Guess.What.Day.It.Is? (Greatest Ever)

 

 


Notes:

  • Thank you Lori for sharing!
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again.

Lightly Child, Lightly.

“…that hopeless sense of loss which makes beauty what it is: a distant lone tree against golden heavens; ripples of light on the inner curve of a bridge; a thing quite impossible to capture.”

—  Vladimir Nabokov, Laughter in the Dark (Vintage; February 16, 2011, first published 1932)


Notes:

  • Photo: During yesterday’s Daybreak walk. 33° F. 7:11 to 7:33 am. January 2, 2023. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.  More photos here.
  • Quote via CODA
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Wally’s Great Adventures (27).

hello friends, wally here. i know, i know, its been a long time since last report. i guess i need to come clean. these Wally stories are ghost-written by dad, i know you must be shocked. its not as big of a deal as you think, as he mostly types what i say, dad does almost no editing & he LOVES to edit. anyhoo, dad totally shut down last week & said he wouldn’t help me if i continued to bully sully. BULLY, ME? he said that i steal his chewy bone & then his other bone when mom gives him a new one. i asked dad what he would do, eat a shitty old bone or go after a juicy new one? dad said that wasn’t the bloody point, that i steal all of sully’s shit, steal all of his new & old bones, steal his toys, steal his water bowl & food dish, run surprise kamikaze missions & pounce on sullys head gnawing on his jowls, AND I steal sully’s sleeping spot with mom, & this was way over the top. sully put up with all this crap except for the sleeping situation, dad thinks that’s why sully is pissing all over the bed. LIKE ITS MY FAULT HE’S PISSING ON MOM’S BED. anyhoo, i told dad i would try, but i’m not really going to try, i learned by watching dad, he doesn’t change no matter what, i mean no.matter.what. i am giving sully just a bit more space when sleeping with mom (and he’s since stopped doing bad things on the bed, see!), but i will offer nothing more. ZERO more. btw, those hairy legs in the 2nd photo are dads, sully and i were sleeping under the covers with dad, mom demanded this be disclosed, as her legs aren’t this hairy. third picture dad took at 3am, and do you see sully’s giant head on top of me, its any wonder i can breathe, so you see i give him things. anyway despite all this, i just love sully and he loves me because he doesn’t chomp on my little head when i harass him. i asked dad if we could adopt sully so he could be here always, and you should have seen dad light up, he’s up to something. so stay tuned for more on that. have a good day everyone. Wally.

Here I am again. I’m full of faults.

And I think that as I’ve aged, I realized everything is an ongoing process. And that it isn’t something that suddenly you’ve done this work and therefore you become enlightened, right? That you’re like, oh, you wake up one day and be like, oh, guess what, I don’t have an ego. I’m not bothered by anything. And instead, of course, it’s just the ongoing slog of being a human and returning to the practice. And OK, here we are again. That’s bothering me. Here I am again. I’m full of faults. […]

I usually sit for at least 15 minutes a day. Sometimes in the morning and sometimes at night. At night, it’s usually because I’ve forgotten to do it in the morning. Or I had something early, an early flight or something like that. But I try to start my day with it. I also try to do — set an intention every day that I just hold with me throughout the day. And sometimes it’s just like, oh, I’m feeling a little stressed out, and I’ll just say let’s just think about ease. And I’ll say, just keep saying the word ease and it comes up. And then my meditation practice — it differs. Sometimes it’s — I think the core is always love and kindness. That’s what I learned many, many years ago. And that’s my fallback.

Ada Limón, from “Ezra Klein Interviews Ada Limón” (Ezra Klein Show, May 24, 2022)

Walking. A morning walk on a dreary day…

Here we are. Last day of 2022. I crawl out of bed, both knees are throbbing, why?   Doris Lessing: “But you just do not believe that you’re going to be old. People don’t realize how quickly they’re going to be old, either. Time goes very fast.” Truth Doris, truth.

