled and clean up.

Apart from taking walks in the snow and three rounds of shoveling, we had a quiet day -- Paul worked from home, Maddy was off work, we caught up on Black Lightning and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I folded laundry and cropped photos. In the evening we watched what I hope will be the final episode of The X-Files, not its finest hour but a fine note to end on dramatically and ship-wise, and then Iron Man 2, which I will never love but I'd like better than the first one just for Natasha!

Vernal Equinox )
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Poem for Wednesday, Incredible Hulk, Longwood Gardens [Mar. 21st, 2018|12:05 am]

Vernal Equinox )

Happy first day of spring! We had freezing rain all day, which turned at times into sleet and hail and finally snow. And more snow. Our forecast has gone from 2-4 inches to 5-10 inches, everything in the area is going to be closed tomorrow, I didn't even fold the laundry today because there is no doubt that I'm going to be stuck in the house tomorrow and can fold it then. I went out for about twenty minutes to get a couple of things done but otherwise stayed near home watching my daffodils slowly collapsing under the weight of ice and snow.

Rose visited with treats for the cats, we had leftover Thai food from my mom for dinner, then Cheryl, Paul and I (in our respective houses) watched The Incredible Hulk to continue our MCU marathon, though Cheryl was confused about whether Ang Lee's Hulk counts as canon backstory and I have to admit I'm not clear on the reboot/sequel relationship there, since the later movie's origin story is rushed through behind the opening credits. Since Wednesday will be a whiteout, here is some color from Longwood Gardens:

The Only Cherry Blossoms Today )
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Poem for Tuesday, Iron Man, Longwood Winter Blues [Mar. 20th, 2018|12:04 am]

Paris and Helen )

Monday was a gorgeous day, nearly 60 degrees and mostly sunny, so although I had work to do, I also went to two different parks to enjoy the weather because even though I have daffodils blooming in the front yard, we're supposed to get snow on Tuesday. I don't mind snow in the winter, but enough already, the equinox is tomorrow just after noon! I saved laundry to do when I'll be stuck in the house, since I hate driving in snow. I don't even get to have lunch with Karen.

Cheryl, Paul, and I decided we should rewatch the entire MCU leading up to Infinity War, so we started in the evening with the first Iron Man. I hated it the first time I saw it and I still dislike so much of it -- the sexual politics, the generic Afghan villains with no articulated political grievances, the glorification of firepower -- at least that's out of the way! Here are some photos from Longwood Gardens yesterday, the conservatory blooming in Winter Blues:

Winter Hues )
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Poem for Monday, Winterthur and Longwood [Mar. 19th, 2018|12:18 am]

The Poppy )

The weather on Sunday was gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky, and I spent most of it with Paul and Cheryl in the Brandywine Valley. We were thwarted at our first planned stop because the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon had all the roads closed around the art museum, but that just gave us more time in the gardens after we ate lunch in Winterthur's lovely visitor center. The March Bank is only just coming into bloom there but there were plenty of crocuses and some daffodils as well as the winter aconite and glory-of-the-snow. Inside, we went to see the exhibit on iconic sports memorabilia, including a Honus Wagner baseball card on loan to go with some Wagner items from Winterthur's own collections.

From there we went to Longwood Gardens, which is having a Winter Blues Festival of blue flowers in the conservatory including blue poppies and cineraria, plus orchids all over the conservatory and daffodils and tulips in the fruit house section. There's not much blooming in the outdoor gardens yet but the grounds are always pretty. We drove home while it was still light and went to Attman's Deli for breakfast-for-dinner before Cheryl had to go home. Then we watched the unfortunate end of UMBC's wild ride in the NCAA tournament, though they kept it close for most of the game, and saw this week's Timeless, not guessing that while we were taking a break from basketball, Xavier would get bounced from the tournament by Florida State!

Brandywine Valley Gardens )
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Poem for Sunday and Brookside Orchid Show [Mar. 18th, 2018|12:50 am]

The Butterfly )

We had rain and even flurries in the forecast for Saturday, but except for a bit of sleet, we got little precipitation that lasted more than a few minutes. So after lunch, we went to Brookside Gardens, which was having an indoor orchid show and sale, and after visiting that, we walked around the pond and admired the daffodils and forsythia.

Orchid Day )

We stopped at the food store on the way home to get Irish cheddar to have with our Irish veggie beef stew. Then we got some upsetting news -- Paul's brother David's wife Maria and her son were locked in a supply room in a store at Thousand Oaks Mall, which had a live shooter situation. They were fine, but traumatized, and at least one woman died.

