Friday Five

1. Reggie and Kitty: A Love Story. Reggie has a cat friend who comes to visit  regularly. She pops up out from her various hiding spots on the block to say hello. I don’t think she was always a stray because she seems way too friendly. There is a neighbor who feeds her and lets her in on cold or rainy nights.

When Reggie and I leave the building, she bounds over to him prancing and dancing and swishing her tail. He is a little freaked out by her feline ways, but he never barks or growls at her. If I have some treats in my pocket I give them to her. (Yes, she eats dog treats.) Reggie doesn’t seem bothered by this, though if she were a dog, he would put her in her place immediately as my mother’s eight pound dog can attest. Treats are what he values most in the world. I wonder if he lived with a kitty before I adopted him.

One night this week, a treat dropped from my hand and landed precisely between the two of them. Reggie went for it. Kitty went for it. In the space of a second or two I thought there could be a fight. Then Reggie, whose nose is bigger than her whole head, stepped back and let her have it.

I told him, “Reggie, you never cease to amaze me.”

(Side note: Reggie asked me to send a special woof to his pal Olive. He said he would always share his treats with her.)

2. My plumbing is backed up. One morning I woke up to find the heating pipe in my bathroom dripping down the walls (and into the walls as evidenced by the bubbling under the paint).

In pre-war buildings like mine, these pipes are fairly common. They extend through all floors right down to the basement and connect up with the boiler. The pipes can get wicked hot and I’m sure many a bare bum has been burned in tiny NYC bathrooms by accidentally brushing up against it. Not that I would know anything about that.

This being Brooklyn, everyone had to offer their opinion.

“It’s the valve.”

“Maybe it’s the roof. You know, it did rain a lot last week.”

“Someone’s been banging on the pipes. Something got knocked loose. Why are people banging?”

Wanting to get a professional opinion, the plumber was called. I had to take time off work to let him in. I had to take time off work. Oh, glorious leak. Thank you. I planned to watch eye-numbing amounts of daytime television while eating pastries and…and…it was all too exciting to think about.

Turned out it was a faulty valve. After 100 years, I guess the building is allowed to have a few aches and pains. So now there is a hole in the ceiling which the plumber won’t fix. (“I’m not a drywall man,” he told me. Is this true elsewhere? Do your plumbers and electricians refuse to patch the holes they make?)

I guess I’ll have to take another day off work to let the handyman in. Oh, what will I do with that day off?

3. You regular readers know how much I admire Jane Goodall. Last week, the television show 60 Minutes aired a marvelous interview with her. Reporter Lara Logan traveled to Gombe National Park to talk to Dr. Goodall in the place where she began studying wild chimpanzees in 1960. They walked through the forest and located one of the chimp families Dr. Goodall has known for almost 20 years. In case you’re not as much of a groupie as I am, she was the first person to witness chimpanzees, with whom we share 98% of our DNA, use and make tools. That had been an ability previously given only to humans. Now, she travels more than 300 days each year raising awareness and funds for the Jane Goodall Institute which operates conservation efforts, a sanctuary for orphaned chimps, and Roots and Shoots, a worldwide network of young people.

(Baby chimp cuteness alert!)

Want to read more about her discoveries? Check out her first book In the Shadow of Man which chronicles her first years at Gombe.

4. On one of my morning commutes this week, through a combination of luck and tenacity (See: Kramer), I’d gotten a seat on the subway. Just a few stops from my exit, the train lurched forward and caught a woman who was standing in front of me off guard . She fell forward, unable to right herself. I’d been too absorbed in my book to realize what was happening until it was too late.  I had no time to brace myself or put up an arm as a shield. Her shoulder plowed into my cheek and threw my head back into the wall. I felt the vertebra in my neck crunch down in an unnatural position. When she finally regained her balance, she apologized profusely. I glared at her and spat out, “It’s fine,” which clearly I didn’t mean at all. Afterward, I felt like a heel. True, I ended up having a small bruise on my cheek and a sore neck, but that was going to be the case no matter if I was nasty or forgiving. She didn’t mean to fall on me obviously. What would it have cost me to be gracious? It’s these small points in time when we have the greatest opportunity to make the most impact, and we can choose, in the moment, to bring forth the better part of ourselves, and I was disappointed in myself for reacting from a place of  unkindness.

He who would do good to another man must do it in Minute Particulars. ~William Blake.

On a lighter note, here’s Kramer from Seinfeld with his usual panache trying to get a seat on the subway.

5. Winter light. 

Have a great weekend, everyone! Stay tuned on Monday for a new Shine post! 

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32 comments

  1. Again, all five are winners. Reggie makes me swoon. I heart your pooch very much. And yes, ‘I’m not a drywall guy’ is not just heard within the city of NY. I think there is a skit about that somewhere – perhaps Seinfeld, even.
    I admire Jane Goodall, too. Isn’t she wonderful? Thank you for sharing the piece on 60 Minutes.
    Really sorry ’bout the subway incident. Trying to capture a moment and pause before reacting is hard. Knee-jerks are quicker. *sigh*
    Loved the last picture. Happy weekend, Jackie.

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    1. Your comment about capturing a moment and pausing before reacting is dead on. That’s the tricky part. I hope I can slow down and take a deep breath first. That’s the goal, anyway.
      Have a great weekend, Lenore. Give a pat to Cherokee and Wilbur!

