SHARE MY WORLD AND SAVE ME FROM DROWNING IN ALIEN ELECTRONS – Marilyn Armstrong

I am drowning in email. Between the politics, news, advertising, blog notifications, comments and an occasional note from someone I actually know — like in person? I’ve been getting THOUSANDS of emails. I’m just about ready to unplug the computer. Nah, I don’t mean that. But I need to make this Tsunami to away.

Compared to the actualities and realities and problems around this world, I know this is nothing. But it’s driving me nuts. I don’t read anything anymore. I read headlines because I know the same news story will show up in my pile of emails within a mere minute or two of deleting it.

Every day, I delete for hours, sometimes stopping t make a short comment. i don’t have time for more because while I write, the emails are piling up.

Traffic is slow right now anyway, so maybe this is a good time to take a few days off, see if I can unsubscribe to enough material to make it possible to find the message for which I’m looking?  It’s going to rain all week anyhow, which will finish off the autumn leaves before we actually get to see them. Then there are three doctor and dentist appointments — and the bug guy who is coming to do his autumn mouse trapping, termite spraying — and did I mention my son is moving home? That’s the good part.

I’m drowning in electronic messages, but HOW CAN I DROWN IN SOMETHING THAT HAS NO PHYSICAL FORM? Don’t I need water or mud or sand or some physical thing for drowning?

Notes:

      • I’m feeling a LOT better. Fibromyalgia has finally moved on.
      • Garry will be better as soon as his tooth is fixed — the day after tomorrow.
      • The dogs are fine.

Since the middle of my week tends to be pretty unexciting, maybe this is a good time to take a couple of days off? By the weekend, I’ll be itching to write and I’ll have taken a few new pictures.

I still don’t know what I’m going to do about this massive wave of electronic junk mail. Garry is having the same problem, so I don’t think it’s personal.

And now …

Share Your World 10-7-19

These are the colors that our leaves are supposed to be. Bah! Humbug! It’s good there are birds to photograph or the world would indeed be terribly drab.

The Questions!


Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) a good thing, a bad thing or a mixture of both?

I don’t “do” social media except to publicize this site. Did I mention I’m buried in email? I think a new wave of social media would probably finish me off.

Are you camera shy or do you pose for the camera with confidence?

I look best when I’m pretending there IS no camera pointing at me. Even if I know Garry is taking my picture. He always seems to be taking my picture, probably because we have very brief short-term memories, so it’s possible if he doesn’t have pictures, he might not recognize me.

Is there anything you’ve kept from younger years for sentimental reasons alone?

Yes. Some of my dolls and a great love of “Oklahoma!”

Do you like to decorate for different holidays?

ahb  ahb1

No. Those days have gone! I do appreciate the efforts other people make, though. I really love a beautifully decorated yard, especially for Halloween.

Do you feel you’re a strong person character-wise?   Also, if you do have a gratitude thought or picture you’d like to share, please feel free!  The world can always use more positive vibes!

I have no idea of whether I’m a strong person or just a desperate survivor. Either way, I’ve made it this far, so I’ll probably claw my way through another year or two. Or not. Anyone can be hit by a bus. Oh, wait. We don’t have any buses. How about a small truck?

SHARING MY WORLD AS OCTOBER BEGINS – Marilyn Armstrong

Although by the calendar and by our understanding of seasons, it is supposed to be autumn, it isn’t particularly autumnal. It isn’t as bad as last year when we had nothing at all at the end of September, but it certainly isn’t the kind of glorious color we typically get in New England.

Enjoy it while you can.

The problem is climate change. Normally, summer — especially the end of summer — is dry. By the end of August, a lot of leaves turn yellow. Aspen turns bright yellow before August is over. The maple trees by the end of September are turning red.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

There was some moderately bright colors along the river. There’s some color at the Mumford Dam in town, but it is a bit pale. I haven’t given up on the season yet, though the next week is supposed to be heavy rain and the temperatures are going back up. To get things back on something like a natural track, we need cold nights — preferably below freezing — with cool, dry days. With or without sun, it doesn’t matter.

