I just saw these clouds on Twitter and had to share. In a very weird way they’re kind of cool lookimg. And terrifying. I would be so scared if I saw something like that in person. Where I’m from in West Tennessee is tornado prone. I’ve seen two while in a car.. That was scary, because of the threat level. I’m not sure what the clouds in the video might do, but it can’t be good. So far we’ve just had quite a lot of rain and mild wind, but we’re wary and watchful.

A lazy person’s blog post. I’m going to paste in some of my tweets from late last month, as we started to realize I had not escaped COVID after all. Plus, some additional musings now, as I navigate the annoying, treacherous path through what seems to be long COVID

–We’re convinced I had mild or asymptomatic Covid when Piers had it, because I seem to have some mild long Covid symptoms. Noticeably brain foggy, fatigued, and forgetful, and just now I wanted to lie down on my way to lie down. Not fun. But we’re grateful it’s not worse.

–It’s almost amusing that what I think is a bit of brain fog makes me keep talking about BK’s “Invisible” Whopper! Almost.

–We’re very fortunate that Piers is showing no signs of post Covid complications. He keeps himself admirably healthy and in great shape. His discipline is paying off.

I’ve come me to think of myself as randomly stupid. Thanks to the intermittent brain fog. It feels as if I’m living in the Futurama episode where the flying brains came to New New York and stupidified it’s citizens. Leela: “Brains make people dumb.”
Fry: “No, Brains make people smart.” Then Leela’s simple point to a window full of flying brains clued him in that all was not well in the Planet Express Headquarters. Where’s Nibbler with his adorable little space ship, when I need to be rescued too?

Things have progressed here to the point where I hear ridiculous stuff coming out of my mouth and mindboggle that I actually said it. Thankfully,  I haven’t actually tried to order an “Invisible” Whopper. Yet. I did tell Piers they’d better be calorie free, since I can’t see them.  Mostly in jest. Mostly….

Even more fun is the tendency toward olfactory hallucinations. Yes, folks, I randomly smell cigarette smoke. Neither of us smokes. There’s also the oh so delectable aroma of sewage! I started to worry about the septic tank until a bit of Googling informed me that these are common long COVID symptoms. We know someone who lost weight because her food “smelled” so bad and the glorious scent of baking bread transformed so hideously in her nose that it made her gag. It could be a lot worse. My ongoing research informed me that some people smell rotten meat and rotting corpses. I’ll take mild cigarettes and sewage any day. Hmmm. That sounds like a fine title for a COVID era soap opera, Cigarettes and Sewage. Um, maybe we should fall back on  the old Carol Burnett skit title, As the Stomach Turns. I’ve also learned that some lucky few get flowers. How unfair to the rest of us. For a couple of days I smelled freshly laundered clothes that didn’t exist. I use unscented detergent so there’s solid proof it was all in my… nose.

Then there’s the ear pressure and accompanying wobbliness. Yes, that’s a known thing too. It feels as if a teeny tiny fist is pressing against my eardrum, then I have to fight to stay upright. It doesn’t hurt and doesn’t last long. It’s just very weird.

The whole COVID/long COVID experience feels like an unwelcome guest has shown up and won’t leave. As if your home has been invaded by an enemy you’re no longer completely strong enough to chase away. We laugh all we can. Even I know that the new version of me, that I’ve dubbed the Covidiot, is not the real me. I’m very fortunate in that it’s actually pretty mild and hopefully won’t be a long term situation. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my Invisible Whoppers, as I navigate “bain frog”! Yes, I have actually said that. That kind of ridiculous word garbling makes it easy to laugh through it. It’s not fun being suddenly stupid, but compared with the way so many people have suffered with COVID and its aftermath I’m a very lucky lady. Remind me I said that the next time I feel as if an outhouse is following me through life. Que Sera, Sera….

I stumbled across an article last night that really hit me. No pun. Tough as nails boxing star Mike Tyson suffers, emphasis on suffers, with recurring sciatica. He’s quoted as saying he cried in bed for a week during a flare up! As I lie in bed right now, in agony, I so SO understand. Who would’ve ever thought I would find myself a kindred spirit with Mike Tyson?!? No, I have no urges to bite someone’s ear off! The thought of someone like that suffering like I do and crying because of it like I’ve done is kind of comforting and reassuring. Sometimes when I “give in” to it and don’t handle it well, it makes me feel weak. However, apparently I’m in good company. I wonder if it ever makes him feel bad about himself too. I thought I’d write a bit about it here, in case someone stumbles across it and it helps helps them to read about others in the same boat and not feel so alone in their condition.

