I can’t do anything / Contradictions / Blown by the wind

cow-calf-mother

8:06 p.m. on Friday evening.
I’m getting off the train returning home from a long work day in Manhattan.
T.G.I.F.
Susan and Zeke greet me at the train station for our walk home.
Zeke’s tail is wagging wildly, his head on a swivel searching for a present to bring to Dad.

“Eric had a bad day.”

I’m still winded from walking up the stairs from the platform.
The weight of the work week lifts, and anxiety flushes in.
My pulse starts to race. I’m gulping for air.
Bile rolls up my empty stomach and sits gnawing in my throat.

No. Please, no. Not my Son.

“He went to a bull fight with his friends.”

Panic begins to ease. Ms. Drama’s overstatements, or my fatigue misinterpreting degree of “bad day”?

“They left before half. He said there was one bullfighter. The matador has six ‘assistants’, 2 mounted on horseback, three flagmen and a sword servant. Six men looking to kill a single bull. He said it was barbaric. Sickening. He had to get out of the stadium.” [Read more...]

130 Seconds: August Flashback


We loved Marc Mazur’s short retrospectives on June and July.  He doesn’t disappoint with August.


 

Choose. McEwan.

nuvo-magazine-autumn-ian-mcewan-page-image-book-1918752997

And if he had to choose between his books and his family? There’s no hesitation.

Family.
I adored having children.
Work and fatherhood have kept me sane.
The impulse to work is like a survival instinct.

~ Robert McCrum with English Novelist Ian McEwan


Don’t miss Robert McCrum’s great column on Ian McEwan in the Guardian here:

Ian McEwan: ‘I’m only 66 – my notebook is still full of ideas’

Ian McEwan, 66, is an English novelist and screenwriter.  In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.” He won the Man Booker Prize with Amsterdam (1998). In 2001, he published Atonement, which was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. (Source: Wiki)


Quote Source: The Guardian. Photo Source: Fansshare. Bio Source: Wiki

Running. A bucket in the rain.

running-path-mountains

6:01 am.

Crickets. Birds. And me.

Humidity 90%, but cut by a cool morning, 57º. Running weather.

I check my exercise log. Last running entry: August 3rd. I scan the page. More white space than entries. Ray is down 36 lbs in 7 weeks. I’m, well, you know, Up. And, staring at white spaces.

I’m out the door.

It’s Thursday. Evening.
(Another) last supper with the kids before they depart. It’s a short week, I’m off from work on Friday. Heaviness lifts. Weariness lingers. Gratitude drifts in. A peaceful, easy feeling sets in over dinner. Family. Our family dines together.

It’s Friday. Morning.
Departure Day.
Eric comes up to the attic. “Why are you a hermit, Dad?”
We exchange fist bumps. As he turns, I jump him from behind and we wrestle. He’s become unmanageable. I pull up before things break, on me.

It’s Friday. Early afternoon.
We’re in the car to JFK.
President Obama visits Weschester County on Friday afternoon – the same Friday kicking off the long Labor Day weekend. His security team has shut down I-95, 287 and all major thorough ways, snarling traffic. The result: A 2.5 hour drive to JFK. Purpose of the President’s trip: Fundraisers. [Read more...]

Sunday Morning: I perfectly recall yesterday, the whale’s eye that blinked

eye-blink-gif

Zeke dreaming.
Our mid afternoon nap.
His paws twitching, his gentle whimpers.

The Yellow Goldfinch and his cousins.
Tiny claws clutching the perches at the feeder.
Beak on seed. Velvet hammer tap, tap, tapping.
Man still searching for a matching, lemon color palette.

Long Train Runnin’. The Doobie Brothers.
A 3.5 minute nostalgic carpet ride.
Foot tapping, lip syncing, and running the math.
40 years ago!

Family dinner.
Memories shared.
Melancolía filling the pauses.
Pending departures.

The Coldstone vanilla milk shake.
Thick gobs of deliciousness pulled through the straw.
Hit me.
Again and again.

Its lazy days.
Its hushed evenings.
August’s final murmur.

I perfectly recall the elephant’s eye and the whale’s eye that blinked.

I skipped counting individual drops in favor of the general feeling of rain.
[Read more...]

Mama’s Boy. Then. And Now.

Here’s Eric with his Mom at 9 years old.

mama's boy 2

And here’s Eric with his Mom last night in front of the restaurant in Norwalk where we had dinner. He’s now 20:

[Read more...]

Boys Home Alone

post-it

A 3M Post-It Note. Picture not to scale. The post-it is actually 1″ x 2″, dwarfed by the two-foot high, 45-quart, air-tight, dog food storage container which sits underneath it. But, the Post-it punches above its weight class.

3 Words + a few symbols = Irritation.

She doesn’t think I will give him the right dosage.

She thinks I’ll overfeed him. You’re cutting his life short by giving him all these snacks.

3/4 C (Dog Food) + H20 (Water) + 1/4 C Green Beans (to help him with his digestion).

Mom and Eric are on a road trip for the weekend to see family. Rachel is in the city with Friends.

Dad and Man’s Best Friend Zeke are Home Alone.

Back to the Post-Its.
[Read more...]

The Joker

face-eye-portrait-black-and-white

It’s the end of a (very) long day, concluding with a work dinner. I drag myself out of the car, pulling my briefcase behind me. My shirt tail is untucked. My tie half undone. My shoes, dusty and scuffed. A disheveled, sloppy mess.

I’m hopeful that I can slither into the house and get a few minutes to myself. I enter. The house is quiet but for the soft murmur of a TV running on another floor. I slowly strip my shoes and socks, with my bare feet cooling on the wood floor. I’m in decompression. Hose me down with pure oxygen. Let Solitude rain on me.

