Share Your World – August 13, 2018

I want to start off — again — with the Garry cochlear implant update.

He is doing better. He is less wobbly, can usually get up and down the stairs, but I’m glad we have a handrail. His ear is still sore.

Not internally, but externally and I suspect it’s his addiction to wearing headphones for watching television that is preventing it from healing as fast as it otherwise would. In the end, he’s a big boy.

He has to make his own decisions. I don’t think the irritation he’s causing is serious. There’s no sign of infection or oozing or any of the things that would normally alarm me, but it is definitely redder and more sore-looking than it was earlier in the week. It might be better if he left it to heal, but hey, it’s his ear.

Overall, things are gradually getting more normal. Not “normal, normal,” but close to what I think normal might be — for us.

Finally, we are close to his getting all that fancy techno-headgear that should enable him to really hear. Pretty exciting!

Garry will get his own superpower.

A class you wish you would have taken?

I still wish I’d taken a few photography courses so I’d have a better grip on the terminology of photography. I know how to do most of the stuff, but I often have no idea what it’s called. I took one course, a long time ago on wedding photography, but that was more than 50 years ago.

I decided to take a webinar given by Topaz this week on how to use the filters to make the pictures better, but more natural. There are a lot of free webinars online and I usually skip them because I’m at a point where “going to school” is on the bottom of my to-do list.

But since I don’t have to travel and it’s free, why not? Maybe I’ll learn something useful! Can’t hurt, can it?

Are you scared of heights?

Not as much as I was when I was younger. I get dizzy on the edge of a drop and I have what I think is a healthy fear of falling. That includes falling individually or falling in a car or on a horse or any old way.

Falling off horses is what did my spine in the first time around. I hesitate to imagine what it would do to me now.


Are you a good cook? If so, do you consider yourself a chef?

I’m a good cook. I’m definitely not a chef because I’m simply not careful about measuring quantities and reproducing the same recipe the same way each time — and that is the difference between a cook and a chef. (An actual chef taught me that.)



Making sure the same recipe comes out the same way each time. I’m much more of a “what do I have in the fridge?” kind of cook. With a couple of exceptions, I doubt any two meals of mine have ever come out the same twice!

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 


I was very happy with the Manhattan chowder. I should have cooked the bacon longer, but otherwise, it was as good as any red chowder I’ve ever tasted.

WORLD SHARING: V 07.23.2018 – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – July 23, 2018

In regards to puzzle what’s your choice: jigsaw, crossword, word search, mazes, logic or numeric puzzles, something else, or nothing?

Puzzles used to be crosswords, but it’s hard to find good ones anymore. They are either way too easy, or way too hard. I like ones that are challenging, but not impossible. I used to be a serious devotee of the crosswords in the New York Times, but the guy who wrote them passed on and no one else has done nearly as well with them.

These days, I settle for almost any word game. Again, most of them are either far too simple or close to impossible. Otherwise, I can play pretty much any card game including bridge and any board game, even digital versions. But mostly, I haven’t had any time to play anything lately.

I feel just a little bit like a hamster on a wheel. I keep running and the wheel keeps turning. I sure hope I’m at least generating some electricity!

List at least five favorite treats and it doesn’t necessarily have to be food.

Sushi is always a treat unless it’s really bad. One of this week’s more astonishing moments was when Owen and I went to the cafeteria and discovered that they had three REAL LIVE JAPANESE SUSHI CHEFS preparing FRESH sushi. At UMass Memorial Hospital cafeteria.

You could have knocked my socks off.

It was one of the strangest meals of my life: perfect futomaki … and a great cup of New England Clam Chowder.

You got two treats right there. Great New England Clam Chowder — there are several other types of clam chowder including New England, made with milk or cream. Rhode Island, made with a sort of spicy broth, and many others which use some kind of broth or a tomato-soup base.

They all include clams and potatoes, though. Which makes them some kind of clam chowder. New Englanders might challenge that assumption.

In the rain – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Other treats? That depends on the season, the time, my mood, and what’s available. In the fall, I’m thrilled by the change of color of the foliage. A lot of times, the treat is the opportunity to photograph something sublime.

On a good day, it’s getting out of bed and realizing nothing hurts! That’s a very BIG treat.

Clean — for at least 10 minutes!

Vacuuming the rug and watching the dog hair vanish and realizing the rug really isn’t gray, but actually, is a black background? That’s a treat!

Waiting to be put on the bed! These are great AND not expensive (Amazon).

Fresh, brand-new percale sheets are beyond a treat. They are a luxury. Nothing feels as good as they do, especially if you have just taken a hot shower.

