Thursday, April 16, 2020

What Happens in Vegas...

It seems like the coronavirus is the only thing anyone's talking about anymore. Which I guess makes sense, given that so much of the rest of the world has stopped as we wait this thing out. When I pass people on the sidewalks, it's inevitably the topic of their conversations. Yesterday I heard a guy with a thick East London accent saying to another man, "There's no cure, nuffing. And people are gettin' it again!" And a man talking to a woman as they walked together: "Every time I breathe I picture one going right up my nose."

I've heard many people say they're in a state of anxiety, subconsciously or otherwise, and that anxiety often manifests in strange dreams. I can definitely say the same, though I think my anxiety has lessened a bit as the lockdown stretches on and becomes a new routine. I had a weird (though not particularly worrying) dream early yesterday morning, and I can never remember the storyline of my dreams but this one tangentially involved the comedian Shecky Greene, which is so bizarre. I barely know who Shecky Greene is! It makes me wonder what information is stored in the depths of my brain. My mother was in it too. Maybe she wanted tickets to Shecky's show, which would be even more unlikely.

We're seeing a bit of mouse activity in the kitchen again. They've been getting into the food composting container under the sink. I've been emptying the container more regularly and yesterday I re-baited the mouse traps. I was surprised to find two dead mice in the traps, which I haven't checked in months. I thought we'd solved our mouse problem, but I guess not.

Aside from dreaming about Las Vegas comedians, being invaded by rodents and dodging a deadly pandemic, life goes on as usual. I spent a couple of hours in the garden yesterday, where (as you can see) there's a lot happening. It's so pleasant to sit out there in the sun, reading, hearing the neighbor kids bouncing around on their trampoline and the birds singing.

One of our camassia lilies (top) has bloomed. We have four of them, but only one managed to send up a flower stalk this year, and I've been fiercely and so far successfully protecting it from Olga's wandering. (She tends to walk over them and break them off.)

The comfrey has sent out its magenta spirals.

The aquilegia is blooming too, in the shade of a twiggy shrub.

And the bleeding heart, or dicentra, has sent out arcs of flowers.

Yesterday afternoon was sunny and after a quick Zoom call with a colleague, who is teaching me some video editing techniques for work, I took Olga to the cemetery. Its popularity seems to be growing as people look for outdoor places to recreate -- there were quite a few people around.

One grave at the cemetery has always perplexed me. It's a large gravestone with bolt marks and a shadowy figure on the stone, obviously left behind when something was removed. Coincidentally, I read an article about it yesterday -- it's the grave of a sculptor and his wife, and the missing element was a bronze statue of her. The sculpture has been missing for years and is presumed lost, probably melted down for the scrap metal. People!

Despite the underlying anxiety and weirdness, I'm appreciating the beauty of these days. Walking the dog in the sunshine, gardening, reading -- provided we all stay well, it's a magical time.


The Padre said...

Gorgeous Photos As Always - The Zoom Curve Has Been Something Else - Thats For Sure But Thankful To Have It - Please That You Are NOT Subjected To That Tiger King Garbage In Conversation

P.S. We Say, "What Happens In Vegas Is Talked About All Year Long."

The Padre said...

Missing The D - PLEASED That You Are NOT Subjected To That Tiger King Crap

Elizabeth said...

Such beautiful photos, Steve! You have such a calming way about you. I really admire it and thank you for it.

Frances said...

I have never heard of the camassia lily.....very pretty. My aquilegia isn't even showing buds yet.......I just went out to check! But....I was happy to see that the perennial sweet pea is beginning to grow up the ivy on the fence. It is a mass of bright pink when it is flowering and nice to cut for the house too. ( sadly no scent though)

Moving with Mitchell said...

Thanks for your as always exceptional photos. They make the day better. Shecky Green! I haven't heard that name in years. I can picture his face, but can't remember his comedy (shtick).

Yorkshire Pudding said...

People who steal from graves are the lowest of the low. In fact they do not deserve the name "people". As for garden trampolines, in an average year in Great Britain, there are 13,000 accidents on them that require hospital visits. Perhaps their use should be banned during the pandemic. Come to think of it they should also consider banning the riding of bicycles - 18,477 accidents in 2016 requiring hospital treatment including 102 deaths and 3,397 "serious" injuries.

jo(e) said...

What gorgeous flowers!

Ms. Moon said...

Bizarrely I have a bit of a Shecky Greene story. On the road trip west that my brother and I went on with my mother and stepfather in about 1968 which was the absolute worst road trip ever taken either in reality or fiction, we made a stop in Vegas with some friends of my stepfather. The adults got tickets to go see Shecky who, as I take it, worked rather blue. My mother was shocked. And offended.
As I recall.
I have no more idea why this story remains in my memory than you have of why he's in your brain at all.

robin andrea said...

Sunshine really makes a huge difference in helping getting through this pandemic time. It's good to get out there in the sunlight, as long as people stay far enough away. Your flowers are so beautiful. Lovely photos. I haven't heard the name Shecky Greene in such a long time. Oy.

