ALMOST A ONE-WOMAN BAND – Marilyn Armstrong

I bought another tin whistle. I bought one in the key of C yesterday and bought one in the key of D today, probably because all the “learner’s” books are written for key of D whistles. I also bought a very small electric piano designed for a child because I can’t tune anything electronically.

I need to hear the sound.

Electronic tuners are silent. They find the right pitch, but they don’t make the entire instrument come together as a whole. That requires an ear. Preferably two. The chords have to sound right.

I often forget how many years I spent studying music because it was a long time ago and my hands can’t do what they used to do which was play the piano. Yes I still want music. Not just to listen to it but to make music. I can’t help it.

I thought I might “conquer” the ukulele, but there’s really nothing to conquer and honestly, if you don’t sing, there’s not a lot of fun in a uke. It’s all strumming. It wants people sitting around and singing — in or out of key — about wild mountains in Scotland or Ireland. Or West Virginia.

I’ve never seriously played a woodwind of any kind, except for a couple of years of flute in college. I wasn’t very good at it, but I wasn’t trying very hard either. I didn’t know how to play without a keyboard or maybe I didn’t want to play without a keyboard. Maybe both. It’s why I now spend so much time staring lovingly at Xylophones and Marimbas. Searching for the lost Vibraphone that should have been there. The only instruments I could afford I didn’t want. I wanted the $4000 Marimba. What a magnificent instrument that was.

If you can play a piano, you can ultimately also play a glockenspiel, xylophone, marimba, or vibraphone. The keyboard is the same. You have to do a little adapting, but you don’t have to strain your arthritic hands the same way.

The little tiny ones had YouTube footage and the treble clanging gave me an instant migraine. I do not think there is a real, wooden (the one I loved was made of rosewood) xylophone in my future and certainly not a marimba. Aside from being around the price of a small grand piano, where would I put it? Nonetheless, I can yearn.

This is all because I studied music as a child and as a young adult and even as Owen was growing up. He can still hum most of Chopin’s Mazurkas and a lot of Scott Joplin which was what I was playing when he was a little one. I thought he was sleeping, but it turned out, he was also listening.

Right now, he is having an instrument made for me by a friend of his who makes instruments. He is making me a cigar-box three-string non-electric guitar. I have no idea how one plays a three-string cigar-box guitar, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

There are books to study cigar-box guitars

I had to buy the cigar box and since I knew it was going to become the body of a guitar, I carefully picked one that was made of spruce — one of the woods that has a good ring to it. Just so you know, real cigar boxes are all made of cardboard these days.

So I bought a cigar-sized box and when it arrived, I pinged it and it sounded good. Soon, it will be an instrument. With frets and strings and tuning machines (not pegs — never got good at tuning with pegs). I have no idea what mine will look like. It’s a secret, but I’m ready.

If nothing else, isolation is making me creative in some very strange ways.

By the time I get my guitar, I may already be an expert playing a tin whistle. I could be the whole band if only I had a few more hands.

LIVING IN THE WILDERNESS? – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP SATURDAY: WILDERNESS


The area in which we live is definitely rural, but I never considered it wilderness until suddenly, after 20 years of receiving packages from every known delivery service, we can’t be found. We have disappeared.

We get notes saying a post office package was “undeliverable.” Undeliverable? It’s not raining or snowing. There are no civil protests or traffic jams. No massive reconstruction projects. Personally, I think they didn’t even try to deliver to us. What happened to the packages? In the last two weeks, almost $600 of Amazon deliveries have had to be refunded to us and the same items ordered elsewhere.

I’m sure this means something, but what? Have our roads been deleted from maps and GPS’s? Has Uxbridge been banned from Mapquest?

Squirrel

I grant you that we live surrounded by woods. We certainly have a good deal of wildlife. Critters include fishers, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, flying squirrels, deer, skunk, chipmunks, coyotes, and foxes. In the air we have eagles, hawks, woodpeckers and every sort of garden bird. In nearby waters we have ducks, geese, herons, and divers — and some of the biggest snapping turtles you’ve ever seen. Nonetheless, these creatures are not crowding our highways or driveway. They live in the woods and unless you have feeders, they have no interest in you.

