SHARING MY WORLD – IT’S THAT TIME OF WEEK AGAIN – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 7-8-19

Are you a Summer person?   A Winter person?   Or one of the other seasons suits you best?

I’m definitely Autumnal. If we had springtime, I’d probably like that too. I prefer cool, not hot, weather and I could at this point in my life skip deep winter and be very happy about it.

What is your favorite summertime clothing?   

Loose, cool dresses from India with sandals.

Do you find yourself eating out more during the summer?  Or making ‘cold food’ like salads and stuff you can heat in the microwave?

We don’t eat out more. There are no decent restaurants around here and anyway, we don’t have the money. We do eat a lot of salads and cold foods. Lots of fruit. Cherries, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe.

Do you like watermelon?   What’s your favorite summertime treat?

No remains — except the pits

I like watermelon. I like most fruit. We don’t grow very good peaches or plums around here, but we do grow wonderful corn. Not a lot, so you have to grab it when it becomes available.

Are you thankful it’s finally (sorta) dry and warm?

We needed some dry weather to get some of the work done on the house. We needed three dry days to get the first coat of color on the deck and we need another three for the next coat. We also need some dry weather to get the deck propped by up.

Wet, but clean deck!
Deck with a new color on it.

It’s hard to get much done on the house when it is pouring all the time, especially with a lot of lightning and high winds.

TOO LATE LEGAL – Marilyn Armstrong

“Have you considered marijuana?” floated past me on the conversational breeze. It was my previous cardiologist speaking. Was I in the Twilight Zone? No, he was merely suggesting pot might be a good drug. For me. It would deal with a variety of issues. He wasn’t suggesting “medical marijuana” because though theoretically we have it, insurance won’t pay for it and almost no doctors are certified to prescribe it. But don’t worry, now we can buy it recreationally — and legally — at a local shop.

“Uh, yes,” I said. “The downside, other than the price tag, is coughing. Coughing hurts.”

“Take in more air when you inhale,” he said. “You’ll cough less.”

Right. Like I didn’t know that already. He forgets that mine is the generation that made it popular. The biggest users of legalized pot are —  you guessed it — senior citizens.

I grew up in a world where getting busted for having a couple of joints in your pocket could land you in jail for a long time. A world in which marijuana supposedly was the gateway drug to a life of dissipation and degradation which would end with you lying face down in a gutter in a part of town where the cops won’t go.

Now I live in a world where the cardiologist recommends smoking pot.

My mother was born in 1910 and passed in 1982. Growing up, horse-drawn carts were far more common than automobiles. She was a child during World War I, a married woman and a mother in World War II. She survived — somehow — the Great Depression and marched with friends and family in a spontaneous parade of celebration when the New Deal passed. Even though the Depression didn’t really end until World War 2 and brought employment to everyone who wasn’t fighting.

By the time she passed, there was cable television, home computers, and two cars in every driveway. One day (I was a kid) I shouted: “Oh look, a horse and cart!”

She looked bemused. “When I was your age,” she said, “We used to shout “Look, a motor car!”

And today, my cardiologist suggested pot. Okay. I think I see a motor car.

Our local cannabis shop is at the edge of town, close to the main road that goes to Rhode Island. Convenient. It also has a parking lot.

I was afraid they’d put the shop in the middle of town and we’d have a permanent traffic jam.

Massachusetts, in its infinite wisdom, has so heavily taxed cannabis that it’s more expensive to buy it legally than to get it from ye olde dealer. In fact, it’s a lot cheaper to buy it from the same guy you bought it from before they made it legal. Competition lowered his prices while the state upped theirs. Figures, doesn’t it?

As it turns out, pot has no particular medical advantages for me.  The cannabutter I made was so strong, I didn’t feel better. Mostly, I just passed out.

I wish it did work medicinally. I wish something would work. The company that made the medication that always worked for me stopped making it a few months ago. It was cheap to buy and it helped. But it wasn’t profitable. Now we are searching for something else that won’t make me sick, make my heart stop, or give me ulcers while reducing the pain enough to allow me to function.

Pity the pot didn’t do it.

Sharing My World, 7-1-19 – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 7-1-19

QUESTIONS:

Would (or do) you stop to help (presumably) stranded folks by the side of the road?

You don’t seem many stranded people anymore. Maybe it’s because we are so rural. But when I could, I would stop and ask if they needed someone to call for a tow truck or give them a lift to town. I can’t fix cars at all, so that was the best I ever had to offer.

Do you think the world is less mannerly today than in past times OR are we just more touchy and manners are as they’ve always been?

