A TREE GROWS IN UXBRIDGE – Marilyn Armstrong

THE CHRISTMAS TREE FOR 2019

A small tree with tiny lights is the flower of MY day! I have to do a little rearranging of the lights, but it’s such a pretty little tree. I keep it – intact – in my spare “office” room, covered in plastic from year to year.

When the season comes around, I unwrap it — carefully — and carry it into the living room. This year, we have a CD player where the tree usually goes, so I had to do a little planning. I didn’t realize how heavy that player was, so when I picked it up to move it, me and it headed for the floor and I am trying to not drop it because I can’t afford to replace it. I finally got it onto the semi-circular brick front of the fireplace.

Phew. I nudged it into place, realized I can’t use the remote for it because now it’s below the level of the coffee table. So I have to stand and walk over and point down at the floor. But it works.

Harry Belefonte’s Greatest Hits was in the machine, so the moment I plugged it in, he began to sing.  I love his voice. It’s like velvet.

I grabbed the kitchen scissors and went into my office. Very carefully, I cut the bag off the tree. I looked it over. Pretty good. The lights had sagged a little, but otherwise, it looked as good as it ever did.

I had already put down a Christmas cover and it was perfect. It’s a hand-made patchwork quite I bought many years ago in Pennsylvania. It’s long and narrow and I never really knew what to do with it, but now, at least for Christmas, it has a home under our little tree.  I’ll take better pictures of it tomorrow.

Ever since I gave Garry my Leica, I’m having trouble using the new one. It has a much slower lens. I’m trying to get used to it. It’s fine in brighter light, but an f3.3 lens is slow indoors. A bit disappointing so far, but it’ll be good outside which is mostly where I take pictures.

A FRIGID DAY FOR SHARING MY WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World on a Snowy Day – 12-3-19

It started snowing yesterday afternoon and hasn’t stopped yet. Sometimes, the snow has been mixed with rain and other times, it has been the “two inches per hour” blinding snow. It’s supposed to snow all night tonight with a heavy burst in the morning. I so badly wanted a nice cool snow-free winter. Oh well.

What’s your remedy for the Holiday blues?

North end of the commons – Photo Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t have that problem anymore. Not since I stopped spending half my annual salary on gifts for people who didn’t appreciate them!

Your favorite beverage (if it differs) during the holiday season?  If it doesn’t differ, just answer the ‘what’s your favorite beverage” part. 

I used to love eggnog. Homemade. But Garry and I don’t drink anymore and it’s so fattening. And the stuff they sell in the grocery just doesn’t do it for me.

This one has been asked before, but what’s your take on pumpkin spice?

I like some. I don’t think it belongs in absolutely EVERYTHING. I love the smell of it better than the way it tastes.

Is there is a person or god connected with your holiday? 

No. As far as how I feel about other peoples’ holidays, I absolutely do NOT care what you celebrate as long as you aren’t forcing it down my throat. Enjoy your celebration. I might be happy to enjoy it with you. I have nothing against Chrismas, Easter, or Ramadan. Or, for that matter, Hanukah. I love the food and the decorations. I even like church services and hymns.

I say “Happy Holiday” because I don’t always know what holiday someone is celebrating or not celebrating. We don’t wear patches that state our religious beliefs. When we do, we will all be damned.

Cee’s Flower of the Day


Share a song that you enjoy during this Winter season (whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa and so forth.


SYWeyesonworld

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! – Marilyn Armstrong, with Photos by Garry Armstrong

November 28, 2019 – Happy Thanksgiving


I couldn’t do this on Thanksgiving. The day was spent with family and chopping things for Waldorf Salad (https://wp.me/p2bT5l-1d8VE1), a roast leg of lamb, baked potatoes (which didn’t get eaten, still in the fridge), little potatoes cooked with the roast (they did get eaten), hot rolls, and green beans.

With fresh apple cider. There were apple pie and strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert — but we didn’t make it to dessert, either.


We passed along the apple pie and have been enjoying the strawberry-rhubarb pie. We sent leftovers, and today, with the last piece of lamb, I made a great little lamb curry. I have to admit, the curry is my favorite part of the lamb. All those yummy spices. Oh, and the salad went over very well.

I was too busy to take pictures, but Garry picked up the camera and here are a few. There were only four of us in the end. Sandy had to work. Healthcare workers often have to work on holidays. So do reporters, fire-fighters, police and, of course, retail workers.

Garry always worked on Thanksgiving until after we got married, but took Christmas off. Now we are both just plain OFF. All the time.

Gotta love retirement.

THE POINT OF THE HOLIDAY IS GRATITUDE – Marilyn Armstrong

I know that theoretically “Thanksgiving” is about gratitude. Personally, I think it’s much more about overeating than gratitude, but call me skeptical. At age 72, I’ve can remember probably 50 to 60 Thanksgiving dinners and while none of them were particularly unpleasant or angry, (no hostile relatives and no arguments allowed), none of them celebrated anything except food and sometimes, getting to see people you only saw once or twice a year during holidays.


It’s really not my favorite holiday. Firstly, I’m not fond of turkey. The small ones taste better, but are hard to find unfrozen. The big ones take so long to cook, by the time they are done they taste like stuffed dust. So we usually have something else.