Oh look! I found a few seeds!

We have paved roads. Even a traffic light! We have a grocery, a couple of banks, hairdressers, and a really big lumber yard. Until recently, all of these made us a town that was still on the map. We aren’t huge, but we are not wilderness. In this same Blackstone Valley we have probably a dozen small towns, fire houses (with fire trucks, too!).

We have police (not many, but enough). We have post offices and drop-off and delivery areas for UPS and Fedex. You can get your nails done — or you could have, back in the “old days” before March 2020 — or get a tattoo. There were two dry-cleaners and a floor installer and TWO places that framed pictures.

Yet still, no one can find us.

It’s amazing after living here for 20 years and getting daily deliveries that suddenly, we don’t exist. A bit startling, too.

DRESSED TO KILL? – Marilyn Armstrong

Garry used to be the best dresser in Boston. He spent a fortune on clothing. He loved looking good. His father was a tailor and for him, a suit that fit perfectly was like a hot sports car — and he had one of them, too. Did I mention his 1969 hot orange convertible Challenger? He actually had a matching wristwatch — gold with an orange background. That’s what he was showing Tip O’Neill in this now almost-famous photograph.

Garry wanted to be debonair. Like Cary Grant. He loved the way Cary Grant wore clothing and over time, Garry became quite a clothes-horse. You’d never know it from his stretchy pants these days, but in his time, he was quite the dresser. He still irons a crease in his jeans because they need that crease or they don’t look right.

Except he almost never wears jeans anymore. He is retired and so is his wardrobe. But he keeps a few things because every now and then, he has to stand in front of an audience and look good.

He looks good!

Recently – Photo: Garry Armstrong

I always felt slightly underdressed in his company — even when he was wearing shorts and a tee-shirt. Even my father — who rarely noticed anything other than himself (a consummate narcissist) — remarked that Garry looked better dressed in a grungy pair of shorts and shirt than most people looked in a tuxedo.

It was hard for me to live up to that, but Garry was a big help to me in finding clothing that looked good on me. He had an eye for drape and line. Even our granddaughter wouldn’t go shopping for a prom dress without his help. That is something!

At Broadcasting Hall Of Fame, September 2013

He never managed to help Owen much, though, but Owen was allergic to nice clothing. Greasy jeans and tee shirts with holes were his thing from very early on. Clothing that didn’t have paint stains on them wasn’t worth wearing. I guess that’s the flip side of debonair? Anti-debonair?

These days, it’s all about comfort. Elastic. I warned him, though. Once you discover elastic, you’ll never go back. it’s true. After you have learned to love stretch, nothing else feels right.

Yoga pants forever!

SOMEHOW, SPRING SPRANG – Marilyn Armstrong

SPRING CAME ANYWAY

You might think that with the awful and cold weather we’ve had, that spring wouldn’t show up, but it did. Today was pretty nice. A big humid followed by pelting rain, high winds, and several tornados, but the morning was nice.

I had to take some pictures of the woods getting ready for full bloom!

EXTRACTION FROM THE MIRE OF THE PAST – Marilyn Armstrong

The endless recitation of woes on blogs I used to enjoy is giving me a headache. It’s not a lack of personal sympathy. It’s more like emotional exhaustion. So many people seem to be stuck in the mire of misery that began in childhood.

Don’t they want to move on? The quagmire of despair has become comfortable. They have moved in and made misery their home. Some of these bloggers continue exploring the depths of their suffering for hundreds — thousands? — of posts. Many are closing in on Social Security yet are still suffering from childhood trauma. So much for time casting a rosy haze over the past.

There ought to be a legal cutoff date at which point you are required to close the book on whatever awful experiences life has dealt you. At some point, there ought to be a law forcing you to come to grips with your rotten childhood and terrible former relationships. Or at least be required to find another subject about which to write.

we are not our mistakes

I know lots of people who were abused as children. I was. My brother was. Many of the people to whom I sold or gifted my book had never been able to talk about it before.  I helped more people to be able to talk about it. It was a big deal for me.

