LOUDER THAN WORDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #23

Oh let us speak first of love. When a man says he loves you, that’s nice. When a man shows you he loves you, that matters. Men, after they get over the huge masculine hurdle of saying “I love you” seem to have an even more powerful resistance to displaying love.

What does showing love mean? An unasked-for hug. The kiss that isn’t pre-sex. A bouquet of flowers that wasn’t bought at the gas station … and for which there is no special occasion. Just loving. A gift for no reason. All these speak of love.

In the world of “other things,” the senator who stands up for what he believes no matter how badly it affects his personal political agenda. The military man who goes in after a civilian caught in a cross-fire, even though it won’t win him a medal. The judge who recognizes a youngster with potential who needs help and offers it instead of prison.

Even small things. Holding doors for older people who are having trouble navigating an entryway. Waiting patiently in line even when the elderly woman ahead of you is having trouble making sense of her money and the clerk ho kindly waits for her to finish, even when the line is stopped and people are griping.

There are many actions that display an understanding of right and wrong which no words can show. These actions speak ever so much louder than words.

YOU CAN LEAD A HORSE TO WATER BUT YOU CANNOT MAKE HIM DRINK – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #22

I rather prefer Dorothy Parker’s version:

“You can lead a whore to culture but you cannot make her think.”

Thus spake the Orange Man!

DISCRETION AND VALOR – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #21

Where oh where have valor and discretion gone? What does this mean? Until you know what you are talking about, shut up.

Valor isn’t doing something stupid and dangerous. It means doing something that may cost you your life to save someone ELSE. It isn’t bungee jumping or tightrope walking between highrise buildings. Discretion isn’t being quiet when you know something important that others need to know — like our recent ‘senators’ who were supposedly judging Trump’s impeachment. That wasn’t discretion. That was spinelessness. Cowards minus one.

“Discretion is the better part of valor” suggests that unless you have the facts, you should keep your mouth shut. It does NOT suggest that refusing to talk when you have knowledge of important (maybe critical) information is a good thing.

Discretion has been nearly eliminated from the national dialogue. Facts are discarded along with civility. No one seems to know the difference between valor and doing dangerous things for fun. It is why when someone actually stands up and does the right thing, we go crazy. These days, we feel it’s remarkable when anyone shows real character and honesty.

That’s the world we have made. I hope we unmake it soon.

HEY, DON’T BITE ME! – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #19

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!


Sometimes the dogs get overly excited about whatever treat I’m holding. Gibbs got too enthusiastic about raw meat. When I trim the meat before cooking it, he got all worked up and sometimes took not only the meat but a piece of finger too. He got over it. It took a few months until civilization caught up with him.

Bonnie is more dainty. After she gave up puppy nipping, she has never done it again for any reason. But she has been with us from her earliest days. I doubt she can even imagine a home that isn’t here.

We did have to teach the Duke to leave the hand, just take the food. Now he is very delicate and careful. It took him a while to learn to leave some space between meat and finger. Now he waits patiently and has even given up jumping on us in the hopes that we have saved a little extra something in a pocket.

Our dogs do not really get this message and need to be taught. They always look very upset when someone yells OW after they’ve grabbed food and finger. They don’t mean to bite. It’s just enthusiasm.

So while, in theory, one should not bite the hand that feeds one, nonetheless, it occasionally happens. We just hope that the hand and the brain to which it is attached understands it was accidental.

STONES AND GLASS HOUSES – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #16


PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES
SHOULD NOT THROW STONES.


For years, Garry had a thing about westerns. “Why,” he asked, “Do they always break the windows? Don’t they realize how expensive reglazing is? Can’t they just open the window?”

A friend from Texas felt it was the drama of the breaking glass. “Shattering glass gets the audience’s attention,” he said. It certainly always got mine.

I have never lived in a glass-house, but I have lived in houses that contained a lot of glass. I admit I was very careful about throwing things — and not just rocks. Pottery, books, old dysfunctional cell phones, blocks, tools — anything hard was a no-no. Especially when it came to really BIG windows, you can easily spend a month’s salary getting someone out to your place just to give an estimate much less repair the damage!

So should I ever be unlucky enough to live in a glass house — which I would rather not do since it would require I always be dressed and make would make showering treacherous, I would definitely hold back on any casual stone-throwing. Unless I was making a movie. Then I’d fling stones to my heart content.

Because we want the viewers to feel more involved!

THE MOUTHS OF GIFT HORSES – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #15


Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!


If someone is giving me a horse, I promise to only check to see if he or she need massive dental work. I’m already having that problem with Bonnie and the money involved is insane. It’s more expensive than having work done in Garry or my mouth! I can only shiver with fear about HOW expensive it would be to have a horse’s teeth done.

My experience with gift horses, in the more symbolic sense, is if it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true. When a company, an individual (who isn’t family or friend) is offering you stuff for free, there’s a catch. These days, we assume it’s a scammer or hacker trying to get at your personal data so he/she/they can pawn it off on the darknet or wherever they offer it.

But even if it’s a job offer that sounds way too good to be true, take it all with a dash of salt. The perfect job is rarely perfect. All my perfect jobs have turned out to be perfect when they sounded perfectly normal on the surface and only later did I realize I had somehow managed to get a fantastic boss and the world’s best co-workers. It was never in the job description. All job descriptions sound perfect — or nearly perfect. The reality is usually depressingly unlike the description.

In short, be sensible. Keep your hopes in check until you know how the land lies. Assume that if it isn’t written in the contract, it’s mostly hot air. If you turn out to be lucky and everything is amazing and wonderful, then leap for joy and smile every day that you can continue to work there.

