WHY DON’T I CHANGE TO THE “NEW” BLOCK EDITOR? WHY WOULD I?- Marilyn Armstrong

THE ‘IMPROVED’ GUTTENBERG’ Block Editor

I see that line every time I write something — in the old, old format. “SWITCH TO THE IMPROVED EDITOR” lurks above my editing every time I work. I would make it vanish if I could.

Why don’t I use the new improved format?


The new editor is definitely different, but it isn’t better. It’s more difficult to use. You need more steps to accomplish simple things.

Nothing has been done to improve the limitations of the original editing format. The spacing issues that have plagued every template I’ve used during the past six years are as bad or worse as are all the problems that come with pasting text from some other piece — even if it’s from another WordPress post. The “customization” has been reduced to the most simplistic possible format so you get choices like “Huge, Too Big, Too Small, Tiny, and “Can anyone read that?”

Nor have there been any improvements for editing pictures. Even simple stuff, like properly resizing a picture from native to “web sized.” Internally within the post, you are stuck using the standard font or a header. The “blockquote” function is always the wrong size.

We’re still putting bandages on your “other” improvements


Lately we’ve all been battered with WordPress’s “improvements.” I’m here to tell you:


Change isn’t inherently an improvement. An improvement means you’ve taken something which wasn’t working and made it better. Easier to use. More effective. With more options. 


At WordPress, improvements do exactly the opposite. You take something useful and remove a piece of its functionality. I have to assume there’s a reason for this, but I have no idea what it might be. I remember when you removed “edit” from the template and we complained. One of your “happiness engineers” actually asked why we needed an edit function?

Um, because we’re writers? Editors? Artists? Do the people who create our format use it? Do they consult people who do use it? Typically, your improvements make functions work less well than before, which I suppose makes them a dis-improvements.

I have a monumental investment in my site and am at an age where starting over is – pardon the pun – a non-starter. You might force me to quit. You may push out all your “old timers.” There is always a bill to pay when you refuse to listen to your customers. You won’t be the first major tech company to slither down that open drain.

Personally, I think you are slouching down a long, gravelly road to nowhere. Like so many formerly great platforms, the power you now hold will dwindle. I hope by the time you vanish, someone else will take over.

As for my failure to “SWITCH TO THE IMPROVED EDITOR” option?

You don’t actually believe your improved platform is better than the one we had anymore than you believe changing our font sizing option from “points” to “small” “normal” or “large” improved customizing. Or eliminating our ability to create our own colors made our templates look better. Or deleting all the challenges that enabled us to form relationships with each other improved our blogging and creativity.

You’re just following orders. After all, everyone needs a job.

FOREVER EVOLVING? WHERE AM I? – Marilyn Armstrong

Blogging Insights # 30 – Evolving

The question from BLOGGING INSIGHTS #30 – EVOLVING is:

“Your blog is never static.It is a living and breathing organism that continues to grow as you grow as a blogger. Sometimes this growth takes unexpected directions and you end up with something very different from what you had envisioned.”

Credit for today’s question goes to Di of Pensitivity.

Since I never expected anything, it is exactly what I expected but also, totally different. I really was just trying to post photographs that were sitting in my hard drive. No one ever saw them. I had done this before on a variety of platforms that closed down.

I was never really “into” it. Maybe because I was still working and I wrote all day, so I wasn’t all that eager to do some more writing when I got home. I hadn’t had the time to develop photographically, either. I worked a lot of hours, had a child to raise, a house to maintain and I really enjoyed my few hours of doing nothing.

Looking for a few seeds?

So I started this blog without expectations. I also didn’t think it would last long. All the others had closed down, so I figure a couple of years or even less, and this one would close down too.

What I didn’t expect was that I would develop a pretty large readership so quickly nor did I think politics was going to become a big part of my landscape. Mostly, I didn’t think that from this experience would come real friendships across oceans and continents.

Square and still blooming!

It has been eight years and I’ve put up more than 10,600 posts. Some are reblogged from other authors who have said something I wish I’d said, but they said it better. If someone else wrote it well, there’s no reason for me to reinvent the wheel.

Blogs don’t need wheels. We roll through cyberspace where there are no roads.

A couple of thousand posts were likely written by co-authors who have gathered under Serendipity’s umbrella.

How did it happen? I don’t know. I still wonder why anyone bothers to read what I write. I greatly appreciate it, but there are so many blogs around, why me? I’ve never gotten huge responses. I’ve never gotten a million hits, though I’m close to a million total after blogging for eight years. Typically, I get good responses to well-written posts. Garry almost always gets better numbers than I do.

I also gave up studying stats. Numbers make me crazy.

I also never imagined that birds were going to become such a huge part of the blog. Birds, orchids. Christmas cacti, Flying squirrels. Raccoons. Squirrels. Even little baby chipmunks. Until I put up feeders, I didn’t realize I lived in the Forest Primevil.

And some of those squirrels fly!

Given that I had no expectations, it is exactly what I wanted. A free-for-all. A place where I can say what I want without a boss warning me about deadlines. Trying to make sense of history, where we fit into history, and what is going on in this messed up world.

Still blooming and more buds

One of the things I have been told — repeatedly — is that I must find a niche. I disagree. On this blog, I am free to be me, free to pretend I’m someone else, free to find unique and new areas that interest me. I can write articles I am sure no one will read because they are a bit obscure, but I don’t have someone telling me how many characters I need to fit into this column. I figured I’d do more book reviews, but I can’t read as much as I used to, so now I review special books that have personal meaning to me.

Finally, I am doing what Garry always told me to do. I write about dogs.

BLOGGING INSIGHTS AND DON’T WE ALL LOVE TALKING ABOUT OUR BLOGS! – Marilyn Armstrong

From Salted Caramel, come these questions about our blogs and how we feel about them. I wouldn’t want to say we are a bit obsessive about them, but when the shoe fits, run for the hills.

