SHARING MY WORLD – 2015, WEEK 34

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2015 WEEK #34

Was school easy or difficult for you? How so?

I was always good at memorizing information for short periods. I was one of those kids that could not go to class all year, cram the night before the test, then ace it. Until I bumped into hard sciences and mathematics. At which point, I learned humility in a hurry.

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But over all, since I wasn’t a math or science major, school was easy. I worked very hard in classes that interested me, barely bothered to do anything if I it didn’t grab my interest. I got a lot out of college, more on the job after getting my B.A.

School is where you begin your education. Life is where you earn advanced degrees.

What is your favorite animal?

As in to own? As a pet? Dogs, with cats and ferrets a close second. I like parrots, too.

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But in the greater world of animals, I love elephants and lions and tigers and rhinoceroses. Deer and moose. Bears. Wild birds and wolves. I love them all and mourn every loss.

If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts?

I can’t wear contacts, so it’s a moot point for me. I will wear glasses … three different strengths … because I can’t see without them.

List:  Name at least five television shows (past or present) you enjoyed?

At my age, I have loved a great many shows. So. Let’s limit this to the shows we currently watch and love. Otherwise, it simply gets way out of hand.

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NCIS, Castle, House Of Cards, Bosch, Firefly, Star Trek (all permutations). There are so many more.

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Original and in reruns, I have seen the evolution of television from relatively primitive to today. I’m sure I’ll live to see interactive TV where in addition to annoying advertisements, there will be annoying requirements I answer questions or input other information. I can hardly wait.

IN SEARCH OF TWINE … SINCE 1983

Marilyn Armstrong:

Today is the day I reblog this hilarious and oh-so-true post! Happy laughter to you-all on this gray Tuesday morning.

Originally posted on Stuff my dog taught me:

images-6I have been actively searching for twine since September 1, 1983. I remember the date because it was written on the top of the rental agreement for my first flat – a three bedroom with high ceilings and inadequate heating that I shared with a couple of roommates. In honour of my newfound independence, my uber-practical father presented me with a black plastic toolkit filled with home-dweller essentials, including a roll of twine.

The twine went missing almost immediately. No one fessed up to using it… it simply disappeared. I replaced it. It disappeared again. Thus began the never-ending cycle. My father was right about the practicality of the items in the toolbox. 23 years later, I still have it, and still use most of the items inside. But the item that is most ‘handy’ is the twine, which can never be found in the toolbox… or in the gadget…

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JAWS THAT BITE, CLAWS THAT CATCH – JABBERWOCKY

Nothing but the Jabberwock has ever bit as well as the jaws that bite and the claws that catch … not counting Bonnie, the Scottie, who perhaps is the Jabberwock, disguised as a small, black dog.

Here be the classic poem by Lewis Caroll. Nothing else can match it and I never grow tired of it.

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THE BEST OF TIMES

We’ve been on a roll these past few days, the “angst mojo” temporarily set aside.

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Now, we’re home, after spending a couple of wonderful days in Connecticut with old friends, sharing memories that date back to college and the 60’s when we and our world were young.

Ellin and Tom are special folks. Ellin gets top billing because she’s so quiet and often taken for granted.

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She is the hostess — no matter what else she is coping with in her family life. She’s the woman you thought only existed in the movies or those old TV shows where everything is seemingly perfect.

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Ellin is multi-talented. Superb cook, budding author, wife and mom. She’s humble about all her achievements. Amazing when she is surrounded by two guys with 80 plus years combined in radio and TV news. Guys who are often nonstop with their stories about the BIZ. Ellin and Marilyn have a special bond in that respect.

Gracious, I think, is the best word to describe Ellin. Like us, she and Tom always have furry kids around who brighten their lives. It’s nice to visit and come back with fur on our clothing. Makes it seem just like home.

Tom is the kid  who never grew up. We’ve known him since JFK was in the oval office. He is recently retired after 40 years as a highly respected director and audio expert with CBS News.

He’s still active, producing and directing cracker jack (does anyone say that anymore?) radio drama. Tom and Ellin actually are an impressive acting, writing and jack-of-all-trades team in radio drama that deserves a wider audience. Their work is far superior to the stuff being offered by network suits.

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A day on Tom and Ellin’s boat is just what the doctor ordered for Marilyn and me. It’s a perfect day. Sunny, warm and with just a slight breeze. Surprise! Ellin has a lunch spread ready before we can settle in.

It allows me to fantasize as I survey other boats. Maybe we’ll see Bogey on Santana, Travis McGee and The Busted Flush, Slate Shannon with Bold Venture or maybe Grant and Hepburn on  True Love. Who knows what can happen as you dream?

My reverie is interrupted as Tom shares some more stories that have all of us roaring with laughter. In between we compare family drama that have us nodding at each other.

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Then it’s back to more silliness and laughter. These are the best of times.


All photography by Garry Armstrong or Marilyn Armstrong with the Pentax Q7.

IT’S THE PHONE …

There’s a myth circulating that senior citizens are up with the birds and asleep before sunset. An entire culture has been built on “Early Bird Specials,” because old people supposedly eat dinner by 4 pm. I eat around four, but I call it lunch. Dinner is later. Much later.

