NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT – Marilyn Armstrong

Maybe getting old isn’t all that bad, now that you mention it.

There was a question on my local Facebook page asking for suggestions about local pediatricians. I suddenly realized I don’t actually know any pediatricians. Not a single one. I don’t know where to buy Pampers and I haven’t had to get up at dawn to make sure I get the kid on the bus in the middle of January when it’s 10 below zero. No more making dawn sandwiches or buying pounds of bologna, cheese, and sandwich bags.

My son is 49 and my granddaughter is 21, so I guess it shouldn’t be a big surprise, but it was. Because I don’t exactly remember when I slipped free of worrying about kid stuff. As long as Kaity was a child, it remained part of my world.

Now … it’s finished. Whatever worrying I do, it’s about my adult son and grownup granddaughter.

I’m not worried about the routes for school buses or looking for a great playground. Or wondering how many pairs of shoes the child will need this year. I am not wrapped in the world of children anymore.

Do I miss it?

Are you kidding?

I won’t be packing lunch or overseeing homework assignments. I will not have to listen to the kid lying about how he or she did the homework during study hall, trying to decide whether or not to call him or her on it, or just say “screw it” and move on.

The only bus in town

What is more, I don’t need to update my résumé. I won’t be commuting to a distant office or planning a vacation based around a two-week vacation. Given our finances, I might not get any vacation, but I don’t really need a long vacation, though I wouldn’t mind one should one wander this way.

I will probably only set my alarm a dozen times during the coming year and that will be a dozen times too many.

There are worse things than being old and I think going to work is one of them.

Retirement. Way to go!

MAYLOWERS OF MASSACHUSETTS – Marilyn Armstrong

MAYFLOWER – Flower of the Day

One of the great things about using the internet is learning stuff. Cee mentioned that Columbine is Colorado’s state flower … which made me wonder what our Massachusetts’ state flower might be.

Mayflowers

Turns out to be the Mayflower. Yes, just like the name of the boat that landed in Plymouth. Though I’m pretty sure it didn’t land on the rock or it would have crashed, so I’m assuming they anchored and went ashore in a more normal way.

Mayflowers – in May!

Meanwhile, though, I have tons of Mayflowers in our yard. They are wild, so they cover the grass, usually together with our first flock of dandelions. It makes a very pretty purple and yellow carpet in the early part of spring.

More Mayflowers
I was told that this is another kind of Mayflower

Late April typically, though it was May this year because of the cold weather that wouldn’t leave. Not to mention the wind, rain, sleet, and snow. Or, what we like to call “our miserable weather.”

Mayflowers
Mayflowers and pink-eyed grass

Nothing stops those wildflowers, though. We didn’t get the usually thatch of dandelions and Mayflower, but we got them. This time, fewer dandelions and more Mayflowers.

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE FLOWER CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE FLOWER CHALLENGE

Chrysanthemum
Orchids
Daisy

Zinnias

DOG TAG MEMORIES by CHRIS DONNER – for Memorial Day

For all those who served, a good remembering post. Thank you!

Cee and Chris

Dog tags.  For years they were always with me.  Day and night, dangling over my heart.  I don’t know what became of them once I took off my uniform for the last time.  I kept them for a while but they were lost somewhere, some time ago, in a move from here to there.  

Mine were from the Vietnam era, the 1960s and 70s.  We didn’t have the fancy silencers on ours that they have today, those little coverings around the edges that keep them quiet.  Ours did tend to clink together, easily giving away your position if you were trying to be stealthy.

They always give you two of them, you know.  One stays with your body and the other goes back for the identification record.

I’m mentioning all of this because in the United States, we are going to celebrate Memorial Day this weekend.  I know many…

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GUILTY – BUT WAS I CHARGED? Marilyn Armstrong

BROUGHT UP GUILTY

To be brought up Jewish is to be brought up guilty. I think Catholics have a similar problem. We are guilty of different things, however. Catholics have the whole “sin” thing to deal with. Jews get to be guilty about all of Our People who were slaughtered in various parts of the world because they were Jews in the wrong country at the wrong political period.

Hofstra University 2014

Often, for us, there was no right period. Until relatively modern times — minus Nazi Germany, of course — Jews were anathema to most Christian monarchies.

And all the countries were monarchies. We did our best for the long years under Islāmic rule. They were fine with Jews as long as we didn’t tread on their religious sensibilities and tiptoeing through other religious ideologies is a very Jewish thing. We got lots of practice.

When I married my first husband, he had no religion. I mean literally none. They didn’t attend any church and I doubt anyone had ever been baptized. Jeff thought he might be a Druid and planned to return as an oak tree. I was a non-practicing Jew. So we got married by a minister that his mother remembered had buried some family member.

We didn’t have a real wedding. No church or synagogue. No wedding gown. Just a little get together with a minister (Methodist, I think) and a few friends. A couple of weeks later, my mother had a reception at their house, which was nice because it was casual. We didn’t need fancy invitations. After which, we got on with the business of being married.

Our house in Baka, in Jerusalem

So, when Owen was about to be born, we had to figure out what to do about religion. We didn’t have any and neither of us were believers in dogma. I had a friend who was also a rabbi and he said he was not a believer in pediatric Judaism.

