All photos: Garry Armstrong

I told Garry he had to get up early because the guy was coming from Hellen’s Fuel to adjust the boiler. It’s supposed to be an annual event and recently, is more like annual-and-a-half. We usually have plenty of extra money in the “heating oil” account, but winter was colder and longer than usual, so we got at least two extra fillings of oil … and we ran out of money. That’s a first, too. We’ve never run out of money in all the 18 years of living here.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

There’s a first time for everything.

So, the guy didn’t show up to “tune” the boiler. I called the company, but no one was there. The office was empty. I thought that was pretty strange at midday on … hmm. I furrowed my brows and looked at Garry.

“Is today Monday?”

“No,” he said. “Today is Saturday.”

“Right,” I averred. “Because yesterday was Friday. Why did I think today was Monday?”

“Does that mean the guy isn’t coming to fix the boiler?”

“It means that yes. But why did I think it was Monday. I knew all day yesterday it was Friday. I lost a whole weekend.”

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I worry myself when that happens. It’s one of the problems that come with not having kids in school or going to work. Every day is pretty much the same as every other day. This is not a bad thing unless you have an appointment or intend to watch something live on television. Like Wimbledon or the soccer finals.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

When you have lost your weekdays, organizing can become entertainment. At least I didn’t drag him out of bed really early, but I was absolutely sure it was Monday.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

And, though I may not know which day of the week it is, I pretty much always know the real date because I schedule my posts and bank payments, so I spend a fair bit of time staring at calendars.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Still, it wasn’t Monday. Now, 10 hours later, it still isn’t Monday. But when I post this, I’m sure it will be Monday. Because I’ll use a calendar.

Flower of the Day

MORE THAN MERE FLOWERS – Marilyn Armstrong


These are a couple of my most recent daylilies. For some reason, if I take pictures near the fence, they come out better.

Maybe it’s the very dark background?

Daylilies of course

And this is one of many Flowers of the Day from the fabulous Cee Neuner!

A FEW MORE DAYLILIES – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day – Daylilies

They are beginning to wilt a bit. There are more buds, so we aren’t going to run out of daylilies quite yet. Nonetheless, when you look at the garden, you can see the difference. Lots more wilted lilies, many of them going to seed.

Nearly perfect daylily

The big mass of red roses is beginning to fade too. But unlike the daylilies, the roses will keep coming back all summer. Not with the same massive blanket-like enthusiasm of this month, but there will still be roses until winter’s frost arrives.

BLANKETS OF ROSES – Marilyn Armstrong


Although the first run of roses is beginning to fade a bit, it’s still an impressive site out there in our garden, or, as they say around here, GAHDEN. Dump that “r” … we don’t need them in Massachusetts. Bet you can’t find an “r” in there. No “r” in Massachusetts!

A few roses!

It’s really quite impressive. When I took my clippers and attacked the roses, I hoped it might improve them, straggle bunch of brutal thorn bushes that they were. I did not expect this massive response.

Roses and daylilies


#FOWS – Museum and #RDP 39 – Dart

What do these two words have to do with anything I have to say this morning?

Nothing that I can figure out. Maybe you can find the link I’m missing, but I can’t. This morning is a bit rushed for us. I’m hoping traffic is okay.

This seems like a reasonable place to say what’s about to happen, so bear with me.

Today is Garry pre-op day at UMass Memorial. In less than 2 weeks, it’s going to be surgery and a lot of weeks of checkups, adjustments. and evaluations. Mostly, it means (for us) a lot of running back to and from the hospital until finally, the magic comes together and all is well with the world.

This is the moment when I have to begin to pull away from this blog for a while. Between one thing and another, we are going to be going through a busy time. I don’t want to feel like a failure if I can’t meet my quota of blogs I’ve read, comments made, photos I’ve taken, and posts produced. For a while, the world will have to somehow turn without me giving it a twirl. I suspect it will do just fine.