Blogging Insights # 29 – Your Comments Section

QUESTIONS:  

How important is the comments section to your blog?

It’s the most interesting part. Intelligent comments from people all over the world? What’s not to love? I also learn a lot from comments. People correct me and often point me to other areas on a similar or same subject.

I’ve been thinking lately about having an all blogger — well not ALL bloggers — but a lot of bloggers doing a communal Zoom. Hello, Switzerland, England, Australia, Tasmania, Germany, Canada, and Mexico. We might even find room for Arizona and California.  Find out how good our selfies really are. A meet and greet without flying across an ocean or driving to the other coast.

My blogging world. I miss the pretty color map they used to have

If anyone has any interest, let me know. I know we have time difference issues, but maybe we could do it in segments. Anyway, I’m always awake because Bonnie never stops barking. She sleeps all day to be ready for her nightly barkathon.

Do you read the comments on other people’s blogs/posts?

I do. Sometimes because I want to be sure I’m not duplicating what someone has already said, but often because I’m interested to see what other people think about whatever the subject is. I have learned an incredible amount from comments to my own and other people’s blogs.

Spam comments and spammers: we all hate them. How do you identify spam comments?

First, I check to see if there is an actual blog attached. If it comes up as “does not exist,” it’s spam. If it’s entirely stolen material from other blogs? Spam. If it’s a commercial site trying to sell stuff, that’s what paid advertisements are for. Buy some ads. I’m not for sale. And sometimes, they may not be spammers, but they represent things that I abhor. I don’t want them on my site, either. I have enough blood pressure issues.

Have you ever “approved” negative comments?

I don’t have a problem with being corrected if I make a mistake, or arguing a point of interest as long as everyone remains civil, on-topic, and writes a version of English I understand. A lot of people think this kind of negativity is funny. I don’t know why they would think that, but they start acting almost “normal” and get more and more argumentative and annoying as time passes. I block them. They think I lack a sense of humor. The thing is, they aren’t funny. Maybe if they wrote better material? Nah.

There’s a lot of negativity around and since we got 45 in office, it is insane. I do not need more negative crap in my world.

FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTION VIA BLOGGING INSIGHTS #26 – Marilyn Armstrong

Blogging Insights — What’s Next?

Here are the original questions:

BLOGGING INSIGHTS -QUESTIONS:

What suggestions / tipsdo you have for improving/upgrading this series?Do you have any questions that you would like me to feature?

If you are new to the Blogging Insights series, how about trying out some of the questions?There is no time limit so feel free to answer any whenever you please. 

Remember to tag your post #blogging insightsand also linkback to my blog. This will make sure that I do not miss out on reading your views and will also enable me to share your posts on my blog. You can check out the previous questions by clicking on the links below:

https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2019/12/30/blogging-insights-recap-2/

https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2020/03/16/blogging-insights-2nd-recap/

I’ve been following this series through other blogs. It pops up pretty often. I think you are doing just fine. I don’t want to put ideas in your head because I think your ideas are good and your own creativity will find the right way.

Seven orchids on a shoot

Blogging isn’t just something we do because we have nothing more interesting to do. And we each have our own reasons, often many different reasons. It’s a hobby, an avocation, a dedication, an art form, a post-occupation-occupation — all at the same time.

That’s probably why we like to ask each other about blogging and why you do it which makes me think about why I do it. For those of us who are retired, it has become our new occupation after giving up whatever it is we used to do. Since before this, I was a writer, I am now truly enjoying this busman’s holiday.

Three on the yellow feeder

I started out doing this because I had a ton of pictures and no one ever saw them because they were all on my computer. I figured what the heck, I might as well publish them where others might enjoy them. It became a good reason for spending way too much money on cameras and lenses and the urge for better and better cameras and lenses and processing software never ends.

In this age of Trump and the crushing of everything I believed in, not to mention the eruption of our very own plague, I’ve felt that I need to not just post pretty pictures, but talk about the world. Climate change. Oppression. Racism. The hatred that seems to bind us tighter than love ever could.

I keep hearing that all we need is love, but that’s a song lyric, not a meaningful way of life. We need a lot more than love. We certainly can love people who aren’t our personal family or friends a lot more than we do, but that’s not going to fix the ozone layer or bring back the dying creatures our “development” of the wild places have killed. I fear that in the end, this world will be entirely paved over with roads running from an empty mall to another empty mall.

And if that isn’t scary enough, we need to get serious about figuring out how we can support all these PEOPLE. We are so over-populated, it’s terrifying. You know when you crowd the rats this much, they start to try to kill each other. Periodically Garry and I congratulate each other on having the sense to get OUT of Boston. With all the limitations of living in the middle of nowhere, it’s a whole lot easier on the nervous system than any city anywhere.

Today I write as much because I think there are important issues that need to be talked about. It’s not just about trashing the president. He’ll be gone soon enough. But clearly, we need to hate less and care more. The world has become ugly and greedy. For there to be subsequent generations of humans, we need to be a lot less ugly and massively less greedy. So I figure I have a small, but living bully pulpit and I might as well use it. And I can still post pretty pictures. I wouldn’t want to stress everyone out.

So for me, what’s next is to do the best I can do. Write, create pictures, count the flying squirrels, and hope I can keep affording food for the creatures of the woods.

EXTRACTION FROM THE MIRE OF THE PAST – Marilyn Armstrong

The endless recitation of woes on blogs I used to enjoy is giving me a headache. It’s not a lack of personal sympathy. It’s more like emotional exhaustion. So many people seem to be stuck in the mire of misery that began in childhood.

Don’t they want to move on? The quagmire of despair has become comfortable. They have moved in and made misery their home. Some of these bloggers continue exploring the depths of their suffering for hundreds — thousands? — of posts. Many are closing in on Social Security yet are still suffering from childhood trauma. So much for time casting a rosy haze over the past.

