FOWC – IT’S SO VERY SIMPLE – Marilyn Armstrong

It couldn’t be more simple …

Owen called. He asked me if I could print a return label for him as this is his official Amazon address.

“No problem,” I said. I forgot that last week I did a completely new installation of my computer, an upgrade to the latest weirdest version of Windows 10, and bought a new router. We installed the router and once I got it set up, everything has been working fine, except for the things I haven’t gotten around to rebooting, like my mini iPad which I haven’t used at all, much less rebooted.

It’s so simple …

iPads for me are things you own and never figure out why you own one. I have a friend who has three of them and he hasn’t figured out what to do with them either.

“So why,” I asked, “Do you have three?”

“I keep updating them,” he said.

Garry actually uses his. I figured he would. It’s a lot like the Blackberry he had, the only mobile phone he loved. Instead of opening up the Big Computer, if he just wants to check email, it works great. Mine, on the other hand, has no real purpose in my scheme of things. It’s just there. In case.

I had totally forgotten about the printer. I haven’t printed anything and I don’t print often. Mostly, I print directions on how to get somewhere because I do not trust the GPS — with good reason. And return labels.

I realized I didn’t see any sign of a printer on this computer. I went into the other room and turned it on. Always a good start. But it still wasn’t there. Ran lots of software that was supposed to find it, but it didn’t. I eventually realized my ethernet connection wasn’t working because the cable wasn’t connected. You don’t need to connect it to the computer, but it does need to be plugged into the wall and the router. Or so they kept telling me.

Eureka! Installed!

Having accomplished that, I still didn’t have a printer. So I did what those of us with real strength of character do. I located the original installation DVD, hooked it up in the DVD player, and undertook the reinstallation of the printer.

I hate hooking up printers. I’m very savvy about computers and software, but printers are largely a complete mystery to me. Also, copy machines. I think it’s personal. They don’t like me and I don’t like them back.

The printer is in my old office down the hall and I was not there. It became quickly obvious that I was going to have to take the computer to the printer because it wasn’t going to work the other way. Can’t haul the printer. Too big.

Garry graciously offered to open the door so I could drag me and the computer in there. Up came the instructions and I found the itty bitty tiny print that told me: “When nothing else works, do this.”

Just ONE more thing …

I had to press one button until it blinked twice, then pull my hands away and wait for it to start blinking furiously. Then I had to press another button and wait, followed by the third button and more waiting. Do something on the computer. Wait. A paper began printing and eventually, lo and behold, the printer appeared on the screen.

Fifteen minutes later, during which time I took a few pictures since there wasn’t much else to do, the printer was almost working. Just a few settings to change … and I printed Owen’s stupid return label. Since he had just bought the SAME router, he didn’t have printing either.

So much for plug-and-play.

It was so simple. It only took me an hour or two, although almost all that time was spent trying to convince my computer to find it by itself, which it clearly was NOT going to do.

It really was simple, if you could figure out what the instructions were trying to tell you. That was the hard part — along with hauling my computer around. It weighs like two cinder blocks.

A BOSTONIAN NIGHTMARE – RDP #6 – Marilyn Armstrong

Nightmares in Tandem

I actually did have one and it woke me up. It didn’t wake me up because it was so awful, but because I have a bad habit of letting one leg drop off the bed. It hangs in the air and twists so I wake up with my knee throbbing.

I really have to stop doing that.

The thing was, I was dreaming about Garry. Visiting him when he was in Boston and I was still in New York. Every time I wanted to talk to him, another woman showed up. There were women all over the place. Also, there were six baby ducks who seemed to be the babies of a couple of iron ducks on Boston Commons. Weird little ducklings who looked almost like fish, except when they looked exactly like ducklings.

Garry didn’t have anything in the house to feed them (he never did) except pretzels. I was pretty sure they needed real food, which I was going to the grocery to buy.

But all those women were really getting on my nerves and then the knee began to hurt. I realized that I had been married to Garry for a long time and all I had to do was wake up.

I woke up. Both arms were asleep. I had to physically lift my leg back into bed. I really have to stop doing that. Sooner or later, the rest of me will also fall out of bed and it wouldn’t be the first time.

Once I got all the various parts of me into bed, I snuggled up to Garry until my arms fell asleep again, but by then it was time to get up anyway.

Meanwhile, Garry told me HE was having a dream about women and realizing he wasn’t going to go there because he had another relationship (yes, dear, you really do!), so we were having the same dream from two positions on the issue.

He did have an awful lot of women hanging around. Remarkably, he married me. Sometimes, you just get lucky.