I think some of it is, but not all of it. Most of the people I know personally have pretty nice, polite kids. That includes mine. Overall, the kids in this area are okay. They sometimes seem a bit dim, but I suspect they are just not paying attention.

Many local kids work in places where we get services. I really have no complaints about them. I have a lot more problems with people online. I suspect that normally polite people let their “hair down,” so to speak when they are anonymous.

What happens if you’re scared half to death, TWICE?

I’ve been startled, but scared half to death? Not really. Startled and upset? That too. But “to death”? I’ve been nearly dead, but that was in hospitals and I was very sick. Other than that, I’m pretty sure being frightened by a spider probably doesn’t count as being scared to death or nearly.

If ALL the world’s a stage, where does the audience sit?

Satellites? Theater in the very round?

It’s a gorgeous day most places, so celebrate!

I think maybe tomorrow the deck gets painted! Finally — three days of NO RAIN!

Also, it turns out that what is wrong with me is exactly what I thought was wrong with me: migraines. I no longer get the headache, but I still get the visual pre-migraine symptoms. There’s nothing that will prevent it, either. As for the occasional passing out? My shrink says it’s low blood sugar combined with extreme tiredness — which was MY diagnosis years ago.

Lots and lots of daylilies
One and a half daylilies

I was NOT able to talk them into giving me new implanted eyes. I have very slight cataracts that don’t affect my vision. Drat. I wanted to be done with eyeglasses forever, but alas.

On a positive note, I managed to get two new pairs of glasses (one distance, one computer) for $300 which is about as good as it gets. I did sigh deeply and bought the non-reflective finish.

I like the frames. Got them at the Target which down the road from the eye clinic. Recommended by doctor and optometrist as the best place to get bargain glasses although it turns out almost all the eyeglass places send their lenses to the same places for grinding. So whether you buy super expensive glasses or super cheap ones, the lenses will probably be made in the same place.

A personal favorite. I got contact lenses — and no one noticed any difference in my appearance.

Would you believe that plastic glasses with spangles are back in style? Not for me, but apparently they are popular with the teenage set. I hated them when they were popular before — when I was 15!

My old eyeglasses are pretty bad and that is a major reason why I’m getting headaches. I’m not sure why, but that really made me laugh. After all those tests, the result is — I need new glasses.

That’s it. A long complicated trip for a simple solution.

FORTY LITTLE QUESTIONS – Marilyn Armstrong

Cheryl (aka, The Bag Lady) published a list of 40 questions labeled “odd things about me” that she received from her sister. 40 seems like a lot of questions, but they’re short and don’t require a whole lot of thought. Short works for me, so like Fandango, I figured I give them a try. I’ve got all this blog space coming up and my head seems rather empty of creative ideas. I added question 28. It seemed wrong to leave the list at 39.


1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes. But it’s an acquired taste. I like it on toast or crumbled in a salad.

2. Coke or Pepsi? Coke.

3. Do you own a gun? Nope.

4. What flavor of Kool-aid? Yuck.

5. Hot dogs? Garry loves them. I’ll eat them, but it’s not a favorite food.

6. Favorite TV show?Rake” was my favorite for a long time — and I’m still hoping they’ll put up one more year. At the moment? We are re-watching MidSomer Murders. But before that, Good Omens was really good — and before that? Lucifer. Whatever I’m binge-watching is probably my current favorite. 

7. Do you believe in ghosts? No.

8. What do you drink in the morning? Coffee.

9. Can you do a push-up? No. I’m afraid my heart will fall out.

10. Favorite jewelry? All my Native American jewelry. Especially earrings.

11. Favorite Hobby? Writing and photography. At this point, they are equal.

12. Do you have ADD? No, but I have lots of other cool chronic illnesses.

13. Do you wear glasses? Only when I need to see anything.

14. Favorite cartoon character? George of the Jungle.

Original 1960s George of the Jungle cartoon

15. Three things you did today? Ate, made dinner and listened to the thunder and the pelting rain mixed with sunshine. Weird weather.

16. Three drinks you drink regularly? Coffee, Coke, sports drinks, fruit juice.

17. Current movies? Haven’t been to the movies much and what I’ve seen hasn’t exactly overwhelmed me. Some of it’s not bad, but nothing seemed all that special.

18. Do you believe in magic? I wish. I’d like to believe, but I don’t.

19. Favorite place to be? Home.

20. How do you ring in the New Year? Watching the festivities at the Boston Hatch Shell and the fireworks. Kissing Garry while the dogs kiss us.

21. Travel? Where would you go? Paris, England (the parts I missed the first time), maybe the French wine country — then probably New Zealand. and, should I live that long, Australia.