Because we don’t talk about it. We act like we are the guilty parties. It seems that more folks than not grew up in dysfunctional families … and each dysfunction was different than any other. And anyway, who hasn’t had a terrible relationship or three?

I plead guilty on all charges, your honor.

It was my first husband (before you ask, he was the one who died) who gave me a Gibbs slap and got me to get it together. This was before my second marriage, the one in which I managed to step in front of the same bullet I’d previously dodged.


Note to Self: We never get too old to act like morons.


Jeffrey didn’t have a storybook childhood either (who did?), so he had his own issues to resolve. One day, when I was going on about my father he said: “You know, you’ve told me these stories before. Several times. Maybe it’s time to move on.” It was good advice and I wish he’d taken it.

You have to want to move on. It took time and work, but I’m glad I did it. There have been plenty of new traumas and I doubt I’d have survived if I hadn’t cleared the decks. Nowadays, I’m overloaded. I cannot bear to read another angst-laden tale of abuse and emotional trauma. I’m aware is its, was awful.

Been there. Survived. I support all efforts to free oneself from the lingering effects of the past are hard. We are so stubborn about the bad stuff we’ve gone through. Why is pain so much clingier than good times? There’s enough misery to go around without adding more.

For all of us, maybe it’s time to stop defining ourselves as the worst times in our lives.

  • We are not what others did to us.
  • We aren’t our mistakes.
  • As much as we have suffered, we’ve also found fun, joy, friends, love. It’s just so much easier to remember the pain.

We empower misery and dismiss happier times.

Misery is like a piano falling on your head; happiness just creeps up on you. The result? Long after the people who hurt us have disappeared from our lives, they are still beating us up.

Let’s celebrate the good times. Who couldn’t use a few good laughs? Especially now. I was SURE today was Thursday. It’s Wednesday. By Sunday, it might be next month. Who can tell?

KEEP TALKING – BY TOM CURLEY

A weird thing happened this week. Other than that last week was “Peak Death Week.” (Sorry, I didn’t get anybody a card).

For the first time ever I didn’t immediately mute my TV when the Covidiot-in-chief comes on to do the daily “5 O’clock Follies” and spend two-hours doing what he normally would do at his hate-filled rallies.

A Distorted View. Neil Davis – one of Australia’s greatest war correspondents was one of the most vocal opponents of these events. Between 1965 and 1968 US television networks distorted the view of the war. They portrayed it as a romantic, heroic struggle. They uncritically accepted the version of events presented to them by US generals daily at 5pm. The Allied public was lead to believe they were winning the war. How could he know better than the generals and the other journalists?

Up until now I, like most folks, would just scream at the TV.

THAT’S A LIE!

THAT’S A BIGGER LIE!!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?????

Then I just muted the sound till the real news came back on.

I have been livid that the news networks all take these propaganda briefings in full. It’s just him campaigning.  Doesn’t Biden get equal time? Now, the cable networks, except for Fox of course, routinely break away to fact check the verbal diarrhea that spews forth from everybody on the podium except for Dr. Fauci.

But this week it changed. I suddenly remembered a funny meme that my cousin Jackie sent me a few weeks ago. It was a sign that said:

“When someone tells you to ‘Keep Talking’ and you realize what he’s really saying is ‘You Better Shut the Fuck Up Right Now!”

She added a comment “That was Uncle Tom’s go-to move.” That was my Dad. I laughed for almost ten minutes when I read that.  Because it was so true. When my brother and I were kids and we were trying to talk ourselves out of whatever thing we did that we shouldn’t have, he would just look at us for a long moment and say

“Go on, keep talking.”

At that point, we’d realize we’d been busted and we would shut the fuck up.

That’s just what is happening with these propaganda rallies. He is just playing to his base like he does in his cult rallies. The only problem is that everybody is watching. His cult followers will believe anything and everything that he says. But the rest of the country and the rest of the world are all screaming at their TVs.  His utter madness, his utter contempt for human life, his unimaginable stupidity, his utter lack of empathy is being shoved down the world’s throat every Goddamned day. I think the democrats are being smart. Let him keep talking.

He says he has the absolute right to open the country even though he doesn’t

Keep talking.

