Thursday, September 30, 2021

Space Dog and Gold Star

Time for another round of clean-out-the-iPhone pictures! Here's some of what I've seen on my recent walks around town.

First, a very positive coloring-book page, discarded on the pavement.

This dog figurine was in a charity shop window. It's not easy to tell, but the dog is wearing a space suit. Also, you can kind of see Olga's reflection in the glass -- she must have wondered why that creature was in such a ridiculous getup.

Some creative interpretations of the warning stickers on an electrical fixture.

Empty beer bottle, anyone? They're free!

This discarded wall print went well with the red brick, I thought. Maybe they should just hang it right there at the street?

This is one of the graves at the cemetery where I walk Olga. I've never seen a grave so heavily fortified. I'd be surprised if it really has CCTV surveillance, but I suppose it's possible -- or maybe God is watching.

Skulls with...crowns? Or maybe mohawks? Punk skulls?

This gigantic face is in the window of a kitchen store on Finchley Road. I'm sure I've blogged it before, but I couldn't resist another picture, especially with the Olga reflection. Do you suppose it's actually a chair? I've never seen it from the other side.

And finally, someone lost their gold star -- despite all that tape. So much for the "monster effort"!

Wednesday, September 29, 2021


Today is Michaelmas, or the feast day of St. Michael and several other saints. I know this only because of the Michaelmas daisy, a light purple aster that blooms in profusion at this time of year. Here's one in our garden, growing wild between a variegated geranium and the coleus. I wouldn't even know about Michaelmas otherwise -- it's not a date that Presbyterians pay any attention to, at least in the United States -- but historically it's played a significant role in England as one of the quarter days that organized the yearly calendar.

For example, in the film version of E. M. Forster's book "Maurice," the scenes at Cambridge University begin in "Michaelmas Term" in 1909. How's that for a bit of trivia? I remember that only because when I saw the film way back in the '80s I had no idea what Michaelmas was, but it sounded very romantic and fit in well with the sepia-toned, romantic nature of that movie.

It's life as usual around here. We've had a lot of rain over the past day or so -- in fact I got caught in it walking home yesterday, and didn't have my umbrella. I was pretty soaked by the time I got to our front door! Oh well -- it's only water, and at least it happened on the way home and not on the way TO work, when I needed to look more or less presentable.

I think I've mentioned before that I occasionally read an extremely right-wing news website just to keep an eye on what those folks are thinking. The heavily propagandized "news" stories are mildly interesting, if you can overlook the bad writing, but the reader comments are really fascinating. (Just be prepared for heavy doses of racism, anti-Semitism and paranoia.) I don't want to link to the site or mention its name because I don't want to give them publicity and I certainly don't want them or their legions of trolls knowing I read them.

But anyway, I say all that only to introduce this hilarious screen grab, which I took from the comments section a few days ago:

I'm guessing "Cybil Tupperware" was supposed to read "Civil War." Someone should do a right-wing drag queen named Cybil Tupperware. She could drape herself in Don't-Tread-On-Me flags and MAGA accessories.

I had a very peculiar dream last night. I was supposed to go to a Melissa Etheridge concert in Tottenham (of all places) with Dave, my stepmother and my friend Cherie. They went ahead without me and I was supposed to meet them, but I was in a mall and I kept doing things there, and finally I'd frittered away so much time that the mall was closing. As I was about to depart, Dave came up the escalator and told me the concert was already over. I looked at the clock and it was 11:45 p.m.

I have no idea what any of that means, if anything. I don't even particularly like Melissa Etheridge.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Donation

In further evidence that the world is going crazy, we're having gas (petrol) shortages in the UK, allegedly driven by transport problems and people panic-buying fuel. Dave and I don't drive so it hasn't affected us directly, but one of our friends put a message out on Facebook asking where she could find gas -- all the stations she had tried were sold out, and her gas tank was nearly empty. Boris Johnson is even talking about having the military escort fuel supplies to gas stations.