Somewhere in Ireland

22. Name five people who will most likely read this? No doubt the same handful of people who read most of my stuff. There are obviously others, but I don’t know who they are.

23. Favorite movie? I have a long list: Casablanca, The Lion in Winter, Tombstone, A Mighty Wind … and so many others and almost anything made by Mel Brooks.

24. Favorite color? Deep blue at the moment, but it changes depending on my mood.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No. They are slippery. The only time they were on the bed (not MY bed!), I fell out. As I said, slippery.

26. Can you whistle? No.

27. Where are you now? Home.

28. Where were you yesterday? Home.

29. Favorite food? Shrimp tempura.

30. Least favorite chore? Cleaning the toilets.

31. Best job you can think of? Best-selling novelist whose best-selling novel got sold to the movies for a buttload of money.

32. What’s in your pockets? Nothing. No pockets.

33. Last thing that made you laugh? Last night, rereading Terry Pratchett’s “Thud.”

34. Favorite animal? My dogs. But I’ve loved cats, horses, ferrets, and parrots, too.  

35. What’s your most recent injury? Lying wrongly while I slept — then having to get out of that position and stand up until all the parts fell back into place.

36. How many TV’s are in your house? Three, but the third one is leftover. Can’t get rid of it and refuse to pay to have it taken away.

37. Worst pain ever? Waking up after spine surgery. Followed by waking up after heart surgery.

38. Do you like to dance? Nope.

39. Are your parents still alive? No.

40. Do you enjoy camping? Only in a screened house and even then, I really hated the outhouse. I could deal with the rest of it. But now? I want hot water. A comfortable bed. And NO bugs.

IDIOCYNCRATIC DRESSING – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Women are known for their love of shoes and bags. Many women buy shoes for specific outfits and switch bags frequently depending on what they’re wearing. I’m not one of those women.

For everyday, I have one black bag for fall and winter and another bag, either blue or beige, for spring and summer. I never change bags unless I’m going to a dressy or formal event, in which case I use one of maybe two or three black dress bags (some inherited from my mother). I just don’t relate to purses. To me, they’re not an important part of my wardrobe. They are just daily luggage.

A winter bag and a summer bag

As for shoes, I do have quite a few pairs, but they’re mostly either black for winter or beige for summer. I have several pairs of boots, both short and tall, flat and heels. I also have several sandals for when it’s hot. Add in a few ballet flats and low heels (I never wear high or spiked heels) and there’s my shoe wardrobe. Very basic and unexciting. Again, I don’t really care what’s on my feet as long as they generally match the season and the occasion. I occasionally get compliments on my shoes, which is surprising but actually very gratifying.

Another female fetish that I’m not into is nails. I rarely get manicures, partly because my nails break and crack so frequently that I rarely have more than a few t the same length at the same time. So, putting a colored polish on them is like putting lipstick on a pig. I do it for special events or if I have more than six nails of reasonable length. Even then I only use clear or nude shades of nail polish.

My usually plain nails

I never do pedicures. First of all, I feel uncomfortable when strangers mess with my feet. Secondly, I never understood why women want to draw attention to what I see as our least attractive feature. Besides, feet are usually covered up by shoes for most of the year, at least where I live. The few months when we all wear sandals might make sense but I still don’t like brightly colored toenails.

I have a friend who never wears makeup but always has meticulously manicured hands and feet. So her hands and feet are ‘enhanced’ and draw attention but not her face? I don’t get it. I’d rather wear some makeup on my face and ignore my limbs. My face is what people should be looking at when they talk to me.

On the other hand, I am a costume jewelry fanatic. My neckwear and earrings overflow two large drawers and one small three drawer jewelry box. And that doesn’t include the two drawers full of costume jewelry left to me by my mother. Her earrings were all clip on, which I can’t wear, so I just kept her neckpieces and bracelets. These tend to be much dressier than I would wear every day, but I do use them for special occasions. It’s a real treat to go ‘shopping’ in the ‘Mom drawers’ when I need something special and dramatic to wear.

My ‘small’ jewelry box for everyday wear

When I get dressed, I go through my arsenal of earrings and decide which one goes best with what I’m wearing. Usually, I have many to choose from and this extends the time it takes me to get dressed – often by a lot.

Sometimes I try several on and eliminate one at a time till I find the winner for the day. Other times I have a ‘favorite’ pair of earrings that I wear whenever it goes with my outfit. Either way, earrings (and to a lesser degree, necklaces) are a big deal to me. So I usually have ratty nails and embellished ears!

I also have an extensive collection of tops – shirts and tees mostly and quite a few tunic tops. I treat myself to a few new ones each season, even though I don’t need them.