Our sunken garden experiment converted from an old pool continues. Sometimes we get unexpected treasures, sometimes expected joy. One from the latter category is this above hibiscus I suppose it’s pure pink, but sometimes in certain light it looks a little peachy. It’s a huge bush now that takes up a whole side of the garden, but it was originally like a scraggly stick poking almost straight up that would have a single bloom at the very top like and angel on a Christmas tree. It actually was originally a mere stick. Piers rescued a broken branch, planted and nurtured it. Then it grew wildly and now blooms almost constantly.

And there’s our passion fruit vine saga. A friend gave us one that we planted and watched diligently for signs of budding. At one point we spied an inchworm creeping along the flourishing vines, chomping it’s way to greener leaves. I don’t know if it did a lot of stunting damage, leaving behind telltale holes that made them look like Swiss cheese leaves. I’d never seen an inchworm before. I only knew of them from the childhood song about one measuring marigolds. We don’t have any marigolds, so it must have decided the passion fruit vine needed measuring. And eating. Ours was kind of cute, for a worm. But not cute enough to make us overlook its teensy tiny destructive nature. Piers watched for it, hoping to pick it up and carry it out of leaf nibbling range, but we never saw it again.

Now in a big showoffy display a wild passion flower has decided to train itself along the little white fence we have around the perimeter. It’s blooming extravagantly, surprising me with purple loving joy. Even the bedraggled buds are beautiful in their way.

There’s a tall avocado tree we grew from a pit that’s now fallen and can’t get up. It lies on the ground, looking like some strange thick leafty vine. The papaya tree started a drunken lean of its own. It hasn’t decided to lie flat like the avocado, but it no longer threatens to burst through the screening above. It’s still fruiting halfheartedly. The plumeria trees are growing taller, but will not bloom. One of them did, briefly. Then closed up shop to bask in the shaded sunshine. Piers eventually, reluctantly decided to take out some of the volunteer ferns that were starting to seriously overshadow the plumerias. Now the plumerias have more space of their own, and we wait with bated breath to see if they’ll decide to rival the hibiscus witb a show of their own.

I love anthuriums to the point that we’re keeping the one we got ladt year as a potted houseplant. We aren’t sure it would be happy in our subtropical outdoor environment, so we’re protecting it inside where we can enjoy its flamboyant beauty in close proximity. It’s getting new blooms regularly and seems content in its place of well-lit honor.

So that’s where we stand in our attempted gardening currently. We wait and watch and are sometimes truly astonished by what gifts nature brings to us. That passion flower in particular thrills me with its exotic beauty in my favorite color. I can’t help thinking its center looks a lot like an artichoke heart before it gets scraped clean. Not that I intend to try to eat it. I just love to look and marvel that it appeared and started climbing all over the place and blooming. It’s as if the garden is taking on the task of planting and placing. We’re not complaining, considering the awesome results.

Since we get alligators on the driveway, I’ve been wondering…what if I came across an alligator sunning itself sprawled out across the driveway? The only ones I’ve seen have been on the side out of the way enough to just drive by, but what the heck do you do if they position themselves across the thing? You can’t chop it out of the way with an ax and prybar the way Piers does with fallen trees. Well, it could be done, but even if I were physically capable, I wouldn’t murder an alligator!If you blow your horn, it’ll spook a deer to get out of the way. Usually. I seriously doubt you could spook an alligator. I’m not worried about it really, but once it occurred to me it’s hard not to randomly wonder. Name it Spot and start yelling “Out, out, damned Spot!”? Somehow I don’t see Shakespeare as an alligator deterrent. I don’t think sprinkling salt around it will to make it eat it till it explodes would work like it’s said to with ants. Besides, who wants their driveway and probably car sides covered with exploded alligator? Hmm, what other old wive’s tales should be considered. Sprinkle mothballs around? Nope, it would probably just get irritated. I know I can’t stand the smell of mothballs. An irritated alligator would be worse than just a stubborn one. And, no, even if you were driving a giant rugged Hummer just trying to bump your way over the crawling green meat log would be bad form. The thing to do just might be to let sunning alligators lie. Concede that nature is its world and you’re the intruder and how dare you interrupt its nice comfy snooze with your loud annoying vehicle? Try to turn around without disturbing it and bear a hasty retreat.ou can only hope it will grow bored with its comfortable spot in the peace and quiet of nature’s beauty. Hopefully when you next try to pass it will at least have had the common decency to move itself to an angle that allows for driving peacefully by. After all nature is an alligator’ s world, we just live in it.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/mongolia-ice-melt-archaeology?utm_medium=atlas-page&utm_source=twitter&s=09