Apparently there have been lots of problems with our trucking industry, given that many of our drivers were from Europe and have gone back in the wake of Brexit. This has had a ripple effect into other sectors of the economy like retail, causing some shortages, and even garbage collection, because many of the rubbish haulers have left those jobs to go into better-paying commercial trucking. Now councils are short of people to collect rubbish.

Crazy times.

Speaking of rubbish, you know how people sometimes donate stuff to our library? Usually it's a couple of bags of books -- some small and manageable quantity. But yesterday one of the building porters came to us and said there'd been a donation and it was sitting down in the school's loading bay. The head librarian and I went down and found this:

That's way, WAY more than we would ever normally want. And it got even better when we opened the boxes.

They were all full of old magazines -- Artforum, Frieze, National Geographic and Vanity Fair going back to the mid-1990s, as well as auction catalogs from Christie's. We don't even save our own old magazines, much less anyone else's! It's a long story how and why the school accepted these boxes -- let's just say there was some confusion about what they actually were -- and the library ultimately kept none of this stuff.

We called in the Art Department, where the teachers sometimes use old magazines for projects, and they accepted a cartload of them. The rest we're going to recycle.

You can't help but wonder -- where did this person keep all these magazines for so many years? I'm guessing they cleaned out a storage unit. And some of them had New York City address labels, which means they must have been moved across the ocean. I just can't imagine. I'm sure the donor was well-intentioned in giving them to us, but I wish people would think a bit more about what's actually useful and what's just plain rubbish.

(Top photo: A shopfront with ghostly umbrellas in Mayfair, a few weeks ago.)

Monday, September 27, 2021

Sunflowers and More

First, a little garden update.

Our sunflowers are finally in full bloom -- a moment I wasn't sure would come. They seemed to get started so late this year.

Dave said he looked out the window on Saturday and saw a squirrel AT THE TOP of the yellow one. I told him he should have snapped a picture, but he was focused on getting the critter off the plant. I noticed last week that some leaves were broken off and now there are petals missing from the big flower. Squirrels!

I spent part of yesterday working in the garden. I repotted a foxglove (also a squirrel casualty) and cut down another burdock. We only have one remaining now, in the wild area at the very back of the garden, and I'm planning to let that one stay into the winter and perhaps go to seed.

The other day Tasker Dunham asked about our "Aaron's rod," also known as great mullein. It's still blooming, as you can see, though quite a few of the flowers have gone to seed. I'm just letting it stay put for now, but when the rest of the blossoms die maybe I'll shake out the seeds and try to spread them around.

Our coleus is blooming, and I love the tiny purple flowers against the colorful foliage. I'm so pleased with how well these plants turned out. They're all bushy and healthy and bright. I'll buy more next year.

And finally, here's another shot of our Stokesia, which has a healthy cluster of blossoms -- pretty miraculous since it didn't bloom at all last year.

In addition to working in the garden, I cleaned the house and continued reading "Johnny Tremain," which I've almost finished. I finally tossed our living room roses, which had almost entirely lost their petals.

By the way, I learned something linguistically interesting as a result of that post -- I called the vessel containing the roses a "pitcher," and John from Wales questioned my use of that word, saying pitchers were "large jugs." I would consider almost any vessel with a handle and crimped spout for pouring a pitcher, regardless of its size.

Well, I looked into it, and apparently this is another British English vs. American English thing. In Britain, such a vessel is a "jug," at least according to Wikipedia. In fact, Wikipedia says that in British English, "the only use of 'pitcher' is when beer is sold by the pitcher in bars and restaurants, following the American style." Can that be true? Meanwhile, I would consider a "jug" to be an enclosed container with a handle and a stopper or cap -- like the plastic jugs in which milk is sold, or an old-fashioned jug of whiskey.

It's funny how English varies from place to place.

Dave and I got Chinese food on Friday night but I didn't eat my fortune cookie until yesterday. Did I miss my rendezvous with Lady Luck as a result?!

