FORTY POINTS OF LIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong

40 things for Friday, Week Four

A thank you to Melanie.

I needed someone to remind me to stop sniveling and see what isn’t so bad. Forty is an awful lot, but I don’t have that much to do, so I’ll throw my towel in the ring. Most of these are going to sound silly considering death tolls and being locked in the house for months at a time, but this is life in a strange time. Snicker away. This is life in the Valley, April 11, 2020.

P.S. I may never go anywhere ever again. I might eventually change my mind, but right now, that’s how I feel about it.

  1. The dogs almost never bark all night although Bonnie almost succeeded by doing a continuous 4-hour Barkathon. Human madness nearly overwhelmed us, but she was just fine. I doubt she knows what she is barking at. If she is barking at anything in particular and not just hoping we’ll get up and give her company.
    At least she barks inside the house and she is happy. Dementia is working well for her. Who knows? It might work well for me.
  2. I think we might (I hope) have almost enough toilet paper to get through the siege.
  3. Our only grocery store will deliver medications to the curb. But not groceries. I guess we should be grateful for anything and to be fair, I think they are working as hard as they can. It’s the Valley. Low population. It’s mostly high schoolers and they aren’t always entirely focused. And, there aren’t a lot of bodies to enlist. Small towns can’t easily find hundreds of spare people. Still, pick-up OR delivery of groceries would really improve the quality of life.  It would be nice if they had some food to buy. Basics. Eggs. Chicken. Tomatoes. I hear they are throwing a lot of food away because there aren’t enough delivery trucks to get it where it needs to go. Not enough immigrants means crops are rotting in the field. Americans aren’t pickers.
  4. My house is gradually getting cleaner. Curtains in the dining room and living room have been washed, dried, and rehung. The French doors in the dining room have the same type of curtains as the living room but were bought as curtains.
    The living room consists of three long silk saris, in three different colors, all together on the rack. They need to be washed gently, in cold water and dried at room temperature or hung to dry. They came out beautiful and I remember how clever I felt using saris draped over the prongs from the previous drapes. It’s the picture window, the only place where nice curtains matter. The French doors have a long piece of floral silk around them, but it isn’t a sari.
  5. My house is interesting.
  6. Garry collects old photographs and paintings and photographs. We also have several excellent oil paintings (once upon a time, we had incomes), watercolors, prints, ancient Chinese porcelains, some old Japanese porcelain, and hand-painted Native American pottery. Also, Hindu religious art.
  7. Owen collects chiming clocks. We have probably 20 in the house — it might be more.

    Wall chiming clock, living room

    Since these are weight-driven or windups, they are never entirely accurate and around eleven and noon, the start ringing all over the house, but never at the same time. And anyway, they don’t ring at the same rate or even play the same chimes. During those hours, our house sounds like a cathedral.

