QUEST: HOW TO HAVE A SHUTDOWN WITHOUT SHUTTING DOWN? Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Wednesday – QUEST

The government has recalled all the airline repair and inspection — and engineering — guys to work. It’s too dangerous, they said, to not have them working. The government is also calling back the TSA guys because it’s dangerous to not have them, either, and closed airports are not helping anyone.

And finally, yesterday, the IRS recalled more than half its workers. Haven’t you heard? It’s tax time … and if we don’t have tax people working, there won’t be any money coming in which definitely wouldn’t make anyone happy, at least not in the government.

How long before they recall the food inspectors? And everyone else?

Bit by bit, group by group, they will recall all of the ousted (outed?) workers. I’m pretty sure the Trump will eventually realize that he cannot serve foreign dignitaries McDonald’s, either. He doesn’t care, but other people will.

We aren’t going to end the government shutdown. We will have a permanent shutdown during which everyone works. This will continue to be a government shutdown — even though nothing is shut.

Protesters rally in Federal Plaza against the partial government shutdown, Thursday afternoon, Jan. 10, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Life, such as it is, can proceed more or less normally. This will make Trump feel like his two-year-old behavior is “doing something” while his moronic base can feel he is keeping his word.


NOTE: How can Trump be considered as “keeping his word” when he has never kept his word? About anything?


I’m sure this will be considered a “win” for everyone. People will work, the government will govern, Trump will believe his tantrum is accomplishing something …. and we can march forward to the next election.

You think?

LUMBER? Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Monday: LUMBER

Every now and again, a word comes up in one of these prompts that leaves me with nothing to say.

Lumber. We’ve got some in the basement. We’ll need more when we fix whatever needs fixing. We have our own lumber yard in Uxbridge — one of the few things we’ve got going for us in this tiny town.

Woodpile
A huge log destined for lumber
Waiting by the cutting mill to be turned into lumber

But I have nothing to say about it except if you need it, the lumberyard is very good at supplying it. It starts out as trees and eventually, you can nail it to something else and make a thing.

Imagine that!

WELCOME TO MY HUMBLE HOME – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP FRIDAY: HOSPITALITY

You are welcome. All of you. Everyone. People and dogs and birds and squirrels and cats and puppies. Hell, bring the coyotes and a few raccoons.

Home

No one ever comes to this house except my son and granddaughter. No one. In the almost 30 years we’ve been married, once my brother passed away, not a single family member has come to visit. It’s weird. Our friend Ben had the same problem. It took him 30 years to get his sisters to visit … and when they did, it was total chaos.

Be careful what you wish for.

So, no one comes here. Maybe it’s the dogs? They are hairy and they bark. Maybe it’s the barking. They are loud. And hairy.

So consider this an official invitation. We have plenty of room including a guest room with a brand new queen-size bed and a dining room and everything. And the dogs usually stop barking after a while. It’s just their way of saying “HI Y’ALL!” Loudly.

As for the hair, think of it as a condiment. It goes with everything.

RELAXING WHILE THE BIRDS HIT THE FEEDER – Marilyn Armstrong

Relaxing With the Birds – 12/28/2018

I love watching the birds. I peer out of my bathroom window to see what they are doing when I’m getting up in the morning, but unless I’m getting up unusually late, there’s usually not much happening.

Birds are on a schedule.

They come by for breakfast just after sunrise. I’m not usually awake at that hour unless the dogs have been unusually noisy, in which case I might be awake. I might even take a few pictures, though I’d really rather be in bed.

Nuthatch and Chickadee

The shy birds — the ones who avoid people and barking dogs — visit the feeder early in the day, so unless I happen to be up, I don’t see them. By the time I’m ready to take pictures — about midday — it’s the usual suspects. Warblers (several kinds). I still can’t tell which is which without a photograph and my book). Tufted Titmouses, Chickadees, Nuthatches and depending on luck, one of three different woodpeckers — the Hairy, Downy, and Red-Bellied varieties all come to the feeder. Not to mention the Juncos — all those who live in the area.

Birds not of one feather

A Cardinal came, looked around. So did a few Blue Jays. When I buy expensive bird food, I also get a variety of finches. They eat different food than other birds. The current food selection is (alas) not to their taste. A pity because the finches are a colorful and adorable group of little birds.

The squirrels must come early in the day. I know they’ve been here because a lot of food is missing from the flat feeder. Sometimes they drop by in the late afternoon, just before dark. I don’t always see them because when they are around, I’m tired. I’ve already done my shooting by then.

Landing Chickadee with a sitting Warbler

I realized today that at least part of the reason my arm hurts is from holding the heavy lens still and ready to shoot. When the birds are busy and I’m waiting for them to settle down, I keep the camera up and ready. There’s a Murphy’s Law involved in this. I know the second I lower the camera, half a dozen birds will be all over the feeder and by the time I get the camera back in place, they will be gone.

Not all the birds perch on the feeder. Many of them fly by. They dive to the feeder, grab a seed, and fly off. It’s hard getting pictures of diving birds, but I got one this morning.

Yay me!

Coming in for a landing

So all the typing and working on the computer is only part of the problem. The rest of my problem is hoisting the big camera into position than holding it at eye level, trying to keep it steady.

This is difficult with a long 2.5-pound lens. I try to wedge my butt against the dining room table and prop the camera up by doubling my right arm and pressing it against my chest. Today, I felt that old familiar ache and realize “Oh, there’s that pain.” It was a revelatory moment for me. Suddenly, I understood why — out of the blue — my arm was bothering me. It was all about the camera. My wrist is an old, familiar pain. The arm problem is new.

