Good Morning!

Every morning I like to drink a cup of coffee and enjoy the view of Lake Michigan from my apartment. The lake shimmers with a different color each day. It gives me a daily moment of solitude and reflection that I am so fortunate to be able to enjoy. If I get up early enough I can watch the sun rise over the lake.


Buddy likes to join me. He REALLY likes to join me. He will come running, full tilt, jump up on the sofa next to me and hurl his little body next to me with such abandon that it sends coffee splattering in all directions. He is so happy to start his day with me that I just have to chuckle.

Well, good morning to you too, Buddy!



Won’t you be my neighbor?

Hello Neighbor!

Hello Neighbor!

Yesterday was the anniversary of Fred Roger’s death. I think it safe to say that most people who have children are familiar with him and his “neighborhood.” Somehow he was a weird mix of creepiness and endearment, but my kids loved his show when they were little.

It is so funny walking Buddy around our Chicago neighborhood. Everyone knows Buddy. He makes the rounds of doormen who have a “treat” for him and as we walk by people from our apartment building, so often people will exclaim “Buddy!”

He is so earnest and hopeful, tail wagging, as he catches the eyes of people passing by. He is a little people magnet.

I watch him work his “magic” on people as they stop to scratch his chin, and before you know it, he has another neighborhood friend.

If he could sing, he would sing the theme song to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood:

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood,
A neighborly day for a beauty,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?

Won’t you please,
Won’t you please,
Please won’t you be my neighbor?”

Angel on Earth

pretty boy

I think we might have an angel here among us.

Yes, I know it is that time of year when Heavenly Hosts appear bearing tidings of great joy. It is nothing as dramatic as that but of great impact none the less.

We live next door to an elderly gentleman who is quite friendly and yes, a bit odd, but kind hearted. He is in his seventies and through the occasional chat in the hallway we know he is an only child.

So, on New Year’s Day when I saw him in the lobby after walking Buddy, we exchanged our usual “hello” and “Happy New Year!” As I turned to go to the elevator, he blurted out, “My mom died last night.”

He was seated on a bench and looking a bit more disheveled than usual. He told me he had been up all night. So I turned around and sat down next to him.

Buddy jumped up between us.

Buddy is usually a friendly dog, but not one to snuggle up with strangers. He must have had some kind of doggy-sense of his sadness because he leaned up tight against him as close as he could possibly get, and then flipped over on his back for a belly rub. We sat there, the three of us, for awhile, wordless, while my neighbor petted Buddy.

I saw my neighbor again yesterday and asked him how he was doing. He said he was doing better, and then told me that when Buddy snuggled with him in the lobby, it was a tremendous comfort to him. He said that there must be something to all of those studies that show that dogs can make people feel better and that Buddy is a “little angel.”

I think he just might be right.

Love and Kindness for Yer Wee Beastie

Buddy Christmas

After Buddy’s recent run-in with a too-close clipper at his last grooming appointment, I went out in search of a kinder gentler groomer. I read  numerous reviews on Yelp and found Stacey who advertised herself as, “A Kinder Professional Groomer for Yer Wee Beastie.”

OK, with a last name like “McIntyre” I admit there is a certain appeal in going to a Scottish groomer. And after hearing Stacey’s thick Scottish brogue on the phone, we were “in!”

Her webpage says, “ At the end of the day, when the wee pets look great and their owners are happy, it’s very satisfying to know that I’ve done my best. Whoever said that work is a “spiritual” thing sure knew what they were talking about!”

So I took Buddy to see her today, and picked him up a couple of hours later looking well groomed and happy. He had obviously been treated with love and kindness and smelled much better to boot!

At our candlelight Christmas Eve service this evening, I thought of Stacey and her “spiritual” work. What a simple gift of love and kindness to take care of “wee beasts” in this manner.

May you and yer wee beasts be blessed this holiday season too!

Silver Bells

City Sidewalks

Silver Bells

“City sidewalks
Busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s
A feeling of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every
Street corner you’ll hear

Silver Bells, Silver Bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas Day”

Photo: L. Kreha

Favorite Places

photo (7)We all have our favorite places to be. A place where we think, dream or perhaps relax.