Sunset by the stone fence

Rain and temperature matter a lot. So does wind. A serious wind and rain event will strip the trees in a matter of hours. We’ve had some late summer hurricanes which eliminated all the leaves.

Pick your favorite

Early snow also kills the leaves. We’ve had snow as early as the beginning of September. It makes an ugly mess. Because the leaves are still on the trees, branches and sometimes big trees break under the weight of wet and icy snow.

Photo-Garry Armstrong

I don’t think we’re getting early snow! They just said we might get a hard frost on Friday after an 80 degree (70 Celsius) daytime temperature.

So I’m hoping for better, but I recognize the first major loss to our very local climate might be Autumn. I wouldn’t mind losing spring, which is really just a lot of slushy snow, melting ice, and sucking mud.


AND NOW FOR THE QUESTIONS  OF THE WEEK:


Earlier this week Rory asked a question that I found so interesting, I thought I’d share it.  Another question, similar to this one was asked in August.

If confronted with a violent crime against a single individual in progress (severe beating, rape, assault) do you try to do something about it (phone authorities or confront the criminal, stop the crime) or do you figure it’s none of your business and walk or drive on by?  Worse (to me) would you record the crime for social media use without doing anything else? 

I can’t imagine NOT getting involved. I know I’m not exactly at the peak of my physical powers, but a well-placed rock or whack on the head can at minimally cause enough distraction to get cops on the scene. And there’s always trying to knock someone over with your car.

But I would have to do something. I would never live it down.


Okay now we got the heavy stuff out of the way, let’s get to some less stressful questions.

If someone asked to be your apprentice and learn all that you know, what would you teach them?

I’ve been a writing teacher. You can’t teach someone to write. You can teach someone to write better. You can teach them ways to make their sentences less awkward and easier to understand. To clarify writing. To explain the point of putting “who, what, where, why, and when” at the beginning of a post rather than buried within it.

In the end, if you have a talent for writing, you will find a way to write. I can help, but the ability needs to be there. And you need more than mere talent. You need the will and tenacity to stick with it even when it isn’t going well and in the current market, it can be a long time between writing something brilliant and getting it published and in a market where people will see it and read it.

William Strunk Jr. was a professor of English at Cornell University and, together with E.B. White, author of The Elements of Style (1918).

Talent, time, tenacity — plus a reasonable idea of the kind of writing you would like to do. Fiction? Poetry? News? Technical documents? Most people, especially young ones, think it’s all about fiction, but as far as writing for a living goes, most of the ways you earn a living as a writer will be in some kind of non-fiction.

First, think of a product. What would be the absolute worst brand name for one of those products?

I’m blank on this. Maybe I’ll think of something later, but right now? It’s a completely empty space. It’s been that kind of day.

What ridiculous and untrue, yet slightly plausible, theories can you come up with for the cause of common ailments like headaches or cavities?

Cavities are caused by very tiny pixies who climb into your mouth while you sleep and drill holes in your mouth. They have larger cousins who hide your underwear.

SHARING THE WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 9-23-19

It has been a bumpy ride recently. The good news is that we are getting 2/3 of the house fixed and with a little luck, the last piece in the spring, The bad news? The weather is weird. Instead of getting colder, it’s getting warmer.

Chipping Sparrow

The bird feeders are back up and the birds are visiting. Not as many as last year, but it has just begun, As the year progresses, we’ll have a better idea of how many bids we’ll have. Right now, I’m seeing a lot of Titmice, Nuthatches, a few winter-colored finches, two different woodpeckers. They are still very shy. They get less shy as the season progresses and they are more familiar with us.

QUESTIONS:

When was the last time you face palmed?

I honestly have no idea. Not recently for sure.

If there were commandments for the modern-day world, what should (could, would) some of them be?  Get creative!