There ought to be a legal cutoff date at which point you are required to close the book on whatever awful experiences life has dealt you. At some point, there ought to be a law forcing you to come to grips with your rotten childhood and terrible former relationships. Or at least be required to find another subject about which to write.

we are not our mistakes

I know lots of people who were abused as children. I was. My brother was. Many of the people to whom I sold or gifted my book had never been able to talk about it before.  I helped more people to be able to talk about it. It was a big deal for me.

Because we don’t talk about it. We act like we are the guilty parties. It seems that more folks than not grew up in dysfunctional families … and each dysfunction was different than any other. And anyway, who hasn’t had a terrible relationship or three?

I plead guilty on all charges, your honor.

It was my first husband (before you ask, he was the one who died) who gave me a Gibbs slap and got me to get it together. This was before my second marriage, the one in which I managed to step in front of the same bullet I’d previously dodged.


Note to Self: We never get too old to act like morons.


Jeffrey didn’t have a storybook childhood either (who did?), so he had his own issues to resolve. One day, when I was going on about my father he said: “You know, you’ve told me these stories before. Several times. Maybe it’s time to move on.” It was good advice and I wish he’d taken it.

You have to want to move on. It took time and work, but I’m glad I did it. There have been plenty of new traumas and I doubt I’d have survived if I hadn’t cleared the decks. Nowadays, I’m overloaded. I cannot bear to read another angst-laden tale of abuse and emotional trauma. I’m aware is its, was awful.

Been there. Survived. I support all efforts to free oneself from the lingering effects of the past are hard. We are so stubborn about the bad stuff we’ve gone through. Why is pain so much clingier than good times? There’s enough misery to go around without adding more.

For all of us, maybe it’s time to stop defining ourselves as the worst times in our lives.

  • We are not what others did to us.
  • We aren’t our mistakes.
  • As much as we have suffered, we’ve also found fun, joy, friends, love. It’s just so much easier to remember the pain.

We empower misery and dismiss happier times.

Misery is like a piano falling on your head; happiness just creeps up on you. The result? Long after the people who hurt us have disappeared from our lives, they are still beating us up.

Let’s celebrate the good times. Who couldn’t use a few good laughs? Especially now. I was SURE today was Thursday. It’s Wednesday. By Sunday, it might be next month. Who can tell?

WILL WORK FOR PIZZA – Marilyn Armstrong

There is a rumor, perpetuated by television shows, that bloggers earn a living. By blogging. Someone in Hollywood seriously thinks people like me make money doing this. I am depressed to admit it, but not one cent have I ever made from this site — not counting the occasional free book for review.


I don’t advertise on this site. In fact, I pay WordPress to not put their advertisements here. My dream is not to monetize my site, but be such an incredible writer that the world will shower me with money — just because I’m me. I won’t have to ask, and I will owe nothing to anybody. And I could pay the bills! Yes!

Money for nothing. It brings tears to my eyes.


Somewhere, a blogger must be making money on his or her site, but I don’t know them. I’ve been around the world, blog-wise. I have yet to see a single blogger bringing in the big bucks. A few people have tried to at least keep even by putting advertisements on their sites, but the amount of money this earns them wouldn’t add up to a good meal in a fast-food joint.

Anyway, advertising annoys readers. Sites with spammy ads and weird pop-ups make me want to go somewhere else. Since the Internet remains one of the last, free places on earth, that’s what I do. I go elsewhere. I don’t do this for money. I don’t even do it in the hopes that someday it might make money.


I don’t run advertisements, have no connections to any organizations with money. I get offers for free applications for an “honest review,” but between the lines, I read “positive, glowing review.” I turn them down. But no one has offered me a Mercedes yet.

I turn them down. “Money for nothing” is a delightful dream and that is all it is.

If for some obscure reason, you want to buy me off although to be fair, I can’t for the life of me imagine what anyone would get by buying me off — unless you want my bills. I’ve got a lot of them. Regardless, you’ll have to do a lot better than any offer I’ve gotten to date. I’m sure everyone has a price, so I probably have one too, but no one has come close to meeting it. And on top of that, I’m not sure what I have to offer that anyone would pay for.


Meanwhile, if all else fails, I will work for a really good New York (preferably Brooklyn) style pizza. With extra cheese, extra sauce, onions, peppers, and maybe meatballs. Or high-quality pepperoni.


RERUNNING AND REWRITING ONE’S OWN MATERIAL – Marilyn Armstrong

I’ve written more than 10,205 posts. I have rewritten several dozens of these and reblogged a few more. After rewriting, most of the posts are so altered I barely recognize them. A few others I rerun because I like them. They are favorites and I like seeing them “up,” so I post them when the subject arises. Some subjects come up for discussion regularly and if I have already written the post — and assuming I can locate it — after 8 years of blogging every day, it should be okay to reuse my own stuff.

If you have been blogging for a long time, you will notice your audience changes. Other than my few actual online friends, almost all the others will change within two years, most within one. I hope those who have stuck with me will excuse the revamping of previously used material.

When you write every day for years on end, you eventually realize that all that stuff you’ve written is a treasure trove of ideas, many of which could have been better written and certainly could use an update. New photographs wouldn’t hurt either.

Alternatively, I could write once in a while and drift away as so many contemporaries have already done. They don’t exactly stop blogging. They just blog less and less frequently. Eventually, you realize you haven’t heard from them in months. Their blog is still technically “alive.” They haven’t been dismantled, but there hasn’t been a new post in a long time.

We all eventually move on, one way or another. Meanwhile, I’m rewriting earlier pieces that I think deserve it. I also think the rewritten versions are far superior to what I wrote in 2013.  Many started out as “good ideas,” and over time have become much longer and better.

Here’s my theory:

  1. This is our work. We own it.
  2. If a TV network can rerun shows without so much as giving it a fresh edit, why can’t I? Is there a law that says every blog has to be brand new?
  3. I don’t know about you, but I can’t write three new pieces every day. Not good ones, anyway.
  4. 10,000+ posts is a lot of writing. Most of the earlier material hasn’t been read by most of the people who read me these days.

