After having cut down our rose bushes so much that they have not grown back, other plants have decided they can grow. The Rhododendrons have been in the garden since we built it up and added other flowers, but it never grew. The roses took over the garden and grew like mad.

They are blooming like crazy. They are white and rather, I’m told, rare. Almost all the Rhododendrons I’ve seen are some kind of pink or violet or even dark purple.

So here they are. I’m amazed the roses didn’t come back. I’m a little sad to lose them because they were pretty, but they were also about as cozy as barbed wire. They made it almost impossible to get into the garden to care for it. They snagged any clothing you were wearing. Even getting rid of the cuttings was an undertaking.

The roses were really beautiful from a distance, but a peril to life and skin. So I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.



A Solitary Man, Rich Paschall

When the “stay at home” orders dragged on from March to April and then to May, it seemed like we needed some music to fit the situation. Some were creating playlists and posting them online. Others were writing and recording new songs. With all this creativity at hand, I decided to jump into the fray with our own Pandemic Playlist.

A lonely seagull

First up was a post entitled Splendid Isolation, named after the song by the late Warren Zevon. I sat down to compile a song list that would seem to fit our unique situations. This led to a variety of topics and a very long “shortlist” for my Top Ten.  It was hard work watching all those YouTube videos but I knew, “I Will Survive.”

With the SERENDIPITY Sequester Songlist finished, I knew we were off to a good start, but I still had a lot of tunes tempting me to go again. Many titles contained a variation of the word “Lone.” You know, Lonely, Alone, Lonesome and things like that. There were Lonely People in a Lonely Town who were all Alone or possibly Alone Together. From a Lonely Boy to Mr. Lonely they knew how Only The Lonely could feel. This Quarantine list was Just A Lonely Boy, from the opening line of the Paul Anka song.

As I looked over what was intended to be a shortlist for a Top Ten Quarantine songs, I realized there were at least twenty more. No, I will not give you another Top Ten, just the best of the rest. It was hard to rank these as they are all good songs. The order could change at any moment, so remember, this is just One Moment In Time.

Solitary man?

8. Solitaire, Neil Sedaka.  The song was written by Sedaka and frequent collaborator Phil Cody. The Carpenters had a hit with it, so did Andy Williams. Sedaka recently stated on his YouTube channel that at least 60 artists have recorded it.  Despite the hits by others, it seemed best to let Sedaka do the honors. If you liked the old Sedaka songs then you are in luck. The prolific singer, songwriter octogenarian gives mini-concerts every weekday on YouTube during the pandemic stay at home orders.

7. All By Myself, Eric Carmen. Another singer, songwriter, Eric Carmen started with the group The Raspberries in the early 1970s and went on a career all by himself.  Carmen is a classically trained pianist and based this hit tune on Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The song made it to No. 2 on the US Billboard charts.

6. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, Green Day. Some might consider this NSFW due to one of the words in the lyrics. The official video here has sort of garbled the word but you’ll get it. Radio play just took it out. Well, everything is screwed up. What else can I say? I am pretty sure that lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong is not related to Garry and Marilyn, but I never really asked. Any way Armstrong declares, “My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me, My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating.” He walks the boulevard alone.

5. Isolation, John Lennon. This one certainly has gotten popular since the stay at home orders. It appeared on Lennon’s first album following the breakup of The Beatles.  Recorded at Abbey Road studio, the album was released on the Apple label in 1970 to critical acclaim. Interestingly, Ringo Starr played drums on this track. Lennon is on the piano.

4. Dancing With Myself, Billy Idol. After that last one, I thought we should pick up the pace. If there is no one there to dance with, it is OK to dance with yourself. The song was originally released in the UK in 1980 by the band Gen-X with Billy Idol as the lead singer. The following year it was remixed and re-released in the US as a solo by Idol, who also co-wrote the song. Just remember:
“Well, there’s nothing to lose
And there’s nothing to prove, well,
Dancing a-with myself”

3. Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles. I don’t think there is anyone lonelier than Eleanor Rigby unless it is Father McKenzie of the same song. This 1966 release was quite a departure for the pop band. The song features eight string players, arranged by famed Beatles producer, George Martin. The song is about the elderly and the lonely. Only the Beatles could have had a hit with this one. “Ah, look at all the lonely people.”

2. One, Three Dog Night. Harry Nilsson wrote the song and released his version in 1968, but it was the Three Dog Night version the following year that became a hit. The repetition of the same note at the outset is meant to symbolize a busy single. If you make a call and get no one, then you are the only one. And as we all know, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”

1. Solitary Man, Neil Diamond. One of the best selling singer-songwriters in the world, Diamond had a big hit with this one, his first solo release in 1966. You are likely familiar with a radio version with background singers and big production. It was a powerful interpretation. There was also a version recorded alone without the background singers. It sounded more personal as he changed “then Sue came along” to “then you came along.”  The ultimate message is the same. Until he finds the right person, “I’ll be what I am, A solitary man.”

These were the best ones that did not make my other Playlists. To hear any one of the above just click the title. If you want to hear all nine on the Solitaire Playlist, click here.  I added both versions of the Neil Diamond song, one performance from 1971 (above), one from 2012.

See also: SPLENDID ISOLATION, Your Quarantine Playlist, April 26, 2020.
JUST A LONELY BOY, Lonely and Blue, May 6, 2020. (Lonesome Playlist)

WORLD SHARING, SUCH AS IT IS – Marilyn Armstrong

We’ve had some days of sunshine and that has helped my mood. It hasn’t changed the dynamics of the Coronavirus or its enormous impact on this area. Massachusetts is considered “New England” while New York is considered northern central east coast, but from New York through Massachusetts, the virus has hit harder and killed more people than anywhere else in the country.

There have been other hot sports, but these are the worst. By the time you move up to New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, there are very few cases. These mostly rural states have largely been spared. And I still have no idea how to get tested in Massachusetts. We have no drive-in testing sites, no messages from our medical plan, hospital, or doctors saying where to go or what to do. I actually don’t know anyone who has been tested, so we really have no idea who was sick and got better, or who hasn’t (yet) become ill but could.

That being said, our Rhododendron is blooming ferociously. When we chopped down the roses last year, the now free Rhododendron when wild.

Share Your World 5-19-2020

So, are we ready for question? Sure we are!


What’s something you really resent paying for?

Everything. I’ve lived long enough. I should be able to go out on a high note instead of counting pennies and trying to survive. Just saying.

 What was the most unsettling film you’ve seen?

I don’t watch unsettling films. If I get that “feeling” it’s turned instantly. Life is creepy enough. I do not need to add more.

Do you judge people?  

We all judge, but what I don’t do is tell people how I feel. For one thing, I may feel entirely different tomorrow or even later today. I may feel that way because I’m in a lousy mood or don’t feel well. Or I’m just feeling grumpy or tired. So I avoid passing it along. When I do decide to open up, it usually ends that relationship. I have to be pretty angry for a long time before I decide to “share.” It doesn’t happen often, maybe three or four times in my life. But all such closures were permanent.

Finish this sentence:  “Back in my day, we…”?

Smoked dope and never imagined it might ever really be legal. Now, it’s legal … but I can’t inhale. On the upside, we’re getting pretty good at edibles.


Please feel free to share an uplifting photo, thought or meme to show your own gratitude.   We can all use some good vibes!  

New birds, blooming flowers, and three days of warm sunshine. Be glad my heart!