Although this hasn’t affected WordPress, my email has been walloped by more than six thousand spam messages in the last hour. About 5,000 were caught by the Google’s spam catcher. I took care of the rest AND changed my password.

For safety’s sake — for me and everyone — I deleted pretty much everything I had in my inbox, trash, and “sent” sections, then rebooted.

I was hit like this once before, but it was on WordPress. This seems to be limited to Gmail. They don’t have my password —  I just changed it again and even I don’t remember it without looking it up — but whoever is doing this is being extremely annoying. I don’t want to change email unless I must. So many things are attached to this email, it would be a real hassle. If I have no choice, I’ll do it.

And Facebook assured me it wasn’t going to be a real problem. They wrote me and TOLD me that. Liars.

Meanwhile, as far as I can tell, there’s no threat to anyone but me.

Just letting you know. I was one of the people hit by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and their televised apologies just aren’t working for me these days. I’m pretty sure that’s where all of this is coming from, though I can’t figure out what in the world they hope to gain from it. It’s annoying, but unless I was dumb enough to actually open any of these, they remain harmless.

We also installed a new router. To the degree that any home user can be protected, we are. I have to assume these guys think if they just keep swamping me with emails, sooner or later, I’ll open something.

I won’t. I promise.

FLUMMOXED AGAIN – Marilyn Armstrong

Flummoxed by Life, Rain, and Dawgz

It’s a great literary word and I love what it means. To be completely (pardon the expression) bamboozled. Stunned. Lost in the complexity. Wandering mentally aimless. Made mentally woolly by the ghosts of the past.

”Naked and alone we came into exile,” Thomas Wolfe wrote. ”In her dark womb we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. . . . Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?”

And then he said … and he repeated it throughout the book: “Lost, o lost. Ghost, come back again.” By which he was remembering his dead brother.

I read this book– all of his books, actually — when I was 14 and 15. Those were my serious reading years.  Wolfe really spoke to me. “Look Homeward, Angel” was nearly 1000 pages of poetry. I don’t think I’d get through the first chapter today. My taste for poetry has withered on its vine. Even so, a really good poem grabs me by the heart.

A beautiful poem isn’t just words. It’s a cry to your soul and all of “Look Homeward, Angel” was a soul’s cry.

Duke on a rainy day

The thing that makes me bring up a book I haven’t read for nearly 60 years was that the main character in all of Wolfe’s books — especially his three early ones — was permanently flummoxed. The world meant little to him. He was never clear on where the boundaries between real and ghostly began or ended.


That’s how I felt then and sometimes today. It’s not dementia. That’s when I can’t remember a perfectly simple word because it has flown my mental coop and I have to find it on Google (how could I survive without Google?) … or just write around it until later when the word just shows up. Like a lost kitten who was hiding under the bed, the word looks at me and says: “What’s your problem? I was just under the bed. Didn’t you look there?”

This morning it was raining so hard I thought there was a strong wind blowing. I looked outside and realized the trees were shaking from the weight of water falling on them.

Gibbs was never housebroken. He got here, doped out where shit went and proceeded to become housebroken. Unless it rains. None of our three dogs likes rain, but Gibbs truly loathes it.

Snow? Not a problem. Cold? No worries. Light rain? Can handle that.

You want ME to go out THERE?
You go out. I’m home until it stops.”

Gibbs had already left a load for me in the kitchen, right next to the trash can. He’s very neat that way and never goes for a rug or anything soft. I threw the dogs out. Gibbs lay down in front of the doggy door and went limp. I had to lift his front end, push it out the door, then lift his butt (which seems to be growing) and pushed it out, too. Then I locked the door while I cleaned the kitchen and gave them fresh water.

They stood in front of the house. Dripping. Looking at me. Daggers to my heart. I let them back in, went to the bathroom and came back. Gibbs had saved a pile to remind me he is a proud, stubborn terrier. Amazingly, he also looked guilty and has spent the rest of the morning giving me his best “sad-eyed” look.  He knows he has done wrong, but if it rains like this again, guilt will not change him. At 11-years-old, this is not a dog with a lot of “give” in his nature. Much love, but little flexibility.

I could have gotten up earlier and tossed them out. I was tired. The bed was warm. Excuses, excuses.

I wasn’t flummoxed. I was tired, warm, and cozy — the lethal “stay in bed” potion. Pushing reluctant dogs out a dog door wasn’t on my list of “things I wanted to do.”

Life keeps getting livelier and I don’t understand how two long-since retired people could get so godawful busy this late in life. Life never seems to go where we want it to do, though sometimes —  maybe even often — it does something more strange, but better.



I was supposed to go to the dentist. It’s pouring and it’s cold and I don’t feel well, so I deferred until tomorrow. My body does not like this weather and the dogs don’t like it either. When it’s raining this heavily, they decide that housebreaking is optional. Optional for them, but not for me. I cleaned up twice, gave them fresh water and went back to bed.

It’s the Cretaceous out there. Maybe a bit Jurassic. My stomach is in knots and this is not going to be my day to take care of my world. Call me primitive, but I’ve cared for enough. Someone else is caring for me or no one is caring for anyone.

