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...]

Running. With Sticks.

drum-gif-smash

6:30 am.

Mid-July, and it’s 63º F. Overcast. Low humidity.

PULL UP THE DAMN DOUBLE-DECKER GRATITUDE BUS.

I’m out the door. And down the highway.

I’m flicking through my playlist. James Taylor. Click. Bonnie Raitt. Click. Bryan Adams. WarmerClick. David Sanborn. Cool down, maybe. Click. Sara McLachlan. Animal Cruelty Videos. Click. Click. Jimmy Buffet. Margaritaville. NO. CLICK.  

And then, AC-DC.

And THEN, AC-DC.

THUNDERSTUCK. Sound of the drums beating my heart.

Block: Morning weigh-in. Re-grip the sticks…and Swing.
Block: Heavy legs. Re-grip the sticks…and Pound.
Block: Lack of sleep. Re-grip…and Slam.
Block: Work. WORK. Re-grip, unleash and Pulverize ‘em.

Time Check: 6.12 miles @ 55.08 minutes.

Nap Time.


Notes:

Miracles

internet
Back in June, I shared a post on how I had come to be reading books written by John Updike, John Steinbeck and other literary Titans. The post was titled: Lit Boy. My college Professor, John Vande Zande, is responsible. Sadly, I learned that he had passed away.

On Monday, two months after I had written the post, an email settles gently in my inbox among a stack of 30 or 40 others. I see the surname on the email address. My eyes lock-on “from Vande Zande.” My mind whirs back to the Lit Boy post. I read the email.

Dear David,

Thank you for the lovely tribute to my father, John Vande Zande, on your blog. I also had him as a teacher, but I’m not sure a son appreciates this the way a stranger does. Thank you for letting me see him through your eyes. It would mean a great deal to him to know that he inspired you so much. He was always skeptical of his role as a professor. He would say, “What business do I, a kid from Big Bay, have in being in front of a college classroom?” I think the best profs do doubt their business in being in front of a room of students. It keeps them humble and it keeps them trying. The worse profs are probably the ones who doubt the business of their students being in the room.

Thanks again,

Jeff Vande Zande
www.jeffvandezande.com

John Vande Zande had a Son. He’s a English Professor. He’s a writer. (A published writer). And a poet and a screenwriter. (How proud would his Dad be of him today.)

And as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story:
[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


A Robin. Builds a nest.

Nest-Robin-eggs-blue

Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers points us to a wonderful story at the Audubon Magazine titled: What It’d Take to Build a Human-Sized Robin’s Nest.

Find Rob’s post here: Nest.

And be sure to click through. Wonderful Story.


Running. With Gremlins.

running-black and white

6:00 am. 60º F. Light breeze. A Runner’s paradise. I’m out the door.

Mood Check: On a continuum of Bliss on the right and Rage on the left, the needle is twitching left of center.

It is said that, today, we live in a secular society, believing in worldly, non-religious, non-spiritual “things.” Just look at me. Every morning when I step on the scale…no matter what caloric catastrophe I engaged in the day before, I believe our Taylor 7506 Digital Scale is going to deliver.  This morning, was just another morning.  My cup runneth over. With belief.

A deep breath. A pause. One step up. Then the other. The digital read-out comes to life. Gremlins scurrying around with their algorithms. They’re flicking in a range from 208.5 to 207.8 and back. Why do you think they flick in a range? They didn’t use to flick in a range. Belly jiggling, so they can’t lock on? My eyes get large. They settle on 208.3. DAMN IT.

Ten pounds up in less than 60 days. If God was Good…If God was Great, this wouldn’t be so damn difficult. I’m drowning in temptation. Cereal. Danishes. Fruit and Cheese filled croissants. Ice cream. Pasta. And that was just yesterday. It’s raining on me.

And by now, you know what comes next: PENANCE. [Read more...]

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...]

Just Livin’

ballet-foot-black and white

NS: Name?
DK: David K-A-N-I-G-A-N. No middle initial. (Here we go again.)
NS: Height?
DK: 6’1″.
NS: Weight?
DK: (Pause)
NS: (Smiling) We can weigh you when we get inside.
DK: Today or this month’s average?
NS: Today.
DK: 208. (She doesn’t know that you’re up 10. Why avert your eyes you coward?)
NS: Name of GP?
DK: (Pause) Don’t have one.
NS: Don’t have a GP?
DK: It’s been a while.
NS: Date of last physical?
DK: (Pause) Don’t remember. (She steals a glance at my ID. Checking DOB.)
NS: Blood type?
DK: No idea.
NS: (Staring eye-ball-to-eyeball now)
[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...]

I came that way. D0K.

gif-connected

JB: Full name please?
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: Full name please.
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: That’s your full name?
DK: Yes.

(Yes. Oh, yes. I know what’s coming next. This scene, played out, over and over. Hundreds of times. Blood pressure clickety clacking up.)

JB: Middle name please.
DK: None.
JB: None?
DK: None.

(She lifts her head to look at the Alien. And pauses, wondering whether to push forward. Then, courageously plows ahead.)

JB: You mean you weren’t given one at birth? Or you changed your name?

(I look down. Two arms. Two legs. Flip flops reveal 10 toes. How many years do I have to take this sh*t?!)

(I look up. Smile. Which way do I take this? High Road. Or Low Road. I count. One. Two. Three.)

[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...]

Running. Because I can’t stop.

gif-funny-cartoon-eating-diet

Wednesday: 2 am. A knife stabbing the muscle in the right calf. I’m gripping the iron railing on the headboard. And pointing my toes. (Susan’s remedy. I’ve always thought it was Bullsh*t, yet here I am pointing my toes.) I’m writhing in pain. Cramp. Zeke awakens, rolls over and starts licking my face, I’ll save you Dad! Dog mung-mouth-sleep-breath — I’m snorting ammonia. The bed is rolling like a stormy sea – yet, Susan is not moved. She stirs, but doesn’t wake. The entire team carries Lebron off the floor with his leg-cramps, and I don’t even get a: “Are you ok?” Where’s the empathy here people?

