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…)

duende

rain-raindrops-word-definition-hindi

fika-coffee-friends-swedish-word-definition [Read more...]

4:02 am. And Inspired.

portrait, girl,child


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

Mona Howard @ Ramblings with her post titled: Practicing with my favorite model. That’s a picture of her granddaughter above. Be sure to check out Mona’s slide show at this link.  Children.  Miracles. (As is the photographer’s work.)

Marga @ Life As Improv with her poem titled Going It Alone (With Others): “…Going deep is a solitary thing. Aloneness is  guarded at my gate - Hours of no thing. I sew into my pocket by hand. I would gulp you silence in a chalice…”  Then she closes with a wonderful quote from John O’Donohue: “…Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen…This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.”  Read Marga’s entire poem and O’Donohue’s full quote here.

Yvonne @ MISIFUSA’s Blog with her post: Pink Post ~ Life After Breast Cancer: “…But it’s not all flowery after you’re through with the treatments.  As many who have endured disease and illness, the aftermath is often the hardest…Because what the hell do I do now?  There’s no one to tell you how to live after you’ve endured the ugliness of cancer, the treatments, the surgeries, the chemo,  the radiation, the humiliation, the poking and prodding by others.  Family and friends are weary from care-taking and the disruption to their lives.  All are ready for life to get back to normal ~ as are you…”  Read more at this link. [Read more...]

Landslide

cloud in a blue sky

It was move-in day.
A North Carolina morning.
Where a cool breeze dusted your face.
And a cumulus cloud was chiseled into an otherwise unmarked sky.
The Sun was warming.
Yes, another one of those days in which you know.
You know that this wasn’t all by accident.
Too large. Too complex. Just too big.

We are among other parents and their children getting an early start.
Moving day buzz and jitters.
Hauling printers, pillows, college-ruled paper and milk crates. Setting up bunk beds.

He’s tense.
Momma and Momma’s Boy are tangling over where to put stuff.
PC isn’t working.
I tell him to let me try.
I sit in his desk chair. The chair he will be sitting in for the next 9 months.
And work on setting up his printer.
I feel his disorientation.
The Anxiety.
Change.
He’s inherited this from his Dad.   [Read more...]

Sunday Morning: You Have to Maintain What You Love


“The Horsemen: The traditional ‘Rounding of the Mares’ has been with the Almonte horsemen for generations. Over a thousand horses are driven across the plains and through the towns of rural Spain.  Being a horseman in Almonte is to live the tradition of our ancestors that has existed for over 500 years, to maintain the balance between nature and man.  It is something so rooted inside of us, in our blood, that we are born horsemen and our children are born horsemen.  The first thing they want to do is go to the marshlands with their fathers and grandfathers.  For us the marshlands, the field, the nature, is a religion, a way of life, an identity.  It’s a proud responsibility to because you have to maintain what you love.  We are horsemen, living in unity with nature and our values.  It is a community and a union, between animal and man.  I think for a man, where he has lived, what his elders have passed onto him, if he doesn’t preserve this then life has little meaning.”

Cherub

costa rica

His name tag said Antonio.  He wore creaseless khaki shorts.  An olive green polo shirt.  Spotless white shoes.  The hotel staff uniform.  And, I’m guessing he was in his early 30′s.

Cherub.  That’s the word that immediately came to mind.  I looked it up after returning home from vacation.  “A chubby, healthy-looking child with wings.  A cherub is a type of spiritual being usually associated with the presence of God.”  A message to me?  A message from “Above” to the Believer of Convenience?

From late morning until late afternoon, he’d walk the beach with a wooden tray offering complimentary plastic shot glasses of mango smoothies, cappuccino ice cream coffee shots and strawberry shakes.  Every few hours, he would offer to clean your sunglasses – - and would do so with such care you would think he was holding a caterpillar.

He offered a perma-smile.  The man radiated Light. [Read more...]

3:48 am. And Inspired.

Buddha, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand


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

kingdomany’s photostream with his shot (above) of Buddha in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

Steve Layman @ with his share: More from the good old days………….:Here’s words you don’t hear anymore:…Wash your feet before you go to bed, you’ve been playing outside all day barefooted…Why can’t you remember to roll up your britches legs? Getting them caught in the bicycle chain so many times is tearing them up….Don’t you go outside with your school clothes on!…Be sure and pour the cream off the top of the milk when you open the new bottle…Open the back door and see if we can get a breeze through here, it is getting hot”…Read more @ this link. 