It used to be ham, but recently it has been lamb. This year, we aren’t sure. Owen says if they don’t have the right size piece of lamb, he’ll get some kind of beef roast. Garry pointed out that neither of us eats very much, so try not to get into a bankruptcy level of food. (NOTE: It’s lamb!)


We bought a couple of pies — a Dutch apple and a Strawberry-Rhubarb, plus little rolls that need to be baked and a gallon of apple cider. I’m thinking of getting some apples and celery and adding all my walnuts with a bit of sour cream and mayonnaise. Surprise the crowd with something different.

It’s not much of a crowd, but it’s the whole family.

Moving on to music, the hymn du jour is “We Gather Together.” Why do I like the song? Well, the words of the hymn were changed and it became my High School’s “song.” It always made me laugh every time I was supposed to be singing the hymn. Somehow, my high school’s song popped up.

So I’m not particularly sentimental about the holiday. It’s hard for me to celebrate eating when I eat so little, but it is a chance to actually get everyone together on the same day, same time, same station.


And I still say that anyone who wants to work on any holiday should feel okay about it. Not everyone has a family with whom to celebrate — or a family with whom they want to celebrate. For many people, it’s an opportunity to make a little extra money and in a many families, overtime is a big deal.

Stop warning me how I should care more about the holiday. I’m glad there IS a holiday, but as far as how one celebrates? I’m in favor of complete freedom. Complete personal freedom. I really believe in it. And frankly, as a non-Christian? I’m extremely tired of being ordered around by Christians who believe they own the road to god. Until God tells me him or herself, it’s just someone else’s opinion.

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY. PLEASE! — Marilyn Armstrong

Not only do I not feel well, but it has been pouring all week. Well, technically, it’s only “raining lightly” right now, but when I look out the window, it doesn’t look like “light” anything. It’s not only raining heavily, but it has been so dark it looks like the hour after sunset from morning until night.

I realized it’s after four so it really is getting dark, but it wasn’t much lighter two hours ago. And I just realized Thanksgiving is next week and no one has any plans … and with Christmas right behind it …

I’m not lacking in holiday sentiment. Just physically not feeling good and I don’t have money to spend, which always takes the “buzz” off the holidays. It’s going to be joyful, but mostly gift-free this year. I’m pretty sure that ALL of us are out of money and anyone who doesn’t have this virus, seems to have bronchitis.

It was so dark in my dining room, I really couldn’t take pictures. Too dark, even with a 1.8 mm lens. Supposedly it’s going to brighten up tomorrow, but it wasn’t supposed to rain today, either. Forecasts are becoming more like educated guesses.

Snow for the holidays is romantic. Pouring rain doesn’t capture the right spirit. Maybe the sun will shine next week!

MOSES, MEL, AND ME – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Before I put a finger on the keyboard, I admit this is probably heresy, at least to some people. One simply doesn’t make fun of religious movies. It is simply not done. Especially not these days.

But I do.

Every Passover or Easter (usually, it’s both together), Marilyn and I watch “The Ten Commandments.” We don’t watch it for its high level of religious sentimentality. While Cecil B was going for life-altering moments, he gave us some much-needed laughter.

It isn’t a movie that has stood up well to the years. Time tested it — and found it wanting.

Heston-Charlton-Ten-Commandments

Every year when some big religious holiday rolls around, the lineup of movies on our favorite cable stations includes all the familiar biblical movies. Few are watchable even a few years past their shelf date, much less stand ye olde test of time.

Most are obviously well-intended, like George Stevens’, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. But the man who gave us classics like “Shane”, “A Place In The Sun” and “Giant”, wound up with a ponderous and static film in “The Greatest Story.”

Its biggest sin? Boring. Truly dull.

As I write, we are watching Mel Brooks’, “History of the World-Part One.” This movie is the perfect antidote to historical films that have become parodies or which were not really all that good in the first place. We probably have a greater appreciation of history because of Mel’s equal opportunity insults rather than the cardboard epics which play fast and loose with facts.

Mel Brooks last supper

I must admit I love watching gladiator movies. It’s a guy thing, like war films.  I also enjoy seeing semi-clad (or even lesser clad) young women engaging us in erotic dances before evil monarchs who are not playing with a full deck. We’re not talking about great cinema here.

Charlton “Call me Chuck” Heston was really honest when he talked about playing Moses. He told me it was a good gig. Working with Cecil B. DeMille (for a second time) was good for his résumé. It gave him a boost for the religious epic he really wanted to do — “Ben Hur.”

“Ben Hur” is one of the few good religious films to come out of Hollywood. William Wyler’s fine direction and brilliantly done stunts using real live (and one who died) human being — were spectacular. No computer generation. It hadn’t been invented. The chariot race alone is worth the price of admission.

history-of-the-world--part-1

This is obviously subjective stuff. If you love Cecil B’s heavy-handed narration of his version of the Old Testament, so let it be written. So let it be done. Meanwhile, we’re back with Mel. It’s the French Revolution and those generously endowed girls are displaying their charms.

It’s good to be the king!