When I think about my passport, I am hit by an instant wave of anxiety.

Where is it? Can I get my hands on it quickly? I can’t even remember when I needed it. We haven’t even gone into Canada in recent years. Yet the idea of “passport” makes my palms sweat.

It’s our political climate.  What if we have to make a run for the border? Nothing yet, but you never can tell. It could happen. Any time.


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – March 24, 2017

It’s convenient and fortunate when this prompt coincides with a recent road trip. It wasn’t a long trip. About three hours from our house to Tom and Ellin’s place in Connecticut and an easy drive. Only one city to cross — Hartford — and that’s usually easy unless you get there exactly at rush hour. We didn’t and it was a smooth way down. 

Highway bridge

Lots of talking and hanging about. Some good, old-fashioned table-thumping ranting — a good way to let off some steam. And Garry discovered the miracle that is virtual reality. You’d think I’d love virtual reality because I love amusement parks and rides, but for me that experience is shared. It’s not a “me with me” experience. It’s doing it then being able to talk about it with the other kids who were playing there too.

We didn’t go out much, probably because it was raining and sleeting for two out of three days. Of course the day we went home was glorious, as is today. Oh well.

Trucks heading into darkness

Driving home — starting later than usual — was no big deal. Nothing special until we were almost home. The sun had been swinging to setting down for the night, but at about four thirty, everything turned gold. The gray naked trees turned bright gold. They looked like deep autumn trees. The combination of the shadows and the sunlight were absolutely amazing.

Clouds and home ahead

I’ve been in the presence of golden light a few times. Once, at sundown, on our street, facing almost due west into the lowering sun. Another late afternoon on the Mumford river. The sun was gold, the trees were amber from the very end of autumn and the light hit the water and turned it to molten gold. This was similar but it lasted much longer. It was first pale yellow and deepened for close to an hour. By the time we were within a mile of home, we had to pull off the road and take pictures.

I’m sure there is someone out there who knows what causes light to change color? Particles in the air? Some odd configuration of a falling sun and the shape and form of the clouds? Reflections of amber leaves on the last of the Autumn trees? It is a remarkable event for the human eye. I may never find myself in that ring of glowing gold again, but I won’t so easily forget it.


Ellin wrote a blog on that same topic as this and it follows immediately right here. We didn’t plan on doing. it. We both came up with the same idea separately.  Two takes on the same theme.

Last night my wife and I watched “Galaxy Quest.” It’s one of our favorite movies. We’ve seen it so many times we can both recite the dialogue with the actors. We hadn’t planned on watching it. We have a ton of shows and movies we haven’t seen clogging up our DVR. We only meant to watch a minute or so because we just got a new TV and I wanted to see how it looked on a better screen. Then the movie was ending. Ellin and I looked at each other and said “I can’t believe we just watched the whole movie again”. But we both had smiles on our faces.

Then I noticed something.

Ellin hadn’t looked at her phone once for more than two hours. Lately she — like most of us — is constantly reading news about the latest insanity coming out of the White House and Congress. It’s become an obsession. I find myself saying more and more to her while we’re watching TV at night, “Put the phone down! This is your favorite show!”

Most of the time, I’m guilty of doing the same thing.


I’ve realized to keep our sanity, we need to set aside a few hours each day and NOT READ THE NEWS. Do anything else. Watch your favorite TV show. Watch a movie, read a book. Take a walk. If you have a fireplace, light a fire. Stare at it for a while.

I can give you a few suggestions of shows you might want to check out. My favorite shows are ones I call “Too Hip For The Room.” These are shows that didn’t get great ratings, or slipped under the radar. Not that many people watched them, but they were fantastic shows. People didn’t watch them because they were put on at the wrong time slot, or people didn’t understand what the show was supposed to be.

These are some of my favorites.

Firefly. BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHOW EVER! To this day, it has a following that rivals Star Trek. It got canceled because the moronic suits at Fox had no idea what they had. How much of a fan am I? I named my boat “Serenity.” After the ship on the show.

