WORLD SHARING AS NOVEMBER ENDS — Marilyn Armstrong

SHARE YOUR WORLD 11-26-18


There comes a time when you no longer know what you are doing, only that you are always doing something. This has been one of those weeks. Between doctor appointments, pharmacy runs, shopping, and just keeping the house from becoming a massive dirt zone, there’s not a lot of time left over. Add it taking some pictures, processing the pictures, writing some stuff for the blog, there’s even less time. 

Then there’s a leave a little time for just relaxing, reading a book.  I was up until 2 last night clearing out email. It comes by the hundreds per day and there’s no way I can manage it. So far, nothing has gotten it under control.


If you, as a five-year-old, woke up in your current body, what would happen, what would you say?

Holy shit! Where did I get all these scars? What HAPPENED?

What is a relationship deal breaker for you?  Whether you are talking about a romantic one, a friendship or a related to sort of relationship?

Unreliability, rumor-mongering, and trust-breaking.

Unreliability takes a long time. It can take years for me to realize that this person is never going to be where he or she says she or he will be, or do what was promised. It’s a slow deal breaker, where I gradually give up calling, stop setting dates. Recognize it will never change. These relationships stay pleasant but become less and less important.

Rumor-mongering — especially in combination with eavesdropping — is a killer. Once is enough. People who talk behind my back are not my friends. Actually, they aren’t anybody’s friend.

Trust breaking is a business thing. Like dealing with a company for a long time, then realizing they are gradually losing the qualities that made you work with them in the first place. Deliveries are late or don’t arrive. Contracts are, if not ignored, then dealt with sloppily. It is another version of unreliability but in the business arena. Ultimately, it means you won’t use their services. It may take a while before you replace them, but it will happen. You can’t continually disappoint customers without payback. Heads up businesses. It can happen to you, too.

The old 14Z in its youth …

My current best example is Dell. I bought their computers for years because you knew you’d get a good product. Originally, you also got good service. First, the service departed without leaving a note behind. Next, the quality of the product weakened … but not the prices or service contracts. Now, they are a shadow of Microsoft and I expect they will vanish in a few years. What a pity!

Is there something out there, a thought, an idea, a current event, or a fear that you find deeply unsettling?

Yeah, like realizing our home planet is being destroyed by idiots.

And for something more whimsical, if you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done?

Caught raiding a pharmacy for asthma medication. No jury would convict me.

What were you grateful for this week?  Something that brought some joy into your world? 

Yesterday this was a mere bud!

Birds, bird feeders, cameras, and flowering Christmas Cactus.

WHEN HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY – Rich Paschall

To Tell The Truth – Rich Paschall


At times it may seem OK to tell the “innocent little lie.” You may want to “protect” someone from the truth. You may not want to hurt them. You may want to save bad news for a “better time.”  Maybe it is not the other person who can not handle the truth, maybe you are just too uncomfortable with it.

Of course, we may think it is perfectly alright to tell children little lies, or even big ones because we do not want to hurt them or crush their childhood fantasies. We may wish to wait until the right time to tell children there is no Santa Claus. I’m sorry if no one told you that before now. You may even want to keep the fantasy of the Easter Bunny alive, or the Great Pumpkin. Some children’s holidays are built on stories that are exaggerated or simply untrue.

superheroes

Then there is the matter of superheroes. There was a time when I wanted to believe in Superman, and Flash and the Green Hornet. Then there was Batman and Wonder Woman, well, the whole Justice League actually. Didn’t you? Why crush a little one’s belief in these characters? They may wish to dress up as these superheroes at Halloween, or other times because they believe.

The issue of life and death looms as a major area to toss around the lies. “Where do babies come from?” might be cause for lies because the parent is uncomfortable with the topic.  It may be the same as “Where does the dog, parakeet or even Aunt Martha go when she dies?”

There could be plenty of stories handed out to cover that. Eventually, children stop asking because they know parents are lying. At a certain age, they may even be bold enough to call them on it.

When does the time come when we dispense with these little lies in favor of the truth?  When should we just tell children the real story, no matter how awkward or painful?  That is probably best decided on a case by case basis, but what if the lies go on and on?

Does the legacy of lies lead to people who grow up thinking it is OK to lie?  Perhaps some tell so many lies to protect their children, it becomes habit long after the necessity passes.  Perhaps children learn that in some situations it is just OK to lie and therefore they adopt the habit themselves.  After all, the message was sent at a young age that there are times when it is perfectly alright if we do not tell the truth.

Few people doubt that the government lies to us sometimes — or daily in the case of 45 — for national security, or to protect us from some inconvenient truth.  We have entered into an era where commentators and politicians do more than just spin the news. They make it up. They out-and-out lie “for the national good.”

Does that make it okay?