Brenda Knowles @ Space2Live with her video post titled: The Space We Need. “Something new for space2live… a short film (5 minutes, it’s worth it).  A visual to enhance the many words spilled on the pages of this site. Through filmmaker, Nic Askew’s, beautiful lens the experience, rather than the explanation, of an introvert is captured and shared in a soul biography. You’ll feel the honesty and vulnerability.  Enjoy.” Watch film at this link. [Read more...]

10 Secrets of Science For Achieving Bliss (and my take)

photography, jump, bliss, joy

Lori, my Zen Master and a bubbling brook of knowledge and wisdom, shared this FastCompany article titled: 10 Simple Science Backed Ways to Be Happier Today. I reflected on it for a few days. Here’s my conclusions and scorecard:

  1. FC: EXERCISE MORE–7 MINUTES MIGHT BE ENOUGH. (DK: Yes, to Exercise more. No, to 7 minutes being enough. Come on. 7 minutes would imply lazy, quitter, lacking and absolutely nothing. Period. Full stop.)
  2. FC: SLEEP MORE–YOU’LL BE LESS SENSITIVE TO NEGATIVE EMOTIONS. (DK: Completely agree. Horrible in actual execution.)
  3. FC: MOVE CLOSER TO WORK–A SHORT COMMUTE IS WORTH MORE THAN A BIG HOUSE (DK: I’m all in on this one. A BUYER.)
  4. FC: SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY–DON’T REGRET IT ON YOUR DEATHBED (DK: Hmmmm. Introverts? Solitude? Thoreau? Let’s define what we mean by “time.”)
  5. FC: GO OUTSIDE–HAPPINESS IS MAXIMIZED AT 13.9°C (DK: Half way there. All-in on outdoors. Happiness cannot be maximized @ 57° F. Give me Heat. Implementation at 50%)

    [Read more...]

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

zip line, zip lining

The hotel made us sign a waiver before we stepped on the bus. We had to sign a second waiver at the check-in after we arrived at the Tour Site.

Please read carefully, complete and then sign below.

  1. Has a doctor advised you not to participate in certain activities?
  2. Do you have any fears of the following: closed or open spaces; heights; and/or animals?
  3. Do you have any vision, hearing, or balance problems?
  4. Have you ever had an attack or stroke?
  5. Do you frequently suffer from motion sickness?
  6. Do you have a history of blackouts or fainting?
  7. Do you have motor skill impairments or difficulties?

I understand there are inherent risks in going on the tour, including but not limited to equipment failure, acts of other participants, adverse weather conditions, and forces of nature, and I hereby assume the risk.

“Dad, I can’t believe you’re doing this!”
Silence.
“Dad, you didn’t check off #2!”
Silence. I couldn’t look up at her. I looked down at the clipboard. It was shaking in my hands.
“X” marked the spot. My last rites.

[Read more...]

6:34 am. And Inspired.

Logan's Pass, photography


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

Ivon Prefontaine @ Teacher As Transformer with his post: “Glacier Park Mountains, Glaciers, and Logan’s Pass.” That’s one of his shots above.  Be sure to check out the others at this link.  Inspiring…as is his blog…a daily stop.  (Ivon, this one made me home sick.)

Nancy Roman @ Not Quite Old with her post: “Shouldn’t I have this?….Shouldn’t I have all of this?” “I want to live in a little house with a big porch on the seashore. I want to live in an apartment in New York City with a geranium on the fire escape. I want crisp white sheets and gingham curtains. I want gilded mirrors and french porcelain…I want a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich with a side of potato chips. I want to appear before sold-out crowds who laugh and applaud. I want to go for weeks without seeing another human being. I want to write poetry that makes people cry…” Wonderful post.  Read more at this link.

Michael Wade @ Execupundit with his post: Swamps.  Where he lists 20 “swamps” starting with “always keeping score.” [Read more...]

King’s Orders: 72° F. Period.

thermostat-funny

I glance at clock. It’s 1:12 am. I see that Zeke is sprawled out and nestled next to his Mom. Room is airless, sweltering – - think rain forest. I turn over, fluff my pillow, kick the comforter off my legs to let some air in, and lie there. Too early to get up.

I read somewhere that if you stay motionless for 15-20 minutes, your body will enter sleep paralysis. Your body will believe you are asleep but your brain is still functioning. I’m staring at the clock. And lay motionless. One minute. Two minutes. I’m glaring at the digital clock. What’s wrong with me? 15 minutes, huh? No chance. This chassis is built for motion.

I notice the cable box flashing. Researchers say that to get a good night’s sleep, you need to increase darkness, which means turn off all lights to avoid suppressing melatonin, whatever that is. So, I take inventory.

