Friday/ the lawn needs a trim

Early afternoon, the doorbell rang.
It was Jesús from the lawn services company, inquiring if it’s OK for them to start mowing the lawn again now that spring is here. ‘Of course‘, I said, ‘I was the lookout for you guys, hoping you would start again, soon‘.

There’s the neat white truck of the lawn services company. I suppose now that I no longer travel for work, I could mow the lawn myself — but for the life of me, I never mastered the art of using a string trimmer, to trim the edges by the flower beds & walkways in a perfectly straight line. So I leave that to the professionals.
The blossoms are out on the trees, and the leaves are slowly appearing. It seems the Joe Biden for President sign on my neighbors’ picket fence has become a permanent installation (which I am completely OK with).

Saturday/ glühwein to go?

The traditional Christmas markets and the stalls with toys, snacks and glühwein are closed, and sorely missed, in Germany.

Glühwein to go .. with a shot?  (Aw. And the two peeps behind the one in front: good that you are social distancing, but should you not also wear a mask, until you get to the front of the line?)   [Cartoon by Mario Lars, on website]

Black Friday/ shopping at the mall? count me out

The official Black Friday is here .. but it’s been ‘Black Friday’ online, every day since at least last week!
One has to wonder how busy the malls were, given their decline even with no pandemic. These days, I don’t even go into the grocery store as a rule. I buy the groceries online and go pick it up. So shopping at the mall was absolutely not going to happen.

Wednesday/ Mousse was on the loose

Here’s a picture that New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson had posted on Twitter on Monday, after being reunited with his cat Mousse.
Mousse had escaped from an apartment in Williamsburg (the neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York), but was found a few hours later.

Monday/ the Democratic National Convention starts

“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can: Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is”.
-Former First Lady Michelle Obama, in her speech closing out the first night of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention

It was a great speech. That phrase ‘It is what it is’ is a reference to Donald Trump’s dismissive assessment of the state of the Covid-19 pandemic and its destruction of lives and jobs.

Even so, one has to wonder if a single voter in America will be ‘convinced’ by any Convention speaker’s entreatments to vote for Biden, and not for Trump.

You know already very well that Trump belongs in jail — OR you still support him after 3½ years, closing your eyes & ears to the destruction he still sows to this day. 


Here’s a cute picture for caturday, as cat people like to call Saturday.
I don’t know the name of the artist.

Tuesday/ St Patrick’s Day

I would have loved to go out for a beer for St Patrick’s Day, but it will just have to wait. Everyone has to stay home to fight the spread of the epidemic.

P.S. It is also not a happy St Patrick’s Day in Boston for football fans. Tom Brady announced that he is leaving The Patriots.

It’s only Wednesday

• WHO declares COVID-19 disease a pandemic (at last)
• Seattle district schools closed for two weeks, as are gatherings of 250+ people, or smaller – if people are going to be ‘packed in like sardines’
• Italy closed for business (except drug stores & grocery stores)
• Stock market falls further; Boeing stock slumps a stunning 18% just today
• NBA league games cancelled, nationwide
• St Patrick Day’s parades cancelled in Boston & NYC
• Crowds at political rallies cancelled
• Stock market falls further; Boeing stock slumps a stunning 18% just today
• Late Wednesday, Trump read something from the teleprompter in the Oval Office that bans foreigners arriving from Europe for 30 days, excluding the UK

My friends and I debated if we should go out for our Wednesday night beers. In the end we said: let’s go eat, drink and be merry.
Who knows what tomorrow, next week and next month will bring?

Hello, 2020

2020 is a leap year. Not all years divisible by 4 are leap years — centennial years not divisible by 400 are not.
So 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 will not be a leap year.

Black Friday/ dead?

No, not dead, but it’s bleeding all over Thanksgiving week and into Sunday. Some retailers already offered Black Friday sales last week.

There is Black Friday backlash as well. Seattle-based outdoor goods store REI closed its doors today. The company encouraged people to go outside, instead of going to the mall or shopping online. (Yes, I agree outside is better! It was sunny today, but too cold to spend the whole day outside, though).

An eye-catching (at least for me) Black Friday print ad from a newspaper. Oh! I thought at first. It’s a puzzle I have to solve, some sort of code. But no, it’s for a furniture and rug seller.

Sunday/ lots of ‘knuffels’

knuffel [Dutch] (plural knuffels, diminutive knuffeltje)
1. hug, cuddle
2. stuffed toy, plushie, soft toy (stuffed doll)
3. also (stuffed toy): knuffelbeest, knuffeldier

I found these stuffed animals in the Whole Foods grocery store (it’s Amazon-owned) on Westlake Ave. I liked the stuffed alpaca* best, Peruvian blanket on its back and all. The T-rexes at the back, are nice, as well. I’m just not sure they make the same excellent cuddle material as the alpaca. (Scary teeth).

*Llamas have long, banana-shaped ears, so this is not a llama.

A stuffed alpaca, mama & baby sloth, orangutan, and more.
And here’s the inimitable Captain Haddock, getting himself in trouble with a llama, in the Tintin Adventure called ‘Prisoners of the Sun’.

Saturday night

The hurricane is still a threat, but now it looks as if it might crawl up along the Florida panhandle instead of crossing it.

Another mass shooting. It started at a traffic stop, in Odessa, Texas. 5 dead, 21 wounded. I suspect we have one every other day, and not all of them even make the national news anymore.

There was spectacular US Open tennis on TV all day — broadcast from the courts at Flushing Meadows in the northern part of Queens, New York City.

I plan to go to Perth, Australia again for Christmas, and booked a fare on the new non-stop to Perth from Tokyo, on the All Nippon Airlines Boeing 787-8. So no Hong Kong for me this year — not even a stop at the airport.

Monday/ on scuba line duty

Kudos to French astronaut Thomas Pesquet for tweeting this picture from the Adventures of Tintin (it’s from Red Rackham’s Treasure, to be exact) alongside his own picture. The cartoon shows the bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson* doing lifeline duty on the deck of the ship, while Tintin is scuba diving in the water.

*In the French translation they are Dupond and Dupont; in Dutch: Jansen and Janssen; in Afrikaans: Uys and Buys.

Translation of the French text in the cartoon: ‘A fortnight later .. Thomson: Here we are,  pumping as usual … Thompson: As usual …’.

Saturday/ celebrating another birthday

Another birthday is rushing up to me, and we celebrated it on Saturday night at my house.
It did not take long to lose the helium balloon I was given for my birthday, though. (Aw. It became unmoored from where it was tied to the porch rail and floated up, up and away).
While we were outside on the deck, we spent a little time tracking the overhead incoming flights to Seattle-Tacoma airport (just 12 miles to the south of my house as the crow flies).
The nicest of them all was the new Airbus A350-900 (with its quiet twin jet engines) from Cathay Pacific Airlines, directly from Hong Kong, that flew over shortly after 8 pm.

Picture from Sunday morning: flowers & cards from my friends for my birthday .. looking great in my kitchen.