I’ve been blogging with almost machine-like precision for six years. I hope I can take a break and you all won’t abandon me. I will try to keep up (within limits), but this is not going to be my best summer for creativity.

We’ve won’t be traipsing to museums, though I do very much enjoy them and I’m not planning any dart-throwing in the foreseeable future. I’ll try to comment when I can and you are all in my heart.

Wish us luck and may this summer be warm, full of joy, and smelling of flowers!


Lilies of the Field and Garden

We got all our lilies by digging them up in the woods and from along the road. There were a few in the garden, but there were thousands of them everywhere, so we took some. We also took spiderwort and redistributed Solomon’s Seal from deep shade to more sunlight where they have thrived.

Of all our replanted wildflowers, my favorites remain the daylily. 

They are bright and tall. On a good year — like this one — they stand taller than me. Of course, I’m so short it’s nothing special being taller than me, but you get the point I’m sure.

A FINE DAY FOR EMBRACING by Marilyn Armstrong


Not an embracing sort of day for me, although I have to admit to a powerful passion for Excedrin, the only over-the-counter pain reliever that really works on migraine, backache, and a zillion other problems. If I weren’t so sensitive about the aspirin, it would be my drug of choice. It’s actually stronger than Demerol and with fewer side-effects, if you don’t count the massive ulcers that forced the twice removal of my stomach.

Otherwise, it would be my drug of choice.

It’s a gorgeous day in the valley. The sun is out, the humidity is down, the temperature is reasonable and in an hour or so, when I can actually walk upright, the world will be golden and full of joy.

These evil nights are hard for me. I don’t “not sleep” because of insomnia, though I sometimes fail to sleep because I’m in the middle of listening to a book. I just can’t stop reading. Books have always been my downfall.

It’s the broken nights. The every two or three hours of waking up with throbbing pain in a hip or the lower back or some other part of me. There is a limit to the number of drugs I can take — or am willing to take. In the first place, if you take drugs — any kind — all the time, they don’t work as well and if you keep at it, they stop working entirely. Our bodies aren’t designed as giant receptacles for drugs, so you have to know when you’ve reached whatever your personal maximum is and just simply stop. No matter how much you hurt.

Aspirin or any combination that includes NSAIDs will cause ulcers. That also means Ibuprofen whether it’s Motrin, Advil or a generic version.

Demerol works if you don’t take it often. It’s not strong to begin with, so its potency is limited. Moderately and carefully at best and I’m allergic to all the rest of the opioids — assuming I would consider them, though I admit there are some nights when anything seems like a good idea.

Tylenol doesn’t work very well AND it is lethal to your kidneys and liver, so if you take enough to make a significant difference, you are close to over the top on how much you are allowed before it does anything positive for you. I am fond of my kidneys and liver. I’d like to hang on to them. I’ve had plenty of replacement parts and they are not on my list.

The end of all of this is that I wake up tired because I haven’t gotten more than three hours of sleep at a time. Then there’s the phone that rings in the morning. Either it’s a doctor’s office (again) … or it’s a single ring that gets cut off by (I love that service!) … but just enough noise to wake me up again. Sometimes, I wonder if going to sleep at all is worth the effort.

And then, there is how much I really need a new mattress.

Embrace the world. I would really like to. But first, I need to be able to stand up and it would be a great joy if standing up were not accompanied by a lot of pain at the same time.

And I love people who keep telling me that exercise is going to help.

It isn’t going to help because the calcification in the spine is so deeply ingrained in there, nothing will make it better. Not anymore. Ten years ago, it helped. Even five years ago, it helped.

I tried to think about Richard Duke of Gloucester and his twisted spine. He led an army — to defeat, I grant you, but he tried his best. Of course, he was dead at 35. I wonder how he would have dealt with it at in old age. Well, hardly anyone reached old age back then. Pretty much no one lived to survive massive arthritis.

Except for Eleanor of Aquitaine. Woman power! It’s a miracle.