Thursday: 3 pm. Work meeting. Same leg. Same calf. Pitch fork stab. Cramp. I’m gripping the arms of the chair. Eyes are gushing water. I drop my head to take notes to avoid eye contact. Meeting ends. I walk up the stairs alone, limping, and heaving. Hydration? Vitamin deficiency? Sleep deprivation? Hunger?

Saturday: 4 am. Feelin’ large. I step on the scale. NO! Just.Can’t.Be. NFW! I strip off t-shirt and underwear – - I might be carrying extra poundage in my shorts. I get back on the scale – it wobbles – and falls 0.2 lbs. Pathetic! I move to the mirror. I see a six-inch scratch from the belly button to the jelly roll part, with a puff of dried blood accumulation on the handle. A tattoo from my wrestling match with Zeke. Or another sign? I check my notes. April 19th, is the last time I ran. 49 days ago. Can that even be possible? I check my weight tracker:

[Read more...]

What does it mean?

White on White

It was in June. Circa 1995. A sticky late afternoon. I jump in a Yellow Cab to visit a client’s home to inspect Fine Art collateral. The cab pulls up to his building. A massive, black granite stone polished to a high sheen. Money.

I offer the doorman my name and the purpose for my visit. He reaches for the phone to confirm. Sir, I’ll escort you up.

The Doorman holds the door as I enter the elevator. Hat. Uniform. White gloves. He presses the button. Penthouse. 

Hi. Good to see you again. Would you like me to show you around our place?

I graciously accept. My feet are damp in my wing tips; they clop on the white Italian marble floor. The echo ricochets off the vaulted ceiling, off the contemporary furniture with its sharp lines, and off the floor-to-ceiling windows. I look out over the city – - a spectacular view – - and then look down below.  I note that my hands are trembling. Take a deep breath. It’s acrophobia. Step back and away. 

Would you like something to drink?

I thank him and pass. I can’t have anything near my stomach now. I’m nauseous. Stomach is churning. I’m breathing rarified air. I don’t belong here.

The air conditioning, noiseless, offers a cooling feathery touch. I shiver. Fine Art and humidity are not friends. The temperature, constant and cool, preserves.

Here’s what you came to see.

[Read more...]

Riding Metro-North. With The Gremlin.

train-gif

It’s Tuesday morning. A great night’s sleep. I’m Regenerated. I rise. I rise. I rise.

I walk to the train station to catch the 5:40. 62° F. The Air is still. The Birds are singing. Blue skies.

It’s Quiet.

The Train pulls up. 5:39am. Second train of the day. It’s packed.

I wedge past another commuter and take the window seat.

A Lady, mid-60′s, is facing me.  She’s in a 3-seater, on a full train, with her purse blocking the seat to her right and a bottle of Poland Springs water blocking the left.  “Prickly.” She has a cup of coffee in an unmarked styrofoam cup in her left hand and she’s pecking away on a crossword puzzle on an iPad. She does not lift her head as I pass.

It’s Quiet. The soft hum of the electric current powering the train. The clickety-clack of the tracks. And the Lady snorting and re-snorting phlegm up her nasal passages. Is she swallowing it?

The Conductor breaks the silence on the P.A.: Good morning! I have an important announcement. He pauses. The heads in the car all bob up to listen. Today’s Danny’s last day after 20 years with MetroNorth. He’s covering the middle cars. Danny, we all wish you good luck in your retirement. God Speed. [Read more...]

SMWI*: Narcose


You going to say, you don’t have 12 minutes to watch this. Then you’re going to look back weeks later and find, it has never left your consciousness. Watch Narcose.

Deep water freediving exposes its practitioners to a form of narcosis, which induces several symptoms, among which a feeling of euphoria and levity that earned this phenomenon its nickname of “raptures of the deep”. The short film relates the interior journey of Guillaume Néry, the apnea world champion, during one of his deep water dives. It draws its inspiration from his physical experience and the narrative of his hallucinations.


SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration

Mad Max: 1 – Bull: 0.

smart-car-longhorn

Just another Friday morning commute.

Mind is pond skittering. Nothing heavy on the calendar. Chance to leave early. Long weekend. Kids home. 58° F.  Morning sun warming with forecaster calling for more Spring heat. Gnawing on a protein bar. Windows down.  Feelin’ light. Feelin’ Gratitude.

Ray P comes sauntering in. His Detroit Tigers’ baseball cap is slung low. His pants hiked way up and cinched with a belt burnishing a oversized golden buckle. A middle aged client from 20 years back who inherited a small sum from his Mom who had the foresight to dribble out food money in monthly installments.  Mail was unacceptable. He had to pick it up.  He’d bite his lip hungrily ripping open the envelope…stare at the check, look at me: “Son, I’ve got the world by the a**.”

I’m at the speed limit in the center lane, flowing with the other fishes, no obstructions this morning. Son, I’ve got the world by the a**. [Read more...]

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...]

Coach? Bah! Hmmmm. Yah.

portrait-close-up-man

It’s Saturday morning. I’m flicking through Netflix and there it was – “Recommended for me: The Legend of Bagger Vance.” It was ten, maybe eleven years ago. The Executive Coach assigned to me recommended the book. An Executive Coach from Little Rock, Arkansas. Hired and paid for by the Firm. “Good for my career,” they said. (Good for my career? I didn’t need help with my career. My team’s results were exceptional. Employee Survey scores ranked my team’s morale #1, with no one remotely close.  Little Rock, Arkansas? Come on. You’ve got to be kidding.)

The first meeting was scheduled. Big Cat was tired, wary and his fur was up. (Last thing I need is some corporate shrink dishing out pablum that I wouldn’t eat and then reporting back to management that I was a head-case. What can he possibly teach me? “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”)

He outlined the program. Clinical. To-the-point. No wasted words. No wasted movement. He explained that he wanted to conduct a 360-survey with my direct reports, colleagues and key partners. Get me the names, and we’ll get started. He was in and out.

