Holiday Horror, Confronting the Beast

Photo by Angela Kirk

As you recall, last week Doc got into a brief tiff with our Christmas tree. I don’t know what magical change has come over her since that incident, but she has been nothing but chill all this week. It’s as if  she were worried that our Elf on the Shelf would share her evil behavior with Santa if she didn’t shape up. However she resolved her stress, this therapy dog is thrilled. So we are back to our normal routine, but nothing is normal about some of the things that people are passing off as Christmas decorations in our neighborhood and frankly some of them scare me.

We follow almost the same route every day when we take our daily walk. From January until August people’s yards have normal things in them like, tress and bushes. However come fall, strange football mascots that reach 7′ high pop up randomly in people’s yards. I have learned to deal with them, but then comes Halloween and creepy things hang from trees. I won’t lie, it freaks me out. Recently one neighbor took it to a new level with a 5′ Abominable Snow Man in the yard near the sidewalk. Doc had to explain what it was. I don’t know if these things are real or not because they move with the wind and after dark the beasts big teeth light up. I have been keeping my distance and growling at it for weeks to let it know who the boss of the neighborhood is, but yesterday Doc told me it was time to confront my fears.

My advice to you is never live with a therapist. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Doc and she is good to me, but I really could go the rest of my life without confronting the Abominable Snowman. I mean really, what’s the point? What if we go over to it and it springs to life like Frosty the Snowman, then what? But Doc wouldn’t listen and told me she had my back. I walked straight up to that snowman like I owned him and growled a little just for good measure. And you know what, he just stood stone straight staring at me and didn’t utter a word.  He could really work on his social skills.

So Doc was right after all. I guess most fears are concocted in our heads. Today I will just walk on by without even giving him a second glance. I would really like to lift my leg and pee on him for good measure, but that wouldn’t be very neighborly.



Doc Versus the Christmas Tree

Photo by Angela Kirk

On Sunday morning after breakfast, Doc and I finally put up the Christmas tree. After getting it perfect in the stand we left it to be decorated for later in the day. We had Christmas shopping to do, some leaves to be raked and figured we would fit in the decorating before going to a holiday open house at 4pm. As you know, over planning and pushing yourself too hard always leads to stress. And that is exactly what happens.

Now you would think that Doc being the queen of stress management would practice what she preaches, but she does not always heed her own words. Things went fine until the tree decorating began. I could tell she was already tired from shopping and working in the yard, but she was bound and determined to tackle that tree even thought her body was telling her she needed to rest. After all, she was still recovery from a bought of bronchitis that had left her flat for a week.  So you can guess what was about to happen next.

She started by putting a garland of ribbons around the tree. She stepped back, shook her head and then took them off. She then placed them differently, shook her head and took them off again. Then she tried a different color of ribbon and once again she pulled them off the tree. Each time she went through this exercise I could sense her becoming more and more agitated until she was finally started talking to the tree in an abusive tone with some swear words thrown in for good measure.  At one point I thought she was going to throw the tree out the back door. I don’t like it when Doc’s energy becomes angry, so I finally went to another room until she was done with her tantrum. Luckily she was literally saved by the bell when I heard her phone alarm go off to remind her it was time to leave for the party.

It’s funny how a little distance and perspective can calm a person down. By the time we got to the open house, Doc had relaxed and was even laughing with friends about how out of whack she had become over something that should be fun and represent the season of peace and love. Another lesson learned.

After a night of rest and a new attitude Doc finished decorating the tree. We put on some Christmas music and actually enjoyed the experience, just like it should be. And you know what? It looks beautiful.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor


Photo by Angela Kirk

Before I was born there was a children’s television show called Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Sometimes after a hard day at work, Doc will turn on an old rerun of Mr. Rogers and for a brief time we go back to his magical neighborhood.

Mr. Rogers was both soothing and kind in the way he interacted with his TV audience and the character’s on his show.  Not afraid to talk about feelings, he often covered topics like death or divorce that most adults shy away from. He understood that children needed a safe place to explore the feelings they were having about those challenges in life. He also discussed the importance of being kind to one another, something I think we need more of today.

Being kind doesn’t really need to be grand gesture, it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact. For example, the mailman on our street not only brings the mail, but he brings doggie treats to me and my friend Norman. We then respond by giving him a big lick on the hand as a thank you and that makes him smile. Now our mailman doesn’t have to do that, but he goes the extra mile because he loves dogs and he’s a nice person.

Every day we all have opprotunities to be kind to someone. Just saying thank you or opening a door can make someone’s day.  Sometimes just sitting quietly and listening to someone if they are having troubles can make all the difference. So this is my challenge to you. As we are now officially in the holiday season look for opportunities on a daily basis to do a kind deed for a stranger or a neighbor. If we all did this, think of what a nice neighborhood we could create. The kind that Mr. Rogers envisioned.