THE SQUIRREL – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP-Sunday–Squirrel


Things go missing. People go missing. I often think my brain goes missing and sometimes, that’s a good thing.

Right now, however, Garry took this perfect picture of (you guessed it) a squirrel. By the Blackstone in River Bend Park.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I’m pretty sure he isn’t the source of my loss, but who knows?

GOODBYE AND GOOD LUCK – Rich Paschall

Thanks for your service, Rich Paschall

He had been in the business for almost 40 years.  The last twenty-seven of those with the same company.  He liked his job and thought he was good at it.  In just a few more years he would retire.  Everything seemed to be on track.

When Carl started in his career, orders were processed with typewriters.  Carbon paper was used when multiple copies were required.  Details of international orders were sent overseas by telex machine.  Everything was done manually and file cabinets were stuffed with files of all the orders and shipments.

Carl made it through all the changes.  At first, he thought an electronic typewriter with memory was just about the coolest thing.  Fax machines took the place of telex machines and worldwide communication was getting easier.  As the decades went on, technology and communications advanced faster and faster, but Carl kept right up with everything.  You could never say that Carl was behind the times.

Despite the efficiency of his work life, the same could not be said of Carl’s personal life until recent years.  Only as retirement thoughts started weighing on his mind did Carl pay attention to his accounts.  For the last few years, he contributed to the 401K plan.  He even took out some small CDs for better interest return, since savings and checking accounts returned him only pennies per month, literally.

Then came the problems of advancing age.  Bifocals were no longer good enough to do his job.  He was recommended to get trifocals but opted for a second pair of glasses — just to see the computer.  His hands were stiff and sore and he needed medication for that.

Nerve pain in the feet demanded a drug as did high cholesterol.  His blood tests never satisfied his doctor and even when he felt well, there were many pills to take.  With all these issues, Carl still carried on in grand fashion and handled his job like a pro.

When Carl got a new boss, they seemed to get along well.  She appeared to appreciate his experience and they often had nice little chats.  When Carl asked if he could come in late so he could have his annual physical, his boss seemed disappointed.  He assured her he would make up the time during the week and she finally voiced approval.

The doctor’s visit showed the usual issues, but also “abnormal cells in undetermined significance.”  Carl was referred to a specialist and he had to ask for another morning off.  The boss looked quite perturbed when she said: “OK if you must.” Unfortunately for Carl, he did, in fact, feel he must see the doctor.

The specialist was a handsome young man with a sunny disposition.  He indicated all the dire situations that may be happening with such a cute smile, Carl still felt at ease.  His examination and subsequent biopsy lead to “dysplasia but cells are undetermined.”  Carl was recommended to a surgeon.

Again, Carl asked for a morning off.  The stares of the boss led Carl to say he would make up his time the same week and he would not ask for any more time off in the coming months.  He was greeted with a long and painful silence.  “Fine,” the boss stated with an air of exasperation.

The following day was a Wednesday and Carl worked hard all day under the glares of his much younger boss.  Whenever Carl looked around, she seemed to be nearby staring at him.  Needless to say, it was a rather uncomfortable day.  Normally, Carl had pleasant days and nice little chats with coworkers.  He never got close to any of them or saw them socially.  One young man loved having random little conversations with Carl about anything every day, but he was the only friend if you could call him that.  Carl was just at work to do his job.

At the end of that day, just past 5 pm, the facilities manager, the superior to Carl’s boss, invited Carl down to her office for a chat.  When he got there his boss was already seated and staring at the floor.  The facilities manager began.

“Carl, you know we think you have been doing excellent work for us for many years but…” Then there was a long pause while the manager looked for the words.  “Well, business has fallen off some.  The stronger dollar means weaker business. We are well behind budget for the year and we must eliminate a position.  I am sorry, but we have to let you go.”

Carl was dumbfounded.  He planned to work another two or three years and retire.  He was not ready for this.  His boss continued to look at the floor when the manager spoke up again.  She explained about the last paycheck, vacation pay, Cobra insurance, unemployment.  She said she would write a nice letter of recommendation.  She closed by saying she was sorry, it was not personal, it was just economics.  She thanked him for his years of service.  His boss continued to stare at the floor.

pills and wine
pills and wine

He returned to his desk, took a few personal items while his bossed hovered nearby and he was then prepared to leave.  That’s when she came over and asked for his badge and ID and walked away.  “What was that?” a longtime female coworker asked.  “I was fired,” he replied.  The coworker started to cry.  Carl quietly said goodbye, looked around for his young friend, who was already gone, and he left.

After a few days of reviewing jobs online and making a few calls, Carl saw it would be difficult at his age and salary range to find a new position.  That night, he lined up all of his prescriptions on the kitchen table, including the container of powerful painkillers for his hand pain.  Next, he got a bottle of one of his favorite wines, appropriately chilled.  He opened the wine, poured himself a glass and sat down at the kitchen table.  There he looked over the table and contemplated his future.

TRUE, FALSE, OR NUTS? – Q & A – Marilyn Armstrong

Strange Questions and Weird Answers


Fandango got the questions from Melanie who got them from Rory. I stole them from Fandango. Now, you are welcome to steal them from me.

Rory’s rules were that you’re supposed to answer the true or false questions the wrong way.