Session 3, the survey feedback comes in. Big 4-inch ringed binder.  I’m flipping through the pages. I skip the strengths. I know what they are. Eyes scan the charts, and land on the categories hitting the low points. (Memory is hazy…but I remember thinking Holy Sh*t as a read through the color commentary: “Ambitious. Would roll me if I missed. Aggressive. Relentless. Tough. Standards unrealistically high. ‘Always on.’ Don’t really know him. An enigma, can be hard and soft, therefore difficult to read. And Trust.” I gently closed the binder to trap the words in – dropping my head and tasting the bitters of stomach acid.) [Read more...]

Running. With AAA.

photography,black and white,tire,flat tire,
Yahoo Weather Update:
57º F. Humidity 97%. Visibility 4 miles. Areas of dense morning fog. Mist.

Mist. And Ambivalence rains. Mind says yes. Body says rest.

I gear up.
Red and Black shoes. Black running pants. Red top.
Red. Rhino. Run.
I’m out the door.

The Mind whirrs back to Wednesday.  We’re in the car on our bi-annual trek to pick up Eric at College.  It’s a 10 to 14 hour drive and we’re standing in wall-to-wall traffic on the GW Bridge. We’re tracking to the wrong end of the range and the horse has just left the barn.

We clear the bridge and I’m barreling down the NJ turnpike.  72 mph. OK, 78 mph. Making up time.

The Warning light flashes on dash. “LOW TIRE PRESSURE.”  Followed by a PHSSSSSST. And then, a WUMP. WUMP. WUMP. WUMP. (Blood rushes to head. Why is it so hot in the car? Tension fills the cabin. Co-Pilot has seen the Captain manage the unexpected. It’s not pretty.)

I pull the car over to the shoulder. (I come from a long lineage of handymen. DNA somehow skipped me. My fix-it depth consists of bangin’ on the Alt-CTL-DEL key.)

Susan calls AAA. ETA is 30 minutes. (30 minutes to show up. 15-20 minutes to put on the provisional. 90 minutes to 3 hours to find a service station to replace tire. Estimated 2.5 – 4 hour delay. Mood darkens. Migraine thundering on queue.)

AAA arrives. I get out of the car to car to greet him. He gives me a hand signal to stay off the highway. His lips mouthing “too dangerous.” A Semi passes by and kicks up a wind gust. Diesel exhaust fills my lungs.

[Read more...]

Dance With Me


LIKED it. Enough to watch it 3x. Not sure why. And not sure I fully understood it…all interpretations welcome.

Can’t sleep boys?

Nigerian-School-girls-kidnapped

What a mistake it was, before my bed time, to read the finishing line in The New Yorker article titled Captivity:

They are perhaps thinking only that night is falling again, and that the men will come to each of them again, an unending horror.

Fellas, here’s my short good night prayer to you:

May you find it in your heart to let them go.
All of them.
NOW. Safely. Untouched.

And if you have no Heart and remain in Darkness,
I hope you watched the News today.
And saw that your government has accepted U.S. assistance.

You may be hearing Footsteps.
We’re coming.
You may be hearing Thunder.
We’re coming.
You will see Lightening. You will feel Rain. The skies will Open.
It’s coming.

Sleep well Boys.

It’s coming. Hell is coming.

DK


Image Credit: CNN.com

Lit Boy

John-VandeZande

I’ve reached the half-way mark of Updike, a biography on John Updike written by Adam Begley.  I pause to reflect on how I arrived here.  “Here” being how did I come to be reading John Updike’s biography.  Yes, it was Amazon’s Best Book of the Month for April, 2014. That helped, but that wasn’t it.  It was that man in the photograph that is responsible.  John VandeZande.

It was an undergraduate elective class titled “Good Books.” It was highly recommended by my senior jock buddies: “Just show up, read a few books and you’re done.”  I signed up for the class. I sat in the back of the room.  And hoped never to get called on.

He would assign Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Updike, in his biography, would describe them as “textual titans.” At the time, I would describe them as literary unknowns – - DK, a lover of Hardy Boys who then graduated to the genres of Jeffrey Archer (Kane & Abel), James Clavell (Shogun & Tai Pan) and Stephen King – - was being heaved up into the major leagues.  I slumped further down in my chair at the back of the room.

He would break the awkwardness of the early classes by reading long passages from the assigned readings. He would sit on the edge of his desk.  The book in his right hand.  And then immerse himself in the passage. There were no pencils tapping. There was no shifting in chairs.  We were gently transported with him on the journey.

He struck the match. And stoked the fire. And I went on a tear.  First Hemingway with The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea. Then Faulkner with The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August and Absalom, Absalom!. Followed by John Steinbeck with The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row and East of Eden.  And then John Updike with Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux and Rabbit Is Rich.  And to this day, my serial runs on “Textual Titans” continues. (In Begley’s biography of Updike, Updike explained that: “A real reader,” he explained, “reading to escape his own life thoroughly, tends to have runs on authors.” That had my head spinning.)

[Read more...]

Wooed by mandarin eyes

pigeon-beach-maui

I’m slumped on a beach chair.
Earbuds are pumping in music, partially muffling the surf.
My baseball cap is pulled down low.
My Kindle is in my right hand, blocking the sun, and the rest of me.
Unrecognizable. Unapproachable. Body language spewing “Prickly Man. No Talking.”

She ambles within 3 feet.
She inches closer, determined to get my attention.
I peak out from under my hat.
Her iris’ are mandarin oranges circling jet black darkness.
And both eyes are locked on mine.
She stares. And stares. And stares.
I go back to reading.
She inches closer. And begins to preen her tail feathers.

Middle Aged Man has managed to repel all bikini clad women.
And, now he’s getting hit on by a Pigeon.  What a Stud! [Read more...]

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


Is it not by his high superfluousness we know Our God?

dandelion

Too often we start with seeing what is wrong with this world.
We wallow in ‘what’s wrong.’
We need to instead ‘celebrate what’s right with the world.’
And adopt this as our perspective. Our frame of focus.

The lights dimmed after his introductory remarks. Dewitt Jones is one of America’s top freelance photographers. He has worked for the National Geographic magazine for 20 years. He is the author of nine books on nature and leadership. And he’s an inspirational speaker.

Hundreds of us sat, hushed, in the dark, awaiting light to be beamed from three large projection screens. He then flashed up a photograph.

