CAN I COMPETE WITH A ZING? – Marilyn Armstrong

My Brain Has Gone Off-Duty


I feel like my brain is too tired to go on.

You know how you feel when your muscles have seized up and you simply can’t walk any further? That is how my brain feels. As if it has walked too many miles and it has had quite enough.

Too much thinking.

Too much planning.

Too much organizing.

Too many bizarre questions to answer.

Too many strange problems to solve.

Too many “on hold” phone calls with no return calls, disconnects, no doctor or practitioner to talk to.

Too many issues to deal with.

Too few answers to too many questions.

Today, I’m crabby, out of answers, and tired of being told to call some other (non-answering) number that will connect me with yet another person who thinks I should speak to the doctor but won’t connect me to him or a colleague.

University of Medicine and roads

So competition with my old zing? It isn’t working today. I lack any kind of zing and frankly, going into a long siege of competition to get hold of the doctor or ANY doctor, is more than I can handle.

I am going to make some coffee. Drink some coffee, and brood on why I hate this hospital, even though they are the nicest people in the world. Hard to be both, isn’t it?

You’d think that.

FOWC with Fandango — Compete
RDP # 53 – Zing

SPEAKING OF CURTAILING – Marilyn Armstrong

Curtailment without elimination is a process

In difficult times, some people go on the stump. They give speeches. They carry signs. They march. They sign petitions and attend meetings.

I write.

Of all the things I can do, writing is on top of my personal list. I never know (does anyone?) if the stuff I write reaches anyone. Speaks to anyone. Changes anything, but I like to think it does. Sometimes. Maybe, now and again, I get someone to think about something they otherwise would have ignored.

Always writing has a “reaching out” quality in it. For me. I know there are a lot of writers who seem to spend their words exploring their inner selves and I respect that, but that ain’t me. I need to reach out.

Moreover, I don’t write because “blogging is fun.”

I started writing as soon as I could hold a pencil and form words. I wanted to write from the moment I knew there was such a thing in the world and I haven’t changed my opinion since. If I didn’t blog, what else would I do? I’m not a novel writer — I’ve proved that repeatedly.

Regardless, my need to write is powerful. These days, I write a blog, but I always wrote something. I need to find a balance where I can be friends, write, and also have a non-computer life. I just have to figure out how to leave a little time and space to get other things done. I suspect this was easier when connecting wasn’t as easy as it is now — and we didn’t have the power of the universe in our keyboard.

By the way, I also give excellent driving direction, just in case you are planning to visit.

TEMPER, TEMPER! – Marilyn Armstrong

“Temper, temper!”

That’s what grownups used to say to us when we got angry about whatever it was about which they weren’t angry. I don’t think people say it anymore.

There are so many things to get angry about. I think I’m more puzzled by people who don’t have a temper and seem to think “Oh, everything will work out fine, dear …” Like some kind of mentally deranged auntie who thinks a cookie and milk can solve everyone’s problems.

I say it to me, though. Because there really are so many things to get angry about. Unlike days of yore, everything is important.

Cuts to Medicare will make it less likely we will get proper medical care and considering we aren’t getting any younger, that is a terrifying prospect. Reductions in Medicaid — what we call “Mass Health” — will mean more sick people everywhere. Other cuts will ensure more people living in the street.

In this climate, people freeze to death.

Our desertion of any attempt to control the environment bodes ill for everyone living thing, no matter where they live. If you can’t breathe now, wait a couple of years and you will really be choking.

Temper, temper!

I try to keep it in check because otherwise, I’ll be ranting and railing about everything. We are living on a planet spinning backward, trying to recapture the “perfection” of a time that was anything but perfect. Some kind of mental breakdown is convincing people they should go back to those non-existent days when we lived in a world of smiles and rainbows.

Except we didn’t live there. We just saw it in the movies and on television. I certainly didn’t live in it. I guarantee Garry didn’t live there either.

The world has always been terrifying. All these things going on are intended to make the world safe for the 240 remaining Very Rich White Men. It will not make the world safer for me, you, or anyone we know.

All of us struggled to make a decent life. Everything happening now will increase the struggle and make life harder for us.

FOWC

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND – Marilyn Armstrong

Stranger in my own strange land

If you think this is going to be political, it’s not. It is me and me, today. There are days when my body doesn’t fit me. This is one of those days.

How can that be? A doctor long ago told me I will never die.

“Why not?” I asked.

“You have so many chronic ailments, they will keep you alive.”

I thanked him for that. It’s one of the days when no part of me fits any other part. It’s like my physical me is just a bunch of mismatched old parts, clanking around an aging pickup truck.

AND the television people are coming while it looks a bit like rain may fall. I need to get through the day alive. Lucky that I was functional yesterday.

This day would have been a real humdinger if I felt then as I feel now. Yoicks.

Gibbs

I actually have not one but TWO copies of “Stranger in a Strange Land” in this house. An old hard-cover copy and I have it as an audiobook. When it was written, it sounded completely outlandish. I’m not sure how it’ll sound these days, but I think maybe I’ll reread it.

Waiting is.

IN STARK CONTRAST – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC

IN STARK CONTRAST TO EVERYTHING WE CLAIM TO STAND FOR, AMERICA ISN’T AMERICAN. NOT ANYMORE.


Watching our “officials” deny the undeniable — with the head of Homeland Security saying she hadn’t seen or heard anything about snatching children from their parents while on the split screen you could see it happening — America isn’t American.

Like most countries, we have plenty of dirty laundry. Slaughters of our Native Americans which was for many long years the actual policy of the U.S. government and its armed forces. Homemade concentration camps for Japanese citizens in World War II.

