WORD PROMPT: SERENDIPITY ARE US – Marilyn Armstrong

Word Prompt: Serendipity


For six and a half years, Serendipity was the name of this blog. One day WordPress decided the money I pay per wasn’t enough to protect the title of my blog and for months, we disappeared.

Eventually, I had to come up with a “more unique name” so readers could find us.  Three (four? five?) months later, now we are “Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth” and the only way you will find all of my 8,000 posts is by using at least half of the full annoyingly long title — or the name of whoever posted it.

A few years ago, a few more people started writing for the blog and now, we are five. Right now, Garry isn’t writing much because he’s between surgery and techno-hearing-headgear and just hasn’t felt like it, but usually, he does write. Intermittently, by mood.

Rich Paschall – in France

Rich Paschall has been writing, always on Sunday, but sometimes other days. Now that he is retiring, I expect to hear more from him. He has also been an incredible help to me when I’ve been out sick for long periods of time, especially when I was in for, then recovering from, a massive amount of heart surgery.

I don’t know if this site would have survived without his assistance and I will always be deeply grateful for his caring and concern, even though we’ve never personally met. I keep hoping one of these days, we will meet!

Tom Curley in performance

Friends Ellin and Tom Curley — well, we’ve been friends a long time. Tom, and Garry and I all worked at the same college radio station and Ellin is the wife Tom always needed but didn’t know until they met. I love happy marriages!

Ellin Curley

Tom writes when his personal lightning hits while Ellin is a loyal, regular writer and is beginning to get the hang of photography as another way of writing the story.

All of us have a lot to say.

Garry talks about his life as a TV news reporter and all the people he met along the way. Tom talks about his life and views as a TV director, producer, and engineer. Not to mention his post TV life doing Audio theater — of which Ellin is also a major component.

Garry Armstrong

Everyone has a LOT to say about the political world, mostly not very good stuff, but that’s the way it is these days.

“Serendipity is defined as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” – Dictionary Definition.

Basically, life is all serendipity. I started this site 6-1/2 years ago and have garnered more than 700,000 (closing rapidly on 800,000) views from almost every country on the planet. And still, I see a frightful lack of intelligent life on Earth.

Stupidity is exploding at an unsustainable rate. I thought we had reached epic levels of stupid, but there’s just no stopping it.

Marilyn Armstrong

Watching Jim Jeffries last night “interviewing” the Q people who also appear to be “flat world” believers … and believe Hillary Clinton kills babies for their blood. All of which beliefs are based on zero evidence. None of these bizarre “humans” think “proof” or “evidence” is important. Stupidity reigneth.

When you witness that sort of thing, not only do you get a splitting headache, but you realize seeking intelligent life on Earth may be a futile effort. To seek, yet never find.

There is no intelligent life on Earth. We are like Arthur’s knights seeking a Grail that never got to Britain and possibly never existed. Yet we seek it.

Serendipity? Well, there are two reasons for it as this blog’s title.

First, there is a lovely chocolate shop in Manhattan named “Serendipity.” They serve an iced chocolate that is to die for. When I was a teener, it was the place to be, the coolest place in the big city. It continues to exist and I’m betting it’s still the place to be, especially if you live in New York, are young, and looking for life.

The other reason is more obvious. Life is serendipity. You go looking for one thing, you find something else. While you are “settling for that other thing,” you discover you like it more than whatever you were looking for.

We are born. Have no idea who we are or what we will be. We never really know who we are or what we will be. We make choices, but they don’t work out or they work for a while and then everything changes. We live utterly different lives than our “plans.”

Because life isn’t something to be planned.
It’s life. It just is.

8/12/2018 – TODAY IS NATIONAL MIDDLE CHILD DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

I was a middle child. I’m not anymore because my older brother died and my younger sister got addicted to everything and disappeared. I’m assuming she is alive since no one has told me otherwise, but I have no actual evidence to that effect.

1963

Middle children have an interesting place in family life. If the family is big, there are lots of middle children so you can have quite a heap of middle children, but in the three-child family, middle children are often communicators. We take messages to the other warring family members.

Mom tells you to tell dad whatever, which you do, then he tells you to tell her something else. You brother confides in you because you are “The One Who Talks.”

It’s a weird role for a kid. It makes you feel important. Everyone counts on you to take and deliver messages. But it’s a fake importance. What you are really doing is helping your dysfunctional family not communicate with each other.

That was the final reason I went to Israel. My marriage was tired and not doing well … and my family had gone from dysfunctional to dangerously dysfunctional. Frighteningly dysfunctional with potentially lethal results. I felt — and I’m sure I was right — that if I didn’t go far away, I would never break the chain of recriminations, threats, lies, prevarications, fear … the whole ugly wrapper.

Not all families are equally dysfunctional, but mine was way beyond standard. Matthew and I survived. I survived better than he did, though he lived a good — if sadly short — life.

He had a great wife and an amazing relationship with her. I’m pretty sure she saved his life. Although I had one really awful marriage, Jeff and I got along well. As a marriage, it faltered, but it was a strong friendship. We were supportive of one another until finally, he died. Even after we divorced, we stayed friends.

I was right. My time in Israel broke that chain of me as the family communicator. Unfortunately, my mother died … and then, there was only my brother, and then Jeff and Matthew died — both much too young.