Greed is NOT good. It is the single destroyer of the best parts of our world and always has been. Always will be. If you are rich, can you ever be rich enough? When does the rest of the world get a shot at a decent life? How much is your greed killing us all off?

Greed is destruction and it is ugly. Take what you need and leave the rest. We all need and deserve a decent life. No one needs billions. Moreover, whether you have one or two billion is not going to make you more or less happy!

What did you Google last?

Bottlebrush. Mine wore out and I need a new one. Since then I googled “52 mm lens cap” because I need one. Exciting, eh?

When is censorship warranted? Ever?

I think spouting hatred should not be legal. But I understand those who disagree. It IS illegal in many other democracies for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that inflammatory language tends to wind up with inflamed people. Rioting. Lynching. Murder. Encouraging it has not won us any friends, either.

But, as I said, you don’t have to agree with me. That’s just how I feel about it.

Gratitude is an attitude.

I agree. I also think that not everything we feel is appropriate for posting. Some of it is private and personal. I actually have a good deal for which to be grateful but it is not (in my opinion) suitable for sharing. Sorry.

SHARING MY WORLD WHILE SAVING OUR HOME – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World — 9-10-19

What’s the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery or came into a huge fortune? 

Repair my house!

Which decade do you think had the best sense of style?

During the 1960s and early 70s I loved the long, loose blouses and bellbottom pants. I love the fringes and tie-dyed colors. I loved that anyone could wear anything and it was fine. It was the style-less styles.

Even for men, you could wear wide lapels or narrow ones, wide or narrow ties. Flowers and plaids. Just about anything. Right now, clothing is okay, but it’s pretty dull.

July 1963

Everyone is in style because how wrong can you go with tee shirts and jeans?

Would you rather be half your height or double your weight?

Half my height would make me shorter than the Duke. I’m only five foot one at this point. At twice my weight, I’d be unable to move.

So sorry. Neither!

If you wanted to get away from everyone totally, where would you hide?

I could stay home. Nobody comes to visit us here anyway.

What do you do that you love?

It used to be blogging. Right now, nothing feels special. I’ve been sick enough to not even get out of bed today. I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t get out of bed when I wasn’t in the hospital. It’s only Monday, but it feels a lot later than that!

SHARING THE WORLD AND AUGUST ENDS WITH A WHIMPER – Marilyn Armstrong

Another person died of Eastern Equine Encephalitis today. And they did not spray last night because it was too cold. Swell. Maybe it’ll be warmer tonight. We can hope.

Not that the spraying is going to fully solve the problem. We are still advised to wear long everything and a lot of DEET. Doubly swell.

And now to the sharing.

Share Your World 8-26-19

If you had to sum up the whole human species in 3 words, what would those words be?

Always too late.

Where is the strangest place you’ve relieved yourself?  Obviously in an emergency situation.

In the woods in Sinai. There weren’t any bathrooms.

1989 shot of earth’s arctic ice

What is the worst smelling place you’ve ever been?

Sitting next to Duke when he let one go. Lord almighty! He left the room and shortly thereafter, the other two left also.

I’m glad it’s not a nightly event!

How drunk is drunk enough?

For me, at all is too drunk. I don’t handle booze well and never did.

If you’d like, please list five things that are priceless to you.

I bet you could take bets on this and probably get it right. But I’m not sure priceless is really the word for it.

Times have changed and what I might have viewed as priceless 30 years ago — or even 20 or 10 — doesn’t carry the same weight it once did. I’m torn between the people I love who are priceless to me — and the world in which I live which is beyond price for the humans who live here.

If we change the wording to “things I couldn’t live without,” it would be easier. My friends and family are priceless to me, but our world is beyond any price.

SHARE MY WORLD ASSUMING WORD PRESS DOESN’T CRUMBLE – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – 8-20-19

QUESTIONS:   

What would be your solution to the overpopulation of the earth?  Earth has finite resources and humanity seems to be breeding themselves to extinction.   Some countries have tried restricting the number of children a couple or a person can have, with little success.  So what other viable options are there for reducing the number of people? 