The polarization of America and its political parties seems to come, at least in part, from the untrue stories that each side is telling.  It is bad enough that members of the general public knowingly repost items on social media they know are not true (see Hate, Anger and Social Media), but politicians and their supporters sometimes appear to be doing the same. Do you believe everything your elected official tells you? Really?

In a world made up of “pretty little liars,” do we trust anyone?  Perhaps you have seen the syndicated television show “Cheaters.” In it a spouse or at least a mate has come to suspect that the other person has been telling lies and wants the Cheaters detectives to find out the truth. I have never seen an episode where the one being investigated was not lying to their mate.  Yes, I have seen the show too often. It’s like watching a train wreck. You know it’s not going to end well, but you can’t keep from looking.

Do you know when it’s okay to lie to your spouse or close friends? Never. Aside from the story you told to pull off a surprise birthday party or a spectacular marriage proposal, the answer is never. If you believe it’s okay “to protect the friendship,” then you are not as close as you think.

When a friend and I had an issue to sort out early in our friendship, we ended the conversation saying the only thing that could hurt our friendship was not telling the truth. Any problem could be overcome. We declared honesty as the only policy.

Cannstatter Volksfest

So less than a year later, in a beer hall in Germany, my friend asked me a personal question that I was not prepared to answer.  I thought about it only for a few seconds as the conversation about honesty replayed in my head, and I told him the truth. Then he wanted to know why I never said anything, so I told him that too.

It was fine. It may have been a surprise and the reason may not have sounded good, but it was the truth. I may never tell him everything, but the importance of friendship means that lies cannot be told. A friendship built on a foundation of truth will not crumble.

SNOW AND THE HOLIDAYS – Marilyn Armstrong

Today and tomorrow are doctor visit days for Garry. His three-month surgical checkup for his ear and a stress test for his heart … so I’m writing ahead because I’m just not going to be around. Hope you don’t mind.

This is turning out to be a crazy busy month. I feel like Alice, running as fast as she can just to stay in the same place!

The holidays haven’t officially “hit” because of a calendar thing. It’s not because Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Nope, it’s that all of a sudden, it’s winter. We’ve got snow.

Snow falls and suddenly, everyone thinks Christmas, including those of us who aren’t Christian. Much of the snow that fell while we were away has melted. Not all of it, but more than half, anyway.

More is expected today and tomorrow. I suppose we might as well get on with holidays since, with the ground snowy, icy, and muddy, there isn’t much else to do.

The last time we got significant snow before or on Thanksgiving was 2014, a year during which we got 120 inches of snow out here in the country. That is, no matter how you look at it, a lot of snow. It’s the amount they normally get in northern Maine. It’s downright Siberian.

Christmas is so minimal in this house, there’s really isn’t much for us to do. I don’t put up wreaths any more.  We have so few visitors and live far off the main road that no one sees them.

Also, the nursery where I used to buy them closed and somehow, buying them at the grocery store may be cheaper, but it doesn’t have that “feeling” it had, picking the perfect one at the nursery.

We don’t give gifts because we don’t have money and anything we can afford is no more than a kindly thought. We give small things. Holiday reminders, maybe. Remembrance of days gone by when we ran up our credit cards because we got into some kind of bizarre Christmas frenzy.

These days, the tree gets plugged in. Our blue Christmas lights live in the living room drapes all year round, so when the holiday arrives, I just plug them in.

It doesn’t get simpler than that. We had fun with Tom and Ellin and that’s always a treat.

The weather isn’t as bad as it is going to be in a few days. Hopefully, we’ll have time to get some of the many errands, doctor appointments, vet appointments, and other stuff done.

And I have my fingers crossed that we’ll find someone to plow the driveway!

Boston’s big holiday tree

This is an El Niño year which can be bad. But, you never know. Sometimes winter starts out bad but eases up. Meanwhile, I’m keeping a close eye on weather maps and trying not to worry.

A COUPLE OF DAYS BREAK – Marilyn Armstrong

Owen will be here with the dogs while the beasties will be doing their usual fine job of protecting the place from any dogs who might show up.

We’ll be down at the Curley’s place for a few days and back home Friday. I worked very hard to schedule posts for the next few days and I will answer comments when I can, but I need a break. When I get back, I’m going to see what I can do to deal with the email deluge on my computer.

I didn’t read almost anyone’s stuff today. I was working so hard at trying to create three days of posts, I’ve had little time for anything else. But, as I keep saying, I really need a break and it has to start sometime. This seems a good time.

I’ll pop in from time to time when I can, but meanwhile, I’ll just bet the world will continue to have one catastrophe after another, even if I’m not online.

#writephoto regulars ~ Meet Marilyn Armstrong – SUE VINCENT’S DAILY ECHO (Reblog)

I always feel a bit odd writing about myself (again) since basically, that what I do every day. Thank you, Sue. You are one of the good ones who brings joy to everyone who knows you, personally or virtually!