Nor do I feel I need to announce it every time I reuse material, especially when it has been extensively rewritten. You are always free to not read anything I write, whether it’s new, or reconstructed.

I hate throwing things away. Don’t you?

IN THE SPIRIT OF DOING WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING … Marilyn Armstrong

These are the top 20 posts from this past year. Ironically most of them were written in other years, much earlier. As I said in comment to Fandango, popularity does not make it a “best” post. The problem is trying to remember the names of what I think were my best posts. Some of these posts weren’t written by me, either … and a few of them are photographs, not even posts.

My highest numbers were for a day of posts, rarely for one single post. I’ve gotten as many as 1400 hits on a single post in the past and it was a stupid post … AND it shows up here, again, even though I wrote it six or seven years ago.

Popularity is an odd thing and rarely seems to have much to do with what you view as your finest efforts. That’s not just true for blogging. It’s true for people who make movies, do the news, write books, take pictures. What others love is what they love.

THE TOP TWENTY FOR 2019

Title Views
Home page / Archives More stats 24,726
DESCENDING FROM THE GOLDEN HORDE – B+ AND ME More stats 1,763
GAZING THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE: HOLLYWOOD & MORAL CHARACTER More stats 1,107
THE MEANING OF EVERYTHING AND NOTHING More stats 701
MY BROTHER ESAU WAS A HAIRY MAN, BUT I AM A SMOOTH MAN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 605
REMEMBERING “FAST AL” McNAUGHTON: A NEW ENGLAND TV NEWS LEGEND – Garry Armstrong More stats 440
STRAINS? NO BIG DEAL, RIGHT? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 360
DON’T DRINK THE KOOL-AID – THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE More stats 358
Destructive Gypsy Moth caterpillars More stats 346
Uncle sam political cartoon 1899 More stats 345
Those Old Catskill Comedians … More stats 326
LIMNAL VS. LIMINAL: “I” MAKE A DIFFERENCE More stats 295
DON’T DRINK THE KOOLAID: THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE More stats 280
How did your doctor’s appointment go? More stats 264
WHERE DO THE SWANS GO? More stats 242
THERE’S GOTTA BE A PONY IN HERE SOMEWHERE – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 203
A PRAYER FOR NOTRE DAME – Guest Blogger: KARIN LAINE McMILLEN More stats 181
TOM ELLIS: A TRIBUTE by George K. Regan, Jr. More stats 177
IF WISHES WERE HORSES More stats 150

As usual, the Jonestown massacre is permanently popular and should be as a reminder of what hate and cults can become.

The Gypsy Moth caterpillars is a photograph taken four years ago and the Uncle Sam political cartoon’s origins were in 1899 when despite my age, I wasn’t born.

“Where do the Swans Go?” was originally published in 2013 and I haven’t republished it. It just keeps getting hits.

“Those Old Catskill Comedians” was written and published (and never reblogged, either) in 2014.

“Gazing through to the Other Side” was published in 2014, took me less than 10 minutes to write during a television commercial break, got 1400 hits in one day and every year gets another thousand or so. Why? I didn’t understand the first time it happened and I don’t understand it now.

I wrote “Descending from The Golden Horde – B+ and Me” in 2015 and still gets hits … a lot of them … every year. I think there isn’t much information about blood types available. Either that or Google has it near the top of lists.

“A Prayer for Notre Dame” written by guest blogger Karin Laine McMillen was a beautiful piece as was the piece about Tom Ellis by guest blogger George Regan Jr.

“The Meaning of Everything and Nothing” is one of the pieces I’ve always had fun with. I wrote it in 2013, have rewritten in a couple of times. It has been longer, shorter, with and without pictures. I guess you could call it a summary of my college education in one post.

And then, this bunch also made the list. Most of these were at least written this year! The ones in red are favorites of mine.

THE REST OF THE BEST?

