REDUCED AND CAPTURED – The way life feels these days …

It’s not losing weight, at least not in any literal sense. It’s more like a world in which I feel like there is less of everything. There’s less money because this is one of the things that come with retirement. You get “retirement money” — which remains the same forever no matter what happens to the economy.

Your life has nothing to do with the economy. An upswing in employment is meaningless when you are past employment. A jump in the Dow is hilarious if you have nothing in the market. You’ve got a pension — however ridiculously small it may be — and social security which is shrinking when everything else is rising.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

You will never get a raise or a bonus. It doesn’t matter if your house is falling down or your car died or you can’t afford medication for your chronic ailments.  Your social security raises are so tiny they don’t represent a single hit on a bank machine to get some walking-around money. And you don’t get bonuses. Not for Christmas, your birthday, or any other reason.

That is the meaning of “fixed income.” You will never get a raise and your income will never go up. Ever. No matter what happens to the rest of the economy.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

As for capture? You are a prisoner of age. Not because you’re too sick to do anything but because just getting through the month takes everything you’ve got. Vacation? A nice meal out? You can do it … as long as you know that by doing so, something else you need will be forfeit — like a mortgage payment or money for medications, food, and gasoline.

This will be the price you pay for anything you do that isn’t “in the budget.

Old Williamsburg

Poor, trapped, reduced and captured. It’s an interesting place to be after having spent a lifetime finding ways to enjoy freedom. Not interesting in a “good” way, either.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the world around you hadn’t gone utterly mad at the same time.  Believe me: this is not at all what I had in mind for my golden years!


Share Your World – June 25, 2018

Where has this first half-year gone? Whoosh! It was winter that never ended, a muddy, windy spring … now summer. Whoosh and it will be autumn. Why does winter last forever, but summer and fall are gone in a flash?

If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and offered to take you home with them, would you go? (remember this is SYW, they are friendly aliens)

I need to ask a few questions. HOW friendly are these aliens? Are they likely to love me so much they want to have lunch with me — as the main dish?


Can they make me young? Cure all ailments? Can I bring Garry? Can I bring the dogs?

I’ve been waiting for the Mother Ship for years. I won’t let it go without serious consideration. As long as I can take my family and not become lunch, that is.

How tall are you? Are you satisfied with your height?

I’m SHORT. I used to be short, but not quite THIS short. I’m barely 5’2″ these days.

On the deck, I look NORMAL. On the ground, I am squat.

I can’t reach the top shelf of my kitchen cabinets. Am I satisfied with my height? Hell no.

Do you think you could live without your smartphone (or other technology items) for 24 hours? 

I could. I have. Sometimes, I look forward to it. I live without a smartphone anyway because although I have one in my bag, it’s off. It is my emergency phone and I rarely use it. 

I don’t think I could do without a camera, though. That would be painful.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  

Seeing the fourth orchid come to life, getting the lawn mowed (love the fresh grassy smell) and finally setting the deck to rights.

Four orchids

One of the really positive parts of having real company is that you do the things you’ve been putting off. If no one ever visits, you can let them slide.


How funny or witty can you be when reality — your existence — has gone beyond whatever we imagined was the ultimate degree of ludicrousness? When your future expectations have been effectively annihilated?

That we have a horrible government (it makes me ill thinking about it) is bad. Awful. Unspeakable.

But all the little things that should be easy are also obscenely complicated. There’s no reason for it — except the people with whom one is dealing are incompetent. Not because they can’t do the job, but because they don’t care.

Is this all part of the overall feeling we have that our country is going to hell? That trying to be better isn’t worth the effort? We already know we aren’t going to be rewarded because no one cares about the quality of our work.  Or us.

I have learned that when anyone “fixes” something, the new version is going to be harder to use and less functional. This includes hardware and software. It includes medical care. It includes any form of communications. It includes things like logging on to my computer.

I didn’t want to have a password for my computer because no one uses it except me. Garry wouldn’t go near it. It’s too heavy to haul anywhere and I would have to be dead for someone to try to figure it out.

But I gave up. I put in a password. Yesterday, Microsoft sent down a new version of Windows 10 and now, I can choose one of three ways to sign in. I can use my password. I can use a numerical key through Microsoft. Or I can set up facial recognition.

Thanks. If I didn’t want a password at all, why do I now need three choices of new ways to slow down my computer?

I turned off Alexa on each machine on which it has appeared. I refuse to use voice recognition or Skype. It takes me at least three tries to make the robot in the computer understand what I’m saying. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how many times I say it, it isn’t going to understand.

Moreover, I don’t need Alexa to take charge of anything, thank you very much. Please, take Alexa, Cortana, and Siri away. Make them disappear.

I don’t need electronic solutions to stuff that isn’t a problem. If I add these electronic solutions, they will become problems. It’s like the electronics in your car. You don’t have a key, so if the computer malfunctions, you not only can’t drive your car, you can’t even open the door.

Why is everything so needlessly complicated? Why does every simple task involve hours on hold, getting disconnected? Why are they making toilets require Bluetooth or WiFi? Are they going to analyze our shit to make sure we’re getting the right amount of roughage? Do I need the toilet to talk to me?

Why am I arguing with robots or people who know less about the problem than I do? Why won’t people believe anything I tell them?

I’m tired of being mad. Tired of arguing about stupid shit. I’m worn out. I am not ill, dying. I’m not going to have a stroke or heart attack. I’m exhausted from endlessly dealing with a million idiotic things that should not need to be dealt with at all. By anyone.

I’m tired of the incompetence of people who have jobs when so many competent people could use a job.

It’s not merely that we have a stupid government. It’s that we are becoming a stupid country. Not “stupid” in the sense that we don’t have brains, but stupid in the sense that we don’t use them. Brains, that is.

I’m having trouble finding this funny. That worries me. If I can’t laugh, how can I keep going? Laughter is the one thing that makes life livable. Take it away, and life will totally suck.

I used to say when comes the revolution, I’ll be on of the first up against the wall. Right now, not only does that seem likely, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. It could save me from trying to try making another appointment with a doctor.

Lately, even watching comedians isn’t funny because the news isn’t funny. It’s tragic, sad, depressing. And getting worse. I no longer think it can’t get worse. I’m positive it will get worse. I try not to think about how it could get worse. I just want it to not get too much worse until after I’m gone.

It would be just our kind of luck for both of us to live to 120.

JUNE IS SQUARE – ROOF 28 – Marilyn Armstrong

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

Roof on an old red barn in Mendon

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!