#writephoto regulars ~ Meet Marilyn Armstrong

I asked the writephoto challenge regulars if they would like to come over and introduce themselves. Today we meet Marilyn Armstrong, who blogs at Serendipity.

Without those of you who write and read the pieces inspired by the weekly photos, the writephoto prompt would not exist. So, if you follow or take part in the weekly challenge, why come over and introduce yourself too?

Being a regular does not mean taking part every week… so why not drop me a line?


I know where I began and I know where I am, but how did I get here?

I think a lot has to do with — you guessed it — my mother. Born in 1910, she lived through World War I and II, then Korea and Vietnam and anything other war until she died in November 1982. She was politically active from a young age. She remembered how the government poured poison over excess food during the depression so starving people couldn’t eat it.

I thought she was making it up, but it turned out to be true. She was an avowed atheist, though I think in reality, she was angry with God. She felt that if there was one, he had failed us.

She was a bona fide liberal. She hated racism and wasn’t thrilled with any government. She believed all politicians were corrupt, regardless of party. She hated religious dogma and neglected to tell me I was Jewish until I was in second grade. The subject came up in school. One day, I came home and asked my mother: ” What’s a Jew?”

She looked at my father and spoke the immortal words: “We have to do something about this.”

When the Vietnam War (which wasn’t a war, but a “police action”) was in progress, I was part of the college anti-war group. I pointed out to my mother that all that money we used for the war could be used to fix problems at home.

She looked at me and said: “There is always money for war, but there will never be money for domestic problems.”

I thought she was just being cynical.

I had a lot to learn.

My mother was so against doing things the usual way, I didn’t do things the usual way. The only thing I wanted to do was write, so I became a music major. I never took a writing course. I was sure it would ruin my style. Like, at 17, I really had a style?

Mom

I thought she was making it up, but it turned out to be true. She was an avowed atheist, though I think in reality, she was angry with God. She felt that if there was one, he had failed us.

She was a bona fide liberal. She hated racism and wasn’t thrilled with any government. She believed all politicians were corrupt, regardless of party. She hated religious dogma and neglected to tell me I was Jewish until I was in second grade. The subject came up in school. One day, I came home and asked my mother: ” What’s a Jew?”

She looked at my father and spoke the immortal words: “We have to do something about this.”

When the Vietnam War (which wasn’t a war, but a “police action”) was in progress, I was part of the college anti-war group. I pointed out to my mother that all that money we used for the war could be used to fix problems at home.

She looked at me and said: “There is always money for war, but there will never be money for domestic problems.”

I thought she was just being cynical.

I had a lot to learn.

My mother was so against doing things the usual way, I didn’t do things the usual way either. The only thing I wanted to do was write, so I became a music major. I never took a writing course. I was sure it would ruin my style. Like, at 17, I really had a style?

Marilyn and the kiddo

I did write for a living, but I wasn’t a lonely novelist in a house on a cliff. Instead, I wrote advertising, promotional material, book flaps, and news. The “who, what, when, where, and how” of news writing turned out to be a good set up for any subject. After that, 25 years of technical documents taught me to say it simply and skip the adjectives.

I feel like a bit of a sham since unlike most of the other people who have written for Sue, I only wrote one book. Hardly anyone bought it, though someone offered to make it into a movie — except he couldn’t find a backer. I never really expected it to happen, but it was cool that he offered.

For me, blogging is the most natural way to write. I’ve spent a lifetime writing professionally with a boss looking over my shoulder. News and features. Always, there was specific material that needed to be conveyed, a character count, and a boss.

Marilyn in the teepee

The only things I ever wrote for fun were personal letters. I used to write great letters home when I lived overseas. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of my romance with Garry took place via letter.

He wrote. I wrote. He wrote. I wrote. For almost 10 years, we never stopped writing. Once I came back to the U.S., neither of us wrote another letter.

But I remember thinking “I wish there was something I could do which was just like writing letters.” Along came blogging.

Voila!

Blogging is exactly like writing letters to everyone at the same time. It’s what I always wanted to do and I don’t have a boss at my back. The only thing I miss is having an editor to fix typos and warn me to rewrite awkward language. And a paycheck.


About the Author

Marilyn as writer (matching shirt)

Marilyn Armstrong is a writer, blogger, and photographer. She started writing as soon as she could form letters and has never heard a single good reason why she should stop.

Marilyn and her husband Garry — and various intrepid canines live in a setting of rare natural beauty and gigantic rocks in rural Massachusetts.

Marilyn blogs at Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life On Earth  where she offers “memories via anecdotes, observations, occasional fiction, and photographs.”