And then.

There’s Thunder. Four legs storming up the stairs. Zeke’s bounding down the hallway. Dad’s Home! He wiggles in and out of my legs. Kissing (licking) my suit pants, leaving white slobber dripping from my crotch. Well that’s nice. Ah, just forget it. It just adds to your ensemble.

Susan rounds the corner. My Hummingbird spewing nectar all over. She’s talking. I’m listening. (Sort of.) The subject turns.

SK: Do you want some feedback? [Read more...]

There’s Joy. There’s Exaltation. There’s You.

Rachel - five - swimming
22 years ago, you came in our lives.
Here you are at five.
We couldn’t imagine our lives without you.
Happy Birthday Honey.

Mom & Dad


Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day

OK, now this, THIS, is something special. Sandy, a fellow WordPress blogger @ A Mind Divided, shared this vintage photograph and explained:

My mom and dad travelled a lot after they retired from farming.  I found this picture of them from 1974 when they were in Morocco and immediately thought of you.

And look at Sandy’s Mom and Dad proudly posing with Caleb, who was just a baby…but had high voltage star power even in the early 70’s. Thank you Sandy!


Family Dinner

The Four Freedoms, Freedom from want

6:30 pm. Saturday evening. Family sits for dinner.

Susan is sitting to my right. A hummingbird, fluttering her wings, spreading honey.

Rachel to my left. Her boyfriend Andrew, next to her. Rachel’s jabbering on about her first week of full-time work. She’s coming down, down from the high of college graduation, and seeing the next 30 year highway of her life. Commuting. Work. Exhaustion. Weekends. Loop it back and hard again. (Is that the gratitude Bus Rachel has pulled up for her Mom & Dad?)

Eric, is down at the end of the table. He’s sneaking glances at his phone. I glare. He puts the phone back in his pocket.

Zeke’s laying under the table. Hoping for something, anything to hit the floor.

And there’s The King, at the head of the table. Fork in the right. Scepter in the left. (Surveilling the landscape. Inhaling it deep into the lungs. Same somber script running. Eagles and Peaceful Easy Feeling is playing. Sand racing through the hourglass. How many of these do we have left?)

“Dad, look at Eric’s guns.”
“Guns?”
“His biceps. They’re bigger than yours.”
I glance at Eric’s “guns.”
He looks down. And blushes. (Did I see a smirk?)
[Read more...]

A Letter to My Brother, Lorne. L-O-R-N-E.

APH___NOOGIE_by_Inonibird

Some things can’t be left unchecked. No Sir.

My youngest Brother Lorne replied to my post “I came that way. D0K” with this:


That was funny but don’t feel sorry for you. On a weekly basis I go through this. First name Lorne. Loren? No. Lauren? No. Lauryn? No. Mark? Mark…WTF! And the other day…Thor! Really? How our parents allowed you and my other awesome brother to name me I will never understand!!


[Read more...]

Father’s Day 2014

trees-sky-sun-light
Kids are rustling me awake from my mid-morning nap in the backyard.

Dad, Dad, it’s time to open the gifts!

(A flash of Christmas mornings past. Wow, that was quite a nap, Rip.  They’ve migrated up from cologne and neck ties. Hmmmm. Right pocket, left pocket, transfer of funds? All within Dad’s pant pockets? Not nice Dad.)

Thank you. Wonderful Gift!

Family sits together for brunch. Scrambled eggs, western style, bacon, sliced peaches, English Muffins (with jam, of course). (Family sitting around the table. Soul warming. How many of these moments are left?)

We head outside. 68º F. Low humidity. Wind gusts at 16 mph. Trees rustling overhead. Zeke is barking, while giving chase to the Frisbee flying to and fro overhead. The Kanigan family exercise for the Day.

I reach for my book. Zeke is sprawled out on the back stoop, basking in the sun, and watching Blue Jays pecking at seed in the feeder.  Rachel and Eric shade their eyes from the sun, and their iPhones, as they check their texts. I settle in on the lawn chair with my book. (Front doors unlocked. Families sitting together for meals. Kid’s playing catch with Dad in the backyard, or playing outside with friends. Pick-up games. Fishing. Exploring the mountainside.) 

[Read more...]

In our hearts we still pray for sons and daughters


Allman Brown and Liz Lawrence are London based singer-songwriters who have collaborated for Sons and Daughters.  

And I’ll build a fire, you fetch the water and I’ll lay the table
and in our hearts, we still pray for sons and daughters
and all those evenings out in the garden, where we went
These quiet hours turning to years

And I, I’ll wrap myself around your heart I’ll be the walls of his heart
And I, I’ll keep light on, to call you back home…


Notes:

Do what you love? Or do what most needs doing?

work,passion,career,art,writing

A 2012 share titled “Do What You Love” garnered more likes (393) and more views (8,396) than any other post on this blog. My thinking has evolved (you were naive!) since that time with a subsequent share titled: Do What You Love? Wrong! and this NY Times article by Professor Gordon Marino titled Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’:

…But is “do what you love” wisdom or malarkey?

…the “do what you love” ethos so ubiquitous in our culture is in fact elitist because it degrades work that is not done from love. It also ignores the idea that work itself possesses an inherent value, and most importantly, severs the traditional connection between work, talent and duty.

…My father didn’t do what he loved. He labored at a job he detested so that he could send his children to college. Was he just unenlightened and mistaken to put the well-being of others above his own personal interests? It might be argued that his idea of self-fulfillment was taking care of his family, but again, like so many other less than fortunate ones, he hated his work but gritted his teeth and did it well.

…Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can.

Read full article: Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’


Image Source: daiquiri-kisses (modified)

The Greatest Generation

humility

Start time was 4:00pm. We pulled into the parking lot at 3:40pm. We made it. But it wasn’t pretty. Torrential rain, back-ups on the NJ turnpike, standing water, all treacherous, extended our drive time by 90 minutes.  Being late for this event was not a memory I wanted to bank. We walked briskly for a mile to get to The Pavilion, the venue for Rachel’s college graduation ceremony.

Late = no seats. Responsible parents arrived 60-90 minutes early.  Susan (a member of the class of responsible parents) arrived earlier in the day, waited for us, and couldn’t hold our seats because we were late. I caught the scud with my chest.  This time, I had no counter. Cut it too fine.

Susan found a seat. I stood at the back. Bad Dads in the back.

He had to be in his 80’s.  He arrived on the arm of a Graduate, had to be his Grandson. A navy blue suit, oversized but neatly pressed. Black wing-tip shoes that had long since lost their gleam. A powder blue handkerchief peeked out of his suit jacket pocket. A taupe colored shirt with the tail hanging out. He dragged his right leg behind him, his Grandson offering ballast. (WW Veteran?)

He grabbed the chair in front of him and slumped down heavily. They were seated in my line of sight up 1 row.

The distinguished guests and the faculty processional was followed by a thank you to Parents, family members, and significant others. His Grandson softly nudges him.

[Read more...]

World’s Toughest Job


Susan, Rachel and Eric asked that I post this clip for you. Happy Mother’s Day!


I’m still standing. The odds were stacked against us.


“NBA Star Kevin Durant told everyone just how much his mom means to him — just days before Mother’s Day — by thanking her in a tear-jerking speech as he accepted the award for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.”


Quote Source & Find More @ ABCNews.com

Our hearts beat faster

Rachel-2014

The collegiate alumni chairperson of Rachel’s sorority asked the parents of graduating seniors to write a letter to their daughter, which was read out loud to them by their little sister at the traditional Senior Send Off event for the sorority.  The event was held this morning. Here was Rachel’s text to us.

Rachel-text-message

Here’s our letter to Rachel:


Dear Rachel:

Let’s just say that you were difficult from the get-go. Your Mom and Dad tried for 9 years (9 YEARS!), and we almost gave up.  And then you just appeared. Voila! A tadpole on a monitor.  Roll the tape forward 9 months plus 23 hours of labor (23 HOURS!) – – your Mother threw up her hands and Doc pulled out the scalpel.

They say that all babies are beautiful. Hmmmmm. The forceps stretched your head. Your eyes were disproportionately LARGE and bulging. You were WAILING. I had to double pump the scissors with my trembling hands to untether you from your Mother. I was flooded with images of E.T. – – “E.T. Go Home!”  I needed assurances from Doc that all of this, this, was normal.

You had colic for 6 months. You started up when I arrived home from work and stopped during our long walks down Biscayne Blvd.  You were strapped in a papoose tight to my chest. With the fronds on the palm trees clapping in the gentle evening breeze, there you were looking up at me.  Sobbing, then sniffling, then quiet.

We’d come home. I’d turn on Annie Lennox – – “Walking on Broken Glass” – – and you would settle. I would slump down on the couch, exhausted, and let you sleep on my chest. The little hair that you had, was matted and glistening with sweat. Your cheeks and eyes, swollen and red.  Your little fingers clenched my t-shirt. Your heart pitter-pattered on my chest. And your intermittent, puffs-puffs of baby breath – – you, all of you, a miracle.

And then the frames would pass. Minutes, days, weeks and years.  All accelerating.

You left home to go to College. We cried on the long drive home.

You lit up sharing your experiences with Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and St. Jude Children’s Hospital – – freezing me in place as I listened to your Sunday night updates. I have yet to find my God, but I could feel something working me through you.

My chest swelled when you were named President of your Sorority. When you made Dean’s List. When you landed your Summer Internships. When you received your first job offer.  (I just cut the cord. We just dropped you off for your freshman year. Where did it go? Sand slipping through my fingers.)

I know you are listening – listening to these words – sitting among your friends.

It’s time.  Time for me to put on my headphones and play “Walking on Broken Glass” in a loop.  And roll the time back to remember the beautiful moments in between then and now.

I can feel you.
I can feel your fingers clenching my t-shirt.
I can feel your puffs of breath.
I can feel your heart beating.
And when your heart beats, my heart beats faster.

Love you Honey.

Mom & Dad


But now we must pick up every piece, of the life we used to love

illustration,painting

Maureen Dowd on Stephen Colbert, A Wit for All Seasons:

He (Stephen Colbert) describes himself as “an omnivore,” who loves everything from “A Man for All Seasons” to “Jackass,” from hip-hop to Ovid in the original Latin. He had 10 older siblings. But after his father and the two brothers closest to him in age died in a plane crash when he was 10 and the older kids went off to college, he said, he was “pretty much left to himself, with a lot of books.” He said he loved the “strange, sad poetry” of a song called “Holland 1945” by an indie band from Athens, Ga., called Neutral Milk Hotel and sent me the lyrics, which included this heartbreaking bit:

“But now we must pick up every piece
Of the life we used to love
Just to keep ourselves
At least enough to carry on. . . .
And here is the room where your brothers were born
Indentions in the sheets
Where their bodies once moved but don’t move anymore.”

Read Dowd’s full article in the NY Times: A Wit for All Seasons.


Notes:

A Message to Mom

mother-daughter-sad


“Mom, this might be my last chance to tell you I love you.”