Sunday, September 26, 2021


As I was walking home from work on Friday I found this flower lying in the street. I think it must have fallen out of someone's cut flower arrangement. Miraculously it hadn't been run over or trod upon, so I brought it home. I have no idea what it is -- the leaves look a bit like alstroemeria (Peruvian lily), which is a common cut flower, but the blossoms look more like poppies. My plant identifier app first tried to tell me it was a snapdragon (not) and then a China rose (also not). It's a mystery.

Yesterday was indeed a very restorative day. I spent the morning reading "Johnny Tremain," one of the better Newbery-winning novels. I remember reading it as a kid and loving it, and I'm happy to say it has withstood the test of time, at least for me.

I did nothing in the garden. I did no housework. In the afternoon I walked Olga to the cemetery, and she was downright energetic, chasing squirrels and her tennis ball. (In fact, she not only carried her own ball, she found more -- we left the house with one and came home with three, making up for some of the ones she's lost in the past! In fact, some of those found balls could conceivably have been hers.)

I talked to a woman at the cemetery who was there with her dog. She was enthusing over Olga and said she had a staffy that lived to be 16! That made me feel better about Olga, a comparatively youthful 11 or so.

I found this on the sidewalk on Finchley Road:

It's on a very delicate square of tissue paper. I'm surprised it was intact. What year is that by the signature -- 1996, or 2016? Anyway, it's kind of meh, but I couldn't resist picking it up.

Last night Dave and I watched an intriguing movie called "The Most Beautiful Boy in the World," a documentary about Björn Andrésen, who was plucked from obscurity as a teenager to play the role of Tadzio in Luchino Visconti's 1971 movie "A Death in Venice." The documentary examines how that experience transformed Andrésen's life, in many ways for the worse. He didn't really want fame and wasn't even chosen for his acting ability -- he was chosen purely for his physical beauty, after a rather creepy audition that required him to walk around the room and remove his shirt. (He was fifteen at the time.)

Andrésen now bears no resemblance to his earlier self -- with long gray hair and a full beard, he looks like Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings," as one of the reviewers said. Talk about the ravages of time! Even by the end of the film he remains a bit of a cypher, and you can't help but contemplate the ways that physical attractiveness can transform a person's life.

Everyone, especially when they're young, wants to be attractive. But I've often thought that being physically average was a blessing in disguise. I wouldn't say I'm unattractive, but I've never been conventionally handsome, with my big teeth and premature baldness. As a result, people mostly left me alone -- I didn't have to fend off a lot of advances, and I didn't have people imposing their expectations or desires upon me. I got hit on just enough to make me feel appreciated. In the age of AIDS, being of average appearance may have even helped save my life. Who knows? At any rate, living as an object of others' desire is taxing, and the movie conveys that.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

A Pitcher of Roses

I brought these roses in from our garden after I accidentally broke them off a bush while throwing Olga's Kong. (Haphazardly, which is typical. I never had a good throwing arm.) They're starting to fall apart now, as you can see, but they're still fragrant. I should say all but one of them are from the garden -- the one in front I actually found on the high street, lying next to a bench. Who knows what the story was there.

The little milk pitcher I bought in Brick Lane right after we moved to London in 2011. Gosh, that seems like a long time ago!

Thank goodness this week is over. It's been weirdly draining. I can't really point to anything specific, except some organizational drama at work and exhausting current events like Trump's insistence that he won the election in Arizona despite evidence to the contrary. He won't be happy until he destroys our democratic system and turns the United States into his own personal plaything.

I feel very scattered. I think I need to just relax this weekend and stay off the computer and read and walk the dog and get my act together.

Olga is feeling better. She ate last night and hasn't suffered any repercussions, thank goodness.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Cool Camel

Before I say anything else today, I have to amend yesterday's post about my New Yorker subscription. Although I complained about the price, I just want to say that I am absolutely NOT opposed to paying for journalism and I understand that journalists need to make a living just like the rest of us. I was in fact a journalist myself for about 20 years, as most of you know. So believe me, I'm on the side of good journalism. I do pay for several subscriptions and I'm quite happy to do so.

