GOD HAS A PLAN – Marilyn Armstrong

I was still trying to figure out if John Oliver was really going off the air, or it was the end of this season, or we’d just missed the final few minutes of his piece because we have a stupid DVR that clips the final few minutes. Instead, the Sports News Final came on.

It was retribution for Bruins fans. They lost. Bigly. All five games. So I left it on until finally one player admitted that the other team “played better than us,” and no amount of analysis was going to change that. This was the hour that I spend trying to find all the missed typos in new posts and that usually  takes me about an hour.

Garry goes off to bed because he has a DVR in there with all his favorite old westerns on it … plus a bunch of 1930s and 1940s black and white movies he loves which I don’t love nearly as much. He watches with the headset on and he is finally happy. No one is going to ask him to do ANYTHING. He has found true peace.

At some undetermined point, the Bruins concluded their apologies to all their fans and it being late Sunday night, a preacher came on television to announce that God has a plan.

For everything. Every single thing.

March Equinox Sunrise

Everything you think. Every illness, every idea, every mistake. Everything. Effectively humans have no control over their lives because it’s all part of God’s huge, gigantic, amazing plan that covers everything, everywhere forever, amen and probably the Bruins will win next year.

After a while, the harangue got a bit intense and I had to turn it off. I was getting ready to yell back at the television and ask about cancer and pain and death and Donald J. Trump, but I have found that yelling at the TV isn’t nearly as effective as I want it to be.

I gave the dogs their final biscuit and went into the bedroom. I made Garry remove his headphones and told him that God has a plan.

“Okay,” he said. “What brought this on?”

“The Bruins lost five to nothing and then there was a preacher and he was shouting how God knows every idiotic idea in your head, every ridiculous thing that might happen to you or me or anyone, so no matter how painful or scary life is, IT IS ALL PART OF GOD’s PLAN.”

“What were you WATCHING?’ he asked me. He then pointed out that on television they were singing Shall We Gather At The River with the ultimate intention of hanging someone.

I pointed out that this too was part of God’s plan and Garry said I should stop watching that stuff because it was ruining his viewing experience.

So, I wrote this instead. By the way — they hanged the guy. Not to worry because it was all part of God’s plan. I know because they told me. On television. So it must be true.

“A gift of laughter…” SUE VINCENT

And the world really IS mad. I think possibly, so am I!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

As I’m on a research mission this weekend, and having spent much of the week in hospital waiting rooms, I have dredged up a couple of old ones to share.This one was written two years ago…

grafitti sheffield stu graphic shots (31)

Rafael Sabatini is not the best known of writers these days, though he left his mark on both literature and cinema. He was born in 1875 in Jesi, Italy to Englishwoman Anna Trafford and Vincenzo Sabatini. His parents were touring opera singers and sent their small son to England to be raised by his grandmother. A few years later, his parents stopped touring and the family settled in Milan. Rafael’s schooling took place in Portugal and Switzerland where he learned a number of languages. Returning to England, he worked as a translator and began to write.

Within four years, Rafael was a regular contributor of short stories for national magazines and in 1901 was…

View original post 614 more words

SPEEDY ALKA SELTZER – Marilyn Armstrong

RAPID. JUST ONE LETTER CHANGE AND IT’S RABID. 


When I think of speedy, I do not think of me. Or Garry. Or anyone I know these days. As the years have advanced, we have slowed. Whereas we used to walk fast and even sometimes (gasp) run, now we stroll. Or if you are me, stagger and weave.

But Alka Seltzer was speedy. Drink it and ignore those laughing bubbles and voilà, your stomach troubles were gone for good and all.

In my world, speedy is mostly Duke, the dog who leaps fences. He’s gaining weight, so I’m wondering how big he’ll need to be to make him stop jumping. He’s something to ponder, isn’t he?

Remember: RAPID is one short letter away from RABID. Get those rabies shots on time! Especially if your dog likes to hang out in the woods with the wild things.