What is your favorite type of dog? (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie)

Terriers and hounds are my favorites, though, in the name of continuing our sanity, we have moved on from hounds and have two black Scottish Terriers, Bonnie and Gibbs. We also have a very strange cross-breed named (by Garry so don’t blame me) The Duke after “Mr. Tall In The Saddle, Duke Wayne.”

Crazy Duke

Duke is not tall and doesn’t ride a horse. No one knows what he is, but the consensus is that he is a cross of two Asian breeds, possible both purebred. An accidental love match of maybe a Chin and … a Lhasa Apso? Something mid-size because Duke is just about 35 pounds of wild enthusiasm, stubborn determination to do it his way, and a passionate eagerness to be the family’s Top Dog.

Lucky neither Bonnie nor Duke is a fighter. For that matter, lucky for everyone Duke is stubborn and smart, but not a fighter. If we were more agile, Duke is a dog who would like being trained.  He needs a job and unfortunately, we don’t have one for him.

I suggested he rewire the house, but Garry didn’t think that was such a good idea. I can’t imagine why not.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

Right before Garry’s surgery, we took Duke and Mr. Gibbs in for grooming. Duke had never been groomed. He isn’t a dog who really needs it. A regular brushing and the occasional bath would do it for him. Or, as the groomer said, “He is a once-a-year customer.” Gibbs has finally calmed down and stopped giving them a really hard time, but that’s okay since Duke tore the place down.

Busy clipping

But when they came out and after I tried not to faint from the price (it takes at least two people to work on Gibbs and it took three for Duke!), they felt delightfully soft and clean.

And they SMELLED good, too.


After a lifetime of being hard of hearing, then much more hard of hearing and eventually, downright deaf, Garry goes into the hospital this coming Friday for cochlear implant surgery. It is supposed to be a “day surgery.” The actual operation, including preparation and setting up anesthesia and whatever tests they might run means it will most likely take around three hours.

About an hour after waking from sleep, Garry should be ready to come home.

Not surprisingly, he’s anxious about the surgery and worried about the changes he will need to make. We will both be making a lot of changes. All of this isn’t going to happen all at once.

There will be a month just waiting for the bandages to come off and another two weeks before the new “equipment” is installed. Then, over a period of months, as Garry should regain real hearing for the first time in his life.

Life will, I fondly believe, get better. But it’s also going to take some getting used to!

Share Our World

Since we are approaching the hottest part of our summer in the northern hemisphere, what’s your favorite ice-cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet flavor?  (Those of you who live down under I’m sure you remember what it is like in the hot summer months).

Definitely yogurt. And our personal favorite is black raspberry swirl!

How often do you people watch?

Here in Uxbridge, hardly at all. There aren’t a lot of people around to watch, especially not in this part of the neighborhood. But when we are in a mall or the grocery store — someplace where you can see people — then we watch.

When we are taking pictures, Garry is the one who usually shoots people. I think it’s a remnant of television shooting.

If you had a choice which would be your preference saltwater beaches, freshwater lakes, ocean cruise, hot tub, ski resort or desert?

I love saltwater for swimming. It’s “bouncier” than fresh water. But I don’t like having to get the salt out of every tiny part of me. So I guess you can say I like both, for different reasons.

Swimming on a cruise ship gives you saltwater to swim in without the sand. I guess I should pick that. Except we are nowhere near going cruising.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

I found my inability to know what day of the week it was hilarious. I’ve also been enjoying our very retro retreat into favorite old Westerns. The news has been so appalling and it seems to get worse each day. We need to get our heads back on straight and remember other days and other times.

It’s not easy to do this time around. We have to work at it. So it has become a daring combination of as much baseball as we can push into one day, followed by at least one good western. Now that we’ve signed up with “FilmStruck,” Garry has easy access to all those old movies he loves. Mind you, we already OWN half of them.

Maybe more than half. More like 75%. But he really likes not having to fiddle with the DVD. Having all these movies “on call” is an improvement. Also, many of them have been very nicely cleaned up for both sound and picture.

WORLD-SHARING 2.02.4 – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – July 9, 2018

What would you name the autobiography of your life?


Which do you prefer sweet, salty or buttery?

All of the above, in varying combinations. I do not, however, like “sweet-salty” combinations such as chocolate covered salty pretzels. I do like sweet-bitter combinations like bitter orange, lemon … to a point. I’m not an extremist. I don’t like intensely bitter orange or super-soured lemon. I sort of appreciate subtlety in foods.

As for buttery? Not so much these days. When I was younger and didn’t mind fatty foods, I was more butter-inclined. Fonder of “slathered in butter.” Not much these days. I’m more temperate. I like a little bit of this, that, and the other thing. Too much of any single thing is … well … too much of a good thing.

What’s the finest education?

For what? Law? Medicine? Software Engineering? Physics? High Mathematics? History? Economics?

