RAZZLE DAZZLE ON A MONDAY MORNING – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Monday: DAZZLE

Don’t look at me for dazzle. I left my dazzling days behind … probably about 10 years ago. I looked pretty good until I got sick and then surgery after surgery after surgery really took a lot of my dazzle away.

It also took my thin body away probably as a result of the medication following cancer (that’s what my oncologist says). It knocked my metabolism to zero.

But other things are dazzling nicely right now. Garry’s little surgery turned out to be nothing, just an aggravated sebaceous cyst and it should be gone forever, but if it should grow back, there’s no problem making it go away. Nothing to worry about.

Titmouse and Chickadee have a turn at the feeder

While all this is going on, the summer birds are returning. Many are dazzling — especially the Goldfinch who are in brilliant yellow right now and the Cardinals who are even more scarlet than before.

Great design on the Goldfinch’s wings!
Molting!

The red finches are around too as well as are the purple finches. All the birds are molting, so they look like unmade beds.

I met a new bird this morning. Not a dazzler, but definitely a new kid on the block. He (or she) was sitting on the flat feeder. First I thought it was a dove, but it was not the right color and was smaller and slimmer, but with that dove’s head. When she/he stood on the edge of the feeder, I could see it wasn’t a Mourning Dove.

It turns out to be a “White-winged Dove” These doves began their journey in Texas and moved eastward into Florida. Since then, they have been edging up along the Atlantic Coast, one state at a time.  I guess they heard about my feeder!

Where’s the white wing?

They aren’t white, either. Not anywhere are they white. They are light to medium gray with darker gray wings. Pretty. Smaller than the bigger Mourning Doves.

White-winged Dove

That’s the dazzle du jour. It’s a rainy, chilly day, so I don’t think there’s going to be much dazzle going on, not counting the birds. I wish the big red birds would sit still for me! I see them, I pick up the camera, they are gone. Whoosh.

It’s a plot. They laugh about all through the woods.

WINTER SOLSTICE – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Friday: SOLSTICE

Why did it have to be raining? Why was today the day that every bone in my body hurts and some things which are arguably not bones, hurt too? The birds are outside rain and all.

They don’t expect a warm, dry house … and there’s a feeder to raid. I suppose, when you are a bird, a decent meal is about as good as it gets.

I know this means the season is turning again and days will get longer and ultimately, it will warm up. But not for a while. We have three long winter months to navigate and we’ve barely begun yet.

And meanwhile, at Stonehenge …

The bears have not gone into hibernation. Not cold enough yet? Too many trash cans to raid?

The sky is a leaden pale gray as the heavy rain falls. The dogs want nothing to do with outside. Snow is fun and everything else is okay too, but rain? No, thank you. Pass the biscuits. The sofa is home for now.

Winter Solstice – Sunrise – 2016

I have a doctor appointment. My right arm has taken to hurting a lot and won’t let me sleep. Nothing makes it any better. I think it may actually be a sign that my chest is beginning to heal, but why does it have to hurt so much?

It could be snowing. That would probably be worse, or at least, more complicated. We still have no one to plow the driveway and it’s a long, long road to the “real” road.

Winter has finally come, I suppose. I should be happier about it. I’m trying hard to find that happy place.

SQUAT? – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday – SQUAT

Squat. Once upon a time, it was a thing. Now, it’s “fall on your ass” time. A squat and a collapse are indivisible.

I go down that low? I fall over. Unless I have something solid with which to pull myself back up? I’m going to stay there until someone comes by to offer me a hand.

But the dogs really enjoy having me on the floor. They consider it the most fun they’ve had all day. Maybe all week.

I am less enthusiastic.

WHITIN’S POND – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP #22: Pond

Whiten’s Pond isn’t really a pond. It’s really a widening of the Blackstone River before the dam. Most of our ponds are really widened parts of a river with the exception of Webster pond, the word I cannot pronounce or spell.

I guess I can add one of that also. That’s a true pond. Maybe it’s a lake. It’s big enough and deep enough.

That would be Lake Chargoggaggoggmancogmanhoggagogg.

