William Ernest Henley - 1849-1903

Out of the night that covers me,   
 Black as the Pit from pole to pole,   
I thank whatever gods may be   
 For my unconquerable soul.   

In the fell clutch of circumstance
 I have not winced nor cried aloud.   
Under the bludgeonings of chance   
 My head is bloody, but unbowed.   

Beyond this place of wrath and tears   
 Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years   
 Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.   

It matters not how strait the gate,   
 How charged with punishments the scroll,   
I am the master of my fate:
 I am the captain of my soul.


blessing the boats


                                   (at St. Mary's)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back     may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that



Whole days would go by, and later their years,
while I thought of nothing but its darkness
drifting like a bridge against the sky.
Day after day I dreamily sought its melancholy,
its searchings, its soft banks enfolded me,
and upon my lengthening neck its kiss
was murmuring like a wound. My very life
became the inhalation of its weedy ponderings
and sometimes in the sunlight my eyes,
walled in water, would glimpse the pathway
to the great sea. For it was there I was being borne.
Then for a moment my strengthening arms
would cry out upon the leafy crest of the air
like whitecaps, and lighting, swift as pain,
would go through me on its way to the forest,
and I'd sink back upon that brutal tenderness
that bore me on, that held me like a slave
in its liquid distances of eyes, and one day,
though weeping for my caresses, would abandon me,
moment of infinitely salty air! sun fluttering
like a signal! upon the open flesh of the world.

River, Frank O'Hara


why things burn

why things burn

My fire-eating career came to an end
when I could no longer tell
when to spit and when

to swallow.
Last night in Amsterdam,
1,000 tulips burned to death.

I have an alibi. When I walked by
your garden, your hand
grenades were in bloom.

You caught me playing
loves me, loves me
not, metal pins between my teeth.

I forget the difference
between seduction
and arson,

ignition and cognition. I am a girl
with incendiary
vices and you have a filthy never

mind. If you say no, twice,
it's a four-letter word.
You are so dirty, people have planted

flowers on you: heliotropes. sun-
flowers. You'll take
anything. Loves me,

loves me not.
I want to bend you over
and whisper: "potting soil," "fresh

cut." When you made
the urgent fists of peonies
a proposition, I stole a pair of botanists'

hands. Green. Confident. All thumbs.
I look sharp in garden
shears and it rained spring

all night. 1,000 tulips
burned to death
in Amsterdam.

We didn't hear the sirens.
All night, you held my alibis
so softly, like taboos

already broken.

~ Daphne Gottlieb

What My Lips Have Kissed

What My Lips Have Kissed - St. Vincent Millay

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.


My Mom.

My Mom fell and broke her leg last night in their back yard. Luckily my Dad was there and was able to get her in to the emergency room. The leg was too swollen to cast last night so she spent the night in some pretty crazy pain at home and goes in today to have it re-looked at. They'll decide if they can set it and cast it without surgery this afternoon.

Not good, Mom. Not good.

Physicists! Help me out!

There is a phenomenon in which two entities, traveling in opposite directions, on opposite sides of a fixed, solid object, are blocked from viewing the other entity by the fixed object because their respective traveling speeds are such that the fixed object is always directly in their line of sight.


//Magnets: how do they work?

Some Updates, Etc.

I feel like this is rapidly becoming the place that I go to write whiny posts, so before I get into all of today's whining, I wanted to say how much everyone's kindness and support has meant to us over the past year. It's been a very, very challenging year and your notes and words of support and encouragement have kept us going. So much so that it's sometimes difficult to quantify it or even express it because the thought of it is so overwhelming.

One of our major financials challenges was recently resolved, in that Claire got a job. We had hoped that would usher in a time of decompressing and being thankful and counting our blessings while we wait for someone to buy our house.

Three days after Claire received her official offer, we were informed that the home owner of the house we are renting is being transferred back to the United States and that our last day in the house is May 27. So we're back in the house hunting game again a lot sooner than we wanted to be. Moving costs money, plus now that we're here and happy in Del Ray, it's difficult to just pick up and move somewhere else. Which makes the finding and acquiring of a suitable homestead stressful. Will we have to pull Drew from his preschool? Will we be able to find a place and get moved before our last day in our current house?

We explored the option of buying a place, but there's no chance of getting a mortgage, and here's why: even though our credit is still very good (it hasn't been affected by our potential short sale--and that's another whole post in and of itself), any loan over $417,000 is considered a "jumbo" loan and requires a 30% down payment. The average listing price of properties in Alexandria is $518,000. That would make the down payment $155,400.00. As my father still says, "Not if you don't buy it."

Seriously? Who is getting approved for loans in the DC Metro area right now? Not us, that's for damned sure.

So now we're in the rental game. And it is very much a game. There are multiple rental applications on most properties, with ensuing bidding wars to boot. I met with our rental agent today and one of the houses we wanted to look at was already under contract, and the "winner" of that came in at $700 more per month than the asking price. $700 PER MONTH. These people are killing me. I didn't want to pay $2950 a month to rent a 3 bedroom house, but I sure as hell don't want to pay $3,600 a month for that same 3 bedroom house.

And that's the thing that kills me: The mortgage on a huge 4-bedroom $669,900 house that we went to an open house for over the weekend before I knew about the 30% thing, would only be around $3,200 a month, including PMI. And we still have great credit! We'd be house poor, but we could make that payment right now! And if we ever sell our house we'll be able to afford a lot more. But instead, I'm going to be forced to pay that much (or more) to *rent* a place.

It's very frustrating to think about.