Powerless. There’s a show now on NBC TV. It’s an office comedy, but takes place in the DC comic universe.

It’s not about Batman, Superman, or the Flash. It’s about normal people who live in the cities where super heroes and super villains routinely destroy property. It’s a common occurrence to leave work, walk to your car, and watch a bus fall on it because a super battle is going on nearby. The show centers on an R&D group working for a company owned by Wayne Enterprises.

The boss is Bruce Wayne’s cousin. A rich idiot who wants nothing more than to get to work at the main building over in Gotham City. They make products to help people survive the DC Universe. My favorite, an “Anti-Joker Venom Epi-Pen.” Don’t leave home without it. The show is Better Off Ted — with super heroes.

Better Off Ted is on Netflix. Also an office comedy. Ted is head of an R&D division for a large multi-national corporation called Veridian Dynamics. They make everything from food to military weapons. Anybody who has ever worked for a large corporation will love this.


In one of my favorite episodes, the company removes all the motion sensors that open doors, turn on lights and turn on the water fountains. They replace them with new sensors that don’t recognize motion. Instead, they recognize people. Unfortunately, there’s a glitch in the system. It doesn’t recognize black people. Suddenly all the black employees can’t get in or out of their offices. They’re all in the dark and the water fountains don’t work. When Ted suggests to his boss they put the old system back, he is told it would cost too much money. And upper management never admits that they did anything wrong. So instead, they first install manually operated water fountains. Just for the black folks. This doesn’t go over very well.

Next they come up with the idea of hiring young minimum wage white people to follow all the black people around. This works until the HR Department points out that to avoid company anti-discrimination rules, you have to hire a low wage young black person for every low wage white person. But of course, when you do that you have to hire another low wage white person for the new low wage black person.

Ted saves the day by pointing out to senior management that under this current plan, they would be employing every person on Earth in just under one month. They didn’t have enough employee parking space for that many people. So they switched back to the old system.


Father Of The Pride is on Netflix. This was a cartoon which originally aired on NBC at 8PM during the height of the Bush Administration when the 8 pm was the ultimate “kid friendly” hour. It was one of the first TV shows done by DreamWorks Animation, the same people who did Shrek. Each episode cost over a million dollars to make. And it was not for kids. It was basically a sitcom.

It takes place in the animal compound owned by Siegfried and Roy in Las Vegas. The main characters were a family of lions who performed in the show. John Goodman was the voice of the lead character. The show shot a full season of episodes, but it was pulled after the fourth episode. Why? Well, in that episode the parents find a vase in their house with a plastic baggie full of catnip taped to bottom.

They immediately think it belongs to their teenage daughter. She’s a “nipper.” She denies it. The parents then go on to accidentally end up eating some “nip-laced sausages” and get ridiculously stoned. It’s any episode of “The Honeymooners” or “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Just with animated animals. And drugs.  Oh and it turns out the catnip belongs to the Grandpa. Played by Carl Reiner. They eventually ran all but two of the episodes, but during off-ratings time periods.

Check them out. You’ll have a good time and forget about reality for few hours. Oh, and don’t forget those late night comedy shows! They are on a roll!

Or you could just light a fire and watch it glow.


If you follow the news these days, you may not be the happiest of campers. In fact, many informed people are reporting increased levels of anxiety and depression. A sense of impending doom coupled with abject helplessness. Unspecified dread and existential angst.

The usual suggestion for combating these negative feelings, is to avoid the news. Entirely. That doesn’t work for me. Staying informed gives me a small sense of control. Besides, my anxiety would conjure scenarios in Washington far worse than what’s actually happening.

I think a better approach is to find things in your daily life that give you pleasure. Small doses of unmitigated joy can counter a shitload of negativity. Your body relaxes. Your face breaks into a smile. You are flooded with endorphins. Your mind registers happiness and relaxation, even for a short while. For me, those moments recharge me and give me perspective. Not everything in the world is bleak and scary.