I’ve known a lot of camera people (Garry used to hang out with the tech people). They all had shoulder and arm problems. Of course, television cameras are heavier than my camera, even with a heavy lens, but the camera people were younger than me when they were working. It all evens out.

Woodpecker and Warbler

It made me remember being a kid and going bowling — duckpins rather than the bigger balls for tenpins — and two days later, I thought I was going to die. Every inch of me hurt. I had no idea what was wrong with me.

No fever, just pain. Until my uncle said “Hey, remember we went bowling a couple of days ago? I bet that’s why you hurt.”

Chickadee landing

I’m a “two days later” sufferer. I feel fine the same and following day, but the next day … oh boy. I don’t know why my body delays the pain for an extra day but apparently, it isn’t so unusual either. It does give me extra time to take a couple of hot showers, and with luck get some sleep.

If I know what’s coming, I can “do stuff” to take the edge off.

Tufted Titmouse

I knew I was becoming a pretty good rider (of horses) when I could ride for a couple of hours and even a few days later, I felt fine. I developed muscles in places I didn’t know you could develop muscles. Interesting muscles.

Just saying.

I have not developed any special muscles for hoisting a 5-pound camera and holding it steady for an hour a day. I’m not sure I will, either. What can I do?

There are the birds and there’s my camera, right at the end of the table with the lens in place. How can I not take pictures? The birds are waiting. The feathery flutterers need me. I need them.

The world is waiting! Isn’t it?

CARICATURE OF A LONG-STANDING TRADITION? – Marilyn Armstrong

So here it is, the day after Christmas. Boxing Day, I do believe, which probably means I should put away the gifts lying around and move on into the (hopefully better) New Year.

Sadly, I cannot move much.

I have finally concluded that my right arm is — among other things — suffering from terminal Repetitive Motion Injury — or to put it another way, too many hours on the computer.

For once, I can’t blame it all on too much writing.  Rather, it is an excessive volume of photographs. Too many birds and squirrels. Too many hours spent moving a mouse. Too many tiny controlled movements in the right arm and wrist without enough “big muscle” activity to balance it.

The shot helped, but now, the time has come to help myself. This is not easy, but I’m declaring myself on vacation at least for a few days.

For me, not writing for that long is more than slightly traumatic, but if I don’t give my wrist and arm a vacation, it’s will get worse. Since this is one of the few things I can control, I need to do it. I will try to at least add comments for the day, but that’s about it. I have not written any posts for the rest of the week so others will have to post or it’s going to be a bit empty around here.

C’est la vie.

I can post a picture here and there — the ones I’ve already processed — but that’s going to be that.

Meanwhile, my son is in the hospital and won’t be able to do the things he usually does for me, so we are going to be more or less on our own for at least a few weeks while he heals up. It will be interesting to see if we can change the feed in the bird feeder. It’s so easy when you are tall and so difficult when you are not.

Junco with two Warblers

I knew the truth of it yesterday when I moved my wrist and a pain shot up my arm. This was in addition to the pain coming down my arm from the shoulder. Given how many years I’ve been using arms and wrists in a way that is not natural to humans, I’m surprised they have lasted this long. Probably a lot of strong muscles from all those years of learning piano. I had very strong wrists. Arthritis I could not do anything to stop, but the muscles have done an amazing job through all these years of keyboarding.

I’ll try to find things of interest to re-blog and see if any of my co-writers can come out of their Christmas caves to write an extra piece here and there, but as for me — I need that break. Apologies in advance to all and sundry.

Let’s call it a caricature of a long-standing tradition. 

TOO MANY FLAKES DOTH A GREAT WHITENESS MAKE – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday – White

White. I am not white because snow is white and I do not look anything like snow. The whites in my wash are not nearly white enough and anyway, it’s all racist. Everything needs to be neutral beige.

The sky has cleared. It was sort of white. Now it’s sort of blue with patchy puffs of white. It’s getting cold again and they think it might snow Christmas Day, but they don’t know anything anymore because the weather is refusing to behave itself.

Too many flakes

If you use super-duper Tide, your whites will be whiter than white. I know this because they said so on television, so it must be true.

May our Christmas be dusted with the lightest of fluffy white snow, but nothing deep enough to plow.

WINTER SOLSTICE – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Friday: SOLSTICE

Why did it have to be raining? Why was today the day that every bone in my body hurts and some things which are arguably not bones, hurt too? The birds are outside rain and all.

They don’t expect a warm, dry house … and there’s a feeder to raid. I suppose, when you are a bird, a decent meal is about as good as it gets.

I know this means the season is turning again and days will get longer and ultimately, it will warm up. But not for a while. We have three long winter months to navigate and we’ve barely begun yet.

And meanwhile, at Stonehenge …

The bears have not gone into hibernation. Not cold enough yet? Too many trash cans to raid?

The sky is a leaden pale gray as the heavy rain falls. The dogs want nothing to do with outside. Snow is fun and everything else is okay too, but rain? No, thank you. Pass the biscuits. The sofa is home for now.

Winter Solstice – Sunrise – 2016

I have a doctor appointment. My right arm has taken to hurting a lot and won’t let me sleep. Nothing makes it any better. I think it may actually be a sign that my chest is beginning to heal, but why does it have to hurt so much?

It could be snowing. That would probably be worse, or at least, more complicated. We still have no one to plow the driveway and it’s a long, long road to the “real” road.

Winter has finally come, I suppose. I should be happier about it. I’m trying hard to find that happy place.