See this untamed field of green, dotted by bright yellow dandelions.
This is the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia.

I was dialed in. Selkirk Mountains. My mountains. My British Columbia. My Canada. What were the odds that he would have picked this shot and this story? [Read more...]

Stuck. In search of Wu-Wei.

stuck-mud-digging

“The paradox of Wu-Wei arises…”

The phone rings. I glance at my watch. 5:20 p.m.

We have a problem. We need your help.

Just one time, one time, it would be nice to get a different script at the end of the day. Dreamworks ~ The phone rings: “Hey DK, great news….”

My periscope is up and scanning the horizon. (Is the house burning or is it a pan on the stove that’s on fire? Fur is up.)

The interrogation commences.

Start from the beginning.
What options have you explored?
Did you check this? What about that?
Did you ask this? Did you ask that?

The team has done a thorough job in assessing the situation. (House is not burning. But it’s a large pan on the stove that’s smoldering.)

The anxiety is climbing. (Is that fear I’m smelling?)

The team, sensing a dead-end, is feeling out my receptivity for an exception approval. Meanwhile, I’m winding up the next series of questions and readying the cannon to fire:

[Read more...]

Running. In Search of Inspiration.

yoga,photography,black and white

Day 3. Contemplating a third consecutive day of running. The body was saying No. The Heart was saying No. The Head was saying take the day off.

No inspiration to run. No inspiration to write. (Yet, you seemingly have an abundance of inspiration to eat. Go figure. You think these things would balance themselves out. Laws of nature and all that. Wasn’t that Darwin?)

Who is she? The photograph up top.  No idea. But there she was.  Stretching. Graceful. Peaceful. And pointing the way to the front door. (Out Butthead. Out!)

On the continuum of awful to ethereal, the morning is rated as sublime. (I could never figure out how to use “sublime” in a sentence and here it is. Feels awkward, like an ill-fitting pair of shoes. Big word, so much bigger than you. Shameful how you jammed that in there. Has to be some form of writer / hacker malpractice.)  [Read more...]

Running. Backwards.

running-gif-illustration-thoughts-mind

We’re all sinking in the same boat here.

Tired.
Tired of thinking about it.
Tired of writing about it.
Tired of reading it.

A business lunch on Thursday.
I drop my head and listen to the conversation.
I close my eyes.
And savor each one.
Chocolate chips melting…coating my tongue.
7, not a typo, 7 chocolate chip cookies in less than 15 minutes.
A sugar addiction.
Deficiency of something.
Deficit of Discipline.
Disgusted.
Disgusting.
Tired of stepping on scale the next morning and expecting a miracle.
Definition of insanity…

Tired of waking up with 4 hours of sleep.
With eyes burning.
Burning and watering at 6am before the sun rises.
And by 2pm, earning a full fledged membership in The Walking Dead.
Short of patience.
Hungry for flesh and blood.
[Read more...]

Running. With Chubby.

dog, vizsla

Zeke and I slow and stop on a narrow part of the trail as we close in on a walker and her puppy.

“Is he a Vizsla?”

She’s tall. Lean. Has to be 6′ 3″. A trace of Euro accent. East German Swimmer? Swedish Volleyball player?

D: “Yes.”

“He’s Big.”

Her cute 5-month old terrier is at her heels. Bouncing on her toes. Looking up at her Mommy with admiration.

D: “Big?”

“Aren’t Vizsla’s smaller?”

Her pup has a pink collar. Lean. Muscled. Beautiful dog.

D: “Snacks.”

She grins and points. There’s Zeke. He’s 20 yards off the trail. Rolling on his back, grinding in Deer urine.  

I leash Zeke up. He’s still on his back, with all four legs in the air. His eyes manic, full, are locked on mine. He’s baring his teeth and growling.

“Zeke, Don’t Screw With Me.”  

And, then with a firm, snap-tug on the leash, I drag him behind me until we’re back in rhythm.

Team Frito-Lay builds a head a steam and roars by Team Euro.

Big and Bad.

Time Check: 5 miles. 63 minutes.

Nap Time.


Related Posts: Running Series. Image Source: Mine! Taken today on the run.


Driving. With my alcohol.

breathe-steam-portrait

4:40 am.
I’m rumbling down I-95.
Dave Matthews is blaring through the speakers. And has been joining me on the morning ride all week.

You’ve been off. Haven’t found your rhythm. It’s back. You’re burning it from both ends.  The adrenaline – - it’s pumpin’.

I look down at the gas gauge. And then to the estimate of the mileage remaining. Annoyed at the interruption. Need to stop. Better stop. I pull over to the Mobile station.

I’m listening to the clicks on the pump.  And find myself drifting off.  There’s mist coming from my nose, rising up, and then disappearing into the darkness. I breathe in deeply. Exhale through the nose. And watch the show again. Magic. A Miracle. My morning moment of meditation.  And like the wisp of air, Pessoa’s disquiet rushes to fill the stillness.

You’re more comfortable moving. You find peace in motion.  Yet, you know it ain’t peace.

It’s hanging on my bulletin board in the office: “business is the art of getting people to where they need to be faster than they would get there without you.”  A Hugh McLeod illustration.  A Big red hand with index finger pointing up – #1.  There it is. Your strength. Your core competence. The transference of your disquiet to others.  Pushing the pace.  Injecting your adrenaline. More. Better. FASTER.
[Read more...]

Just Perfect

perfect-stone-quote

I’m on the train, returning home, and rifling through blog posts on my reader.
My index finger pauses. Then stops.
You are perfect.
I stare.
You are perfect.
I am Perfect.
I am Perfect?
Who believes this nonsense?

No breakfast: And 1 granola bar for lunch. (No calorie diet after weekend gorging.)

No 8 glasses of water a day: Try zero. Zero liquids. (A head scratcher. Is that even possible? Are you a camel? An Android?)

No waiting for Walk Signals: I jaywalk in a criss-crossing of Manhattan streets, sheets of freezing rain slapping my trench coat. Eye glasses wet and fogging. (March 31. Please, Please make it Be Spring.)

