Monday, February 28, 2022

Queenly Repose

Well, I wound up not taking it easy at all yesterday. I was back in the garden weeding, planting more foxgloves, pulling ivy and tidying in general. Suddenly it seems like there's SO much to do!

Olga presided over it all in queenly repose on her Union Jack bed. She gets very antsy when it's sunny outside and we're all indoors. She'll go from one of us to the other, staring with doleful eyes, until we open the door and let her out so she can lie in the sun. And if we don't come out too, she'll go in and out, torn between the desire to be with us and the desire to be outside. Basically, to get any peace, one of us has to go outside with her. Which is how I wound up working in the garden again.

We took a walk to the cemetery and found a huge, ivy-laden dead limb had collapsed onto the path. I don't think it took out any headstones, fortunately. Getting around it required some ingenuity -- you can see Olga wondering what to do.

Last night we had dinner with one of Dave's former students from Michigan, who recently got a Ph.D. and is looking for a place to do post-doctoral work, perhaps here in the UK. We're still friends with the whole family so we caught up on all the news, including his engagement. We hadn't seen him in about ten years, since this trip to Amsterdam, so we had a lot to catch up on! (We never did take the trip to St. Petersburg that I mentioned in that post.)

Today we're back to school, but it's a professional development day so it's just teachers. The kids don't come back until tomorrow.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Digging Holes

I spent much of yesterday working in the garden. I'm trying to get all my foxgloves into the ground -- the ones I grew from seed that have been overwintering in plastic pots. As usual, I have too many. 

While working I noticed that quite a few things are blooming -- like the Polyanthus (above)...

...and crocuses of various colors...

...and jonquils...

...and our ornamental plum tree.

Here are some of the newly planted foxgloves. I got 13 of them done, and I have about ten more. I may keep some of them in pots, and may give away a few at school. I think we have a few coming up naturally, too, so we should have no shortage of foxglove blossoms this spring.

I know I have said this before, but I am never doing this again. Faffing around with all those microscopic foxglove seeds and seed trays and pots is exhausting. I have a few more seed varieties to plant when the weather gets a bit warmer (zinnias, datura, corncockle, hollyhock and some wildflower seeds we got in the mail) but I think those can mostly be planted in situ.

I'm going to take it easy today. We're back at work tomorrow!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Back to Broadstairs

We had beautiful weather yesterday, so to shake myself out of my doomsday mood I decided to go to Broadstairs, on the Kent coast. My specific goal was to have fish & chips at the Botany Bay Inn, overlooking the water, and then have a walk on the beach.

You may remember I've been to this spot several times. Dave and I took Olga there, and then -- in what wound up being my last trip before the pandemic struck -- I experimented there with my metal detector.

Well, this time I left both dog and detector at home. I kept it simple -- just me and the camera bag.

Getting from the Broadstairs train station to Botany Bay involves a walk of a couple miles, so that -- plus my time on the beach -- meant I got plenty of exercise.

The fish & chips, though, turned out to be a bust. When I got to the Botany Bay Inn, I learned that their gas supply was temporarily out so they had a limited menu -- basically pizza, pasta and a couple of sandwiches. I opted for a roast chicken baguette, which doesn't have the same nautical cachet as fish & chips, but at least I got to eat it overlooking the ocean.

I went down to the beach and returned the Henry Moore-like rock "sculptures" that I collected a few years ago -- they were just gathering dust in our house. Everything in its place, right? I also got to walk through the arch in the top photo, which I've never done before -- and then I walked back to Broadstairs via the coastal road, past the lighthouse and through town.

My train trip back was exhausting. A gang of boisterous 20-ish youngsters sat in the seats just in front of me, and they talked SUPER ENTHUSIASTICALLY and giggled and sang songs from Disney musicals. There were six or seven women and one guy. I'm guessing they're from some kind of drama club, based on their extensive knowledge of stage productions.

One pale girl in tattered black fishnet stockings insisted to the others that she had never seen a horse. "I'm from London," she said, as if that explained it.

Anyway, I know this makes me sound 100 years old, but by the time an hour and 20 minutes was up and we rolled into St. Pancras I was almost out of my mind. I had to come home and have a gin & tonic for medicinal purposes.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Blast from the Past

We had some peculiar weather yesterday -- mostly sunny but occasionally, cloudy, rainy and even snowy. Dave and I went out to trim the buddleias and no sooner had we started than icy precipitation started coming down. We finished the big one by the back door, but the others will have to wait until another day.
As for the flurries (or sleet or whatever it was), it all instantly melted. Daytime temperatures were cold but well above freezing.

