Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Dangling Cable

Yesterday morning the sun coming through the leaves of our spotted begonia turned them a fiery red. It's a beautiful plant. It probably needs to be trimmed -- it has several stalks that are about four feet long and they're a bit unwieldy. But I hate to cut it (even though I could root the cuttings).

I spent yesterday morning cleaning the house, changing the bed sheets, vacuuming, blah blah blah. Then I sat down with "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow," which I have back from the library after surrendering it to that teacher who wanted to finish it. Since I'd only gotten about 20 pages into it on that earlier outing, I started from the beginning again and I'm well into it now. I'm really liking it.

Of course a day couldn't go by without the Russians presenting me with some sort of problem. I looked out our bathroom window and saw this white cable swaying in the breeze. It's coming from waaaaaaay up at the top of the house, where it was running along the gutter. I asked Mrs. Russia about it, and she said, "Oh, yes, it's an old unused cable so we just cut it."

I made plain that I didn't want it hanging down the side of the house and in front of our windows, so she agreed to lean out her window with some wire cutters and chop it off. It fell down into our side return and I put it in the trash. There's still a bit of it hanging up there but I don't see it so I can live with that.

Olga spent the morning on her new bed in the garden. She's adapting to it. As you can see, I was doing laundry too. A few more sunflowers have opened!

In the afternoon we took Olga to the cemetery. We hadn't been there in a while, and even Dave -- who thinks recreational walking is completely pointless -- came along. Olga chased her tennis ball and eyed squirrels with great hostility but couldn't quite bring herself to run after them.

We saw this very well-appointed grave. The red and pink flowers are cyclamens, and I believe that yellow bench is new, or at least newly painted. It's very colorful.

Speaking of colorful, last night we rented the movie "Barbie" from Amazon. I enjoyed it and I'm impressed that they (and when I say "they," I really mean Greta Gerwig) were able to take such potentially shallow source material and make a culturally relevant movie out of it. I've always thought of myself as a feminist but it made me consider ways that I perpetuate patriarchal ideas without meaning to do so. I think I'm more of an Allan than a Ken (if you've seen the movie you'll understand that) but I'm sure I benefit from maleness just as I benefit from whiteness -- in ways that are largely intangible to me but allow me to exist with a level of security that others don't share. Anyway, it was all very thought-provoking, and who expected a movie about Barbie to ever be that?


Moving with Mitchell said...

Thanks for your take on “Barbie.” Despite all the hype, I've been resistant to rent it on Amazon. Maybe I'll give it a shot (however, I may be alone).

Moving with Mitchell said...

P.S.: Your Russians give Russians a bad name.

Rachel Phillips said...

I am sure the mums and dads taking the 5 and 6 year olds dressed up like Barbie never expected it to be like that! However, something for everyone and the philosophy bits would go over the kids heads and they would see what they wanted. I quite enjoyed it.

Ursula said...

I agree with Mitchell on both points. For the life of me I can't bring myself to watch "Barbie". The very idea makes my toes curl. And, possibly, shows that even I have my limitations as to what I am willing to endure in the name of "culture". And, yes, back in the day I had two Barbies (one blond ponytailed - one auburn) and one Ken. Not because I wanted them; my father gave them to me and my younger sister. No wonder it warped her. Don't ask.

The Russians. M's comment made me smile. Your neighbours remind me of an ant heap. Whilst those busy ants have a purpose to their relentless activities, your Russian neighbours clearly haven't learnt the art of sitting still, and doing nothing or very little; giving it a rest. Time to put the Samovar on.


sparklingmerlot said...

That grave must hold someone very loved or a whole lot of guilt!

I had no desire to see Barbie at the movies but am looking forward to seeing it when it hits the streaming platforms (and not hiring it!).

When I saw your begonia "The Day of the Triffids" sprang to mind.

Don said...

I, too, would have complained about the dangling “unused” cable. Why didn’t it occur to them to cut it at the higher point in the first place!!! Dave needs to read some of the wealth of information about the proven health benefits of walking and “get with the program”. He’s a smart guy, surely he can see that it is not “pointless”.

Bob said...

Love the sunlight coming through the plant; fabulous color.
I, too, still have that anti-Barbie feeling, though a lot of people have told me it's not some trivial film. I'm still on the fence ...

Boud said...

The begonia us lovely, complete with flowers even. Mine might flower very occasionally, when it's in mood!

Pixie said...

I still haven't had a chance to watch "Barbie" but it's on my list. I imagine it will be illuminating for my husband too. He has no idea how much he benefits from being a white male.

I had to chuckle when I read the line, "We took Olga to the cemetary". The flowers on that grave are beautiful. And the book, "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow", excellent.

NewRobin13 said...

When I saw that we could stream Barbie on Amazon, it was the first time I actually considered watching it. I'm still thinking about it.
Olga looks so comfy on her new bed in your lovely fall garden.

Ms. Moon said...

You know, I used to have a beautiful angel-wing begonia. What happened to it? The picture of yours is so lovely that I think I will be on the lookout for another. Just what I need!
Have you ever been in the Russians' apartment? I would love to know what it looks like. Such odd neighbors to have living above you.
That grave really is a showstopper, isn't it? I like what Ms. Merlot said about it showing either a great deal of love or a great deal of guilt. I hope the former. That yellow bench does really seem to call someone to come and sit and think and remember, doesn't it?
Glad you enjoyed Barbie. So funny you thought of yourself as an Alan, but yes. I see that. Just as I see myself as more of the Weird Barbie.

gz said...

