Thursday, March 12, 2020

New Leaves and Wrapped Books

The once-viney tree down the block, which I liberated from its vines over the winter, is now putting out leaves. No flowers yet, but it's a cherry tree so there should be some eventually. I am so happy to see how well it's doing. Every time I look at it I feel lighter, freer, clearer.

While I was taking this photo, the woman who lives in the house adjacent to the tree pulled up in her car. She is still convinced the once-viney tree is a seedling from the cherry tree in her yard -- despite the fact that it was clearly planted by the council as a street tree, with support stakes, and is an entirely different type of cherry than hers. She said this the last time I talked to her, too. I gently suggested that we compare them again when they both leaf out, but to my eyes, they already look different. I am bewildered by her obtuseness.

Olga and I had some excitement on her walk yesterday morning. Of course, I couldn't explain to her that the cat was behind a window and therefore completely inaccessible. Olga was willing to give it a go.

Remember in years past how we've wrapped books for an 8th Grade event called "Blind Date with a Book," in which the kids choose pre-selected books from a cart not knowing what they are? It's supposed to help broaden their reading interests. Well, we're doing it again this year, so yesterday, a library volunteer and I spent the whole morning wrapping books in newspaper. Again, I tried to make them interesting using photos, and we had some little heart stickers to fancy them up.

Yes, those are coronaviruses around the pink shield in the middle. (Festive-looking if you don't think about it.) And doesn't that ad center-left, for a dental product, look very '70s? Right down to the hair. Are they trying to be retro? I wonder...

Speaking of coronavirus, you've probably seen that Trump is suspending most travel to the U.S. from continental Europe. The UK isn't part of that ban, but this still seems to put my April 4 Florida trip further in doubt. Also, my mom's retirement center has banned anyone from visiting who has flown within the past 14 days -- so if I went, I wouldn't be able to see her, which is the main reason to go. (As I told my co-workers, I could always sit outside her window and talk to her on the phone, but that seems kind of pointless. My brother probably isn't crazy about me flying and then staying with his family, either, although he hasn't said that.)

Even though I planned to see this trip through, the world seems to be telling me to postpone. Stay tuned!


  1. It's always heartening to see fresh leaves.

    Banning travel from the EU but not UK doesn't make if we didn't have cases of the virus here..and as if we quarantined people travelling from other areas...which is not happening unlike other countries. I think there is politics behind that.

    Wrapped books....a great idea!

  2. If you go you could take a handbell and ring it while yelling out a warning - "Unclean! Unclean!"

  3. We have today cancelled our holiday plans from Australia to the UK that also included several cruises. We were due to leave here in June, returning home early September. But yes, there were enough barriers being put up that made it obvious that the world was indeed telling us to stay home. The cancellations will cost us the non-refundable payments, not covered by insurance, but we figured we couldn't put our relatives at risk either. In the long scheme of things, the loss of the money is only a small issue.

  4. Such a good idea to wrap books and make it a surprise. So often we go by the title of the book or the picture on the front and miss out on a really good read.
    I recently read 'Eleanor Oliphant' and enjoyed it so much but probably would not have read it purely on the title.
    Similarly I am reading a book recommended by the Librarian 'The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 years old' and am really enjoying this as well.
    I often think it might be a good idea just to pluck 5 random books and take them home without browsing them first, might find something interesting .

  5. I love the idea of wrapped books. What fun!

  6. Oh the obtuseness of people. Olga is irresistible. Sorry about the unsettled travel plans.

  7. Don't go Steve. What's the point if you can't see your mother? This just seems pretty obvious to me.

  8. That's an adorable photo of Olga. It seems like travel is going to be iffy for a while now. Sorry if this messes up your travel plans. I like the idea of the paper wrapped books. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  9. there's a gray cat that showed up in the neighborhood a couple of months ago. she spends a lot of time sleeping in the little fenced yard and has even come in the house a time or two when I have left the door open. Minnie is doing her best to protect the property but that cat isn't the least afraid of that barky thing that isn't any bigger than she is.

    how did the kids enjoy the blind date with a book last year? did you get any feedback from them about it?

    I'm with Ms Moon. you might as well stay home since you wouldn't be able to see your mom and it will be a relief to your brother as well. you can always come over after this has run its course.

  10. Sounds like the woman and the cherry tree is a little obsessed about the issue.

  11. I thought of you when I heard you-know-who make his speech last night from the oval office banning travel from Europe, but not the UK. I also think it's not a good idea to fly to Florida, and now especially since you really won't be able to actually hug your mom or spend actual physical time with her. Soon this madness will be over, and then new plans can be made. Take care there.

  12. LOVE the word Obtuse! Thanks for using it. Flights are cancelled regularly now. Supposed to go to Finland in July but it is considered not wise at this point. The infection is just at the beginning though it has been declared serious since january...You may not be able to return IF you go . Olga is a goofy girl. Anyway, just my motherly advice to you is to stay home and isolated.

  13. YP made me laugh out loud (as he often does). This virus is no joke right now - whether or not it has the medical impact that people fear it is definitely having an economic one.

  14. I love the wrapped books. You did a great job making them look interesting. The one with the misty tree on the far left would interest me. It looks like a good mystery or spy story. The photo of Olga made me laugh. That cat looks like it's thinking "what's your problem". This virus thing is starting to get pretty darn scary. I guess management is going to have some talks today about possibly having people work from home. We'll see.

  15. What a heart lifting thing to see those little leaves on the saved tree! Maybe that woman is developing dementia - it sounds like something my mother would do. There is no way to change her mind on something she is "sure" of.

    I thought 70s hair was very long, very straight, and parted in the middle! That's what I saw (and wore) here, but then we ARE about ten years behind the rest of the fashion world. Comes from living on the edge of the world. lol

  16. P. S. That cat seems completely unfazed by Olga's outrage!

  17. GZ: No, it makes no sense at all. It's clearly Trumpian racism and nationalism at work -- "we'll let in English speakers, but no foreigners with that foreign virus!"

    YP: I'd feel that way!

    David: I'm sorry about your cancelled plans. But yeah, that's the thing -- it's not only a question of putting ourselves at risk, but the people we love, too. Especially dicey when that includes elderly parents.

    Briony: I liked "Eleanor Oliphant" too! I used to do a lot of my book-buying at thrift shops, and my selections were dictated by what was in stock! I wound up reading some stuff I wouldn't have read otherwise.

    E: The kids love it, though I'd like to know how many actually follow through and read the whole book.

    Mitchell: Isn't that a great Olga pic? It captures her spirit really well.

    Ms Moon: Yeah, I'm leaning in that direction. I'm holding off on canceling my flight because I think BA might do it for me, in which case I won't have to pay any penalties.

    Edna: Well, staying home for a week won't kill me!

    Ellen: That cat has some nerve! Sometimes neighborhood cats stand up to Olga, too. It's surprising that they don't always run. The kids liked the Blind Date thing when we did it before, but as I said above, I wonder how many of them actually read their books.

    Red: She's a dingbat.

    Robin: Ugh. Trump. Yeah, I'll probably postpone the Florida thing.

    Linda Sue: But surely by July this thing will have burned itself out?! I mean, how long are we supposed to hunker down?

    Bug: Yeah, the economics are devastating. I would not want to be a small business owner in a tourist town, or a restaurant owner, right now.

    Catalyst: Hello!

    Sharon: The pictures don't necessarily relate to the content of the book. I don't remember what's in that tree one!

    Jenny-O: Long and straight was early '70s hair, but late '70s hair was loose and wavy. (Farrah Fawcett being the extreme example.) I seem to remember women in ads looking a lot like this one.

    John: So much tension!