HAPPY NATIONAL ASSHOLE AWARENESS DAY! More stats 146
CONTACT More stats 143
THE FORTUNE TELLER WHO RUINED MY GRANDFATHER’S LIFE – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 140
THE RAINBOW BRIDGE – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 132
NEWS ANCHORING: LOOKING INSIDE – Garry Armstrong More stats 131
HURRAH FOR NUMBER 26! More stats 128
Violets, Dandelions, and Little Purple Flowers More stats 126
MACAVITY – THE MYSTERY CAT BY T.S. ELIOT More stats 125
The Bible Cyst on My Wrist More stats 124
SITUATIONAL FRIENDS – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 122
ONLY OLD PEOPLE WATCH CABLE NEWS – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 121
AND, THE OSCAR GOES TO … BUT, DO YOU CARE? – Garry Armstrong More stats 118
MARILYN ARMSTRONG More stats 116
Leather, explicit sex, immortals with magic powers — The Dark Hunter Series More stats 114
TWAS BRILLIG! JABBERWOCKY, LEWIS CARROLL More stats 109
THE RACIST BONE’S CONNECTED TO THE … HIP BONE? – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 107
BLOGGING – IT’S A NEW YET SOMEHOW OLD WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 106
CLYTEMNESTRA’S LAMENT – GUEST POST By KARIN LAINE MCMILLEN More stats 105
DAD WAS *MORE* THAN A CONTENDER – Garry Armstrong More stats 104
OLD MOVIES, NEW EYES – Garry Armstrong More stats 104
ROMANTIC ME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 102
OUR CLIMATE CHANGE DIDN’T HAPPEN SINCE TRUMP TOOK OFFICE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 102
OLD ACQUAINTANCES – Garry Armstrong More stats 102
GAFFES OF AN ICONIC NAME DROPPER – Garry Armstrong More stats 102
THE LEISURE SUIT: THE LOST JOY OF POLYESTER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 101
BEING AGAINST FORCED BUSING DOESN’T MEAN YOU OPPOSE INTEGRATION – Garry Armstrong More stats 101
THE REST OF THE STORY – Garry Armstrong More stats 98
GARRY ARMSTRONG More stats 98
LOSING YOUR JOB WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 96
MEDICARE TO SENIORS: WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE? More stats 95
ABOUT THAT PAIN IN MY RIGHT ARM? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 94
HANGING OUT WITH ROBERT “MITCH” MITCHUM – Garry Armstrong More stats 93
FAMILY PHOTOS – Marilyn & Garry Armstrong More stats 93
REDACTED READING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 93
BOYS STILL PLAY, AT LEAST IN THE COUNTRY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 93
NATIONAL ASSHOLE AWARENESS DAY More stats 92
TOO EARLY TO BE DRINKING? – Garry Armstrong More stats 92
A SUMMER AFTERNOON WITH JIMMY CAGNEY – Garry Armstrong More stats 91
PANCHO AND LEFTY: EMMY LOU HARRIS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 90
GARBAGE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 90
DORIEN SHOULD REALLY BE DARWIN – By TOM CURLEY More stats 90
LET’S BAN PENNIES – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 90
LIVING WITH ANTI-SEMITISM – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 88
A BIPOLAR LIFE – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 87
REMEMBERING MY MENTOR – JEFF KRAUS – Garry Armstrong More stats 86
TIME OFF AND RETIREMENT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 86
BE HOME BEFORE THE LIGHTS COME ON – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 85
WHERE IS STEVE McQUEEN WHEN I REALLY NEED HIM? – Garry Armstrong More stats 84
WALLOWING IN THE PAST – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 84
PLEASE REGISTER TO VOTE TODAY! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 84
QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANSWERS More stats 82
bludgeon More stats 82
I BEG TO DIFFER … Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
NO ONE IS LISTENING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
THE DAY WE GAVE UP PIZZA DELIVERY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
FATE IS IRREFUTABLE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
IMPEACHMENT FOLLIES – Garry Armstrong More stats 81
ONLINE SHOPPING REVOLUTION OR CONSUMER REBELLION? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
I DON’T KNOW WHY HE HATES ME SO MUCH. I NEVER DID HIM A FAVOR! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 80
OUTLIVING THE BITCHES More stats 80
IT’S THE THEATER More stats 80
CHANGE IS ALWAYS ON THE WAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
A NOSE JOB FOR MOM – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
A SUDDEN JOLT OF OPTIMISM – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
I WILL WORK FOR FOOD BUT NOT PIZZA – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
HOW GO YOUR YEARS? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
I THINK I’M TIRED – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
HACKING, OPERATING SYSTEMS, AND THE END OF THE WORLD – TOM CURLEY More stats 78
FLAT EARTH VS. ROUND EARTH – Reblog More stats 77
movie-set-boston More stats 77
IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
BRAIN DEATH AND FIBROMYALGIA – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
DINNER TABLE CONVERSATION – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 77
THE RISING OF THE PHOENIX – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
FANATICISM AND IGNORANCE IS FOREVER BUSY AND NEEDS FEEDING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
NOSTALGIA IN PHOTOGRAPHY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
WELCOME TO MY HUMBLE HOME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
WHY DID YOU TAKE THAT PICTURE? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
THE CHANGING SEASONS NOVEMBER 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
Victorian-Gingerbread-House-Template-Models More stats 76
BATHROOM REDO AND THE BUSYNESS OF LIFE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
THEY TELL YOU WHAT TO DO, BUT WHO ARE THEY? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
DON’T YOU HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
TEETH WITH AN HILARIOUS SPECIAL COMMENT FOLLOWUP — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 75
REALLY, MY MOTHER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 75
WIFED OUT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 75
MAO, A CAT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 75
EVALUATING ART – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
WORDPRESS AND REGENERATION – OH NO! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
WHY SERENDIPITY? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
INSTALLING A PRINTER AND WHY I HATE THEM – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
INFURIATION, RAGE, ANGER, AND OTHER BLOOD PRESSURE-RAISING MOODS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
GOLDFINCH OR WARBLER? Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
NO REFEREE? A NEW CONCEPT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
AHOY AND AHEAD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
NOT QUITE THIRTY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
Human-Body-Muscles More stats 73
THE CHANGING SEASONS: MAY 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 73
THIS MAGIC MOMENT- Rich Paschall More stats 73
TO IMPEACH OR NOT? IS THAT EVEN A QUESTION? – By TOM CURLEY More stats 73
THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER More stats 73
Toilet Paper More stats 73
SHADES OF DIFFERENCE -MONOTONE AND MONOCHROME More stats 73
IT’S CALLED STRESS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
ONE THING I DID NOT WANT TO BE – Rich Paschall More stats 72
(unknown or deleted) More stats 72
GIFTS, DREAMS, AND MAKING IT HAPPEN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
THE SUMMER OF ’69 – Rich Paschall More stats 72
I AM THE APPLE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
GOOD MORNING FRIENDS, BIRDS, AND A SQUIRREL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