2012

But then there were new friends. There was the internet.

I communicate again. I don’t see your faces, but I feel you. I worry about you, want to know you are okay. You matter to me. I am not good at virtual relationships. To me, you are real. Distant, I admit, but real.

Stay real. Stay well. Stay safe.

CONTACT FROM TWITTER – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP #70 – CONTACT


You might want to read this.

No, the prez didn’t put me on his list. Not the contact list or the “kill her before she writes something else” list. I’m not sure there really IS such a list, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Instead, I got this note from Twitter. So now, if you want your stuff to show up on Facebook, it’s going to be entirely cut and paste. Mind you, that’s not all that difficult or time-consuming. It’s the way I did it for at least four years of blogging. It’s just one more thing to bug me.

It has been a very buggy sort of week and keeping my mind right has not been easy. I feel like the world — the entire corporate entity we call the world — is out to get me on some level or other.

Maybe I should reconsider Instagram.


Twitter
Posting Tweets to Facebook
A recent update to the Facebook Platform Policies ended the ability to automatically post Tweets to your Facebook profile or page, so your Tweets will no longer show up there. For more details, take a look at our Help Center.

Thanks,
Twitter


So there you have it.

I’m not really sure what the point of all of this is unless it’s yet another outcome of how much the various social media outlets dislike each other and don’t give a fig about us.

These corporations are always telling us how much we matter, but I’ve never seen anything which proves that they care about us at all, one way or the other. All they want is money. More and more of it. And, apparently, it doesn’t matter how much because there’s no limit to how much they will try and squeeze out of us.

If I could think of any other way to publicize the blog, I’d do it. Unfortunately, I can’t.

Twitter made contact.

Golly, what a pleasure to hear from them!

FACEBOOK AND WORDPRESS – A NOTIFICATION YOU SHOULD READ

First the released my data to Cambridge Analytica. That led to having my identity stolen and my computer hacked. How many new ways can they find to become worthless?

FROM WORDPRESS:

You have probably gotten the same message via email, but in case you missed it or deleted it without reading it, you might want to read it. Many of us use Facebook for publicizing our blogs. This will stop the day after tomorrow. You can return to what I used to do: copy and paste your link into Facebook, especially if you have a fair number of followers on Facebook as I do. I already disconnected it from Publicize. I’ll probably manually post pieces as I see fit. I guess we will all have to make our own choices about this.

We wanted to update you about an upcoming change Facebook is introducing to their platform, and which affects how you may share posts from your website to your Facebook account.

Starting August 1, 2018, third-party tools can no longer share posts automatically to Facebook Profiles. This includes Publicize, the WordPress.​com tool that connects your site to major social media platforms (like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook).

Will this affect your ability to share content on Facebook? It depends. If you’ve connected a Facebook Profile to your site, then yes: Publicize will no longer be able to share your posts to Facebook. On the other hand, nothing will change if you keep a Facebook Page connected to your site — all your content should still appear directly on Facebook via Publicize. (Not sure what the difference is between a Page and a Profile? Here’s Facebook’s explanation.) You can review and change your social sharing settings by heading to My Site(s) → Sharing on WordPress.com.

If you’ve previously connected a Facebook Profile to your WordPress.​com site and still want your Facebook followers to see your posts, you have two options. First, you could go the manual route: once you publish a new post, copy its URL and share the link in a new Facebook post. The other option is to convert your Facebook Profile to a Page. This might not be the right solution for everyone, but it’s something to consider if your website focuses on your business, organization, or brand.

While Facebook says it is introducing this change to improve their platform and prevent the misuse of personal profiles, we believe that eliminating cross-posting from WordPress is another step back in Facebook’s support of the open web, especially since it affects people’s ability to interact with their network (unless they’re willing to pay for visibility) We know that this might cause a disruption in the way you and your Facebook followers interact, and if you’d like to share your concerns with Facebook, we urge you to head to their Help Community to speak out.

Yours,

Love The WordPress.​com Team

SPEAKING OF CURTAILING – Marilyn Armstrong

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!

Topically Distracted – Judy Dykstra-Brown

I’m reblogging this because today, I got a post sent from one of these at 11pm tonight, nearly 24 hours after it was sent. I don’t know what’s going on with WordPress’s mail, but comments are not showing up and their mail is very slow. Sometimes several days slow. I hope they get their act together because they are becoming a serious frustration in my life and probably yours, too.

lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

pIMG_0959 2

Topically Distracted

When WordPress put us out to dry,
turning a deaf ear to our cry
not to suspend the Daily Post,
I think it disillusioned most.
Yet, so many rose to hear our plight
that now I labor day and night
to fulfill the prompts they host.
I fear offending if I don’t post.
So though outside the air’s a balm,
the flowers lush, the scene all calm,
I feel my obligation’s rush.
I feel each lined-up prompting’s crush.

Each jostles to be first in line
like a regular at opening time.
So though outside it’s tropical,
and therefore very topical,
I cannot feel the scene before me.
Sun, trees, water only bore me.
Even the palm trees do not sway.
No wind  rustles them today.
And though the prompt is “tropical,”
my mind is stuck on “topical.”
I must admit that I’m distracted.
With prompts, I fear…

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