No shortage of stupidity. I rub the rain-splashed-grime off the toe caps of my shoes with my hands, and instinctively reach for my suit pants. Black shoe polish. (I look around to see if anyone is watching.  Just me.  Who does this?)

No breaks: No pauses. No eye rests. No at-your-desk toe and leg stretches. (An accomplished All-Pro Back at the sedentary position.)

No Enjoyment of the Warming Evening Sun: Head down, as the crow flies, walk-running cross-town to catch the 6:30 pm Metro North. (Aware of no one. Aware of nothing. But the shot clock. More March Madness.)

No Perfection: Just another Imperfect Manic Monday.

 


Image Credit

Foliage

tall-trees-canopy-forest

What’s with the mustache?
(Silence)
Have you ever shaved it off?
(Pause) No.
How long have you had it?
(Pause) It’s older than you are.
Really?
(Silence)
Why don’t you shave it off?
(Silence)
So. Why don’t you shave it off?
(Pause) It’s foliage.
(Pause.) What?
(Silence) (I catch the stare. Then the flash of understanding, of empathy. The eyes avert. The awkward step backward to create space.)
Smiling,
I turn my back and walk away.


Image Source: Thank you Carol


My Zen. Is My Zen.

donuts,bread,sweet,dessert,

It’s Saturday, late afternoon.
Dinner out? Or eat in?
I take inventory of the fridge. Eyes pan from the top shelf to bottom. Not feeling it here.
I take inventory: Sweat pants. Shower-less. Shave-less. Matted hair.
Eat in.
I grab a pencil to scribble out my wish list.  I’m about to hand it off.

No chance. You’re coming.
Why?
I’m not listening to you complain that I didn’t get you what you wanted.
Oh, come on.

The K’s are in the car.
You could have put a hat on.
I could have stayed home.
(Silence)
[Read more...]

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...]

Running. Full Stop.

cookie-monster-funny-gif

Well, it was only a matter of time.
Reversion to the mean.
I stepped on the scale.
Blinked.
Holy Sh*t. An Explosion.
One month of late night snacking (will work it off tomorrow),
an extra portion here (will have a light lunch),
a candy bar or two there (will skip a meal),
and the Jenga Tower collapses (wiping out a 15 year record low).

So, I’m off. Running. Mianus River Trails.
Overdressed (way) for 32º F. Man wearing plastic suit on a hot summer day.

No dogs. No gadgets. No water. No people. No talking.
No fancy shoes. No fancy moisture wicking shirts.
No anti-chafe Body Glide balm for my Boobies.
No whining about the cold.
No complaining about the mud, the ice, the roots and the ruts.
No agonizing over turned ankles.
I will either levitate over all of it or mow it down.
And, Heaven help any chatty Human in the way of this-calorie-shedding-angry-middle-aged-bulbous-white-man.
We’re taking it all off, all of it, in one day.

Time Check: 7 miles.  1 hour 17 minutes.

Nap time.


Related Posts: Running Series. Image Source: Mme Scherzo

I can feel him

infant,photography,black and white

Mother and Son are texting last night.
Dad is in the Group Message.
Mom jabbering.
Son with monosyllabic responses.
The intermittent bing bing bing signaling the back and forth.
Dad is silent. Observing the exchange from a distance.
Pictures come across from El Salvador. Magic.
There he is. Smiling.

What was he? 7 months old? 9 months?
I’m holding him up by his arm pits.
His little hands gripping mine. Trusting.
Warm water splashing over us.
He bows his head towards my chest to duck the spray.
He whimpers.
I pull him closer.
He rests his head on my shoulder.
He squeezes his hands into little fists and rubs his eyes.
And looks up.
And smiles.
Those eyes. That smile.
I squeeze him tighter.

And feel his skin on my chest. On my fingertips.
And smell the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in his hair.
Hold that moment.
Freeze it.


Somewhere in the future I am remembering today.
   ~ David Berman, From the Charm of 5:30

Photograph: Elena Shumilova via Mme Scherzo


Riding Metro-North. Mid-Day Oasis.

New-York-City-Street-Cabs

Same train.
Same track.
Same destination.
New time of day.
A mid-day oasis.
A sabbatical from the morning crush.
No scramble to find a seat.
Tourists staring out the window.
Day visitors chattering.
Students with headphones bobbing their heads.
And a smattering of Suits.
The Sun beams through the windows overheating the railcars.
The train clacks Se détendre. Se détendre. Relax.
We pull into Grand Central at 3:51 pm, 10 minutes late.
The crowd meanders out of the car.
I zig zag around them.
I have a 4pm call and need to get out of the tunnels to get a cell signal.
The escalator to the Exit is out of order. I look up the stairs. Way up. And groan.
I take them. One at a time.
Counting them off.
17.18.19.
35.36.37.
I look up. Dear God. I’m only about half way there. Where the h*ll is the Oasis now.
45.46.47.
Heaving now. Gasping for air. Middle age wheels are coming off.
56.57.58.
I steal a peak at my watch. 3:58 pm. 2 minutes until the start of my call.
Pay attention. A toe stub would be a calamity, serious mellon damage.
A backward tumble is unimaginable.
71.72.73.74.75.
3 steps left.
76.77.78. Could this be what a heart attack feels like?

I dig into my bag. And pair my bluetooth ear piece to my phone.
“Good afternoon everyone. I’m going to put my phone on mute. Please take the lead.”
Wow, I managed to get that out.

Superman leans against the sign post on Madison and 46th.
The chattering continues in his right ear
as he watches the yellow cabs flying by.
The delivery trucks.
The buses.
All a symphony. An orchestra.
He waits for the Walk signal pondering the antidote to his Kryptonite.
And there it is.
Breathe Man.
Breathe.


Related Posts: Driving/Riding Series. Image Credit


White T-Shirts

photography

We wait for the phone to ring.
Every Sunday.
For the obligatory college briefing call.
(As long as you feed from the trough, you’ll call home on Sunday. Non-negotiable.)
Rachel jabbering. Eric tight lipped…leaking information on a need-to-know basis.
Not last night.
Big day for me on Tuesday Dad.
I forgot it’s his 20th birthday.
You forgot right?
Of course not.
Of course you did.
You know that I’m leaving for El Salvador on Saturday.
I’ll be taking vitals…blood pressure, temperature…and recording it.
Dad, I’ve been told there will be thousands, all waiting for medical care.
We’ll be readying patients for the doctors and dentists.
And then feeding homeless at night.

