There’s a reason why I don’t always want to write about the things that make me crazy. First of, they are things that make me crazy and I figure I’m crazy enough without working at it. Also, there is so  much wrong with this world. Just thinking about the environment is enough to send me into spirals of despair.

Chris Britt / Illinois Times

Thinking about the Orangeman makes my acid reflux go into overdrive. Thinking about this epidemic that seems unlikely to go away anytime in my lifetime. Or, for that matter, trying to figure out how to replace our boiler and repair the rotting back door … and somehow figure out how to pay my mortgage too. Because the money has to come from somewhere, so it looks like it’s coming out of my mortgage. I don’t have any other choice.

As it stands, I can get a boiler OR I can fix the rotting door, but not both.Really, there is no choice. You can’t live through a winter here without heat, at least not at our ages. I’m not sure anyone could live in New England in the winter without heat.

I spent all day answering calls from plumbers who might be willing to install a boiler or heating unit for us. We don’t have natural gas in this area. It has never been piped in and considering that one of the gas companies blew up a pretty large town in the north of this state a couple of years ago, I’m not sure I want natural gas anyway. But we could get a propane heating unit. Propane was standard in Israel for heat. You had big canisters alongside the house and got them changed as needed. And propane is MUCH less likely to blow up a whole town.

Two different natural gas companies blew up Lawrence, then a different company blew up another town right near Lawrence. It was huge news and terrifying to see on TV. There were pictures of who houses just blowing and bursting into flames. A few people died and most others managed to get out, but many are STILL homeless. Insurance companies hate paying for the errors of other companies. Mainly, they just don’t like paying money out. They LOVE collecting it.

I believe the courts finally ordered them to pay everyone and they are NOT allowed to go into bankruptcy to avoid paying. We’ll see how that goes. Apparently they hadn’t replaced or checked the pipes for years before the explosions started. So propane works for me, assuming it falls into the affordable range, whatever that is for us.

Then I think of Trump. I think about Gordon Gecko. I think of Mitch McConell and Lindsey Graham. I think of all those GOP rich, white pols. I get instantly depressed and try to think about something else. Sometimes, I’m so mad I have to write something, but occasional a little romp with Duke and some television does the job. Baking helps too.

I need more humor. It can be hard to find. Then I wonder if I can convince people that voting really DOES matter, even if the person you are voting for was not your first choice. To let Orangeman run another term will turn this country into something else, but nothing that I want to live in. Sadly, I’m too old to migrate anywhere and who would want us anyway? THEN I worry whether even if we win, how we’ll get Orangeman out of the White House? I would prefer handcuffs or a straight-jacket, but any old way will work form me.

I read an article this morning that said that unless many more people vote (as they did in 2018) we might get HIM back. That idea ruined my day — which had barely begun!


New England has a pretty big collection of native poets, of which Emily Dickenson was one. This poem so reminded me of this valley, with its hill and valleys and the mist over of the river. A good poem for summertime.



WHAT A SHOCK! – Marilyn Armstrong

You think you know someone. You hang out with them, exchange emails, jokes, and anecdotes. Maybe you even work with them. Then, one day, out of the blue, you discover they are fundamentalist Christians who believe you are going to Hell or are a hard-core right-wing Trumpist, conspiracy theorist, or believer in the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

I lived in Jerusalem for almost 9 years. You meet a lot of people who are sure they are Jesus Christ come back to finish his work on Earth. One of them worked at the local pizza joint and seemed perfectly normal, until in the middle of a casual conversation, he would drop a bomb about his mission and there you were, transported to wacko central.

I had a casual friend who was a piano player. He sang and played at fancy hotel lounges, like the Hilton Hotel lounge. He was, like me, an American, so it was inevitable we would meet. We struck up a little chatty relationship. One night, he called and invited me over. He had something important to tell me.

Important? Our relationship consisted of reminiscing about life in the U.S. in the 1960s — and I’d done his horoscope. I was (coincidentally) the astrology columnist and managing editor of a short-lived English-language weekly. Please, let’s not discuss astrology or my psychic abilities (or lack thereof). You don’t want to know and I don’t want to tell you.

Having nothing better to do at the time, I walked over to his house (just around the corner) and we got to talking. Suddenly, I knew. He was going to tell me one of two things: he was an alien and came from on another planet or galaxy … or … he was Jesus Christ.

edward-gorey-donald-imagined-thingsIt was the latter. Another Jesus. He wanted me, because of my brilliant psychic abilities, to be Paul and spread the word. I worked very hard to tell him that his timing was off and I would be sure to advise him when the right moment arrived. Then I fled into the night and home. He was one of several people who convinced me there was no future for me in the psychically predictive arts.

Then there was the guy I worked with at one or another of the many high-tech companies at which I was employed who one day informed me of his intention to quit his job and move to an underground bunker in anticipation of the coming apocalypse. I hadn’t even done his horoscope.

Not surprisingly, a series of these unwelcome surprises has made more than slightly wary of prospective friends. I’m afraid of what will be revealed as we get to know each other better.

The thing about people who believe in cabals, believe they were dropped from an alien spacecraft (or will be leaving on one shortly), are certain that God has assigned them a mission … ? You can’t argue with them.

You can’t point out the incongruities and contradictions of their beliefs. They believe what they believe and that’s that. There’s no point in offering facts. They will ignore all evidence that goes against their world-view.

These folks make me nervous. What happens when they (inevitably) decide I am one of their (many) enemies?