PREVIOUSLY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS – Marilyn Armstrong

As promised, here are the questions from Willow’s post, sans her answers, but including mine. Just in case anyone wants to answer them for themselves, check out Questions Unanswered on Willow’s site. If you do answer them, please paste a link to your answers in the comments. Thanks!



Do you have a nickname? What do you prefer to be called?

No nickname. But please call me Spike.

Do you have books on your shelf (eReader) that are begging to be read?

Are you serious?

Are you a doodler? What do your doodles look like?

Horses.

What do you do if you can’t sleep at night?

Listen to an audio book and take drugs.

How many days could you think you would last in solitary confinement?

It depends on if I have access to a computer and books. Almost unlimited with enough WiFi.

Do you save old greeting cards and letters or do you toss them away?

Toss them. I am not that sentimental.

Who is the biggest pack rat you know?

My husband.

Were/are you a good student?

Yes.

How often do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Every morning when I brush my teeth, brush my hair, wash my face, put on earrings. Ditto in the evening when I brush my teeth and hair, wash the face again, and remove the earrings.

What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

That my life was normal.

Do you regift items that have been given to you?

No, because I rarely get gifts. The few that I get, I treasure.

Do you know the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?

Technically, but I probably would miss the subtle differences if I was in the water being dragged away.

Do you still read the newspaper?

No. I was never much of a newspaper reader. Magazines, yes. Newsweek. Time. Life. Look. The New Yorker. But Garry does read papers and he likes to circle articles he thinks I should read. I read them because he’s pretty much always right.

Are there any animals that frighten you?

Big hairy spiders and centipedes.

Are you a collector of something? If so, what do you collect?

I have given up collecting. it’s dangerous to the credit cards. I still, however, have a few hundred antique plastic dolls and several dozen ancient Chinese porcelain pots.

What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?

At this point? Nothing, really.

What’s a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but no one believes you?

Nothing I know about.

What’s something that amazes you?

The incredible greed and stupidity of many Americans who, like sheep, willingly follow the worst people in the world.

Do you prefer the blunt truth or would you rather people temper their words?

As long as they are polite, I’m fine with blunt.

What’s one thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself?

Everything involving housework. All repair work. Sewing. Cooking. Cleaning. Grooming. Dusting. Vacuuming. What have I missed? Oh, I know. A professional driver.

What are the qualities that tend to draw you to someone new?

Intelligence, open-mindedness, a sense of humor, loving dogs, and not being afraid of me.

If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

Delores. Don’t ask me why. I have no idea.

Do you believe ignorance is bliss? Why or why not?

Are you serious?

What (if anything) do you consider unforgivable?

Eavesdropping and rumor mongering. Maybe I should add a lack of commitment to righteousness.

Do you ever break out into song just because you feel like singing?

Yes. Hopefully no one is listening. But the dogs like it and that’s important.

CONVERSATIONS WITH MY HUSBAND – BY ELLIN CURLEY

 

THE TOILET SEAT

ME Honey, you left the toilet seat up AND you didn’t flush!

TOM – I know. I did it on purpose.

ME – What? Why would you do that?

TOM – Easy. Because I knew I was going to have to blow my nose after I took my shower.

ME – What does that have to do with anything?

TOM – Because if I wait to flush until after I’ve blown my nose, I only have to flush once, instead of twice. I’m saving water.

ME – Why don’t you put the seat down and flush after you use the toilet. Then throw your used tissue into the wastebasket.

TOM – (SILENCE)


PAPER TOWELS

TOM – Why do you leave used paper towels lying around in the kitchen? Why don’t you throw them out?

ME – Because I can use them again. I’m saving paper.

TOM – You can’t use paper towels over again! That’s the whole point of DISPOSABLE paper towels. They’re disposable!

ME – That’s ridiculous! You can use regular towels again if they’re not too dirty. So why can’t you do the same with paper towels?

TOM – Because I don’t want to have to look at dirty paper towels on the kitchen counter.

ME – Okay. I’ll hide them so you don’t have to look at them.

TOM – I guess that works.

ME – (Sigh) Now I just have to remember where I put them.


TRASH TALK

ME – Tom, please take the garbage out. The bag is overflowing, as usual.

TOM – Damn it! I hate dealing with these overstuffed garbage bags! Garbage is falling out everywhere! This is ridiculous.