I’m dressing for work this morning.
I check the weather app. -5° F with wind chill.
How many children are huddled and shivering in the cold? Hungry. A soda can and not much else in the fridge for breakfast. Not in El Salvador. Here. Right here.
I shudder.
I reach for a t-shirt. Folded. Stacked. Clean. White.
I’m drawn to the label. I squint to read the small print.

XL 100% Pima Cotton. Machine wash warm with like colors. Only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble Dry Low. Warm Iron if needed. Made in Bangladesh.

Made in Bangladesh.


Image Credit

(7º F.) Conversation with G

winter-cold-jacket-bundle

G:    Gluttony?
dk:  Lately or average?
G:    Gluttony?
dk:  Bit testy, no? Ice cream and pasta.
G:    Church?
dk:  (crickets)
G:    Do unto others…?
dk:  Come on Father. I can’t believe we’re all created in your image.
G:    Do unto others…?
dk:  Oh for G…Sakes. (Sorry) Some of them deserved it.
G:    Adultery?
dk:  No. Closer to celibacy. Desert here Father. Monk. Parched.
G:    Kindness?
dk:  Mostly. Yes.
G:    Kindness?
dk:  OK. OK. There’s work to be done here.
G:    Be sure you wear your thermals.
G:    And, don’t forget your tuk and mittens.


Image Credit

Are you ready to feel it now?

Photo of Harry CHAPIN


Two weeks running.
Every day. Every day.
The commute in. The ride home.
It opens the day.  It closes the doors.
Same tune. One tune.
Over. And over. And over.

[John Waters: “Without obsession, life is nothing.”]

From end to end.
The tune on a loop three to six times depending on traffic.


↓ click for audio (Harry Chapin – “All My Life’s A Circle”)


The Big Gato waits. Crouched.
Tapping his fingers on the seat. Impatient.
Waiting for Chapin to stop jabbering.
And then it comes. 4:30 on the running time.
I crank the volume up.
The dashboard vibrates.
Chapin cues him up.
Michael, the Cellist. Man Singing with Soul.
DK and the rest of the band join him to belt it out to the finish:

All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
The Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.

All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
The Seasons’ spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.


Image Source: MTVhive

Last night I had the strangest dream

blue,face,portrait,art,photography

Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in a laboratory with Dr. Boas and he was talking to me and a group of other people about religion, insisting that life must have a meaning, that man couldn’t live without that. Then he made a mass of jelly-like stuff of the most beautiful blue I had ever seen — and he seemed to be asking us all what to do with it. I remember thinking it was very beautiful but wondering helplessly what it was for. People came and went making absurd suggestions. Somehow Dr. Boas tried to carry them out — but always the people went away angry, or disappointed — and finally after we’d been up all night they had all disappeared and there were just the two of us. He looked at me and said, appealingly “Touch it.” I took some of the astonishingly blue beauty in my hand, and felt with a great thrill that it was living matter. I said “Why it’s life — and that’s enough” — and he looked so pleased that I had found the answer — and said yes “It’s life and that is wonder enough.”

~ Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

 


Quote Source: Brain Pickings - Life Is Like Blue Jelly: Margaret Mead Discovers the Meaning of Existence in a Dream. Image: Unknown.

Men, Hat Tip To You.

0224-oly-cole-hockey
Canada: 3. Sweden: 0.

Dear Men:

You’ll read the papers later today. They’ll say:

  • Undefeated and decisive. (Toronto Global & Mail)
  • Smothering (National Post)
  • Dominating. (NY Times)
  • Relentless. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Four lines deep that just kept coming. (Toronto Star)

We watched you lock arms and sing O Canada. We sang along teary eyed. Our bodies tingled as we watched our Maple Leaf raised.

From all Canadians and ex-pats, Bravo Men.

Gold. Canada Gold.

DK


Image Credit

Runner. Grounded. Epilogue.

photography, portrait,black and white

4:45 am. Wednesday morning. Hump Day.

I lay in bed. I glance left to the window. It’s dark. Quiet.
Zeke nuzzles closer.
I close my eyes.

What’s it going to be? 
1/2 way back. 3/4 way back. All Better?

I ease out of bed. And inhale.
A twinge. A bite. A grimace. An exhalation.

Let’s call it 75%.
Bit of grade inflation but we’re going with it.

I dress.
I ease into the car.
The icicles on the eaves dripping.

Yes. Make it be Spring.

10:00 am meeting. Annoyances are whispy, floating in a thin ibuprofen haze in an otherwise cloudless sky. 10:14 am. Left eye begins to water. A fountain with intermittent spurts. The corneal abrasion roars out of remission and is shooting flares. 10:30 am. In the car, heading home. One hand over eye. The other keeping the wheel between the lanes, driving well below speed limit behind a semi trailer truck. 11:30 am.  Sitting in darkness. Taking conference calls.

Dispel this cloud, the light of heaven restore; Give me to see, and Ajax asks no more. (Homer)

5:35 am. Thursday. Fever?

I pop 3 Extra Strength Tylenol. And start pounding on emails. My left elbow tingles. I pull my sweatshirt up. It’s swollen, baseball size and throbbing. WTH? Where? How? Why? Thoughts race. We’re in a bit of a rhythm here:

Left lower back.
Left corneal abrasion.
Left elbow.

When it doesn’t feel right, go left.
And, if it doesn’t feel left?