There are many things I do to give myself that rush of positive energy. For example, last night my husband and I watched one of our favorite movies – “Galaxy Quest,” with Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver. It’s a humorous take-off on the Star trek TV series. We know it so well, we can recite some of the dialogue along with the actors. That in itself is a hoot! We smiled and laughed all the way through the movie for the 99th time.

Another sure-fire feel good movie for us is “When Harry Met Sally.” Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. I beam from ear to ear when I watch that one, which I do at least once a year. Everyone has movies like that. Find yours and enjoy them to the fullest.

Another reliable happiness fix for me is watching my dogs play. The unbridled joy of two dogs wrestling and chasing each other is truly healing. If you don’t have a dog, go to a dog park or look up ‘dogs playing’ on YouTube. Kittens playing should create the same effect if you’re more of a cat person.

Here’s something everyone can do. I have filled my house, like many people have, with art and decorative objects. I get joy from walking around and looking at my favorite things. Some give me pleasure because they are so beautiful or are special because of the memories they evoke – often when or where I acquired them. Many have an emotional connection because they belonged to, or were a gift from, a loved family member or friend. Others evoke memories of another time in my life, sometimes as far back as childhood.

Take the time to enjoy and appreciate the special artifacts in your life too.

None of these are any kind of permanent solution to the ennui we are feeling, but taking control of your emotions — even for a short — time is empowering. And it does put the goings-on in Washington in perspective.

Presumably our daily lives will not be affected today or tomorrow by whatever the Trump administration or Congress is doing at the moment. There will be more than enough time to panic if we are personally screwed by the government’s actions.

In the meantime, take a few deep breaths and enjoy what you can, when you can, as often as you can.

For Tom’s answer to the same question, see his piece on THIS link!


We had a great time. We really did. We talked and ate and watched stuff on television and Garry discovered the joy of virtual reality. It was terrific.

We were away three days and I have so many emails in my inbox, I can safely say I will never get to them. It is mass-delete time. I have to start fresh or I will be buried, never to emerge.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

While we were driving home, the sky turned gold. It was something else. The tops of all the winter trees changed color too. It’s difficult taking pictures in the car. Windshield and all that, not to mention the annoying habit the dashboard has of popping up. But it got so remarkable, Garry pulled off the road, grabbed the camera and jumped out to take few more.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

A very golden welcome home for us and a good thing. According to our weather forecasters, this is going to be the only sunny day for the week. Even a hint of snow is predicted by Friday. Spring will come. I have faith.

Garry and I have a lot of stuff to do in the next few weeks. Every now and again, the rest of life catches up with us. This is one of those times. Meanwhile, a few really pretty pictures from the road home. Don’t they look like autumn trees? They are actually fir trees topped with gold from the sun as it was setting.


“Yesterday is another country, all borders are closed.”


It was a wonderful piece of dialogue from “MidSomer Murders.” In the episode, Chief Inspector Barnaby is questioning a murder suspect about his whereabouts the previous day. The suspect tries to dodge the questions with thinly veiled irony. “Yesterday, Chief Inspector, is another country. All borders are closed.” Barnaby ultimately opens the borders and nails the suspect. Still, I liked the perp’s style.

Now that the new year is ending its first quarter, many folks would prefer not to think about the last year. Here, in the United States, many of us think of 2016 as another country with all borders closed. We don’t want to recall the epic long Presidential campaign and the result. Regardless, we’re in it now — and it’s every bit the nightmare we feared.

Reality bites. It has fangs, claws, and power in congress. Reality is taking a big ugly chunk our of our flanks this time around.

Our yesterdays are always subject to border closings, depending on how we remember them. I often write about legendary people I’ve met in my professional life. Those are pleasant stories to recount.

There are parts of my past I choose not to share. Those borders have remained closed. Rich Paschall, a fellow blogger on Serendipity, wrote a touching piece about heroes and icons we lost last year.  It jogged my mind to return to this piece that I began writing last week. Thanks, Rich!

