UP UP AND AWAY: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Many things are up for me. I am a very short person and I can’t even read the top shelves in my kitchen. And worse, I’m shrinking.

Nonetheless, all my picture will be much upper than my kitchen shelves because I’m basically so frustrated, I do not want to show the world how short I really am.

Also, the terrible thought that what goes up — like when I try to climb up on something to get something else — must come down. Me. Down. Crunch.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

At Tuskegee Airmen event … an antique plane in flight

Downtown — Prudential Tower, Boston – and I sincerely hope it does NOT fall down.

Up and up again

WASHING, SANDING, BUT THE PAINT CAN WON’T OPEN – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Prompt


I had a really bad case of asthma last night and finding a position in which to sleep left me a bit tired this morning. But having finally convinced my lungs to breathe rather than wheeze, I got up and decided I’d better make a head start on what I — for some obscure reason — had volunteered to do. It was a small enough job and I figured I should “Be useful.”

Paint the parts of the door that were “left over” after we installed the most recent door handle.

It looks just like the old door handle, but unlike the old one, isn’t broken. Not exactly the same size, either. It is a wee bit smaller, though it is otherwise very similar. It certainly works a lot better than the older one ever did, even when it was new. My job was to wash the door, sand the area to be painted, then paint. It went pretty well until I realized I could get the top of the paint can open. I’m not the powerhouse I was in my youth.

I had swept the door area clean a few days ago, but since then about 8 million new insects had moved back into the crevices. Mostly spiders, but also some weird-looking puffy things and other crawlies.

I’m not very fond of crawlies, but I have learned to cope with them when I have no other choice. Garry joined the party, which was nice because he has a couple of inches on me, but between the two of us, we couldn’t do the top of the door. We are too short.

We did the best we could with brooms and dust mops, but it didn’t get washed. Everything else, we washed at least twice and if we’d done it three times more, I’m pretty sure it would still be dirty.

It’s amazing how filthy a front door can get. If we had a hose in the front of the house, I could have hosed it down once in a while, but we don’t. It’s one of the broken things that hasn’t gotten fixed and may never get fixed. I have begun to accept the truth: not everything gets fixed. Not now, not eventually. Some stuff just stays broken because it’s too expensive to fix, or it’s just not up at the top of your broken-thing prompt list. We got some stuff done — even got the gutters cleared, more or less. But the chimney is still very much in need of pointing and the deck has been waiting more than a decade for some Thompsons’ water repellent.

We are in a race to see which crumbles first: us or the house.

The amount needing to be done greatly exceeds our finances or physical strength by a magnitude of at least 10.

Every now and again, we play the lottery. Not often, just when I feel I need 24 hours to dream of wealth beyond imagining. I don’t want much. Just enough money to get a house that is more suitable for us. Without stairs. Easy maintenance floors. Modern heating and cooling. Not so many trees. Not nearly as many trees. And a driveway that can’t double as the bunny slope for a small ski resort.

I also got back the results of my blood tests. I tried to read through them, I had to look up each result on Google. At first, it looked like I was a goner. But you don’t read each result. You sort of have to look at the entire picture and when I got through doping out each level — the highs and the lows — I figured out why in the end, he told me to get Vitamin D3  and take two every other day.

I’m a little bit anemic and I have the kind of vitamin deficiencies people who don’t have a normal stomach tend to get. Then there’s the spine, heart, arthritis,  fibromyalgia, and asthma. What the report really said is “She’s one tough old bird. Give her vitamins.”

And I’ve been taking my vitamins and remarkably, I’m beginning to feel a little better. It turns out that anemia makes you really tired.

I always want medical reports to say “Do this, do that and you’ll be young again.” They never say that. They never suggest that you’ll be younger, thinner, or springier in your step.

But I’m alive enough and there are plenty of reasons I might not be. Strong enough — with help — to wash that door!

Now it’ll wait a few more days to get it done. It is beautiful outside.

On the next beautiful day, for sure.

WHY DID THE SHEEP CROSS THE ROAD?

WHY DID THE SHEEP CROSS THE ROAD?

sheep crossing road

A writing prompt from Sue Vincent.

Why does anything — or anyone — cross a road?

“To get to the other side.”

But. What was so important that it goaded a vulnerable sheep to risk an angry farmer to reach that elusive other side?