They, along with earrings, are my vices – and are the only things I spend money on these days. All other purchases have to go through the ‘do I really need this’ test. This is the one place where I let ‘I want it’ be the main criterion for purchase. For my husband, it’s electronic equipment and video games, which end up costing a lot more than my annual splurges. So I don’t feel too bad about my excesses.

Everyone has their own special likes and dislikes and ‘can’t resist’ items. So I guess I’m no quirkier or stranger than anyone else. I just feel like I am!

MY MISERY DOESN’T LOVE COMPANY – Marilyn Armstrong

We say stuff because it’s a thing everyone says. I mean, you know, it’s a saying. So we say it. A saying is something to say when you don’t really have anything meaningful or original to say. Sometimes, if you get the right saying, it makes you sound clever and perceptive. Mostly, it makes you sound like you don’t have anything to say. Just saying.

Today I would like to analyze Misery loves company.

This is a truism and a popular saying to which I cannot relate. What, exactly, does it mean? Do any of the following (or perhaps all of the following) apply to you?

— Miserable people like being with other miserable people.

— Miserable people like to make others miserable too.

— Miserable people hate being alone.

— Miserable people like being miserable.

— Misery spurs creativity.

— Miserable people resent it when the people around them are happy.

I don’t like being miserable. When I am unhappy, I don’t want to be around anyone. I want to hide. If I’m unable to hide, I put on my best fake smile and make a Happy Face. Being alone requires a lot less effort.

I don’t find unhappiness, depression or any kind of misery inspirational. Quite the opposite. When I’m down, I don’t want to write. I don’t want to take pictures. I don’t feel creative and I don’t care to share the feeling. Come to think of it, that’s not entirely true. When my mother died and I was in Israel, my Rabbi looked at me and said: “You’re a writer. So WRITE.”

I wrote. It wound being published and everybody cried. I guess that was my equivalent of misery loving company. And it was a near moment of fame for me. Literally, hundreds of people read the paper and cried on buses, at work, in coffee shops. I really shared that misery.

Since I hate being a drag, I usually stay away from everybody but the dogs. They don’t care about my moods. They’re just glad to be in my company, especially if I have a sandwich.

Humans, on the other hand, ask questions I don’t want to answer. Being around people who are equally miserable does not make me feel better unless it’s a funeral and misery is the heart of the event. Mostly, though, depressed friends increase my misery quotient. This concept doesn’t work for me. If it’s a truism, for whom is it true?

Are you miserable? Does your sadness make you want to be with other down-hearted people? Does it make you want to find happy people and explain to them why anyone who is happy simply doesn’t understand the situation?

Does sadness inspire you to write, paint or do something creative? Just wondering.

Because when I’m unhappy or depressed, the only thing I want is to stop feeling that way. Quickly. The world is a sad place too much of the time. I’d rather not make it worse.

SHARING MY WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 5-27-19

Do you consider yourself a pessimist or an optimist?

I think I’m a skeptic, which means I need information before I can be for or against anything. Information may be just “getting to know someone” before deciding I like (or don’t like) them — or getting facts before deciding on something where facts are at issue.

I’m more upbeat than some people, not as much as others.

Snowballs and the Mumford dam

Somehow, I’m more convinced we are not going the way of the Axis in World War II and I believe if we can just hang on, things will get better. I’m convinced we’ll pull out of this mess we are in.

I also get that I could be entirely and horribly wrong about that!

Can War ever be just?

War is never good, but sometimes, one’s world must be defended. But our last “just” war — World War II — would never have been necessary if we had settled the ashes of WW I with more concern for the human beings who would have to live with that settlement.

Greed, land, hatred, bad leaders — they make war happen. So I’m not sure there’s ever an entirely “just” war because if you look at the context, it should never have happened at all.

People create wars. It’s time we owned up to it.

War leads to more war, so this war may be just, but it wouldn’t be necessary if we hadn’t had a previous war. I don’t think we’ll ever stop fighting and for one side of the other, it’s always a just war and God is always on everyone’s side. Pity God has never had anything to say about that.

Think about the people you love most in your life, what do you do for them?

I try to keep them in mind and keep in touch. When we can be together, that makes me happy.

There isn’t much else to do, is there?

Are you health conscious?

Painfully, on many levels.

Eating well!

We eat decently, avoid most of the really bad stuff. It gets harder as prices keep going up. Good thing we don’t eat much.

Gratitude, Thankfulness, Wonder, Awe, and Joy!   

It was great seeing boys being boys and enjoying a swim in the river with no hovering parents, no cell phones.

Just being kids. It gave me some hope!