A text from a high school student who was aboard the ferry that capsized yesterday off South Korea’s southern coast. Four passengers were killed, 55 were injured and more than 280 are missing. (via latimes)


Photograph: Yvette Depaepe; Quote source: Larmoyante

Scarlett

Scarlett-Johansson

Scarlett Johansson Opens Up:

“…Johansson, now 29, is one of the most successful actresses of her generation—relevant, bankable, and all those terrible, tacky words. But her success owes itself less to any kind of star-making algorithm than it does a willingness to step outside expectations and experiment. She is not the kind of person or actress who has a master plan that she follows…”

“…She seems uninterested in taking any obvious path. “I’d rather take the chance of a film not working than be stuck in a pattern of making the same movie over and over,” she says. Getting older doesn’t unnerve her, either. “I don’t want to be the ingenue anymore,” she says. “That part I’m happy about. It’s nice to be glamorous, but I don’t want to always have to be trendy and glamorous and an object of desire. I don’t want to be stuck in that forever. Because it doesn’t last.”

…Still, Johansson speaks with urgency about the tension actresses often feel between balancing their careers and personal lives, particularly on the subject of family. It’s a topic that turns out to have happy urgency: A couple of months after we meet, reports will arrive that Johansson and Dauriac are expecting a child. “It seems so stressful to not be able to spend time with your family because you’re constantly chasing the tail of your own success,” Johansson says. She continues: “There must exist a world in which I can balance those things, be able to raise a family and still make a film a year, or work on my own, develop things, do theater. I want to be able to have it all.” She laughs. “Selfishly.”

…”I know that with that there will be some sacrifices. I know that’s the struggle with working mothers and successful careers. It happens.” But the scent of double standard is obvious, and Johansson doesn’t shy from it. “With [male actors] it just doesn’t happen that way. You can be every woman’s fantasy, and nobody thinks twice about the fact that you have eight kids or whatever.”

Read more at wsj.com here.


Lies rule the land. They have numbed us to the core.

child-girl-womb-mother

“…We’re now trained to expect the worst. Lies rule the land…They have numbed us to the core. They are, as Engber says, “the ironic acid that corrodes our sense of wonder.” Ergo, we believe nothing. Everyone is suspect. The authentic thing is never really authentic. Society’s collective goodwill, the natural human instinct to trust you when you say this is legit and honest and true – no really it is I swear – this instinct has been molested. Perhaps beyond repair. You think?

Maybe. Maybe our collective Hoax Fatigue has gotten so bad that we’ll soon reach critical mass, and it will all flip around completely, so when another “First Kiss” comes along, instead of feeling a giddy thrill in the heart, we’ll instead feel bitter and disbelieving, waiting for the rug to be pulled at any second. What a fun way to live.

Nah.

The evidence certainly seems ample. It’s not just viral videos, after all: the interval between when any uplifting new offering – a video, a song, a movie, a romance, a president, a newborn puppy, you name it – is released, and when than thing is crushed by sarcasm or jadedness, this interval has been compressed in recent years to near-instantaneous, to the point of absurdity. To the point where nothing even matters and it’s almost useless to even try.

Almost. But not quite. Happily, “First Kiss”-style phenoms still light up the Internet, even in this bitter age. Thankfully, the authentic thing can still break through the ice of corrosive cynicism. Against seemingly impossible odds and for almost no budget, millions of people can still made just a little bit giddy in the heart. Amazing. And they didn’t even slip us the tongue.”

~ Mark Morford, A Kiss for the Hopelessly Jaded

 



Easily one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had

El Salvador

Our Eric travelled to El Salvador on a mission. Background posts can be found here: White T-Shirts and I can feel him.  He sent us a Thank You Note (shocking!) after he returned. Here’s his note:

[Read more...]

Yes to Less

things,materialistic,peace,want,need,money



Happy 20th Birthday Bud!

birthday

Eric Eating Birthday Cake

Eric 4th birthday

 

 


(P.S.: For the record, this was your Mom’s idea. You were 3-4 years old here.)

Runner. Grounded.

back-pain

6am Thursday:
12” snowfall overnight. DK working from home.

SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
DK: No.
SK: No?
DK: No.
SK: (Eye roll) You’re going to let me do it? Again?
DK: I’ll do it this afternoon after I finish my calls.
SK: No you won’t.
DK: Are you going to keep riding me on this all day?

6am Friday.
3” of additional snowfall overnight.

SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
DK: No.
SK: No?
DK: No. Not before work. I’m not showering again.
DK: Just leave it until I return tonight. It will warm up and melt.
SK: Really? You’re kidding right? (She heads outside to shovel.)
DK: I told you to leave it. (She has this Thing about a clean driveway)
SK: How do you plan to get out?
DK: Get out of the way. I’m going to ram through the piles with the car.

2pm Sunday.
DK ventures outside to clear the back steps. SK opens the door.

SK: Why don’t you use the steel edger/chopper to break the ice?
DK: Oh come on. Really? I’ve shoveled show before. Get inside.
SK: OK have it your way.

(Mumbling. Girl telling Canadian how to shovel snow. What’s next?)
I get after it.
I bend the show shovel trying to break the ice.
I lean on it to try bend it back.
I look through the back door to see if she’s watching.
Coast is clear.
I stomp through the snow to get to the garage to get the steel chopper.
I start slamming the ice.
On the third swing, I hit concrete.
Cold, vibrating steel.
Shooting, stabbing pain in my lower back.
Air whooshes out of my lungs.
I fall to my knees. (Dear God help me.)