This Atlas Obscura article is fascinating. As ice melts in Mongolia what has been hidden beneath it is being revealed. One such piece is a rope woven from animal hair, probably used as a halter. Apparently, it looks as if it were put there yesterday. Researchers were even able to tell it’s made of camel hair. I keep thinking it’s as if archeology is digging itself. It will be so interesting to watch and see if this happens in remote places all over the world. Of course too rapidly melting ice is not good, but in some circumstances the results are amazing.

I have a very deep love for beautiful things. My opinions of what is beautiful are eclectic. For instance, two of the sources for things I find lovely and endlessly inspiring are nature and fashion. At first it may seem that these are two very different topics, and they are of course. The photograph above demonstrates how my brain ties them together.

When I took it I was stunned by how gorgeous the deep, deep purple of this orchid is. I’ve never seen one quite like it before. I was instantly entranced.

Then I started enlarging it on my phone. It became even more striking when I realized how much the deep purple parts look like velvet. I was sort of blindsided visually, when I noticed there are flecks of color scattered across the almost visually tactile surface. Cropping it so that most of the rest of the structure of the orchid, with its lighter tones no longer distracting from the darkness, left me staring in awe at what looks like a swath of intensely purple velvet that is colorshot with almost metallic shimmery threads.

It’s as if Mother Nature herself wove amazing fabric, then embroidered it with bits of iridescent butterfly wings on gossamer threads. What a sumptuous evening gown that imaginary cloth would make. I’d love to see someone with the great talent it would take to create such a thing design both the fabric and the gown it would imbue with visual glory. In the absence of such stuff of dreams, I’m content to marvel at what nature can accomplish.

I think elephants have such sweet faces. So filled with wisdom and looking as if they carry all the knowledge a mind can hold. If only we knew the right questions to ask them and the way to do it. I’ve seen documentaries that reveal their senses of love and family, grief and sorrow, compassion and joy. Remarkable, precious creatures.

Our attempt at growing a sunken garden in what used to be a long unused pool is always interesting to us and full of surprises.

Today, we have a blooming, fruit bearing, very tall papaya tree.

A beautiful orangey pink hibiscus bush that Piers rescued a long time ago, as a broken branch is really flourishing. When I first saw it about two and a half years ago, it was pretty much a big leafy upright stick with an occasional gorgeous bloom on top. Now, it’s spreading wide, and often boasts several big blooms.

There are four plumeria trees, also known as frangipanis. I fell in love with them when I lived in Hawaii and it’s so exciting to have several now. They were in bloom when we got them in 2020, but when those fell we thought they’d never bloom again. So we’re thrilled that the pink one is blooming now. I missed getting pictures before the beautiful flowers dried up and fell off, but there look to be more coming. The first winter they all looked like they’d been frozen to death, but have really bounced back. Apparently, they’re pretty hardy. They’re still short and are scattered among the wild ferns.

Those ferns! At first we were dismayed, when they appeared and started taking over the garden. We slowly realized that we really admired the feathery beauty of the lush green fronds and decided to give them a chance. We’ve ended up pleased with them. If they don’t grow much bigger, and the plumerias do, they should provide a nice backdrop. And we wonder if they act as a sort of natural insulation and help protect the other plants from the occasional hard freeze. It got down to the high 20°s last winter and the plumerias certainly survived that.

So, it’s a work in progress and likely always will be. More wild plants have provided ground cover, like a little blanket of greenery. We intend to add more flowering plants. I have my heart set on a bouganvillia, but size may be a problem. I also want a bird of paradise. I saw some at my hotel on my way here in December of 2019 that looked as if they had frozen to death in their pots. That was in Panama City Beach. We’re hoping they’ll do better this much to the south. We have hydrangeas and bromeliads transplanted from their pots to raised planters. They seem to be doing well enough to be transplanted into the garden proper eventually. Hopefully, we can find a spot where they won’t be overwhelmed by the ferns.

So, yes, a work in progress. One we love. It’s come a long way in a couple of years.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-humber-61757555

This drawing is so lovely. Whimsical and poignant at once. I can imagine the Queen being delighted by it.