Back from the mountains, from the north land. Out of 9 days away, 4 were spent entirely in the car. We drove most of the day today and are exhausted. We need to rethink how we take vacations, how much driving we do. How close together we do long drives. 


I am not going back to posting three or four times a day. Garry commented I didn’t seem to be having fun anymore. He’s right. It has become a job. Serendipity has eaten my life.


So I’ve pulled back … and my stats are falling like a rock. Apparently, there’s a direct correlation between how much new material I post and how much traffic I get. So be it. I guess I’ll have to make do with less traffic. Because if I can’t do less, I’m going to quit entirely.


Vacation is a good time to ponder how I spend my time. I realized I spend all my time with the computer in my lap. The only time I’m not hooked up is when I’m physically out of the house, asleep, or cooking. I shouldn’t be surprised my wrists and shoulders hurt.


So … what?

I love comments. I’ll answer comments, but if I don’t answer you every time, it’s not because I don’t care. There aren’t enough hours in my day to keep up this pace. I’ll visit your blogs when I can, but I won’t make myself crazy trying to visit everyone everyday.


I’ll write if I have something to say. Post pictures when I’ve got something worth displaying. It will depend on the season, my mood, and what else is going on. Probably I’ll post more in the winter when I’m stuck in the house anyhow, less in nice weather.

So what do you guys think? Am I being unfair? Unrealistic?

I have stopped visiting bloggers who never visit me. That was easy. I don’t expect daily visits, but never isn’t enough. Never is actually insulting.


I wish I could give everyone a boost. I know you want me to look at your site because you drop links in my comments. Which would be okay if it weren’t obvious you haven’t read me. Or even looked at the pictures.


Blogging — especially over the long haul — is a lot of work. it means keeping at it when you are sick, tired, and you don’t feel remotely creative. It takes determination, patience, and time to write and edit. I’m slower than most people to fully develop an idea. Even slower to edit.

My pictures aren’t just snapshots. I seek pictures and locations … because there are only so many pictures I can take of my backyard before even I don’t want to look at them.

Then I download, review, and finally, process. I don’t do a lot of processing, but I do the basics. Even so, it takes time. Merely reviewing a hundred or so pictures — the output of a typical outing — is a day’s work. I’m often still plugging away at it when everyone else is watching a movie or asleep.

72-oil-yellow-bouqet_05 macro


don’t accept web chain-letter awards. It doesn’t matter what you call the award. Or who is giving it.

Anything that requires I annoy fellow bloggers, most of whom also won’t accept so-called awards, is spam. If you feel compelled to distribute them, send them to someone who has not up front stated he or she does not accept awards. Please: take “no” for an answer. If I say thank you, but no … nagging is just going to piss me off.


So there you have it. It will be interesting to see who keeps visiting. I’ll do the best I can for all of you, but it’s time for a change and I am determined to make it stick.


Yes, I’m going to keep doing it. Because it’s fun. And blogging is supposed to be fun. Expect a new one this Wednesday, September 23rd.


Marilyn Armstrong:

This has been a big week for awards. Maybe it’s something in the air, or maybe it’s just the flipping of the calendar. This one, from Sue Vincent — who, like me, doesn’t accept awards. So from one award non-accepter to another, thanks Sue. I’m honored and I’m touched.

Originally posted on Daily Echo:

 Benjamin Prewitt Art by Benjamin Prewitt

No, I know I don’t usually accept blogging awards these days. But it is a holiday… which means it is a time for not doing usual things. It is also the start of a new year, which makes it a perfect time to look at some of the things that have inspired me over the last one… and share the work of just a few of the people who write on WordPress.

And anyway… I couldn’t refuse Seumas and his cheeky Glaswegian twinkle….

If your blog is on the list and you accept awards, the guidelines are below. If you don’t accept awards… and you don’t have to… then take the nomination simply as a token of my appreciation.

Picking just a few is a near impossible task given the sheer scope of those to choose from! Especially as Seumas has already nabbed one or two…

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Marilyn Armstrong:

Although I no longer accept awards, I felt I needed to say thank you in some way for this lovely honor. I really do appreciate the gesture and I am sincerely grateful that you chose me :-)

Originally posted on soul n spirit:

index1Better late than never……Before its too late let me take this opportunity to thank my friend and fellow blogger Saya…D..Poet fornominating me forSisterhood of the world Award.  Since I was off blogging for a week and couldn’t get time to do the needful therefore today I am here to show my gratitude to her. It is always good to get acknowledged for your work and when it comes from your friends it is worth all the more.

Here are the questions she asked:-

Name a moment till now which has brought on tears of sadness or gratitude or happiness etc.

ME: When my elder son was born….I was the happiest soul having tears of joy in my eyes. 

Have you felt an incomplete feeling as to what you are doing is not enough? If yes, what did you do?

ME: I pray whenever feel incomplete. God…

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Pointing the Way toward Excellence…..

Marilyn Armstrong:

I try to avoid awards and nominations. This is a new one and at least it doesn’t ask a lot of silly personal questions. If anyone is feeling like being nominated for this rather attractive award, free to contact me by email. Meanwhile, thank you SwittersB for thinking of me and excellence in the same sentence. I try :-)

Originally posted on SwittersB & Exploring:

little bear-smiling bear-wood carving-photography-East L.-Oregon-SwittersBI am sincerely pleased to acknowledge a nomination from Aquiliana at the enormously popular La Audacia de Aquiles for the Excellence Blog Award. Audacia de Aquiles is a most fascinating journey into Greek Mythology, history and the underpinnings to Western Civilization. Always fascinating to visit and learn. Thank you so very much Aquiliana!!! Gosh, I hope I got those vowels right.

