TO KNOW OR NOT? PROVOCATIVE QUESTION 4 – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #4

Knowing and Not Knowing


Is it better to know or not? Well … don’t you think that it’s a matter of what you are talking about?

If the question is “what am I getting for my birthday, I probably shouldn’t know, though usually if I do know I can at least get it in the right size. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure it won’t fit. My beloved husband is sure I’m at least three sizes smaller than I really am. I appreciate the thought, but that sweater is NOT going to fit!

On the other hand, I really want to know if my chimney is about to fall down. I want to know if strange animals are taking up residence in my attic or basement. Because I have to fix those things. Not knowing will ultimately make the problem worse.

I learned several things over the past few days.

We do not have any more mice. They are all dead and gone. We have to keep after them because we have a warm cozy house in the middle of a cold woods, but for the nonce, no mice. Phew.

The ants are gone too. So are the stink bugs and those puffy weird many-legged things.

Duke the dog is the healthiest living dog on the planet and he needs to be walked, even though he runs like the wind most of the time. That’s definitely a Garry job and this is an unfortunate time to try to deal with it. It is getting very cold, very fast. It will be snowy before the weekend. We have no sidewalks, no lights, and no safe place to walk without driving into town to a park … and once it snows, they don’t clear the pathways. This may have to wait until spring.

Unless winter decides to not come at all and suddenly, it’s summer again. Which I would usually say couldn’t happen, but lately, who knows?

There are no seasons, there are no patterns. There’s just strange weather and more rain than we’ve had ever in recorded weather history, about 150 years.

Portrait of the beast

So the dog, having been to the vet, is healthy, very smart, and has a lot of Lhasa Apso and Boston Terrier in there … plus something else. All Asian dog DNA. Except for Tinker the Thinker, the Duke is probably our smartest ever dog.

We have to get him something called a martingale which is a low-level choke collar. Can’t put a gentle leader on him for two amusing reasons. First, his snout is too short. All that Asian dog flat-faced DNA … and because the vet says he’d figure out how to remove it in about 5 seconds. Maybe less.

Smart dog.

“Hey,” she said, “I rescued a whack dog too. He’d been returned to the shelter twice. If I didn’t take him, no one would. So he’s crazy, wild, and mine.”

I suggested maybe more Prozac.

“For you?” she suggested. I nodded. I don’t think anything will calm him down, but if I get calm enough, it won’t matter.


Despite my continuing attempts to make my life easier, I seem to be making it more complicated. Maybe “simple” isn’t for me. Maybe I need to be busy and mentally involved.

Each time I think I know who and what I am, I discover whatever I knew was yesterday’s information. By the time I know something, I’m already well on my way to becoming someone else. I am always becoming someone else. There’s no end to it and maybe that’s as it should be, at least for me.

To know or not to know?

I doubt there is a sensible answer to that. I need to know what I need to know. How can I know whether or not I need to know something — anything — until I already have enough data on which to make a reasoned choice?

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.

BOOKISH QUESTIONS AND ODDLY BRIEF ANSWERS – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango plucked these from the blog of Melanie at who picked them up from Teresa. Interesting book questions for those of us who read.

The Questions:

1-Have you ever re-gifted a book that you’ve been gifted?
2-Have you ever claimed to have read a book when you haven’t?
3-Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it?
4-Have you ever read a series out-of-order?
5-Have I ever spoiled a book for someone?
6-Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section of a book?
7-Have you ever bad-mouthed a book you actually liked?

And now, the answers – because I can discuss books and remain sane.

1-Have you ever re-gifted a book that you’ve been gifted?

No. Everyone I know is desperate to get rid of books, not collect them. We are all rather bookish people and books come to you like iron filings to a magnet.

2-Have you ever claimed to have read a book when you haven’t?

No. If I haven’t read it, I will say I haven’t read. Sometimes I’ll even explain why I haven’t read it. Usually, I have a reason.

3-Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it?

No, but I’ve given away books and hoped I never got them back. Oddly enough, they always come back.

4-Have you ever read a series out-of-order?

Sure. I try to read them in order, but sometimes, you read a book, realize there are other books in the series and you go back and read them.

