FAMILY PHOTOS – Marilyn & Garry Armstrong

It was a lovely day and we went to take pictures. But there wasn’t anything going on in the parks. It was hot — as it has been all month — and everyone is staying home with their air-conditioning.

So we took pictures of each other. We were, after all, the only people there.

Garry, upward
Marilyn
In black & white
Figuring out why the lens isn’t zooming
Garry
On the green lawn
Still Garry
Finally, a proper focus!

We got some nice pictures, but our plans for a cool day didn’t work out all that well. Our car ONLY went up to 99 degrees and after we started driving, it dropped down to 92. Not exactly comfortable. But we keep hoping and they keep promising!

 

SMILING WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Photo Challenge: Give us a Smile

Smiling pictures? I’d like to say it’s a specialty, but to be fair, birds, dogs, and squirrels aren’t big smilers. Since they constitute the majority of my pictures, I have to resort to (gasp!) pictures of people. In this case, my husband Garry — who smiles only slightly more often than the dogs.

Actually, Duke is a pretty good smiler — for a dog!

We thought the Sox were going to play a bit better, but they are perking up. So let’s smile!
Doctor and patient smiling. Hint: the doctor is wearing white.
Duke makes him laugh. Eventually.
Garry and Harvey Leonard, with a smile!

THREE OF A KIND – OR VERY CLOSE – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Three of a Kind

Last week, it was the rule of three, but this week, it’s three of a kind. This is pretty easy because I take the same pictures over and over hoping at least one of them will be perfect.

Nothing is ever perfect!

I was lucky. Garry actually liked all of these and a few others too.

THE WHITE ELEPHANT PARTY: A TAGALONG FROM MELANIE B CEE – Marilyn Armstrong

Look what that MELANIE B CEE gave me? What a sweetheart! That’s not a white elephant. That’s a saving grace!

From Melanie:

Okay, my gift recipients are … cough, cough … VICTIMS … cough, cough, cough …are the following: Marilyn (yeah I’m picking on you today). I hope you can use this.  I know I could! HEY SANTA?? You taking notes??!

christmas-hat-full-100-dollar-260nw-139679770
A giant Christmas stocking full of cash is no white elephant!

Is there enough money to repoint the chimney? Replace the kitchen window? Maybe even replace ALL the windows!

Oh, thank you thank you thank you!

Since so many of the people with whom I am online friends, what I will give all of you is a year of health, free of fear. Where no one hates you, no one is cruel. Where you can do what you enjoy and feel free and happy while you do it! To all of you on this first evening of Chanukah … be full of joy!

This is a joyous time of year and I send you all kisses and hugs and every sort of good feelings. May your books sell, your dogs and cats be healthy, and all your remaining parts work almost like new!

And just to keep this fun, here are some portraits of the many animals on the Commons yesterday during the preparation for the parade. Goats, sheep, and Vicuna! And one photographer.

The prettiest goat!
He could come to our place and keep my weeds cut … or at least, chewed

A very attractive sheep
And some vicuna,, a little abstract to blur faces

And one last portrait … and a reminder that — AGAIN — we will be gone all day at the audiologist at the hospital because it’s Garry’s three -month audiological checkup. There are going to be a lot of tests and a lot of tune-ups of all the equipment.

Lots of domination games in the pen. Reminds me of home!

And yes, I WILL  bring a camera this time. If I don’t have time to visit your blog, please forgive me.

It’s just going to be that kind of month. Doctors, vets, and actually a few cool parties that are long drives from here, but we’re going to try to go anyway. At least they aren’t in Boston, so we might actually get there!

DOCTOR AND PATIENT – Marilyn Armstrong

Today was Garry’s 3-month post-operative surgical appointment at UMass hospital.

He hasn’t had any problems at all with the surgery. Actually, he has not had any trouble with the process, except for the minor detail that every day is a surprise. Each new sound is something he has to recognize, then classify.

He hears the squeaky ball that Duke is chewing. He hears the trucks pulling into the driveway. He recognizes the opening and closing of the gate downstairs. He can hear his own breathing and finds it distracting. We all assure him he will learn to filter that kind of sound, as well as many other ordinary sounds that the rest of us automatically don’t notice.