I haven't canceled the magazine and I probably won't, although it does seem ridiculously archaic that they mail a paper magazine across the ocean to me. I could try to find out whether an all-digital subscription is an option -- but that hits their bottom line too, because then there are fewer eyes on the ads in the paper edition and Web ads don't make as much. Plus I know I'd forget to look at it online.

I'm pretty sure I am not singlehandedly going to solve the ills of the magazine/newspaper business model.

Olga is having some digestive issues -- she had an accident in the house yesterday and then was up twice last night being sick. I have no idea what's gotten into her, but I hope it's past. She seems better this morning. We may have to back off her anti-inflammatory meds again. Neither Dave nor I got a great night's sleep.

Meanwhile, here's a random sticker found on a recent dog walk. I got nothin' else!

(Top photo: Selfridge's on Oxford Street, a couple of weeks ago.)

Thursday, September 23, 2021

New York Prices

The other day I got an automated e-mail from my credit card company saying it was time to make my monthly payment. This seemed strange, because I haven't used my card in a while and it shouldn't have any balance at all. I went online and sure enough, I owed $199. It turned out to be my New Yorker subscription, which renews automatically every year.

Now, you know I love the New Yorker, and I talk all the time about reading this or that article -- but TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS?!?! Doesn't that seem insane? I'm letting it renew for now but I'm once again thinking about canceling it. I could read it in the library at school and I would no longer feel that terrible guilty pressure that comes from having a stack of unread back issues (because a new one comes practically every fifteen minutes).

I also had a chat with my doctor about that miserable breath test for gut bacteria I took a couple of weekends ago. The test was negative for anything harmful, but he did say my methane levels were higher than normal, and suggested I take probiotics to help regulate the bacteria levels. This sounds to me like an utter scam and I'm ignoring it. As long as I don't have H. pylori I'm happy. My stomach has been fine lately, by the way.

When I came home from work yesterday I took down two of the burdock plants in the garden. They were yellow and crispy brown and I could see no evidence of shield bugs (or anything else) living on them. (Which is weird given that they were there just a few days ago, but I guess they moved on.) Just in case, I shook off the branches before I put them in the garden recycling, and probably inadvertently scattered burdock seeds everywhere. No doubt that will come back to haunt me.

(Photo: A corner near school with some intriguing light and shadow.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021


I got up around 4:30 a.m. for some water and found this shining in through the windows. Quite brightly, I might add! I was going to write a post about how cool it is that everyone on Earth sees the moon in exactly the same way, but apparently that's not quite true -- at least according to the highly authoritative website Primary Homework Help. In the Southern Hemisphere, people see the moon "upside down," at least relative to how we see it here.

If I ever learned that in school, I've forgotten it now. I'm not sure I understand why it's true, either, but thinking about it too much makes my head hurt.

I did finally get the lawn mowed yesterday, so that was my major accomplishment (besides going to work and earning a living). I mowed the area in the back that we've been leaving to grow all summer. I think whatever insects may have lived there are on their way out by now, and the Heath and other parks generally mow around this time, so I felt safe doing it. I left a couple of clumps of ragwort for next year.

I came across this on my way home a few days ago. It's apparently a brand of toilet paper! I think that name is what the British would call "cheeky."

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Aldwych Station

I think I've posted photos of the old Aldwych tube station off the Strand in the past, but I don't ever remember seeing this side entrance, which I discovered on a recent wander through that area. It's immediately recognizable as an old tube station, not just because of the signage but because of the maroon glazed brick. It was never very heavily used and it closed in 1994; there's a Wikipedia page that goes into more detail.

Work was pretty slow yesterday, so I was able to finish yet another Newbery book -- a graphic novel called "New Kid" that won a couple of years ago and didn't take long to read. It was really good! The kids love graphic novels. I'd say they're some of our most heavily-used books.

