Saturday, October 31, 2020

carefully co-ordinated

Obviously, we choose our bed linen so as to match Moth's coloring.


Friday, October 30, 2020

the sky bookending the day

... and, in between, a crazily busy day of student meetings and an All Chairs meeting, in which we learned that ... in which we learned that various things on which we are waiting to hear about - like exactly when the Provost's Office is going to schedule the five spread-out "wellness days" that will (for undergraduates) count instead of Spring Break - are still, as yet, being discussed.  Ah.  Let's just say that frustration is mounting.  


Thursday, October 29, 2020

walk at dawn

Extraordinary light this morning (from the bottom of our driveway) over the Sandias, and much clean air, gently scented with the smoke from people burning piƱon wood in their fireplaces - which is the right kind of smoke to be smelling, for once.  Even if it was another long long Zooming day, it was great to start it like this.


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

chamisa, snowy version

With any luck, this will put an end to the chamisa making me sneeze ... it's hard to believe that anything resembling pollen will emerge from under that.  But - although there was a little bit more snow over night - it warmed up somewhat today.  It's a short lived look at the white stuff - but still, pretty spectacular for October.  And good to look at, out of the window, as we head slowly towards the end of the semester ... (as in: only six hours of teaching/meetings today, plus making two videos for class ...).


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

little house on the ... llano?

It was a chilly walk down the driveway this morning to pick up the newspaper (which was buried in very fresh snow) - maybe 6 inches overall, out there?  The trouble with teaching on Zoom is that there's no possibility of a snow day ... 

Monday, October 26, 2020

it's starting

... and we'll see how deep it is in the morning!  A good couple of inches have fallen, by the time I'm posting this: it was an excellent distraction in a long day of Zooming - Zooming while notionally being in LA; Zooming to a college reunion event (in my role as a former tutor) in Oxford - which was much fun.  The real problem with all of this was not ever being sure what time zone I was pretending to inhabit: I have a large schedule pinned to a board above my desk (in Mountain Time), because I was convinced I was going to screw up dramatically at some point.  I managed not to ...

And yes, those are wildly-flapping prayer flags outside my window, though there were precious few birds around today to be warned away from crashing into the glass.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

the very last of the season

I said farewell to them this afternoon.  I had to promised them that they would live on in next year's plants - they have, after all, made plenty of seed pods (should I have gathered them?).  Do they have any idea that there's a huge storm barreling this way - with snow starting round about midnight - who knows how much? It's due to continue - maybe - till Wednesday.  The trouble with everything being on Zoom is that one can't look forward to a snow day - just dread that one's internet will go down.

It's been a fabulous year for the morning glories.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

fall decorations

This is all one needs to know, round here.  But just in case you don't get the message, these up-the-street neighbors have another six or seven signs out, as well.  Vote.


Friday, October 23, 2020

falling leaves

Within the next two days, we'll be bringing out the heated birdbath: no guarantees, after tomorrow night, that there will be unfrozen water for the birds - especially the robins, who are starting to arrive in large numbers, and very much enjoy splashing around in this.  The locust tree leaves are - not quite blown off, but heading that way.  And the likelihood of snow on Monday keeps coming and going, coming and going - absolutely no weather forecast guarantees, in these parts ...


Thursday, October 22, 2020

chamisa, early morning

This bush is outside our garage door: it's very beautiful, and very golden, but I wish that it didn't make me sneeze so much ... Ericameria nauseosa, also known as rubber rabbit brush - as far back as 1904, people were making rubber - or trying to make rubber - from it - and indeed are still doing so today, because apparently it can be used as a form of rubber for people who have a latex allergy.

Rather more worrying are a number of bushes in Bayo Canyon up by Los Alamos, which contain 300,000 times more strontium-90 than a normal plant, because their roots reach down into nuclear waste, mistaking strontium for calcium.  How do you tell which plants are safe, and which aren't?  Use a geiger counter.  Sometimes I wish that checking out things didn't promise to give me nightmares as well as allergies.


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

one more

Winter arrives on Sunday or Monday, if the weather forecast is to be believed  (which is no sure thing, in these parts) - in the meantime, about three or four slightly crumpled, diminished morning glory flowers.  But still they try - now with a background of autumn leaves ...

