Forty feathered friends at the footbridge.


Whether we like it or not, snow is supposed to descend on us … soon our neck of the woods will look like a snow globe. As you know, I’m no fan of snow, not even to set a festive mood by creating a white Christmas.

So, with that forecast for the white stuff in mind, I hurried out this morning to get some miles walked before the snow began to fly. Even though I’ve reached my goal, I still want to keep walking until year end.

I headed toward Emmons Boulevard where I stopped to admire some additional decorations since the last time I walked down that street on Thursday.  As to Christmas outside décor, I like an understated touch … my favorites are the lighted, white wire reindeer and the icicle lights … subtle twinkles that light up the night.

I went to the railroad tracks and then headed back.

Along the way, I stopped on the footbridge, where at least forty ducks and geese were splashing happily in the ice-cold water. They didn’t stay with their kind, but instead drifted lazily in the water, nibbling at reeds at the water’s edge, dipping their head for a drink or preening themselves.  Every so often, one rabble-rouser would decide to stir things up a bit verbally, but the others didn’t pay any attention and went on about their business.

I paused to watch them, just as I always do … that chance afforded me to catch an up-close glimpse of nature in the middle of the City is always a delight for me.

But today, as I stood on that footbridge, I was once again awash in sadness as I watched those feathered friends splashing and calling out to no one in particular.

They made me think of my little feathered friend Buddy, and, as I watched them, I felt tears leaking out of the corners of my eyes and dropping down into the murky waters of the Ecorse Creek.

You see … my Buddy has crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge.

You may recall just on Thanksgiving Day I wrote a post about the joy and companionship he has given me; I was grateful for that little beacon of light in my day. His very presence made me a kinder and softer person in this often-cruel world.

Sadly, that beacon of light has been extinguished and my sadness the past few days has been almost too much to bear.

Buddy rallied back after a respiratory infection and was seemingly 100% healthy once again.

Then, a few days later, suddenly he kept shutting his eyes and leaning his little mop top head against the cage bars, like he had no energy.

I began to worry.

The next morning when I got him up, he seemed to have lost the coordination that enabled him to hop or fly from perch to perch, and he kept tumbling onto the cage floor. This went on for most of the day, along with prolonged bouts of sleeping in the corner.

Friday morning he was worse, and could not move from the bottom of the cage … he looked at me, with bright eyes, and he seemed puzzled by his lack of mobility as he kept trying and trying to move around his cage with no success. Worried, perplexed, and sobbing uncontrollably over Buddy’s behavior, I asked my dear friend Marge if she could take us to the vet.  The consensus was that he had suffered a stroke and we had him euthanized on Friday morning. I will pick up his ashes after the holidays are over.

There is an expression that good things come in small packages – this little bird captured my heart and had me wrapped around his foot. I am sad as I sit at my computer and no longer feel his presence as he sat on the butcher block, only a few feet from me.  There is now an empty spot in the corner.  Several times in the last few days I have forgotten myself while sitting here and called to him out of force of habit.  I interacted with him constantly  … but this time there is no peep as a response.

All God’s creatures, no matter how large or small fill our hearts with joy.

Rest in peace Buddy … you are missed.

I am including two of my favorite pictures of Buddy taken shortly after I got him in December 2010, as well as an excerpt from “Lend Me A Bird” … the words give me some comfort at this time.

“I will lend to you, a Bird”, God said, “and teach you all you have to do. And when I call him back to Heaven, you will know he loved you too.” ~ Anonymous

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A goal has been met; goodbye to November.

Basic RGB

December has arrived, and, it was as if Mother Nature put her hands on her hips and said “enough of this beautiful weather … it’s time to match the calendar page to the weather forecast and roll out the cold and snowy stuff!” (Yes, I’m sorry to say that the “s” word is being bandied about for this weekend.)

In suiting up to head outside, I was a tad conflicted. The weatherman reported it was raining for some, snowing for others … someone even remarked that it was “snaining”, one of many oddball terms coined by the late Sonny Eliot.

When it was finally light, I headed out because there were miles to be walked and a goal to be met. That wintry forecast for the beginning of next week and beyond gave me cause to put a little pep in my step.

I returned home having passed 719 miles … all I needed to do was surpass last year’s total miles walked – 718, and that one more mile did the trick. With an eye to next week’s wintry forecast, perhaps I’ll break out the brand-new hiking boots I bought last year.  Because of El Nino, I stayed in walking shoes until the nasty snow machine kicked in mid-January, then walks were not as plentiful and boots were the norm.

In the meantime, any miles gleaned until this year concludes are bonus miles, and a higher bar to set for myself in 2017.

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Tuesday musings.

I crave constants in my life … maybe it is a sign of getting older, or being less tolerant of the disorderliness of life in general.

I do know I am a creature of habit and hiccups in my routine really upend me.

I like my basic creature comforts too … nothing fancy, but having the power on when it is a late November day is nice to have.

I returned from today’s walk, having enjoyed the mild, 52-degree temperature, and was in the processing of shedding my coat, when poof – there went the lights and the room was bathed in darkness.  “Well, great – just great” I muttered.  I knew there were many people already without electricity from last night’s winds, but the winds were calm when I was out walking.