Dave and I have been watching "American Horror Story" on Netflix. I'm not really a horror person and I have mixed feelings about this show, but it's compelling enough that I want to keep watching. (Plus it has an excellent cast, including Jessica Lange, Denis O'Hare and Frances Conroy.) We've also started "Big Love," which I've been hearing about for years but never watched before. Entertaining, and again with an excellent cast (Bill Paxton, Chloe Sevigny, Jeanne Tripplehorn) but also weirdly beige and depressing.

I did manage to talk my way out of going to that concert this week. I told my friend Colin, who has the tickets, that I just don't want to expose myself to so many people in an enclosed environment and he was very understanding. He said his neighbor is going to go, so I'm off the hook for the ticket, too. Whew!

Monday, September 20, 2021

A Domestic Rainy Day

Remember how I said our zinnias were looking a bit sad? Well, this may be part of the reason!

When I got up yesterday I set three goals -- finish my Newbery book, mow the lawn, and make a banana pudding. Two out of three ain't bad. I finished the book and I made the pudding.

I'm still trying to use up the box of Nilla Wafers we bought ages ago -- they'd already been sitting around a while when I made my last banana pudding, way back in June. (And yes, they're stale, but when they go in a pudding it doesn't matter.) I think I have about one more pudding's worth.

The book, "Roller Skates," was a rather sunny tale about a privileged girl growing up in New York in the 1890s, hanging out with the working folks and traveling around the city on, yes, roller skates. There were a few tragic scenes but they weren't explored very fully. The whole thing reminded me of a Shirley Temple movie. (The book is from 1936.)

Some of you suggested yesterday that I not pressure myself to read. But I find that I have to deliberately set aside time to do it -- otherwise there are just too many daily distractions, and I really, really want to complete this Newbery project this school year. If I read one book a week I should finish up next spring, and I'd like it to be faster than that.
I did not get the lawn mowed. Right around lunchtime it started to rain, so that scotched my plans. I also didn't walk Olga, but it wasn't for lack of trying. She was excited to go until she went outside and felt dampness on her paws. Then she turned tail for the front door.

Here's some of what's happening in the garden. Outside the back door we've got a couple of geraniums, the coleus and, growing up between the paving stones, some purple asters (aka Michaelmas daisies). That geranium on the right needs a trim, but I'll wait until spring.

The sunflowers are opening, finally. Looks like one of them is a brownish variety.

And our wildflower bed is still going strong, with blue cornflowers, yellow crown daisies and admittedly not wild nasturtiums. The white flax has gone to seed -- you can see the little round pods. I'm just going to let them go. Flax next year, maybe?

I started to cut down the yellowing burdock plants, but then I found several of these guys on the stems -- can you see him, peeking out from behind a leaf? It's a green shield bug. So I guess I'll leave the plants for now!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Early Fall Heath Excursion

I'm seeing more leaves like this one lying around. Is it a sign of the seasons changing, or am I simply noticing dying leaves that would be on the forest floor anyway? Let's call it early fall, because it feels that way.

I took Olga to the West Heath yesterday. She's still capable of walking that far and doing a smaller loop than we used to. But it tired her out and she's still in bed as I write (as is Dave, who, as usual, stayed home.) When I got up just now, neither one of them even lifted their heads!

As you can see, the leaves on the trees are still green.

There was plenty of activity on our walk, like back-scratching on an ivy-covered fallen log...

...and rolling in leaves...

...and rolling in mud. (She's about to bark at me for taking her picture.) When we got home she definitely needed a bath.

Otherwise, there's been no real excitement around here. Somehow I frittered away the day yesterday without cracking the cover of my latest Newbery book ("Roller Skates," by Ruth Sawyer), which I really need to sit down and just plow through. There's no reason I shouldn't be able to read these books in a few days, and instead it often takes me at least a week. Too many other distractions! At this rate I'm not going to finish this project until well into 2022. I still have about 20 books to go.

And I wasn't online, either. I am trying to limit my computer time, though I spent several hours in the morning organizing and archiving photos. Today I'm hoping to tackle some garden projects and YES I am going to READ THAT BOOK.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Old Zinnias

Our zinnias are starting to look a little peaked -- crusty and age-blotched. Not that there's anything wrong with that. They still attract bugs, as you can see above.