5-Have I ever spoiled a book for someone?

Not intentionally or that I know about.

6-Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section of a book?

I’ve put down books and never picked them up again. If I don’t like it, I won’t bother to finish it. I have read a lot of books and I’ve never been embarrassed about not reading another one.

7-Have you ever bad-mouthed a book you actually liked?

No. But I have complimented books and given moderately good reviews to books I really didn’t like. Authors are sensitive. I hate hurting their feelings and just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean someone else might not love it. Also, believe it or not, authors read reviews. Even mine.

Q & A – AS LONG AS THE COPS AREN’T ASKING – Marilyn Armstrong

I Love Questions Unless the Cops Are Asking Them

The latest is Melanie over at Sparks From a Combustible Mind, who was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Congratulations Melanie.

She then wrote, “Anyone who wishes to answer some or all of the questions here, you’re more than welcome!!” And since I am “anyone,” here are Melanie’s questions and my answers.

Note: I’m ALSO anyone! So there!


1. Which season fits your personality best — spring, summer, fall, or winter — and why?

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Fall, usually. This year hasn’t been great but still, definitely my favorite season.

2. If you were to choose a well-known axiom or slogan for your life, what would it be?

The truth is easier to remember than a lie.

3. If you were a color, which would you be and why?

I get hung up on this. Do you mean a color I would wear? or just BE? What color is my aura?

I have no idea if I have an aura, much less its color. I don’t honestly think I can answer this because I like a lot of colors, depending on what they are being used for. Many colors I love, I won’t wear. For sheer color, I think turquoise. That clear bright blue you find mostly from Arizona mines.

4. What’s a skill you learned when you were young that you still use today?

Touch typing. I think it is the only genuinely useful skill I learned in school!

5. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given?

“If they ask you to make an instant decision, say NO.” I wish I’d stuck to it more.

6. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be?

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Stephen Colbert,  and Connie Willis. And if I get a fourth, Jim Butcher.

7. If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you use it?

Listening. I’m an audiobook junkie.

8. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever done while on a date?

While trying to cut up the steak, it slid off the plate and onto my white silk blouse. I never wore white silk for any event where eating was involved. And I never ordered a steak with bones.

9. If you were the eighth dwarf, what would your name be?

Sneezy Too. I sneeze a LOT. I can sneeze an entire evening away.

10. Where is the last place you’d be caught dead? Aside from the cemetery, of course!

Mountain climbing.

QUESTIONS? ANSWERS! – Marilyn Armstrong

I stole these from Fandango, though they originally came from Sadje, at Keep It Alive.

Sadje posed 11 new questions that he thought were good and so did I. So I stole them. Though, to be fair, I was invited to steal them.

1. How long have you been blogging?

Six and a half years.

2. Do your friends and family support you in this?

Yes, actually. More than that, they participate and actually read my stuff! How rare is that?

3. Which is your favorite time of the day?

Sunset and the middle of the evening.

4. What would be your dream vacation?

A few relaxing weeks at a cabin in the mountains. Or winning the lottery. Either, both will do nicely.

5. What genre of movies you like best?

Usually comedy, but by no means always. I kind of like a lot of different things. If it’s well done, I’ll watch it. On TV. The movies don’t have a “pause” for bathroom breaks.

6. What do you wake up to?

Barking dogs. Three barking dogs. When that doesn’t do it, body slams against the bedroom door usually get me moving.

7. Are you a morning person?

Used to be. But since Garry is a night guy, I’ve shifted around so we’re on the same schedule.

8. What motivates you?

Like — to go to the doctor? My Google calendar. To take my medications? A desire to remain alive. Cook dinner? Garry looks hungry. Write? Anything and everything. Pictures? Something that catches my eye.

I could go on and on, but I think I’ll stop now.

9. How do you think your friends see you?

One tough old bird with a serious OCD problem.

10. What would be your idea for saving the environment from pollution?

Get rid of the GOP and get serious about fixing it. Like right now would be good, though a dozen years ago would have been better.

11. Happy or peaceful, what’s more important?

I think they come together, kind of like a horse and carriage.