So, this Ukraine situation is terrifying, isn't it? I am feeling a pervasive sense of dread -- an existential dread, like I used to feel as a child when I had nightmares about nuclear weapons. Putin seems like the kind of dangerous megalomaniac who's likely to do anything. He seems like he would be perfectly willing to sacrifice the planet in order to "win" (even though in that situation everybody loses). Of course, that's also what he wants us to think. He wants us to be scared of him.

I know nothing about the controls placed on nuclear weapons in Russia, and how easy or difficult it would be for them to be used, but I hope there are people below Putin who have some degree of control and are perhaps less obsessed with territoriality and their own masculinity.

My grandfather, who was an engineer at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C, used to say during the days of bomb shelters and duck-and-cover exercises that if nuclear weapons were launched, he would get in the car and drive to the center of the city. He didn't want to be around for what happens afterwards, and I feel exactly the same way.

Not that I want to be overly dramatic here -- we're still (hopefully) a long way from nuclear holocaust. But this is a sudden reminder that those weapons are still out there and they're in the hands of a power-mad expansionist autocrat.

(Doesn't it seem like Putin has been around forever, too? Supposedly there are term limits in Russia but he's found ways to weasel around them. Apparently there was a constitutional revision in 2020 that granted him the right to run for two more terms, with the next election in 2024. He's not going anywhere anytime soon. He is entrenched.)

On a more concrete level, we're hearing that our energy prices will increase and in fact I got an e-mail from our supplier yesterday saying our rates are going up. Apparently the UK only gets a tiny percentage of its gas supply from Russia, and we're not likely to see a physical shortage -- but of course we compete in the same marketplace as the rest of Europe so we'll still pay more.

On a brighter note -- sort of -- Dave and I started watching Julian Fellowes' newest show, "The Gilded Age," last night. It is not good. The performances, even those by skilled veteran actors, seem stilted and awkward, and the CGI street scenes look weird and otherworldly. I can't decide if the fault lies with the direction or the writing or what, but it's like watching uncomfortable community theater. The Guardian's hilarious one-star review is spot on. Even worse, we had to renew our membership to NOW TV to stream it, so since we have NOW for another month I suppose we'll endure the rest of the season and see if it improves.

(Photo: An interior view of Coventry Cathedral, on Wednesday.)

Thursday, February 24, 2022


I decided to have a little adventure yesterday, so I hopped on a train and went to Coventry, a city north of London near Birmingham. It's renowned for its cathedral and university, and because it was heavily bombed during World War II, much of the inner city has been rebuilt in a modern style.

Although I wanted to see the cathedral, I must confess my primary reason for going to Coventry was much less highbrow:

Fans of the TV show "Keeping Up Appearances" will recognize the house on the left as that of Hyacinth and Richard Bucket, and the one on the right as the home of their neighbors Elizabeth and Emmet. These houses in a suburb of Coventry were used for exterior filming for the series. Hyacinth's house, you may have noticed, has been added on to -- her front room has been extended toward the street.

I texted a picture to Dave, and he said, "I can see the Royal Warrant!"

I texted back, "I had to run away before she made me take coffee on her Royal Doulton with the hand-painted periwinkles!"

Then I went to visit Onslow and Daisy in their council house (second from left). It's been spiffed up since the TV show, and their street now ends in a little park. I think when Hyacinth and Richard used to park their car in the cul-de-sac it was just surrounded by brambles.

Anyway, visiting these locations took most of the morning, as I had to catch a series of city buses which fortunately were very frequent and convenient. I used my phone to track my location, so I would know when to disembark, and by the time I got back to the center of town my battery was getting low -- a potential problem because my train ticket was electronic and I had to show it on my phone to get back to London. This led to a fiasco involving me buying a phone charger, going to a packed Starbucks to plug it in, getting no juice when I did so and thinking the charger didn't work, taking it back to the phone shop, having to get the phone jack "serviced" (i.e. cleaned out), and finally successfully charging the phone while I had coffee at a restaurant on the university campus.


With that out of the way, I went to see the cathedral.