A lot of the borders to yesterday are closed because we don’t want to revive the memories. I certainly don’t. They aren’t happy memories. They make me sad. I’ve never been good at handling emotions.

Someone recently wrote a Facebook piece about the pain of seeing a loved one pass away, deep in dementia.  Quickly,  I tried to blot out the images of Mom, whose last years were diminished by dementia. No luck. I could clearly see the woman who used to be Mom.  Strike that.  That’s what I was thinking in the moment, especially during the final months of her life. She was still Mom but she didn’t know me.

I struggled during those final visits. In  part, I struggled because I felt guilty I couldn’t come to see Mom more often. It was a four (or more) hour drive from Massachusetts to Long Island. During the drives, my mind would fill with images of a younger Mom. I could hear her laugh and see her smile. I remembered the things we did together over the years. In my mind, I saw her wedding pictures — Mom and Dad in the prime of their lives.

By then, Dad had already been gone for five years, yet I hadn’t been able to cry for him. Now Mom was slipping away. In what turned out to be my last visit, I tried my best to reach through the dementia, to reclaim a few moments with Mom.  I failed.

A few weeks later, in the middle of sub teaching a high school class, the principal and Marilyn entered the classroom. I instantly knew Mom was gone.

I was the main eulogist at Mom’s funeral. I’m a wordsmith. I could see people crying and smiling as I recalled my mother’s life. My stomach was tight, but I couldn’t cry. Not a tear.

I’ve talked to Marilyn about the grieving process. She understands and at least in theory, I understand too. Yet, it troubles me. I’m such a sucker for sentimental old movies, but real life is something else, something I find very difficult to share, even with myself.


I’ve tried to shoebox the frailty of life. Keep the anxiety behind one of those closed borders. Marilyn was 70 in March. I’ll be 75 in  a few weeks. We have lots of health issues and we work hard at not worrying about them. As the character in Bridge of Spies” said, “Would it make a difference?”

Would worrying more fix something?

Instead, we use our energy to enjoy each other and our life together. We feed off each other. The borders are open. For both of us.


“Garry? Hello?”

“What?!” His voice is muffled, irritable, half asleep.

“Did you put the dogs out?”

The body in the bed makes annoyed face, groans, starts to get up.

“Forget it. I’ll do it.”

I do it. And I clean up the pee at the bottom of the stairs because the dogs hate rain. Snow? Sleet? Wind? They can deal with it, but heavy pelting rain? Nope. They take it personally and with significant hostility.

Shower and back to the bedroom. I need to dry my hair. I’m still peeved, but cleaner. There’s still no one to complain to, just the unmoving, unconscious husband.


More coffee. Definitely.


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Spring – Wood

It’s hard to get my head around “spring woods” sitting here in the freezing rain. In Connecticut. With Tom and Ellin. Yes, folks, we are hanging with friends in Connecticut.

Unfortunately, New England is what it is. Cold. Wet. Not going to be a picture day. So, we shall adjourn to my tens of thousands of pictures of woods. Spring woods, if possible.

Have a great day!

The Canal – May 2016

Kingfisher by the canal


“How come Gibbs is wearing a coat in Arizona in the summer?”

I was talking to Garry. It was an NCIS rerun. We watch a lot of reruns, though this new fall season of TV is shaping up better than I expected, so maybe there will be new shows to watch.

YLE Wardrobe

The question about costumes comes up often and on various shows. One of the more common “huh” moments is when the male lead is wearing a coat and the female lead is skimpily dressed. No explanation needed for that one.

More weird are when each cast member is dressed randomly, apparently without regard for the story in progress. One is wearing a heavy winter coat, another a light denim jacket. A third is in shirtsleeves. Some are clothed in jeans or other casual stuff while others look ready for Wall Street … or a cocktail party. Women are supposedly hiking and running from or after serial killers while they wear 4-inch spikes. My feet hurt just looking.