Having brazenly plagiarized Fandango’s plagiarization of Sadje’s questions, feel free to copy the questions and answer them on your own blog. Be sure to link back to Sadje’s originating post here so that she gets the credit she deserves.

FORTY QUESTIONS UPON WHICH THE WORLD’S FATE DOES NOT HANG! – Marilyn Armstrong


Cheryl (aka, The Bag Lady) published a list of 40 questions labeled “odd things about me” that she received from her sister. Although 40 seems like a lot of questions, they’re short and don’t require a lot of thought. The idea of making a post I don’t have to really think about was deeply appealing.


1. Do you like blue cheese? Yum. 

2. Coke or Pepsi? Coke.

3. Do you own a gun? I used to have a b-b gun, but I gave it to my son.

4. What flavor of Kool-aid? Bug juice? Seriously?

5. Hot dogs? I like the new Nathan’s unprocessed ones. They actually taste good.

6. A favorite TV show? Currently “Rake” but it depends on the day you ask.

7. Do you believe in ghosts? Only when I meet them in the hallway.

8. What do you drink in the morning? Coffee.

9. Can you do a push-up? Maybe one half.

10. Favorite Jewelry? Anything Native American. It’s all about the stones.

11. Favorite Hobby? Blogging.

12. Do you have ADD? More like OCD.

13. Do you wear glasses? Only if I need to see 

14. Favorite cartoon character? George of the Jungle

15. Three things you did today? Wrote, wrote, took some pictures, processed pictures, wrote, wrote, still writing and deleted several hundred emails. Not done yet. 

16. Three drinks you drink regularly? Coffee, some kind of sports drink, and whatever fruit juice looked good this week.

17. Current movies? What’s current?

18. Do you believe in magic? I would really LIKE to believe. But really, no. 

19. Favorite place to be? Home.

20. How did you ring in the New Year? Watching old movies. We do kiss at midnight. 

21. Travel? Where would you go? Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti.

22. Name five people who will most likely read this? I assume five of the people who follow my blog and comment on most of my posts. I have more than 14,000 other followers, but they don’t talk to me.

23. Favorite movie? The Lion In Winter.

24. Favorite color? Black.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No. They are slippery. I fell out of bed.

26. Can you whistle? No.

27. Where are you now? Home.

29. Favorite food? Japanese. Almost anything.

30. Least favorite chore? Cleaning mold from between the bathroom tiles. Second least favorite? Weeding the garden. 

31. Best job you can think of? Managing editor, feature newspaper. It was just SWELL. 

32. What’s in your pockets? Nothing. I’m wearing a nightgown and bathrobe.

33. Last thing that made you laugh? When they fired another one of Charlie Baker’s appointed city managers. Hah!

34. Favorite animal? Dogs.

35. What’s your most recent injury? You mean like when my heart stopped and they had to replace two valves, do a bypass and install a pacemaker? Does that count?

36. How many TV’s are in your house? Two. Garry is the only one who uses the one in the bedroom. He watches old black & white movies and I read books.

37. Worst pain ever? Coming out of heart surgery. I tried to beat up the duty nurse. They put me back under for two more days. I was seriously pissed off. Or maybe it was when I had spine surgery and it infected. Hard to remember. I was not a happy camper.

38. Do you like to dance? Not any more.

39. Are your parents still alive? No.

40. Do you enjoy camping? No.


Now you copy and paste the questions to your blog, but replace my answers with yours. One easy-peasy post!

FASHIONISTA? ME? SERIOUSLY? – Marilyn Armstrong

I need to start out by pointing out I will not wear anything that isn’t comfortable. Gone are the high heels, tight anything (skirts, pants, sweaters, forget it!) and in is anything elastic. Even my jeans are elastic. If it doesn’t stretch, I don’t wear it.

I hate “dressy” events because I don’t own dressy clothing. I did, back when we were both working and Garry had events to which we were required to go, but now? I have some dresses, but I can’t wear shoes to go with them. And pantyhose? Seriously?

We’ve invented telephones that rule the world, but we can’t do better than pantyhose?

That being said, don’t expect much from this!

Daily Topic Subject – Fashionista!

Q1] How important is colour in your life?

In my life? Color is important. Not so much in my clothing, though. I wear grey, black, tan, taupe.