Coventry's medieval cathedral was destroyed by World War II bombing. The shell has been left standing as a sort of monument to our human folly.

There's even broken stained glass still clinging to the Gothic window frames.

Next to the ruins a new cathedral opened in 1962, and it's unlike any other cathedral you'll see in England -- a very modernist structure with a mid-century aesthetic.

I like it and think it's quite beautiful, but I'm guessing that opinions are divided. It has some very modern stained and etched glass, and inlaid stone floors, among other features.

I had lunch among the students in that university restaurant, and then took a walk through the neighborhood known as "Fargo" (an abbreviation of Far Gosford Street), which included lots of little shops and restaurants and looked like it was probably a student hangout.

This old theatre looks like it probably has an interesting history. It appears the venue moved to a new location (or at least that was the plan). The top photo is also from my walk to the Fargo neighborhood.

From there I headed back to the train and came back to London, arriving back home at about 6 p.m. It was a fun day out!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Memory Lane (Not My Memories)

The parakeets were back on the suet ball feeder yesterday. I was glad to see them, because they haven't been around much lately. They didn't like the last batch of suet balls we put out. I've since replaced them with a new variety and apparently the birds are happy again.

I stayed around the house yesterday and got a few things done -- tidying the patio, working on our plants. I also took some stuff to the frame shop, including blogger Vivian's recent paintings of Olga. They should be ready in two weeks or so.

Since yesterday was relatively uninteresting, let's look at some old photos!

Remember how I mentioned walking through Covent Garden on Monday? Well, I browsed the market and came across a guy with some old photos for sale. I always worry that old photos at flea markets -- miniature pieces of history -- could easily be lost forever, so I bought three small snapshots for a pound, figuring I could scan them and put them online. Here they are:

If I had to guess, I'd say this was taken at some kind of auto or motorcycle show, and these women are models hired to pose with the machines. I'm guessing that based on their similarity of dress. It's obviously a '60s picture. What on earth did the photographer do to that negative to scratch it up so badly?

This one, dated May 1937, is pretty amusing. What's up with Mouse Boy on the left, there? It looks like these people are dressed up for an amateur theater performance or maybe a fancy-dress party. Gilbert & Sullivan? The woman second-from-right could be a character from The Mikado. Your guess is as good as mine.

Finally, I took this one on as a sort of challenge. I wanted to see if I could identify this town based on elements in the picture. The paper photo itself is very small and I couldn't even read the signs, but when I scanned it and blew it up I could see them. That's Norris's Grocery on the right, and (I think) S. J. Saverstock's drapery and millinery shop down the street.

I looked up Norris's Grocery and it turns out there's still an establishment by that name in Niton, on the Isle of Wight. So I went there on Google Street View, and BINGO! Relatively quickly I found the same street today:

Norris's Grocery is now in the building on the far corner where Saverstock's used to be; the shop on the right now has a different name. There's a pub to the photographer's immediate left; maybe they took the picture after a few pints, which would explain the wonky angle!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Pancakes and a Stamp

This is where I ate lunch yesterday. When I walked past on a visit to the city I immediately had a craving for pancakes, even though I knew they wouldn't be the fluffy North American-style pancakes that you get at Denny's or IHOP. And indeed they were the European variety, which is more like a crêpe. But still yummy! I ordered the "Amsterdammer," with apple, bacon and maple syrup.

I was in town because finally...

...I got to visit the one-cent magenta, the world's rarest and most valuable stamp. It's on display at Stanley Gibbons this week. (You may remember I own a piece of it, and I did clarify with an attendant that if it's eventually sold I recoup my share of my investment. I suppose if there's a loss I take a loss, and if there's profit I get a bit of that, too...?)

They're showing it in a two-sided glass frame, so both front and back are visible, in a very dark room with special lighting. As you can see from the image above, it doesn't look like much. It's quite small and although it depicts a ship, I'll be darned if I could make it out, the design is so faint.

Still, it was fun to finally see it after reading about it so much as a young stamp collector.

From there I walked through Covent Garden and along High Holborn into the city. Above is the view from the Holborn Viaduct, featuring some ornate dragons and the armored head of a knight decorating the bridge.

More dragons. It's quite an elaborate structure!

I walked on all the way to Bishopsgate. I wanted to see the outside of the gigantic new building that's gone up there, and which I've seen from Parliament Hill on my visits to Hampstead Heath.