970 consecutive (almost) days on this daybreak walk to Cove Island Park. Like in a row. And it’s a dreary morning. Dreariness lines up with the morning news. Bombing strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. More civilians dead. More civilians without power. It’s winter. It’s cold.

I walk.

I’m having to work to lift the camera off the shoulder. Blah…spoiled after a run of “money” sunrises this week.

I walk to the tip of the point, and stop to look out over the water. I stare at the bench, think about sitting down, and don’t. Body says yes, Mind refuses to walk over and sit. Will not do it.

A 2-man kayak comes round the corner, the most excitement I’ve seen this morning. I reach for the camera.

“Good morning” the man in the rear shouts. I let go of the camera. I reply in kind. [Read more…]

TGIF: I slowed & succumbed…

The sun crests, a molten slice of fire that gets bigger and rounder by the second. There is extraordinary beauty occurring; all she has to do is turn her head to see it, but she doesn’t. To admire is to slow and to slow is to succumb.

Lily Brooks-Dalton, The Light Pirate (Grand Central Publishing, December 6, 2022)


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak this morning. 37° F. 7:30 am. December 30, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More amazing sunrise views from this morning, here and here.

Lightly Child, Lightly.

“Memorize places,” his uncle had told him. “Settle your eyes on a place and learn it. See it under the snow, and when first grass is growing, and as the rain falls on it. Feel it and smell it, walk on it, touch the stones, and it will be with you forever. When you are far away, you can call it back. When you need it, it is there, in your mind.”

Tony Hillerman, The Ghostway


Notes:

  • Photo DK @ Daybreak. 32° F. 7:00 am to 7:31am. December 28, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More pictures from yesterday morning’s walk here.
  • Quote: Thanks Beth @ Alive on All Channels.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Wally’s Great Adventures (26).

hello friends, wally here. big drama at the kanigan house. first, a disclaimer, dad got scolded by mom and Eric about my posts being overweight on bowel & bladder movements, & that led to sharp criticism that dad is a poor puppy trainer. well, now, you should have seen the volcano eruption after that, this really set dad off, like i mean way OFF. dad, he who takes criticism so well, launched a volley of (as he likes to call them) factual retorts. “oh, here comes the feedback from mother & son, those with no blogs of their own, no guest posts, zero, like almost near zero contribution to wally’s posts, or wally’s training for posts, or any contribution to wally’s intellectual growth, all of this load entirely being carried by dad, more stress and anxiety added to an overwhelming load that dad has to carry. mom and eric turned silent after this cavalcade of munitions, which dad took as facts winning out again. back to the story. and yes, it’s about bladder movements. brother sully, 4 years old now, fully potty trained, emptied his bladder, not 1x but 2x on mom & dad’s bed (its moms bed when there is a mess to clean up). so the bladder “dump” seeped through the winter weight comforter, through the bed sheet & landed safely on & was soaked up by the bed pad. i have not seen mom that angry & dad told me she had it in her to come unhinged. ‘I’ve had it, 2 straight days of doing nothing but washing bedding, KING SIZED BEDDING. anyhoo, these days, my occasional little piles (or pies as dad calls them) under the kitchen table are looking pretty good right now. Dad reminded sully that he’s here for another 2 weeks, so if there is anymore bullshit, he’s going into solitary confinement (that sounds bad). Next update, christmas presents, which have been overshadowed by mom & dad’s bed being a potty. have a great night everyone. Wally.

we have an unstoppable will to go forward

PS: It’s like every time i get pushed down and crushed, I seem to get more information…Parkinson’s had made me aware of time. Like, really aware of it. My sense of mission, my sense of this is what I’m supposed to do, that got much stronger in me. If I don’t do that, I start to think about “Oh, Shit, this happened to me.” “What a drag.” You know, it makes life harder. Then you go into this whole pity party thing. It’s a complete waste of time.

JH: Do you ever get into that zone, the pity party zone?

PS: Yeah, I get in it all the time, but I’m very fast at getting out of it. […] Because the whole premise of this is we’re not gonna win every time, we certainly can’t be perfect, we can’t control it, but we have an unstoppable will to go forward… Basically its the same goal, which is, “Schmuck, take action, no matter how frightened you are.”

