Constant Companions

Lake Michigan is my constant ever changing companion these days.

Here is the view from my 20th floor window today. I have been looking at the lake this morning, listening to Van Morrison.

His growling soulful voice asks me:

“I wanna know did you get the feelin’? Did you get it down in your soul? I wanna know oh did you get that feelin’ And did the feelin’ grow? Oh did ye get healed?”

A friend of mine, who has since passed away, was a Pottawattamie Native American. She told me that Native Americans view water as “woman’s medicine.”

Well, it sure works for me.

I have another constant companion, my dog Buddy. Minutes can change to hours that drift into whole afternoons watching the lake with my little canine friend lying next to me, The combination of the lake, the dog, and the music wash over me and create a state of inner calm.

So is this “women’s medicine?” Or is this God’s hand?

I don’t have the definitive answer. But I have the feelin’.

And that is enough for me today.


Home is where your dog is

We recently relocated to Chicago from a Midwestern town in Michigan, a place we called home, a place where we raised our two boys. We lived there for 24 years.

It was “home” in every sense of the word, friends, music, fall football games at the local high school, Christmas memories of holiday secrets and very special presents, boys all slicked up for High School dances, pumpkins carved, babies born, parents passing away. Living there was a tapestry of kids growing up, casserole suppers dropped off by friends when times were tough, flowers on the front porch, chatting with neighbors while doing yard work, birthday and high school graduation parties.

Last year my husband, like many other victims of the Michigan economy, lost his job. Michigan has had a particularly rough go of it, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. After a couple of months looking, we decided he had to cast his net further in the job-hunt and he found a job in Chicago.

We sold our home and most of our possessions and rented an apartment in downtown Chicago. We find ourselves in the curious position of starting over in our mid-fifties. Chicago is a great city to explore and we have discovered restaurants and music venues, museums and other haunts that a smaller town doesn’t provide. And yet, it somehow seems like we are on a long vacation, so much so that sometimes we slip and say “Let’s go back to the hotel,” in referring to our apartment. It all seems like a crazy dream and that any point we will go back home.

Curiously, one of the things that make this place feel most like home is our dog Buddy. He is a conversation starter on the street, he gets us out of our apartment on daily walks, and he is ready and waiting to greet us at the door.

Here is one thing we’ve discovered:
Home is where your dog is.

My dog wants me to get a tail

There is a company in Japan, Neuroware, which has created a tail that reads electrical impulses from your brain and reacts to your mood by wagging a tail. I am not kidding.

It is called Shippo. Here it is.

Buddy wants me to get one of these, but I’m not going to do it.
He also wants me to get about a hundred pounds of bacon and store it for the upcoming Worldwide Bacon Shortage, Porkageddon. I’m not going to do that either.

I’ve watched my share of the TV show Dog Whisperer. Sometimes you just have to be firm with your dog.

This is one of those moments.

Sorry, Buddy.

Bacon Shortage!

It was announced last night that there will shortly be a WORLD WIDE SHORTAGE Of BACON.

This will be deeply disturbing to Buddy, my husband and sons. There must be some sort of male affinity for bacon, because I can honestly say I could go without bacon for quite some time.

Not so for them.

Buddy, like many dogs, adores bacon. It holds a special place in his heart. He will eagerly run through his limited repertoire of tricks for a piece of bacon. This isn’t necessarily the case for other treats. You might get a half-hearted “shake” for a boring old Milkbone, but bring out the bacon and let the show begin!

I’m not sure how to break this to him. Partially because when I talk to him all he hears is:

Bacon is just one of Buddy’s few pleasures here on earth. I don’t think I have the heart to tell him.

I am going to have to hunker down for “Porkageddon” and stock up on A LOT of bacon flavored doggy treats.


What’s in YOUR purse?

The other day I reached into the side of my purse to get my keys and found a doggy bag.

A full doggy bag.

No not that kind of doggy bag, THAT kind of doggy bag.

I had walked the dog in a hurry, and not finding a trash bin nearby, I had tucked the doggy bag in the side pocket of my purse with the intention of tossing it in the next garbage can. But then I forgot it was there.

I discretely disposed of the bag (it WAS in a closed plastic bag) with the hope that none of my friends or coworkers had noticed, not wanting some sort of reality TV show intervention like Animal Hoarders or Clean This House!

This led me to consider that the contents of my purse were sort of a window to my world.

Thinking back BC, that would be before computers, children or cell phones, my purse would have contained a small address book, a change purse for phone calls, train tickets, a small Day Runner planner, perhaps a couple of pink “While You Were Out” message slips and a pink nail polish bottle for fixing those well manicured nails chipped by typing on an electric typewriter.

This purse said, “Working! Responsible! Organized! Efficient!”

Fast forward a few years and my purse would have contained a pacifier, baby wipes, an older child’s broken retainer, a Star Wars Boba Fett action figure, a small laminated sheet of the pee wee football team names and probably a petrified McDonald’s french fry or two.

This purse screamed “Mom!”

And now?

Aside from the doggy bag (c’mon, it was sealed tight, and it only happened ONCE, okay?) you might find a plastic doggy bone, a small bag of doggy kibble from the last road trip, and a slip from the drycleaner because the dog barfed on the bedspread.

Yup, my purse says “Dog Owner” now.

What’s in YOUR purse?


We had a laundry chute in my childhood home. Aside from being useful in collecting dirty laundry, it provided entertainment for my sister and me. We would play “office” by attaching strings to messages which we sent up and down the chute. It also provided other kinds of entertainment, most of which I don’t recall.

