Flowing is remarkably àpropos as today’s subject.

I spent a good part of last night repairing the toilet off the (not so masterful) bedroom.


I had been reading Gretchen Archer’s soon-to-be-released new book, “Double Knot” and enjoying it so much I couldn’t stop reading. As the digital dial on my clock radio flipped past 2:00, I had to keep reading.

Usually when I read, I can’t hear anything. I’m in the book. All  I hear are words inside my head. But I couldn’t not hear that funny little noise. Troubling little noise. Which I couldn’t quite identify.

Double Knot Cover

I finished the book. Sighed. Turned off the Kindle. Went into the bathroom. And realized that irksome little sound was the toilet running. Not good. This was how our well crisis started a couple of years ago.

When you live on well water, a continuously running toilet sends up flares. Danger, danger!

All I wanted to do was sleep. Hey, world, this is my birthday. I’m grateful to be walking the Earth, not six feet under it. Okay. Figured I’d turn off the valve and deal with it later. But. I couldn’t turn the valve. At all. Solidly stuck. Yet I could not leave it running.

happy birthday from google

While humming “happy birthday to me,” I disassembled the tank. Toilets are simple. Mechanical. I looked, saw the little hose that fills the tube that tells the float when the tank is full, had popped out of position. It apparently had done it before because someone (surely my son) had previously fixed the problem using a piece of twisted wire made from a Christmas tree ornament hook.

The wire and the little hose had separated. Despite juggling and jiggling, they were not coming together again. Using as much brute force as I dared, I eventually convinced the input hose to stay in the float tube. After I reassembled the tank, I hauled my tired old body to the computer to ask my son to please fix it. Before we have another well crisis.


I kept thinking that this was a really crappy (appropriate, right?) way to start my new year. And then, suddenly, I was grateful. Because I can figure out how to fix the float mechanism in a toilet tank — despite having a college degree!

It’s morning again. The toilet stayed fixed. Happy birthday to me!

You only get two options with life. Get old or get dead. Old is better. Life flows, bringing with it the good, the bad, the ugly.



From CeeThis week’s Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge (CB&W) topic is Crooked and Squiggly Lines.  I want to see any line that has more than two squiggles or curves.  Anything from plants, trees, roads, made-made items.





Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge



Marilyn and I were discussing “legacy.” Our legacies. Such as they are. The subject matter was the basis for Marilyn’s piece yesterday (WHO HAS A LEGACY?) and left me thinking.

It’s interesting to ponder. Who will care about you after you’re gone? If you’re a public figure, you’re only famous until you’re not. I was a very familiar figure to tens of thousands during my TV news career. Now, I am frequently asked, “Didn’t you used to be Garry Armstrong?” (Yes, I was … and remarkably, I still am.)


For the past week, I’ve been watching Deanna Durbin’s movies on Turner Classics. Who remembers Deanna Durbin? For a short period during the late 1930s and early 1940s, Ms. Durbin was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, more popular than Judy Garland.

MGM mogul, Louie B. Mayer, screen tested Durbin and Garland as starlets. Mayer chose Garland. Universal Pictures snatched up Deanna Durbin who quickly shot to stardom, saving the studio from bankruptcy.

Durbin projected a sweet, wholesome, cute-as-dickens image that won the hearts of many people seeking options to screen sirens like Harlow, Dietrich, and Crawford. Deanna had a wonderful, rich singing voice — almost operatic. Very impressive for a twenty something, always top billed over veteran stars.

Deanna Durbin

I discovered Deanna Durbin after she had retired in 1948,. She was at the height of her fame, but decided the glitter of Hollywood was not enough. She moved to France where she lived quietly until her death a few years ago.

My memories of Deanna Durbin, 60 plus years ago and now, remain vivid. She glows with performances of “Loch Lomond,” “Going Home,” and “All Alone By The Telephone” in movies that are rather less than memorable.

“Going Home,” is usually associated with FDR’s funeral train procession. It’s a guaranteed heart-tugger when Deanna sings it in “It Started With Eve.” I usually skip through most of the film, then do a multiple replay of Durbin singing that song. It always gets to me.

I had an immediate crush on Deanna Durbin as a boy. I wanted to meet her and tell her how much I loved her. Alas, it was not meant to be. Yet all these years later, I still have a crush on her.

That’s a legacy.