He says “I take no responsibility” for any of the mess we’re in.

Keep talking.

He says he has absolute power. He doesn’t

Keep talking

“The testing is going just fine.” It’s not.

Keep talking.

“We have one case, soon it will be none.” We didn’t. It wasn’t

Keep talking.

“It will be gone by April.”  Hmmm. Last week was peak death week. Well, in New York at least. This week, it’s Massachusetts surging.

Keep talking.

So, for the first time, I actually listened to him. For a few minutes. Until I threw up in my mouth a little. I still mute the TV for most of the Follies.  But now, as I watch I keep hearing my dad.

Go on,  keep talking.

WORLD SHARING IN A TIME OF PLAGUE – Marilyn Armstrong

WORLD SHARING IN A TIME OF PLAGUE

Questions:

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make them?

Just because we learn from our mistakes doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to avoid making mistakes. Trust me. You and me will make plenty of mistakes without working at making more or failing to worry about it.

How do we know that pleasure is good and pain is bad?

Pain hurts. Pleasure doesn’t.

What problem or situation did TV/movies make you think would be common, but when you grew up you found out it wasn’t?

I never thought I’d have to clean my own house. On television or the movies, houses are always perfectly clean. No dust bunnies. Everything is bright and shiny.

Don’t you just love the whole “housekeeping” outfit?

Eventually, reality banged me on the head. Not only was I going to clean, but I wasn’t going to do it while wearing high-heels and makeup.

If you drive, do you speed when no one is watching?   Have you ever run a red light late at night on purpose, particularly if it doesn’t seem to change very quickly?   If you don’t drive, what minor law may you have broken?

I used to speed. Now I don’t drive or at least, haven’t had to drive. I haven’t done anything illegal in years. I find that terribly depressing.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TOILET PAPER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

The panic buying spurred by the Coronavirus has highlighted the products that Americans feel are most essential to their wellbeing. Apparently toilet paper leads the pack since most stores initially reported that they were completely out of toilet paper.

Toilet paper hoarding has become a national joke, with people buying carts full of the stuff in anticipation of long periods of ‘sheltering in place.’

I was surprised to discover that toilet paper has only been around since 1857, which means that humans spent centuries and centuries without this basic item of civilized life. So what did people do before this life-changing invention? Sailors used the frayed end of a rope dipped in saltwater. The Romans used a sponge on the end of a stick. Rural areas used corn cobs hung in outhouses.

Stones and moss were also used as were all kinds of printed paper, which were put to double use. People wiped indiscriminately with everything from newspapers and catalogs to almanacs and literature and even government proclamations.

Then around 1857, Joseph C. Gayetty invented the first commercial toilet paper called “Gayettey’s Medicated Paper.” It was made of hemp, had the inventor’s name watermarked on each sheet and claimed that its four medications combined with the paper pulp prevented and cured hemorrhoids. It was clearly a luxury item only for the rich because it sold for $30 in today’s money for 1000 sheets.

Gayettey’s product was sold only in sheets, as were the other brands that popped up, but it continued to be sold into the 1920s. It wasn’t until 1890 that Irvin and Clarence Scott of Philadelphia’s Scott Paper Company revolutionized the world of toilet paper by selling it on rolls. If you look at the original patent, you can see that the roll was designed to be placed with the sheets coming OVER the roll, NOT UNDER!

Original patent showing OVER was the intended way to position each roll

A later patent tried to address the problem of finding the ‘end’ sheet if it’s not hanging down. It was not successful, nor were the others that subsequently tried to tackle that pressing issue. Later improvements on the toilet paper roll addressed the problem of waste – too many sheets unraveled with each use. In 1891 a patent was granted for a roll of toilet paper with perforations to separate sheets so that only one sheet of paper came off the roll at a time.

Another welcome improvement in quality came in the early 1900s when a company boasted of its super-refined, “splinter-free” toilet paper. Ouch! Before this time, minute wood pulp splinters were a common residue from the papermaking process. By 1943, toilet paper was advertised as “soft and oh so gentle” for the first time!

