FLOWER OF THE DAY: BABY ORCHIDS ARE BACK – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – Feb. 5, 2020 – Baby Orchid


I got this set of orchids for my anniversary. They were a brilliant violet. Almost purple. I was surprised to see buds on the stalks so soon after getting them, especially because I haven’t been very diligent about caring for them. Too much going on with house, dogs, moving out the dolls, off-loading old furniture. The problem with all of this effort is that the house looks worse, not better.

All the old furniture had stuff in it. Even though we’ve dumped multiple bags of trash, there are items left over and no place to put them. We are very short of closets in this house, even though we added an extra set when we moved in.

Purple in September

Everything is full and I grant you if we cleaned out the closets, there might be some room, but then again, maybe not. A lot of it is winter clothing and it takes up a lot of room.

The previously purple orchid

So between worrying about the health of the Scotties and feeding birds and fixing broken pieces of the house, my plants have not gotten the attention they deserve. Nonetheless, the Christmas Cactus began blooming again and my purple orchid opened this morning. There are more buds too.

It was hard to get a complete picture because it was facing down and I had to get underneath it to get a picture

But it isn’t purple this time. It is dark magenta in the middle with white petals. So I have to ask: does that mean the purple was artificially injected into the soil or do orchids change color?

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A FOOL TO BE PARTED FROM YOUR MONEY – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #4


A fool and his money are soon parted.


True. But you don’t have to be a fool. You just need an internet connection and a minute of carelessness. Or the wrong router or a cellphone with a tidy back door. Or a worm deep in your root directory. Anyone can get hacked including the most sophisticated users. You don’t need to be old or stupid.

Hackers are smart.

Or maybe you hire a contractor who doesn’t do the work and walks off with your money. How about inspection companies that don’t notice any of the problems in the house? Are they inept or paid off?

I could go on and on, but why bother? Especially when you get on in years, you become a target for every scammer and spammer on the Internet.

Your only other choice is to not go online, a totally impractical solution. So many things these days you can only do online. Our State government pretty much runs online. That’s how you get your driver’s license and your registration renewed, too. These days, if you don’t have a cell phone, you get punished for not using one.

I am not alone in not liking cell phones. No matter what anyone says, they are easily hackable including by people you bump into in the mall or grocery store. I have one, but it’s mostly turned off unless I need it. I’m not giving out the number. I have enough trouble with the regular phone and all those calls with no one at the other end.

Checking to see if we are home? Or just one of those automated services that dials a thousand number a minute. They don’t care if you are there or not. Out of all the calls they make, someone will be home. And one of them will give them private information they can misuse.

And they get smarter every day. Last time, they hacked my router. I got a new router. But I bet they have a hack for that, too. Meanwhile, I discovered I couldn’t update my router without a cell phone and even with a cell phone, I couldn’t figure out how it worked.

Do I feel a new router coming on?

GOVERNMENT GAMES – Marilyn Armstrong

In my neighborhood, my right-hand neighbor hates cops. He doesn’t want to pay for them. The guy on the left resents school taxes.  He never had kids. Never wanted them. He doesn’t want to pay for education none of his children will ever use.

Meanwhile, down the road, that guy has a big powerful SUV. He doesn’t care if the roads are plowed because his transport can plow through anything. If you can’t get through, well, too bad. Why should he pay for your transportation? He’s got his own. He also probably would step over you if you had a heart attack and were lying nearly dead on the sidewalk.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Then there’s that odd family up on the hill. They home-school their kids and don’t let them talk to anyone who isn’t on their “list.” They don’t believe in government. He doesn’t feel he should have to pay for anything. They are the creepy family who wouldn’t turn their hose on if the neighbor’s house was on fire. You want him choosing which taxes to pay?

In theory, Americans settled this issue at the beginning as part of the Revolution.

Taxes exist and we pay them because we are required to do so. You don’t have to like anything about the government, governor, Congress, or the school board. Or the cops, the town selectman, or the Mayor.

There are laws and we abide by them. Our government is not lunchtime in a diner where you pick what you want from the menu. The closest you can get to that kind of choice is voting for whoever you believe will support the programs you support.