From beneath it's hard to get a sense of the scale, but it's a big ol' thing. It also creates a heck of a wind-tunnel effect beneath it. I could barely stand on the curb to get this shot without being blown off my feet.

I got back home around 3 p.m. and found that Dave had ordered a new lawn mower, so we should be in good shape to start mowing when necessary. (Not for another month at least.) We also repaired the banana tree pot, at least temporarily, with that most utilitarian of methods: duct tape. Dave is talking about dividing the banana so we may eventually need a couple of new pots to contain it, but for now the taped-up pot will protect the roots.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Relaxing the Rules

I just let Olga outside and noticed the unusually shaped moon. Apparently we're in a "waning gibbous" phase, meaning the steadily decreasing period after a full moon before its illumination reaches 50 percent.

Have I mentioned that Dave and I are off work this week? I know it seems ridiculous given that we each just spent ten days home for Covid, but at least now we're not quarantined. It's our school's February break. I'm hoping to get a couple of little day trips in, depending on what the weather does.

Speaking of quarantines, have you heard that Boris is set to announce an end to mandatory self-isolation for people infected with Covid? Apparently we are pretty much washing our hands of all the rules. As I understand it, it will now be up to infected people to stay home (or not), just as they would (or not) with any other illness. We're also debating a reduction in the availability of free tests.

I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, all the rules about Covid (vaccine mandates, masking, distancing etc.) have placed unbelievable stress on our free societies -- not just here but all over the world. People are really chafing against them in the long haul. The Canadian trucker protests are just the latest example. (Those protests are also about many other things, but they ostensibly started with Covid rules.) 

I see the value in the isolation and other measures, but I also think we do need to find some way to move forward. I tend to agree with Boris (surprisingly) when he says we've learned a lot about this virus in the last two years, and we have better defenses now. They're still not ideal, but as long as the milder Omicron and its descendants remain the dominant variants I'm not opposed to relaxing the rules. I realize there's no guarantee of that, but it's the world we live in now.

Heck, even our 95-year-old Queen is reporting only "mild cold-like symptoms"!

I think some of us resent giving anti-maskers and Covid deniers a "win" by abandoning the restrictions, but it has to happen sometime. I'm not sure why that time shouldn't be now.

I noticed this cheeky note on a garden wall across the street from our flat -- "DO SOME WEEDING." Things are looking a bit jungly there.

I took Olga to the cemetery yesterday and she was downright energetic. I think she's feeling better. Whether it's the antibiotics prescribed by the vet for her mysterious nose bump or the daily half-paracetamol, something seems to be working. The vet said she may not even need the imaging tests if the antibiotics work, so that would be nice -- it would save us a bundle of cash.

She discovered not one but two discarded footballs at the cemetery. My theory is that these footballs get lost over the course of the year and emerge from the undergrowth when it dies back for winter. Why else would there be so many of them around right now? (Remember how she found another one a few weeks ago?)

I discovered a helpful culinary hack this morning. Ever wake up to find there's no more sugar for your coffee, when honey is also unavailable? Try maple syrup. It works!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

A New Orchid

Our mystery orchid is finally blooming. This is one that I adopted from school about two years ago, and we hadn't yet seen it bloom. I think it's a nice flower, don't you?

This plant is unusual because it has grown two little mini-plants from its flower stalk, and these flowers are coming from one of those plants. I'm sure if I cut the stalk and put the mini-plants in orchid compost I could have two more orchids. As I often say, however, I need a new orchid like I need a hole in the head.

Here's another view so you can see what I'm talking about:

Yes, that's Olga in the background, snoozing on the couch. She barely moved all day yesterday. In fact, none of us did. It was rainy and windy and once again we didn't open the front door at all, much less leave the house. (At least until our dinner delivery arrived last night -- hamburgers!)

I did a bunch of stuff around the house. I cleaned our front windowsills, which is a major undertaking involving moving a lot of plants and cleaning vases and other tchotchkes, and I vacuumed and did laundry. At night we watched Netflix's tornado movie, "13 Minutes," which I thought was really good. (Perfect timing considering our recent experiences with hurricane-force Eunice!)

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Eunice Hates Bananas

I'm sure you've all heard about our big windstorm, Eunice, which struck yesterday and generated the strongest wind gusts ever recorded in England (122 mph at The Needles, on the Isle of Wight). We were at school when Eunice swept through and although I watched from the library windows, I didn't go outside. At about 11 a.m. I saw a big piece of plywood or roofing go flying off a high-rise building near the school, and heard it crash to the ground. Pretty wild!