Toilet paper has also been used as a political tool and numerous American politicians have appeared on rolls, including George Bush and Donald Trump. Prior to World War II, some British toilet paper was made with pictures of Adolph Hitler and other Nazi leaders printed on the sheets. One such roll from the 1930s was recently found in a barn in England. It was thin, war issue paper and was only twenty sheets, but it showed Hitler giving the Nazi salute. It sold for $240!

Are we going to face prices like that for Charmin in the near future? If it had pictures of Donald Trump on it, it might be worth it.

The toilet paper of my childhood came in colors and colorful patterns

A NEW STRATEGY FOR LIFE – Marilyn Armstrong

The strategy and rhythm of life are different between your working years and retirement.


Garry reminded me that he’s busy. By this he means he’s reading two books — one audio, the other print. He’s trying to keep up with his email and stuff on Serendipity and occasionally write a few things, too. Which made me think about busyness.

So I said to him, but also to myself: “How did we have enough time to work full-time and then some?”

Garry worked insanely long hours, often 14 to 16 hours. Just as he was finally about to get some sleep, the station would call him back in. This is why he so treasures sleep. For most of his life, he barely got any. On top of this, he worked strange hours, so his body was always on its own odd schedule.

He remembers better than I do about work, even though he has been retired longer than me. “It was the schedule we lived on. We got up, we went to work, we came home. Then we did it again.”

“I don’t think I could do it … for any amount of money,” I pointed out. “I went out on disability … and that was three major surgeries ago. I don’t think I’m healthier now than I was then.”

“That,” said my husband, “Is the other thing. It doesn’t matter how much money they offered me. I don’t think I could do it.”

That’s the definition of retirement — when not only do you no longer work, but you can’t do it, not for any amount of money. You’re finished. It’s hard to remember exactly what working full-time was like.

These days, I watch — and photograph — birds.

I know I did it. I got up, commuted, sometimes ridiculously long distances which is how I got hooked on audiobooks. Worked. Came home. Cooked. Cleaned. I even occasionally saw friends or family. Then, I got up and did it again. We both did. Together, we worked for about 100 years.

These days, I write a piece or two, read other blogs and maybe fix some pictures and listen to a book. Then, I make dinner and collapse into the sofa, I feel I’ve worked a full day.

It’s 12:15 am and I’m writing this. It’s the second post I’ve written today. I also processed about a dozen pictures. I made shrimp for dinner and Garry cleaned up. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a full day.

I am thoroughly and completely retired.

WHERE’S MY SHIP? By Marilyn Armstrong

I was out in Arizona talking to a Blue Corn Navajo lady who made jewelry. She had carefully given me her tribal affiliations and all I had to say was “Eastern European Jewish,” which lacked panache. I don’t seem to have much of an ability to show a lot of dash in casual conversation. Whatever talent I have, it’s more introverted.

Nonetheless, it was a good conversation. I casually said I was ” … waiting for my ship to come in and hoped it had a fortune on board for me.”

Photo: Garry Armstrong

She asked me, seriously, whether I’d been out on the docks looking for my ship. Looking for my ship? She said “Yes, you have to watch for them. Otherwise, they can pass you by and you’ll never know you missed it.”

I’m sure I forget for years at a time to go look for my ship. It’s probably come and gone and I’ll never see it, even in the foggy distance.

It’s like looking for your writer’s voice. Recently, a lot of people have claimed to be looking for it. Or grumpily asserted they can’t figure out what it is and thus will never find it.


Your writer’s voice is you. Written. It is how you feel, what you mean. In words. Written down. That’s it. The beginning and the end of it. Anyone can find it, but you have to be looking for it. Most people are not looking. They are afraid to find it.


They think they are looking, though. They think your “writer’s voice” as a kind of style or form. Not true.

Your “voice” IS you. You are your voice. Once upon a time — more than 40 years ago –someone told me I wrote like I was afraid my mother would read it. I realized she was right. I was afraid my mother would read it. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I could not find my voice until after she died because I was afraid of what I might say.

The voice was there. I just wasn’t ready to use it where anyone might hear me.

