Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Our 58th

This is a bouquet our older daughter and family gave us for our 58th wedding anniversary.  We've had 58 years to roam about seeking new adventures as we pleased, but lately our lives--like those of so many--have some to resemble the titles of novels by Gabriel Garcia Marquez--"One Hundred Days of Solitude", "Love in the Time of Coronavirus."  Today Phil asked, "Are we going to be confined to the house for the next two years of our lives?" Thanks to the fumbling efforts of Agent Orange to "control" the virus, it looks like that may be the case.  Both of us have "underlying conditions."  He has high blood pressure, and I have IPF, a chronic lung disease. Nevertheless, it's going to be a happy anniversary.

I see that Dilly-dog managed to get into the photo.  Well, I more or less captured the bouquet. I can concentrate on only one thing at a time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Poor Lonely Li'l Fishy

You probably can't see the tiny molly in the nursery. He's in there for a reason. The four terrible tetras want to eat him up.

The tetras were the first to move into the new, spacious aquarium. They loved looking at their reflections in the glass walls and hanging out in the weeds and near the bubbling pump. It soon seemed like the aquarium could accommodate a few more fish, so my husband bought two mollies. 

When one of them became pregnant, we realized we had one of each. As soon as the babies were born, the tetras gobbled up all of them, except for one. The Founding Father Fish soon died of a broken heart, but not before impregnating the female once again.  This time, Phil was ready.  As soon as the second batch of babies was born, he sequestered them and their larger sibling in a plastic Dream Whip container, which he anchored precariously to the top of the aquarium. This was a temporary arrangement at best, as the container was always threatening to tip over. 

Then our older daughter saw an ad for a nifty baby-fish nursery--made of course, in China. Phil ordered it, assembled it, and anchored it securely (he thought) to the side of the aquarium, near the top.  Alas, he woke one morning to find the nursery at the bottom of the aquarium and the baby fish at large. What remained of the second batch, that is. About six of the twelve were left, plus Big Brother. 

He corrected his anchoring mistake and this time the nursery stayed put.  However, the near-death experience must have traumatized the babies, which began dying one by one.  The mother fish died too.  "I, alone of my kind, am here to tell the tale," says the survivor from the first batch, swimming about in his netted enclosure. 

Friday, June 26, 2020

St. John's Wort

Our weedy Saint John's Wort blossomed nicely this year, just in time for Saint John's Day, June 24th. From the Wallander crime series on TV, I learned that Saint John's Day is close to the Summer Solstice.  Northern Europeans, such as Swedes,  celebrate the longest day of the year by staying up all night and having picnics, parties, and bonfires.  And, in order to keep Detective Kurt Wallander from beginning his summer vacation, a celebration can get a little out of hand and end up with a murder.  Why bonfires?  Pagans believe that the boundary between the spirit world and our everyday world becomes permeable during the solstice. The bonfires are meant to ward off evil spirits. 

"Healthline," an internet information site, notes that Saint John's Wort has been used for centuries to treat depression. It also notes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies Saint John's Wort as a nutritional supplement and does not recognize it as a treatment for depression. For those inclined to self-medicate, the writer warns of some unpleasant side effects:  vomiting, dizziness, anxiety, panic attacks, aggression and amnesia.  Whoa! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Drunk White Kid Falls Asleep in His Car

My 81-year-old husband shares a "white privilege" memory. This happened in Cleveland, OH in the late fifties. 
Rayshard Brooks drank too much and fell asleep in his car. We know what happened to him. As a young man, I also drank too much and fell asleep in my car. But today, here I am, able to write about it. Unlike Rayshard, I am white, blond and blue-eyed.
Here’s what happened. During the summer between high school and college, my friends and I decided we’d go bar hopping. I had a car, so I was the driver. We did what we planned, and it was time to go home. I drove my friends home, one by one.
Next thing I knew, someone was rapping on my drivers-side window. It was a policeman waking me up at a traffic light. He said I needed to go to the station.
“OK, Officer, I’ll follow you.”
“You aren’t driving anywhere. I’ll get someone to drive your car in.”
At the station an officer said to blow into some kind of a tube. He then appeared to read a number off a machine, and said, “You’re not drunk”. Of course I was. “Here are your keys. Your car is in the front lot. Go to your car and take a nap. Then drive home very carefully.”
I didn’t wait as long as I should have before driving home. It was around two AM. I remember biting my lip to stay awake the whole way. I made it home, but I didn’t make it to my bed. I was on the sofa mid-morning, with my mother looking down at me, silent but worried.
So, I got a bit of a different outcome, didn’t I?