Three hours earlier, this white plastic bag transported a homemade macaroon to a friend at the gym. Now it’s bringing home a tiny baby bird for burial in the flowerbox graveyard on my patio.

I found you 20 blocks away, Hubert. I didn’t know what you were at first, but when bent down and saw your closed eyes and yellow beak and flightless wing, my eyes filled and I sniffed away the immediate tears. Had you ever lived at all?

I buried you a few minutes ago, still crying. I told you your sweet life mattered.

Rest in peace, Hubert.


The life

Any day I see Shamu is a very good day.

I met this grand Great Dane/German Shepherd mix maybe five years ago in Central Park and have seen him several times since then. Almost every time I’ve seen him, I’ve exclaimed, “Shamu!” and stopped to smoosh him and chat with his dad. That was the case this morning on my walk home through the park.

Grand gentleman Shamu
Grand gentleman Shamu

As I stopped, I saw a woman I thought I also knew from the park walking with an adorable little shaggy dog who reminded me of another dog named Trudy. (For a while, I had thought her name was Woody because her mom, Marai [I’m guessing on the spelling; it’s pronounced like “Mah-RYE”], has a bit of a European accent, and I couldn’t quite make out the name. Heehoo!) We both chatted with Shamu’s dad and smooshed Shamu. We were both grinning like idiots.

“Shamu is the biggest motivation for everything I do,” his dad said. Marai and I said we understood completely. We all admired Shamu some more, which is physically impossible *not* to do.

“Didn’t you have a little dog that looks kind of like the one you’re with today?” I said to Marai (I didn’t know the woman’s name until today). She said yes, she did, but Trudy (or “Trudle”, as she was now calling her — I guess I had *still* been mishearing the name!) left this world about a year ago. “Her heart stopped,” Marai said. I felt like mine did too.

After we left Shamu and his dad, we walked a while together with her little scruffy dog, Grace, a rescue (just like Trudle) bounding in front of us. Grace would turn around to look at us and smile and we would smile back at her and at each other. “I couldn’t be without another dog after Trudle,” she said, “I told my daughter to go online and find me a little someone.” She is now in love with little Grace.

We gabbed some more about dogs and losing fuzzy members of our families. She then went her way and I went mine, and I found myself by a little grassy area dotted with a wide variety of dogs all happy to just be dogs, and I grinned like a big dope. I turned and there was Marai again, who had approached from an opposite direction, making her way back. “I love it. I just LOVE it,” she said, grinning at me, as she passed.

I called out, “Oh, I know! So do I!”

Mornings like this, connecting with people like this (and dogs like these), slowly strolling through the park, not letting stupid nonsense clog the ol’ brain-nook, just being, as “they” say, in the moment … this must be what it’s like to be a dog.

Dog Day, yeah, well, of course, Afternoon

One of my favorite ladies and I hung out a bit yesterday near Union Square and found ourselves at the dog run. Okay, so that implies that we roamed there by happenstance, but we planned it after a jaunt to Dick (pause to giggle) Blick and a fantastic and gorgeous lunch at Peacefood Cafe. Who says “no” to a suggestion to look at dogs? No one I want to know, that’s for sure.

Anyway, the run wasn’t overrun with dogs, but it did entertain quite a few, a beautiful mix of big, small, fluffy, smooth, floppy-eared, and pointy-eared. One thing they all had in common was that they were adorable and my friend and I wanted to smoosh every one and squeeze them until their guts came out (in a good way). This one guy, though, cracked us up:


If I have to explain to you why this is adorable, there is no hope for you, sadly.

Springtime in New York is absolutely glorious, and enhanced exponentially by the existence of dogs out and about and happy in the sunshine.

A brief moment of reverence …

francipans1… to admire the pattern of my “new” vintage pots and pans. A full post to follow. But for now, enjoy the splendor of green paisley and try not to swoon too hard. Or, if you’ve got a maverick spirit, a certain devil may care attitude (and oh, I hope you do), and prefer to swoon posthaste, I invite you to join me on the fainting sofa for a spell. Welcome.


I’m off-center, observing. If there are nuts, I’m picking them by twos. Chips, any kind, likewise. If there are raw vegetables, I’ll eat the celery because I hate for it to be a wallflower. If there is a dog, I will be wherever the dog is, even if that means under a table, on a porch, or in whatever room hosts the orgy of coats. If you see me, you don’t have to ask if I want to join the others. You don’t have to ask if I’m okay or if I need anything. This is the way I “party”.

Thanks Thing, Day 2


I make the bed every day without fail, usually before leaving for the gym in the morning. This morning I did not because I wanted to change the sheets but didn’t have time. When I returned, I tossed the fresh sheets on the bed in anticipation of doing so. Right now I’m not in the mood to do it, though, so I was thrilled to see that little Lola had decided to lounge among them, thus making it “impossible” for me to do. I like to think she did it expressly for my benefit. I am grateful for my cat.

Thanks Thing, Day 1

Okay, it’s November, the month of Thanksgiving, so every day this month I’m going to post something for which I am grateful or thankful, in a 100-word block, rather than save it all for the actual holiday, when I’ll probably be offline avoiding photos of turkey. I’m a day behind, because I just decided to do this this morning. So, without further ado …

I’m several paces behind a person bent so far forward at the waist that his or her back is parallel to the sidewalk. The person is dressed in simple pants and jacket and is completely bald, and I can only see part of a profile tucked below. The skull is studded with several raised reddish blotches and bruises, and just as I think, “Probably from bumping into lots of stuff,” the person nearly does so with a post, but reaches out a hand in anticipation, avoiding more damage. My own problems are immediately rendered bullshit. I’m grateful for my spine.

Subway service

I enter the subway car and stop short. I can’t proceed beyond two feet without maneuvering around two large lion-colored dogs sprawled by the feet of a guy who looks like Johnny Depp immersing himself in the role of an itinerant man suffering from a disease that has left him thin and in need of constant medication through a tube wrapped around his upper left arm and secured by stretchy mesh/netting. After a while, he smoothes down the dogs’ bandanas, one blue, the other red, that say, “SERVICE DOG.” I think he wants people to know he’s not being inconsiderate.

A woman in red T-shirt and jean shorts and hair that looks like a “Mama’s Family” discard, who’d been seated on the opposite side of the subway car, several seats down the row to my left, who’d also been regarding the service dogs, comes over and sits to my right after the man and dogs exit at Times Square. She makes a negative remark about the trio, thinking she has an ally in me. I tell her the man was obviously very sick and I have nothing but compassion for him. I want to insult her crossed eyes but refrain.