If you are looking for your voice, stop reading books about it. A college course isn’t going to help you. Write how you speak and write what you say … the way you really say it. You should go back to your writing and read it aloud. It should sound like natural speech. More to the point, it should sound like your natural speech. If it doesn’t, rewrite it. If it sounds stilted and phony, it is.

Not everyone needs to find their voice. If what you want to do is write about what’s going on in the world, you only need to write well. Your voice need not come into it.

I want to add a bit here on style and form. Style and form (or format) are not your voice. They are formulas and relate to whatever type of writing you choose as your specialty. In other words, your audience or readership. If you are writing for children (for example), there is a rather rigid formula (with which I almost entirely disagree), especially if you want schools to use your work. Really great kid’s writers have ignored the formalities of the genre and written what they wanted to read when they were young.

I was planning to be the next great “author” although I was never sure what kind of great author.  Everyone tells you to “write like yourself.” Except when you are young, you aren’t sure who “yourself” is. Maturity is terribly time-consuming. It can take most of your life.

The book to read

Finding your voice means letting go of the writers you admired and not trying to sound like them. It means hanging loose. It doesn’t matter what you are writing about, whether it’s for kids, technicians,  news-readers, or lovers of magic.

Many of us are unready to find our voice because we’re afraid our mother, father, pastor, brother, or husband will hear us. Worse, they might understand us and then, maybe, they won’t like it. Or us.

As for my ship? I’m not hanging out by the dock, watching for it. For all I know, it’s already on its way back to wherever it came from.

THE WONDER OF THE WEENIE – By Tom Curley

There was an interesting article in the news concerning a porn site called xhamster.com. I don’t know why it’s called that and I really don’t want to know. They’re in the news because they closed off their website to anybody living in the state of North Carolina.

Why? Because of the harsh, horrible anti-LGBT law they passed. If you log onto their website from anywhere in that state, you would get a blank screen.

blank screen
Blank screen for you!

The tone of all the news reports and nightly talk shows was that this was a funny but useless protest. There are thousands of other porn sites where North Carolinians can … well, you know. As usual, the mainstream media and the nightly talk shows missed the real story. I am not offering an opinion on the virtues or evils of porn.

There is a larger truth. It is widely known but rarely talked about regarding the porn industry. Porn is not just dirty pictures. Porn has been a major driver, financial backer, and early adopter of technological innovation since the beginning of our technological revolution. That is to say, forever.

When mankind started drawing on cave walls, I guarantee you some of the first things depicted were people getting some Neanderthal Nookie.

thestar.com.my
thestar.com.my

Porn was very popular in the Middle Ages. Moreover, it utilized some of the earliest encryption technologies. I saw an exhibit in a museum once that showcased one of them. The exhibit consisted of huge tapestries painted with very strange distorted images. You couldn’t tell what they were.

What were they? Porn. The artist would draw the original naughty painting on a regular canvas. He would then look at the painting’s reflection in a cylindrical mirror. The image in the mirror would be distorted. He would then paint that distorted image onto the tapestry so if you looked at the tapestry, the painting made no sense.

anamorphic art
arthit.ru

But. If you looked at the tapestry’s reflection in the same cylindrical mirror the artist used, the image would be reconstructed back to its original form. — “Naughty Knights 5.”

When photography was invented in the 1800s one of the earliest subjects was, of course, naked women. Having sex. When the telegraph was invented, telegraph operators were known to spend their off-hours “telegraph sexting”.

I didn’t believe it either.

blog.kaspersky.com
blog.kaspersky.com

OPERATOR ONE: Who you talking to?

OPERATOR TWO: I don’t know, but she sure can dit my dot!

The VCR became popular because porn producers started switching to videotape, abandoning film. Finally, you didn’t have to go to a movie theater for porn. You could “bring it home.”

VHS beat out Betamax because the porn industry chose VHS. Really. No kidding. That’s the way it really happened.

alf.image.com
alf.image.com

Porn money propelled other technologies, too. Online payments, DVDs, streaming video, and two-way internet chat rooms. Virtual Reality headsets were only been available for a few months before there was Virtual Reality Porn.

truvisionvr.com
truvisionvr.com

(I wouldn’t know this personally, but I read a lot).