“Don’t answer the questions the right way!” his rules state. And the questions are not just true or false questions. They’re true or false and prove it questions.


Well, here are my answers. Are they true or false? These days where truth is in short supply, you might need a special prosecutor to figure it out.

1. Camels store water in their humps? True or False & Prove It
Lawrence of Arabia

It’s not exactly water. It’s kind of watery. But the camels like it.

2. Snakes only close their eyelids when they sleep? True or False & Prove It?

I have not spent sufficient time with lizard-type snakes to know, but human snakes ALWAYS have their eyes open … and on your wallet.

3. The saber-toothed tiger (Smilodon) was exterminated by Neanderthal man? True or False & Prove It?

The Smilodon was not a saber-toothed tiger. He was the original smiley face. Have you ever seen a smiling saber-toothed tiger? Neither have I and I rest my case.

4. Leonardo da Vinci employed hundreds of craftsmen to build his inventions? True or False & Prove It?

He never worked out the airplane, so I’m gonna say, not really. He meant to get it all done, but he was just so overbooked, he didn’t finish it.

5. The carpet python can hunt in complete darkness? True or False & Prove It?

False. My carpet has no python.

6. Big Bertha was the nickname given to German zeppelins? True or False & Prove It?
Not Big Bertha

False. Big Bertha was my great-aunt. I am named after her. My true name is Bertha and I’m pretty sure I can prove it. Pretty sure.

7. In the 17th century, Wall Street was located on the border of a Dutch colony?  True or False & Prove It?
Wall Street

False. Wall Street is the access road to the Chinese “Great Wall.” My GPS told me so and I always believe the GPS.

8. Yeast must be added to the grapes to obtain alcohol?  True or False & Prove It?

False. All you need are the feet of sexy young women. Many television shows depict this, so it must be true. Right?

9. Zeus is the male god behind Creation? True or False & Prove It?
The really big planet named Jupiter

False. It was Jupiter. He also made the planet Jupiter and was the original designer behind the ring of Saturn … and that dinky little car that was wildly overpriced. Jupiter should be ashamed.

10. For a long time, milk was a luxury? True or False & Prove It?

I loathe milk so it couldn’t possibly be a luxury. Yuck.


Melanie asked two additional questions.

A)  On Good Friday in 1930, the BBC reported, “There is no news.” Instead, they played piano music. True or False & Prove It?

True, but really it was an advertisement for the unrealized entertainment potential of radio. They hadn’t yet discovered advertising.

B)  There really was a Captain Morgan. He was a Welsh privateer (a legal pirate) who later became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica. True or False & Prove It?

The Captain never died. He is alive and well if a bit loopy. He has stayed drunk since the mid-1600s which might be a record if anyone is keeping them.


From Fandango:

1) “Truthiness” is the word Donald Trump coined to counter allegations that he’s a pathological liar. True or False & Prove It?

Nope. The only word he created was “covfefe.”

2) “Papa Doc” was the nickname given to Ernest Hemingway when he removed a harpoon from the fin of a great white whale. True or False & Prove It? 

Papa Doc was not a doctor and he definitely wasn’t Ernie. Papa Doc was more of a mass murderer. During his time in “office” (he was the father of “Baby” Doc), the largest export from Haiti were corpses. He liked killing people.

Seriously. Corpses.

Now, about my questions:


1)   What kind of dog do you call this? Please provide paperwork.

2)  Is there any such thing as climate change? Prove it.

You are more than welcome to use these questions and add to them. Just please, remember to not tell the truth. It would only confuse the public.

A RIVER OF MAGICAL PLACES: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge: Magical Places


The Blackstone Valley Historical Corridor is a series of connected parks in and around the Blackstone River Valley. There are dozens of little, medium, and large parks.

The parks surround many dams, ponds, and lakes. There are bicycle paths, picnic tables, even a few areas where you can swim and many where you can kayak.

Everywhere there are benches, facing the falls, the lakes. My particular favorite place is on the Mumford River (a branch of the Blackstone) in the middle of Uxbridge.

October on the Mumford – 2013
October on the Mumford – 2018
On the Mumford – 2017

I love living in a town in which a river runs through the middle of town. Like Paris with the Seine, or London on the Thames.

Manchaug dam on the Blackstone – 2018
Roaring Dam – Blackstone on the Blackstone River – 2017
Blackstone Gorge – Photo: Garry Armstrong

I have a lot of pictures of the dams, many taken in the fall because it’s the best time for pictures. Maybe not this year, but most years.

MORE OF AUTUMN – Marilyn Armstrong

More of Autumn -FOTD – November 11, 2018


The leaf sucking company was here this morning. The dogs went into total hysterics. Actually, that’s not true. The Duke went berserk because he thinks he is a giant protector, except I don’t think he has scared anyone yet. He’s just not a terrifying creature.

They came with giant vacuum cleaners and in about an hour, they sucked up about three million oak leaves. Then they blew them into the woods to join in the mulching of millions of other leaves.

Japanese maple – the last autumn tree

As they were packing up to leaves, the wind came up and half a million more leaves blew down, but at least you can see the ground now. They even cleaned off the deck and the area around the lawn furniture.

But our crazy little Japanese maple is still looking amazing. It is now officially (according to me) The Last Tree of Autumn. Most of the trees are completely bare, so this tree is unique.