COLD OUT THERE BUT HOT IN HERE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s B & W Photo Challenge: Anything Hot or Cold

It was cold outside, but warm in the teepee.

It was delicious being in the teepee with the snow falling outside with a hot fire burning inside, smoke flying through the hole at the top of the teepee.

The lovely combination of cold out and warm within is one of the basic delights of humankind.


It was cold outside through the front window
Cold outside the back way, too
But the yellow gold of the teepee firepit was hot!

COLD! CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Cold


Is cold fun? It was okay when I was a kid, though I also remember trying to defrost my frozen feet. They make warm boots a lot better today than they did when I was a kid. I would have given a lot for a pair of water-resistant Emu boots … or any kind of Uggs!

Home during the blizzard
By the time the storm was over, we had twice this much
This is my favorite way to look at the snow — through the French doors

It has been getting very cold at night and sometimes, by day. We’ve been getting brushed by snow. Not really whacked by it as they have been further north, but it has been a very close shave. Soon enough, it will actually land right on us.

COMPARING SEASONS – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge: Comparison

Two weeks ago, we were still hoping to get a bit more autumn, but before we were finished hoping, it was snowing. Snowing? Before Thanksgiving? It produced the coldest Thanksgiving holiday ever.

Even though it has warmed up a bit today, by tomorrow, it will be bitterly cold again.

House in summer

October at home in Uxbridge
Photo: Garry Armstrong –Winter at home

No pictures of spring because that’s a season we don’t really get. It’s winter, then suddenly, summer.

IMPOSE, THEN UNIMPOSE. MEANWHILE, GREED IS GOOD – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Impose

WordPress was trying to impose Gutenberg on this site. Aside from it being full of bugs (which they are trying to fix, but they should have fixed them before releasing the application!), it’s an excessively complicated format for a blog. Maybe for designing a book, but this isn’t a book.

I’m not writing a book. I’m blogging. Gutenberg did a lot of things to this site that left me unable to blog.

I will not bore you with a list of issues, including the inability to properly format a photograph or for that matter, FIND a photograph to format.

Eventually,  I discovered that you could use the Plugins function to reset it to the Classic Editor. Then I discovered you can’t use the PlugIn function unless you are on a business plan. I’ve been Premium for six years. I don’t have a business and never will and on top of that, we’re on Social Security and there’s no money to pay $25 a month to blog.

So I wrote to them. You can still get quick results if you figure out where to go. To be fair, I also begged because I could probably figure out the “new plan” but I don’t WANT that plan and Garry and Ellin, our two “not very tech savvy” writers, would never figure it out.

Also, seriously, how complicated do you need to make a blogging text format app?

So to actually get help:


1  – Go to WordPress.com

2  – Click the blue “help” button on the bottom right. Send an email with your issue.


In less than an hour, they had reset me to the classic editor. You see, the problem is that — aside from the bugs and there are more of them than I can count (not all of which affected me, mind you, but which mostly affected users like me with very big blogs — in other words, long-timers) — I quite literally begged them to fix this. He fixed it and dumped Gutenberg and now I’m back to the editor I have always used.

I was ready to pull the plug. It changed all the fonts on my headings and changed the size and formats of the headings. It wouldn’t call up any of my graphics or allow me to use former posts. I tried changing templates, and it was even worse. Chaos.

So they fixed me and they did it fast! As far as I can tell, they are promising to leave classic editor available indefinitely. That’s what they are saying because, as it turns out, the new format is way above the needs of most bloggers. I’ve even got “Copy a Post” back.

Sometimes, if you grovel, you get what you want. But not allowing plugins for anyone but business users doesn’t bode well for where WordPress is heading. They are going all out for bigger money, even though they are already making a lot of money. Apparently, not quite enough.

The new motto for WordPress?

“Greed Is Good”

ODE TO FOUR SEASONS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Winter generally sucks in New England. But for me, there is also a bright side.

I love wearing my favorite winter sweaters. I love boots and I feel very fashionable when I can wear high boots over my jeans. Another thing I look forward to in winter is coats and scarves. I have a terrific wardrobe of colorful, textured scarves, many purchased at craft shows over the years.

So I’ve established that I like the variety of clothes that seasons provide. I would get sick of wearing the same clothes all year. If I lived in Florida or California, in order to get variety, I’d probably spend a fortune each year buying clothes. Now I spend very little on clothes because the four seasons (really three – winter summer and in between) give me ample variety in my wardrobe.

Another reason I don’t mind winter – once I’ve put on my beautiful outerwear,it’s not all that cold outside. People talk about the horrors of winter as if you had to go outside everyday wearing nothing more than your pajamas!

Snow is wonderful if you’re dressed to play in it and enjoy its beauty.