Of course, looking back at the pics for this year at some future date, it's going to be a curious rhythm: repetition with differences; slowly changing seasons; a range of feline expressions; a collection of political signage.   I often feel there's not much to say - but the actual record of same-but-different will just about sum up the day to day of life in the time of Covid.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

a chrysanthemum

or rather, a chrysanthemum head on a busy, crowded small chrysanthemum bush, bought in Whole Foods the last time that I ventured out.  I absolutely love this bronze color, and it howls Autumn at one.  And yes, it's out in the back yard, and there's a pumpkin out front.  


Monday, October 19, 2020

teaching prep

On a day when admin emails were coming in faster and thicker than I could answer them, it was a miracle that I managed to do any class prep at all - let alone write and record two videos.  I'm not sure that the company was all that much help.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

carnage averted ...

You probably can hardly see her, but close to the back wall is Moth, and on the back wall itself - follow the direction of her gaze - is a Towhee.  She hates towhees.  LucyFur hates towhees.  I have no idea why this inoffensive, if slightly dim bird should work them into such a frenzy.  Although they are not Outdoor Cats, they come out for a carefully supervised 5-10 minutes at lunchtime.  Today, they nearly caught a lizard - indeed, would have caught a lizard, if Alice hadn't held her back - and then there was the Towhee Incident (no feathers were, in the end, harmed).  And that was the most exciting thing to happen today, until the Dodgers won (Moth staring at the screen as though they were a flock of blue birds).


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Alexa ...

This sign, just up the street, has been giving me an enormous amount of simple pleasure (I hope that Alexa remains fully charged and in full working order until November 3rd).  There's a superabundance of Biden/Harris signs in Eldorado, I'm happy to report - one Trump sign on our street, and a barrage of them at a house one road over.  Then there was a big Trump banner at a house that we often pass on our walks that seems to have disappeared.  A sudden conversion?  Embarrassment?  Did someone steal it?


Friday, October 16, 2020

working from home

By now, we may be getting a little weary of always, always working from home - all contact in those little rectangles.  But LucyFur and Moth think that it's a wonderful innovation: food at very regular intervals!  In turn, we're incredibly grateful to them for keeping us company ...


Thursday, October 15, 2020

last of the summer nectar

The bees are doing their very best to get all that they can from the flowers, before the frosts come ... I think we have another week, at least, for them to be Busy.  Can I also point out that they are not easy to photograph - they are extraordinarily mobile, and my getting close to them - and harassing them with a macro lens - is not how they seem to want to be spending their afternoons.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

seed pods

That was a LONG day - up before dawn to go to Early Shopping at Whole Foods in town - and ending with a two and a half hour grad class ... I was just sinking into bed when I remembered that I hadn't done this post - the closest I've ever come to forgetting.  It's a good job I wasn't quite asleep, and also that I'd earlier checked in on how the morning glories' next stage was progressing ...


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

still flowering!

The morning glory still flourishes!  Admittedly the flowers are getting smaller and sparser, but I wasn't at all confident that they'd survive my absence.  And they are starting to produce little seed pods: given that I've had a lot of luck, the past few years, growing them from seed - that's the origin of all the ones in LA - I'm hoping to encourage a resurgence.


Monday, October 12, 2020

more prayer flags? Really?

Isn't this slightly over-doing it on the prayer flags front?  They are flapping so much that it's starting to look like a higher elevation Tibetan temple.  But there's a reason ... it's American Robin season again (for those of you reading from the UK, these are not sweet little robin redbreasts - they are birds somewhat larger than a thrush - and in the fall and winter, they start to fly around in increasingly large flocks).  This morning, the lure was our bird-baths - after which, they seemed not to realize that our windows were windows, but thought that the sky and trees continued ... After the fourth thud (no signs of concussion, but who knows how they're feeling by now), we decided that Enough was Enough, and I unearthed a couple of flag strands, and strung them up - which seems to have dissuaded suicidal birds for now.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

we're back!

We're back!!   And it's turned into Fall in our absence - but (despite today's fierce winds, which tried to dislodge leaves wherever possible) our locust trees are just turning yellow, and still fully foliated - so happy not to have missed them!  And I'm happy and surprised that just about all the plants have made it - except for the parsley - I pretty much created lakes for them to swim in whilst we were away, and we're just back in time.  So they should be good for a couple more weeks, at least - whilst the temperature will head down into the thirties at night, soon, no actual frost in the forecast.  It feels excellent to be back, although we'll miss the owl.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

the adventure of Outside Dining

Back on the road ... again overnighting at La Posada, and enjoying our dinner facing the trains ... it's so good to be able to eat the Turquoise Room's food outside on their terrace, as take-out - and to be the only people doing so (the dining room, by contrast, was full ...).  Of course, it's a little nerve-wracking, though probably not as nerve-wracking as being on I-40 with huge trucks in the dark.

