Friday, January 22, 2021

state flower homage time

I still can't get over how stunning Jill Biden's evening dress and coat were on Wednesday night - embroidered with the state flowers of all fifty states, with the state flower of Delaware nearest to her heart.  I had to check that one: it's peach blossom (and was chosen as the state flower in 1895).  You'll be wondering: Georgia has the Cherokee Rose, or Rosa laevigata, as its state flower: I guess the peach was already taken by the time they chose that in 1916.  In 1927, New Mexico designated the yucca flower (any yucca flower will do, apparently), as its state flower, selected by the schoolchildren of New Mexico and then recommended by the New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs.  There aren't any yucca flowers in bloom in mid-January, of course, so I had to make do with a yucca bush or two with some dried seed heads on them, and illuminated by sunlight.  And Kansas grabbed the sunflower in 1903, just before Nebraska, which also had its eye on it.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

a frosty perspective

our garden wall, this morning.  I'm slightly disappointed in this image, because I rushed outside to take it when I could see the cold air misting up from the frosty wall - and that hasn't appeared in the photo - it was a strange ephemeral phenomenon, as though the wall were steaming.  The photo suggests that the wall goes on and on - a veritable estate wall - because of the perspective created by the thick frost: I promise you we're talking about - say - twenty feet of mock adobe stucco.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Moth, celebrating


Of course, I took the requisite New Dawn picture this morning - while there were fairly grey skies, there was sun lighting up the snow on the Jemez mountains in the west, which seemed to augur well ... 

But then we - including Moth - spent much of the day glued to the inauguration, and the evening's concert - interspersed with bit of work, which were, shall we say, hampered.  It's hard to comprehend how much weight has been sitting on our shoulders for the last four years; what a difference it will make to wake up in the morning and not wonder what awful thing that man has done - or tweeted.  And to see ordinary, decent people celebrating what they've achieved, and then getting down to work before watching some rather splendid fireworks - that was just such a return of normalcy, as was the celebration of workers and. carers and volunteers of various kinds that was dovetailed into the concert performances beforehand.  And the Howard University Showtime Marching Band are quite amazing.  Exhale, exhale, exhale.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

chill January

We gave ourselves a snow day today - the first day that we haven't taken at least one walk (and usually two) for months and months.  Admittedly, it wasn't very snowy - although there seemed to be more in the air, blowing sideways, than on the ground - but it was cold and unappetizing, and Alice had her first two Zoomy classes of the semester to teach, and my day started at 3 a.m. with a Zoom meeting in London.  In a parallel universe, I would have been in London today, and at a conference in Paris this coming weekend ... instead of which, all's in little rectangles, once again.  So I fortified myself, at an ungodly hour, with a deep mug of strong coffee, and oatcakes and Marmite, and soldiered on through ... It will be an early night tonight.  Can this really, truly, be the last night of Trump's horrible, horrific presidency?


Monday, January 18, 2021

a tactical stand-off

... really, for two cats from different backgrounds (a back yard in Silver Lake; Santa Fe Animal Shelter) who have a five-year age difference, Lucy Fur and Moth get on very well.  So well, indeed, that they engage in some sophisticated tactical manoeuvres.  It would be a good idea, they think, to have a middle-of-the day snack (or by choice, something larger than a snack, but they'll settle for what they get).  They might, after all, take advantage of us being at home all day, every day.  So first, some imploring looks.  Then (it being our lunchtime), some jumping on the table, some plaintive mews.  And then the cupboard door banging begins.  And then the battering of little paws against the kitty kibble container.  And then, if all else fails - let's stage a fight!  It's a well worn routine - and it's the point at which we give in.


Sunday, January 17, 2021

two small clouds

... that is, I know that there are lots of high wispy cirrus clouds, but here are also two loose dark ones - the kind that I always think of as flying saucer clouds - although, if one bears in mind the cloud in Millais' The Vale of Rest (1858-9), another sunset images, the Victorian Scottish, at least, would possibly have designated them as coffin clouds, which is a gloomy thought - and curiously one that struck me only as I was looking at todays photo after selecting it.


Saturday, January 16, 2021


... and unwanted tracks, at that: not the tracks of rabbits, nor, indeed, of the couple of pairs of coyotes we've seen out hunting today, but the tire tracks left by a crazed, speed-record breaking UPS truck, who seems to think that our front .... well, we can hardly call it our front garden, but our front land is something to practice turning on, something on which to pretend one's driving an all-terrain vehicle.  I rather feebly pulled some branches of dead cactus across where he'd rejoined the driveway, to hint that this isn't terra nulla, but I suspect I need to do something more emphatic.  I guess this is the price of having cheese delivered from afar ...

In other observations (a) it's a great sunset over the Cerrillos Hills (b) I miss the greenery in LA, and England.  No one told me - before I moved to the US - that the grass isn't green all year long, as it is in the UK.