No one said it better than Tom Lehrer and now, he’s going to sing it again. For me and you and all of us. Trace element. Elements.

All the elements. In song. With a piano. Thanks, Tom! Excuse me. That would be Dr. Lehrer.


Curtailment without elimination is a process

In difficult times, some people go on the stump. They give speeches. They carry signs. They march. They sign petitions and attend meetings.

I write.

Of all the things I can do, writing is on top of my personal list. I never know (does anyone?) if the stuff I write reaches anyone. Speaks to anyone. Changes anything, but I like to think it does. Sometimes. Maybe, now and again, I get someone to think about something they otherwise would have ignored.

Always writing has a “reaching out” quality in it. For me. I know there are a lot of writers who seem to spend their words exploring their inner selves and I respect that, but that ain’t me. I need to reach out.

Moreover, I don’t write because “blogging is fun.”

I started writing as soon as I could hold a pencil and form words. I wanted to write from the moment I knew there was such a thing in the world and I haven’t changed my opinion since. If I didn’t blog, what else would I do? I’m not a novel writer — I’ve proved that repeatedly.

Regardless, my need to write is powerful. These days, I write a blog, but I always wrote something. I need to find a balance where I can be friends, write, and also have a non-computer life. I just have to figure out how to leave a little time and space to get other things done. I suspect this was easier when connecting wasn’t as easy as it is now — and we didn’t have the power of the universe in our keyboard.

By the way, I also give excellent driving direction, just in case you are planning to visit.

POPULARITY: UPS AND DOWNS by Marilyn Armstrong

Recently, I got “set up” with Instagram. Assured that I could be very popular on it, I set up a password and was left still baffled by how come I can’t use one of my laptops. I don’t have an iPhone and I’m not really comfortable on my mini iPad. But no matter. I could work it out.

All I need to do, is want to make it work. Which I haven’t done.

Assured that I could be very popular, I realized I wasn’t sure I wanted to be more popular. I think maybe I’m entirely popular enough. I feel obliged to respond to commenters. As it is, I barely have time to do anything but work on the computer.

When I have a busy day that requires I do outside stuff — like shopping or cooking or spending the day on telephone hold — I look at my “inbox” and there are hundreds of new emails. I know I won’t be able to even open them, much less answer them. As bedtime rolls around, I delete almost everything, saving a few things that I really want to read and hope I’ll find time for.

Tomorrow is another day. Another few hundred emails will show up. If I leave today’s stuff until tomorrow, I’ll be buried. I may never dig out.

So is that the only reason I don’t want to be “more popular?”

Not entirely. To me, at least, popularity is responsibility. People in my world — online and off — expect me to respond to them, to answer their comments, to pay attention to what’s going on in their world — and rightfully so.

Except — I’m out of time. I can’t do it.

I can not do one thing more than I’m already doing. I’m stretched thin. Of those hundreds of daily emails, I’m able to read fewer than half. I barely have time to entirely read even the few I open, much less thoroughly read anything. Of the (too many) blogs I follow, I read maybe a third of them on a good day. On a less good day during which I’ve got other obligations than computing, I may not get to anything. I find myself at midnight looking at a mass of unopened emails and knowing I can’t do it. I’m tired. All I want is to read for a few minutes and fall asleep.

I’ve run out of conscious hours.

Too much of something is very similar to nothing at all. Having mountains of material to read and being unable to spend any time digging into it is very much like not reading. The result is nagging guilt. This is not what I had in mind.

I don’t want to give up on the people I follow, but I’m in over my head and that’s without adding anything more. So no Instagram for me. No more anything. Garry’s surgery is two weeks away and I’ve got to find time to deal with him and me and our lives. Everything else will have to wait.

Being more popular is not what I need.  What I really need is more time!


I had a very scary experience recently. I passed out in the supermarket and spent the afternoon in the Emergency Room of a local hospital.

I was checking out and taking my purchases out of my basket. Suddenly, I started seeing spots in front of my eyes. They got really bad and I could hardly see at all. Before I had time to think about what was happening, things started to fade out and I felt myself falling. I managed to place myself on the floor before I blacked out completely. I heard people talking about calling 911.

The next thing I heard was the EMT guy talking to me. I was totally lucid and I gave the man my son and my husband’s phone numbers. But my speech was slow and labored. Not slurred, so no stroke. That added another level of freak out for me.

Fortunately, my son and his fiancée were literally en route to meeting me for lunch. So, they got to the supermarket in about ten minutes.

My husband was another story. His car was in the shop and I had the only other car. So he had no way to get to me! He called the garage and got them to drop everything and drive his (driveable) car to the house.

When my husband arrived at the supermarket, I was sitting in a chair, drinking water. We decided to go to the walk-in clinic down the street instead of the ER. They checked me out and found nothing. But they recommended that I go to the ER anyway, to get an MRI and an EKG to rule out stroke and any kind of brain issues.

So I got to ride in an ambulance for the first time! I chatted with the female EMT the whole way to the hospital, which was quite pleasant. No sirens though. By the time I got to the hospital, my speech was normalizing and I was beginning to feel like myself.

The ER was amazingly efficient. We were only there for a few hours and the tests ruled out anything serious. So I went home – with a slight case of shell shock.

I went to see my GP a few days later and he thinks that my low blood pressure was the proximate cause of the blackout. He told me to eat more salt and to drink energy drinks with salt and electrolytes to boost my blood pressure. He also took lots of blood tests and we’re waiting for the results.

This incident made me feel very vulnerable. I never had any major health crisis or any surgeries. Now I suddenly realize that anything can happen, at any time. Very sobering.

I’m very lucky that I don’t have any major health problem to deal with. I just hope I can get past this sense of impending doom every time I leave the house.

DAYLILIES – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day – July 2, 2018 – Daylily

I got a new camera today. If I should ever figure out how to properly set it up, I’m pretty sure I will love it. It is very similar to the one I gave to Garry, but it has a larger sensor and the lens is only 25 – 400 mm. Garry’s goes from 24 – 600 mm. Otherwise, the cameras are very similar, though mine is heavier. In fact, it’s as heavy as a full-size DSLR.

I have not figured out why it is so much heavier. It’s got a 1″ sensor, but how much could that possibly weigh? I think the lens is a bit bigger, though also shorter. Maybe it’s the body. It certainly feels sturdy enough.

I spent several hours today trying to find specific information in their so-called manual. I found some of the information I wanted, but not nearly enough. There’s no index, so I don’t even know if the information is in the manual at all.

There are functions which are not explained at all. I don’t know what job they perform,  so being asked to set it “on” or “off” is meaningless.

You can see Garry back behind the garden, chatting with the dogs.

I really wish they would do a better job on the documentation. I know it’s futile for me to say that, but I spent a lot of years working hard to make the books I wrote correct and accurate. These flimsy half-assed “documents” offend me.