You certainly have the knack to keep your houseplants growing well as the outdoors garden!!

Ellen D. said...

Your plants are so amazing, Steve. You can tell you invest a lot of time and energy into them!

ellen abbott said...

yeah, Marc doesn't do recreational walking, or for fitness for that matter, either.

No headstone on that grave, just the big flower bed?

and I've had no interest in seeing Barbie but maybe I should watch it.

Sharon said...

I agree with you about the Barbie movie. I enjoyed it very much. I never really owned a Barbie but my sisters had them around the house.
Someone has gone to a lot of work on the grave at the cemetery and I love that spotted plant with the sun shining on it.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I enjoyed "Barbie" too. It had different layers to it but essentially it was light, silly and colourful and what's wrong with that? I imagine those damnable Russians look down upon your much-loved garden with unbridled envy.

Allison said...

The begonia is crazy beautiful, I did not know they came in that variety of pretty. We have not seen Barbie, Jim has been resisting. Based on your review, perhaps we will. I wish they would put Oppenheimer on Amazon, I can not sit in a theater for three hours.

jenny_o said...

I know that white males "have privilege" but I feel badly for those among them who have always tried their very best to be kind and fair and good and get nothing but contempt and outrage from a certain segment of the population. If only that segment could realize that none of us have a choice as to the circumstances of our birth, including our gender, our colour, our parents, or our environment. Instead, they seem to think they're the only unfortunate ones. Ah, well. Off the soapbox now :)

Kelly said...

Depending on your final take on Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, I might have to bump it up my TBR a bit.

I'm glad Olga is adjusting to the new bed. It looks nice and comfortable.

Red said...

I like your comments on the Barbie movie. Not often that some very basic comments are made about our civilization and what's fair and not fair.

Debby said...

I have that begonia as well and have made 3 other good sized plants from it to give away. I would love to see one shred of evidence that the Russians have ever given a thought to anyone else? Honestly. I would find that kind of stuff maddening.

The Padre said...

Nothing Like A Peaceful Autumn Day For A Nap On A Blanket - Well Done Girl


Margaret said...

That plant looks like an exotic alien species! The Russians don't seem to think of anyone except themselves. I too got a lot out of Barbie and got weepy every time Rhea Perlman was on as Ruth. I didn't expect that!

Jeanie said...

Olga looks so content on her new bed. And that begonia -- WOW. That is absolutely marvelous. I can see why you don't want to trim it! The cemetery walk looks like a good one. Loving this post -- I think your thoughts on Barbie make me want to see it more than I did before.

Steve Reed said...

Mitchell: I almost responded with a rather Russophobic comment.

Rachel: I wonder how a kid would like that movie. It seems like it might be boring for them. It's very talky despite the bright colors.

Ursula: They seem compelled (in an unhealthy way) to be constantly working on that flat. I've always suspected it's a type of avoidance. They need a bigger house and a garden.

Caro: It IS rather Triffid-like! I think you may have to wait a while before "Barbie" is free on streaming. We had to pay £16, as much as theater tickets!

Don: Dave has never been a walker. I don't know why. I've resigned myself to walking alone! (Isn't there a song about that?!)

Bob: I think it's a bit of a triumph in that it manages to both celebrate and mock Barbie culture.

Boud: This one has flowered every year! We've been lucky!

Pixie: We take Olga to the cemetery so often that any associations to death or mourning have been utterly erased from my mind. It's basically a big park to me.

Robin: It's worth it, but it's not cheap!

Ms Moon: I have been inside a couple of times. It's very stark and white and unfinished. When I went, the floor was still torn up.

GZ: I think part of the secret with plants is to not give them too much attention. People who think they have brown thumbs are often killing their plants with kindness. (On the flip side, you can't ignore them completely. There's a happy medium!)

Ellen D: I really don't, though. I water them once a week and otherwise they pretty much do their own thing. I sometimes have to wash the leaves or get rid of bugs but not too often.

Ellen: The only headstone is a small brass plaque, at least at this point. I bet a bigger one is coming.

Sharon: My stepsister used to have Barbies and we played with them. I don't think she ever had a Ken.

YP: It was silly with an edge, which is such an interesting and unusual combination for a movie! I think the Russians look at our garden with horror. I'm sure they'd want to pave it with flawless Astro-turf.

Allison: I'm surprised it's not on Amazon, actually. I agree -- a three-hour movie is a big ask, even at home!

Jenny-O: You're absolutely right that many white males face plenty of challenges. In fact what feeds a lot of resentment toward DEI and other racial justice programs is a perception that they negate the struggles of white people. I want to say to those resentful whites, "No one's saying you DIDN'T struggle; we're just saying others may be struggling more."

Kelly: I'll let you know how it goes! I read some more of it last night but I have trouble reading during the week. Too much to do!

Red: It was very thought-provoking!

Debby: They definitely put themselves first. I think this is a pretty common philosophy among big-city dwellers, though.

Padre: Any day is perfect for a nap on a blanket!

Margaret: Yes! It was so great to see Rhea Perlman again and she was perfect in that part.

Jeanie: The cemetery is one of our favorite places to walk. Lots of squirrels and the closest big green space to our house!