“Garry?,” I asked. “Why did this sheep cross the road?”

“What sheep?” he said. “What road?”

“The sheep in this picture.”

“Ask me later.”

The truth lies exposed to all who have eyes to see. No one can ever know for sure what’s on the other side. Especially not a sheep.


(Exactly 100 words, not counting this section).

Garry counted and he says it’s only 99 (including the titles). Is WordPress not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 #18 — CHAI — 8-12-2015

CHAI

Chai - 18 - Life

This is the 18th Serendipity Photo Prompt.

Eighteen in Hebrew is “Chai,” which means life. Every ending contains the seed of a beginning. 

Today is our little dog Nan’s date with destiny. We’ve been looking for a way out of this. Trying to find any excuse to make it unnecessary. Make it not true.

Nan Xmas

Life and death are imperatives. No matter how we parse it, Nan has run out her string. She can’t hear, barely sees, can’t manage the stairs. She has little sense of smell and often isn’t sure who we are — or for that matter, who she is.

All of which accounts for my dour mood.

Amber

Simultaneously, Amber, the mini-dachshund, has breast cancer. She isn’t well, isn’t happy, won’t eat. I suspect her final days are approaching too.

dogs with bishop and gar

One is hard. Two are very hard.

72-Bishop-Dogs-March_6

The only good side of all of this is that finally, the family is acting like a family and pulling together. Setting blame aside, now it’s time to do what needs to be done for the good of the creatures we love.


FINDING something POSITIVE AMIDST THE GLooM

It has been a good week for pictures. Garry and I took a lot of pictures in town recently. At the dam, on the Commons.

WHAT ARE THE COMMONS?

The commons is that big green lawn in the middle of most New England towns. Boston’s got a huge one, Uxbridge has a rather small one.

The Commons

The Commons

Originally, these green spaces were called commons because they were a common area where everyone could graze sheep.

72-Grass-Uxbridge-0807_060

Yes, all you cowboys. Sheep. Because sheep give wool and wool becomes warm clothing, sweaters, stockings, coats. Even big Pilgrim hats.

75-BonnieInSnow_45

Winter in the northeast is a cruel mistress. We need all that wood to make the warm clothing that keeps us from freezing. We thank our friends, the sheep, for their donations. And let them graze on the Commons.


You can write anything about anything, as long as you link a picture to the story. You can link several pictures and more than one story. This is a free writing challenge. Have fun.

75-Bishop-in-Snow_18

DON’T EAT THE PADDLE WHEEL

New Orleans was a gastronomic delight. Every place we ate was better than the last, including the breakfast bar on the corner and the hamburgers in the gin joint down the street.

From the moment we got on the airplane and headed south, we focused on where we’d eat as well as trying to figure out where to drink and listen to music. Everyone on our flight was doing the same thing. Reservations are competitive.

Turned out to be simpler than we expected. We handed our list to the concierge. He worked out the schedule and made the reservations. Nice!.

This is the Hotel De La Poste in which we stayed. It wasn't this ritzy when we were there. I guess it has been "upgraded." I liked it fine the way it was.

This is the Hotel De La Poste in which we stayed. It wasn’t ritzy when we were there. I guess it has been “upgraded.” I liked it fine the way it was.

One event would not take place at a restaurant, though dinner was included. The trip down the Mississippi on a paddle wheeler which we were going to do on my birthday. It was my 50th and our official excuse for being in New Orleans. We had planned the boat trip for The Big Day.

Let me get right to the point. It was the only experience in the whole week that wasn’t great. Every other thing we did — from the tour of the swamps where we met the alligators, to each meal we ate — met or exceeded our expectations. The cuisine was exquisite, the service was warm, friendly, and efficient.

There was music in the air everywhere. The drinks were big, strong, and delicious. Unlike the real world, you could walk around the streets with a tall drink in your hands and no one would care. Probably because they were clutching similar beverages.

It turned out, the paddle wheeler wasn’t a paddle wheeler. In the sense that it didn’t have a paddle wheel. When I asked where the paddle wheel was, the “guy” explained that there weren’t enough people booked this trip to bring out one of the big boats that had paddle wheels, but this was a steam boat. So what was my problem?

creole queen paddle wheeler

I wanted the paddle wheel. I felt cheated, but I was coping like an adult. Until they lined us up — just like kids in a school trip — and marched us to the steam trays. Where they had the limp vegetables, mystery meat, jello (take your pick, red or green), and a few other anonymous items that invited me to move on.