SK: What’s wrong?
DK: My back.
SK: You’re joking, right?
DK: Does it look like a joke? (I crawl upstairs to bed.)
SK: (Laughing) Do you see any irony here?
DK: No. I don’t actually. None.
DK: I do see you getting enormous pleasure seeing me keeled over in pain.
SK: Oh, come on. Big Man clears 2-steps. I shovel massive piles of snow. (Still laughing)
DK: Stay away from me. Way back.

Snow forecast 3″-5” tonight.


Image Credit

It’s all that matters

chair on stage

I couldn’t get comfortable. It was a straight back chair. I’m infused with a dull, throbbing haze. The prior evening included two cocktails, a late night dinner and four hours of sleep short of requirements for base level performance. A modest change in daily routine – having a disproportionate impact on operating equilibrium.

I’m sitting. Sort of. Restless. The metal bars on the seat back are leaving tracks, the comfort of r-bar. Rough, cold steel on skin.  I’m twisting.  Trying to find a comfort zone. Those seated behind me zig when I zag. I cross my leg one way. Then pull it back and scissor it over the other. I sit upright. I slouch. I throw my right arm over the back of the chair. Then the left. And then go through the cycle again.

I glance around. The room is fidgeting.

He walks onto the stage. He sits in a panel chair. He takes a drink of water. And waits for the interviewer’s first question.

He’s successful.

No.

He’s wildly successful.

A Horatio Alger story. He grew up in a family with modest means. His Father worked in government service. His Mother at home with the children.

The room is quiet. Locked-in.

His energy fills the room.  His mind is whirring.

He shares his view and insights on a wide swath of territory. Domestic policy. Economy. Government. Immigration. Social issues. Philanthropy. The Arts. Conservation. His Love of Country.

And without breaking stride, he injects self-deprecating experiences.

We’re in his web.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: I’m 6x years old. My Father passed away about this age. When you are 50, you believe you have another half to go. When you turn 60, there’s a keen realization that 2/3rd’s is gone.  A shift from a ‘lot to go’ to ‘what’s left’. I don’t know when…when my mind or body will no longer permit me to keep up the pace. But I have a lot that I want do…a lot I need to accomplish.

He pauses. Reflects. And continues. (The wildly successful man continues…)

A: What I really worry about is getting “that call” at night on one of our children. He shakes his head. Let’s set that aside. I worry about my children growing up with appropriate balance, with the appropriate values, given that they have been surrounded by great wealth. That is why I plan to give most of it away. At the end of the day, I want my children to be happy.

That is all that matters.

That is all that matters to me.


Sunday Morning: Fulfillment


I was transported by this short film. Wonderful photography, paintings and family.  These two have it together.

Painter David Marshak and photographer Sarah Tacoma talk about their love of art and each other as they describe the building of their “tiny little kingdom…

“And fulfillment is a different word from happiness, right. Fulfillment is an enriched experience that comes from several different angles …”

You can find more of their work at davidmarshak.ca/ and sarahtacoma.ca/


Dad reads. Eyes (and heart) moving down the page. Then bows his head.

delta delta delta,photography,hand symbol

Dad didn’t like it.
Dad didn’t support it. (Story here.)
Dad gets rolled (ignored is a better word).
Daughter does it anyway.

Last night, Daughter as President, addressed Seniors and incoming Freshmen in her final official duty.

Daughter sends Mom and Dad two text messages last night.

“Everyone Loved it.”

“They all cried.”

Here’s a summary of her speaking notes:

[Read more...]

I now imagine they are lanterns from the past, casting light on what’s ahead

winter,snow,street,street lights, street

Wonderful story by Chris Huntington in the New York Times on Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss:

On regretting missed opportunities:

“I’m constantly aware of lost opportunities. I used to think such lost opportunities were beautiful towns flashing by my train windows, but now I imagine they are lanterns from the past, casting light on what’s ahead.”

On gratitude:

“When you’re 20, five years is a long time, so they act out. I used to be like that. But now I’m two-thirds done, so every day is taking me closer to the door. When I think like that, I can get up in the morning and smile.”

On love and loss:

“Our son is from Ethiopia, where I once saw a dead horse on the side of the road that resembled an abandoned sofa. I asked a friend if we needed to do something about that, and he said the wild dogs would take care of it.  We took our son far away from all of that five years ago, which may seem like a kindness, except it also hurts. I wish our son could know those dirt roads and the way they looked like chocolate milk in the rain, the way the hillsides were a delicate green, the way our driver would not go into the zoo because he was disgusted by the concrete ugliness of the lion cages. I wish my son’s birth parents could see him swimming. He’s such a good swimmer. I wish they could hear him reading books aloud. I wish he could know them. I wish our son could speak Oromo, the language of his birth. Our story, so full of love, is also full of loss.” [Read more...]

Same?

twins,twin, identical twins,photography, portrait
 

This is a portrait of Katie Parks and Sarah Parks, identical Twins born in 2001. The photo was taken by Martin Schoeller.

“Long a source of fascination, twins have often been a theme of myth and legend. The founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus is one of the many instances that spring to mind. Even when separated at birth, identical twins can have uncannily similar tastes, habits, and life experiences. In this landmark photographic study, Martin Schoeller uses his distinctive close-up portrait style to examine sets of identical twins and multiples. In capturing every subtle aspect of their facial structure, myriad similarities and seemingly miniscule—yet significant—differences are revealed, leaving one to ponder how appearance and identity is defined as individuals.” (Source:  Marina Abramović)

Don’t miss this video on the making of “Identical: The Portrait of Twins” Collection:

[Read more...]

Happy Birthday Zeke

dog,puppy,cute,vizsla

Six years ago today, Zeke was born.