One thing that DOES come into mind is the time I scribbled with crayon all over the inside of the chute. I am not sure what possessed me at the moment to do this, but I do recall feeling guilty during the act, so I decided to sign the masterpiece with my sister Susie’s name. At the time I wasn’t exactly sure how any lines were needed to make the letter “E,” so I added a few extra just to be sure.

When my mother found the drawing, she asked my sister and me about it. “Who me?” I replied, “I didn’t do it.”The letter “E” turned out to be the smoking gun that identified the criminal, because as my sister pointed out SHE knew how to write her name. And thus I was identified as the culprit.



Well I just identified another criminal.

My dog isn’t supposed to sit on the white chair; the one with the fluffy red pillow. When I got home from work, Buddy was lying on the floor with a sweet little innocent look on his face.

I asked him if he had been sleeping on the chair, but that didn’t get me very far, because when I speak, this is what he hears:


He looked at me with a look on his face as if to say, “Who, me? I didn’t do it. I’ve been sleeping on the floor”

Not getting far with the interrogation, I looked at the pillow on the chair.

Yup, it was squished.



Why I needed a whole box of kleenex

If you plan to watch the movie: Hachi, A Dog’s Tale, then don’t read this post.

Also I would caution women who are pregnant, just because when I was pregnant I would usually collapse into tears when I watched Hallmark commercials and the like.

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, starring Richard Gere, according to Wikipedia, which we all now know is the source of ALL THINGS, apparently is a remake of the 1987 film Hachi-kō (ハチ公物語. This is his picture.

Now I already have a conditioned response to anything starring Richard Gere:


Been there, done that with plenty of his movies, so I am ready at the get-go. But when I watched the movie about the story of Hachi-ko, it had me sobbing on the couch.

My husband, dumbfounded, found me, mascara smeared below my eyes, blowing my nose and cryin’ like a baby at the story of this remarkable dog. A true story, the Akita would wait everyday for his owner to return from his commute at the train station. Apparently the owner died, and the dog would still arrive daily at the station to wait for his owner to come home for NINE YEARS.

Hachi-ko died at the train station waiting for him. They erected a bronze statue of the dog at the site, and every year have a ceremony to honor the dog’s steadfast loyalty.

I realized something. Yes, I was moved by the story of Hachi-ko. But what really brought on the buckets of tears was my dog’s loyalty to me.

Buddy waits patiently everyday for my return. Every day.

I hope you have a dog that waits every day for you.

Oh, and if you decide to watch the movie, just make sure you have a good supply of tissues.


Doggy Dreams

Do dogs dream?

Many have wondered WHAT their dog is doing while asleep, limbs thrashing, paws pedaling, all while making odd little yipping noises. The Definitive Source of All THINGS, Wikipedia, says that dogs experience REM sleep where dreams occur. And since anyone can post anything on Wikipedia, we know now that dogs do indeed dream.
Also according to Wikipedia, dogs can serve in the army. Who knew? Here is Sergeant Stubby, who also according to Wikipedia, served in four offensives and 17 battles. Don’t show this to Buddy because I think he would want to run away and join the army so he could have a uniform and medals too.

So what does Buddy dream about?

Here is his list.

Doggy Chew Toys

Like many young girls of my generation, I grew up playing with a Barbie Doll. For hours a day, I would engage in imaginative play with my beloved doll.

However, having been accused by my parents as having an “overly active imagination,” this did not fare well for my Barbie. She often ended up in dire straits, and most frequently pregnant. I would take the red rubber ball from playing “jacks” and rubber-band it around her waist. She would then run around saying “Oh no! What shall I do?” Ken never seemed to play into this dilemma.

Poor girl never had any shoes either. Yup, MY Barbie was barefoot and pregnant.

I just loved chewing on her little plastic shoes. While my Barbie was running around “in a family way,” I was busy chewing on all of her shoes until they became a mangled mess.

There was something in the texture of those plastic shoes that made them irresistible to me. Often when I asked for a new outfit for my Barbie, it wasn’t because I wanted the outfit; it was because I had run out of shoes to chew on.

Well my dog Buddy runs into the same problem.

As far as I know, he doesn’t pretend any of his toys are pregnant, but he DOES chew them to utter destruction. As of today, the only toys he has left are a mangled blue shark missing his fins, and a shredded KONG Wubba. I just had to pitch several toys because the stuffing was spilling out of them.

That’s OK, Buddy, I understand. I’ll go pick up some new toys for you today.
# The image is used as the primary means of visual identification of the article topic

Secret Sauce

Do you remember the big hype about the Big Mac’s “Special Sauce” in the seventies?

“Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions – all on a sesame seed bun,” every kid could sing-a-long to the jingle. McDonalds would not share the recipe for its
“Secret Sauce.”

McDonalds’ kept the secret recipe close to the vest for years, amid much speculation and many recipes floating around on the internet for the sauce. McDonalds is a marketing genius, and this was one of their many marketing efforts. A successful one, at that, because the Big Mac is still around and selling like crazy over forty years later.

Well Buddy has a “secret recipe” too. His breeder won’t reveal the magic “mix” she uses to produce her “Daisy Dogs.” In order to purchase one of her dogs, you have to be interviewed, and deemed acceptable to purchase one of her dogs at an exorbitant price. Her family has been in the business of breeding these dogs long before the concept of “designer dogs” became popular, and I must admit, she sure knows what she is doing, Buddy is a great little dog.

Someone just said to me, “Well, he is just a well-marketed mutt.”

Well, perhaps, but if you have the secret recipe, looks like you are in business!