On the pond in summer
Twilight at the pond
Flying across the pond
Autumn at Lake Chargoggaggoggmancogmanhoggagogg

PACKED? CHECK. CAR GASSED UP? CHECK. READY, SET, GO! (CHECK) – Marilyn Armstrong

All checked off and ready to go …

So why aren’t we gone yet? Because I need some coffee first. I don’t go anywhere without the coffee. It’s a thing.

We’ll be away for a few days. The dogs will be here and Owen will be keeping the place running well.  It’s not going to be much of a vacation year with all the stuff going on, so this is probably as close as we are going to get.

Just a few days with Tom and Ellin, then home again.

Heron in the water of the Blackstone canal …

Meanwhile, please do not get upset if I miss a few comments or fail to post. It is going to be an exceptionally busy summer, so this is about all the time off we’ll get.

I have new posts scheduled. Moreover, I’m sure I’ll find something to say, one way or the other. I always seem to find a few words lurking in the atmosphere.

Have a fine few days and I’ll see you all on the weekend.

SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED – Marilyn Armstrong

We are shaken, but not stirred

I read all the James Bond books before they made it into the movies. I loved the books and for me, the movies were more like parodies than anything to do with Ian Fleming’s writing. The whole martini thing about “Shaken, not stirred,” always struck me as weird.

Why would it make a difference? Not being a drinker of any kind, much less a martini drinker, I’m probably the wrong one to ask.

Nonetheless, we are personally shaken even if not fully stirred.

Garry at the Police station in Uxbridge

In the course of a month and a half, we’ve been the victim of an intended more than $7000 in credit card theft. Yesterday, I realized for the first time (I can be a little slow on the uptake) that this started at least three weeks before I realized anything was happening and continued after I was sure it was fixed.

I think it’s fixed now. I hope so because I have done absolutely everything I was supposed to do. We are lucky we didn’t lose any of our so-called money. The credit card companies are less lucky and have spanked us thoroughly on our credit ratings. Not that I can blame them. They’ve taken the entire hit leaving us shaken and fearful. Feeling incredibly vulnerable. But no poorer than we were before.

Main street in late June

I didn’t know how bad it was until I looked at my monthly credit report. Credit Karma is free. They track your credit, the amounts you’ve spent, suggest cheaper cards or loans … and they are really free. If you are not a member, I suggest you sign up. If I hadn’t looked at the report, I would not have known what was happening.

One card leaped off the screen at me, a card on which I knew I had used less than $1000 in credit and suddenly, a $5000 bill was staring at me. I called the company. Because the card had already been declared as damaged — involved in a fraud attempt — it was closed. I couldn’t actually get to any information online and had no idea about how much money had been taken. It looked like much more than I had thought.

Back to the post office to file the reports. Round two. Hopefully the final round.

The guy at the bank gave me a list — down to the penny — of all the hits. I felt sick. Until I saw that report, I had no idea something had been going on. There were no flare guns, no strange packages, nothing to alert me. It had been going on since the beginning of May, more than 3 weeks before I knew there was a problem. A week more before I realized the extent of the problem. The day before yesterday, I got it.

“This is considered identity theft, ” the bank manager said. This was confirmed by the guy at the police station because we had to go back with all this additional information. Previously, all I knew about attempted thefts. This was the real deal. The took the money and laughed all the way to the shops where they bought stuff.

Truck parts. Lots of truck parts. I didn’t know truck parts could cost so much money, but I suppose when you steal them for free, whatever you get for them on the market is “free money” for you. Not for me or the bank, but a hop, skip, plus a little jump, made some thief happy.

A quick trip to the grocery. Frozen pizza for dinner. I was in no mood for cooking.

I assume big parts of our own private military hackers are on top of this stuff. Even though nothing is reported in the press, I would imagine this doesn’t get a lot of press coverage. All it would do is warn the targets.

The brightest — and funniest — moment of the day is when Garry called me from the police station and when I looked at the phone, it said “Interview Room 3.” It was a very NCIS moment.

I have alerted the police, all three credit monitoring agencies, filed reports with everyone. Deleted embedded copies of my credit cards from anywhere I knew they existed. Each time I use a shop, I will have to replace the card numbers then and as soon as the transaction is complete, delete it.

No matter what anyone says, if they are keeping your credit card information, your data is NOT secure.

These days, I’m not sure what secure even means.