Find and follow Marilyn

Serendipity blog     Twitter    Facebook

Amazon     Goodreads     Google+


The Twelve Foot Teepee

Fighting the of demons of an abusive childhood and having given up on traditional paths to personal salvation, Maggie decides to find her own path … by building a teepee in her backyard. It’s a peculiar route, but her goal is simple: offload the cargo of her past and move into a future, sans luggage. Armed with a draw knife and a sense of humor, she peels poles and paints canvas until winter passes and she is free.


Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

A TEST FOR FRIENDS – Marilyn Armstrong

 

RDP Thursday – FRIEND


Does anyone remember for what litmus paper actually tests?


Litmus is a water-soluble mixture of different dyes extracted from lichens, especially Roccella tinctoria. It is often absorbed onto filter paper to produce one of the oldest forms of pH indicator, used to test materials for acidity. Blue litmus paper turns red under acidic conditions and red litmus paper turns blue under basic (alkaline) conditions, with the color change occurring over the pH range 4.5-8.3 at 25 °C. Neutral litmus paper is purple. Litmus can also be prepared as an aqueous solution that functions similarly. Under acidic conditions the solution is red. Under basic conditions, the solution is blue.


I’ve yet to determine the “litmus test” for anything other than PH balance.

Like in a tropical fish tank. You need to know the PH of the water or the fish will die. As for friends? There are no tests. All my best friends became best friends because we liked each other, enjoyed each other’s company. Shared a similar taste. There was no test. We hung out and sort of “stuck.”

Really good friends and one excellent dog

People and life aren’t a formula. There’s nothing which indicates the potential quality of a friendship, the probable value of a relationship, the likely longevity of two hearts that resonate to each others’ rhythms.

Garry and Harvey Leonard

I’m sure I’d never pass anyone’s “friend test.” Probably, assuming I could create one, not even my own. I don’t believe in standardized tests. Not in the schoolroom and certainly not in relationships.

As for standard litmus testing, I’m pretty sure I have a pH.

Really old friend.

If an actual litmus test were applied, I would definitely pass. Everyone would pass a litmus test because … (drumroll, trumpets) … you can’t fail a litmus test. There’s no correct answer and no passing grade.

“Throw that bum out! His pH is way too low!”

If my mother was any kind of judge, I’m too acidic, though there are days when I feel solidly alkaline.

Since surviving my brief fling at youth, I have opinions, but I don’t test. I have standards. I won’t argue with stupid people. I’m referring to folks who combine blissful ignorance with strong opinions. I suppose there are a few other points, political, intellectual and social (don’t chew with your mouth open), but no test. I like people or I don’t.

To put it another way, I like what I like and I have no idea why. I don’t want to analyze it. Does that make me a loser? Or, as they say on Facebook, a looser?

I’ll bet my problem is when I have nothing to say, I say nothing. That’s gotta be it!

If you want to be my friend, I promise you’ll never have to pass a test of any kind. Not a litmus or any other test. My love and loyalty are test-free, organic, and earth-friendly. All that’s required is genuine affection and a modicum of respect.

QUESTIONS? ANSWERS! – Marilyn Armstrong

I stole these from Fandango, though they originally came from Sadje, at Keep It Alive.

Sadje posed 11 new questions that he thought were good and so did I. So I stole them. Though, to be fair, I was invited to steal them.

1. How long have you been blogging?

Six and a half years.

2. Do your friends and family support you in this?

Yes, actually. More than that, they participate and actually read my stuff! How rare is that?

3. Which is your favorite time of the day?

Sunset and the middle of the evening.

4. What would be your dream vacation?

A few relaxing weeks at a cabin in the mountains. Or winning the lottery. Either, both will do nicely.

5. What genre of movies you like best?

Usually comedy, but by no means always. I kind of like a lot of different things. If it’s well done, I’ll watch it. On TV. The movies don’t have a “pause” for bathroom breaks.

6. What do you wake up to?

Barking dogs. Three barking dogs. When that doesn’t do it, body slams against the bedroom door usually get me moving.

7. Are you a morning person?

Used to be. But since Garry is a night guy, I’ve shifted around so we’re on the same schedule.

8. What motivates you?

Like — to go to the doctor? My Google calendar. To take my medications? A desire to remain alive. Cook dinner? Garry looks hungry. Write? Anything and everything. Pictures? Something that catches my eye.

I could go on and on, but I think I’ll stop now.

9. How do you think your friends see you?

One tough old bird with a serious OCD problem.

10. What would be your idea for saving the environment from pollution?

Get rid of the GOP and get serious about fixing it. Like right now would be good, though a dozen years ago would have been better.

11. Happy or peaceful, what’s more important?

I think they come together, kind of like a horse and carriage.

Having brazenly plagiarized Fandango’s plagiarization of Sadje’s questions, feel free to copy the questions and answer them on your own blog. Be sure to link back to Sadje’s originating post here so that she gets the credit she deserves.