I have to confess that I’m not a heat lover or a sun worshipper. In fact, I get physically ill in severe heat. For me, it’s worse when it’s very hot than when it’s very cold. I can’t protect myself from the heat outside by taking off more clothes. I can only go down to tee-shirt and shorts or a bathing suit without getting arrested for indecent exposure. If I’m still roasting in those outfits, I’m screwed. But in winter, you can always put on more sophisticated winter wear. For example, you can put on ski clothes and go out and ski down a mountain in the freezing cold.

So I hate heat and can dress appropriately to stay warm in cold weather. What else do I like about having seasons? The variety itself enhances my life. I appreciate spring and summer because I live through fall and winter. I don’t take green trees and flowers for granted because I live through colored leaves, bare trees and the winter wonderland of snow-covered landscapes. I wouldn’t want to live in winter 12 months of the year any more than I want to live in summer all year round.

But for the three months winter lasts, I can appreciate what it has to offer. For example, we often have a fire going on winter nights. I love that. My husband and I enjoy our Jacuzzi more in winter. Friends seem to have more time to come over and hang out with us in the winter. I think it’s because they’re not outside doing whatever they do in summer (play golf, swim, take long walks, go on hikes, work in their gardens, etc.)

I’m lucky that I really love where I live and don’t dream of moving elsewhere. If I did move, it would probably be to another place that has seasons. I just can’t imagine a life without watching the leaves turn red, yellow and orange.

I can’t imagine a life without getting to watch grass grow, flowers bloom and leaves suddenly come out on trees, every single year. I can’t imagine everything in my environment staying the same, stagnant, year in and year out. Maybe it’s a lack of imagination on my part, but I’m happy dealing with a world that changes four times a year.

A DRIVE THROUGH EVERY KIND OF WEATHER – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – April 13, 2018


We took a long drive through sleet and snow and rain and traffic jams. Considering it was April and not January, this was an awful lot of weather for such a relatively short journey.

These are some of the pictures. Are you impressed? You should be. It was a hell of a drive!

AWAKENING – A LITTLE EARLY FOR 2018

WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – AWAKENING

Good morning little red finch!

I woke up this morning and started to cough. The deep, hacking cough that screams “bronchial tubes” and “pneumonia.” But it didn’t seem as bad as yesterday, which might mean that this is going to be just a regular cold and not something more serious.

On the other hand, a few days ago, we got this on the way to Connecticut …

It’s a little early in our year — this particular year — for the awakening of fresh young growing things. Unless you count the ants and the mice, both of which were doing simply grandly in our backyard and walls. We have called the killers of things we don’t want living in our house and this morning was the first time I saw any ants. He warned me it takes about two weeks to get them all, so I grabbed them up and disposed of them.

Almost a whiteout on the road

There were only three.

I disdained to check the condition of the basement. The death of small rodents in not a happy occasion for me. I do not hate mice and I am not afraid of them, but they make a horrible mess of the house. They live in the walls and after a while, your whole house smells of mouse turds. A few mice, trying to get in from the ice of winter I can live with, but an entire house full of families and generations of mice? I don’t think so.

I got to thinking about the “generations of mice.”

If you were a mouse, being smarter than “other mice” decided to buy a DNA package to find out to whom in your deep, dark past you might be related? The number of generations is exponential, my dear Watson. Mice dating back to the very first sort-of mammals scurrying around the feet of the giant lizards who ruled the earth.

I don’t think our databases could handle the volume — and unless they all had unique names, how would you know? An entirely different, yet somehow mind-blowing thought.

On the other hand, we got this driving (the same roads) home a few days later …

What would the name of your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother’s mouse name be and how could you identify her among the furry-faced zillions of other mice? It is a mind-boggling concept, so I’ll move on.

And this as our sunset just in front of our house.

To say that spring in New England and all points north is unstable is an understatement … and the climate changes our government is ignoring is definitely a part of the problem. To be fair, the weather in this part of this continent is generally unpredictable. Around here, it’s more about the level of unpredictability and this year has been crazy.

Instead of flowers, we have gotten snow and wind and rain and very cold temperatures. We had a few days when the crocus came up — and here they are:

Otherwise, we do have green shoots for the hopefully soon-to-bloom daffodils. Please view last year’s groups and try to relate:

2017 Daffodils by the tractor’s old wheel
2015 Daffodils in the same location. They ARE perennials you know.

This really is spring in New England. We get lots of winter and then we get “it’s not exactly winter, but it sure isn’t spring, either.” One morning, the sun comes up. Sometime between breakfast and lunch, the leaves on the trees open and by mid-afternoon, it’s hot, humid and buggy — which is what we humorously call summer.

Welcome black flies and flying jaws. Welcome mosquitoes who can bite you through your denim jacket. It’s time to itch, wheeze … and if you can, get yourself to one of our wonderful beaches. I wish our seasons were a bit more orderly and perhaps — predictable.