Phil Stutz & Jonah Hill, from Stutz, (Netflix, 2022)


Notes:

  • Lori suggested that I watch. I’ve watched it front to back 3x. Powerful.
  • Stutz: Rated R for frank language. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. Watch on Netflix.
  • NY Times Film Review: ‘Stutz’ Review: An Actor’s Tribute to a Therapist. In his documentary, Jonah Hill gently turns the tables on the famed Hollywood psychiatrist and author Phil Stutz.

Merry Christmas


DK Photo @ 7:27 am this morning. Sunrise on Christmas Day. 13° F, feels like -2° F. 7:20 to 7:30 am. December 25, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.  More photos from this morning’s walk here: 1) Frozen Seagrass Photos, 2) Twilight photos, 3) Sunrise photos.

Wally’s Great Adventures (25)

hello friends, wally here. happy christmas eve. i’m trying to lift the spirits here, where its a bit heavy, but not sure how to turn up my cute any higher. mom got teary eyed about dad’s youngest brother lorne who died on christmas eve 3 years ago. dad who doesn’t forget / let go of anything, stared blank faced, and walked away. with this giant hole, and dana (DANA!) being away, and that we haven’t seen eric since she left, and rachel and andrew sleeping till 11am, its very quiet around here, so i hang out and wrestle with sully, my brother. dad told me to say brother and not uncle, nephew, cousin or some other nonsense that mom keeps spewing, like she knows. dad went out on his walk this morning, came back with a chill, still chilled, worse than damn antarctica he called it. it sure must be cold in antarctica. i found the warmest vent in the house in the main floor bathroom so i plopped right down on it and took a nap. mom said i’ve got more presents than anyone, and so many from dad’s work friend caroline. i asked dad if i could open a few, and dad said no chance and that i have to wait, bah! neighbor Sue gave us a soft and cuddly blanket with frenchies on it, we love it so much. sully and i take turns sleeping on it. i’m so excited about tomorrow morning to open my presents. have a great day everyone.

  

The no-man’s land, between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning…

There are a few hours each year that belong to no day. The no-man’s land, between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning…

Morning kneels quietly at our feet, opening its pale palms out to us.

Merry Christmas, lovely, he says, so gently…

Look outside! The daughter is practically screaming. During the no-man’s hours, it has snowed. It is not that thick, muzzle-clean snow, but it is enough to glaze the landscape with a pure sheet of ivory light. Enough to give us all the sense that time has paused, just for today. We decide that seeing something for the first time is much the same as seeing it for the last.

Let it snow

Let it snow

Let it snow

— Maddie Mortimer, Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies (Picador; March 31, 2022)


Portrait of Maddie Mortimer from The Times

Nothing special but also nothing lesser.


Even as a child, I understood that families like mine, poor rural farmers, were low in the pecking order. Television shows and movies portrayed us as buffoons and hicks, always the butt of the joke. Our presumed incivility, and even monstrousness, was suggested in conversations, often to laughter, by humming the banjo tune from the 1972 film “Deliverance,” present in many VHS collections during my 1980s childhood. “Squeal like a pig,” some jokers continued — a reference to that film’s infamous rape scene.

We didn’t need those cues to know that society held us in low esteem, though. All we had to do was look at our bank accounts.

We worked the land and killed animals so that others would eat, so that we would afford propane for the winter, and so that the rich, rigged industry we supplied grain to would become a little richer.

The profound humility instilled in me by my upbringing left no room in my worldview for exceptionalism of any sort. It also left me troubled by the ways that most humans calculate the value of things — animals, plants, land, water, resources, even other people — according to hierarchies that suit their own interests.

More than once, while wrapping meat, I sliced my finger on the sharp edge of the butcher paper. There was nothing special about my blood. It was red just like the pigs’ and the cows’. It was clear to me that there was nothing special about me or my family, either, doing that most essential work of feeding others. Nothing special but also nothing lesser.

