the friends

‘Tisn’t it the Season to be Jolly?


The beagle and I have not missed a single walk since she was diagnosed. Because walks are medicine. They stimulate her immune system, they help the flow of her lymphatic system and they get oxygen to any anaerobic infections that may be present in her lungs.

Yesterday I smiled and said hello to a couple we encountered. They were on a (dog-less) walk of their own.

The woman responded, “I hope you are as warm as the dog.”

I chuckled and nodded.

Maybe she couldn’t think of anything else to say, I thought. Maybe what she meant to say was, “I like your dog’s coat.” or “Your dog looks nice and warm.”

Maybe she meant to say it with a smile.

But her tone and her look were disapproving.

I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt under a very downy down jacket. The hood was pulled up unto my head, my hands were mittened and my feet booted.

Clearly I was as warm as “the dog.” As my sweet dog.

Did she think my dog was too warm in her coat? Did she think I was cruel to put it on her? Did she hope I was as too warm as the dog?

I wanted to tell her that my friend’s little belly was shaved for a CT scan and the fur hasn’t fully grown back yet. It needs protection from the cold.

I wanted to tell her that senior dogs have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Just like cardigan-clad senior people.

I wanted to tell her that my friend was shivering by the end of the previous day’s cold, damp walk.

I wanted to tell her that my friend has LUNG CANCER.

So quit judging.

But we just kept walking.

We saw them approach a second time as we rounded the final bend.

The beagle stopped to wait for them, tail wagging.

She’s a greeter.

But the couple did not acknowledge her.

Clearly not dog lovers. Clearly her earlier comment was not out of concern for “the dog.”

Clearly she doesn’t deem dogs worthy of warmth.

“Come on little Be. Let’s go home.”

The Be didn’t move.

“Are you worn out little friend? Have you had all you can take today?”

I kinda’ hoped Mrs. Crabby Appleton heard my questions. I kinda’ hoped she realized that there was more to the story.

On today’s walk the Be is going to wear her silver “American Beagle” puffy jacket. Because it’s cold and windy and the jacket is warm and adorable.

Fa-la-la-la-la  La-la  La-la.



‘Tis the Season to be Kind to Your Barista


Yesterday I told you that I am handing out Starbucks love to grinches this Christmas shopping season.  Upon reading the post (or, more accurately, upon being forced to listen to the post) my daughter, a former barista, said, “As long as they don’t order their drinks at 190 degrees, or with no foam or with extra, extra caramel or a quarter pump of syrup.”

So perhaps it needs to be said:  It’s Christmas, that magical time when peace on earth, good will toward men twinkles in the air.  So be kind to your barista.

Your coffee doesn’t need to be 190 degrees.  It’s Christmas, one hundred and fifty degrees is hot enough.  You can be a high maintenance coffee connoisseur in January.

When you ask for extra caramel in a drink that does not contain caramel, you will be charged for the “extra”.  That’s how it works.  If the drink is made with caramel, you can have as much extra as your coffee drinking heart desires, no charge.  If it doesn’t you have to pay for it.  Don’t argue, don’t complain.  Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la, la.

If you really want to spread some Christmas cheer, just this month, ORDER OFF THE MENU.  Enjoy your tall vanilla latte exactly as it was intended – with three pumps of vanilla syrup, one shot of espresso and a little bit of inevitable foam, served at one-hundred and fifty degrees.

This should go without saying, but it doesn’t:  Don’t be a BOGO bozo.  Buy one get one free seasonal drinks does not mean you can order 2 venti peppermint mochas without the peppermint or two venti gingerbread lattes without the gingerbread.  ‘Cuz that’s cheating.  Be kind to your barista and be an honest citizen, too.

And finally, be kind to yourself.  A venti salted caramel mocha (or as my daughter calls it, “diabetes in a cup”) is made with ten pumps of syrup.  It will eventually kill you.  The more you know…


How Christmas Stole the Grinch

Sarah_Ackerman, Creative Commons

Sarah_Ackerman, Creative Commons

I’ve always thought mine would be a better title for the good doctor’s classic because, in the end, Christmas won.  Christmas stole the Grinch.

Christmas won by not letting a sourpuss spoil it.

I’ve mentioned before that I live in an ambitious/aggressive town.  It’s brutal out there.  But I am not going to let any sourpusses spoil my Christmas shopping.  I’m going out there armed and ready.  I’m going to steal some grinches.

I have in my purse three $5 Starbucks gift cards.   Any time I encounter someone who is stressed, crabby or grinchy I am going to whip one out, hand it to him/her and say, “Merry Christmas, you look like you could use a break.”

I did this last year with ten gift cards.  I ended up giving out none.  Maybe it’s like when you take an umbrella with you, it doesn’t rain.  I ended up treating myself to ten coffees.   This year I might give any unused cards to Salvation Army bell ringers.  They could probably use a hot cup of joe.

Either way I’m ready.  So go ahead, grinches, make my day!