Meanwhile, this is our sunflower:

When I showed Dave this picture, he said, "Feed me, Seymour!" Which is just what it looks like -- our very own Audrey II!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Stokesia and Furious Foxes

Our Stokesia is blooming, finally. We bought this plant a couple of years ago, and it had flowers that first year, and then Dave put it in the ground and last year it did nothing. We weren't even sure it was going to survive. I guess it just needed to become acclimated, though, because this year it has not only this flower but lots of buds.

The charger problem was solved to everyone's satisfaction yesterday. It was decided that the library would not resume lending computer chargers (yay!), that kids would be expected to bring their own and we would send people to the technology office in an emergency. I also have a charger beneath my desk that I will use to charge student computers in a pinch. So we have a few solutions but I won't have to struggle with managing all those loaner chargers as I did before.

I'm sure this whole issue sounds whiny to anyone outside the library, but trust me -- it was a nightmare. I'm thrilled to be done with it so I can focus on books.

I'm getting some long-overdue tasks done. I ordered some new pillows for our bed online from John Lewis and found to my surprise that I could arrange to have them delivered for pickup at our neighborhood Waitrose. (John Lewis and Waitrose are the same company, I think, so that makes sense.) Dave went and picked them up yesterday and I was so happy to throw out our old pillows -- which we've had for more than a decade -- and put those new ones on the bed. They're softer than our previous ones and there's a bit of polyester off-gassing going on, which hopefully will subside in a few days!

I also ordered some new shoes, because mine are really worn. Dave and I had inadvertently bought the same style of shoe and we could never keep straight whose was whose, so this time I made sure to order a different style. I suppose it doesn't matter if we wear each other's shoes but I'd rather have my own.

Finally, I cleaned out some of our potted plants. I tossed three non-performing pelargoniums, a dead cyclamen, a past-its-prime sunflower and our horseradish, which was looking ratty and never again prospered the way it did years ago. Sometimes you just have to move on.

The foxes in our garden were a nightmare last night. At least, I assume those are foxes -- I can't imagine what else they would be. I was awakened around 1 a.m. by all that noise and took my iPhone to an open window to record it. They made such a racket that I fully expected to find blood all over the patio this morning, but no. Nothing. Were they playing? Mating? Who knows.

Olga perked up her ears but did not get out of bed -- another sign that she is taking life much more easily these days. A few years back she would have been throwing her body against the back door to get out and mix it up with those critters.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Cat in a Space Suit

Google Chrome is doing some very weird things this morning. For some reason I can't get it to upload my pictures, at least not the way I normally do. Usually I hit the photo icon above the draft post and select the pictures to upload, but now it won't let me choose them that way -- the browser freezes when the pop-up window appears. Same thing happens with Flickr, so it's not a Blogger problem. I can, however, drag the photos into the post. I don't know whether I need to update my browser or what. Very weird.

Anyway, I hope this isn't an indication of how my day is going to go. It's already been a bit challenging. I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and could not go back to sleep, thinking about a variety of work-related dramas -- mainly whether I'll be required to loan computer chargers again, and how that system should work. You may remember that aspect of my job went away with Covid, but now the school is thinking about bringing it back, and I'm dreading it. We were supposed to loan chargers only in emergencies, but by the time we stopped I was giving out dozens a day, and I had to create a system of policies and penalties that was exhausting to manage. I'd rather just not open the door again.

Remember that rock concert I was supposed to go to on Sept. 22? Well, I've been having second thoughts about that too. A co-worker and I planned this outing before the pandemic, and then the concert got postponed, but now it's been rescheduled. I've recently been in crowded venues like restaurants and movie theaters without any ill effects, but a rock concert -- where people are going to be yelling and singing and spraying respiratory droplets like Rainbird lawn sprinklers -- seems riskier. I told Colin, my co-worker, about my doubts, and he seems fine with me not going, but I feel guilty sticking him with an unused ticket. I told him yesterday he should try to find someone else, and if he can't I'll go. So we'll see what happens.