As is consistent with the awards, I am to pass on this award to ten or so worthy creators and point the way to their site. There are so many wonderful bloggers out there and each award provides me the gift to point toward those amazing minds. With this award, you are kindly spared knowing the minutiae about SwittersB, so let me immediately point the way to my selections for the Excellence in Blogging Award.

Candy Canes Holly


Candy Canes Lites

Circadian Reflections   Gossamer Threads   Storyteller   Fabulous 50’s …

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Achievement — Have you just run 26.2 miles, finished a long-term project, or met a personal goal? This week, show us an achievement.

My best achievement seems to be staying alive, but my husband, Garry Armstrong, has won a few awards in his day, Most recently — and memorably — was his induction into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame last September 12, 2013.

It was a well-earned recognition for a lifetime of public service as a television news reporter and journalist.

A fantastic day!



The silencing of Linda Ronstadt, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

All through the 1970’s, you could not leave your transistor radio on for long without hearing the distinctive voice of Linda Ronstadt.  She emerged from her early time with The Stone Poneys from the mid 60’s as broke, from paying for much of their third and final album, but with a solo career emerging.  Her cover of Mike Nesmith’s “Different Drum” became a hit and she was on her way.

After assembling a strong group of musicians and friends, she went ahead with both covers of songs from the 50’s and 60’s as well as some new songs.  The combination brought her hit after hit and made her one of the best-selling female artists of all time.  She posted 10 top ten songs and one of her hottest was a cover of the Little Anthony and the Imperials song, Hurt So Bad,” which peaked in 1980.

In a career that lasted until 2011, Ronstadt sold over 100 million records and her voice can be heard on an astounding 120 albums.  She has an impressive collection of awards, including 11 Grammys.  She remained popular until her retirement in 2011 when she declared herself “100 per cent retired.”  While some walk away from their careers as they get older, it is always somewhat of a surprise when a famous person retires.  You really expect them to come back at some point.  That was never going to happen for Ronstadt.

She could no longer sing.  She was physically unable.  In 2012 she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and in August 2013 the news was stated publically.  Her induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame came too late in her career.  In April 2014, the disease progressed to the point where she could not perform at her induction, or even attend.  Her friends took her place on stage, singing out her biggest hits in tribute.

In July, President Obama handed out twelve 2013 National Medals of Arts and Humanities, including one for Linda Ronstadt.  This honor was not to be denied to her.  She was brought to Washington and wheeled into the East Room by a military aide, but she stood and walked up to the President of the United States to receive her award “for her one-of-a-kind voice and her decades of remarkable music.”  After the ceremony President Obama admitted to the crowd,  “I told Linda Ronstadt I had a crush on her back in the day.”  It’s OK to admit that.  Millions of others boys did too.



freshly-pressed-circle3x3I got Freshly Pressed last January. Since then, I’ve put some time into figuring out why I didn’t get it earlier — and why I finally got it after all. And why I’m unlikely to get it again.

1. Freshly Pressed is not an award for general excellence. It’s not an award for your blog. It is an individual award for a specific post. The posts that win are almost always in response to a Weekly Challenge — and happen to grab the attention of one or more editors.

2. You can write superb content every day, year after year. But if you don’t respond to the weekly challenges and/or don’t write something that makes an editor’s brain go jingle-jangle, you will never be Freshly Pressed. Think of it this way: WordPress supports millions of bloggers. The editors can’t scan them all. The challenges give them a manageable number of posts to consider. If you don’t participate, you are unlikely to get noticed. It really isn’t personal.

3. What the editors think is special will probably not be what you consider your best work. I’m embarrassed at the post that got me Freshly Pressed. It isn’t — in my opinion — my finest work, nor is it representative of my writing in general. I don’t even like it. That’s why I haven’t linked it to my Freshly Pressed badge. Many other awardees feel the same way. What inspires an editor versus what inspires you can be very different.

4. Alternate theories: You don’t write as well as you think you do. You use a lot of texting abbreviations (WTF, LOL, IMHO etc.) instead of real words. You don’t understand grammar, don’t use the spell-checker, and don’t punctuate sentences. You write to a very narrow audience and your high school classmates are probably the only people who know what you are talking about. Sometimes, the problem is you, but no one wants to hurt your feelings by telling you.

Before I got Freshly Pressed, I had no idea why a blogger did or didn’t win. It has taken me all the time between getting the nod and now to figure it out.

Why I Doubt I’ll Get It Again

These days, I rarely like the weekly writing challenges, so I usually don’t participate. I check them out, but if the prompt leaves me underwhelmed or uninspired, I don’t do it.

It’s Nice To Be Recognized, But It Doesn’t Change Anything

I got my badge and rather than making me feel rewarded for my best work, I realized it was totally random. My best work is never going to be recognized because it isn’t written in response to the weekly challenge. It won’t make some editors brain go BING!

If You Really, Really Want To Be Freshly Pressed

For those of you who wonder how come you write so much and so well — yet never get the editors to notice you, this is the answer. Stop writing what you feel like writing and start writing what they want to read. It’s also possible that your style is just not what they’re looking for. It isn’t a judgment of your writing and again — it isn’t personal. Consider that William Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe would probably not have made an editor’s brain tingle. Blogging is what it is and has its own parameters.


The best part of winning is having the badge to display on your site. It’s like getting into an exclusive country club, then realizing you don’t play tennis, don’t like the food and have little use for the other members. You can brag about membership, but you don’t really want to go there and hang out.