We watched the Ohio State-Gonzaga game, then I'd had enough of basketball and we watched the new Jumanji. I enjoyed the actors within the game but the high school cliches were a bit overwhelming and I'm already forgetting what it was about, wish it had parodied women's roles in video games more, and didn't laugh as much as I wanted.
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Poem for Saturday and Terracotta Army [Mar. 17th, 2018|12:17 am]

Catch )

My Friday morning was fairly quiet, just getting things done. In the afternoon, apart from being summoned to a Lugia raid, I worked on house stuff and fixed a bracelet with a loose charm. We had dinner with my parents and watched this week's Blindspot (pretty good) and Agents of SHIELD (not bad though not as good as the best of this season).

Now we're watching the crazy UMBC-UVA basketball game. I'd been fine with the idea of Virginia winning the big dance, but I am very excited to see a Maryland school, and a 16th seed, about to knock the top seed out of the tournament for the first time in history! Meanwhile, here are some photos from the VMFA's Terracotta Army exhibit earlier this year:

VMFA Warriors )
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Greetings from Rockville Pike [Mar. 16th, 2018|12:08 am]

Extreme quickie, Cheryl was here and we spent all day shopping -- first World Market and Pier One for home stuff, then lunch at Bagel City, then what was supposed to be a quick stop in Target but we discovered that they had die-cast Marvel mini figurines plus big foam Thor's hammers on sale for $5 and were doomed, then what was supposed to be an even quicker stop at AC Moore for split rings but we discovered that all their nautical decor was half price. Then we came back here with chocolate hamantaschen picked up at Bagel City and ate them while watching all the Thor: Ragnarok extras (best moment in gag reel: "I feel like we're going to kiss. It's so sweet." Also, Cate Blanchett apparently has the biggest potty mouth of the cast.) After Cheryl went home, there was much basketball on and I did a bunch of cleaning up! Here is one picture of a happy family member, more tomorrow!

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Poem for Thursday, X-Files, Prospect Park Zoo [Mar. 15th, 2018|12:36 am]

26 )

Half my afternoon and evening got derailed talking to people on Facebook (in some cases people I didn't know) about the student walkouts, gun control, and politics in general, so I will keep this brief. It wasn't a super exciting day anyway apart from the fact that, using $20 in bonus bucks from my Sears credit card that I didn't have to spend any money to get in the first place, I got us a new toaster oven, since the heating element in ours hasn't worked right in ages and the handle was kind of melting off.

We had chili pie for dinner in honor of Pi Day, unfortunately while we were watching the very bloody start of this week's X-Files with Rose who had stopped by to see us and the cats (I still liked it better than last week's terrible witchcraft story, in part because vampire stereotypes bother me less and in part because of the shippiness). The didactic Designated Survivor always suffers by comparison afterward. Here are some photos from last fall at the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn with Adam:

Prospect Park Zoo )
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Poem for Wednesday, Rise, Green Spring Gardens [Mar. 14th, 2018|12:34 am]

Ba Doi Gorge )

Happy Pi Day! This will be a quickie as Adam has stopped by, after seeing The Fifth Element at the theater with Maddy and her friends, to pick up his new credit card and to try to repair his laptop which did not like the most recent combined updates to Ubuntu and Windows or something like that. Adam got to tour NASA Goddard's Hubble telescope facilities with other interns and to see the James Webb Space Telescope exhibits, so he was pleased. My day was relatively unexciting until dinnertime anyway besides a walk in the park, since I had a bunch of cleanup chores to do online and off. Paul made Vietnamese veggie black pepper beef and caramelized pork for dinner, which Adam ate late when he arrived while we watched the end of Black Lightning.

Adam had the misfortune of arriving in time to see the first episode (and last one I will watch) of Rise, which has all the faults of the later seasons of Glee with none of the charm of the early seasons -- basically it's the story of a white guy who's bored with his career as a high school English teacher, so he gets the assertive Hispanic woman who runs the theater program booted in favor of himself because what's important when you're a high school teacher is being self-satisfied and never telling your wife your plans in advance, whether it's working far more hours that will impact her career or bringing home a foster kid to stay with your family for a while. Here are some more photos from Green Spring Gardens, all flowers this time:

Green Spring Gardens Flower )
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Poem for Tuesday, Tulip Fever, Green Spring Gardens [Mar. 13th, 2018|12:18 am]

2 A.M. )

Not an eventful Monday, just editing and laundry and uploading the photos I never got to last night while working on the Shutterfly book -- of course Shutterfly extended the coupon a day, but if I'd counted on them to do that, I'm sure they wouldn't have and I'd have had to wait till I had another free coupon to print the book I worked on for so long! It was chilly but nice out compared to south of us, where a bunch of snow fell; we had a tiny bit of precipitation but not even sleet, so after hanging out with Maddy at lunch and driving her to work, I went to the park, enjoyed the fresh air, and raided Rayquaza with friends.