  • Digital LED clock: large fire engine red lettering.
  • Cable box and its Greeks: LED light in a soft blue hue.
  • Television: red dot power-off button.
  • Apple Wireless Router: Pea-sized, lime green, LED power-on button.
  • Laptop: LED soft yellow charging button. (FEED ME. FEED ME.)
  • Blackberry: Laying face down. I can see the notification light blinking Red. (READ ME! READ ME!). No. No. Don’t pick it up.

The only thing not emitting light is the stack of unread books on the night stand. And this too gives me anxiety.

I hear footsteps in the attic. And then a laugh. Followed by undecipherable words. I lie and I listen. A predator waiting to pounce.

[Read more...]

Sunday Morning: The Pedrini Family

A Pasta Story from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo. Funding provided by intrepidtravel.com/italy


A clip that takes us to the hills in Tuscany with the Pedrini Family.

Good Sunday Morning.


Related Post: Sunday Morning: 10 Things We Love About Italy

Running with E.T. August Logs.

E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial


6:00 am, August 4, 2013: 60F. Gentle morning breeze: 3 MPH. Spectacular day for a run. I’m off. Thoughts chattering. Legs pumping but heavy. Thighs stiff. Bottoms of feet tender. All aches emanating from yesterday’s run. Marquis whispers: “Middle age is the time when a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel as good as ever.” Yep, that’s about right.

5:30 am, August 4, 2013: Morning weigh in. 60 days left in the Biggest Loser Challenge. I expect a bad outcome. Expectations realized. Loser! Weight: Back up 1.8. And this after yesterday’s grueling 6-mile, rain-soaking trail run with the wolf pack — slopping around in wet woods, dancing on slippery rocks, and sinking in gooey mud. Somehow escaping injury. Rambo. No, Chubby Rambo. I step (waddle) off the scale in disgust. It’s all about intake and yesterday’s feedings.* So Mr. Lewis**, when? When do I learn?

7:30 pm, August 1, 2013: Rachel returns home from work. Dragging. In a mood. She runs upstairs. Comes down. Attired in florescent, glow-in-the-dark green shorts. Matching shoes. Ear buds in. iPhone in hand. Styling!

“I’m off for a run.”
“Wait, I’m coming with you.”
“No Dad. I would rather go alone.”
“NO, I’m coming.”
“NO Dad. I don’t want you to come. I’m not interested in running a time trial.”
“Rachel, you stand right here and wait. I mean WAIT.”

She waits. We go. Road narrows. Evening traffic heavy. I slow to let her pull in front and we run single file. Her hair tightly wrapped in a single braid which bounces up and down in the center of her back. She has a graceful, confident stride. In contrast, my legs are heavy – - long day at work… 3.5 plates of pasta for dinner…laboring to keep up. I’m breathing heavy.

[Read more...]

Running. With Howie.

Stop-your-Sweaty-Palms


8:24 am. 74F. 66% humidity. Late jump. Two capsules of Nyquil Flu & Cold down the gullet the night before. Slept like a baby. This morning, I’m woozy. After five consecutive days of 96F+ scorchers and too much in-doors time, I needed to get out.

I’m off. Head in a fog. How is it possible to have a head cold in the middle of a July heat wave?

Mind whirrs to Howie Mandel. Comic. Actor. Host of NBC’s “Deal or No Deal.” Howie’s fear of germs. His fist bumps instead of hand shakes. His book titled: “Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me.”

I’m at Mile 1. I start sizing the GERM opportunity. A quick week in review:

  • Grand Central Station: 750,000 commuters a day. 1000′s of hands touching my exit door, all spilling out into Manhattan.
  • MetroNorth: 1000′s of touches on each stainless steel handrail we grip to hold steady while the train lurches to and fro.
  • Lunch. Food particles in the cracks on table. Water spots (one hopes) on spoon. Table top has a light sheen from being wiped with dish towel, after 7 other tables. Grab water glass, warm to touch, soap smell mixed with heavy chlorinated water. Rapid table turnover = > cash flow.
  • Bathroom. Hundreds of touches on the door handle a day. (Did your Mamma teach you to wash your hands after going to potty?)
  • Taxi cab doors and window handles. Office door handles. Elevator buttons. Conference room tables. Arm rests on chairs.

Do I grab the handle high, or grab it low, as most grab the middle? Or lean on door with shoulder? Or slide jacket sleeve over hand? Or, do I surreptitiously slow my pace to let another open the door in front of me?

And from these touches, a frictionless hand-off to my pen, my blackberry, my phone and my computer keyboard. Hand to nose to face to mouth. The germ baton is passed on; a leaf in the wind, a feather in the air, all silently and deadly landing on yet another unsuspecting prey.

But the moment that sticks is a split second decision to shake a hand prior to the kick-off of a meeting. A natural reflex. A custom. A greeting. A courtesy.
[Read more...]