SELFIES AND AUTOGRAPHS – Garry Armstrong More stats 72
ENVY OF WORCESTER COUNTY – CAROLINE’S CANNABIS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
NO ESCAPE AND NOWHERE TO RUN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
MY DAY: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE RIDICULOUS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
THERE ISN’T MUCH SNOWFALL #writephoto – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
JULY BLUES AND SUNRISE ON THE VERNAL EQUINOX – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
ESPECIALLY BAD WAYS TO DIE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
R&R WITH OLD FRIENDS – Garry Armstrong More stats 71
FINEST DAY OF THE WEEK, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
THE PELLET WITH THE POISON IS IN THE VESSEL WITH THE PESTLE, I THINK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
MY REMEMBERER IS BROKE More stats 71
CLOWNS ARE RUNNING THE WORLD – Garry Armstrong More stats 71
BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
SIZE MATTERS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE GODZILLA – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
EVEN SQUIRRELS GET HUNGRY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
(unknown or deleted) More stats 70
WHAT’S FOR DINNER? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
A VINTAGE FARM TRACTOR AS GARDEN ORNAMENT – Garry and Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
AMBITION AND THE LACK THEREOF – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
NATURE VS. NURTURE – DOES HARDSHIP MAKE YOU STRONGER? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
A Public Service Announcement – An important reblogged announcement for everyone afflicted by universal stupidity More stats 70
B+ AND ME: BLOOD TYPES AROUND THE WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
YOU CAN’T BUILD A FUTURE ON HATE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
CASH NOT ACCEPTED HERE! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
WHEN NOTHING MEANS ANYTHING More stats 69
MyHeritage DNA – THE LEAST EXCITING DISCOVERY OF 2017 More stats 69
THE MOST NIMBLE OF ALL SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
IS IT REALLY THAT BAD? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
WINDOWS ON MY WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
THE BOBCAT’S BACK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
BLUE BIRDS OF HAPPINESS – Marilyn Armstong More stats 69
THERE’S NO GOOD TIME TO CALL AT&T – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
DIETING WITHOUT DIGNITY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
GOOD FRIENDS – BOSTON’S TV NEWS PERSONALITIES – GARRY ARMSTRONG WITH MARK SHANAHAN More stats 69
JACK WARNER, NAZIS, AND HOLLYWOOD – By Garry Armstrong, with a bit of inspiration from Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
KINDNESS OF STRANGERS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
AN EARLY VISIT – Garry Armstrong More stats 68
OFFICIAL MINUTES FROM THE FIRST “COUNCIL OF THE TOMS” – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 68
ONE OF THE DAYS DURING ONE OF THOSE WEEKS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
NO SPENDTHRIFTING THIS YEAR – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
A DANCE IN A GRAVEYARD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
EVERYTHING NEW IS OLD AGAIN – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 68
INGENUITY: PLANNING A TRIP WITH THREE DOGS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
AND AFTER ALL THE TESTS … Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
THE LAST OF THE SILVER SCREEN COWBOYS – Garry Armstrong More stats 68
SO HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT LINES? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
LONG, RAMBLING POLITICAL & ECOLOGICAL POST – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
GOOD, BAD, AND UGLY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
THE LONG DELAY ENDS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
NO SPELLCHECKER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
A GOOD NEWS-BAD NEWS KIND OF DAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
SO HERE’S MY DEAL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding: A Reminder from “Inherit the Wind” More stats 67
THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD: KUDOS TO MARTHA KENNEDY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO LIVE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
THE LAST TIMES SQUARE UNTIL NEXT TIME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
FLOWER OF THE DAY PLUS SQUARE AND SPIKY MARCH DAY 3 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
WHAT COMPUTER TO BUY IF YOU DON’T HAVE MONEY? Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
THE GARDENER’S RESPITE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
THE STUPID IS STRONG IN THIS COUNTRY – By TOM CURLEY More stats 67
WE ARE FINITE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
ALL I WANT TO DO IS ENTER MY HOUSE JUSTIFIED – Garry Armstrong More stats 66
THE SUPER BOWL OF GROCERY SHOPPING – Garry Armstrong More stats 66
WOODPECKERS: NAME THAT BIRD! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
(unknown or deleted) More stats 66
NOT THE BUCKET LIST – Rich Paschall More stats 66
OPTIONAL SUNDAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
A BLOGGING DIARY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
EVENTUALLY MAKES A LONG LIST – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
BUCOLIC CREATURES AND THE FEEDERS ON THE DECK … Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
A SOGGY AUTUMN THURSDAY – Garry Armstrong More stats 66
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM LIKE A MAGAT? – AGAIN! – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 66
(unknown or deleted) More stats 66
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! – Marilyn Armstrong, with Photos by Garry Armstrong More stats 66
KEEPING THE WATCH – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
UP UP AND AWAY: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
SOME STUFF NEEDS INVENTING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
THE CANAL FLOWS PAST US – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM LIKE A MAGAT? – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 65
WHY I WAS BUYING A LAMP AT 3 AM – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
ARE WE THERE YET? SHORT FICTION FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
IF IT WASN’T ABOUT SLAVERY, WHAT WAS IT ABOUT? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
UNEXPECTED WINDOWS: A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
Deutsche Bank Executive Found Dead More stats 65
LEARNING TO GROW THINGS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
WITH GOD ON MY SIDE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
FLYPAPER (2011): A PLEASANT SURPRISE More stats 65
POPULARITY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
NOW, IT’S THE NEW YEAR’S CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
THE DAWN BREAK IN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
PERFUNCTORY AFFECTION – A NEW NOVEL By KIM HARRISON – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
TOO MANY BIRDS! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
SO TELL ME … WHY DO WE PAY FOR HOME INSURANCE? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
A PAIR OF LADY BIRDS IN THE AFTERNOON – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
DRAWING AND QUARTERING – MY FAVORITE NIGHTMARE More stats 64
EASTER AND PASSOVER: JOINED AT THE HIP – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
ALL LINED UP? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