One of my favorite places to be is up high looking far over water. I am living in a favorite place right now in a 20th floor apartment overlooking Lake Michigan. Perfect.

We all have our favorite spots. Sheldon Cooper, in the TV Show, The Big Bang Theory, explains his special spot on the couch as, “In the winter that place is close enough to the radiator to remain warm, yet not so close as to cause perspiration, in the summer it is directly across from a cross breeze, created by opening windows there, and there, it faces the television in an angle that is neither direct thus discouraging conversation or so far to create a parallax distortion…” Everyone else knows not to sit there.

And where is Buddy’s favorite place these days?

Tucked in next to the toilet.

It reminds me of one of my favorite childhood poems:

Halfway Down by A. A. Milne

“Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn’t any
other stair
quite like
i’m not at the bottom,
i’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else

That’s OK Buddy, if that is where you want to sleep, so be it.


Buddy has definite preferences regarding where he likes to take his morning walks.

He likes to walk along the dog-chin high plantings at the front of our building or behind the tall pine trees on the corner, or better yet, in the doggy-thigh high pachysandra. No walks along the sidewalk here, he likes to walk on the wild side.

If he sees a dog, he stops, sits down and watches until it passes by.

Until today I though he just liked all of the interesting smells, having moved here from Michigan, where he would roam free in the back yard. I thought he preferred the grass under his feet.

But as I watched him this morning, I realized something.

He is modest.

He is used to the privacy of his own back yard, and doesn’t want anyone else seeing him “doing his business.”

This brought back memories of showering in middle-school locker rooms. I remember other girls with their perky little chests and petite little figures confidently showering while I lurked in the corner in frumpy flat-chested misery.

I get it Buddy. Sometimes a guy just needs a little privacy.

Let’s see if we can find you a bush.

Boogie-Woogie Cone Head Thanksgiving Celebration

Buddy has had an up and down sort of Thanksgiving.

On one hand, he is glad to see my younger son and my older son with girlfriend. This offers increased belly rubs and longer, more interesting walks. He is also a huge fan of turkey.

Unfortunately he has had a closer than necessary run-in with a clipping razor, so he has a “shaver burn” on his belly and on his tail. When this happens, he licks and licks until he creates raw itchy patches. I fashioned a simultaneously pitiful and hysterical pair of doggy pants out of a pair of tights – which kept the licking down slightly, but not enough to resolve the problem, so we went to the vet yesterday.

He is now sporting a “cone of shame” and a bandaged tail.

We seem to be having an appendage injury kind of Thanksgiving this year. My older son burned his hand on a pan this morning, so both he and Buddy are sporting bandages.

Luckily, there is enough increased activity around here because of the Thanksgiving holiday that they seem to be taking it all in stride. We spent the evening last night around the piano, banging out boogie-woogie, drinking wine and singing classic rock songs rather loudly.

Buddy is like the rest of our family. We put aside the annoyances, the burned hand and the itchy-not-so-perfect parts of our lives to enjoy the food, the family, and the moment.

I hope you had a boogie-woogie cone-head Thanksgiving too!

Photo: L. Kreha

Giving Thanks

Buddy always pauses a moment, chin down, legs outstretched before he eats a treat.

I like to think he is saying grace.

When my older son was five he was fascinated with fire trucks. He had a collection of little toy fire trucks and he would engage in imaginary play with them that involved endless heroic efforts, often requiring the dramatic rescue of a kitten in a tree.

During grace before our Thanksgiving meal that year, we all took a moment to say what we were thankful for.

He said he was thankful for fire trucks.

He now lives in Manhattan. The recent onslaught of Hurricane Sandy takes thankfulness to a whole new level. Luckily, he lives in the Upper East Side, so he wasn’t affected that much by the storm. However, all over New York there is incredible destruction.

We are thankful that he and his girlfriend weren’t affected by the disaster and are safe. We are all thankful for the firemen and first-responders who help with the victims of disasters.

And Buddy? He is thankful for Milkbones.

Photo by L Kreha