Red said...

I got introduced to Zoom last night in preparation for a Fri evening meeting. Surprising what old guys have to learn!

Edna B said...

Your flowers are so beautiful. So far, I've had one daffodil blossom. But I'm happy that I had it. My Easter plants are just full of blossoms so I'm not complaining. Enjoy your backyard. You've worked hard to make it so lovely. It's a shame about the figurine from the gravestone. Some folks have no respect! You stay safe and have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

Sharon said...

All of your flowers are like a breath of fresh air to me. They are all so pretty especially the bleeding hearts. My mother had one of those plants when I was a little kid and I remember being fascinated by them.
I've been having strange dreams too with a strange assortment of people in them. I had one a few nights ago with my dad who was taking me to contest of competing rock bands. Something that never happened and never would. In fact, my dad would have avoided such an event at all costs. I've also noticed that my sleep patterns are strangely disrupted. I wake up at strange hours and it takes forever to get back to sleep. Thank goodness I just have to walk from one room to another to go to work.
Enjoy your perfect weather. I feel like I'm missing this spring time weather here and soon it will be too hot to be out. This is my favorite time of year to walk in the Desert Botanical Garden and I'm missing it.

Catalyst said...

I've been thinking about trying out Zoom, too. Just don't know if my ageing brain can handle the learning curve.

gz said...

I am finding it annoying that the talk is of The Coronavirus...where in fact Covid19 is just one of the family that includes the common cold. It is A coronavirus, albeit a nasty one.
It is lovely seeing your garden flowers.

The Bug said...

Lovely flowers! At work we are also bombarded with talk about the pandemic - especially as it relates to whether or not people should be working. It's exhausting!

ellen abbott said...

you have so many interesting plants in your garden. I'm keeping a list for the next time I get out to a nursery. people are learning to slow down, that life doesn't always have to be hectic and on the go, rediscovering how nice it is to have time to do nothing. well, some people. those of us that outdoors connected to our abodes are lucky. I'd go stir crazy if I was confined to a highrise apartment.

37paddington said...

Those of us having a gentle quarantine are so very lucky. If we all stay well, and come out the other side safely, it will have been a rare gift. I feel awful for those for whom this is anything but true though. It interferes with my enjoyment of this slowed down time. But yes. We’re lucky.

Penelope said...

It is so sad about the grave robbery. Thank you for including the story.
Your flowers are probably discussing all manner of things in your garden. You know..who gets the best light and those bleeding heart showoffs, etc.

Steve Reed said...

Padre: Ha! We actually DID watch "The Tiger King" but it wasn't such a surprise to me because I listened to a podcast about the same case last year.

Elizabeth: It sounds trite to talk about the "bright side" in a situation like this, but I do try to highlight more positive subject matter. There's plenty of negativity on the Internet. I don't need to add mine!

Frances: We have three aquilegia and only one of ours is blooming. Another has buds and another just leaves. I have no idea why they're on such different timetables. Must have something to do with how much sun they get?

Mitchell: I'm pretty sure I have never seen Shecky Greene perform, at least not to any great extent. Maybe a cameo in a movie or on TV, but I can't even specifically remember that.

YP: I know you're tweaking the government rules, and I agree that in some ways the rules are bizarre. Ross Douthat in the NY Times wrote a column criticizing governments for closing parks and green spaces, and penalizing people for driving to them. Readers took him to task, though!

Jo(e): Thanks! They're definitely helping in this crazy time!

Ms Moon: That is SO FUNNY! Maybe you were somehow channeling your Shecky Greene memories to me?!

Robin: We have been blessed with some amazing weather for the last couple of weeks. At this point, though, we need some rain. We're supposed to get some today and tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Red: Woo hoo! You have joined the Zoom generation!

Edna: One daffodil is as beautiful as 100! The "figurine" was actually a life-sized sculpture. Definitely a terrible loss. It should have been in a museum, really.

Sharon: I'm sorry you're being denied your walks. That IS a drag. I find those dicentras mesmerizing, too. Plants really are incredible.

Catalyst: It's actually very easy, although I have to use Dave's computer. My laptop won't let me install the Zoom software because my Winzip has's a long story.

GZ: Yes, it's true, there are many coronaviruses. I guess it's kind of like saying "the President." There are many presidents, but if you just say "the President," everyone knows who you mean!

Bug: Everyone is struggling to figure out the best way to handle all this, I guess, and verbalizing helps!

Ellen: I wonder how much of what we have will grow in your area? (And vice versa.) We're cooler here overall, but our winter temps are probably similar (occasional freezes). You obviously have much stronger sunlight, though.

37P: Yeah, I don't mean to ignore all the misery. We must acknowledge that too. I'm just trying to focus on what gets me through personally.

Penelope: It would be an interesting conversation. They're all probably in agreement about one thing: "Oh no! It's THAT DOG again!"