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

Dear Pudding


Dear Pudding:

As I told your Mom in our wedding vows,
I promise to love you fiercely too.
One day, when you’re a Mother, you’ll know the kind of love that I am talking about.
A love that makes my eyes well up with tears of joy when you simply hug me.
A love that moves me to rise from bed and check on you at three in the morning mostly because I just miss you when you sleep.
A love that makes it hard for me to let go of your hand when you try to balance on something because I know you need to learn from your mistakes.
I promise to look you in the eyes when you come to me with a problem.
I’ll always want to fix it for you right then and there.
I promise to listen as to whether you’ll want a hand or just an ear.
I promise to drop you off at college and when I do, I promise to do my best to contain my excitement for you so that I won’t embarrass you in front of your new friends.
I promise to have a reputation amongst your friends as a Dad that intimidates your boyfriends.
I promise to raise you to be strong and independent.
I promise to cry when I let go of your hand when I let go of your hand at the alter…
…I want you to know that every time when you open the door when I come home from work you’ll see a smile on my face
My arms already open ready to catch you
I’ll always be ready to catch you…


For you, Rachel…


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.


Flight Log: The Final Frontier

Travel, story,weather,airplane,aircraft

My journey from NYC westward continues.  A five hour non-stop flight has morphed into a surreal 2 day experience with stops at JFK (with 2 plane changes), LGA (with full airport evacuation), Detroit and Chicago. This is the last leg of the journey.  (Prior posts for this trip are referenced below along with the post dedication.)


The 45 minute hop from Detroit to Chicago was quiet. No chop. A Quiet cabin. Light snow was falling in Chicago carpeting the catering trucks and the luggage carriers. A slender, stoop-shouldered man guided the aircraft in. His hoodie was covered in snow. His fluorescent batons offered a soft illumination. It’s feeling a lot like Christmas Eve. In February.

The City that works. The Machinery was humming this evening. Plows. Sand trucks. Baggage handlers. Crew. De-icers coating the aircraft in a lemon colored bath. A beautiful orchestra. All to get us somewhere safely. I’m feeling gratitude.

My Son was born here. In Chicago. I burroughed deep and back to find a moment. Susan is pulling him on a red sled to greet me as I walk home from the train station returning from work. His chubby cheeks are red. His hair is matted and wet from layers of clothing. His smile…a lighthouse beacon. His arms reaching up. “Dada! Dada!” I reach down to grab him. I hold him close. I can feel his warm breath on my neck as he nuzzles. I miss my son often. And especially when I’m tired. Like now. When the aching just won’t stop.

Cheryl found me eerily calm during this journey. I had many hours to contemplate why. She no longer covered my business and left about the time I started blogging. This hobby. This community. This labor of love. This stringing of words together and having someone actually care to read it. A miracle drug. It stills and softens the mind. It injects peace where none formerly existed. Albert Camus said “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” This. THIS allows me to turn away from the world.

My finger lingers over the Publish button. The cabin is dark with the exception of a handful of us hunched over our screens. 35,000 feet in the air, my wireless icon is flashing. I’m wired.

It’s a miracle. All of it.

Me. Family. Our dog. Friends. You, yes you, reading this. This iPad. My Eye sight. This plane flying. Pizza. (I’m famished.)

All of it.

Too big to figure out.

Too important not to find a small corner of it to call my own.

My finger hovers over the Publish button again. Proof read it again? Is it too much? Is it over the top? Is it good enough?

Friend, you’re asking yourself the wrong question. The only question that matters to help you decide if you should hit Publish:

Is it a miracle?

(PUBLISH)


Same trip – related posts:

This post is dedicated to Shara who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to book and re-book flights, get seat assignments, and keep me moving forward to my destination at all hours of the day and night.  Thank you Shara.


Flight Log: MotorCity USA

 funny,laugh,painful

My journey from NYC westward continues.  A five hour non-stop flight has morphed into a surreal 2 day experience with stops at JFK (with 2 plane changes), LGA (with full airport evacuation) and now Detroit.  There are still two legs to go however let’s camp out in Detroit for a moment.  (Prior posts for this trip are referenced below.)


Heading to MotorCity USA.

We are descending on a gentle, clockwise turn into Detroit Metro. The pilot touches the giant bird down – a 30 ton sparrow gliding into her feathered nest.

I catch myself humming a tune from one of Detroit’s finest: Seger.

I think I’m going to Katmandu,
That’s really, really where I’m going to.
If i ever get out of here,
That’s what I’m gonna do.
K-k-k-k-k-Katmandu…

I step out of the jetway at Detroit Metro Airport. It’s gleaming. Lined with wine bars, a Spa, a Suishi Bar and a Online Café. My lungs are pulling me to the aromatic L’Occitane En Provence body soaps drifting onto the walkway. I’m traipsing through a meadow in the South of France.

I’ve lolly gagged over to Gate 38. My flight leaves from Gate 30. Plenty of time.

Then. I stop.

I’m in the Delta Terminal. I missed my connection from Detroit due to delays out of NYC. Shara re-booked me on American Airlines: DET – CHI – West. Yes, another painful connection via Chicago but we’re advancing.

I’m in the wrong terminal. My heart is racing. This “miss” is on me.

I need to take a shuttle bus. The Blue Shuttle to the North Terminal.

I glance at my watch. 5:00 pm. Flight departure is 5:40. Still no shuttle. I’m rattled. Sweet Jesus.

I arrive at the North Terminal. 5:20. Agent states that the final gate call has been made. “You need to hurry.” I get through security and run to the gate. A-30. Last gate in the wing down a long corridor. Natch.

5 passengers are left to board. And 3 others hover by the desk…Wait List passengers hoping for no-shows.

I hand the Agent my boarding pass and my ID.

Agent: Sir, you are now booked on the next flight.

DK: Can you please check again?

Agent: Sir, you are on 8 pm flight. It’s right here on your boarding pass.

DK: Ma’am, I have a reservation on the 5:40 pm flight to Chicago connecting to another flight heading West at 8pm. The boarding pass is wrong. Please check again.

Agent: Sir, did you check in late at the ticket counter? Your boarding pass has you ticketed for the next flight. These other Wait List passengers are now entitled to a seat because you arrived late at the gate.

DK: (PAUSE) Ma’am, I don’t want to be difficult. Can you please do me a favor? It will only take you a minute. Check my flight connection out of Chicago. If I miss this flight, I miss my connecting flight. (I lean forward and whisper. She leans in.) Then, would you kindly check my mileage status and my lifetime miles on your fine airline? Then, I might suggest that you can make an informed decision whether or not to bump me in favor of these other passengers that didn’t have a confirmed seat.