So here’s the real story that everybody has missed.  One porn site blocked off an entire state. It has been viewed as a symbolic, but mostly useless protest.

What if they all did it?  What if all the porn sites got together and said to North Carolina: “NO PORN FOR YOU!”

no porn for you

I’ll bet you that anti-LGBT law would be overturned in about an hour and a half! Maybe less. Then, the porn industry would realize it’s true power! Imagine, Lysistrata on a national, even a global, scale!

dykiegirl.wordpress.com
dykiegirl.wordpress.com

“You won’t do what we want? NO PORN FOR YOU!” All the porn industry needs to do is come together. Organize.

Organize into a cartel.

A conglomerate

 A Ring.

lotr.wiki.com
lotr.wiki.com

“One ring to rule them all. One ring to find them.

One ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.”

Pray they use their power for good.

IF IT AIN’T BROKE … Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #3

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You mean like our 31-year-old furnace that works but is guaranteed to give up the ghost any time now? Or the back deck that’s propped up in one corner because it was falling off the house?

Finishing the door

I think you could definitely say this about software because almost all their “upgrades” which supposedly fixes inevitably make the simple stuff more complicated and the complicated bits unusable.

On the other hand, when it comes to the things in your household? Replacement or repair before it blows up, burns down, or collapses leaving holes in ceilings and potentially causing life-threatening injuries to persons or pets? Maybe you really need to fix whatever it is sooner rather than later.

The room, well lit

Fixing that broken toilet for $900 was a lot cheaper than replacing the floor, ceiling, and burying whoever was sitting on it when the floor caved it!

So maybe this needs a minor wording change:


IF IT IS WORKING PROPERLY AND EVERYONE USES IT, LEAVE IT ALONE. IF IT’S HARDWARE AND IT IS ANCIENT, CREAKING, AND WILL FAIL LEAVING A TRAIL OF DISASTERS IN ITS WAKE? CALL A PROFESSIONAL AND CHECK HIS OR HER REFERENCES BEFORE YOU LAYOUT ANY MONEY!


IF YOU SURVIVE THE WEDDING, MARRIAGE IS A PIECE OF CAKE – Marilyn Armstrong

When Garry proposed, I was shocked. That was not supposed to happen. He was 48. I was 43 and had been married twice. My first husband (still alive) was Garry’s best friend. It was (really) complicated.

I had finally managed to get unmarried to number two which was made a lot more difficult because I needed an Israeli board of Rabbis in Jerusalem to agree. You’d be surprised how difficult that can be. They are not modern guys.

Photo: Debbie Stone

After I got over the shock, I realized we would have a wedding, about which I was not enthusiastic. I have never been enthusiastic about weddings. But Garry wanted the whole thing. Flowers,  music, and his pastor from childhood who was retired, but he dragged out of retirement for the occasion … and of course, me. Also, it had to be in New York at his childhood church rather than in Boston where we lived — and where Garry had lived for more than 25 years.

Having told me what he wanted for a wedding, Garry retired and let me deal with it. He figured out I would do everything and he could show up in a tuxedo. Voila! Done and done.

Somewhere in Ireland

The whole thing’s a blur. Luckily, I have it on a DVD. As a bride, you get moved around, told where to stand. You wear shoes so painful you need the jaws of life to remove them from your feet. Also, the gown had no shoulders, so I had to wear a corset. It was a hot September and beneath the corset, I was bathed in sweat. There were stockings with garters, a veil, flowers, coiffed hair, and more makeup than is suitable for a very warm day. Sheesh.

As for the date, it would be when Garry’s baby brother, the honorable Dr. Anton Armstrong, conductor of the St. Olaf’s Choir wasn’t going to be on the road with the choir. We wanted him to sing — and he wanted to sing — but he’s a busy guy. Then there was a bagpiper (my first husband insisted). My Maid of Honor wanted to sing (lovely voice) … and another friend was going to sing too. NO way we were getting away with simple music and anyway, Garry has a streak of Hollywood director in his soul, so we made no plans for the reception, but staged a big show for the ceremony.

That was September 15th,1990, so it will be 30 years this year. Time sure has hurried by.