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  2. Oh Reggie is such a good dog. And the cat is adorable! I understand your subway story. I used to take the subway everyday in Boston and these events would happen on a regular basis. It is hard not to get upset when someone clobbers you in the head, even accidentally. And of course, I’ve been the one to loose my footing as well. It is a horrible situation for all around. Love the winter light!

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    1. The angle of the light in winter gives the buildings such a beautiful rosy glow. Then the steel almost shimmers. I’m not sure the photo I took through the window of my office does it justice. 😛

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    1. Reggie is such a joy. He is a wonderful teacher and I learn new things from him every single day.
      Just yesterday he taught me how to take a really great nap. 🙂
      Have a great weekend, Kathy!

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  3. Oh, Jackie, that story of Reggie and the kitty has put such a smile on my face (as has his special wish to Olive–please give him a big thank you hug).

    I’m so sorry to hear about the bumps in your week–but I love your reflections. It is such a good reminder of how we have a choice, even in the heat of the moment, in our reactions and our impacts, as you say–and again, how can we not turn to our pups for models? Dogs are so infinitely without judgment and so forgiving. We can learn so much from them.

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    1. Kitty only needs to hear Reggie’s tags jingling as we walk along the sidewalk and she gallops toward us. I noticed that when she sees other dogs coming she hides from them – especially the basset hound in the next building. It’s such a bright spot in my day, and I’m happy that they put a smile on your face too.

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  4. Loved the story about Reggie. Chivalry is alive! 🙂

    That’s right–plumbers don’t patch drywall. We did remodeling a couple of years ago so I know too much about it.

    I think it’s a lot harder to be gracious when you’re in pain.

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  5. Reggie made my heart swoon, too. What a nice puppy to share his tweet with a.. CAT! My husband’s dogs are far less nice to cats, but the old farm dog that roams around is great with them. The cats even go on walks with me, and as I treat the pups, the cats circle around for an animal cracker, too. It’s a little like seeing your kid play with the new, or different looking kid on the playground, isn’t it?

    Great post!

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    1. It is! For some reason I’m so proud of him that he has a friend in Kitty. Though he always seems surprised when she pops up. You’d think he’d be expecting her by now. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Aww, your Reggie is a doll. And I’m so glad Kitty has yet another friend, in the kind soul who lets her in on cold nights.

    Plummers do not do drywall, that’s a fact, I’m afraid. And really, at what they charge per hour, I’m not sure I’d want mine to. They break the wall, fix the leak, then hold out a hand for payment. Makes you want to back one up against a certain hot pipe, doesn’t it?

    The video of Jane Goodall is wonderful. What a remarkable person. Don’t ya just love that she just went and did what her passion was and didn’t care that nobody had validated her misson with a degree in science, or whatever. What moxie. What self-belief.
    **great five, Jackie**

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  7. What a great FF! Mr Boots is very disturbed to find that he has a doppleganger on the other side of the world. Personally, if I got hit in the face when I wasn’t expecting it, no matter what the explanation, I would be grumpy as, so don’t feel guilty about the subway incident. And that photo of the NY skyline is gorgeous 🙂

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    1. I was thinking that, too! Kitty must be channeling Mr. Boots. I bet she would love the outdoor enclosure that Mr. Boots has.
      I wish the window in my office opened farther so I could take a photo without the glass in the way.

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  8. It’s so sweet that Reggie has a little kitten friend! After hearing how he is a little tricky with meeting dogs; this was delightful. So enjoyed meeting you and Elaine in the “big city”. I never did do the subway when I was there…next time..and I’ll look out for falling folks!

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    1. It was so nice to see you last week! We should have taken you for a quick ride on the subway just so you could say you’d been. Now you’ll have to come back. 🙂 I hope the rest of your trip went well!

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  9. He who would do good to another man must do it in Minute Particulars. ~William Blake.
    I love this, Jackie, and it’s how I aspire to live. So I feel your pain about the subway experience (and I know I would have reacted the same way) — sounds like you were responding out of surprise and shock. Your later self-realization and compassion is what proves your real nature. The world needs more people like you!

    I lived in Kenya for several years as a child/teen, and I always wanted to track down Jane Goodall (one time we were at the same restaurant!); I am such a fan. Reggie’s friend is so cute; Abby never has any reaction to cats or any other small animal except to slightly lift her ears (I think we’ve talked about this before) but I don’t know how she’d react if a cat came right up to her!

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    1. Thank you for saying that, Julia. I appreciate your vote of confidence in me. Still a work in progress, that’s for sure.
      I had the opportunity to meet Jane Goodall at a book signing years ago. It was very brief, but I was speechless. She must have thought I was disinterested – really I was just awe-struck. She has so much energy. I don’t know how she keeps up that kind of schedule after all these years.

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  10. Wow – Reggie sounds like a wonderful dog… you really have to admire such a kind spirit!
    And Kramer always = hilarious! Wasn’t there a scene where he brings an in-progress Risk game onto the subway? That one always stuck with me!
    And (yet again), BEAUTIFUL photo, Ms. C… what a stunning view (and light)! Love it!
    🙂

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    1. I remember a Seinfeld episode where Kramer decides to buy a gyro from a guy selling them on the subway platform. He thinks he’s got enough time to get off the train, get the gyro and get back on before the train leaves the station. Hilarity ensues of course. 🙂 Kramer.

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