Who knew?

  • That a dog would eat (and enjoy) carrots, broccoli and cauliflower? (Incredible.  Better eating habits than the kids.)
  • That a dog could steal chewing gum from the counter top, unwrap it and eat it? (How?)
  • That a dog would bark, snarl and snap at the King of the Household to protect the others? (Why bite the hand that earns the cash that buys the food that feeds you? Repeatedly?)
  • That a dog would know every day at high noon, it’s Peanut Butter in Plastic Kong time? (How?)
  • That a dog would sleep under the covers at your feet, every single night? And then move up to share your pillow later on at night? (Who needs central heating in the winter? Or a comforter for that matter?)
  • That a dog could be so afraid of Andie, the black and brown tabby cat? (Come on Zeke. Man-up.)
  • That a dog could spot anything in the sky but would miss a deer 20 yards in front of him?
  • That a dog would lie down in front of his Momma, lift his paws one by one, and let her clip his toe nails. And then do a full-body wiggle between her legs after it was all done? (King’s Dog enjoys pedicures. Something very wrong here.) [Read more...]

PostSecret

gratitude,blessed,peace,family,holidays,Christmas,postsecret,quotes


Source: Postsecret.com

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


This company seems to get everything just right (including their ads)…beautifully done. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is performed by Cat Power.


Happiness? You control how much? 12%

happiness

“HAPPINESS has traditionally been considered an elusive and evanescent thing. To some, even trying to achieve it is an exercise in futility. It has been said that “happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you…Social scientists have caught the butterfly. After 40 years of research, they attribute happiness to three major sources:

  1. Genes: ~ 50% of happiness is genetically determined.
  2. One off-events: Up to 40% comes from things that have occurred in our recent past – but won’t last long. Happiness dissipates quickly from a big raise, a new job, a move to California.
  3. Values: 12%.  That might not sound like much, but the good news is that we can bring that 12 percent under our control. It turns out that choosing to pursue four basic values of faith, family, community and work is the surest path to happiness.

Empirical evidence that faith, family and friendships increase happiness and meaning are hardly shocking…Work, though seems less intuitive…Work can bring happiness by marrying our passions to our skills, empowering us to create value in our lives and in the lives of others.  Franklin D. Roosevelt had it right: “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”  In other words, the secret to happiness through work is earned success. This is not conjecture; it is driven by the data. Americans who feel they are successful at work are twice as likely to say they are very happy overall as people who don’t feel that way….You can measure your earned success in any currency you choose. You can count it in dollars, sure – or in kids taught to read, habitats protects or souls saved.”

Read full article in NY Times: Arthur C. Brooks, A Formula For Happiness

See video: The Secret to Happiness: A Few Simple Rules


Image Credit

I win

frosty-car-hood

It was cold.
A bone rattling winter morning.
Brother Rich and I are waiting for a ride to hockey practice.
We’re stomping our feet.
And banging our mitts trying to warm.

The hood of our green, ’55 GMC pick-up, is coated with frost.
A frosty floral design.

“I dare you to lick it.”
“You dare me to lick it?”
“Yes.”
“What do I get if I do?”
“You won’t do it.”
“I won’t do it?”

He grins.
Pudgy boy shoots his devilish grin.
I pause.
I wheel around,
And, lick it. [Read more...]

Departure Day

fade-away-Scott-Marshall

It’s Departure Day.
Eric is scheduled on the 7:40 am flight.
Rachel is returning later in the day.

There’s the awkward milling around the kitchen.
When everyone knows what’s coming next,
yet no one is a hurry to get on with it.
He’s scurrying around with his last minute packing.
I hover at a distance.

It is Dark.
And Cold. Temperature locked on 32° F.

We’re in the car.
The Kanigan Men are short (very) on small talk.
We ride in silence. [Read more...]

A Perfect Day


90 seconds to A Perfect Day


Sunday Morning: Dear Son


20 October 1944
US Army Air Force Base
Italy

Dear Son:

I hoped I would never write this to you.  In a little less than an hour, I’ll be strapping myself into my old plane and pointing my nose westward.  I’ve seen the orders.  I think it will be for the last time.  And, so, suddenly I find my life stripped away, like the branches of an old, black tree.  All that matters is that I write this to you.

I know that you won’t remember me.  Not really. When I spent three days with you last year when you were 6 months old, and although you can’t yet understand it, I loved you more then than you might imagine loving anybody right now.

Now listen to me.  This Life, know that it is precious.  You’ve got to grasp it, every little whiff of it that passes by you. It won’t be easy. It won’t be certain. Not now. Not in your unimaginable future.  Don’t be surprised. No, embrace the stiff winds and the lonely heights. Remember your name.  Never turn away from the right course because it’s hard.  Above all, love.  Scrape out the bottom of your soul.  And love for all you’re worth. And when you find her, risk everything. Die a thousand deaths to get her.  Don’t look back.  When you grow older, older than I’ll ever be, blow on the embers of that first heroic choice. You’ll be warmed, sustained.

Some day, you’ll have a son, remember, he’s your greatest gift.  Tell him these things.  Make a man of him.  Love him.  Don’t live to get money.  Have a few things, but make them good things. Take care of them. Learn how they work.  There is beauty in the smell of good machines and old leather.

When you walk, alone, in the autumn, down roads at night, with trees tossing in the sunset, know that I would give everything to walk with you and tell you their names.  But I there, in the light, through the branches, and I’m loving you where I see you.

I must go now.  All my love. For ever and ever.

Dad


Can’t believe she is mine

baby-nancy

I’m well into my morning run. (Running Post coming. Need to digest the thoughts. Lot going on there.)