It was windy all afternoon but the damage at our flat was very limited -- pretty much just the pot to our banana tree (top), which got knocked over by the gusts. But I did see some other mild damage on my walk home:

One of the heavy outdoor ping-pong tables at a school adjoining ours got overturned. 

There was a lot of rubbish on the streets and sidewalks, and along Finchley Road the street sweepers were trying to get it all under control.

One of our neighbors lost a fence.

When I got back to the flat, I saw that Dave had moved the tree fern into our bedroom:

When he got home from work he'd found it lying on its side on the patio, but it didn't seem harmed. By bedtime most of the wind had passed so we put it back outside again before we went to sleep.

Also, many of our daffodils were completely flattened, so I picked them and put them in the kitchen.

And that's about it for our personal storm damage. Obviously that's nothing compared to the toppled trees and shredded roofs elsewhere in the UK.

Adding to the day's excitement, we took Olga to the vet yesterday evening. Remember how we noticed swelling on her nose last December? The vet checked it out then and we agreed to keep an eye on it. It seemed to go down but the other day I noticed it's back and a bit larger, so the vet prescribed some antibiotics and we're going to send her for some imaging tests. Strangely I'm not too freaked out about it -- Olga is getting old and things are going to happen. She doesn't seem at all uncomfortable or even aware of it, and she's eating normally, so for now I don't think it's a crisis. We just need to know what we're dealing with.

Friday, February 18, 2022


Remember the lush and green balcony garden above Finchley Road? Well, this is what it looks like in the winter. Barely a leaf!

The news this morning is all about the weather -- Storm Eunice, which is supposed to strike today. The forecasters say it could be one of the worst storms Britain has seen in years. It comes just a day or two after Storm Dudley, which here manifested mainly as a lot of wind. When I went out in the garden yesterday morning I found a bunch of items belonging to the Russians that apparently blew off their terrace -- their grill cover, some flowerpots, etc. Hopefully they've battened stuff down for Eunice.

I work with a woman named Eunice and we've been teasing her: "Why are you so mad at us? What did we ever do to you?!"

When I opened my computer to blog this morning, it informed me that it was shutting down for updates and didn't give me any options to delay. So I had to sit by while it did its thing. Normally it lets me control when that happens, so I'm not sure why it was so forceful this time, but I was a bit annoyed because I have things to do.

Mainly, I have to get myself to work promptly because I'm speaking to a 5th Grade class at 8:40 a.m. I did two Newbery talks yesterday and I have two more today.

This rather exotic tree is growing down the street from us -- I think it's a mimosa? It's pretty, but it sure seems awfully close to that house.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Take Your Laundry to Work Day

Yesterday, in a burst of morning industriousness, I tidied up the apartment before I left for work, including stripping the bed and changing the pawprint sheets. I was so proud of myself for being on top of this task and I took the dirty sheets with me when I left for work at 8 a.m., intending to drop them off at the laundromat on the way. (Our washing machine doesn't handle king-sized sheets very well.)

Imagine my annoyance when I discovered the laundromat didn't open until 9 a.m.! Then I figured I could leave them at another laundromat on my walk -- I pass several -- but of course all of those were closed too. I swear this has not always been the case. Pre-Covid, I often dropped off clothes on my way to work. I guess the laundromats haven't quite bounced back from the pandemic.

Anyway, long story short, I wound up carrying my big bag of sheets all the way to work (almost two miles!), stashing it under my desk and then bringing it home again in the afternoon before I could finally leave it to be washed.

Completely insane.

I bought my plane ticket to visit Florida in April, so I guess I'm really going this time. And once again, the travel gods smiled upon me. Remember how, last summer, I applied for a refund on our Brazil trip just a few days before the deadline, purely by chance? Well, the same thing happened yesterday. I had a credit with British Airways for a ticket I hadn't used, and when I put it toward my new ticket I discovered I had to use it on a flight before the end of April. Whew! Talk about the skin of my teeth.