When people asked if they could bring their kids, we said “absolutely not” and they brought them anyway. Garry’s mother invited all her best friends because she was Garry’s Mom and felt she could do whatever she wanted. And she did.

I wanted to go to City Hall and have the Mayor marry us. He was a pretty good friend then — still IS a friend, though he’s long out of office. We could have had a nice little ceremony on the steps of city hall, grabbed a plane at Logan and headed for Ireland. But we had to have a wedding. I think we were the ONLY people to invite 86 people and end up with 110 people attending. No one refused.

Everyone came. “You mean — GARRY is getting MARRIED? I’ve gotta BE there!” He was Boston’s longest surviving bachelor, so this was an occasion for all and sundry. It was a great wedding which I know because we have the DVD. A couple of years ago, we transferred it from tape to DVD having discovered that mylar tape corrodes rather quickly. Who knew?

With a few exceptions, we know all the same people today we knew then. Funny how that works.

I suppose we stayed married because we were determined to make it work. We really cared about each other. Love is important in a marriage, but I have to say it is the friendship that keeps it going. When the flush of romance has been crushed under the pressure of two full-time jobs, all Mr. Romance wants to do is sit around the apartment watching baseball. Being friends helps.

Love is a grand thing, but a deep and abiding friendship lasts forever. So, if I were you, I’d call a time-out at a big wedding and spend the money on a fabulous honeymoon. Honeymoon food is better and you don’t have to wear high heels.

WOULD YOU PLEASE ANSWER THAT PHONE? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

The world can be divided in many ways – Republicans vs. Democrats, religious people vs. non religious people, cat people vs. dog people. Here’s another way – people who love the phone vs. people who hate it.

I love talking on the phone. I have many close friends who live far away now and it’s the next best thing to spending time with them in person. You can have real conversations that drift from one topic to the next. You can even interrupt each other! You don’t get the subtleties of body language that you get in person, but you’re actually engaging with the real person. You can remember why you loved this person in the first place.

Another important advantage of phones is laughter. We can hear our friends laugh at our jokes and our friends can hear us laugh at theirs. We get to laugh TOGETHER, which is huge. Laughter is a powerful bond. Most women list a sense of humor as one of the things they most value in a man. Sharing laughter is one of the great joys in life. You can’t get it in a text. Typing LOL is not the same thing!

When I was dating online, I discovered that liking someone’s emails was NOT a good indicator that I would like them in person. But liking someone on the phone gave me a pretty good chance that I would like them in person. That’s when I fully realized that writing and talking are on two separate planes.

Talking is personal. It reveals personality and connects people on an emotional, visceral level. You get most of what you get when you are physically with someone.

Emailing may tell you the writing style of the person but not their speaking style or their personal “je ne sais quoi.” In texting, people tend to write shortened sentences with abbreviations and even Emojis. So you don’t even get the “voice” or writing style of the person. The time lag with texts also annoys me. Write then wait. Read then write. Rinse and repeat.

Try watching a movie or TV show and hit pause for twenty seconds after each person speaks. Not very gratifying. In fact, it will probably drive you crazy.

To me, texting is great for short, immediate communications. Like: “In traffic. Running 15 minutes late.” OR “What time do you want us for dinner?” Otherwise, not really communications.

Nevertheless, I understand that some people are just not phone people. My daughter is a phonophobe. She would rather talk for an hour every few weeks and text in between to stay in touch. My mother hated the phone. When I was growing up, she would have me call people to change or cancel appointments for her so she would not get “stuck” talking on the phone.

My husband, Tom, is also not a phone person. When we were dating, it didn’t even occur to him to talk on the phone the nights we weren’t seeing each other. Once I started the pattern, he was fine with it. But he wouldn’t have done it on his own.

I think the younger generations are growing up totally immersed in texting and internet communications. They may never learn the pleasure you can get from a long phone conversation with a friend. They may not even have long conversations in person anymore either. From what I hear, kids spend time online even when they are really with other people. The art of the conversation may be dying out altogether.

I guess I shouldn’t be worrying about fewer people talking on the phone. I should be worrying about fewer people talking to each other. At all!