The email comes across. (You check emails when you run? Apparently, I do.  Addict.)

Mind rips back to an earlier moment.  An earlier post.

There’s been 1,933 posts. 1,934 if you count this one. (1,933. Wow. Compulsive behavior flourishing)

Yet, one post sticks in my mind.  It’s from March 8, 2012.  And titled “He Moved Me.”

I recall interviewing her for a management role. Fire in the belly.  Zero management experience. (I didn’t need another Project.)

Tigress hired up her team. Led from the front. Protected her cubs. And had fierce followership. (My pride still surging.)

I sent her a congratulatory email this morning.

Her Alessandra Marie was born yesterday afternoon. (That’s her pic up there.)

She replied back: “Can’t believe she is mine.”

I step up the pace on my run.

Mind pans back to the day of Rachel’s birth.  And then Eric’s birth.

I need to call the kids.

I need to call them today.

Guess what day it is?

funny, humor,laugh,children,parents,

5:58 pm. Today.

Rachel: Hi Dad!
Dad: GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?
Rachel: What?
Dad: GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?
Rachel: DAD! Why are you yelling?
Dad: GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?
Rachel: OK Dad.  It’s Monday. What’s Up?
Dad: You didn’t return my call last night.
Rachel: I didn’t have time.  I was busy studying for a big test.
Dad: Really?
Rachel: Really.
Dad: GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?
Rachel: (Silence. She’s been at this show before. Boom coming down)
Dad: Honey, today is PARENTS’ APPRECIATION DAY!
Rachel: What?
Dad: Yes. From 7pm to 10pm, you will appreciate your Parents.
Rachel: (Silence. She’s not sure where this is going but she knows it’s a bad place.)
Dad: I checked our bill during the time you were busy doing homework last night.
Dad: Looks like you had plenty of time to send text messages to your friends.
Rachel: (More silence)
Dad: So, your cell service will be cut off from 7pm to 10pm.
Rachel: OK Dad.
Dad: Love you Honey. Can you hear me now?

 


Image Credit

8,336,615


Hold a magnifying glass to this relentless, unsympathetic city.
And we find ourselves, lonely, but never alone.
We make our way.
We choose our paths.
We decide who we are.
Pulled and pushed in the silence of our thoughts.
While on side streets named for those forgotten.
Preoccupied with universal struggles that seem so unique.
We ask the questions that aren’t always answered.
Who am I?
Who will I be?
What have I become?
We arrive, and the innocence is bliss, but fleeting,
As we learn the truths of being human.
We are the loved, and the unloved.
The wanted, and the forlorn.
And in those moments between the light and the darkness
We find ourselves, lonely, but never alone.

~ Paul Riccio & Molly Finley


Credits: Thank you Swissmiss


The little guy just gave up because he no longer had his brother with him

rocks

Steve is a former colleague and friend who lives with his family in London. He sent me an article in 2012 which I shared in a post titled “Running…with red eyes. He’s back a year later sharing a personal experience that I felt was fitting to share on a Sunday morning. And yes, more red eyes for me.  Here’s Steve:


Dave,

Hi there, it’s been a long time. I read with real sadness the article you posted about Disney (“Evolution. In Reverse.”). Sometimes I just don’t get people. However, while the Disney story is almost certainly the low point in my reading journey this week, I already have read the high point of my week – and it’s only Wednesday. I know it’s a high point, no doubt about it. I thought I’d share a story with you, perhaps you might like to share with the DK community if you want to. The story shows that while there are many selfish people out there, there also many who give for a living………. [Read more...]

Shinto

dandelion-art-color-orange

When misfortune confounds us
in an instant we are saved
by the humblest actions
of memory or attention:
the taste of fruit, the taste of water,
that face returned to us in dream,
the first jasmine flowers of November,
the infinite yearning of the compass,
a book we thought forever lost,
the pulsing of a hexameter,
the little key that opens a house,
the smell of sandalwood or library,
the ancient name of a street,
the colourations of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date that we were searching for,
counting the twelve dark bell-strokes,
a sudden physical pain.

Eight million the deities of Shinto
who travel the earth, secretly.
Those modest divinities touch us,
touch us, and pass on by.

– Jorge Luis Borges


‘Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people. In general, Shinto is more than a religion and encompasses the ideas, attitudes, and ways of doing things that have become an integral part of the Japanese people for the better part of 2000 years. The ancient Japanese never divided spiritual and material existence, but considered that both were inseparable, seeing everything in a spiritual sense. Shinto, unlike other major religions, does not have a founder, nor does it possess sacred scriptures or texts. Shinto practices can be roughly summed up by the four affirmations:

  1. Tradition and family
  2. Love of nature – The kami are an integral part of nature.
  3. Physical cleanliness – Purification rites are an important part of Shinto
  4. Festivals and ceremonies – Dedicated to honoring and amusing the kami”

Credits: Poem Source: Mystic Medusa.  Image: Mme Scherzo. Shinto Definition: About.com, Jinja Honcho


 

4:48 am. And Inspired.

photography,memorial,terrorist,attack


Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:

Elisa Ruland @ South of Easton with her beautiful post titled Despairin memoriam to those who died on 9-11:  “Scouring the rusted steel edges I wanted to find an explanation for the madness, I wanted to feel something instead of going numb, to find beauty in the ugliness.  The pain, horror and confusion was palpable in the blast etched remains of the steel, and the need to walk away was overwhelming.  I left without any answers to calm the static...”  That is Elisa’s photograph above.  Read more at this link.  Check out her other wonderful posts and photographs at this link.

