TRIBUTE TO CLARENCE – MUSIC BY SWO8, PHOTOS BY MARILYN ARMSTRONG

When Leslie proposed this project to me, I wasn’t exactly sure how it would work out. It’s a bit early for Father’s Day but the song “Tribute to Clarence” by swo8 Blues Jazz from the album Osaka Time in iTunes, was written for her father, Clarence. They had an organ at home — at one point, even a pipe organ (I’m so envious — I love the sound of those pipes).

Leslie’s father built a special room to house the pipes. When he played that organ the house rocked! Clarence had two loves in life: music and his dogs. It was at the “dogs” that I came in because I have pictures of dogs, probably because we have four dogs now and have had five before. If we took in all the dogs offered to us, we’d have probably been able to register as a shelter, but we were up to capacity.

A fine piece of original jazz! The dog is Leslie’s “grand-dog.” The man playing the organ is indeed the aforementioned Clarence, Leslie’s dad. Enjoy!!

SHOOTING DOGS (WITH A CAMERA)

I have a lot of good pictures of Nan. I have great pictures of Bishop. Both Nan and Bishop were show dogs and when they see a camera, they sit and give you their good side. If you try to take a picture of another dog, they will bomb the picture.

nan almost christmas

Then there are Bonnie and Amber. Amber runs for the hills. Maybe you’ll get a shot of her butt as she disappears down the hall. Bonnie, on the other hand, is a tease and her timing is impeccable. She sits perfectly still. Waits. As my finger approaches the shutter, she springs into action.

For example, here is Bishop this morning:

72-Bishop-Dogs-March_6

Elegant. A proud, handsome dog. Dignified, yet always ready for a bit of pizza crust … or watermelon. Next, we see my best picture of Bonnie. Same camera. Same light. Same five-minute period in the same room.

72-Bonnie-Dogs-March_3

What does she have against me and my cameras? I’m sure she does it on purpose. Want to see another one? The white streaks are snow in her beard.

72-Bonnie-Dogs-March_1

Obviously a far superior shot since you can tell it’s a dog. Probably.

You should see the ones I deleted.

BISHOP IN THE SNOW – NEW PICTURES!

72-Bishop_01It didn’t snow a lot today — at least not compared to a lot of other days — but it snowed and is still snowing. I keep hoping it’s the last one. That the winds will change and spring will begin to inch into the world.

72-Bishop_08

Not everyone is tired of winter.

Today, after the new snow, Bishop didn't want to come in ... until he heard the sound of biscuits being offered ...

Today, after the new snow, Bishop didn’t want to come in … until he heard the sound of biscuits being offered …

Bishop, our big Australian Shepherd, of all our dogs, loves winter. His coat is so thick, so weather-proof, he will — by choice — sleep in a snow drift and let the little dogs use his body as a mattress. They have their own flap door, so this is their choice. They come and go as they please.

72-Bishop_07

To each his or her own. I prefer my recliner and a hot cup of coffee. Or tea.

72-Bishop_02

THE MYSTERY OF TWO WATER BOWLS

We have four dogs, one of whom has a drinking problem. It’s not medical. We’ve checked it out with any number of veterinarians and there is nothing physically wrong with Bishop. He merely drinks a lot of water. Actually, he probably drinks a normal amount of water, but he drinks it all at once. When he begins drinking, he goes on for what seems forever.

Three amigos

Three amigos looking down on “owner”

Not surprisingly, when he has to pee, he releases an ocean. It’s absolutely tidal.

Now, the mystery.

Bishop Almost Christmas

With four dogs, we have two water bowls. A big blue-green plastic one that’s bigger than some dogs, and a somewhat smaller stainless steel bowl. They sit side by side on the floor in the kitchen. The stainless bowl used to be on the left, the plastic bowl on the right. For reasons of convenience (mine), I switched them a while ago, so now the big plastic bowl is on the left, and the stainless steel bowl on the right. No big deal, right?

75-Bishop-Portrait_12

Bishop used to drink entirely from the stainless steel bowl. We assumed he preferred the taste of water from the steel bowl, but when I switched the position of the bowls, Bishop began drinking exclusively from the plastic bowl. Apparently he will only drink from the left-hand bowl.

I was just in the kitchen and Bishop was standing over the empty plastic bowl, obviously sad because there was no water. Directly next to it, the stainless bowl was full. But he wouldn’t drink from it. He will only drink from the bowl on the left.

All the other dogs will drink from either bowl, apparently without preference.

Ideas anyone?

SNOWPOCALYPSE

Although almost every television outlet has adopted “Snowmageddon” as the correct noun to use when describing the end of the world by snow, personally, I favor “Snowpocalypse.” Call me old-fashioned, but when I look out on the Siberian landscape we call home, I think apocalyptic thoughts. I think “We’re will be trapped here. We will die and the dogs will eat us.”

72-Blizzard-PM_039

Garry and I discussed it last night. It was a loud conversation, not because of any disagreement, but because he had removed his hearing aids.

“We have to get better,” he suggested, referring to the Cold That Will Not Go Away.

“Or we could die,” I pointed out.

“Thanks for that image,” he said.

That was when he suggested the dogs would probably eat us. I thought it possible Owen might notice our non-communicative state before we fully rotted. If not, then the smell.

“Also,” I pointed out, “We might not get better, and we might NOT die. We could just stay like this. Forever. Coughing, wheezing, sneezing. While the snow turns glacial and consumes the house and us with it.”