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In my experience older people, especially retired ones, are up when they feel like getting up. They go to bed when ready to sleep. For us, that’s around one in the morning or later (earlier?). Even when we should go to bed earlier, “Just one more show?” usually wins over “Bed?”

Thus when the phone rang at eight this morning, I wasn’t happy. I got a new phone that plays Beethoven. Loudly. I’ve turned off the ringer in the bedroom, but I’m a light sleeper, so I can hear the phone ringing from three rooms away. At least my new ring tone is musical.

It took me a while to reconnoiter, to recognize the source of the noise. The phone. It’s the phone.

When I’m awake and focused, I only answer calls from people with names I recognize … or which come from a number that looks like a real person’s number. I don’t answer calls from 800 numbers because they aren’t people. They are recorded messages (talk about annoying) or hired solicitors. I know everyone’s got to make a living, but not by calling me.

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I can’t see the caller ID from the bed. It’s easier to snake my hand around the lamp and grab the phone.

“What?” I say. It would be a snarl, but I’m not awake enough to snarl. I can barely mumble.

From the receiver comes: “Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?”

I was there, but not for long. I clicked “End.” Put the phone back into the cradle. Plumped the pillow and went back to sleep. I was merely annoyed … until the phone rang again. I didn’t answer it. I just clicked it on, then off, so it would stop ringing.

It was Quicken Loans. Again. Twice before 9 in the morning. Wow.

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I knew why. Late last night I accidentally hit one of their ads on Facebook. It was late. I was clumsy. I aimed poorly and awakened a monster.

Quicken loans. I don’t want a loan. I don’t want to refinance my mortgage. I want to sleep. They called a total of 9 times today and sent me half a dozen emails. Be careful what you click. Be very, very careful.

Why 8 in the morning? Any time would be annoying, but earlier is much more annoying.

For anyone who reads this: I will never, ever buy anything at eight in the morning. Nor will I ever buy anything from a blind solicitation on the phone.

But I know, you’ll keep trying. You will never give up.

WHAT’S A HERO?

It was a rerun of an NCIS episode from a couple of years ago. The victim had given her life to protect others.

“She didn’t have to do it,” McGee pointed out.

“No,” said Gibbs. “She had a choice. That’s what makes her a hero.”


My cousin is my oldest friend, though we don’t see each other much any more. We communicate via the Internet, not in person.

“You’ve always been braver than me,” she said.

The context was a picture of me and Garry riding the Cyclone at Coney Island. There’s a camera at the first drop. Hard to resist buying a picture of oneself and others screaming as you go down the nearly vertical first drop on an 84-year old wooden coaster.

But brave? It wasn’t as if I’d volunteered to rescue someone from danger. I paid my money and got the best adrenaline rush money can buy. Not brave. Not heroic.

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Some people have called me brave because I’ve survived. As it happens, I would have been just as happy to skip all that and lead a pleasant, uneventful life. For excitement, there’s the Cyclone. I could have lived with that.

I’ve managed to slouch into senior citizenship alive but I don’t deserve a medal. You don’t get medals for surviving or shouldn’t. Saving ones own life (and occasionally as collateral anti-damage, other people’s too) is instinct, not valor.

Staying alive is hard-wired into our DNA. Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it.

My definition of bravery or valor is the same as Gibbs’. You have to make a willing choice. There has to be a choice! Taking risks for the fun of it, to make a killing in the stock market, or because your only other option is death isn’t courage.

If it’s fun, it’s entertainment. I love roller coasters. I probably would have liked sky diving had my back not been so bad. A personal passion or hobby involving doing dangerous stuff is not brave. Maybe it’s not even intelligent.

Taking a risk for profit? Shrewd, not brave.

Saving your own life? Finding a way by hook or crook to keep a roof over your head and food on your table? That’s instinct.

I’ve never done anything I define as courageous. I’ve done exciting stuff, entertaining and fascinating stuff. Some of these adventures proved disastrous. Others worked out okay. I’ve occasionally been selfless in helping others when I could. But I never voluntarily put myself in harm’s way to save someone else.

The most I could be accused of is doing the right thing when it wasn’t easy. I don’t think you get medals for that, either.

Anyway, that’s what I think.

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!

We’re off on vacation today. We’ll be gone for a few days to visit friends. Where I’m pretty sure we will talk, laugh, eat, talk, laugh … and maybe fit in just a little bit of sleep here and there.

I may even take some pictures!

We have a lot of overdue vacation time coming up. We intend to fully embrace the “let it all hang out” concept. I can’t think of anything I would rather do. Or anything more likely to improve my state of mind.

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If you don’t hear from me, you may assume I am consumed with having a good time.

Wish you were there! Someday, we need to have a giant party. Maybe on a little-known south sea island in the middle of the Pacific.

That would be after one of us hits the Nigerian Prince Lottery and becomes wealthy enough to fly everyone to the isle of joy. There we will swim, sun and relax under palm trees … hanging loose while eating, drinking, and making Merry, whoever she may be.

See you all later!