Five minutes passed.

Then ten, or fifteen more minutes.

Clearly, it was not a transient thing, so I grabbed the flashlight to retrieve the lantern to put near the phone to call DTE. A series of prompts ensued, then the robo-voice took my information and reminded me to unplug items that might be damaged when power was restored. DTE could not determine the timeframe for power restoration, as there were many others in the queue from last night’s wind damage.

Nearly two hours later, happily, the fridge and lights came to life, plus the digital clock on the stove verified it was back with a peep.

Ahhh … the basic creature comforts had returned once again, sooner than expected, so kudos to DTE!

Soon, the callback from DTE told me that an upgrade to equipment had been performed … hmmmm. Service was okey-dokey before?  But, I was very thankful it was back so quickly, especially when so many others were no doubt still in the queue to get their power restored.

But there is still something amiss.

Every home owner has those unique noises or quirky characteristics that are unique to their home.

Like the maple corner cabinet in the kitchen which occasionally creaks and groans and every once in a great while, the bottom door will just slowly swing open all on its own … ghosts?

Or that one creaky floor board under the hall carpeting that has made the same noise for five decades now. It is rather loud, but it just wouldn’t feel right not hearing that obnoxious noise when I pad down the hall in my moccasins.

My parents used to complain about that squeaky board when they were sleeping in on a Sunday morning, and I’d be scurrying up and down the hall, getting ready for my job at the diner, where I worked weekends and Summers through college. I was up at the crack of dawn and had to be on the diner floor by 6:45 a.m., or before shift change.

Yup, that noisy floor board tormented my folks for years.

Me too, because that silly squeaking floor board gave away my tardiness when I arrived home really late on weekend nights as well. My parents, normally sound sleepers, not only heard me Sunday mornings, but they would awaken to hear me tiptoeing down the hall, knowing I’d get their disapproval for my late hours, so I’d be trying my very best not to step on that board to alert them of my late hours.  But, alas – usually I’d hear them stir; I was foiled by that floor board once again.

Another constant in my life for decades has been the kitchen clock. The numbers on that schoolhouse regulator wall clock are so big, I can see them without my glasses and the Westminster chimes sing sweetly … one gong at the bottom of the hour, and hourly strikes at the top of the hour.

With the time change on November 6th, I put in a fresh “C” battery. Somehow the new battery knocked against the cabinet which contains the chiming mechanism.  Suddenly BOING!!!  A plastic piece, the size of a nickel flipped out of the back of the clock, followed by several skinny copper pieces.

That didn’t look good at all.

And the clock has been silent ever since.

Well I missed it.


I’m a news hound and like keeping up on the radio news broadcasts throughout the day … without that clock, which I set to go off two minutes early, thus reminding me the top of the hour was near, I’m just sunk.

Even if I can see the clock in plain sight on the task bar of my computer – there is no “alert” … no two-minute warning.

After several days of silently turning over into a new hour, and my stewing over the demise of the chimes, suddenly, I remembered the wall clock in the living room was a chiming clock. The only bugaboo was that we unhooked the wires connected to the chimes many years ago, after two clocks with Westminster chimes, striking twelve times at midnight simultaneously was often the cause of losing precious sleep.

I didn’t even look for the manual, because I am not the little old clock maker, nor his assistant.

Thus, after the holidays, a trip to ye olde clock repair shop will be in order. A horologist will bend his head over it for a quick looksee and say “why on earth would someone have pulled the wires out of the chimes mechanism on this fine timepiece?”

I will, of course, remain silent and shrug my shoulders.

So, I learned that new word and thought I’d share it: horologist.  No, it’s not a person who studies the art of cultivating fruit, vegetables and flowers; instead, it is a person who has studied the art of making watches, clocks and other time-telling devices.  I found that word on the PCC Watch and Clock Repair website.

Perhaps I’ll ask for the two-for-one special, and fix the kitchen clock as well, to repair that copper wire that went BOING, much like what happened when you played with the little spring in your Bic Clic pen back in the day.

Yup, you know you are smiling because you played with that spring too. BOING!!!!  In one second, your clicker ballpoint pen was rendered useless.

I may be rendered useless too, if a pair of clocks are chiming in the wee hours of the morn … I have a few more months to think about it.

Yup, a hiccup here and there and then life rolls merrily along again … or does it?

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I spent a lot of time with this “guy” today …


So, now that it was the last day of the long holiday weekend, it finally dawned bright and sunny … no rain or murkiness to be found. I made the best of it and made sure I got a full walk in – no eying the sky for raindrops.

Along the way, many people were tackling their respective leaves … that’s because this is the last week for yard waste pickup in Lincoln Park.

It was on my agenda as well and I had a ton of ‘em, even though my neighbor Jeff has been blowing them for me every time he does his. But, those wicked winds and all the rain pulled the yellow maple leaves down and they were everywhere.  As usual, there was not a single leaf from my tree, an ornamental lace-leaf Japanese maple.  It still has every leaf intact – they will linger well into Winter.

