Good Vibrations.




I still find jokes like this (above) funny. Sure, 2020 is a mess, but isn’t it a fantastic, glorious, mess?

2020 has been my kind of year, seeing as how in January I turned 64 and thought that life was essentially over, that my days were going to be a boring slide into old, older, and oldest age. But WOW, was I wrong! My 64th year has been so full of interest, personally and historically. I am SO GLAD to be living through this shit with you all!

Come December, as 2020 draws its last breath, we will look back and wonder at ourselves and at our nation and the world, and marvel that we got through it. It will feel like an achievement to have gotten to the end of this year alive, reasonably sane, and with a manageable number of 2020-induced personality flaws.

Of course, I have no idea what America will look like at the dawn of 2021, but my black-hearted, pessimistic, foul-mouthed, misanthropic, and perpetually resentful self has, in my soul, a tiny spark of hope and joy that things will be radically better for people of color, for the working poor, for immigrants, and for us rationalists.

Dear Readers, I’m not drunk or high, but I have been thinking dangerous thoughts and here’s what I think: I think we might be on the brink of a new Enlightenment. I look around at the unrest and the unity of dissent  against institutional racism and exploitative capitalism and I see a growing consensus that this country doesn’t work any more, not for the majority of us citizens, and it’s time to take it back.

I think this because I, Vivian Swift, boring ordinary white lady in her 60s, am flying a Black Life Matters Flag from the front porch of her house in the suburbs and that, my Dear Readers, is a Vivian Swift who, six months ago, I did not know existed.

Lord knows what this Vivian Swift will be up to six months from now.

Our Dear Reader Leslie in southern Florida has been hosting The Stromness Rock this past week, and Leslie knows what I mean when I talk about this being a transformative time to be showing America to a little rock from the Orkney Islands in Scotland:

I think The Rock is trying to tell us that America is a lot for a Scottish pebble to handle right now.

So Leslie let The Rock acclimate to current events by spending a little down-time in the familiar (to The Rock) ambiance of her Welsh dresser among artifacts of loveliness:

Although known as Welsh dressers, this item of kitchen furniture is not unique to Wales. Irish dressers were also common. Dressers from different geographic areas were adapted to local needs. The Scottish Highland dresser, for example, had a porridge drawer — a tin-lined drawer into which hot porridge was poured and left to set. When cold, slices could be cut and taken out by crofters working out on the land.

I, for one, would not be tempted to eat porridge that had aged in a dresser drawer, I’m just saying.

Revived, The Rock was ready to see the local lay of the land. First, a drive-by in Fort lauderdale:

Blustery. This must have made The Rock a teeny bit homesick. The Oarkneys are very windy — in fact, the winds are the outstanding characteristic of the islands. Strong winds year-round are common, but in Winter the average is 52 gales per season.

Leslie and The Rock tried to play Hide-and-Seek in the roots of trees felled by recent hurricanes, but The Rock isn’t good at camouflaging:

“You want to see the Everglades?” asked Leslie.

The Rock responded, “What are the Everglades?”

Everglades National Park is a 1.5-million-acre wetlands preserve on the southern tip of the U.S. state of Florida. Often compared to a grassy, slow-moving river, the Everglades is made up of coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes and pine flatwoods that are home to hundreds of animal species. Among the Everglades’ abundant wildlife are the endangered leatherback turtle, Florida panther and West Indian manatee.

And alligators. There are alligators. In the Everglades. Right behind you.

There are also “cypress knees”, and I looked them up and this is a fact: nobody knows what cypress knees “do”.

The Rock poised on the biggest botanical mystery of them all.

This is what one botanist has to say about cypress knees, which just might be the most enigmatic horticulture  writing I’ve ever come across (and I wrote a book about gardens, so I’ve read more than my fair share about horticulture):

It is surprising, after centuries of interest, how much interpretation is based on field observation, and how little hard data exist on knee anatomy, cellular structure, and physiology. Whatever functions the knees serve must pertain broadly in time, space, and related species.

I don’t even understand that last sentence, but I love the sound of it.

But wait there’s more. Leslie had some horticultural surprises for The Rock in her own backyard:

Right. Those are BANANAS. Growing in the backyard. I’m from Long Island, and bananas growing in one’s backyard is, to me, science fiction.

But wait there’s more. I’ve only read about this, and I’ve longed to see one with my own eyes, so for me this is the high point of The Rock’s adventures in Florida, these two buds from Omicron Ceti III:

The Rock had to stay up late, until after night fall, to see with it’s own non-eyes the amazing Queen of the Night, the Night Blooming Cereus:

WOW. Wow. Wowowowowowowowowowow.

One final dip in the pool . . .

. . . and The Rock was off for further adventures in The Palmetto State.

Stay Tuned.

In the meantime, oh, yeah.

Fuck Trump.

(I’m still basking in the humiliation of Trump’s rally in Tulsa, so indulge me a bit.)



















Seen in a Boston suburb:













If the previous Instagram shot didn’t give you the feels for Gen Z, maybe this will:

And, lastly:

Cats Will Sleep Any Where.

And They Do.





Have a great weekend, Dear Readers. If I am not here on Wednesday blame my dentist. And my utter cowardice when it comes to anything having to do with my dentist. I will be in hiding.

Think good thoughts about where you’ll be when we say Good-bye to 2020.






5 Comments, RSS

  1. Bunny

    Wow, under your tutelage, that rock seems to really have had a good life, travelling the US. My guess is, that before you found it, it had a life like I have now, somewhat quarantined. How else would it make it to dozens of vacation spots across this continent, and others!

    Great blogging this week, both days, I was in stitches. Loved the poster, and Franken’s comment about the attendance at the rally in Tulsa.
    Thank you!

  2. Wow, the Stromness rock is having some serious adventures! I always thought cypress knees help the tree respirate, because cypresses often grow in water and their roots are submerged. That’s what I was told growing up in the ol’ Sunshine State, anyway. (But who knows if it’s true.)

    I remember how happy I was when 2020 dawned and I could say, “A fresh new year! With new possibilities!” Little did we know! I hope 2021 is a whole lot less surprising.

  3. Maryanne was excited that the Rock had arrived! It’s fun to see the Florida adventures, though the alligator I’m not so sure about!

    Good luck at the dentist. My dentist told me not to come for awhile, even though the office is open and they aren’t polishing teeth or using the aerosol thing. He said to come in three months. Maybe he knows something my pulmo doesn’t as he said, ‘It’s going to start getting bad again in September.” Like it isn’t bad enough now? In Lansing, a bunch of kids went to a bar (sounds like the start of a joke, doesn’t it?). There are now over 75 Covid cases connected to that bar — and who knows how many to come. We went from a green state to a red one. (Covid-wise, not politically, at least I hope we’re still blue!).

    Good laughs today and thanks for the sleeping cats.

  4. Leslie

    Here’s another weird thing about Florida: the further south you go, the further north you get. The Rock was such a good guest. I miss it’s grounding presence., and keep it’s picture in the Welsh dresser. Thanks for sharing. On another note, I did enjoy Nancy Pelosi referring to the President as what’s-his-name. (-:

  5. Nice to see the traveling rock and that flower, WOW! Loved seeing the cat pictures too.
    Good luck with the dentist, I am with trepidation getting my teeth cleaned on Monday. If I knew the pandemic would be over soon I would postpone until it is over, but I have a feeling it won’t be anytime soon. Oh Yes!
    Tulsa and those crazies that make signs and can’t even spell. It is a crazy world out there this year, but hoping 2021 there will be great celebrations and a sigh of relief.

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