ME – Then why don’t you just empty the garbage one of the first three times I ask you to. BEFORE it starts to overflow.

TOM – Where’s the challenge in that?

WORLD SHARING COMES AGAIN … Marilyn Armstrong

SHARING THE WORLD

List things or events that changed your life?

This is a strange question. I’ve lived 71 years. The number of events that have changed my world are … literally … countless. From learning to stand, to learning to read. To learning to love furry creatures, to discovering the woods and the sky.

Moving along and learning that I want to know everything. Discovering I’ll never be a math genius, but knowing I can write. Painting. Photography. What’s wrong with one marriage and what’s right with another.

Discovering quiet and being alone.

Recognizing that I can’t do the things I did, but I can do other things I never thought I could do. Life is a long pattern of discoveries and each changes your life. From tiny changes, like a new way to lace your shoes or brush your teeth, to realizing that you never will know “the meaning of life” unless you agree that 42 will do it for you.

Playing the piano. Struggling with guitar. Falling in love with computers.

Piano lessons

All the books you read, all the thoughts they put in your head. All the things you write and the pictures you take. I don’t think there’s one single thing that changed my world. There were millions of things that changed it. And, with a little luck, there will be millions more yet to come.

Complete this sentence: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s… 

Mom? How did you get up there?

What genre of music do you like?

I like music with melody, rhythm, and when possible, words I can remember. I don’t like rap or “hard rock” which to me just sounds like noise. To be fair, this isn’t recent. I always felt like that about it, even when I was a whole lot younger.

My favorite piece of music is Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, The Pastoral.

Second favorite (at the moment): Pancho and Lefty.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

Finally getting antibiotics and discovering this morning I can breathe without making that hideous bubbling sound. This is a better morning!

CLUES AND SYNCHRONICITY – Marilyn Armstrong

If you watch enough cop shows on television, you will be convinced there is no such thing as a coincidence. This is probably because in cop shows, they are looking for clues. Also, there’s the matter of the script in which everyone always says “there’s no such thing as a coincidence.”

Except there is. It may be a freakish coincidence. It may be downright weird and closer to home than you want, but it’s not a clue. Why isn’t it a clue? Because you aren’t trying to track down the bad guy. You aren’t looking for a serial killer (at least I hope not and if you are, I hope you are well armed and not trying to do it on Facebook). You are just tralala-ing your life away, so what kind of a clue would make a meaningful difference?

When I was living in Israel, someone posted that he was giving away his entire record collection. He had “gone religious” and decided he didn’t need such frivolity. I called him up and he came over with crates of vinyl records. This was before CDs took over and a few years later, records were stuff you didn’t need anymore.

I’m highly amused that they are back in fashion. Mom was right: hang on to anything long enough and it will be back in style. She meant clothing, but apparently it’s true for many things. I’m still awaiting eight-track tapes.

Sorry for the digression.

I look at the guy and he looked at me. We stared at each other for a really long time and finally, I said “Where did you go to high school?”

“Jamaica High School,” he said.

Turns out we were in the same show in our junior year. I don’t remember anything about him except that there was something in his eyes that was familiar. Freaky? Weird? Yup. A clue? A clue to exactly what? It wasn’t like we dated or anything. At best, we barely knew one another.

About 10 years later, Garry and I were in Dublin. Looking for the Stag’s Head Pub, which is one of the older pubs in Dublin. The only way you can find it is to see the old stag’s head mosaic in the sidewalk because it’s down an unmarked alley.

So Garry and I — eternally lost, but this time, lost in Dublin — were staring at the sidewalk. A total stranger walked up and Garry accosted him.

“Excuse me,” said Garry, “But do you happen to know where we could find the Stag’s Head?”

“You’re Garry Armstrong,” said the nice man who it turns out was a professor at Harvard taking a year off to teach in Dublin. Cabal? No, but he knew how to find the pub.

A few years later, Garry and I are visiting my cousins in Baltimore and we’ve gone out for dinner. Crabs legs. They do a great job with crabs in Maryland. The waiter came over, dumps a heap of crab legs on the table and says “Hey, you’re Garry Armstrong.”

We went to Disney World and people kept asking for his autograph. There was Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck … and Garry. Ah, the memories. Okay Garry was a little bit famous. Still … what are the odds?

