Fandango’s Provocative Question #41

So what do you think of this quote? Aside from the reference to tenses, is it true?

“The past is always tense, the future perfect.”

I would be more inclined to say that our past was always perfect and the future is both tense and mysterious.  Especially now. Our future is frankly looking pretty damned grim. So grim that I spend an inordinate amount of time not thinking about it.

I would like to see one sign that all humans world over would get together and make a serious effort to fix our planet. But I don’t see it. I don’t see any signs of any kind of cooperation. Not between supposed allies or enemies. I don’t even see governments taking the future of life on earth (for people) as serious, not if it costs someone a few extra dollars.

Honestly, we the people care, but them the people who make the trash and poisons? They don’t care. They really don’t care. The government doesn’t care. Obviously.

Enjoy it while you can.

I’ve been hoping against hope that somewhere there would be a little glimmer of a better world to come, but I’m not seeing it. I’m seeing the opposite and not just here. Everywhere.

Oh, the joys of living in an oncoming disaster. What fun!


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pens, Pencils, Crayons, Markers

It’s embarrassing. No pens, pencils, crayons in pictures. There are some lying around the house, but no pictures!

Here’s where we write!

We type. Except for signing cards, everything else is on a keyboard. I guess we’ve lost it!

FROM WHOM SHALL WE ASK CLEMENCY? — Marilyn and Garry Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Clemency

I feel like as a species, we have done so much harm, that we need to ask for clemency. The problem is, who would give us any?

Rolling green lawns at River bend. Photo: Garry Armstrong

So I ask the river and as it flows gently past, I feel a brief moment of hope. It’s just about the same time that I’ve bumped into a professional photographer. He does “senior photographs” for almost all the schools in the Valley. We got to discussing the poisons they are spraying all over the valley.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Granted, we have an infusion of Eastern Equine Encephalitis mosquitoes all over Commonwealth, Rhode Island, and they are showing up in Connecticut and New Hampshire, too. This is another of the “minor” outcomes of the changing climate.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

The warm water in the oceans has brought us a lot of great white sharks as well as seals — their favorite food. Lots of biting going on out there in the ocean. It has brought us a lot more insects and they are hungry. I had a huge wolf spider on my screen door the other day. They are usually nocturnal and live in burrows in the woods, leaping out of their hiding places when they spot prey. This one was so hungry, he decided to give the house a try.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

In a complete panic over the arrival of these virally lethal mosquitoes, they have been spraying poison everywhere. My new photographer friend called it “the rain of death.” Because while it may be killing mosquitoes, what else is it killing?

Photo-Garry Armstrong
Double docks

All the birds who eat insects are going to die from this poison and I don’t care what Monsanto says. They are finally getting around to suing them for the poisons in “Round-Up Weed Killer.” I could have told them it was lethal if anyone was interested in listening, that one spray of it on our neighbor’s property killed ALL the robins.

They literally fell over dead in their nests. It was just awful and they have not returned. Where there were flocks of robins, I barely see a couple each season.

I’m thinking of putting up the feeders so at least the birds have a chance at finding food to eat that isn’t poisonous. There have been a total of 8 instances of the diseases and only one fatality. But they are poisoning the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Rain of death indeed.


We can’t even fix things without causing additional damage. Assuming, by some miracle, everyone got on the same “LET’S DO THIS!” boat. Do we really know what to do? Or are we going to turn this into another way for big corporations to make more money and probably make things even worse?

It’s an appalling thought. I know we are stupid, but HOW stupid ARE we?


I started to grow plants because my friend Mary was a crazed grower of potted plants. She lived in Brooklyn. Park Slope at the time.

These years, she has a house out on Staten Island. We haven’t seen each other in a really long time. Not since right after I got back from Israel — which was August 1987.

She was the first person to encourage me to grow things. I’d really never tried. But she gave me some of the cuttings from her plants. Told me to put them in a sunny window and water them when they got dry. They did very well and soon, all I wanted to do was haunt nurseries.

She taught me how to examine a plant, make sure it didn’t have any diseases or insect invasions.

Somewhere in the course of my conversion from non-growing to a wild-eyed enthusiast, basically converted the first floor of a really big house into a giant nursery. No curtains. Plants hung from the ceiling, lived on glass shelving. I put metal trays with gravel and water in the trays so when the radiators came up, they created a nice mist for the plants to live in.

They thrived. I was also the editor of the Doubleday Garden Guild. Because I’m me, I read all of the books we published, so whatever I hadn’t gotten from Mary, I learned from reading hundreds of books about growing plants. Indoors and outside.

I never took to outdoor gardening the way I did to indoor pottery gardens. For one thing, even way back then I’d already had major surgery on my spine and although I was a lot more limber than I am now, a lot of bending more or less did me in, even then. I left the outdoor gardening to husband and son.

So when I tell you that all you need to grow plants indoors is decent light and go easy with the watering can, maybe I’m understating where I learned what I learned. Mostly, it came from Mary and other friends who grew plants. We traded cuttings, sometimes passed off our huge plants for smaller ones.

My ceilings were only 10 feet high on the ground floor and once a plant started trying to dig through to the upper story, it had to move on. Which is why, now, I have a small but a good-size Norfolk Island pine in exchange for a Dracaena Marginata I had been growing for almost 20 years. It got too tall. In the wild, a Norfolk Island pine will grow hundreds of feet tall, but in this house, 7 foot 6 inches is as tall as it can get before it moves to another house.

I don’t have the volume of plants I did. Having an entire house full of plants became a job — at least an hour or two every night going from plant to plant, pulling off dead leaves, turning plants so they would grow evenly. And how many times did I fill the watering can before I finished with all 6 ground floor rooms? It was a big house with tall windows.

Today we were passing a house on our way to River Bend and there was a little house that had the most lovely garden I’ve seen in years. All the white picket fences were lined with sunflowers and a rather wild, yet obviously well-tended crop of bright flowers surrounded the front of the house.

I took pictures. It was just the way I’d make my garden if my spine would let me.