See you all later! Like tomorrow.

JUNE IS SQUARE – ROOF 4 – Marilyn Armstrong

It’s that time of year again and squares are back! 

This is a tunnel on a footpath in Gettysburg. There’s a big section of town where they are only footpaths. No cars. It’s an interesting place to walk. I think there were horse paths there at some point, but now, just tourists.

A footpath tunnel in Gettysburg

Well, the theme is ROOFS (or rooves if you prefer!). Your roof can be;

A – any type, any condition, any size, and in any location.
B – it could be a shot across rooftops, of one roof like today or even a macro
C – you might prefer to spend some time under the eaves and in the attic, or enjoy the view from above as Brian has already done today.


See you tomorrow!


Everyone knows that Roseanne Barr’s new TV sitcom has been canceled because of racist/conspiracy theory tweets she made.

I am thrilled! It may be mean-spirited of me to wish bad things on people that I consider vile, misogynistic, racist and anti-fact. But this is particularly well deserved.

Roseanne Barr, the actress, is a Trump supporter and advocate of the worst conspiracy theories and racism that are promulgated by the right-wing media. One of her goals for her show was to reveal a more nuanced, more favorable and relatable image for the middle-class Trump supporter. Instead, she proved the worst that we liberals believe about the typical Trump/right-wing supporters.

I am very happy that Hollywood gave up a popular, lucrative show for moral/political reasons. Their values and the values that most Americans share turned out to be more important than profit. At least in this one, egregious case. Money did not talk. Profit was not the God to be worshipped. The ABC network put morality and decency above their bottom line.

Roseanne’s behavior obviously embarrassed ABC. She put them in the spotlight and subjected them to an avalanche of negative press and pressure from viewers and sponsors. But they could have resisted to save their number one show on TV. This shows ‘character’ if you can attribute human characteristics to a corporation. It also shows that decent people have clout when it comes to extreme racism and fact bashing. Maybe not every time, but I feel hopeful.

I watched Roseanne’s first episode and actually liked it. But I refused to watch it as my own personal, political statement. I didn’t want Trumpettes to get a reputation whitewash. I wouldn’t support that. Now I don’t have to cringe when I hear how Trump supporters are being portrayed as nice and decent, but struggling people.

You blew it, Roseanne! The truth is out! You are as bad as we liberals think you are!

ORCHIDS AND OPTICS – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day – Orchids!

When Garry got the orchids for his birthday last year, I was dubious about ever seeing a new flower. Since the other plants in the pot were healthy, I put the pot by the French doors in the dining room. Watered them when dry and hoped for the best.

The window faces northeast so it gets sunlight in the morning for a couple of hours. Long before noon, the sun has moved on.

The window is bright but rarely sunny. Oddly, these bright but not sunny windows have been the best areas for growing flowering plants. I have to be very careful how often I water the plants. Under-watering a plant is almost always better than over-watering. This probably sounds backward, but potted plants hate mud.

So. When I walked into the dining room this morning and realized “There’s an orchid blooming,”  I had to grab a camera. I went to the macro lens on the OM-D, but I wasn’t happy with the pictures.

I eventually decided to use the tiny Pentax Q and its “normal” 8.5mm f1.8 lens. The lens is fast and shoots tightly.

Optics can get kind of weird.

For example, the 45mm lens on my Olympus camera is considered – more or less – the equivalent of a 90mm “portrait” lens on a full-size DSLR. Except optics are optics, so a 45mm lens is never a 90mm lens. It may look like it, or more to the point, frame like a 90mm, but optically, it will be a 45mm lens. Optics are optics. You can’t rewrite the code. An 8.5mm “normal” lens on the tiny Pentax, while the sort of equivalent to a 50mm lens on a DSLR is still an 8.5mm lens.

When someone first explained this to me, my brain did a full double twirl in my head. Optics aren’t like software. You can’t rewrite the code. There are absolutes involved in grinding glass for lenses, whether they are for your glasses or your camera. These optics don’t change. The may appear to change, but the original optics are always there.

If this makes no sense to you, that’s okay. Just trust me. It’s true whether the lens is on a camera, a telephone, your binoculars, or your eyeglasses.

That’s my strange, but weirdly useful information of the day. It also explains why I chose to use an 8.5mm “normal” lens on the Pentax Q rather than a different, equally fast (or even faster) lens on the OM-D. Because an 8.5mm lens will always focus close, much like a macro. It will be distorted along the outside of the barrel, but you can get right up to the flower which I hoped would help me get better color.

The pictures I took with the macro lens were too soft and yellow. Pictures using the Pentax were perfect. And about the optics? Although you can get extremely close using the little lens, the pictures don’t look like macros. Because they aren’t.

TRACES OF THE PAST YEAR 4 – MAY 2018 – Marilyn Armstrong


This time, it’s something old, in color.

Lacking cathedrals and mansions, we’ll have to settle for just old things. Like me?

Okay, not me.

Something else, but what? How about the old mansions along the dock in Rockport, Massachusetts. This picture was taken at sunrise on July 4th, at five in the morning.

Old houses along the dock in Rockport, Massachusetts

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