So my date with “Mr. Rake” was not over coffee, but getting a handle on those pesky leaves. It took me three hours to get them raked and bagged, and, had they not been wet, slimy and full of mud, I’d have used a dozen or more yard waste bags for sure.

After restoring some respectability to the front and back yards once again, I hurried into the house absolutely famished. I’d been outside over four hours on this crisp November day.

Whenever I came into the house after a long leaf-raking session, my mom was fond of saying, “that fresh air took the stink off of you”; in fact, she would claim she could smell the fresh air on my clothes as well.

I know I will be nodding off earlier than usual, a small price to pay for enjoying this late Fall day.

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More stuffing please!


It’s the day after Thanksgiving … so, do you still feel as stuffed as this guy, or, are you one of the many shoppers that worked off that high-caloric meal by descending on the malls to stuff a shopping cart with bargains?

I’m neither stuffing myself, nor stuffing a shopping cart on this dreary and dismal day. My agenda this afternoon, after I send out this blog post, will be addressing envelopes and stuffing Christmas cards in them.

As to leftovers, stuffing, as in that tasty fare which accompanies the turkey, always reminds me of my mom who really enjoyed the leftovers, and always savored her stuffing and sliced turkey or chicken sandwich on the day after Thanksgiving.

Once again, the weather was certainly not conducive for walking. Unlike yesterday, when I wanted to reach that 700-miles-walked milestone, this morning, I peered out the window and said “well, maybe not today” … hopefully tomorrow though. Hmmmm – I wonder where this pesky rain was all Summer when it was so hot that when you walked past flowers and bushes, they grabbed your leg and cried out “I’m parched and need a drink” … they sure are quenching their thirst now.

Since we’ve dispensed with Turkey Day, we can begin the official countdown to Christmas,  unbelievably just one month from today.

I have an affinity for scarecrows, as you may guess from the abundance of them that have appeared in my posts recently … I especially like this one with its sideways glance and mischievous smile.

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Feeling grateful today …


It is Thanksgiving, a day to gather with family and friends and be thankful for your blessings, be they large or small.

The rainy and dismal morning didn’t afford me a long walk – I was bummed out when I heard the weatherman say the rain would be cleared out by the time the Thanksgiving Day parade started … but 8:50 a.m. came and went, and the mistiness persisted.

But, I had my heart set on reaching the 700-mile mark today, and, with just one measly mile to go to achieve that milestone, I went out anyway.

On this whittled-down walk, I had the pleasure of scuffing through slimy-feeling leaves, which clung to my shoes and slopped up over the laces … it was hardly worth the aggravation of lacing up, but I was glad I went out anyway.

Though I grumbled as I walked (or slid) along the way, I was grateful for my good health, and the ability to set out on a walk, and the benefits that walking does for my body and mind.

After I returned home, got into my dry clothes and settled down with my second cup of coffee, I had some extra time to reflect on what else I am grateful for.

For most people, family and friends usually are the big draws for this special holiday … plus, there is much talk about “the bird” … the size of it, how to prepare it, how tasty and succulent it is … and don’t forget all the lip-smacking trimmings that go along with that turkey.

When grace is said, just before digging in, the Thanksgiving meal is included in the thanks uttered from everyone’s lips.

I, too, am thankful for “the bird” … only my bird is my canary Buddy.

I am feeling grateful to have him cheeping and peeping in his cage, a mere seven feet from where I am tap-tap-tapping along on this keyboard. He fills the kitchen with cheer and is a little beacon of light in his corner.

I am especially grateful on this Thanksgiving holiday for him, because over the course of the past three weeks, Buddy has battled a serious respiratory infection. At times, Buddy’s breathing was labored and a rattling sound could be heard, and he was simply not himself.  We have tried various antibiotics to thwart this bug … at times the countertop has looked like a lab with beakers, eyedroppers and measuring spoons.  Plus, the various meds taste terrible and we have been using Torani vanilla syrup to sweeten the water and make it taste better.  I have watched him perk up and felt my heart soar, while other times, my usually cheery pet is listless and sitting in the corner causing my heart to be sore.  I feel confident he is on the mend as a result of his collection of meds, much TLC and prayers from others – not just me.

While your Thanksgiving bird may weigh fifteen or twenty pounds, Buddy weighs less than an ounce soaking wet, but this little guy is worth his weight in gold.

Count your blessings on this holiday – I know I will. Happy Thanksgiving all!

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Are you homeward bound or playing host or hostess?


The hours and minutes are ticking away and soon Thanksgiving will be here.

Throughout the year I document my never-ending journey to reach my eventual year-end walking goal by cranking out tales from my daily encounters, but, all those steps in my daily meanderings will never equal the miles that many will expend by planes, trains or automobiles to be with their loved ones on Thanksgiving. Whether you are homeward bound for this holiday, or the longest journey you  take is to the front door to greet family and friends, or simply trudging to the kitchen to prepare the feast, let that journey be safe and blessed and made with love.

I’ll leave you with this message:

“Let yourself be drawn by the strange pull of what you really love; it will not lead you astray.”  ~ Rumi

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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