  8. Owen also collects old Victrolas. You know, you wind them up and play an old, fragile 78 RPM recordings. We have a big mahogany tabletop Victrola. It’s lovely. He has a few spare ones which I think he’s going to sell.
  9. Garry and I have a lot of cameras but aren’t using them much.
  10. Owen is growing (legal) pot. We had four good starters, but we lost one. Now there are three. But more are coming tomorrow. We only have room for a total of five until it’s warm enough to put them outside.
  11. We bought a “Magical Butter” machine.  All the fun of making edibles with half the work and it comes out perfect every time.
    Try homemade gingerbread with three or four 1/8 (something like that) the amount you get from mini muffin tin instead of the butter or other oil you were planning to use. Have a good time.
  12. I bought a 12-inch glowing globe of the Earth. I use it as a soft light for when we’re watching TV.When I have nothing else to do, I rotate it and see all the strange and wonderful places in the world.
  13. I’m spending too much money. It’s the tedium of doing nothing.  I apologize. But everything was on sale
  14. If you buy a Magical Butter machine, use the coupon. We get a refund.
  15. You can take the drudgery out of the preparation. You can also have other butter mixes using garlic, rosemary, or whatever suits you.
  16. About every three or four days, I get 1020 photographs from the wall camera on the deck. They keep me very busy. Just deleting the pictures takes hours.
  17. We are supposed to get richer via the U.S. Treasury. Has anyone received anything from the government? The $1200 check, or unemployment, or a small business loan … or for that matter managed to make an arrangement for rents or mortgage? If you have, tell me your secret. Scads of people want to know.
  18. We have many brightly colored and entertaining birds.
  19. We’ve got plenty of squirrels, flying and leaping varieties.
  20. Raccoons. Three at a time sometimes seems to be too many.
  21. Two dogs. See #1.
  22. Our wi-fi works most of the time.
  23. Today is a sunny day, It’s about time.
  24. Garry and I ate the last of the gingerbread. Garry decided he didn’t need to shave. What a smartie!
  25. The dogs never put their toys away even though we discuss the matter daily.
  26. I hardly have to cook. Owen cooks. I am deeply grateful.
  27. I can see the fat red buds of the Maple tree outside the picture window. They are early.
  28. The birds are fully dressed for the mating ritual. The Goldfinches are bright yellow. The House Finches are deep red. We have an enormous red-bellied woodpecker who scares the squirrel.
  29. I keep my news watching down to a few minutes on television. The rest of the stuff I get on comedy shows or from other blogs. Limiting the amount of input has improved my ability to cope.
  30. The new buds on the Orchids are getting nice and plump.
  31. We are not going to run out of coffee anytime soon. I just got 3 new bags and 3 new cans of it.
  32. We still remember how to laugh. Gingerbread helps.
  33. The Forsythias are blooming.
  34. We have more doves this year than last.
  35. I couldn’t afford the fancy expensive birdfeed. It was $12 for 20 lbs. in March. It’s $37 for 10 pounds now and delivery isn’t until late May or June. The creatures are not pleased.
  36. I’m going to go wash my hair. It’s not a point of light. My hair needs washing. I don’t know if I’m going to make it to 40. I’m wearing out.
  37. My hair is clean.
  38. The price of fuel oil went down. Also gasoline, but we aren’t driving so it doesn’t matter much.
  39. Easter Sunday and Passover Weekend: The western religious world is going berserk. I’m enjoying the fuss. Half the people ranting about not going to church didn’t go to church before, but now that they can’t, they are enraged. It would be funny if it weren’t ridiculous.
  40. I bought an Intelligent hat from ShopGarrisonKeillor. Click the link if you want one. It says something to which I can relate.

And that’s it for a while. My thinking is worn out. I need a long nap before I need to think again.

Categories: Home, Humor, Marilyn Armstrong, Photography, Q & A, questions

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20 replies

  1. I used to read at the church every few weeks for many years, perhaps twenty (until a very conceited and deceitful pastor came along). I always read on Christmas and Easter to the congregation. The church was full those days, overflowing in fact. The other Sundays, not so much.
    I guess I could find 40 points, but too tired right now to think of them.


    • When we came to the valley, I had no experience with churches, though Garry had a lot. We chose a church because a very seriously Christian friend of mine love it and I loved her. Between our coming to the valley in 2000 and now, the minister who I like very much was driven out because he liked to talk about what was going on in the world and the elders wanted him to follow the old format and leave reality at the door. Then they decided the way to attract “young people” was to play modern music, which we hated. Then they couldn’t find a new minister and who turned out to be a good friend of ours was imported, though long retired, to temporarily serve the church. He did for about five years, but he was getting pretty old. My friend, another Marilyn (she was Marilyn Baker and I was Marilyn Armstrong, so we were Marilyns A and B) was also getting on and her husband, who was a doctor, developed the symptoms for Gehrig’s Disease and their children (they had a lot of them) wanted them to move from the house they had loved for their whole lives o be nearer to them and both of them slipped first into peaceful dementia. Marilyn died. Her husband died. The minister we cared for died. I had heart surgery and I didn’t want to go anymore. I had gone because I loved Marilyn. She was so intelligent, had traveled the world and we could have intelligent conversations (!) that lasted until wherever we were having breakfast started to serve dinner … and having been so sick, I couldn’t bear everybody asking me “how are you” and knowing they didn’t want an answer. All they wanted to see a bright smile and me saying “just fine thank you.”

      The endless battles to find a minister who would stay long enough to get the church to settle down never seemed to end. The nonstop quarreling between ministers who wanted to job and the ones to whom we offered the job — who never stayed and then the rejected minister left too — exhausted me. The congregation got older, the elders finally budged on whether or not the minister could say anything which was real. It was 10 years too late for me. Garry wouldn’t go without me, even though he is a Christian and I’m not. I just didn’t want to go. All I could see were the places where my friends used to sit and how empty the pews seemed to be. The church is gradually getting older, congregationally-speaking. I want my friends back.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The church I read at for many years also had the high school where I graduated. I only went there a year, but the neighborhood all knew me from my years working at the Boys Club down the street. Now both institutions have changed and I, like many others, have moved on.