Let me start out by pointing out that I don’t have answers. I mostly have fears.

Although overpopulation is a major part of our problems of surviving on Earth — especially in places like China and India where over-population has been an issue for centuries — the even bigger problem is over-building and mindless destruction of our natural environment. Water and earth pollution, as well as the poisons we use to “protect” our vegetables and other plants.

The fundamental combination of ingredients we use to increase nutrients in the soil — nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — although they are essential to healthy plant growth, fertilizer needs to be used in moderation based on the rain for the region. More rain means the soil gets “washed.” In arid regions, such”fertilizers” are poison.

Weed poisons — Monsanto seems to make a lot of them — not only poison our water, but also kill the birds. A few years ago, we had robins nesting on our porch and all over the woods until one neighbor decided to use Monsanto weed poison.

The robins fell over dead in their nests. Baby robins were never born.

Dry lake at Manchaug

It was horrible and really depressing. Although a few robins have returned, they are relatively rare now instead of (as they used to be) the most common summertime bird.

Dried out Mumford River in Uxbridge

Nitrogen, a major part of fertilizer, is only viable in areas that get plenty of rain. Without the rain, the nitrogen builds up in the soil, sinks down and poisons the aquifer. It happened in Israel while I lived there. I worked at the part of the university which monitored the condition of the country’s air and water. Israel is a dry country with a climate much like Arizona. Our people went from one Kibbutz to the next Kibbutz warning all of them that continuing to use nitrogen-based fertilizer would poison the aquifer by 1985.

We were wrong.

It poisoned the aquifer in 1982. Now, there is no aquifer in the country. All the water comes in tankers from Turkey or from the Sea of Galilee (called “The Galil – pronounced “Ga-leel”). In an arid climate, rainy and dry years are normal events. One always prayers for normal rain, but droughts are part of the climate pattern and can last for years.

This is why part of the annual prayer cycle includes the autumnal prayers for rain. On a good year, there will be rain clouds by late October or early November. On a bad year, you may see very little rain at all and not until December. Considering that spring starts in January, that doesn’t leave much time for rain.

Empty dam at Manchaug

A few years ago, The Galil was more than 13 meters lower than normal and I don’t know how it’s doing now. I understand they have added desalinization plants that are helping, but the population of the country has more than doubled (tripled?) since I left in 1987.

FYI, a meter is one yard plus 3 inches, so 13 meters is just under 120 feet below normal. Boats that sank during the time of Jesus were showing up because the water was so low.

We don’t merely overpopulate the world. We misuse it. The combination is lethal, at least for mammals, of which we are one. Between our enthusiasm for killing anything we think looks good stuffed and hanging on a wall and the natural destruction that farming and housing cause … the rate of destruction of large mammals is insane and with our current idiotic president, getting worse day-by-day.

There really isn’t a lot of time left to fix the climate to make this world livable for the next generations. We aren’t waiting for climate change. It has arrived. And when you live in cities like New York and Boston which actually lie below sea level, a rise in sea levels won’t take long to swamp our shorelines. East and west coast cities are in imminent danger and the flooding in the midwest is catastrophic.

Whatever we SHOULD be doing to fix our climate? We aren’t doing it.

What’s invisible but you wish people could see?

Roaring Dam: Photo: Garry Armstrong – Behind the dam is a mountain of poisonous soil from the factories and mills that used the Blackstone to dump their pollution over the years. They can’t take down the dams because it would release the poisoned soil.

The poisons in the soil, air, and water.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?

I think life is ridiculous, our government is idiotic, and an awful lot of our population is incredibly stupid. There’s no way I could pick out one part of that as the MOST ridiculous.

What are the unwritten rules of where you work? If you don’t work (retired or unemployed) what are the unwritten rules you live your life by?

Dogs eat first.

How do you feel about putting pineapple on pizza?