JUNE IS SQUARE – ROOF 6 – Marilyn Armstrong

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

I’ve been practicing shooting tunnels from the driver’s seat. It’s all about timing. I get it right about half the time. If I were a little more alert, I could get it right all the time — or nearly all the time. This is a simple overpass on the Merritt Parkway.

Under the overpass

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!

A DARK CLOSET – Marilyn Armstrong

I wear dark clothing. I always have and I probably always will. Almost everything I own is a dark color. Black, dark gray, charcoal, navy, brown, khaki. My closet is a mass of shadows.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Until a few days ago, I had a light. One bulb and a pull chain. Not exactly the most modern arrangement, but it beat out total darkness. I’m pretty sure the light is the original which came with the house.

2009 – The thinnest year and not my healthiest

A few days ago, the chain started to refuse to spring back up into the light so you can pull it again next time. I messed with it, but messing didn’t help. It finally stopped working entirely.

Even with a flashlight, I can’t find anything.

Probably 75% of my clothing is black or a dark enough to pass for black. A lot of my shirts — summer and winter — are black. Some of them are printed with cool sayings — like “Serendipity.” Which would help me find stuff — if everything was not all scrunched together.

Photo: Garry Armstrong –

I got rid of all my work clothing since I don’t work anymore, but somehow, the closet is still as full as it was before. Partly, this problem is because Garry puts everything on a hanger. Including my nightgowns. Tee-shirts. Yoga pants.


Everything goes on a hanger.

I have explained I don’t need my nightwear on hangers, but there is no way on earth he would even look in my chest of drawers. I don’t blame him. If I can’t find anything in the closet, can you imagine the drawers? It’s the dark pit of drawers.

Black dogs, too.

Owen says he’s going to replace the light. It’s one of those standard $5 fixtures you can buy in any hardware store.

He will fix it, but it isn’t going to help much. Before the light went out, I couldn’t find anything. More light will merely increase my frustration.


I see that moronic line every time I write something — in the old, old format. “SWITCH TO THE IMPROVED EDITOR” lurks above my editing every time I work. I would make it vanish if I could.

I had no intention of writing this. I was going to put together a photo post, but there was that aggravating line again. I just started to write and didn’t stop until I finished.

Why don’t I use the new improved format?

The new editor is definitely different, but it isn’t better. It’s more difficult to use. You need more steps to accomplish simple things.

Nothing has been done to really improve the limitations of the old editing format. The terrible spacing issues that have plagued every template I’ve used during the past six years are as bad or worse as are all the problems that come with pasting text from some other piece — even if it’s from another WordPress post.

Nor have there been any improvements for editing pictures. Even simple stuff, like properly resizing a picture from native to “web sized.” Internally within the post, you are stuck using the standard font or a header. The “blockquote” function is always the wrong size.

We’re still putting bandages on your “other” improvements

Lately we’ve all been battered with WordPress’s “improvements.” You managed to cause actual injury — rare even in this industry.

So I’m here to tell you:

Change isn’t an improvement. An improvement means you’ve taken something which wasn’t working and made it better. Easier to use. More effective. Maybe with more options. 

At WordPress, improvements do exactly the opposite. You take something useful and remove a piece of its functionality. I have to assume there’s a reason for this, but I have no idea what it might be. I remember when you removed “edit” from the template and we complained. One of your “happiness engineers” actually asked why we needed an edit function?

Um, because we’re writers? Editors? Artists? Do the people who create our format use it? Do they consult people who do use it? Typically, your improvements make functions work less well than before, which I suppose makes them a dis-improvement.

I have a monumental investment in my site and am at an age where starting over is – pardon the pun – a non-starter. You might force me to quit. You may push out all your “old timers.” There is always a bill to pay when you refuse to listen to your customers. You won’t be the first major tech company to slither down that open drain.

Personally, I think you are slouching down a long, gravelly road to nowhere. Like so many formerly great platforms, the power you now hold will dwindle. I hope by the time you vanish, someone else will take over.


You don’t actually believe your improved platform is better than the one we had. Anymore than you believe changing our font sizing option from “points” to “small” “normal” or “large” improved customizing. Or eliminating our ability to create our own colors made our templates look better. Or deleting all the challenges that enabled us to form relationships with each other improved our blogging and creativity.

You’re just following orders. After all, everyone needs a job.

GIANT THISTLES – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day 

They just showed up in my garden a few years ago. The leaves looked like thistle leaves, but rather huge. Eventually, the flower popped up and it looked like a thistle — but huge.

I discovered, after minimal research, that these flowers are called “Giant Thistles” because they look exactly like thistles, but are much bigger. Unlike regular thistles, they have no thorns.

The bees love them, so I love them too. They have been spreading around the garden for several years.