Memories: Introducing you to my younger brothers

Childhood-memories-funny


Source: Imgur

21. And counting.

black and white; photography

She turned 21.

Our celebration dinner was at home earlier in the week.
Family was seated together. She was at the head of the table.
Champagne glasses filled. Dad with his Snapple. A Toast.
Her favorites. Cheesy Parmigiano-Reggiano breaded chicken breasts.
Buttery mashed potatoes. Long stemmed broccoli and cheese.
Followed by vanilla flavored birthday cake with thick gobs of frosting.
Cards from Grandparents.
Earrings.
She opens a small box from her Brother. Beaming. She slides on a ring.
I turn my head away to keep it together.
Discussion turns from sharing stories to plans for the evening.

“I’m staying in the city with a friend.”
“You mean you’re not coming home tonight?”
“No, Dad”

Flash of anger. Rolling to disappointment. Then settling into Sad. Turning deep, down and inward.

Dad’s leaning into a gushing current.
Water rushing over, under, through.
Hopeless to stop it. Yet he keeps trying.

Happy Birthday Honey…


Who’s the King?

bed

I sneak a peak at the clock. 2:30 am. Early, even for me.

I’m teetering inches from the edge of the bed. Drifting in and out of consciousness.

I can hear his breathing. It’s too hot for him to sleep at our feet, under the covers, a winter pastime. So, he’s up on the pillows. This was cute as a puppy. Beastly now at 67 lbs. And he’s a leaner. On your legs. On your back. On whatever is in the way. But lean he must.

He dreams. He’s running. His paws and legs kicking. Faster. Faster. Faster. A bear pawing a tree, roughly ripping slabs of bark and digging his claws into its sinews. Or me.

Enough. Bleary eyed I grab my pillow and get up. He’s watching me warily and emits a low growl. He remembers our weak kneed attempts at re-training to have him sleep on the floor. That ended badly. For us.

I trudge up to the attic.

I toss. I turn. I toss. I turn. 3:00 am. Hopeless. I can’t settle. Doesn’t feel right.

I waddle back downstairs. Linus with his pillow and blanky in tow.
I crawl back into bed. He turns. Licks my face. Rolls over. And leans against my back.

I gently lean back into him.

Damn dog.


Image Source: Themetapicture.com

Related Posts: More on Zeke

They liked the cut of her jib. And so did I.

portrait

“…One Sunday morning, when I was running out to get some groceries, I saw a big woman standing on the sidewalk, waving a Yard Sale sign around. She was wearing an outfit that didn’t compliment her body. Her boobs were jiggling and bouncing in a wild way, but she was smiling and shaking this big piece of cardboard with something scrawled on it. You could barely read the words. The writing was in ballpoint pen and maybe she ran out of room for the address because the last part was squeezed in there, and then there was this huge space under the words anyway. The whole thing was very unprofessional, the kind of thing that, if I had done it myself, I would’ve ripped it up, declaring it unacceptable, and then I would’ve complained about how I didn’t have anymore goddamn poster board to start another sign. Then I probably would’ve blamed my husband for not buying more poster board at the drugstore. ‘When I say get some poster board, that word “some” means more than one piece.’

I also would not have put on that outfit, if I were as big as she was. I’m not slender, mind you. But let’s be honest: if I were her, I would’ve looked in the mirror and moaned softly and then crawled back into bed. Even with a perfectly good outfit on, I wouldn’t have agreed to stand on the curb with a bad sign, drawing attention to myself. No way. If I were her, I would’ve made my husband stand around with the sign, and then I would’ve blamed him when the yard sale got too crowded and hectic. ‘Where have you been? I can’t handle this whole thing on my own! This was YOUR IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE!’ [Read more...]

Running. With Moobs.

Kramer-Man-Boobs-Bra-Moob-Seinfeld


5:00 am. 75F. 89% humidity. Need to get a jump on the heat. Weatherman calling for 91F by noon. It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Right. (Bullsh*t.) I’m off.

Feeling good. Three consecutive days of running. Not bad. Yet, a bigger deal? Avoiding all food intake after 7pm last night. Now, this, this, was a major accomplishment. A single break in habit. A lifetime of four more-than-square meals a day. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Bed-Time Snack. (A hard Pivot? A Break? Hmmmmm. More like a kink in a fire hose. Or overnight bout of constipation. Dam will burst. It’s just a question of when. And it won’t be pretty.) But…let’s focus on the positive here. Six days into my Biggest Loser Campaign and the trend is my friend.
[Read more...]

Mom vs. Dad

funny, true, parents, children,parenting, son, daughter, mom v dad


Mom’s + Dad’s: Your gems are?


Adapted from 9gag.com