DREAM AND REAL – Marilyn Armstrong


In my dreams – now rapidly fading as dreams do when you wake – is that I was so exhausted I could not continue. I didn’t know why I was so exhausted, only that I could barely raise my head from the pillow. I knew I had to quit the job that I had and I wasn’t entirely clear what job I was working

It turned out I was working for the military, searching out information on obscure (unknown?) bases in distant places … and I was not allowed to tell anyone what I was doing because I was supposedly doing something else. I had gotten my old friend Dorothy to join me and she had been working on some other base in some other part of the world, but had finally had enough and quit.

I wanted to quit too, but I felt I had to stay because it was secret and military and somehow, important, though I wasn’t sure why it was important. Or to whom.

Juxtapose reality: Life has been exhausting. I do what I must and then I do what I should and just when I think I’ve done everything I need to do, it’s the next day and I have to do most of it again and I know it will never end.

Moral of the story? I need to cut back on what I think are the requirements of life. But I’m not sure what they are anymore. I’m no longer sure where the necessities are versus the things I really want to do. For whatever reason, they have become so entangled that I just try to do everything. Because I know that no one else will do them.

Having dug my computer out of hacker land, I’m changing the router – which I can ill-afford to do – but I feel pretty exposed and I need to feel more protected in a world gone mad with crazy people who are out to get me.

Why is anyone trying to get me? Or us? We have so little, why us? We know there is no answer to that question, or at least, no answer that will make us understand. The ugliness of the world is the real truth of it.

A group who had little feel they owe nothing to anyone but themselves. They probably laugh at us when they imagine how many poor people have been made even poorer through their efforts.

The right way to sleep

A cold shiver runs down my back when I realize that there are so many evil people in this world and my trusting them has not gained respect but simply made me a target.

If my dreams are telling me anything, it’s that there is too much on my plate. Too much of it feels desperately important and frightening. Oppressive. Somehow, I have to find a way to lower the pressure. I don’t know how.

I wish I had a list of ways to get it done. Something. This is no way for me to be living, not at this time in my life.



We had snow at the beginning of the month and it will be full summer tomorrow. But that’s the way it goes up here. Something about the ways the winds blow down from Canada, across from the midwest, and up from the south … and of course, in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Macros – Hanging pots on the deck

It gives us an amazingly busy weather system, I should add. If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute — or less!

Mumford River Dam
Long view of the Mumford River dam

The reason we have Memorial Day (previously Decoration Day) at the end of May is because in this part of the world, all the flowers are blooming. Actually, for our region, mid June would probably be better, but this will do.

Uxbridge Police Station
A working gardener
Flag by Police Station
Lawn mower man
Clouds over Walmart
More lawn mower man

And then, stuff has been happening at home. Repairs are getting made. The house looks better but we are so poor!

I like it so much, I feel i should get them ALL replaced. How I wish I could.
Our newly mown lawn!

The Dawgz

And just a little more in the way of flowers because they are gone far too soon.

Hanging geraniums
More geraniums
Basket of begonias
Our woods in May

And finally, as Garry gets ready for his cochlear implant, lots of visits to UMass Memorial hospital …

Coming and going


Going and coming

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge, originally hosted by Max at Cardinal Guzman. 

SU LESLIE has taken over hosting duties this year, and if you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

* Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
* Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
* Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

1 – Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month

2 – Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

3 – Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to Sue Leslie’s post, she can update it with links to all of yours.

  1. Colloquial term for those living in the South Island of New Zealand.

GARRY’S BROTHERS – Garry Armstrong


I am the eldest of three brother and the only one who married. My two younger brothers live in Minnesota. Dr. Anton Armstrong, conductor of the St. Olaf choir, is still working. Billy is retired. And of course we are here, in New England. Travel is difficult these days, so the telephone is especially important.

Geographical distance now minimizes the time I see my Brothers.  Billy moved to Northfield after we closed down our old family home on Long Island last summer. I used to drive down to see Billy a couple or 3 times a year. It was always nice to see the old neighborhood and spend a couple of days with Billy.  We shared family memories,  watched baseball and old movies, and exchanged commiseration about the aches of our golden years.  It was low-key and fulfilling. Something we never did when we were younger. I always felt closer to Billy after these visits.

The reunion of the three Armstrong “Boys” is difficult now.  Anton has a crazy, busy work schedule.  He is almost always on the road, usually overseas on tour, fulfilling his commitments as Director of the acclaimed St. Olaf’s Choir.

Our get-togethers are usually brief.  I’m usually burned out from my New England commute.  The 4 hour drive became more and more daunting in recent years.  Anton is even more fried from jet lag and minimal sleep with more work piled up on his lap top. Still,  we treasured the time we had together. Time and distance have not diminished our bond.  We actually verbalize our feelings,  something we never did as kids.  We made a pact after Dad and Mom passed away — to stay connected,  regardless of geography and different life paths.

That pact is more difficult now.  Long Island is now history after almost 60 years.  These days we stay in touch via e-mail and phone calls. Minnesota is a difficult visit for me financially and because I can’t leave Marilyn alone with our 3 dogs.  Marilyn is game but she’s too fragile and vulnerable to fend for herself alone.

The loss of family and friends is a constant reminder of life’s fragility. It’s comforting to know my two brothers are close to each other and I’m just a phone call or email away.

The Brothers Armstrong — a formidable trio.


As the owner of a four-year-old pacemaker, I have often found myself trying to explain what they are, what they mean to other people. Just a warning here — a pacemaker will keep a heart beating. It is not a substitute for needing a replacement valve or a bypass or many of the other things done to keep a heart working properly. These are all procedures that might well b done in conjunction with getting a pacemaker.

Newer pacemakers are not metal and allow their owners to get MRIs and pass through airport checkpoints. Mine is metal, so not me.

Pacemaker batteries last for 10 to 12 years. How come no other battery lasts that long?

How To Fix A Broken Heart
As we grow older, parts of our heart can deteriorate or become weaker. As a result, it affects the functionality of heart, which  gives us some serious problems. But we have developed some incredible technology that has saved countless of lives. This episode of Real Engineering shows us how pacemakers help keep our hearts beating when our natural system can no longer help us, and how it has evolved over the years.

Video via – Real Engineering
Further Readings and References @ MSD ManualBritish Heart Foundation, and Healthline

via How To Fix A Broken Heart