Black Friday or Blue?

I finished the bulk of my holiday shopping on election night in a small quiet store near my home.

I desperately needed a diversion.

Then on Black Friday I rose early and mailed those gifts to friends and family from an empty post office.

The peace was almost deafening.

On Small Business Saturday, my chi pup Rex and I walked the sunny beach at the lake and climbed the short ladder to the life guard station.

Luckily no one needed our help as we had a little business of our own to take care of.

I’d brought a small stack of holiday cards up there to pen as we kept an eye on a couple of fishing boats off in the distance.

After a while, we climbed back down and followed our noses over to a blazing bonfire by the trolley tracks.

Santa was already there, greeting all in line for their rides on an old wreath adorned golden trolley.

Rex and I opted instead for one hot chocolate, laced with small marshmallows and a s’more cooked to order by a smiling Boy Scout nearby. Both were being sold as part of his troops’s fundraiser.

Rex appeared to love his first sweet graham cracker.

And I loved my avoidance of stores this weekend even more I thought while licking every bite of chocolate off my fingers.

It seems a break in tradition can be quite delicious.

Thanksgiving’s for the dogs

I bet there’s a heaven for dogs that pass on.
With plenty of turkey till gravy’s all gone.
And fresh pumpkin pies that will please every nose.
A bit of sage stuffing to ward off all woes.

Then after the feast our sweet pups will nap.
Dreaming of days when they sat in our laps.
So peaceful they’ll sleep, so grateful for love.
Smiling at us all from those white clouds above.

Happy Birthday, Dog

I celebrated my birthday last night with a can of Chef Boyardee.

Well, sort of.

Actually I’d gotten my real celebrating done early since I heard a few weeks ago that winter would be arriving on my birthday, which it did.

It’s amazing how the weather folks can nail down their predictions, but not those political prognosticators.

Anyway after scraping ice off my car locks I drove safely back home in snow and a howling wind. I could have picked up chow mein and chocolate cake, but putting the car to bed and grabbing a can from my personal blizzard bistro seemed much more inviting.

I partied briefly with the dogs afterwards, ignoring the big mess of papers on the floor from a bag of recycling I’d forgotten to take out in the morning. My terrier Tucker had been particularly tense and had torn them all up into tiny pieces.

It seemed the screen door near Tuck’s crate in the kitchen had been banging for hours from the 50 mph wind gusts.

We all decided to try to turn in early to stay warm, even though we knew it could be a restless one.

This morning still hearing those high winds and feeling a draft in the house my spirits sank some.

I got down on my hands and knees finally picking up the tiny bits of paper I’d ignored that were now lodged into the back of Tuck’s dog crate.

Looking out the window, I was blue looking up at the gray sky and the return of a frozen white landscape.

And I was likely blue as well from missing my big brother Scott whose birthday was today.

Being just one day shy of two years apart, we typically celebrated together until he passed away unexpectedly some years ago.

Scott was experiencing a few challenges right before he left us, but I’ve been reminded by my sister that he’d begun work on making changes in his life and “he’d even gotten a dog.”

‘Dog’ had always been Scott’s nickname.

And he loved every one of them.

As I was about to finish cleaning the crate, Tucker walked over and licked my hand just as the old Bing Crosby holiday song, “Counting My Blessings” began to play on NPR.

Suddenly a picture from a stack of old photos resting on a shelf in my kitchen slid down towards the floor.

As the rest of my canine crew trotted over my way, I picked up the photo.

I saw it was a picture of Scott and myself with a big birthday cake.

And I’m thinking it’s from the last celebration we shared.

“Happy Birthday, Dog!” I said softly walking out the door into the day with my little pack of blessings on leashes.

All was calm and the sun was bright once again.

And that’s another blessing for sure I thought, as I made myself a snow angel.