The Waiting area passengers have been watching the show with interest. So what’s it going to be? The Rules or the pushy Mustachio Slav from NY.

The gate area is Silent but for the Agent tapping on her keyboard.

Agent: Mr. Kanigan, you’ll be seated in Seat 11c. Thank you for flying American.

Off we go to Chi-Town.


Same trip – related posts:

Flight Log DL1131: Y.C.M.T.S.U.

 funny,laugh,painful

My journey from NYC to the West continues.  A five hour flight is now rolling into 2 days and I’m still on the ground in New York. If you missed yesterday’s excitement, the posts can be found here: Just another manic Monday and here: Star Log: Flight DL2282. The Epilogue.

And, the journey continues:

  • 10:00 am. Back in car this morning. This time to LaGuardia Airport. Gorgeous day. One would have no idea of the pandemonium caused by Mother Nature yesterday. (Feeling Good!)
  • 10:50 am. Made good time. Head for Kiosk to get boarding pass. Message blinking telling me to see agent. (Nope. Not going to ruin my day today. Just a minor technicality)
  • 11:25 am. Still with ticket agent. She’s struggling to issue a boarding pass for second leg of the trip. After 20 minutes of working it, she looks up sheepishly, grins, and says: “Why don’t you just have it issued at the gate in Detroit?” I stare at her. She can read me. “He looks like he’s on the edge. He’s smiling but he’s teetering. And any Man with the confidence to be wearing that grey streaky mustache, isn’t likely to be sold ‘The-get-your-boarding-pass-in-Detroit-B.S.-Story’ I’m selling.” Yet, The Man walks away shaking his head and mumbling. Agent breathes deeply…having avoided a sure fire confrontation with some crazy Slav looking mustachio.
  • 11:35 am. I’m through security without incident with a vice grip on my driver’s license, watch and wallet. No bloody mishaps today.
  • 12:00 pm. First call for boarding.
  • 12:05 pm. Announcement blares on intercom. “All passengers, crew and employees must immediately evacuate the building. All passengers, crew, and employees must evacuate the building!” The reason: hit this link.
  • 12:45 pm. Thousands rush back into the terminal and file through security check-in (again).
  • 1:30 pm. Boarded flight. Plane 1/2 empty. Announcement explaining the delay: waiting for two ticketed passengers (tools?) to make it back through security after the evacuation. (This is NY people. This was a sputtering flare. Get on the damn aircraft.)
  • 1:45 pm. We push back from gate
  • 2:00 pm. Captain: “We have a problem with our Nose gear. We need to get a tow back to the gate to have our maintenance crew check it out. I’m sorry folks but we can’t fly without this fix.” (Nose gear is malfunctioning! Really? WTF. NFW. You need Nose Gear right? I then grab my nose and wonder if I need my nose hair clipped.)
  • 2:15 pm. Waiting for tow. (2 flights out West from Detroit. I’ve missed my scheduled connection. Closing in on “timing out” of Plan B.)
  • 2:30 pm. Jet engines powered down.  And we sit. (You’re testing me People. You’re testing me.)

Note to Self: DK, they’re thinkin’ you’ve moved to fiction writing because you can’t make this sh*t up. (*Y.C.M.T.S.U.)


Related Posts:

Star Log: Flight DL2282. The Epilogue.

funny,laugh,painful

I arrived at JFK at 6:00 am this morning for an 8am departure.  The details of the day can be found in Part 1 of Just Another Manic Monday.

And now as Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story:

*4:00 pm. We are standing in queue for de-icing. Captain announces that he’ll give this another hour and a half before he makes a final call. He says he can’t give an estimate on departure time. (Eyebrows up. Crowd is wary but still believing.)

* 4:05 pm. We sit. 8 hours and counting and still not in the air. We sit. And we wait. (Twisting in our seats. Cannot get comfortable. Where’s the line between claustrophobia and panic?)

* 4:30 pm. Captain: “I’m very sorry to have to tell you this however we are timed out. FAA regulations require us to go back to the gate as the crew cannot be on duty for more than 15 hours.” (The cabin is silent. You are timed out my a**! Calm before shock sets in. He did NOT just say that!)

* 5:30 pm. Captain: “Sorry folks. All the gates are taken and we need an aircraft to vacate a gate.” (Crowd rumbling now. Insurrection on the cusp. Passengers ignoring calls to sit down while plane is in active taxi-way.)

* 5:50 pm. Passenger: “Do you think you can give these kids some cookies, or crackers, or chips or something. They are famished.” (One offering of water and juice for the entire painful show. Are we racing to the bottom in airline client experience here?)

* 6:00 pm. Captain: “Folks we’re heading to the gate now.” (What a coinkidinky! I arrived at JFK at 6 am. It’s now 6 pm. 12 hours. But who the hell is counting!  Round trip without leaving the ground! The plane is supersonic.  I didn’t even know that I went West and back again.)

* 6:30 pm. De-plane. The sorry looking pack is herded to the Service Desk to re-book and sort out luggage. (And, yet another interminable wait. I note the small basket at the front of the line: 15 bags of pretzels, 10 2-packs of short bread cookies and 3 Cokes – - all this goodness for 150 passengers. This is what they call a Peace Offering?)

* 7:00 pm. “Sir, it could take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours to find your luggage, or we can forward your luggage on to your destination.” (Is this a Saturday Night Live skit? 4 hours?! Am I on candid camera?  They are waiting for me to crack. I refuse to crack. I will not crack. I will not crack. I will not crack.  I stare at the Customer Service Rep who has taken her share of beatings this evening. I step feebly away from the desk mumbling “1 to 4 hours”.)

* 7:50 pm. Bag rolls down the conveyor. (I’m looking at it like it’s an oasis and I’m parched. Could it really be my bag? There is LIGHT.)

* 9:30 pm.  Home! Susan and Dog give the King wide berth.  Hostility has a pungent smell and they want no part of it.

* Epilogue. Bonus! Tomorrow we get to try it all over again…


Image Credit