Rarely are the things you dream about gotten free. Even if the potential is there,  you still need to put in your hours, sometimes, years to get from pretty good to great. There’s nothing wrong with optimism, but don’t confuse it with a phone call out of the blue or a headhunter who says “this job is the best ever.” Maybe it is or will be — but maybe not.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER SOMETIMES FLOCK TOGETHER – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #11


As a very birdie lady, I have this to say about that.

Cardinal (boy)
Lady Cardinal

Some birds — like finches — flock together. The Goldfinches show up in bunches, often more than a dozen at a time and they don’t mind taking in the House and Purple Finches who also live in the woods with them. They apparently don’t care whether you are red, raspberry, or bright yellow.

Goldfinches – just beginning to change to their breeding feathers.
Goldfinch and flying Titmouse

On the other hand, while the Cardinal often shows up with his mate, he will not tolerate the presence of another male Cardinal in his “patch” of woods. If they meet, they go at it like World War 1 aces, whirling and attacking each other in the air. It’s quite a thing to see.

Two bluebirds
Two more Goldfinches

The Hairy Woodpecker doesn’t like anything or anyone but will tolerate his mate if she doesn’t get in his way. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker will tolerate other birds nearby … as long as they don’t poach on his piece of feeder. The Tufted Titmouses show up in groups, but not flocks and all the other birds are perfectly okay with them. Ditto the Nuthatches. Bluebirds only show up in groups (protection?).

In the watery world of fowl, Canada Geese and Swans hate each other. Meanwhile, Herons will eat the eggs of any other fowl if they can find the nests.

But all of these fighting birds are happy to hang around with ducks. No other bird has a problem with ducks and when the ducks hang out, they don’t care what kind of duck you are. Whatever feathers you wear are fine with all the ducks.

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE – By DUKE ARMSTRONG

Barking up the wrong tree? Not a chance!


Fandango’s February Expressions #10

As soon as I saw this, I made mom give me the mouse. Okay, well, I sort of had to steal it while she wasn’t looking. She’ll never notice, arf arf arf.

Here I am, guarding the house!

What’s this stuff ’bout barking up the wrong tree? Barking is always right. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tree, a rock, or I think a squirrel was there yesterday. Barking is always right. Just ask Mom and Dad. They are always telling me to “Shut up already!” Do I listen? Of course not. Secretly, they REALLY know I’m protecting them from unseen and strange hazards from other dimensions. And squirrels.

Here I am again, listening for any sound that requires more barking. As long as my bark resonates throughout the house and yard, all is well. I’m very alert. Bet you wish I was watching YOUR world!

I have to keep turning to make sure I see everything.

I know it’s really fine because even after I bark for a long time, they always give me a delish crunchy. ‘Cause they know. My barking makes them secure. When I’m not barking? I’m watching for something to bark at. So there. Well, maybe I take an occasional nap.

Resting, but still keeping my eyes open. I’m such a GOOD boy.

 

EXPRESSIONS #8: A WATCHED POT WILL BOIL – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #8


A watched pot never boils?

Did the speaker of this statement not cook? Because I  guarantee that if there is a fire — electric or gas — under the pot, it will boil. Not only will it boil, but it will also burn, stick, and if you forget about it long enough, be ruined for further use. After this, you can make a terminal decision: Is this pot salvageable or officially trash?

I have forgotten pots long enough to have them burst into flames. I’ve ruined enough pots to make up a set. I didn’t even have to leave the room. Moreover, a husband being IN the room didn’t guarantee that the pot that was in the process of being cooked to death would be seen, stirred, or have the heat reduced or turned off. Of, for that matter, have water added.

Use low heat, but don’t count on it saving your food. Distractions are the death of dinners around the world.

Also, don’t get involved in writing a post, taking a long phone call, feeding the dogs, refilling bird feeders, or vacuuming the living room carpet. It not only will boil, but all the other end-of-the-line events will occur faster than you can imagine. Really, no kidding.

I’ll bet that expression was written by someone who doesn’t cook!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A FOOL TO BE PARTED FROM YOUR MONEY – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #4


A fool and his money are soon parted.


True. But you don’t have to be a fool. You just need an internet connection and a minute of carelessness. Or the wrong router or a cellphone with a tidy back door. Or a worm deep in your root directory. Anyone can get hacked including the most sophisticated users. You don’t need to be old or stupid.

Hackers are smart.

Or maybe you hire a contractor who doesn’t do the work and walks off with your money. How about inspection companies that don’t notice any of the problems in the house? Are they inept or paid off?

I could go on and on, but why bother? Especially when you get on in years, you become a target for every scammer and spammer on the Internet.

Your only other choice is to not go online, a totally impractical solution. So many things these days you can only do online. Our State government pretty much runs online. That’s how you get your driver’s license and your registration renewed, too. These days, if you don’t have a cell phone, you get punished for not using one.

I am not alone in not liking cell phones. No matter what anyone says, they are easily hackable including by people you bump into in the mall or grocery store. I have one, but it’s mostly turned off unless I need it. I’m not giving out the number. I have enough trouble with the regular phone and all those calls with no one at the other end.

Checking to see if we are home? Or just one of those automated services that dials a thousand number a minute. They don’t care if you are there or not. Out of all the calls they make, someone will be home. And one of them will give them private information they can misuse.

And they get smarter every day. Last time, they hacked my router. I got a new router. But I bet they have a hack for that, too. Meanwhile, I discovered I couldn’t update my router without a cell phone and even with a cell phone, I couldn’t figure out how it worked.

Do I feel a new router coming on?

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions


Always look on the bright side of life!


I know I’m jumping the gun here, but this is one of those days when it is particularly difficult to look at the bright side of life — and yet I found the perfect piece of music to celebrate this charming concept.