Week 45! There are only 52 weeks in a year, so it is just 7 short weeks until year’s end. Practically tomorrow. My head is still stuck in early autumn. This is more a little bit unreal.


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “fun”?

Laughter. If I’m not laughing, it’s probably not all that much fun. Laughter forms the bubbles in the champagne of life. Laughter makes pain hurt less, fear less frightening.

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No one is lonely when they are laughing. Even terrible things can sometimes make us laugh. Sometimes, laughter is the only way to deal with things too terrible to contemplate.

Nan laughs

My mother laughed when she told me she was dying. I had said I didn’t want to be without her.

Kaitlin 15th birthday

Then she laughed and said she didn’t want to be without her either.


It wasn’t funny, but it moved us both back from that terrible edge of despair.

What is your favorite time of day?

Dawn and twilight.


The lovely golden hours when light is pink and gold and the sky is alight and glowing.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, with whom would you choose to spend an evening?

One person only? Because I would choose my friends.


These days, that’s just a handful of people, but they and my husband are the people I’d want to share my evening with.

Complete this sentence: Something that anyone can do that will guarantee my smile is… 

Play any movie by Mel Brooks. Any book by Douglas Adams. A good joke, told well.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Grateful Ben was able to fit in a couple of days visit. It’s so great to be with someone who remembers me when I was a girl. Before my hair was gray.


Not really looking forward to anything coming up. It’s all doctor’s appointments and other obligations. Nothing fun for a while yet. And then, there’s the house which always needs cleaning. Oh well. The holidays are racing our way. Then we’re off to the deserts and mountains of Arizona. Big skies await us!



Sunday was a glorious day. Cool enough to be comfortable in nothing more than a sweatshirt. Bright, sunny, clear.


Our friend was visiting — too briefly — from Arizona. They have desert, mountains, forest … but we have water. The river, the dams, the canal.


The leaves are almost completely gone from the trees … except for a few bright yellow maple trees by the Mumford in town.


I believe this is the first time I’ve taken pictures along the canal in November. Sharp contrast, cooler colors. Interesting. Every season has a unique quality to capture. Even this short end-of-autumn time between the leaves and real winter.




We’ve had company for the past couple of days. It including taking a time out from blogging.


Spending some much-needed, real up close and personal time with someone from the good old days about which we talk.


There aren’t many people left who were there, in those days. Who remember …

Garry with dogs and me at home. Photo by Ben Taylor

Garry with dogs and me at home. Photo by Ben Taylor


I’ve been a little out of touch. A good old friend from Arizona is visiting for a couple of days. We haven’t seen each other in person for eight or nine years.


We’ve had a lot of laughter. A lot of catching up to do. And of course, I had to do the 10 cent tour.


Needed to do a bit of traipsing around the valley. A peak at the Blackstone River, visit a dam or two, see a bit of the canal.

Never enough time, too much to say.


We’ve been on a roll these past few days, the “angst mojo” temporarily set aside.


Now, we’re home, after spending a couple of wonderful days in Connecticut with old friends, sharing memories that date back to college and the 60’s when we and our world were young.

Ellin and Tom are special folks. Ellin gets top billing because she’s so quiet and often taken for granted.


She is the hostess — no matter what else she is coping with in her family life. She’s the woman you thought only existed in the movies or those old TV shows where everything is seemingly perfect.


Ellin is multi-talented. Superb cook, budding author, wife and mom. She’s humble about all her achievements. Amazing when she is surrounded by two guys with 80 plus years combined in radio and TV news. Guys who are often nonstop with their stories about the BIZ. Ellin and Marilyn have a special bond in that respect.

Gracious, I think, is the best word to describe Ellin. Like us, she and Tom always have furry kids around who brighten their lives. It’s nice to visit and come back with fur on our clothing. Makes it seem just like home.

Tom is the kid  who never grew up. We’ve known him since JFK was in the oval office. He is recently retired after 40 years as a highly respected director and audio expert with CBS News.

He’s still active, producing and directing cracker jack (does anyone say that anymore?) radio drama. Tom and Ellin actually are an impressive acting, writing and jack-of-all-trades team in radio drama that deserves a wider audience. Their work is far superior to the stuff being offered by network suits.


A day on Tom and Ellin’s boat is just what the doctor ordered for Marilyn and me. It’s a perfect day. Sunny, warm and with just a slight breeze. Surprise! Ellin has a lunch spread ready before we can settle in.

It allows me to fantasize as I survey other boats. Maybe we’ll see Bogey on Santana, Travis McGee and The Busted Flush, Slate Shannon with Bold Venture or maybe Grant and Hepburn on  True Love. Who knows what can happen as you dream?

My reverie is interrupted as Tom shares some more stories that have all of us roaring with laughter. In between we compare family drama that have us nodding at each other.


Then it’s back to more silliness and laughter. These are the best of times.

All photography by Garry Armstrong or Marilyn Armstrong with the Pentax Q7.


Food is about color, texture and scent. Meals are sharing with friends, celebrating life and getting together with the family. We make dinner with a side dish of memories. Dining is discovery — the exotic and new. It’s about comfort and familiarity. Being safe, warm and fed. The act of preparing food evokes memories.

Nutrition is good, but food is better. Feeding your soul, filling your heart as well as your stomach. Pills might keep you alive, but they would never satisfy you. Or at least, never satisfy me. Eating is living.

So break bread with those you love. Drop by the pub after work and share a cold something with the gang. Or alone, in contemplation, with a book.


Yesterday, we gathered to celebrate the life of a friend who passed away earlier this year.

Our friend was Joe Day. Joe’s name should be familiar to those who’ve lived in New England during the past forty years. He was a highly respected TV news reporter for four of Boston’s major television stations (WHDH, WCVB, WGBH, WBZ). Joe specialized in politics. He covered presidents, governors, senators, congressmen and local elective officials.

But many of us fondly remember Joe’s “people” stories, vignettes about everyday folks living their lives in relative obscurity. That was Joe at his best. On and off camera, he was a modest, plain-spoken guy despite the richly deserved awards he received which recognized his career.

Yesterday, there were smiles and tears as people shared stories about Joe. We were mostly the generation of “old fart” journalists, recalling the days when news wasn’t just a business. Joe Day was at the core of all those memories.

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces. We have drifted apart geographically and socially in many cases. Sometimes we paused before hugging because we no longer look the way we did in our “head shot” days.

Joe Day’s family marveled at the size of the gathering. It’s one thing to send an email or video tribute. But to turn out in impressive numbers on a hot August Saturday, that says so much about how Joe touched the lives of people around him.

Fame is fleeting and transitory in TV news. Friendship is another thing. Usually it fades quickly after changing jobs, states and retirement. You always mean to stay in touch but it rarely happens.

That’s what makes the celebratory gathering so special. All those folks bonding in their memories of yesterday when our world was young and Joe Day touched our lives, making each one of us a little better just for knowing him.

Such good friends.