2012

Garry bumped into a viewer while in a castle in the highlands of Scotland. I encountered relatives while choosing veggies at the shuk in Jerusalem. A guy I knew well in Jerusalem  (he was my hairdresser) showed up at my doctor’s office in Newton, Massachusetts.

Stuff happens all the time. You meet someone who lives in the house you grew up in, or was the best friend of your best friend in fifth grade. It goes around and comes around. If you are firm believer in fate, is there some spiritual element in this?

For me, the truly oddest thing is when I meet someone who knows me. Says we were on the swimming team together (where I was a bench sitter — I never actually swam). Were in the same classes. Hung out. And I don’t recognize her or him at all. Nothing. Blank. Is it me or them? Which one of us is clueless?

If it is “something,” I’m pretty sure it’s not a cabal, clue, or collusion. It’s coincidence with memories. Synchronicity, if you like. The rhyming of our personal histories.

We know thousands of people, yet we bump into the same ones. Repeatedly.

So, are we destined to meet and then meet again people we knew in our world or maybe in another world? Even when they weren’t important and we can barely remember how we knew them or a single event or conversation which binds us together?

I’m sure someone more spiritual than I can make something more of this. Let me know when you know.

WTF IS GOING ON? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I’m so confused. I used to think I had some handle on what was going on in the news. Pretty much all bad, all crazy, all the time. But I had definite opinions on how I thought things would play out.

No more. I’m clueless now. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I was sure that no matter what Trump did or what Mueller found, the Republicans in control of Congress would not do anything to censure, let alone impeach him. I thought we would have to wait for Democrats to regain control of both houses in Congress before impeachment could even be considered. And even then, I didn’t believe that there would be enough votes in the Senate to actually convict Trump and remove him from office. So any impeachment by the House would end up being a toothless gesture.

At that point, my brain would freeze over. I had no idea what would happen next in my own scenario.

Now I’m less certain about this whole theory. I’m really not sure what will happen in the future or even later today. So much happens so quickly these days. Often out of the blue, or so it seems. Trump makes spontaneous, off the cuff policy announcements that no one in his own White House knows about or is prepared for. He often backtracks the next day. Or not! Headline news stories blare out constantly with revelations from various investigations, law suits and ethics probes involving the president and his merry band of unethical misfits.

I worry that Trump will bomb a random country and start another pointless war. I live in fear that Trump will fire Robert Mueller or Rod Rosenstein, which would have the same effect. One minute I’m sure he’ll do it and throw the country into a major constitutional crisis with no satisfactory resolution in Republican controlled Washington. The next minute I’m sure he won’t risk the major political explosion he would trigger if he interfered with the Mueller investigation.

This perpetual uncertainty makes me very uncomfortable. I pride myself on staying informed enough to understand what’s going on in the news at any given time. I’m shaky on Mid Eastern and Far Eastern policy and economics. But I usually have a handle on domestic news and policies. I have to narrow my focus since I don’t want to spend even more time than I already do consuming news every day. I’m a slow reader so I can only cover so much territory.

Things are happening so quickly and so randomly that I can’t keep up any more. Even though I do try.

I have to admit that sometimes all the national drama can be exciting and energizing. But the crazy and the unpredictable are going into warp drive. Trump seems to be devolving and dragging us all under with him. It’s getting less and less exciting and more and more scary and insane.

I wish I could turn away from this slow motion train wreck, but I can’t. So I’ll keep reading and watching MSNBC and hope that my sanity survives longer than Trump’s does.

THE BEST WAY TO CATCH SOMETHING – Marilyn Armstrong

In my many long years of getting sick, sicker, even sicker, and under the wings of hovering Death, I have concluded there are four ways uniquely suited to get you sick, sicker, then sickest.

I do not count sitting in a doctor’s office full of people NOT wearing masks who claim their cough is “just an allergy.”

No, I mean “out in the real world” where shit happens.

These are the four best ways to catch whatever is going around.

1 – Be an elementary school teacher. You will be sick ALL the time. Just keep the Tamaflu handy and the tissues and throat lozenges nearby.

2 – Work in a mall. You will earn very little money and you are doomed to endless disease. A single sneeze can infect everyone in half the mall. Two sneezes? Total collapse of all immune systems.

3 – Be a working reporter. You will meet everyone everywhere and at least 75% of them will have something lurking, just waiting for you and your cameraman to show up. When Garry was working, he had a cold, the flu, bronchitis, sore throats, ear infections. You name it, he had it. Four days later? I had it too. We believe in sharing.

