The Big Sleep: A New Read

Started AND finished “The Big Sleep” and…

Big news, my friends! This morning, as I was watering the yard just as the sun rose up over the horizon, I felt cool. I know! It’s so exciting! Fall is coming! The wind blowing across the desert from the south felt cool and damp, bringing up a few goosebumps as I put some water on my poor lilacs. Look at these things!

They just don’t like the summer heat. In the early spring, they get beautifully green and full of leaves and then burst into gorgeous purple bloom, filling my yard with their perfume, but as the summer wears on, they burn up in the harsh sun. I have them on the east side of my house, along a wall so that by 1pm they are in the shade, but no matter how much water I put on them, they still burn up. It’s tragic.

This time of year, with a little bit of monsoon moisture in the air, they start to come back, but I’m thinking about giving up on them. They require so much water and some seasonal attention, bloom only once for about a week, and then they are gone. Maybe I should find them a new home.

That goes for this cherry tree too. It just can’t take the 115 temps and dry summer sun. It’s a waste of resources. The apple tree doesn’t mind the weather. Now if I can get more than one apple to grow on it! I’ve never been much of a gardener. That’s one of the reasons I love the desert. I can move rocks around, rake out the dead leaves, put some metal sculptures around (in my case, old car parts), and then sit back and enjoy the view. I only run into trouble when I try to grow things that don’t belong out here.

Another step toward a more minimalist lifestyle will include a change in what I deliberately grow in my yard. Things that require a lot of water and maintenance will need to go. I’m reserving water for my shade trees alone. I do love spending time playing out there, but that can be done with a rake and gloves, working around the things that naturally grow here. Besides, it leaves me more time to read!

Speaking of which…

the big sleep

I started and finished “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler in five days! I found it in a disappointing used bookstore in Lake Elsinore a few months ago. It’s a classic! Philp Marlowe, the quintessential private eye. If you’re thinking Humphrey Bogart, you got it. I read the first paragraph to my son and he immediately added it to his own ever growing TBR pile.

Lines like, “…the general look of a man it would pay to get along with.” And “The old man dragged his voice up from the bottom of a well and said,” This book is amazing.

A couple of things though. First of all, it rains an awful lot in Los Angeles in this book. Makes me wonder. Did it rain more in the 1930’s or did Raymond Chandler not know LA that well?

And did he invent this genre? Every private detective movie I’ve ever seen is based on these characters, right down to “Who Killed Roger Rabbit?” If I could go back in time to the 1930’s, would I see snippets of these people in real life? Would a real private detective from that time think this author was completely off his rocker?

The Big Sleep was a simple story but it had wonderful twists. There was more than one moment when I yelled out loud, “I knew it! Dude! What were you thinking?” And yes, I have the movie cued up to watch ASAP.

Have you read “The Big Sleep” or others like it? Do you love those old movies as much as I do? Let me know in the comments!

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