In other dining news, we're devastated that Cliff's Edge, in Silver Lake, has just Closed For Ever.  The food may have been uneven - the cocktails were always good - but we have - we had - been going there for 15 years, and it's always been our special-place place.  Alas.


Friday, October 9, 2020

some very direct messaging

The inhabitants of Los Feliz and Silver Lake believe in telling it how it is ... neither of these two declarations leave very much room for commentary.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

the emptiness of campus

I braved it to campus today.  I needed to get a flu shot, and I have to say - it was extraordinarily efficient and distanced and well organized.  Indeed, the whole of campus is impressively labeled with all the signs that one needs to practice distancing (although the hallway of Taper shows some impossibility ahead - there were no indications how one can possibly keep 6 feet away from people in a corridor).  The stairs only suggest that one goes up one side, and down the other.  But there was hand-sanitizer everywhere.

It was, however, very sad in its emptiness: a ghost university.  There were some students standing glumly in a symptomatic-testing line; a handful of athletes, and that was about it.  There were check points everywhere - I had to show my Day Pass, on my cell phone, twice before I even got as far as the parking garage.  I couldn't wait to leave again - I picked up two books from my room - and picked out a third, and left it behind, so rapidly was I exiting.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

where's our owl?

If you didn't know that our owl was there, in the Live Oak at the back of the house, you'd never guess.  I admire enormously how s/he looks like a large segment of lumpy-barked tree trunk.  I only knew that they were there this morning when there was an angry screeching noise - a squirrel had come too close when it was napping, and was being warned off - as in "if you don't move to another tree I'll have you for a midday snack."  


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

almost autumnal ...

This - down on Griffith Park Boulevard - is as close as one gets to autumnal, in these parts, apart from leaves that get more and more dessicated.  I don't know what it is (Plantsnap suggests European Beech, which it absolutely clearly is not), but doubtless someone will enlighten me.  What's completely improbable about this picture is that it doesn't contain a single unmasked workperson, gardener, or dog walker - going for a walk in the early morning turns into a not particularly enjoyable obstacle course.  I think we greatly increase our step count by all the times that we cross and criss-cross the road in acts of avoidance.


Monday, October 5, 2020

it's still there!

Our first trip to the ocean since Covid!  It was wonderful.  Admittedly, it was brief, and a by-product of our appointments with our (Westside) dentist.  But (and in my case, even with a numb and swollen lip), we temporarily lowered our masks, and Sniffed.  We should do this more often ... it was hardly crowded.  And admittedly, too, the air quality was a little iffy - you can see that there's still something of a smoky haze.  And we still had to return in order to jump back on the hamster wheel of mini-video-recording.  But it was the seaside, and it was real.


Sunday, October 4, 2020

more from down the street

Los Feliz continues to impress ... Myself, I'm just left boggling at a President who is so bored, so starved of adulation when he's in his hospital room that he bundles himself into a car that's hermetically sealed to keep out chemical attacks (and so hermetically sealed to keep Covid in) - and heads off to wave at his flag-waving "supporters" - who apparently are co-ordinated by the leader of the Proud Boys.  And now everyone in the car with him will need to quarantine?  I so, so hope that he carries on handling this so very badly.  


Saturday, October 3, 2020

where's the cat?

One thing that's fascinating about being back for a couple of weeks - after not having been in LA for four months - is seeing the cats go back to their rituals, as though they haven't been away.  Moth likes one particular spot between our elderly, bought-with-the-house living room semi-transparent curtains, and the window.  She's there, I promise you: start from the paws on the right hand side, and work back to her sweet face and ears ...


Friday, October 2, 2020

continued pride in our 'hood

Los Feliz is continuing to impress in its signage!  And I guess there will be an election in four and a half weeks, even if today has felt like a very exaggerated, improbable movie script ...


Thursday, October 1, 2020

a neighborhood still mourns ...

Among the Biden/Harris signs; the Black Lives Matter placards; the discreet, but growing number of small skeletons, spiders, and ghouls, one gate displays its grief at the loss of RBG.  If only all neighborhoods, everywhere, had the same political sympathies as this one ...