Neither were we, so we just didn’t do anything … except we had Owen circumcised which gave him a whole set of Jewish godparents … then we had him Baptized and Garry became his godfather. And that is why Owen’s middle name is Garry.

The Dead Sea

When Jeff and I divorced and I took Owen to Israel, it seemed a good time for him to be Jewish, so he had a Bar Mitzvah there, at the only Reform synagogue in Jerusalem.

He got a 6-year dose of Jewish guilt, but then he went back to the U.S. and forgot all about religion.

I got to keep the guilt. He got to be American.

Summer afternoon on the Mumford

Guilt can be a mother’s best weapon to manage recalcitrant children, by the way. Owen may not remember much Judaism, but he sure does remember guilt. Not bad at using it himself, now that I think of it.

DONE! Marilyn Armstrong

We are perpetually in a state of “it’ll get finished any day now.” Everything seems to be in process. Getting rid of the mice. Getting the car appraised — forget about actually repaired. The appraiser actually showed up today, two full weeks since I reported the accident.

But you should see it from the back!

“Wow,” he said. “Someone really smacked that corner.”

“Yes,” I said. “They did.”

“Did you get a picture?”

“I was in the store. I didn’t see anything. I have a lot of cameras, but they don’t help much when you aren’t there.”

He will get back to me. In a day or two. I’m not holding my breath.

Painted!

Then Owen came today and put a second coat on the inside of the front door. We still need new  trim, outside and inside, but at long last, it’s fully painted. Just to really make my day, Owen also mowed the back lawn.

He said “Your back lawn looks like a wheat field.”

No kidding. You think?

Lawnmower and Owen – scything the wheat field!

It’s not elegant, but it’s something resembling flat and he got rid of a lot of the broken pieces of trees that fell during the big storms we’ve had. As far as the chimney goes, that’s not happening soon.

It’s not badly damaged and I’m out of money. Moreover, Garry’s surgery and rehab is going to take up a lot of the summer. But at least we are moving along. Forward into the future!

The last lilac

So now we have a painted front door! Imagine that! In and out, painted! We have nearly killed off or forced evacuation of thousands of mice. The ants are gone.

Did I mention the contractor came and replaced the front of the house and the window? And he did a great job. Neat, clean, perfect. Nice to get good work from a competent contractor. I would hire him again, if I ever actually have any money to hire anyone. Ever.

I like it so much, I feel i should get them ALL replaced. How I wish I could.

We still need to get the car repaired, but we’ll get there. One step at a time. One step, two steps, three steps and a frantic run to home base.

BECOMING A POLITICAL PESSIMIST – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I used to look forward to reading the news. I know it sounds crazy, but every day I looked forward to reading about another advance in the Mueller investigation. It seemed to be moving inexorably toward its ultimate goal – the exposure of the crimes of Trump, his campaign and his family.

In my fantasy world, there would be a day of reckoning. Trump would be forced to resign or would be impeached. We’d get to watch all the shady characters around Trump get their comeuppance. Justice and the rule of law would be restored. And all this before the 2018 midterm elections!

Mueller is my only hope that something so cataclysmic will be revealed that even the soulless, spineless, amoral Republicans will throw up their hands and say “This is enough! We’re out!”

Unfortunately, my fantasy world is crumbling around me. The forces of evil seem to be winning – or at least not losing. Instead of anticipating exciting news from Mueller’s probe every day, I dread the day I’m going to read that Ron Rosenstein has been fired and that the Mueller investigation has been terminated. I know it’s coming. It’s just a question of when and how.

Once Mueller is gone, I’ll have nothing positive to look forward to politically except the 2018 elections. And they are too far away to get my blood boiling yet. Without my daily dose of hope from Mueller, I have nothing to blunt the impact of three and a half more years of a Trump Presidency. That is truly depressing.

I also don’t put too much hope for salvation on the upcoming elections. Even if the Democrats win the House of Representatives in November, they can impeach but they can’t convict and remove Trump from office. Only the Senate can do that with 67 votes – way more than the Democrats can even dream of winning.

So, barring a thunderbolt from Mueller, and soon, I can’t foresee anything keeping Trump from serving out his full term. And the damage he can do in three and a half more years is mind blowing!I feel for the country and fear for our democracy. I cringe at the thought of what this country will look like after four full years of a Trump Presidency.

I’m also selfish. How will I get through each day of Trump without a total moral and emotional breakdown? What will I cling to each day to get me through to the next? I can try to avoid the news. But for me, that can only last for a few days. I’m addicted and so is my husband. He’s even worse than I am.

Maybe after November, it will be enough for me to watch a Democratic House pummel Trump and renew criminal investigations into him and his merry band. Maybe that will be enough to keep me sane. Maybe it will be gratifying enough to watch the inevitable decline of the Republican Party. Maybe that will keep my spirits up.

Maybe watching Trump squirm under a Democratic thumb will brighten my days.

Who knows what will have happened by the time November rolls around? I pray it will be something with which I can maintain my equilibrium until the next national election.