After learning that Maryland had only received a fifth seed in the NCAA women's tournament, which is awfully low (at least they get to beat Princeton), we watched Tulip Fever, which has a great cast -- Alicia Vikander, Judi Dench, Christoph Waltz, Holliday Grainger -- but couldn't decide whether it wanted to be historical, contemporary, witty, or dramatic so felt rather uneven, though it was gorgeous to look at. Then we caught up on Blindspot, which was completely brilliant -- Groundhog Day meets The Breakfast Club by way of the sadly now canceled Limitless! From Green Spring Gardens yesterday, an overview:

Green Spring Gardens )
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Greetings from Green Spring Gardens [Mar. 12th, 2018|12:37 am]

Extreme quickie as I had a Shutterfly coupon expiring at midnight and spent all evening working on a photo book; I half-watched Timeless, which I'm delighted to have back, but don't quiz me on details. We watched Penn secure a spot in the NCAA tournament early in the day, then went to Green Spring Gardens, where the turtles were in hiding on this cooler afternoon but the geese and many flowers were in evidence, then we came home and watched the NCAA selection show during which both our aforementioned alma mater and UMBC got pretty much impossible first round games. Here is one photo from the gardens:

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Poem for Sunday, Brookside Spring, Justice League [Mar. 11th, 2018|12:44 am]

Batman )

It was a really gorgeous day on Saturday, which I hate to gloat about considering how many people are still digging out from snow and there may even be snow south of us tomorrow night. But it wasn't very cold and there was very little wind, so after a bunch of morning chores, we went to Brookside Gardens, where the geese and ducks are pairing off and the turtles come out to enjoy the sun. We saw daffodils, asters, crocuses, snowdrops, lenten roses, and the first apricot blossoms outside, plus a bunch of more exotic flowers inside the conservatory, and we drove around the athletic fields to the indoor sports facility we'd never seen before.

After dinner, we watched Justice League, which is now streaming and we somehow missed it in the theaters. I liked it better than Batman v. Superman, though not by much -- it had a couple of better actors but it also had at least four more fight scenes, and not even loving the Amazons made me want to see one more battle involving them. My favorite moments were throwaways like the Metropolis Daily News headline, "Did they return to their planet?" over photos of Superman, David Bowie, and Prince. The Flash was too snarky yet not funny enough. Diana and Arthur are both great, but there's too much Batmansplaining and too little believable human emotion.

Spring on the Way )
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Poem for Saturday and Art Cats [Mar. 10th, 2018|12:14 am]

Sorcery )

I had lots of dumb chores to do on Friday, so most of my day was unexciting, though I stopped at the mall to get my mother a birthday card and wound up doing a Rayquaza raid with a mother and adult daughter from Wheaton, new to the game, who were looking forlornly for someone to join them (I caught Rayquaza with no help, so it was all good, and I caught a very high level wild Blastoise right near the mall so that was fun!). Also, I got a free Blu-Ray copy of Thor: Ragnarok because the special edition Target shipped me had the exclusive little book glued into its pocket so that the pocket had to be damaged to remove it, and since they're sold out and couldn't ship a new one with the book, they gave me a refund instead.

It was my mother's birthday, so we picked up my parents at their house, then picked up Adam from his apartment and went to Kapnos in College Park. The food is exceptional -- we shared tyrokaftari, melitzanosalata, dolmades, maroulosalata, saganaki, kolokithokeftedes, plus the meat eaters had lamb and chicken, then we also shared baklava, chocolate mousse, and some kind of crumbly apple cobbler with ice cream -- and it's nice to have new restaurants in College Park! After we dropped off Adam and then my parents, we came home and watched Agents of SHIELD (so much better this season). Here are some photos from Richmond of the VMFA's recent exhibit of Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen cats through Nouveau, Deco, and Modernist phases:

Steinlen Cats )
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