If you don’t have children, you still need to recognize how important education is. It isn’t whether or not you or yours use the school. Failure to educate is how we got to the sad state we are in. If we continue to keep slashing education the way we have in the past, our national life will be worse, maybe even worse than we imagine.

Every time we need to cut government funds, we slash education as if education is of so little importance, we needn’t bother with it. We underpay teachers, underfund schools — and then complain that people are stupid. Meanwhile, we work very hard to make sure they remain stupid and their kids, too.

I think we need to look at the bigger picture. We don’t live in little tribes in caves. We all depend on our government and each other for survival, socialization, culture … everything. I need Social Security and Medicare. We all need roads, even if we don’t drive because whether it’s our own vehicle or a bus, it runs on a road. If all our “stuff” is delivered, they too need roads. We need bridges repaired whether or not we cross that river. Our visitors, doctors, delivery people, friends, and family may cross that river and may not have a convenient canoe for paddling.

Education benefits us all, as does the fire department, police … and oh yes, roads. And the military, National Parks. If I don’t get to visit every single one of them, I am happy they exist.

Even if I never drive through Texas, the roads there are part of the bill that makes sure my roads are paved. And I actually care whether or not people I don’t know live decent lives. It isn’t just about me or mine. I don’t believe the government should be a game where people we elected are allowed to pick and choose who lives and dies. We aren’t pieces on a board.

Vote sensibly, try to make sure other intelligent people vote. Set the glibness aside and make the best choice you can. Not every pol is bad. True, the awful ones are currently in charge, but who put them there? People voted for those losers. We didn’t have a revolution and it wasn’t a junta. It was voters — and the Russians.

There’s a lot of stuff — like disability, for example — for which a lot of people don’t want to pay. Or Medicare and Social Security. There are a million things the government does to keep things going. Take that away and we are alone, making do and only the wealthy survive.

To make a country, you need people who care about each other and share some fundamental beliefs. We need to believe that other people matter and recognize that we will share the funding with people we’ll never know. That is what makes a nation as opposed to a bunch of tribes living in caves and throwing rocks at each other.

Round two of four – Detroit

I never believe anything politicians say when they are trying to get elected. At best, they can promise what they want — hope — to deliver. The result will depend on many variables so whatever they say is what they want to do. It doesn’t make them liars or evil if they can’t deliver.

They can’t promise anything because no matter what you-know-who says, a president doesn’t make laws and can’t do whatever he or she wants to do. Elections and nominees offer us hopes and dreams, but they aren’t etched in stone. We can reasonably assume many of them will not be met.

Not all politicians are the kind of sleaze we see in Washington today. Many have the world’s best intentions but have a congress who won’t pass their ideas into law. Or have a Supreme Court that doesn’t think the legislation is legal — or at least this court says that. Who knows what the next one will think?

We do the best we can or we’ll live under fascism or in chaos. Take your pick. Neither sounds good.

We have made some progress throughout the years. Not enough, but some. Before you throw out the bathwater, make sure the baby isn’t in it.

OH, TO BE BACK IN OCTOBER AGAIN – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Autumn Scenes


Autumn is our season, though for the past two years, it has been abruptly shortened by unusually warm weather and far too much rain. Still, we did get at least a week or two, which is better than nothing.

My favorite house in mid-October

The shed in October

The very end of October 2019 on the Blackstone River

Maple trees in late October at River Bend

Upward from the house to the road

Mid-October, on our road towards Rhode Island

It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. How will it end? – Reblog – The Shinbone Star

It’s a long article, but worth reading. If we don’t get it together, the future looks bleak indeed. For all of us and maybe permanently.


 

THE SHINBONE STAR


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness … it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” — Opening of “
Tale of Two Cities” (1859), Charles Dickens.

To borrow from Charles Dickens’ classic novel, it is the best of times in the United States.

Stop laughing. Keep reading.

The U.S. economy — by all indices — continues to motor along. Unemployment across the board is at an historical low. Interest rates remain so close to zero that companies continue to invest in expansion, even if on a smaller scale than in previous years. Wages are higher now for most workers and as long as the stock market maintains its bulllish ways retirement accounts will stay healthy.

Ok, enough about the best.

It is the worst of times. See, no rose-colored…

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