It takes a lot of work to learn to hear when you are 76. Sounds that the rest of us have always recognized, he is hearing for the first time. It’s a lot of work and a lot of mental processing.

Garry and Dr. Remenschneider. When your doctor is not much older than your grandchild, you know you’ve put on a few years.

It can be a bit exhausting for him. I suspect sometimes all he wants is that old familiar silence where no one expects him to answer because they know he didn’t hear them.

Today he picked up the phone when it rang … and he heard it. He hates telephones and has for a very long time. It has a lot to do with getting calls from work at all hours of the day and night. Over the years it became a bit of a phobia. Hopefully, he will get over it. Because all of us deserve to have to listen to the other electric company’s spiel on how they will lower our rates (no they won’t). At least the political season is over for a couple of months so the surveyors won’t be calling. That’s something.

Dr. Aaron Remenschneider – and a great surgeon!

On the positive side, I am (finally) not the only one who wonders what that weird noise is in the basement. Also, when we have an argument, he knows what I said — which is not always ideal.

He is not the only one who has to learn new things. I have lost my role as permanent interpreter, which to be fair, I’m glad to lose. I have not lost my role in telling people to please speak up, especially the receptionists in the Hearing Clinic.

They speak so softly, I can barely hear them. Meanwhile, the people they are talking to are actually in the process of trying to learn to hear. I figure they should speak up. Put a little diaphragmatic air into your larynx and push it out through your vocal cords. That’s what makes it possible for others else to hear you.

It’s what speakers are taught. Actors and reporters, too. Sometimes, you don’t have a microphone. You just have you.

Okay, among other things, I was a speech major. Actually, I have a degree in it. I have never used the degree for anything except telling other people to “please speak up!”

Doctor and patient. Hint: the doctor is wearing white.

Garry is quite the star of the Otolaryngology Department. He can hear remarkably well for just three months into the program.

I expected him to be a star. When Garry works at something, he really works at it. He had to learn to speak properly with significant deafness. He learned it well enough to be on television every day for many years. So given this challenge, I knew he’d work at it as hard as he has ever worked at anything else in his life.

The hard work paid off. He can hear. I wish he had this option in his life many years earlier but if ever the expression “better late than never” had relevance, now is that moment.

Next week, he has his three-month audiological checkup. I bet he’s going to be a star.

SHINY HAIR: WHAT’S THE SECRET?

RDP Monday: LUSTRE

A friend of mine, also suffering from thinning hair, pointed out that at least my hair is shiny. It’s the result of insanely expensive shampoo and conditioner, a carefully chosen hairbrush … and unmitigated luck.

I don’t have a lot of hair … but by golly, it has lustre.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

The secret — other than the wildly expensive shampoo and conditioner? A very soft hairbrush, wash it ONLY when it is really dirty … like once a week. When it was a lot longer (waist length) and much thicker, I washed it every two to three weeks because the longer it gets, the more fragile it becomes. It was explained to me that the hair at the bottom was the oldest hair on your head.

For example, if you have been growing your hair for four or five years, even with regular end trimming, the hair at the ends has been around for four or five years. It is essentially dead, so treat it with great care.

Also, when your hair is that long, it takes a REALLY long time to dry and when I was working, I had to have a strategy. Wash hair Saturday morning and by Monday, it would finally be dry.

I had a best friend who was a hairdresser and always reminded me to NOT WASH YOUR HAIR EVERY DAY.

Your hair is supposed to have natural oils in it. The first time you let it go a few days, it feels weird, but after a while, it all settles down, so unless you’ve been gardening, running, or seriously exercising, your hair doesn’t need a daily scrubbing.

Of course, there are people who have fantastic hair that never seems to thin and always looks great no matter what they do to it. Sadly, I’m not one of them.

The other thing? DNA. You just have to have “that kind of hair.” I may not have a lot of it, but it is shiny.


Note: My hair is always tied back except when I sleep. When it was very long, it was always in a braid, including when I slept.

Why? I take pictures and my hair is fine. A little tiny bit of wind gets it into everything. It covers my eyes so I can’t take a picture because I can’t see anything. It gets tangled with my glasses. It sticks in my teeth. It’s hard to tell who sheds more — me or The Duke.