Even amongst the top schools for each subject, you could argue which was which THE school. Do you like MIT or Cal Tech? Harvard or Yale? Cambridge or the Sorbonne? Julliard? Oberlin?

Photo: B. Kraft

I think the best education for me or you would be the best we could get out of what happens to be available. I’ve met some really ignorant PhDers and some incredibly smart people without any formal education.

Still, that being said, a really excellent education at a top school for whatever you are studying can’t possibly hurt, right? So if you can get into the right school, definitely go. And I don’t mean online. I mean GO. Because there’s more to college than classes.

What made you smile this past week?

When we got home from the hospital — it was a long day — I found a package. It was the fancy Red Sox 2018 shirt I ordered for Garry. A bit more than I would normally spend on a shirt, but I thought he needed something to perk up his world. He has been so worried about this surgery, he needed an “upper” and I thought this would be it.

You think? It certainly made Garry smile  😎

SHARING MY WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – July 2, 2018

Tell us about your first bicycle or car?

My first bicycle was much more interesting than my car. It was a Dutch racing bike. I don’t know where my father got it, but it was nothing like any of the other bicycles my friends had.

Looked a lot like this, but no handbrakes

They had standard Schwinn-type fat wheeled bicycles. Mine was a true racing bike except it had a single gear — high. And, oddly, coaster brakes. It was a titanium frame, so it weighed almost nothing. I really loved that bike.

I was only 10 when I got it and it had a 22-inch frame, so it was five years until I could sit on the seat and peddle at the same time. It got old and eventually, the frame was so twisted I couldn’t ride it anymore. I never found another bike like it.

It was black and it was called a “Tiger” racer. Every other racing bike I’ve seen had gears and handbrakes. Except for mine. I’ve actually tried to find information about it online but never found anything. If by some chance you know anything about mid-1950s European racing bikes, I’d love to hear about them.

What fictional world or place would you like to visit?


Neverland. I want to fly there, too.

Flying to Neverland

If you could have someone follow you around all the time, like a personal assistant, what would you have them do?

I can’t imagine wanting someone following me around, not even fictionally. That would totally creep me out. I wouldn’t mind some help at home, taking care of cleaning and even cooking. But everywhere?

I don’t think so.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

Just when I thought we were in this dry hot spell for a few more days, I heard thunder and literally, out of the blue, it started to pour.

Suddenly, it rained

The garden is happy and I could feel the air cool down. I don’t know if the hot spell is completely over, but we sure did need that rain!


Share Your World – June 25, 2018

Where has this first half-year gone? Whoosh! It was winter that never ended, a muddy, windy spring … now summer. Whoosh and it will be autumn. Why does winter last forever, but summer and fall are gone in a flash?

If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and offered to take you home with them, would you go? (remember this is SYW, they are friendly aliens)

I need to ask a few questions. HOW friendly are these aliens? Are they likely to love me so much they want to have lunch with me — as the main dish?


Can they make me young? Cure all ailments? Can I bring Garry? Can I bring the dogs?

I’ve been waiting for the Mother Ship for years. I won’t let it go without serious consideration. As long as I can take my family and not become lunch, that is.

How tall are you? Are you satisfied with your height?

I’m SHORT. I used to be short, but not quite THIS short. I’m barely 5’2″ these days.

On the deck, I look NORMAL. On the ground, I am squat.

I can’t reach the top shelf of my kitchen cabinets. Am I satisfied with my height? Hell no.

Do you think you could live without your smartphone (or other technology items) for 24 hours? 

I could. I have. Sometimes, I look forward to it. I live without a smartphone anyway because although I have one in my bag, it’s off. It is my emergency phone and I rarely use it. 

I don’t think I could do without a camera, though. That would be painful.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  

Seeing the fourth orchid come to life, getting the lawn mowed (love the fresh grassy smell) and finally setting the deck to rights.

Four orchids

One of the really positive parts of having real company is that you do the things you’ve been putting off. If no one ever visits, you can let them slide.



You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what is it? Sushi? Scotch Tape?

I’ll go with money on this one. Unlimited money would buy me a lot of sushi or sticky tape.

Teleportation or flying?

Teleportation if available. Small, non-commercial aircraft otherwise.

Would you rather live where it only snows or the temperature never falls below 100 degrees?

Snow. I don’t like snow, but I’d melt in that kind of heat. Not to mention that I have lived in that kind of heat and it was all the time. Winter in the middle east is not bad. A lot of rain, but between the rains, it can be quite lovely.

One hundred degrees all the time? No thanks. In that kind of heat, I’d never leave the house at all.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  

Not a smiley week. I discovered there was another $4500 in what is now being called “identity theft.” It has all been covered by the credit card companies, but now I know the names of all the cops. I can even spell their last names.