Someone found this lying on the floor of the library the other day. It's a pin (as in jewelry) made of wood. Do you recognize that cat? I don't, but a friend (who has small children) said it looked familiar and we spent lots of time trying to figure out its identity. (These are the kinds of crucial research questions that crop up in the life of a librarian.) You'd be amazed at the quantity and variety of images you get when you Google "cat in a space suit." Or even "astronaut cat pin." But none of them look quite like this particular cat.

I never knew astronaut cats were such a thing.

(Top photo: A sunny street near Piccadilly Circus, Sept. 5.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Olga's Day

These purple Japanese anemones are really hitting their stride in the garden. We've had better luck with this purple plant than we have with some of our white ones. Dave planted three new white anemones last year and all three of them died, and we're not really sure why. Dave said they were very root-bound when he put them in the ground and he thinks that may have been part of the problem, but who knows?

You may remember that we got "Olga-cam" cameras several years ago to keep an eye on the dog (and the house) while we're at work. We can dial in at any time and see what she's up to, and it also has a motion-activated video function. Yesterday I turned the cameras on and got some sense of what Olga does all day.

Because it was particularly rainy and she didn't want to walk, I left her in bed when I went to work.

Here's a still photo taken at about 11 a.m. Can you see her under the covers with her head on the pillow? She hasn't moved.

Soon afterwards she at least mustered the energy to change position:

You can really hear the rain coming down. Normally I would make the bed in the morning but I didn't yesterday because she was in it. Not too long afterwards, her dog walker showed up and took her out, which I'm sure didn't thrill her! (Fortunately Dave was home by the time she returned, so we were spared the possibility of a damp dog in the bed.)

My day was about as eventful as Olga's. I am gradually making headway on clearing a handful of very overdue library accounts, but it's slow going. A parent who had a couple of games checked out since May 2020 brought them back yesterday, and a member of another family who's had a book about as long agreed to pay for it. Progress!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Spider Season

Our garden is suddenly full of spiders. This happens every year in late summer -- webs go up all over and the spiders set up housekeeping. This variety is the aptly named Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus). Remember our erstwhile companion Pat the Balcony Spider? She was one too.

I had a recurring dream last night in which I suddenly realized I owned a second apartment. I don't have this dream often, but it pops up now and then. The apartment was simultaneously both close to me and in Florida. I could even picture it from the outside -- a corner unit in a modern building, resembling the condos where we used to stay at the beach when I was a kid. I occasionally have this dream and think, "Gee, I haven't been there in ages," and  I wonder what's happened to all my stuff while I've been away and realize I need to revisit it again.

A variation on this dream is that I realize the apartment where I live has a downstairs, and sometimes there's an evil presence down there. Something threatening. An unseen monster.

I'm sure this can all be interpreted in different ways, dealing with unrealized potential or internalized anxiety or both. Dreams are very strange things.

I mailed off my medical test, my box-of-breath, yesterday, trudging to the post office on a break from work in late morning. So at least that's out of my life.

Dave and I have been watching 9/11 documentaries the last few days -- one called "9/11: Inside the President's War Room" that tracks the response of everyone in the Bush administration (made with their cooperation and thus understandably very pro-Bush). And another called "9/11: The Falling Man" about a famous photo from that day and its repercussions, which I found very interesting as both a photo enthusiast and a former journalist.

But perhaps the most remarkable 9/11 documentary, to me, is still this one (called simply "9/11") by a pair of French filmmakers who were embedded with a local group of firefighters on the day disaster struck. They got a lot of incredible footage from inside the towers as events unfolded. It's just about the closest thing to being there. I remember seeing it when it came out in 2002 and we watched it again last night. (No wonder I've been having anxiety dreams!)

I have an automatic aversion to anything 9/11-related, but also a conflicting desire to watch it, maybe to understand the event better. I suppose many of us share this natural tension, and this seemed like a good time to indulge it, around the 20th anniversary -- but now Dave and I are both ready to return to our regularly scheduled programming.