This probably applies to politicians on the stump and performers on tour. Which is probably why they won’t shake hands. All they see are germs.

4 – Take an airplane anywhere. The recycled air is putrid. I swear this is true — takes whatever diseases every passenger has on the plane and pumps it up. I have never taken a flight anywhere and not gotten sick within 10 days.

Except Arizona. Maybe it’s that lovely, hot, dry air or something. We survived both trips to Arizona and we felt actually better after a week in the warm, dry air.

I should add one more: life in the cold north of America where it’s always damp and the air is full of allergens. And never, ever go to see the doctor if you aren’t already diseased unless you know for sure nobody sick will be there. Those allergic coughs  are not allergies.

BREAKING NEWS! BOLD, NEW OPTIONS TO PREVENT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS – Garry Armstrong

School shootings with multiple victims have become an everyday news story in the United States. It’s become a boiler-plate political issue with second amendment activists led by the NRA holding fast to their rights.

Fighting to keep the right to own guns, even as bullets from assault weapons are taking the toll on the lives of our young people.

Gun activists are seemingly oblivious to the availability of assault weapons through illegal purchases.

Gun rights trump young lives in harm’s way. It’s a deadly serious issue but the solutions offered by some of our elected officials are anything but serious. Do you think Jimmy Stewart’s Senator Jefferson Smith would be okay with arming teachers to shoot it out with offenders in crowded classrooms?

Can you imagine the late Speaker of the House, “Tip” O’Neill,  the consummate politician, agreeing to arm the real life “Mr. Peepers” with magnum 44’s to blast invaders as students scatter to avoid gun fire?  O’Neil’s reply would minimally question the sanity of his colleagues in the House and the Senate. Sadly, we have no Tip O’Neill to step up with rational solutions to our national nightmare.

Pilgrims, it’s time to deal with the miscreants who surely don’t value human life.  Time to answer those whose inner demons enable them to spray bullets with deadly intent into classrooms to assuage their problems.

Time to lock ‘n load but with some creative thing.

SUGGESTION #1  IMPLODING LONG GUNS:   Picture the iconic Red Ryder Rifles of our youthful dreams. Long, gleaming barrels with the burnished red stocks, topped by an autographed picture of our 45th President. The sentiment would be clear:  “Bad hombres die hard!”.   If the school shootist fires this weapon,  it’ll blow up in his face.  Crisis averted.

If a teacher or defending student fires the weapon,  it’s a senseless tragedy — but we must look at the big picture.  A Presidential eulogy will ease the pain of more innocent lives lost.

The imploding long guns should be mass-advertised to draw the attention of would be assassins.  The rifle’s Presidential sentiment should entice those who are on the edge of committing bloody massacres.  They will be nudged by the Commander-In-Chief’s passion for thoughtless, narcissistic behavior.  The shooter is sure to take selfies with his presidential embossed rifle and post it on Twitter and Facebook, with pride gleaming in is orange eyeballs.

Gary Busey could do television ads for the imploding long guns.  Busey’s colorful style would make the guns an easy sell,  especially for those who want to make their mark in the world.

SUGGESTION #2 – IMPLODING TRUMP BOBBLE-HEADS.  These terrific replicas of our President have all the verve and sexually traumatic attraction of DJT.  They’ll be personally autographed in that familiar, illegible scrawl used to sign faux bills. The bobble-heads have a floating toupee that easily separates from the rest of the bobble-head on implosion.  School security would locate the bobble-heads at strategic positions on campus likely to be invaded by would be shooters.

Psychologists believe the invaders will be disoriented by the bobble-heads, pick up the miniature DJTs and blow themselves into a parallel universe occupied by ORANGE-haired robot women, all named “Stormy”.

Roseanne Barr will do all advertising for the Bobble-heads, emphasizing her belief in MacCheesehead’s legacy as emperor of the world.

These are just the top of our R&D campaign for alternatives to avert School Shootings. We’re working on DJT dart boards that will explode when a dart hits the spot.  THE spot.

Let’s stand strong against idiotic suggestions to avert school shootings. You can voice your opinion in the mid-term elections that, hopefully, sweep out more of the corrupt and mentally challenged officials who are pigging out at the public trough.