  2. I was intrigued by the magical butter machine. I never heard of that. I’m going to go look it up in a minute. I don’t know if they sell them over here.
    Are people panic buying birdseed now? Why?
    You do have an interesting house. I always love seeing photos of your things.
    I received money from the government. I seem to be spending more than usual on food at the moment so it was good to have money in hand to pay for it on the days when delivery is available as I can’t stick to my normal routine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we are having delivery problems. We aren’t a big town — about 10,000 people — and the supplies go to Boston or Newton, or any of the other Boston-centric towns along the eastern end of Massachusetts. ALL of them are towns of 100,000 or more and out here, our “big” town is Worcester — maybe 50.000 spread out over a large area — or Milford which is maybe 25,000. We have only one grocery store and it isn’t even part of a major chain. So when they divide up the trucks, we aren’t at the top of the list. A lot of things are disappearing off Amazon too because they can’t get drivers. They need 100,000 drivers. They are offering higher salaries and benefits, too … but people are afraid. It makes places like our town — and like yours, I imagine — very scarce for many items. Sometimes, if you get to the store at the right time, you might get lucky but a lot of the time, there’s scant stuff on the shelves.

      I don’t know if they are just not producing seeds or they can’t get the trucks to show up to take their goods away. The last time I ordered — not from Amazon because they were completely out of everything — I bought a LOT of seed. It’s a pet food store, But it’s slow getting here. I’m still waiting for Bonnie’s eye-drops — she has been out for weeks and they have had to make a whole new batch. Her other eye medication is out of stock EVERYWHERE and no one knows when or if they will make more of it.

      As for Magical Butter, go to their own site. They have an Australian outlet. Here are the numbers:

      MB Australia


  3. Thanks for the nod Marilyn and for taking up the torch (as it were). In the spirit of full disclosure though, the credit goes to Laura – she came up with 40 and I merely glommed on for the ride! Like you I had trouble making it to 40 things, but it passed some time and reminded me of the good things around me (for the most part). Pudge and Bonnie must spring from a similar ancestry (although they look nothing alike and Pudge is mostly silent) ..Pudge the Nudge is his new nick-name, because he nudges me to pick him up (he immediately wants to get down again – I guess he’s two in human years, although 70 in dog years)), he nudges me to be petted and to be cuddled. He’s insistent! Ziggy is vocal and often ‘chatters’ on at nothing at all, but he’ll wind down eventually. I have to wonder if our fur-kids are picking up on our stress levels and trying to help (although four hours of barking might understandably make stress worse?)….#17? You guys aren’t getting your payments? I’ve gotten mine and must remember to be grateful for it. I’d be one step closer to the edge if I weren’t (as well as freaking out because I couldn’t pay for anything. I’ve got no money.) No trick to it, just automatic deposit. I’m curious at the number of people saying they aren’t getting money from the government…what’s going on?! 😮 Lastly I will go buy one of those hats and I’ll be sure to take a selfie wearing it, to drive my siblings bonkers. Both are MAGA dunces, having drunk the kool-aid and in full support of that idiot who thought up (not on his own of course) that slogan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie does that too. She wants to be picked up. But she stays for a minute or less and then she’s gone. I’m not sure what that’s about. I think it’s the creeping dementia. We are on social security, so we should have the money, but who knows?


  4. Lots of good in this post! 40 is a lot — I’m not sure I could come up with that many!


  5. In Canada the government is handing out money and people have already received it. They don’t turn anyone down as long as you file your taxes here. There is a proviso that you agree to the terms which haven’t yet been thought out. In other words they may claw back what ever money they give you in your taxes next year. So consider it a loan and whether they will change interest on the loan, that too hasn’t been decided.
    What a mess.


  6. I loved reading your 40 points! It must be wonderful to look at so many unique items you’ve collected over the years.


  7. Lot of good things.



  1. STRANGE TO SHARE A WORLD WHERE NOTHING IS HAPPENING. OH, WAIT! By Marilyn Armstrong | Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

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