Garry and I have done a tiny bit of movie “extra” work so I’m guessing it goes like this:  “Go find something that fits in wardrobe and be on set in ten.”

Everyone hustles off to wardrobe, which looks like a jumble sale or the clothing racks at the Salvation Army store. Most of the clothing in wardrobe probably came from some second-hand source or other. Everyone dives in looking for something that fits. As soon as they find an outfit … any outfit … they head for a changing booth, then off to be on set before someone yells at them. Stars get slightly better wardrobe or wear their own clothing. Wearing ones own clothing, both on TV shows and movies is quite common. I understand why.

NCIS Filming

The real question is not why everyone on a show is poorly or inappropriately dressed. It’s whether or not the people who produce the show think we won’t notice. My theory is they don’t care if we notice or not. They are cheaping out on wardrobe figuring if you and I notice at all, we won’t care or we’ll keep watching anyhow.

It’s a bottom-line driven world and wardrobe is one area where corners can easily be cut.

The thing is, we do notice. You don’t need to be a professional critic or especially astute to see the incongruities of television costuming. Movie costuming is often no better. Whoever is in charge figures if you’ve noticed the clothing, you are must be watching the show. They’ve got you. Why worry?

The thing is, the overriding disdain for viewers adds up over time. Eventually it feels like a virtual slap in the face. As a viewer, I have to assume they think I am astoundingly unobservant or plain stupid … or so hooked on their product they needn’t worry about retaining my loyalty. They are wrong.

NCIS Filming

This nonchalance extends beyond costumes. Sloppy editing, crappy scripts, stupid plots that include blatant factual and continuity errors … Ultimately, we do stop watching. Because it’s obvious they don’t care so why should we?

You notice it on long-running shows that had good scripts and editing but suddenly don’t. The quality of the show starts to slide. Producers are baffled when loyal fans stop tuning in.

It isn’t baffling to a normal person but is apparently incomprehensible to producers and network executives.

The most surprising thing is when quality stays high for longer than two seasons. Few shows survive more than 3 anymore. An embedded disrespect for viewers is, in my opinion, the root of much of the illness besetting the television industry. They either treat us like morons or discount us because we are too young, too old  or some other incorrect and undesirable demographic.

If you are under 18 or over 49, you literally don’t count. There are other, subtler forms of discrimination. Someone decided young people and old people don’t buy enough stuff. No TV for us!  Reality never intrudes into the decision-making process. I’m pretty sure I buy a lot of stuff and so does my granddaughter. Her and her friends are always shopping.

They should be nicer to us. We are, after all, the customers. Aren’t we?


Open Range (2003) stars Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, Abraham Benrubi and a lot of other people, but notably Michael Gambon (Professor Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter) as the stupidest villain in the old west.

Mind you, Open Range isn’t a bad western, as these things go. It’s pretty standard, with a rather better cast than most westerns. All the good clichés are included and the movie builds up to a massive shootout between Duvall and Costner against Gambon and his thugs.

Open Range Poster

Here’s the plot. It contains spoilers, but I feel safe in saying the movie has no surprises, so really, there’s nothing to spoil.

Old West, 1882. “Boss” Spearman (Duvall) is an open range cattleman, who, with hired hands Charley (Costner), and Mose (Benrubi) (et al), is driving a herd cross-country. Charley, a former soldier who fought in the Civil War, feels guilty over his past as a killer. 

Boss sends Mose to the nearby town of Harmonville for supplies, a town controlled by ruthless land baron, Denton Baxter. Mose is beaten and jailed by the marshal (owned body and soul by Baxter). The only friendly resident owns the livery stable.

Boss and Charley worry when Mose doesn’t return. The get him out of jail but are warned to not free-graze on Baxter’s land. Mose’s injuries are severe, so Boss and Charley take him to Doc Barlow where they meet Sue Barlow, the doctor’s sister.