Occasionally red or orange … and navy. Not a thrilling palette. But the house has color — in pictures and statues and pottery.

Q2] What is most favourite colour to wear?

Denim.

Q3] Is there a colour that you wear that brings the best out in you and in others – in so far as compliments?

Photo: Garry Armstrong –

Black.

Q4] Are you a person who likes to overdress for the day or are you a follower of the credo, less is more?

I don’t OWN fancy clothing anymore. I can’t wear dressy shoes — and I can’t balance on high heels.

So overdressing is unlikely. If it requires that level of dress? I probably won’t go.

PQ5] What are five of your best items of clothing that you simply couldn’t be without? [and l don’t mean underwear/socks]

Sleep tees in the warm weather and flannel nightgowns in the winter. And don’t knock socks. I have the world BEST sock collection.

Q6] Do you dress for the season, as in colour wise, or just throw on whatever is warm and practical?

We live in New England. I have hot weather clothing, warm weather dress, cool and chilly weather clothing, cold weather clothing, very cold weather clothing, brutally cold weather clothing, and arctic-level clothing.

PQ7] If you were going for an evening out and the dress code was ‘smart casual’ what is your ideal outfit and why?

I tell them I was sick and not go.

Happy anniversary!

Garry might go alone, but if he had to wear a tie, I doubt he’d go either.

Q8] If you were having to attend an important meeting or appointment and the dress code was smart – what would your outfit be then?

At my age, I don’t have those meetings or appointments. If they are my age, they are also wearing sweatpants.

Q9] How many pairs of shoes do you own, and what is the breakdown [as in casual, smart, evening, leisure]

More boots!

I have maybe 20 pairs of shoes, 10 of which are really old and I don’t actually wear them but they aren’t worn out, so I keep them. Mostly, I wear sandals in the summer and Uggs in the winter. In between, I wear SOCKS.

Q10] Do you have classic clothing or classic items in your wardrobe that you have had for years and never go out of fashion if so name three?

I consider it classic. Others might say I’m a slob. Sweatshirts, tee-shirts, and jeans. I’ve been wearing this same clothing since I was a young teenager. Oh, and I have not one but three Navy Peacoats.

Q11] Are you into plain colours, wild colours or outlandish designs or a mixture and which do you favour more?

Plain. Elastic. Washable. Dryable.

PQ12] Do you have a favourite quote with regards fashion or design – if so what is it?

No.

Q13]  Knee high socks, ankle socks, shin socks or no socks?

Ankle socks with sticky bits on the bottom when I’m in the house. Knee high in the winter and if that isn’t warm enough, it’s too cold to go out.

Q14] Can you see the connection between colour and music and if so does it influence your dress code for the day in any way?

Not really. I wish I could say yes, but really, no.

PQ15] If you are going out somewhere special and want to listen to some music to put you in the mood whilst getting dressed up, what do you listen to? [Provide link please]

I don’t think I’ve EVER done that.

Q16] How often do you buy new clothing for the season or the year?

When I try to put on the nightgown and my finger goes through the fabric, I figure I probably need a new one. Also, as I get older and everything droops, I have to buy different sizes.

I’m also getting shorter (we shrink with age), so that’s a factor. But otherwise? I have winter and summer clothing. This is New England. It’s all about the weather.

Q17] Remember tie-dye from the 70’s was it a thing you followed, bought into or worse, how do you feel about it now?

Nope. Byt the time tie-dye was in, I was a mother working full time. I missed that whole dressing thing.

Q18] What is the brightest coloured item of clothing you have in your wardrobes/drawers?

I have an orange dress.

Q19] What is the most expensive item of clothing that you have in your wardobe? How often do you actually wear it?

I have a deep winter coat from Land’s End that cost me about $250. I wear it when the temperatures fall significantly below zero (Fahrenheit, NOT Celsius).

PQ20] Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?

No.

Q21] Is being ‘fashionable’ important to you, or is being comfortably attired  more so?

I like not looking like I just crawled out of a ditch, so clean matters. I only wear the hairy, dog-hair covered stuff at home. The dogs do not care. And anyway, Garry is similarly attired.