The new episode of Hawaii Five O we watched tonight is titled “Ho’oilina.”

As the story goes, it is the fourth anniversary of his father’s death. While Steve McGarrett is visiting his father’s grave, he meets a woman who helps him reopen the last unsolved case his father worked before his death.


The old Hawaii Five O wasn’t a great show, but guys really liked it. The new one is nominally better acted, but it could hardly be called “realistic.” Better than its predecessor. Pretty to watch. It is, after all, Hawaii. Garry enjoys it and I don’t mind.

This week, though, it totally blew me away because the woman Steve McGarret meets at his father’s grave is a tall, blond assistant district attorney. In the flashback memory of her father’s death, the same woman is a tan Hawaiian — perhaps Chinese? — girl.

That’s so amazing. Who knew DNA could produce such an extraordinary transformation? I mean … wow. Garry says it’s bad casting. I call it a miracle.


Out of Breath – We all seem to insist on how busy, busy, busy we constantly are. Let’s put things in perspective: tell us about the craziest, busiest, most hectic day you’ve had in the past decade.



The craziest, busiest, most hectic day I’ve had in the past decade? I can’t remember what I did yesterday, much less in the course of an entire 10-year period. I know recently we drove a lot, through mountains, past rivers and lakes and countryside so beautiful it filled up all my ooh and aah synapses and put me into a near coma of aesthetic appreciation.

Was that hectic? It felt hectic.

I’ve been in and out of hospitals, had more surgery than I can remember, which may be a good thing. Hectic? What’s hectic? The decades have all been riddled with crises. Financial, medical, personal. I don’t remember the sequence of a particular day, not even yesterday. Or this morning. It’s nearly one in the afternoon. I’m still answering email and trying to get this silly little post written.

Maybe I should think about this in bigger pieces, like decades? Anyone who asks this question obviously hasn’t lived many decades. I’m sure having fewer decades to remember might make the whole memory thing more … memorable. By the time you’ve survived seven or eight decades, you would never ask this question. You would know your friends feel lucky to get to the end of a sentence without have to pause to remember what word comes next.

I can tell you — I think — which period in my life was the most hectic. It started in 1963 and slowed down … when was that? Wait for it. I’m thinking. Okay, got it. It hasn’t slowed down. But it would be okay with me if it did.

Life is, as the beaver said, just one dam thing after another.

beaver mafia



Cover Art – Weekly Photo Challenge

Guest host Pete Rosos invites you to imagine the cover of a favorite book, music album, or magazine.

I don’t have to look far for this since I actually did write a book. I wrote it, designed the interior layout and the cover. The cover, spine, and back required multiple iterations, but eventually I think it came out pretty well.


teepee book back

You can, if you like, actually buy the book which is available through Amazon both as a paperback and for Kindle. Some people think it’s great and I deeply appreciate their kindness.

I wrote “The 12-Foot Teepee” about seven years ago. I think. Hard to remember. So much has happened since then and I’m in a very different place spiritually. In other ways, I’m in the same place.

The lessons I learned are as relevant today as they were then.

I don’t know if my “now” place is better, but it’s different. Life … for all of us … is a moving target. Change is part of being alive and we are not the same people from one part of our life to the next. That’s a good thing because if we stop changing, we die — mentally and emotionally. Change IS life. However — when you are a writer, it’s more than a little unnerving to encounter a past self in your own book.

It’s difficult for me to appreciate “Teepee” the way others do. I tend to focus on how I should have phrased that part differently. It reminds me how much I and my world have evolved since I wrote it, which is sometimes as if I am channeling an alternate version of me.

I’ve learned a lot about using Photoshop since I put this together and I think I’d make a classier cover now than I did back then. Mind you, I’m not unhappy with the cover. Pretty good for an amateur.

In any case, I can’t replace these covers. The teepee no longer stands. Last year, after 6 years through all seasons, her poles were rotted and the canvas moldy. A bobcat had taken up residence there. She needed to be put to rest.

I miss my teepee.

THE 12-FOOT TEEPEE by Marilyn Armstrong – Available for Kindle and as a paperback.


Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Toys for kids or adults

The difference between adult toys and tools is getting a bit blurry. Are my Kindles toys or tools? My computers? The big screen TV?

I recently picked up an original Robbie the Robot. I don’t know who the target audience was, but I’m sure the people buying Robbie today are grown ups, at least physically. I can’t vouch for their mental age.

robby the robot in black and white

This old doll belongs to a friend of mine. She inherited it from her Norwegian grandmother and time had done very ill by it. The face was gone and one leg rotted away. The dress was ragged and all the paint on her was blackened. I gave her a wig, repainted her.

I recreated her face and repaired her dress. I could not replace her bad leg, but I took it off cleanly and sealed her body so she will not rot more. I’m sorry I didn’t take “before” pictures, but this “after” shot gives you an idea of how well the restoration went. She lives in Maine with her proud mommy.


Ten years ago, it was the 100th anniversary of the original Teddy Bear. I bought one and gave him his own chair. He became a she-Teddy, or maybe just a bit dandified — because I found this feathered hat and it fit. He/she/it has worn it ever since.


Allow me to introduce Toni. She was produced by Ideal in the 1950s. She was the second doll to come into my life, on my 6th birthday. She was — is — all about her hair. She came with a little box of miniature rollers and a permanent wave kit, aptly named “Toni Permanent Wave.” The setting lotion (you mixed it yourself), was just sugar and water. It didn’t do anything except make her hair sticky, but for as long as she lasted under the assault of small girls with combs, brushes, and the 1950s version of styling gel, she was glorious.

I got this Toni — an original from 1954 — in urgent need of TLC. I replaced her wig, got her a new dress, underwear, shoes and socks. Did a little touch-up on her face paint, then re-strung her. She is as good as new and just as lovely.

I used a “toy lens” effect for Toni’s portrait. I’m considering getting an actual toy lens for my camera. The effects are fun and unpredictable, but the lenses are inexpensive and great when I’m feeling playful.


My granddaughter loved the dolls and stuffies when she was a kid, but the teenage years brought new requirements. As soon as she was old enough, she began saving her birthday and Christmas money. When she had enough, she bought her own toy. And ATV. They get bigger. Toys get bigger, too.

Kaity with ATV

Kaity wanted wheels. Too young for a driver’s license, this ATV was her first “ride.”


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2014 #17


Since the beginning of October, we’ve been on the road. From Uxbridge to Jackman, Maine. Jackman to Skowhegan and back again. Jackman to Peacham, Vermont. Peacham back to Uxbridge.


A short pause. Take a breath. Uxbridge to Hadley. Back to Uxbridge. Two nights ago, in my best friends’ guest room, I woke in the middle of the night and didn’t know where I was. Definitely time to go home!


We’ve only been home a few hours and I’m a weird kind of tired. Not only achy, but confused. So much mail and stuff was waiting here. I’m years behind in email, blog reading, book reviewing, photo processing.

The house looks neglected. The well is not yet fixed, though Dave told me today that he will get to it next week, for sure. If it stops raining. Hard to do all of this in the rain and right now, the drought is ending in a bang, not a whimper.


So which way? Don’t ask! I’m so confused!

Jackman road autumn