If your future plans include a trip to New Orleans — and it should — make sure your paddle wheeler has a paddle wheel. Bring a picnic lunch. Or eat before (or after) your excursion. Don’t eat their food, even if you are hungry. Trust me. I wouldn’t lie to you.

DEEP WITHIN THE CASTLE WALLS – Blacklight Candelabra

A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY BULLETIN UPDATE

ANNOUNCEMENT, ANNOUNCEMENT!

Next Tuesday will occur on Wednesday. In the name of keeping myself sane, I’ve decided to do this prompt a mere once per week. On Wednesday. Because Wednesday’s child is full of woe and it’s the middle of the week.

WARNING: TODAY IS NOT WEDNESDAY. TODAY IS SATURDAY. THIS IS NOT A PROMPT. IT IS AN UPDATE TO THE PREVIOUS PROMPT.

A NEW PROMPT WILL APPEAR VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29th.


I like telling stories linked to pictures. To help the process along, every Wednesday, I’ll publish a picture and write something about it. You can use any of my pictures if you like, or any of yours. Link it back to that day’s post (ping back) so other people can find it.

You will have to forgive me if I miss a day here and there, or if Thursday is comes out on Friday.

Feel free to jump in.

What do I mean by “story” and “pictures”?

Story. Words. Poetry, prose, fact, or fiction. A couple of lines, a fanciful tale.

Pictures. Video if that’s your thing. Scanned pictures from your scrap-book. Weird pictures from the internet. Cartoons. Pictures of your family vacation and how the bear stole your food. Any picture you ever took and would like to talk about

What to write about?

Your trip to Paris. You flight from Irkutsk. You favorite dog, cat, ferret, cockatoo. The weird boyfriend you had in high school. The last book you read, the next book you plan to read, why you don’t read books (but you write them)(don’t write them)(would like to write them).

Television shows, movie stars, classic film, history, language. Fiction, non-fiction. Everything, anything as long as you include a picture and some text.

SIMPLE

It sounds simple because it is simple. Every picture has a story or ought to. There are no rules. You are free to follow my lead, ignore me, follow someone else’s idea. Any picture plus some text will do it. Short or long, truth or fiction. Prose or poetry.

One final thing: If you want to get notices of these posts, you’ll have to subscribe to Serendipity. I’ll try to title relevant posts so you can easily recognize them.


So as not to waste this space, I give you the pictures I took this morning of a vase containing my very own, fresh-from-the-garden daffodils sometimes accompanied by Robbie, The Robot. Robbie loves flowers. I couldn’t keep him away. He quite insisted on being included.


  1. GENERATION GAP – GROWING UP BOOMER – Tuesday, April 21, 2015
  2. FIVE PHOTOS FIVE STORIES: Let’s start with a Serendipitous Bang (DAY 4) 
  3. MAKING MARIJUANA LEGAL – Thursday, April 23, 2015
  4. Photos and Stories behind them – day four – The secret places in Bern the capital town of Switzerland
  5. I Went To A Carnival, And A Baseball Game Broke Out!
  6. A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY PROMPT | A Day In The Life
  7. A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY #2 – MEET TILLY 
  8. Spam-Bam Thank You Ma’am | Cordelia’s Mom
  9. And on the Eighth Day, God said … | Cordelia’s Mom
  10. FIVE PHOTOS FIVE STORIES: Early Peacock View and tiger spotting
  11. Size doesn’t matter… | The Happy Quitter
  12. Photos and Stories behind them: Day Five – The Birds
  13. Life’s A Ditch | Evil Squirrel’s Nest
  14. Of mountains and things | Willow’s Corner
  15. A Serendipitous Story
  16. Statue of Limitations | Evil Squirrel’s Nest
  17. Tradeoffs | Willow’s Corner
  18. oddments | Willow’s Corner

A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY PROMPT – 2015 #2

This could be a hit or a flop, but it’s worth a try.

I like telling stories linked to pictures. To help the process along, every Wednesday, I’ll publish a picture and write something about it. Sometimes, it may be a relatively long post. Other day, you’ll see just a couple of sentences. You can use whatever picture I post  or any picture I have posted — or any picture of your own — as a prompt. Link it back to this post (ping back) so other people can find it.