THE CHANGING SEASONS – AUGUST 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
AHAB THE WANDERER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
BRING ON THE ANGRY MOBS! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
IF IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY More stats 64
I ALMOST HAD IT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
A COLLAPSING WORLD IN “SAN ANDREAS FAULT” – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
IT’S BEEN ONE OF THOSE MONTHS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
EYEBROWS? Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
ARE WE READY FOR A GAY PRESIDENT? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
IS THIS THE END OF DAYS? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
A WILD RUSHING OF HUNGRY BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
NOT FEELING WELL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
A TEMPORARY FINISH LINE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE DOG-HUMAN BOND – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 63
THE RESTORATION OF ANA McGUFFEY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
HOW DO THEY DO IT? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
THE OTHER SIDE OF IMMIGRATION – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
AUTHENTIC MASCULINITY AT ITS MOST VALOROUS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
RAW OR JPG? WHAT’S YOUR FORMAT? Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
FENCES: A WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Garry Armstrong More stats 63
UXBRIDGE ON THE RITZ! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
SQUIRREL DU JOUR – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY, JEFF – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
RETURNING WEDGEWOOD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
A NEW BIRD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
‘THE LATE, LATE SHOW’ – “GUILTY PLEASURES” (MA-XXX) – Garry Armstrong More stats 62
BLUE LIKE THE JAYS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
AFTER SEVEN YEARS OF BLOGGING … Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
THE MYSTERY OF THE SOCKS THAT DISAPPEAR IN THE DRYER – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 62
ASSISTED SUICIDE: YAY OR NAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
CAR-MA AND COPS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
AN OPEN LETTER TO HUMANITY FROM PLANET EARTH – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 62
BIRDS AND THE FIRST SNOW WITH ONE SQUIRREL — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
“LES MISERABLE” VERSUS “LESS MISERABLE” — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
WHY ARE WE SO STUPID? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
A VISITOR TO THE DECK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
A ROCK IS A ROCK IS A ROCK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
AN AMERICAN CARAVAN STOPPED BY THE WALL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
FLOWERS AND GETTING LOST – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
THE FOOL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
TWAS THE NIGHT ‘FORE IMPEACHMENT – NOT BY TOM CURLEY More stats 62
HOUDINI DOG – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 62
SPIKY PINK CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
FAME: TO BE THE GREATEST EVER – Garry Armstrong More stats 62
SKULKING IN THE SHADOWS — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
INDULGE AND INDULGENCES – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
MOVIE NIGHT STARRING GARRY “THE LEGEND” ARMSTRONG – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
PEDIATRIC RELIGION – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
HUMANS RIGHTS — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
IT TOLLS FOR THEE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
NOT A PENNY FROM ME OR MINE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
MASSED SQUIRRELS ATTACK RURAL HOME SLAUGHTERING RETIREE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
A PET GOAT? – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 61
MY HOME TOWN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
PROVOCATIVE QUESTION – CONTROLLING OUR LIVES – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
TERM LIMITS ARE A REALLY BAD IDEA – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
ORGANIZING THE PAST – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 61
WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
ANYWAY ANYWAY ANYWAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLE BLUE EYES – GARRY ARMSTRONG More stats 61
VICTIMS OR PERPETRATORS? TAKE YOUR BEST GUESS! – Garry Armstrong More stats 61
google-search-screen More stats 61
VARIETY IS MY SPICE FOR LIFE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
IT’S JUST A MATTER OF BALANCE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
A FEW PICTURES OF BIRD USING NEW VERSIONS OF TOPAZ STUDIO 2 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
GOBLINS AND PUMPKINS BY THE ROAD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE HAPPY TO GET A PHONE CALL? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
YEARS OF BRASS, YEARS OF GOLD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
IS ANYONE LISTENING? — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
IT’S THE LITTLE STUFF THAT GETS ME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
FUN WITH FAKE NEWS — TOM CURLEY More stats 61
THE CHANGING SEASONS – SEPTEMBER 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
NEVER AGAIN? – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 61
selling soul to the devil More stats 60
IMMORTALITY AND AGING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
RASPY FOR THAT FIRST ANNOYING CALL OF THE MORNING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
YOU KNOW HOW TO WHISTLE, DON’T YOU? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BLOGGING BETWEEN MADNESS AND SANITY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
STICKS AND STONES by Garry Armstrong More stats 60
INHERIT THE WIND (1960) – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
WHEN THEY CANCEL YOUR MEDICATIONS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
YESTERDAY WHEN MY WORLD WAS YOUNG – Garry Armstrong More stats 60
YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO THE FIFTH DENTIST! – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 60
PASS ME THE MEGAPHONE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
OF ALL THE GIN JOINTS IN TOWN … — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
MODERN CAPITALISM AND CORPORATE CORRUPTION IN ONE MEME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
GREEN GREEN, IT’S GREEN THEY SAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BLACK & WHITE GEOMETRIC PHOTOGRAPHY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BUSY, SNOWY DAY AROUND THE BIRD FEEDER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BENCHES BY THE RIVERS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
ASK A SILLY QUESTION – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
A MOST UNUSUAL HOBBY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
HE’S NOT A MAN, HE’S A CHICKEN, BOO – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 60
RURAL LIFE AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BLUE JULY AND UP IN THE AIR! – Garry Armstrong More stats 60
ESAU WAS A HAIRY MAN … Presented by Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
EARLY RISER – A NEW NOVEL BY JASPER FFORDE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
WHEN YOU GET TOO OLD TO BE COST-EFFECTIVE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
THAT GOOD OLD RULE OF THIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong 60
ROMANTIC BLUE IN JULY – Marilyn Armstrong