LouAnn @ On the HomeFront with her post titled “Beauty and Grace.” You are asked to write 6 words that describe what your future holds for you.  What are your six words?  Go to this link and read LouAnn’s story.

The Kindness Blog with a post titled: “Go Humans.”  I just began following this blog which posts and shares heartwarming morsels of humanity each day.  Check out this post at at this link.  Take a moment to fan through the other posts over the past week.  I’m convinced you’ll feel a change.

Cristi Moise @ Simple & Interesting his share: People Seeing Their Younger Self in The Mirror. “Tom Hussey is an award-winning lifestyle advertising photographer based in Dallas, Texas. In a series entitled Reflections, Hussey shows a series of elderly people looking in a mirror at their younger self.” Moving.  You’ll find one of Hussey’s pictures below.  You must see the others at this link.

Have a great hump day.

portrait,photography

 


Sheryl goes home. Buys a church on the Internet.

Sheryl-Crow

“Sheryl Crow, 51, has sold over 50 million pop and rock albums.  She moved across the country from Los Angeles to Nashville, a place that, according to the title of her new album, “Feel’s Like Home.”…Today, Ms. Crow’s own home consists of a spacious stone mansion, a two-story barn and a church that she bought online for $5,000…

…Ms. Crow’s new songs reveal the singer’s search for a home of her own. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was kind of a soul-searching time for me, and I realized the one thing that I didn’t have in my life was roots.”…For the past seven years Ms. Crow has been in Nashville, where she says there are no paparazzi. Her two adopted sons, Levi and Wyatt, aged 3 and 6, can finally go to school without being photographed.

….Her parents, who have been married for nearly 60 years, raised her in a small town of “churchgoing, hardworking people.” Ms. Crow considers herself a Christian, but she doesn’t subscribe to specific religious rules. That didn’t stop her from buying a dilapidated church on the Internet, which she had shipped to her house and restored near the stables on her property, for her personal use. “Since I was 21, I’ve always had a strong relationship and an everyday, ongoing dialogue with a higher power,” she says. “He or She seems to be most evident in nature, which I guess is why I’m so environmentally driven to preserve what we have around here…”

~ Sheryl Crow.  Read full interview in wsj.com: Sheryl Crow Goes Country


Image Credit; Sheryl Crow’s new album “Feel’s Like Home” can be found here.


Dear Kids

parents yelling at kids

Dear Rachel & Eric:

I shared the article below from today’s paper with your Mother.  She’s gloating: “I told you so.” I’m snarling: “This is utter nonsense.”  Mom’s espousing “Let Freedom Reign.” Dad’s fencing is well established and flashing warning signals: “Cross the line, you’ll do the time.”

You three, huddled in your sheltered cocoon, will see the light.

Hang on to this post and drag it out when your children reach adolescence, and ask the following hypothetical (NOT) questions:

  • Rachel, your daughter, three days after acquiring her driver’s license, exits a parking lot without looking in both directions, and piles into an oncoming car – – causing $4,000 damage to your car. Do you blow her a kiss and tell her: “Honey, the best way to deal with this is to get back up on the iron horse.”
  • Eric, if your son backs your car into his friend’s rock wall, shredding the rear of the car, do you tell him: “Son, mistakes happen. Please be sure to take more care next time.”
  • Rachel, your daughter is laying on the couch watching three consecutive episodes of New Jersey Housewives.  You are exhausted from being up early, frazzled from working late and from your commute home – – and you are in the midst of preparing dinner. You ask her to walk the dog three times and she ignores you.  Do you walk up politely and say: “Honey, could you please help me out here?  Or, are you tired from your difficult day at school?
  • Eric, your son is on his second hour of Playstation and has ignored your 2 prior calls for bedtime.  Do you walk up to him, sit down and ask: “Son, could please put down the game, get undressed and go to bed.

Do these stories sound familiar?  Hmmmmm.  Right.

Being a parent, your Parents, has been our greatest blessing.

I can’t wait to watch you shine.

Love,

Dad

P.S. Re: Having children.  Absolutely no need to rush into things.


Study Says Yelling Is As Hurtful as Hitting [Read more...]

4:04 am. And Inspired.

swimming in the rain


Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:

Jon-Mark Davey with his post: Life Changing Moment: “Nothing changes your life like a life-changing moment. It may sound pretty obvious, but that statement doesn’t have real impact until a moment changes your life. One certainly changed ours.” Heartbreaking.  Read more at this link.

Make Believe Boutique (back again) with her share titled The Twinkling Stars Behind Our Sorrow: “…It is rare to meet a person whose life is full of gratitude. Even though the course of a single day may bring innumerable blessings to us, the few moments of genuine gratitude we experience are often overshadowed by our complaints, disappointments, sorrow, and frustration…” Read more at this link. [Read more...]

30 years. And counting.

red-balloons-anniversary

30 years ago today.
On a steamy afternoon in Northern Michigan.
They were married.

Her Yin to His Yang.

The Beauty. Gentle, kind and forgiving.
The Beast, less so.

She, the passionate Extrovert,
seeking comfort in conversation and friendship.
He, in constant retreat to solitude.

She, the Mother, a nurturer. Their Friend.
He, the Father, the rules enforcer, the Driver.

She, steady, firmly anchored in high winds and heavy seas.
He, bringing it in bits and pieces,
but giving the best he had.

And despite the pull and tug of opposing forces,
the sweet music plays on.

Happy Anniversary Pal.

Here’s to 30 more.

Love,

Dave


Credits: (1) Balloon Image. (2) Jim Morrison’s Words: Virgin State of Mind (…bringing it in bits and pieces…)