Garry isn’t feeling well and we are going to get our tests tomorrow. Meanwhile, sleeping with restless dogs who want the bed, preferably without you in it does not give you one of your great night’s sleep.

For a while, the Duke and I actually fought for the covers. He wanted the pillow too.

Nonetheless, the flowers are blooming and I have a few hundred pictures of flying squirrels. I just haven’t had time to develop the photos. I had to reinstall Photoshop and all of the filters. My copy of Photoshop is almost 10 years old and it still works, but I wonder for how much longer.

Enjoy the flowers! The end of May is the best time of year for flowers. That’s why they scheduled Memorial Day for this time of year, so we would all have flowers to take to the Cemetary.

World War I ended on 11/11/1911 at 11 in the morning. There aren’t many flowers in this part of the world in November.

MY DAY AT THE HOSPITAL – Marilyn Armstrong

After a day during which we got up early because I had a hospital appointment, the day after Bonnie quite literally barked all night, it made this into a very long day. Garry hadn’t driven in so long, we missed the turn into the hospital.

When we finally backtracked, they had the entire parking lot roped off and there are a lot of places you can’t go. Like the front door to the buildings. Since they won’t let the caretakers of people in, Garry had to wait in the car. It turned out he could have waited in the lobby, but when we asked, no one knew anything about anything.

One building was all COVID-19 cases — it used to be an extension of the daycare/heart unit and presumably will be again. I fell on my way in, really because those shoes have a ribbed sole that has a tendency to catch on cement. I scraped my knee, which was only a very small part of the problem. The rest of it was getting up from the ground. I can do it myself, but I need something to grab.

And suddenly, there were nurses and doctors and lawyers everywhere. “She fell on hospital grounds!” they said. I guess they assumed I was ready to call a lawyer.

I said, “If this is the most serious problem I have this week, it’ll be a great week.” They still had to check me out, realized when I said it was no big deal, I meant it really was no big deal. They cleaned it, didn’t bother to bandage it. Tomorrow everything will hurt, but in the meantime, they checked my battery (I sometimes sound like one of my electronic devices) and unlike the last time they checked it when I had maybe two years of battery left, this time I had 6-1/2 years left. I guess quarantine got me fully charged.

There wasn’t much traffic but there was more than I expected. A lot more.

The nurse explained that they aren’t worried about people who need help because basically, everything is closed. I pointed out that I didn’t hurry for this exam. They called me because it had been more than a year since I was checked. Which is a long time for someone following heart surgery, especially with so many implants.

She looked at my records and said, “Oh. yes. I can see.” She then pointed out that the mess they’d made at the hospital was way above her pay grade. And she reminded me that they have a building full of tests for Coronavirus, but they aren’t using the tests because they are saving them.

I didn’t even bother asking what they were saving them for because I already knew that was  WAY above her paygrade and maybe the head of the hospital’s paygrade.

Outbound road

They sent me the test results and I have to say I have no idea what they mean. None. The only thing I could say for sure is that there were no “flags” indicating a specific problem. So that battery works and there’s nothing terrible going on.

As we turned into the driveway, I asked Garry to stop so I could take pictures of the garden which has gone from a dead, muddy pile to something resembling a garden. Amazing what sunshine can do. I’m supposed to get a box soon, when our very backed up post office manages to hire a few more deliverers who can find their way around the Valley. It will — via Bluetooth — continuously interrogate my Pacemaker and send the information electronically. I may not have to go to the doctor more than once a year, but it is a bit creepy.



Coming home, I had my camera and stayed out long enough to get some pictures.

I missed the big blooming of the columbine, but there are some new ones with buds. I missed the daffodils, but there were a bunch of narcissus on the other side of the driveway. I don’t know how they got there since I didn’t plant them. The roses ARE back. They are just very short, but I have a feeling that one of these days they are going to go crazy. June will be the month of tearing thorns.



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.


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!


FOTD – May 25, 2019 – Rhododendron

We have Rhododendrons. They were growing here when we moved in. A lot of them died during the very cold, wet, windy winter, but some of those I was sure were completely defunct are coming back.

Partly. New blooms at the end of what appear to be dead stalks and apparently brown, dead leaves unrolling and turning green.

I’ve never seen anything like it. We hacked down the giant, overgrown barbed-wire rose bushes (they’ll be back because I think they are not killable by normal humans) and lost some of the Rhododendrons in the process because they were intertwined.

That was the problem with the roses. They tended to completely take over the entire garden. They were small roses with the most brutal thorns I’ve ever encountered. I just thought these were “small rose bushes” because that’s how they were described.

What they are really are small roses on huge bushes that spread out and send runners underground. They pop up in the damnedest places.

THE GARDENER’S RESPITE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Respite

My right shoulder hurts. A lot.

At least half of that is an old injury from my riding days … and the rest is probably hauling heavy pots — with and without food — in the kitchen. Trying to find a position in which I can sleep with that shoulder wrapped in a heating pad is interesting. Because it’s my right shoulder and these days, I have to sleep on my back because that’s what my back wants, I can’t find anyplace to put the electric cord that is not underneath my head.

It is a lumpy cord and includes the piece for changing the settings, which is very lumpy. It makes sleeping a dicey affair.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Meanwhile, in theory, my son is coming over tomorrow to change the sink faucet — assuming his back isn’t out. I also asked him to come by (if it ever stops raining) with his big electric hedge clippers and cut down the rose bushes and rhododendrons.


There’s no way I can maintain them anymore. The flowers will get the entire garden. While the bushes will eventually grow back — probably sooner rather than later — at least I don’t have to stare at all those dead rhododendrons.

I will get a respite from our barbed wire roses and dying rhododendrons.

Bright lilies

I find a garden full of dead bushes a bit depressing. I don’t even know WHY they died, although they sent up a bunch of new, young shoots too … so maybe this is just their way of saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new? Is that how these bushes usually work?

Daylilies with red roses in the back

As for the roses, these cruel, barbed-wire bushes have been (ahem) a thorn in my arms, hands, arms, and clothing for about 17 years. I should never have planted them and they have totally taken over. They not only get tall, but they send out runners,

House in summer

Merciless and cruel, I can see how they were used to protect property. No one would try to dash through those bushes. I don’t think they could unless they were carrying a flame thrower and frankly, I’m not sure the bushes would care. They are very durable. They should be properly removed by an actual gardener, but I’d have to pay someone to do it and I can’t.

At least cutting them down will give me a season’s respite from their claws. I’m sorry about the rhododendrons, though.

We didn’t plant it sensibly. Didn’t leave pathways … or rather, we did, but they got eaten by the daylilies and roses. I never imagined a time when I wouldn’t be able to just hike up there and deal with the plants. Getting old is not only not fun, but it’s also a surprise.

You can count the years all you want, but you don’t really expect them to add up to “old.” No one plans to be old, even when we are planning for retirement. We think we will stay exactly as we are with maybe a few gray hairs.

I feel bad about it. It seems like murder. I’ve always encouraged plants to grow and cutting them down feels like a betrayal. I am comforted by knowing there will still be a few roses in the back and the daylilies will go into furious growth when they don’t have to battle with the thorn bushes.

You never imagine, when you plant a garden, that one day you won’t be able to care for it. It never crosses your mind. I was planning for an energetic old age that differed in no special way from being younger.