FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTION #14 – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #14

I’m going to quote Fandango’s premise on this because otherwise, my answer won’t make sense:

“This week’s provocative question asks about how we perceive the world in which we live. There is a philosophical and psychological concept called qualia, which states that our surroundings can only be observed through the filter of our senses and the ruminations of our minds.

Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky. In other words, everything you know, everything you’ve touched, seen, and smelled, has been filtered through any number of physiological and cognitive processes.”

And the question:


“Do you believe that anyone can really experience anything objectively? Why or why not?”


At the risk of sounding like I’m missing the point unless we are in some kind of anti-sensory pool is there any way to experience reality without passing it through your senses?

I don’t think so. I think we are all subject to our senses because I don’t see any other way. For good or ill, we are animals, not spirits. We feel as creatures, not as wraiths, ghosts, or Fey.

GOOD MORNING FRIENDS, BIRDS, AND A SQUIRREL – Marilyn Armstrong

This is another one of those “lost days” for me. There seem to be more and more of them, like I’ve been saving them up. But the suitcase got too small and everything is bursting out and blowing all over the place.

We had a long summer of nothing much going on, preceded by a long slow winter and spring, suddenly, as summer rolled around … everything went wild and crazy. For us, that is. For someone else, probably not so much but we don’t move fast.

I never seem to have a whole day to just relax. Or even a  half a day.

Squabbling Juncos or a Junco and a Nuthatch. Hard to tell.
The reddest bird of all birds
The red one’s lady friend
Chickadee and Goldfinch
Early Squirrel

Tomorrow we get our taxes done. I’m hoping for the best and hopefully, we won’t have another government shut-down and we’ll actually get our refund. This year. Like … soon. Because we need an infusion of money.

Finances are running a bit thin. And did I mention that it’s gotten very cold again with sleet and snow and maybe freezing rain tomorrow? But not to worry because it will be 50 degrees by the weekend, at which point, it will all melt.

THE SQUIRREL – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP-Sunday–Squirrel


Things go missing. People go missing. I often think my brain goes missing and sometimes, that’s a good thing.

Right now, however, Garry took this perfect picture of (you guessed it) a squirrel. By the Blackstone in River Bend Park.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I’m pretty sure he isn’t the source of my loss, but who knows?

PICTURES INCLUDING A “Q” – SQUIRRELS AND ANTIQUES

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter Q – Simply needs to have the letter Q


What would I do without squirrels and antiques? In this case, I would be lost! The moment I realized I had pictures of squirrels — in my case, stuffed dog toy squirrels — and a lot of antique whatevers, I knew I was “home free,” so to speak. Welcome to my Q world!

An antique airplane
Gibbs with squirrel – soon to be a non-squirrel
Bonnie protecting the squirrel from other marauders — but she is the worst of them!
Friend’s don’t let friends bat ninth! Garry wearing Evil Squirrel’s best Tee Shirt!

And finally, antiques, from an airplane to a cookie jar and an iron doorstop. Old, older, oldest!

TAIL OF THE TALE – CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

CEE’S ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE: 2016 WEEK 26


Since the invasion of the hideous caterpillars, I’ve been hiding. Even though the creepy crawlies seem to be gone, the weeks when they took over my world left me jittery and anxious. I don’t know whether they just died after eating everything there was to eat … or they have turned into cocoons and will return soon as a massive moth invasion … but I figured it was time to get over myself.

Today, after finally admitting I’ve been hiding, I took courage … and a couple of cameras … in hand and went to shoot some pictures. Outside, in the world. And saw many dead caterpillars littering the landscape. Definitely dead. Ex caterpillars. Unmoving. Finally finished.

I tell people that I’m sure we have squirrels, but I never see them. When summer comes around, our tall oak trees typically form a solid canopy. You can’t see the stars or the moon … and definitely not squirrels.

72-tale-tail-062616_008

Except … today I saw birds and squirrels. Sadly, the squirrels saw me a little too soon. But I got the tail end of the story …

CRAZED SQUIRREL DEFEATED BY BAVARIAN CREME (FILM AT 11)

The Daily Post offered this prompt today:

Under the Snow — You were caught in an avalanche. To be rescued, you need to make it through the night. What thought(s) would give you the strength to go through such a scary, dangerous situation?

But … Bill Brown at Evil Squirrel’s Nest proffered this juicy idea:

The last thing you see before you wake up in the hospital!
The last thing you saw before you woke up in the hospital!

You’re out on the street one day minding your own business… perhaps humming your favorite Steely Dan song or taking random pictures for a blog post.  All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, a wild, ferocious squirrel starts barreling towards you with a nut in his mouth!!!  What do you do!?!?!?

Seriously, what choice did I have? Squirrel 1, WordPress 0.

The competition was too unfair. WordPress could never compete with this kind of sheer brilliance … so I had to write about crazed squirrel attackers bearing nuts.


Should I run? Try to hide? What thoughts run through my head?

{Thoughts …}

My insurance company is not going to believe this.

My husband is not going to believe this.

I don’t believe this.

This will make a great post on my blog.

Ow. Get your pointy little teeth out of my leg you wretched fur piece. I will turn you into a muff! What do you mean “what’s a muff?”

Thinking quickly (because I do not wish to have my leg chewed off by a squirrel on Boston Common), I reach into a greasy paper bag and hand its contents over to my squirrely nut case: “Here, have a doughnut. Now, isn’t that better than some tasteless acorn?”

Crazed squirrel, calmed by the sudden onrush of calories, fat, and mm Good Bavarian crème drags the doughnut to the nearest tree where, for the next several hours, he attempts to haul it up the trunk to the safety of branches above.

With each attempt, he is forced to consume another bite until eventually, bloated, sated, full of cholesterol, and calories, he lies in a semi stupor on the grass. It’s a well-deserved nap for a valiant squirrel who fought the good fight, but lost to a Bavarian crème doughnut. As so many of us have before and will again.

Good night Sweet Prince.

Back in the city again …

Before we became country mice, we were city rats. Garry lived in Boston, downtown in Government Center, for 20 years, then another 10 in Roxbury. I lived in Jerusalem for 9 years, Boston for 3, then Roxbury (which is really part of Boston) for 10 … and then we took our show on the road and moved out here.

It is a bigger different than mere geography. It’s a completely different ambiance, a different texture. Ironically, although the air is cleaner, almost completely free of industrial pollutants, it is thick with pollen and dust. My asthma is far worse out here in the country among the trees and grasses than it ever was in town with the car fumes and chimney soot and all. That, and of course all the dog hair we have in the air and everywhere.

It’s pretty out here. We’ve got the river and the canal, waterfalls everywhere you look. Autumn, when we don’t get rained out, is glorious and you can stop at farm stands and get fresh organic veggies and fruits any time they are in season. We’ve got cows and horses, goats and a dizzying array of wildlife.

Deer, raccoon, the cheekiest chipmunks you’ve ever met … and then there are bats, rats, an infinite number of field mice. A bobcat with glow-in-the-dark eyes and coyotes that look like big friendly dogs. Nasty fishers with coats like mink and when the bobcat hasn’t eaten them all, rabbits. Squirrels, but fewer than there used to be before the bobcats. They are small but mighty hunters.

Irony again: the biggest, nastiest raccoon I ever met was on Beacon Hill, in our back walled garden. He was big, fat, and he wasn’t taking any crap from me. He informed me that the back patio belonged to him and I was disinclined to argue the point.

I never went back there again. At least the raccoons around here stay in their own part of town, or woods.