You will have to forgive me if I miss a day here and there, or if Wednesday turns out to be Friday (occasionally).

Feel free to jump in.

What do I mean by “story” and “pictures”?

Story. Words. Poetry, prose, fact, or fiction. A couple of lines, a fanciful tale.

Pictures. Video if that’s your thing. Scanned pictures from your scrap-book. Weird pictures from the internet. Cartoons. Pictures of your family vacation and how the bear stole your food. Any picture you ever took and would like to talk about

What to write about?

Your trip to Paris. You flight from Irkutsk. You favorite dog, cat, ferret, cockatoo. The weird boyfriend you had in high school. The last book you read, the next book you plan to read, why you don’t read books (but you write them)(don’t write them)(would like to write them).

Television shows, movie stars, classic film, history, language. Fiction, non-fiction. Everything, anything as long as you include a picture and some text.

SIMPLE

It sounds simple because it is simple. Every picture has a story or ought to. There are no rules. You are free to follow my lead, ignore me, follow someone else’s idea. Any picture plus some text will do it. Short or long, truth or fiction. Prose or poetry.

One final thing: If you want to get notices of these posts, you’ll have to subscribe to Serendipity. I’ll try to title relevant posts so you can easily recognize them.


My entry for today:

A SERENDIPITY PHOTO STORY – THURSDAY APRIL 24, 2015

The headline in Boston Globe:

MARIJUANA ADVOCATES EYE LEGALIZATION IN MASS.

An effort has been launched to both get a question calling for the drug’s legalization on the 2016 ballot and to raise enough money for victory.

What happened?  Massachusetts passed a referendum making medical marijuana legal more than two years ago. After which, as so often happens, it vanished.

I bet legalizing it would have the same result. Nothing. Nada. Maybe they would stop busting people for smoking a joint at a concert … or would they? I suppose it depends on how the law is worded. I’m sure legalization would not make dope cheaper or more available.

72-Uxb-Downtown_05

Why not? Because this is Massachusetts. Not only (to quote Tip O’Neill) is all politics local, but absolutely everything is political. Everything is a power play between dueling egos.

They can “eye legalization” all they want, but it won’t help me or my buddies. They’ll find a way to keep us from getting any. By the time they finish with the legal gobbledygook, it will be easier to buy it illegally. Like always.

I figure the process will be like applying for MassHealth. Fill out a thousand page form. Mail it in. Call six weeks later to learn they lost it. Fill in a another form. They’ll tell you it’s too late to meet the deadline (because they lost the first one). Eventually, they will start to process the application. If you don’t die in the interim, a year or two down the road, you’ll get fantastic medical benefits.

Weed? The price will be too high. You’ll realize what a bargain the illegal stuff was. Taxes alone will exceed the original non-legal price by hundreds of percent.

Dream on, you aging hippies. It ain’t gonna happen here. Not in our lifetime.


  1. GENERATION GAP – GROWING UP BOOMER – Tuesday, April 21, 2015
  2. FIVE PHOTOS FIVE STORIES: Let’s start with a Serendipitous Bang (DAY 4) 
  3. MAKING MARIJUANA LEGAL – Thursday, April 23, 2015
  4. Photos and Stories behind them – day four – The secret places in Bern the capital town of Switzerland
  5. I Went To A Carnival, And A Baseball Game Broke Out!
  6. A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY PROMPT | A Day In The Life
  7. A SERENDIPITOUS PHOTO STORY #2 – MEET TILLY | MY OTHER BLOG – Living in Tasmania and loving it.
  8. Spam-Bam Thank You Ma’am | Cordelia’s Mom
  9. And on the Eighth Day, God said … | Cordelia’s Mom
  10. FIVE PHOTOS FIVE STORIES: Early Peacock View and tiger spotting
  11. Size doesn’t matter… | The Happy Quitter
  12. Photos and Stories behind them: Day Five – The Birds
  13. Life’s A Ditch | Evil Squirrel’s Nest
  14. Of mountains and things | Willow’s Corner
  15. A Serendipitous Story
  16. Statue of Limitations | Evil Squirrel’s Nest
  17. Tradeoffs | Willow’s Corner
  18. Oddments | Willow’s Corner