The one post that, with the help of Judy Dykstra-Brown (lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown) was actually published. But it didn’t make the popularity list. It was probably my best writing of the year and it was really nice to see an article in print again! Like print, as in “paper”!

The post was “BE HOME BEFORE THE LIGHTS COME ON” and if we are going by “well-written” rather than “most popular,” I think this one wins the cup. Thank you Judy, for ALL your help! I literally could not have done it without you!

Some of my personal favorites (and I didn’t write all of them) are bold and in red, but there are other pretty good pieces, especially in the not as popular section. I’m glad I did this. Now, if ONLY I could remember the titles of other really good ones. Pathetic, isn’t it?

SO HERE’S MY DEAL – Marilyn Armstrong

I’ve been trying to figure out why blogging is so much more stressful now than it was a few years ago. I actually came up with an answer that seems to make sense, at least to me.

As a start, I didn’t feel obligated to read everyone’s blogs. I read those that looked interesting and I didn’t sign up for so many. I have more than 70 blogs listed in which I am interested. I can’t read that much stuff in a day or even in a week. Especially if I also leave comments.

I don’t know when I started to feel obligated to read everyone’s blog, but at some point, it made me feel bad that people were reading me, but I wasn’t reading them. Then, new stuff came up and I subscribed, but a lot of the time it turned out that it was a one-time thing and I couldn’t establish a sustained interest in their material. Even those I read almost every day, there are just days when other stuff happens. Days when I want to read the news. Or a book. Or … gasp … do nothing in particular.

I don’t like unsubscribing to someone’s blog. It’s taken as a rebuke when often, it’s more a matter of finding time in my life to do something other than blogging. Between writing, photography, processing, putting posts together, and organizing … and having a life … it becomes more burdensome than joyful.

Not feeling I have the time to read books has made me crabby. I love reading — and listening. Not having time to get into a story bothers me. Reading has always been my escape.

Since Trump was elected, the world has been particularly treacherous. The news is terrifying.

I don’t know what I can do. I can’t solve any of the stuff that worries me. I feel helpless. Not a good feeling, especially because I need to feel a modicum of control over my life.

So for all of you who are my friends, I love you, but I can’t keep pushing myself to be everything to everyone. I wish I could, but I can’t. My writing suffers, I get too tired to take pictures and blogging stops being fun.

There are so many great blogs, I wish I could read them all.

A BLOGGING DIARY – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Diary

Since I started seriously blogging, it has become a diary. It wasn’t meant to be, but because of it, I know when major and minor events occurred in my life. I can call up the time  — at least if it happened during the past 7 years — in my blog.

So much of the blog is made up of the things that have happened day to day in my world. Big things, little thing, barely anything — they all wind up on the pages of the blog. That’s why I’ve refused to let myself be locked into a particular style of blogging or a particular theme. It’s a big world and there’s a lot going on.

Two little titmice sitting in a feeder

In any case, I’ve never appreciated the idea or concept of being “locked-in” to anything. Ever. Even now, when physical movements are limited, at least my brain (such as it is) can roam free … and blogging has enabled me to do a lot more mental roaming than I ever thought possible!

A rather menacing Blue Jay!

I also feel I should mention that I’ve learned a lot. Not only by writing, but from the comments and conversations I’ve had. My world is bigger and I know so many more details of things that were previously just broad swathes of knowledge.

It’s a diary of what has been and it is also a diary of what I’ve learned.

WALLOWING IN THE PAST – Marilyn Armstrong

An endless recitation of woes are giving me migraines. It’s not that I lack sympathy. More like I’m emotionally exhausted. So many people are stuck in a pit of youthful misery. Bad childhoods, terrifying ex-marriages or other horrible relationships. Or worse, they want to write. They need to write, but they can’t. The words won’t come.

So don’t write. It’s not as if you are legally obligated to be a writer. If it isn’t working out, give it up. Do something else. Anything else.

Don’t they want to move on?

Apparently not. The quagmire of despair has become a comfortable, homey place. So they set up a desk, computer, and light and there they stay. Some of these bloggers continue exploring the depths of their suffering for hundreds — thousands? — of posts. Many are closing in on Social Security yet are still suffering from childhood trauma. So much for time casting a rosy haze over the past. Even if you haven’t solved your problems, it doesn’t mean you can’t just let them go. There will be new tragedies down the road and plenty more misery to come. I can pretty much guarantee it.

There ought to be an official cutoff date at which point you are required to close the book on whatever dreadful experience life dealt you during your wretched childhood and ghastly former relationships. Or at least after the passage of one full lifetime, you should be required to find some other subject about which to write.

we are not our mistakes

Sometimes I think it’s because they’ve found an audience for their posts about suffering and it’s their fallback position. Can they really be enmeshed in the same memories after thirty or forty years have passed?

I know lots of people who were abused as children. Hell, I wrote a book about it and because of that, I had total strangers telling me their stories. I suppose I deserved it. If you write a book on the subject and people read it, you can’t blame them for thinking you might be interested.

Now, let’s add in all those who had abusive relationships as adults. Isn’t that everyone? Who hasn’t had a terrible relationship or three? I plead guilty on all charges, your honor.

It was my first husband (before you ask, he died) who strongly suggested I might want to move in a different direction.  Of course, this was before my second marriage, the one in which I managed to step in front of the same bullet I’d previously dodged.


NOTE TO SELF: No one is ever too old to behave like a moron.

You have to want to move on.

It takes time and work, but I’m glad I (finally) did it. There have been plenty of new traumas to cope with. I doubt I’d have survived if I hadn’t cleared the decks. I’m overloaded. I cannot read another angst-laden tale of abuse and trauma. I’m know how awful it can be. Been there. I support all efforts to free oneself from the lingering effects of the past — but I’ve got a few problems and plenty of personal angst. If I can, I’d rather make you laugh than cry.

Cardinal, well-fed!

For all of us, it’s time to stop defining ourselves as the worst things that happened to us. We are not what others did to us. We aren’t our mistakes. As much as we have suffered, surely we’ve also found at least a little bit of fun, joy, friends, and love.

Misery is like a piano falling on your head; happiness just creeps up on you. The result? Long after the people who hurt us have disappeared from our lives, they are still beating us up and the only one getting hurt is us.

Got any good jokes?

ONCE UPON A TIME, WE WROTE LETTERS – Marilyn Armstrong

Garry was saying he was taping an old movie, “A Letter to Three Wives.” He thought the whole concept of writing letters was kaput. No one writes letters anymore. We may dash off a note on a card, but a whole letter?

“When,” I asked Garry, “Was the last time you wrote a real letter.”

“When I wrote to you, in Israel?”

“Yup,” I said. “And the letters I wrote to you from Israel were the last personal letters I ever wrote.”

“Funny about that,” he said.

“Sure is,” I answered.

That was 1987.