Finally, a few weeks ago I got invited by Imperial College to participate in some kind of Covid study, and I had to complete a questionnaire and a Covid test for that. So I answered all their questions last night, mostly about my history with Covid, my vaccines and my habits in terms of potential exposure to others. One of the questions asked my weight and insisted I provide it in stone. You know how I'm still fuzzy on measuring temperatures in Celsius? Well, I'm even more clueless on measuring weight in stone. I had to convert my weight in pounds to stone using an online calculator, and I hope it's right. (I came up with 12 stone and 12 pounds. Hopefully that's not the weight of a hippopotamus.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

A Darker Path

A strange sign has appeared at the entrance to Billy Fury Way, the somewhat forbidding footpath that runs along the railroad tracks from West End Lane to Finchley Road. Apparently a "power cable fault" has extinguished the lighting -- so now Billy Fury Way is even darker and more forbidding than usual! "We would advise you to seek an alternative route," the sign says. Yeah, no kidding.

I personally never walk Billy Fury Way unless my fearless and highly trained killer attack dog is by my side.

That was one of two interesting sights I came across on my walk to work yesterday. The other was this:

It's kind of hard to see, but that's someone's beautiful and dramatic housecat. It's like a miniature leopard. I think those are known as Bengal cats. This one simply would not stop and let me take its picture -- it was too focused on stalking birds in the hedges. (It was wearing a bell but if that bell ever made any noise, I couldn't hear it.)

Another busy day in the library yesterday, but nothing worth writing about. I got my copy of the photobook I put together of my Dad's images from Europe in the 1950s. It came out well and I don't see any obvious editing errors, so I think I'll go ahead and order copies for my stepmother and siblings. Boy, am I happy to have that done!

Today, incidentally, would have been my dad's 85th birthday. I guess the book is a sort of posthumous birthday present from him to all of us.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Back in the World

"Be careful what you wish for" may be my motto this week. I'm back at work and everything is busy-busy! I gave two Newbery talks to fifth grade classes yesterday, which was fun because they actually listened to my recommendations and even borrowed several of the books. I didn't get the teenage "dead stare" (or dreaded eye roll) that I received from some of the eighth graders.

And I was checking things out and processing two weeks' worth of magazines and cleaning out our incoming e-mail basket and re-shelving and it all felt great.

Just like Clint in "Smoky the Cowhorse," I am back in the saddle.

I tried to walk Olga before work but she wasn't into it. She was enthusiastic until I opened the door, and suddenly the reality hit her and she balked. I let her resume her queenly position of repose on the couch. Dave reported that she was also quite obstinate in the afternoon when he took her to the high street while dropping off our sheets at the laundry. We gave her a paracetamol with dinner, thinking she might be achy, and that seemed to improve her mood.

I changed the sheets on Sunday because after you've been sick -- even mildly, as we were -- you just want to refresh your bedding, don't you? I find that really makes me feel like I've moved past whatever illness I had.

Unfortunately we're at that muddy time of year, and our grass-sparse back garden tends to come indoors on Olga's feet. Literally hours after putting the fresh sheets on the bed I found this:

Those, in case you can't tell, are pawprints.

It looks like I'll be changing the sheets again.

Dave also took a bag of old leashes and collars to the vet's office. The employees there said they'd either use them or donate them to a local animal charity. They were things we bought for Olga that didn't work out for some reason, plus a few that people gave us for her to use.

Dave and I have been watching "Hoarders" in the evenings. As you may remember, it's one of my guilty TV pleasures, and it has motivated me to be especially diligent about moving along things that we are no longer using. Those leashes have been hanging in the closet untouched for years. Buh-bye!

Monday, February 14, 2022

Yesterday Looked Like This

This picture pretty much sums up yesterday. It was raining so no one was tempted to go outside, and in fact when I went to lock the front door before bed last night I realized it was still locked from the night before! We didn't so much as open it all day.

Here are a few more views of yesterday's activities, if you can call them that:

I lay on the couch and read all of "Party Monster" by James St. James, his first-hand account of the drug-fueled escapades of New York nightclub promoter Michael Alig and the "Club Kids," which led ultimately to murder. It was an entertaining book, but man, those people were a mess. All of them.

Otherwise, I cleaned. I watered the plants. Ho hum.

Today, though, is BIG excitement because I AM FINALLY OUT OF ISOLATION! I can go back to work and life as usual. I am still very slightly positive by lateral flow test, but apparently that condition can persist for a while even though I'm no longer considered infectious. I am so ready to get out of this house.