“It sucks,” said Garry.

“Definitely sucks,” I agreed.

Then we went to bed. To sleep, perchance to dream. With the hope that morning would bring a better day.


The Daily Prompt: Play Lexicographer – Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

HUGGING THE DOGS: SHARING MY WORLD, 2015 – WEEK 2

Share Your World – 2015 Week #2

Bishop

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

I came late to hugging. My family is not touchy-feely. They aren’t unfriendly, just more verbal than physical.

I hug, but only people to whom I feel especially close. And with whom I am very comfortable. Come to think of it, that category doesn’t include many people. But it does include the people who are the most important to me, on whom my world hangs.

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

I don’t eat ice cream much, but I enjoy an occasional frozen yogurt. Strawberry is my favorite, but any fruit flavor is good. And vanilla. If I am going to have real ice cream, a good vanilla will win every time. How boring, eh?

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

Exercise physically has been less and less of an option. I’ve been sick so much of the time, recovering from surgery, etc. Now, between the heart issues, the arthritis, and of course it’s the middle of an icy New England winter. Good this blog keeps my brain from going all soft.

Marilyn photographer

Writing is my mental exercise, photography my artistic outlet. I haven’t done much shooting lately because it has been terribly, bitterly cold. Below zero kind of cold and today it’s warmer, but sleeting. My least favorite winter weather. It has turned the dogs yard into a sheet of ice. Fortunately, the roads are clear … but even a simple walk from the house to the car would be full of peril this time of year.

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Why?

We used to have cats. Then we had cats and ferrets. Then we had a cat and a dog, then two dogs. Then we had two dogs, no cats. Now we have four dogs, though technically, only two of them are ours. But as I look around me, we have three small ones on the sofa and the big furry guy on the floor in front of us.

Danger Dogs

I guess it’s dogs at this point. Not because I don’t like cats. I like them fine and if I had my druthers, I’d probably have horses. But horses don’t fit well in the house and definitely don’t do well on the sofa. So dogs it is. But who knows what the future holds?

NO ONE WILL NOTICE

No one will notice.

Our cat, Big Guy, was a very smart feline. Beautiful, sweet, funny. We lived in Boston back then and he was not allowed outside. Between the traffic, disease, and stray dogs, it was not a world to which I would expose our gentle boy. Of course Big Guy wanted out. I could not blame him, but there was no way he was setting paws onto those mean streets.

Big Guy

Big Guy

Yet, every once in a while, we would have the door open, bringing in packages, or coming, or going. Big Guy, tail at full mast, would walk out the door towards the street. No running. Measured steps.

No one will notice,” he must have thought. “I’ll just casually stroll out and inspect the neighborhood.” Of course we noticed. When his attention was called, he looked at us as if to say, “What? Don’t I do this every day?”

Then there are the dogs. Bishop, the size of a small, but extremely furry pony, calmly walking out the back door. Like it’s an everyday occurrence.

Or Bonnie, with her long black claws clacking down the hallway, in her ongoing attempt to get into the laundry basket,  or Nan, trying to steal the mouse from my computer. They are sure no one will notice.

Last night we were watching Castle. The bad guys were trying to kill them. The last of the good guys had been shot and was in the hospital. Castle and Beckett decide to interview the guy — secretly, in his hospital room. Except … you mean … no one will notice this famous author and his cop partner going into the room of a heavily guarded near-victim?

Beckett and Castle were working under the same fundamental belief as Big Guy. No one will notice. We’ll just casually stroll into the hospital room, no problem.

Castle-Beckett-crime-fighting-couple

Sure enough. When the scriptwriter is on your side, anything is possible. Of course, it got the guy killed, but he was merely a guest star, so it didn’t matter.

In real life, everyone notices. I have never successfully snuck anyplace without someone hailing me, asking for my identification, or deciding they need to chat about something. Maybe it’s me. I do not seem to have a stealthy bone in my body.

Sad, but true. Despite the premise in so many television shows and the belief of my dogs that no one will notice whatever they do … not even that big furry butt skulking towards the forbidden exit … I never get away with anything. Ever.

Probably it’s time for me to give up my plans of becoming the next great international spy. You think?

SHARING MY WORLD … END OF 2014 EDITION

Share Your World – 2014 Week 51

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why? 

I never prefer snowy winters. Not any more. When I was a kid, snow meant not having to go to school and instead, playing in the snow. These days, it means being trapped in the driveway by sheets of ice. Treacherous, slippery roads and walkways. Dogs coming in and out dragging half a snowdrift with them. Puddles on the floor, followed by mud everywhere.

75-Bishop-in-Snow_17

Snow is for the young. That’s why no one retires to Minnesota.

On the other hand, snow is beautiful. As a photographer, I admire it. The shine on new-fallen snow is stunning. Waking to a world covered in a thick layer of white, unbroken by plows, cars, even feet.

75-DecSnowHP-17

Out comes the camera … but also out come the boots, the scarves, the hats, gloves, sweaters. I would like one nice snow every year … followed immediately by spring.

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

I know I saw my umbrella just the other day, but I’ve already forgotten where it was. We don’t really use umbrellas around here.

72-On-The-Road_026

Too much wind to use umbrellas, so we wear hats and other rain gear.

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

Separated.

What is set as the background on your computer?

Which computer? This one has the Alienware backdrop. I have wolves in the bedroom and Northern Lights in the office. At least that’s what I have today. Tomorrow may be different.