Friday, March 27, 2020

Life in the time of the coronavirus

I was supposed to be in Phoenix, Arizona last week for the Desert Botanical Garden's big plant sale—think thousands upon thousands of plants to choose from! The day before my flight, however, I decided not to go because the reported number of coronavirus cases was growing exponentially and the risk of getting infected at the airport, on the plane, in the hotel, or elsewhere in public seemed too great. In hindsight, that proved to be the right decision because the Desert Botanical Garden ended up canceling the plant sale and California governor Gavin Newsom ordered all residents to shelter in place.

Before we were able to hunker down in Davis, my wife and I made a quick down-and-back trip to Southern California to pick up daughter #2 from college. All her spring quarter classes were moved online, and students were encouraged to leave the dorms.

The freeways were eerily empty. Mostly trucks—actually, a lot of trucks!


And social distancing messages all along the freeways:



We made it to Irvine in a record 7 hours. Traffic was light even on the notorious 405, the “busiest and most congested freeway in the United States.” Usually we go to great lengths to either hit the 405 early in the morning or avoid it altogether, but this time it was smooth sailing both coming and going.

During our brief overnight stay in Irvine, there was no time for anything plant-related but I did take this photo of an Agave americana while picking up takeout—proof that there are agaves wherever you go:


Back at home, I've been extremely busy with work. Since our clients are in the software industry, there's been a mad scramble to get out COVID-19 messages to customers, reassuring them of continued service, etc. And on the weekend, there's nothing better to take my mind off the gloom and doom than a bad movie: 


Ultimately, though, the one thing that keeps me sane is the garden. Nothing bad is happening there. Quite the opposite: Unexpected sightings of beauty, like these flowers on a Thelocactus rinconensis var. lophothele, bring joy when I least expect it.


The biggest thing that happened over the last two weeks, however, is the addition of a new family member. Meet Tofu!


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12 comments:

  1. Gorgeous cactus flower. They are rainbow glassine.

    Glad you had a safe trip there and back to retrieve Daughter.

    Just before lockdown the nearby Lowe's to UCI had stunning big Echinocereus with 4" flower buds--I was tempted but no way could I lift one of them with one hand.

    Best wishes to you and your family! Stay safe.

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    1. I wish I could have visited you, but not a good idea considering the circumstances. Next time for sure.

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  2. Glad daughter #2 is home. How about #1? Nothing like garden blooms to brighten the day. Winter is still here but have been reading a ton of gardening books, ordering plants and seeds online and watching lots of Youtube Gardener's World. Very motivated to get outdoors. Stay healthy.

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    1. Daughter #2 is sheltering in place in Victoria, BC. All her friends are there.

      I can't wait to be outside in the garden on the weekend!

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  3. How did that movie turn out? Gorgeous cactus flower, and just the thing to lift the spirits.

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    1. LOL, to be honest, that movie sounds soooo terrible that I haven't watched it yet. Maybe if/when things get REALLY bad.

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  4. Glad you got in and out of Socal safely. I am obsessing about the first trip I will make when this damn thing is over. No travel is so hard-but not being sick makes up for it.

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  5. I had to double check the date to ensure that it isn't April Fool's Day - is that movie for real?

    I'm sorry you missed out on the plant sale but I'm glad your trip to and from Irvine was tolerable. I'm almost tempted to get on the 405 just to experience a traffic-free ride. Simple pleasures now mean a lot! I bagged a roll of paper towels today only because the couple in front of me at the market had 2 in their cart and the store allowed one to a customer. The checker allowed me to put the confiscated roll in with my order. Maybe I'll win a package of toilet paper or a container of disinfecting wipes next time!

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    1. Too true! Feels like you have won the lottery.

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    2. That movie is for real. If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch it yourself. I love bad movies, but they have to be good in their badness. This one sounds too awful even for me!

      Will we ever look at toilet paper or disintecting wipes the same way again???

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  6. I had that sale calendared as well and was so looking forward to a small roadtrip. So weird who's busy workwise and who's not! Hopefully all that work will pay for a big vacation -- when vacations are allowed again. Glad to hear the family is safe.

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