THE DOGS OF MAY – Marilyn Armstrong

I was drying my hair in the bathroom and heard a noise out back that sounded remarkably like a dog messing around in “stuff.” I looked out the window — and there was Duke. In the backyard. Where he should not be able to go because the front yard is fully fenced.

So obviously, he’s jumping one of the areas of the fence but we have no idea where he’s doing the jump. The thing is, he doesn’t go anywhere. He just hangs around the property, which is okay. Except we have a lot of critters around here and he could take off and chase one. I’d rather that not happen.

Gibbs

Coyotes and Fishers (they look like mink). Squirrels, rabbits, mice, rats, gophers, skunk … and a huge selection of flying creatures. Not to mention the occasional wildcat and deer.

Bonnie

Before we can keep him IN the yard, we first have to figure out how he is getting out of it.

Duke

At least — unlike the terriers — he doesn’t head for parts unknown. He just hangs around the house. That’s something, right?

Good night, Sweet Duke

TEA AND CEREMONY – Marilyn Armstrong

For Rashmi Kashyap – I miss you and hope you are well.


I don’t remember exactly when, I mentioned in a post how difficult it is to get good tea in the U.S. It isn’t impossible. If you have sufficient resources, you can get anything.

Ordinary folk are limited to local shops and the ubiquitous Internet. The problem is not that tea is unavailable. It is high quality fresh tea which is very hard to find. By the time we get it, it’s old. Tired. Teabag tea is not tea. I’m not sure what it is.

tea pot, tea canister, tea

I’m sure there are sources for better tea, especially in cities which are home to large Asian communities. But not here. Out here, a lot of stuff isn’t on sale anywhere. Thus the Internet!

We won’t starve. Beef, chicken, some fish. If you want something more exotic and need items to make Asian cuisine, those are rare. For years, I couldn’t even find matzoh meal, which I never considered remotely exotic. Perhaps I am exotic.

We live in the country. Rural. On the plus side, we are blessed — in season — with fresh produce from local farms. Milk comes from cows who graze in green pastures and sleep contentedly in the shade on warm summer days. Eggs are laid by chickens who wander about, pecking and clucking. They don’t know how lucky they are.

glass teapot

We’ve got horses, goats, and the occasional llama … but fresh tea? Rice other than Carolina long grain? Spices? Fresh curry powder? Light or medium soy sauce?

It’s no wonder Americans are not tea drinkers considering the tasteless dust which passes for tea. I’m pretty sure our local Chinese restaurants (there are not many of them) make tea made from teabags in the kitchen. The only good tea I’ve had in years is the green tea at a Japanese restaurant.

tea in teapot

The miracles wrought by the Internet are not limited to exchanging email and reading each others’ blogs. Rashmi Kashyap heard the yearning in my post. Last week, a package arrived from far away India.

Wrapped carefully in fabric, packed for its long journey around the world. Tea. Fresh, beautiful tea. Not the dry, old stuff you get here or even online, but tea so young it can remember growing in the earth.

teapot and canister

I have a big earthenware teapot and made a pot that same night. It was amazing. Garry admitted he had never tasted tea like that. It was a different experience.

I needed a smaller, brewing teapot suitable for a couple. I have owned several over the years, but since coming back from Israel, it has seemed pointless. Now, though, I have a reason.

brewed tea in glass teapot

Amazon to the rescue. One glass, brewing teapot, perfect for two people. A small canister to store the tea, seal out light and seal in freshness. A tea measuring spoon because (blush) I don’t remember how to measure tea anymore. After 33 years in the U.S., I can’t think metric.  I thought I couldn’t forget. I was wrong.

It took a couple of days to get my teapot and other things. Finally, I could properly serve tea.

It is a soul-enriching experience. Tea in the evening. A couple of crispy things on the side. Garry drank three cups (they are little cups, tea cups) as did I.

I thank my friend on the other side of the word with each sip. I cannot begin to express my gratitude. Maybe this post will help.