A Photo a Week Challenge: Street Lights

Streetlights. I love them! Especially in a city when the streets are a little wet from recent rain. The street light reflects in rainbow colors and the neon signs make a night in the city glow in a million colors.

Night near Symphony Hall
Strangers in the night?
Home. Downtown
Theater district
Night near the theaters




Here we are again facing another Pick a Word challenge. The words I picked for you this time are hardly challenging. Still, I hope you will enjoy taking part in it: fortified, chic, submerged, embodiment, prehistoric.

Note from me: I’m happy to NOT have to look up the words!

This is as chic as I ever get!

About to be submerged — and submerged!

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Embodiment of a perfect sunset!
A storm over the prehistoric remnants of a Native American tribe forced — to the best of my knowledge — from their land by drought.
An embodiment of the Saguaro cactus in the Phoenix mountains 

And a final embodiment:

Sam “The Man” Adams … in bronze, life-size – Very influential and definitely, an embodiment!

jupiter najnajnoviji


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Week 4
Mirrors, airplane, power lines, et al

What a great collection of images! I’m not sure about mirrors, but the rest? Got’em!

In this last pictures, the building is a mirror and you can actually see Garry’s silhouette on the building, a strange catch of the light.

Like a mirror – Can you see Garry?



Photo Challenge Laundry Day

Laundry waits for you!

It turns out that the trick to not doing a lot of laundry is to have a lot of underwear and socks. You can wear a shirt and pants again, even when it’s got a lot of dog hair on it … but underwear, well. You can’t just keep wearing it. It gets a bit … close.

Done and folded. Until the next time.

Garry does the laundry these days and he is the world’s best folder of clothing. It’s amazing. He can also iron, but he only irons for himself. I have to grovel to get him to iron anything. But these days, I mostly don’t care.

That neat pressed look which was so important during working years doesn’t seem important when the only company we have — most days — are dogs.

ATTITUDE – A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – #FOWC- Marilyn and Garry Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Attitude & #FOWC

I once took a series of pictures of Garry. All of them came out kind of dull. He looked at them. I looked at them. He said, “Why didn’t you tell me I needed to give you some ‘attitude’?”

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Someone has an attitude. Horse or rider? Maybe both?

That was, believe it or not, the first time I’d heard that expression used as a photographic term. I’m not a portrait artist. What I do best are landscapes and casual portraits, more or less on the fly. I’ve done very few “formal” portraits. Anything else has been candid, at best.

Kaity (I think this is her “good side”)

But Garry worked on television, so he “got it.” He also knew “his good side,” something about which I knew nothing. To this day, I don’t know if I have a good side, but then again, I didn’t spend forty years in front of a camera.

Good side?

I have, however, spent more than 40 years on the other side, so I probably ought to know more. I guess this is what you get for picking it all up without any training at all. You know things, but you don’t know what to call them. Terminology doesn’t come with “hands-on” learning.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – An actual portrait! I’m even dressed for the event!

Garry is the only person in my current life who seems able to take a picture of me I don’t immediately hate and want to delete. He has a knack for finding the “me” under the wrinkles and bags of age.

And also: FOWC with Fandango — Attitude


A Photo a Week Challenge: Neglected

Once upon a time, we had hedges and a garden. Now we have a wild place with wild and running-amok flowers … and the forsythia hedge from hell which is planning to overrun the house. It might just succeed this time!

An attempt at taming
Photo: Garry Armstrong

You can see that not only is the hedge enormous — 10 to 12 feet tall — but it too is being overrun by wild grape vines.

And the shed is about to fall down …

Overall, I think the house is getting serious about falling down, too. But not this week. Just … eventually.

You think the plants are a little out of control?


I’ve had a lot of dogs — and I’ve learned a few things, mostly from the trainers with whom I’ve worked.

The most important thing I’ve learned about dogs is they can’t and don’t think like humans. We tend to anthropomorphize them and attribute motives to them of which they are incapable. For example, most people believe that dogs chew furniture or poop in the house when they are left alone because they are ‘getting back’ at their humans for leaving them. The problem with that theory is that it requires levels of conceptualization, insight, and understanding of cause and effect way beyond a dog’s capabilities.


First, they must have the self-awareness to know they are feeling angry at you, which they can’t and don’t have. Then they have to understand they can get ‘revenge’ (a human concept) if they make you mad or upset too. That is more than a two-year-old child can do, let alone a dog. Thirdly, they have to figure out, in the abstract, what behaviors they could perform to make you upset.

This is a more than a reasonable stretch for any dog.


The explanation for most negative dog behavior seems to be stress or anxiety. Different things cause stress in different dogs. Various dogs react to stress in unique ways. Chewing and making in the house are examples of anxiety-driven behaviors, as are excessive barking and hyperactivity. None of these are thought out revenge schemes.

My anxiety prone dog gets most anxious when other people come into the house.

Remy and Tom

Apparently, that’s because she thinks she has to ‘protect’ me, which means she is on duty when the doorbell rings. However, this skittish dog does not react to things that stress out many other dogs, like thunder, vacuum cleaners, packed suitcases or even a trip to the vet. She is the calmest, most relaxed dog my vet has ever seen in her office!

Go figure!

Another interesting fact I learned about dog psychology is that dogs are very Zen. They truly live in the moment. They can only think about what just happened for about 10 seconds. That’s why to train a dog you have to reward them the minute they do what you want them to. When housebreaking a dog, you have to praise them profusely while they are in the act of making, not even a minute later. If you rewarded your dog right after they made, they would think you were praising them for whatever they were doing at that exact moment, like sniffing a bush or wagging their tail.

This brings up a funny story about how my anxious girl, Lexi flummoxed the dog trainer.

It also points up how dogs can see things differently than even the dog trainer believes they could. When Lexi was on the sofa with me, she would often growl at our older dog when he came near the sofa. So we followed the trainer’s advice and told her ‘no’ immediately and threw her off the sofa. In most dogs, this would end the offensive behavior.


However Lexi continues to growl at her brother, but as soon as she does, she immediately jumps off the sofa and lies down on the floor. The trainer has never seen a case of self-punishment before. Her takeaway is logical though.

Thus “When you growl, you have to get off of the sofa,” is as valid a lesson to take from the situation as is just ‘stop growling’!

Think of your dog as a two-year-old child. You can’t expect the child or the dog to act or react like an adult/human or understand the world the way we do. You are the superior intellect in the relationship so you have to try and understand how your dog perceives and thinks.

Don’t get mad at your dog for ‘scheming’ against you and ‘purposely behaving badly to annoy you.’ His brain doesn’t work that way. Figure out what stressor is triggering his undesirable behavior and deal with the stressor or channel the dog’s anxiety in another way.