Killing and skullduggery follow. Charley and Boss vow to avenge the various murders and injustice. Charley declares his feeling for Sue and she gives him a locket for luck. 

Boss and Charley are pitted against Baxter and his men. A gun battle erupts in the street, with Boss and Charley heavily outnumbered … until the townspeople begin to fight.

It’s a shootout of Biblical proportions. Epic. Costner is the troubled hero, which is just as well because he directed and co-produced the movie. Gambon, a murderous Irish immigrant with a killer brogue, is a brutal tyrant with no compunctions about slaughtering anyone. Everyone. He owns the sheriff, he owns the town. He has a lot of cows, but it’s not enough. It will never be enough.

He is the consummate villain of the old west, an out-of-control, power-mad cattle baron. You just know there’s going to be a lot of killing.

Skipping over the early individual killings to get to the big battle, it’s now the final quarter of the gun battle. It’s a high body count. I’ve lost count and I swear some of the actors died more than once, but maybe it’s just me.

The first seriously stupid bad guy moment comes when Baxter’s ace hired gun stands in front of Costner — who is loaded for bear and hates the son-of-a-bitch — and taunts him. So Costner shoots him through the head. One shot, dead center of his forehead.

I look at Garry and say “Well, what did he think was going to happen?” The fight was on.

A few minutes later, corpses litter the landscape. Heads are exploding right, left, and center. The townsfolk is unhappy about being under the thumb of Baxter, the power-mad cattle baron, but they’re too wimpy and cowardly to do anything about him.

Until Baxter, the asshole, stands up in front of the whole town (they’ve come out to watch the shootout because they don’t have anything else to do) and tells them that as soon as he gets through killing the good guys, he’s going to start killing them. “All your children will be orphans” he rants.

Say what?

Guess what happens next? Right you are! The townspeople, realizing they have nothing to lose, pick up their guns and start killing Baxter’s men. What a shock.

Costner marries the pretty sister of the doctor. Duvall offloads the cattle. Costner and Duvall take over the saloon and everyone lives happily ever after. I assume they bury the corpses.

This one gets my vote for the dumbest bad guy in the west. But maybe you know something I don’t know …


If SCROTUM is the power-mad cattle baron … and “Baxter” is Bannon, the gun-crazy killing machine, while the rest of the “crew” are the usual morons with big guns and few brains — are we the cattle?

You could follow the plot almost exactly, just change cities. Just wait for it, wait for it. SCROTUM will make one of those speeches … you now, how “he knows everything and only HE CAN FIX IT” — Alex Baldwin could play the role . Then Costner could shoot him between the eyes. Great ending. Kevin could be president. Why not? Hasn’t he done it before? Pretty sure he did or maybe I’m thinking of Michael Douglas … hard to remember sometimes. And there’s always Morgan Freeman.

Has anyone asked Kevin? His career hasn’t been doing all that great. This might be a terrific piece, proving comedy is hard, but worth it. We could have a good, long hysterical laugh. I know I sure would.

I’m laughing already.


I’ve been watching the Trump administration for two months. And now I’m less panicked about the future of the country than I was before the inauguration. A great deal of harm will be done on many fronts. But I believe that less damage will get done than anticipated because of the three INs – INfightIng, INcompetence and INertia.

To be specific, the IN-fighting in the Congress, the INcompetence of the white House and the INertia of the bureaucracy. With these three factors working in our favor, INefficiency and INeffectiveness are INevitable. So we can all take a deep breath and relax. A little bit.

The Republicans in congress are their own worst enemies. They have a large bloc of extreme, right-wing ‘Freedom Caucus’ members who refuse to compromise on anything. Not that other Republicans are fans of negotiation and compromise either. But compromise was how things used to get done. Now no Republican wants to give an inch, so little will get done.

After seven years hating Obamacare, the Republicans had no legislation. No plan. Which is all the better for the rest of the country. Most people want healthcare which at least covers common medical problems. Chalk this win up to INfighting, with a little help from INcompetence.

