Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Let's Look Out

I pass this deli on my walks to work. Normally it's a bustling place, but of course it's shut down now because of the coronavirus, its windows covered with newspaper. The posters in the side windows caught my eye: "Be kind. Let's look out for one another."

I did make it in to the office yesterday, and I finished a project I was working on for one of the librarians -- a list of Middle School historical fiction, grouped by the time and place where the story is set. This was prompted by a parent who wanted fiction set in certain time periods and certain locations. It was a harder project than I'd anticipated, partly because there's a lot of historical fiction on our shelves, from books set in prehistory (like Michelle Paver's "Chronicles of Ancient Darkness" series) to those set in the relatively recent past (Jane Smiley's "A Good Horse," set in the 1960s). I guess it all depends on what you count as history.

I tried to eliminate anything based too much on magic, fantasy or legend (although now that I read about those Paver books, they're pretty magical). No King Arthur, no Robin Hood, no dragons. But admittedly, the line is vague.

I found this peculiar and somewhat amusing cigarette package on my walk home. I think it's a Belarusian brand. I assume that thumbs-down photograph is an impotence warning? Clearly it didn't stop someone from smoking the whole pack.

Olga's dog walkers contacted me yesterday and said they're ready to crank up their business again. For the past few months I've been walking her almost every day, and while it's been fun, I've seen a little too much of the cemetery. I'm ready to hand off weekday responsibility to someone else, and in turn contribute a little more to the local economy.

My hope is that not having the dog as my focus, I can get out and do more photography around town and more exploring -- though I'm still somewhat restricted because I'm not yet using public transportation. We'll see!


  1. Sounds like good timing with the dog-walkers, and I look forward to seeing your new photos! I would love to pick your brain on some good novels for young boys around 12-14. I have a couple of students that age, and I'm hard put to find things that they like to read.

  2. How far away is work from home?
    Looking forward to different photos...but keep up the garden pics please!

  3. Despite the thumbs down, that packaging sure wouldn't deter anyone from buying it. What a come-on! More and more cafes are opening around town, at 50 percent capacity and only the outdoor terraces. It's nice to see, but the terrace is where smoking is permitted, and it looks like places are still permitting it despite the fact that there are no non-smoking options. So, we may not be going anywhere! (Speaking of smoking.)

  4. my dentist office called to schedule an appointment now that they are open again but first I had to answer about a dozen questions about my health and activities over the last 2 ½ months. that's the first I heard of cigarettes causing impotence so I looked it up and you're right.

  5. Perhaps you should get a little moped to speed around on instead of taking public transport? I can just see it!
    Glad you'll be getting a cemetery break. That's been a lot of Olga-walking!

  6. That is a strange cigarette pack. It seems strange to say something like that on the package but, as you said it clearly didn't deter someone. i know how you feel about getting out to take photos. I miss it and I also miss your tours around London.

  7. When I was a middle schooler perusing the school library, I loved biographies of people from all sorts of historical periods. They were not historical fiction, but they often read that way.

  8. I missed the word "list" when it came to the historical fiction project. I was wondering what it would look like if all historical fiction was in the same place. No's only a list.

  9. I like Ms Moon's idea of getting a moped for getting around a bit there. It will be nice to be out exploring again.
    I didn't know cigarettes could cause impotence. Interesting.

  10. I agree that the scooter idea is a great idea! What an interesting cigarette package. It's strange to see the warning posted in such a way on the packaging. I'll bet Olga will be missing having you with her on her walks. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  11. It's really sad to see an old building with newspapers lining the windows. I can just imagine the wonderful hot deli sandwiches. My son Jonathan has a new favorite sandwich shop called Potbelly's. He swears by their tasty rolls. I will have to give it a try one day. Right now I really cannot think of anything I would like to eat but I know that my appetite will return.

    Poor Olga is going to miss you dreadfully on her walks. It was great exercise for the both of you but I know she will be happy to just get out and walk and your helping the economy so it benefits the both of you.

    I had a little motorized scooter when I lived in Vegas. I explored many miles on my little candy apple red scooter. I finally sold it at a swap meet after I found a newer model. One thing I worried about was it being stolen outside of a Casino or grocery store. But actually no one ever bothered it. If you have a nice place to store it from the elements then I think you might enjoy a little moped or scooter.

    I was trying to think of some good books for teenage boys. My son Nathan loves books and he has read one called The Wizards First Rule. I will have to get the information from him but it might not meet your criteria of no magic, wizards etc. He is like me. He needs a book in his hands!

    Talk to you soon... HUGS to you guys and girl!

  12. Elizabeth: I left some suggestions on your blog about authors that might appeal to that age group!

    GZ: Not far -- about a 25-minute walk. (I walk pretty fast!)

    Mitchell: LOL! I confess that photo is what caught my eye when I was walking. It certainly drew me in!

    Padre: Don't worry -- I'll still walk her once a day myself and we'll still have lots of Olga pictures. :)

    Ellen: My dentist isn't even open yet. I've read that people here in the UK are having a terrible time being seen for dental emergencies.

    Ms Moon: Oh, Lord, I can't even bring myself to ride a bicycle, much less a moped!

    Sharon: Cigarette packages in the UK are plastered with photographic health warnings, so it's a European thing. They're not usually SEXY photographic health warnings, though!

    Colette: Yes! I loved biographies too. And they have the advantage of being true!

    Red: Yes, just a list! We wouldn't even begin to try to shelve them all separately.

    Robin: Yes, because they reduce oxygenation of the blood they affect heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn affects...that.

    Edna: As I said above, it's not unusual in Europe to put photographic warnings on cigarettes, but they're usually a lot less appealing (and a lot more medical) than that one.

    John: But you have multiple dogs, so there's plenty for the walker to do, right? :)

    Beth: I don't mind wizard books as a rule, but they're just not historical fiction -- so they wouldn't go on that list.

  13. Canada has had mandated health warnings on tobacco products for quite a few years now, but they're mostly gruesome photos of diseased organs (heart, eyes, oral cavity) or kids in a haze of smoke, etc. - nothing clever like the one you showed here. The warnings must cover 75% of the package, front and back, and there must be information inserts inside. My husband is a reforming (unfortunately not yet fully reformed, but it's a work in progress) smoker but it's not because of the pictures. I don't think they affect most smokers. They are in denial about what the future holds for them.

  14. 25 minutes...ideal walking distance!