Then, there was slavery, the huge, bloody war we fought to (supposedly) end it. The neverending inequality and hatred that still remains and is still growing.

In an image provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immigrants taken into custody at the border sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, on Sunday. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection / AP)

But what we are doing today, tearing kids away from their families and locking them in cages — especially after having fought our way through World War 2 to end such monstrous behavior — this is as evil as anything else we’ve ever done and I am ashamed to be American.

Someone else asked it this morning in a post: “So when do we start loading parents and kids on trains to those final camps?”

Because that’s what’s left. If we accept this as “Just Trump being Trump and it’s all a media lie,” then we are as bad as they are, as evil as they come.

The authorities released this image of illegal migrants inside a large cage – reporters said they saw unaccompanied children in similar conditions.

If you have a line in the sand, some kind of conscience that screams “this is the line I cannot cross,” now would be a good time to look down at your feet and stop.

I don’t know how to live in this country anymore. I’m not sure I even want to — and I was born here as was my mother and father.

FOWC — CONTROL? WHAT CONTROL? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Control

If I thought that maybe I had finally gotten my online life under control, I was wrong. Again. It’s just getting worse and worse and there is no end in sight.

I just got this message.


Dear Marilyn,
As one of our registered users, we bring to your attention that on June 4, 2018, at 1pm EST we became aware of a data breach involving 92.3 million email addresses of MyHeritage users, and their hashed passwords (these are not actual passwords).
We learned about the breach when MyHeritage’s Chief Information Security Officer received a message from a security researcher that he had found a file named MyHeritage containing email addresses and hashed passwords, on a private server outside of MyHeritage. Our Information Security Team received the file from the security researcher, reviewed it, and confirmed that its contents originated from MyHeritage and included all the email addresses of users who signed up to MyHeritage up to October 26, 2017, and their hashed passwords. We made a public announcement about the breach within 8 hours of learning about it.
Your email address was one of the accounts in the data breach.
Immediately upon receipt of the file, MyHeritage’s Information Security Team analyzed the file and began an investigation to determine how its contents were obtained and to identify any potential exploitation of the MyHeritage system. We determined that the file was legitimate and included the email addresses and hashed passwords of 92,283,889 users who had signed up to MyHeritage up to and including Oct 26, 2017 which is the date of the breach. MyHeritage does not store user passwords, but rather a one-way hash of each password, in which the hash key differs for each customer. This means that anyone gaining access to the hashed passwords does not have the actual passwords.

That is more than 92 MILLION PEOPLE whose email addresses — at the least — have been breached. There is more to this information including that they are sure no one really got passwords. I’d like to believe them, but since this hack was way back last October and I’m only hearing about it NOW, I don’t know what to believe. At least they don’t store credit card numbers. I suppose I should be grateful at least for that … but do they now have my DNA results? They say not, but they could. AND my husband’s.

You want to know how we get hacked? This is it. Companies get hacked. Half the time, they don’t know they’ve been hacked until months later, after which they do everything in their power to cover it up.

Hackers don’t need to breach our personal computers. All they need is information they get from hacking the companies with whom we work. I’m beginning to wonder who has NOT been hacked. Which company I use has thus far been spared.

Has any large company been spared?

Anything that sounds too good to be true isn’t true. Anyone giving you something for free is lying. Calls from Microsoft or the make of your computer (Dell, for example, or Mac for another)?

It’s a hack.

I got a call from “Dell Customer Service” this morning. Although Dell hasn’t announced a breach, I’m guessing there has been one yet to be announced because hackers have my computers basic serial numbers– which unlike a password, are embedded in the computer. As are numbers for every computer made. That’s how we can identify where the information came from and to whence it is going.

teravivos.com

There IS no safety as far as I can tell. Don’t talk to anyone on the phone if you have no reason to expect the call. If you have not contacted them and asked for a return call and given them a code word so you know it is actually the real people calling, HANG UP. No conversation. Don’t be cute. Don’t play mind games. Hang up. Immediately.

On another — yet somehow parallel concept — Donald Trump, our erstwhile national leader, seems to think he can trust Kim Jun On to “do the right thing” vis-à-vis nuclear arms. Right.

It’s another hack. Our NATIONAL hack.

JAMAICA, FAREWELL – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Tropical

Living on the “right coast,” the Caribbean has been our go-to tropical islands. Garry was addicted to Bimini. I didn’t go as often as he did, but I loved St. Martin and later, St. Thomas, Aruba, Antigua … and most particularly, I really loved Jamaica.

Maybe it was the coffee? By the time Garry and I were able to spend time in the Caribbean, I had pretty much given up buying souvenir tee-shirts, but on the other hand, I came back from Jamaica with four pounds of pure Blue Mountain coffee beans. It was the best coffee I ever had in my life and I still dream about it. Well, you know what I mean. Daydream. Not night dreams. My night dreams are way more complicated than coffee.

Also, there was something about that island. When we landed (by cruise ship) in Jamaica, we had already learned to not buy the pre-packaged tours from the ship. Go ashore and find a guy. Because there was always a guy who would pop you into his cab and if he liked you (we were always very likable on cruises), he introduced us to his mother, family, the places at which he really ate. The food was amazing and served in someone’s backyard on an old wooden table with folding chairs.

He showed us where to find the best coffee beans for a couple of dollars a pound, rum so strong no one could drink it — not even Garry and he could really drink! — and the beaches only local people knew about.

We spent two days on Jamaica and when we had to leave, I stood at the railing and watched Jamaica disappear around the curve of the earth. I wanted to go back and never leave.

I still want to go back. Jamaica was the island that called to me.