The White House is the second factor in this equation. It’s drowning in INcompetence and INeptitude. From the top down. The Executive Branch is led by an INfantile, delusional, demented “president.” His rogue tweets keep everyone from focusing on important matters. Instead, the White House flunkies have to run around doing damage control about the latest debunked conspiracy theory or ‘alternative facts’ their boss has spouted.

Apart from the crazy trickling down from the top, everyone in the White House is way out of their depth. No one knows how the government is supposed to work, let alone what they are supposed to do. They’re trying to learn on the job. Let’s hope it takes them four years to figure it out. In the meantime, INcompetence is our friend.

The last element in our favor, is the INherent INertia of the federal bureaucracy. Now, Trump wants to drastically reduce the budgets and staffing requirements in all non-military agencies. He probably won’t succeed. There’s a huge, largely INdependent bureaucracy in place. It goes about its day-to-day business no matter who is in the White House. Republican or Democrat.

All Presidents have complained about how long it takes to get anything changed in the career government offices. Much like trying to turn an aircraft carrier around, it takes a lot of effort and it happens very slowly.

With the help of three INs, it will take a long time to make the threatened policy changes. If the first two months are an indication of how effective these clowns will be, we just have to worry that they might accidentally accomplish something. If Progressives stay organized and motivated, we can stall this train wreck. Maybe even derail it completely!


Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: March 26, 2017

Hard to believe this week is over. It has been one weird week. Weather-wise, we’ve had rain, snow, sun, sunrises — and my Christmas cactus is in bloom again.


The above picture is the cover of one of Boston’s local papers. I have yet to entirely discern its intent since this is a pretty right-wing paper, yet they have not been exactly supporters of Our New Team at the Top. I just liked the page and took the picture. I will leave other pundits to figure out its implications, whatever they  may be.

The day before yesterday, we had one of those glorious sunrises that accompany the Vernal Equinox. I wasn’t using my really good camera and I wasn’t happy with the colors, so I tried again this morning. In the two days since I shot, the sun has move maybe 10 degrees eastward in the sky (is that right? I’m never sure but by my calculations, that is east) and it was hard to get any picture at all. But I tried.

My Christmas cactus bloomed again. It does this. Every few months, it bursts open and blooms. Better now than ever since the huge dracaena that had kept the sun away has moved to a better place (my son’s place, actually) and the remaining plants are happy to get sunshine back.

Philodendron from the side in the rather gray light of morning


Seriously purple? Let me start off by saying that I do not feel purple. Not even violet or lavender. Mind you, no particular prejudice involved. I have no issues with purple. It is one of my favorites. But writing about it? As a subject?

Purple, the color of bruises? The color under your eyes when you had too much party and too little sleep? The clearance-priced sweater of the season, only the fashion mavens call it “aubergine” because purple is “too basic”?

Purple in the garden, by the road, and in my closet.

Go forth. Be purple!

This is a morning of particularly horrendous White House tweets. I caught a few seconds of them and immediately deleted the page.

Garry and I are off for the next few days doing fun things, or what I call “pursuing that other part of the Constitution.” There will be new posts coming out throughout and if I get ambitious, I will post pictures, too. But we are going to go do something we haven’t done in months. Have fun!

You might consider doing the same. Even though the sky is gray and the air is full of cold drizzle … find something to do that makes you bubble up with joy. Then come tell me all about it!

Along with all the other stuff in our Declaration of Independence, there was this thing:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

We’ve spend a lot of years … a few hundred of them … pursuing Life and occasionally Liberty, but this time, I’m inclined to put all my efforts into “The pursuit of Happiness.”  We need more happiness.

Laws protecting joy. Legislation ensuring happiness. Protections from the ugliness of life, the virulence of bad lawmakers, and all the angst and agony they cause.

Let’s get together and protest the absence of happiness in our country!

Anyone with me? Let’s form an angry mob and show them all what real HAPPINESS means!