Pineapple is delicious on ham and I love fresh pineapple. It doesn’t belong on pizza. But other countries put even worse stuff on pizza like peas and corn. El yucko.

Toilet paper, over or under?

Over. Even the patent for the toilet paper roll shows it over, not under. The only reason for putting it underneath is that you have kittens who think unrolling the entire roll is tons of fun.

What’s the best type of cheese?

Remains of the feast
Cheese!

I’m torn between blue/Roquefort, strong cheddar, hard parmesan, and romano. But really, I just like cheese! Almost all cheese except whatever that yellow mushy stuff they call “American” cheese is. Whatever you call it, it ain’t cheese.

THE WONT OF WIT, THE BATING PLACE OF WOE – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 6-24-19

Are you more a thinker or a doer?   

Either I just do it and then have a lifetime to think about how I — if I’d thought about it more — could have done it better or preferably, not at all.  As an alternative, I think about it, decide not to do it, then spend years wishing I had done it.

As a third choice, I think, rethink, change my mind, begin the process, stop — write something or take a few pictures — while completely forgetting what I was going to do. When finally I remember my original intention, it doesn’t seem all that important so I read a book.

Why is beauty associated with mortality?

Because dead people putrefy? Because rotting bodies aren’t as attractive as live ones? Even when that individual — when alive — wasn’t beautiful they look worse when dead.

As proof of this statement, I have yet to see a single advertisement for anything using rotting corpses. I mean — seriously — dead people don’t enjoy beer and don’t look good in snug jeans. I’m pretty sure if advertisers aren’t using corpses (who would probably not need to be paid, so it would definitely be to their advantage to work with the dead), it’s probably because corpses are not attractive.

But when I die, hey, if you think this is a good idea, by all means. I’m pretty sure I won’t care.

If everyone spoke their mind (told the literal truth), would this world be a better place?

No. It would be just like it is but worse. Life would be harder, colder, and even more full of blowhards who don’t bother to give a moment’s thought before running their mouths. It’s bad enough now. That would make it oh so much worse.

It would finally and completely eliminate manners (such as they are). It would dispose of any remaining civility, kindness, politeness, delicacy, and good taste.

Your mouth is not supposed to be where random crap just falls out. We are supposed to think. That is why we have brains — which are supposed to be in charge of our mouths. Ponder that.

In the toilet, things just “fall out.” When they stink, you flush them away.

Sadly, once said, you have put it into the world and can never make it go away. There’s no flushing your words. They sear permanently on the minds of whoever is unlucky enough to hear them.

Your mouth isn’t supposed to be the verbal end of your anus. What comes out of it is supposed to have polish. Class. Wit. Elegance. Kindness. Compassion. Love. Maybe even brilliance. Toddlers say whatever flows into their unkempt young minds and that’s okay. They were born to learn and we teach them to not grow up and continue to act like toddlers.

Remove the training in manners and civility and the world would be all adult toddlers. The idea is nauseating. We have one of those in the White House. Isn’t that guy our national huckleberry?

I am sick to death of people who think they are “special” because they don’t know when to shut up.

We went to a party (left early) where one (drunken) woman was blathering endlessly about how proud she was to have started smoking again now that she was done with chemo and cancer. She was proud of this. She has a daughter. What’s her message?

The first amendment protects free speech. It isn’t a license for everyone to say anything, anytime, anywhere, under any and all circumstances.

What happened to class? Grammar? Elegant phrasing? Facts before opinions? Where went wit and cleverness? Concepts based on research? Has intelligence gone completely out of style? If it has, we are doomed.

Can religious beliefs affect scientific thinking?

Amongst the stupid, yes. Brighter people don’t seem to have this problem.

An attitude of gratitude: If you’d like to, share some gratitude in a photo, written, or song. 

The day is bright and sunny and for this small thing, praised be the rain gods for going somewhere else to do their thing.

Now, I’m going to put on a pair of sandals and go take a few pictures before the sky goes gray and the next rain comes.