Sarah Smarsh, excerpts from an essay titled “What Growing Up on a Farm Taught Me About Humility” (NY Times, December 21, 2022). Smarsh is the author of “Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth.” (Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, New York PostBuzzFeedShelf AwarenessBustle, and Publishers Weekly)

Encourage all to read the entire essay….

Wally’s Great Adventures (24)


Wally’s Great Adventures (24). hello friends, wally here. short update.  PG-13 rating on the opening picture, and it’s disturbing, i know. dad said he would never let mom turn me into a circus monkey. but here we are. and you are probably asking why the hell a lemur is splayed out in wally’s bed and where the hell is wally. anyhoo, sully has been visiting this week and he’ll be here for most of december as rachel and andrew (sully’s mom and dad) are going sunning in florida and as dad would say, they’re dumping sully here for free better-than-kennel services. but such a win win for me as i get to play with my BFF for almost a month. dana left today to visit her family for christmas. dad was still recovering from the pedicure tragedy yesterday when the two came down the stairs in MATCHING SWEATERS and get this, MATCHING SOCKS. i’ve never seen dad run faster to grab his camera. Dad was snapping one shot after another mumbling to himself ‘is this the face of mary magdalene? just has to be.’ dana is coming back the day after christmas so it’s not too long because i’ll miss dana’s squeezy hugs. dad said dana better not stay away too long or we will have the old eric back (BD-before dana) and that just won’t do now that we have seen the new and so so so much improved eric. that’s all for today everyone, back to nap time. Wally.

 

Wally’s Great Adventures (23)


hello peeps, wally here. big news today but before we get to that, let me share the update on my trip to the vet. i weighed in at 11 lbs. dad said he was surprised it was that high given the piles i dropped under the dining room table 2 days in a row. I was going to tell dad to have him try pop-a-squat and go poo poo on the frozen grass when its freezing cold outside but i’m sure that would have pushed him over the edge. the vet told mom that i should be 2x my current weight when i’m full grown, that’s 22 lbs. mom was so happy that i will be at smaller end for frenchies. dad said that must account for my Napoleon complex as i bully sully all the time, even though sully is 3-4x my size. i didn’t know what dad meant, but you know positive-dad, it couldn’t have been good, will worry about this napoleon thing later. I stopped shivering after the vet’s helpers gave me so many excellent cookies, but next time i won’t forget that at the vet, excellent cookies come with a giant needle stuck up your poo poo hole, fool me once…i mean really. so, as you can see from the pictures, this shot has made me very sleepy, so i’ve been napping all day.

oh, before i forget, the BIG story. dad has been mumbling all afternoon ‘that i’ve lost my son, i’ve lost my son.’ You remember that last post (#22) about Eric AD (After Dana). well, dana marched eric right out the front door, and she said she was taking eric for a pedicure. dad said pedi what? ‘say what?!?!’ dad was stuttering now. dana repeated “pedicure.” sully and i watched dad, he didn’t look well. he kept mumbling ‘he’s gone’, ‘he’s lost now.’ finally dad told dana that ‘the MEN (sully, me and dad) will stay home.’ for evidence, mom took a picture of dana and eric getting a pedicure and sent it to dad. dad said ‘good god, he actually did it.’ Not sure if dad will ever recover but i’ll be sure to keep you posted. that’s all for today everyone, back to nap time. Wally.

 

Wally’s Great Adventures (22)


hello peeps, wally here. big story today (this week, this month, past 3 months) has been DANA, erics grrrrrr grrrrllll girrrllll friend. dad explained to me that there was a period in history called AD and BD. mom corrected him (always doing that) and said, no, its BC and AD. he said NO, it is BD and AD, that is eric “before Dana – BD” and eric “after Dana – AD”, dad calls it a human transformation. dad and i spotted eric spotted doing laundry (huh?). dana sent us a photo of eric vacuuming. (say what?). eric was spotted in kitchen putting dirty dishes in dishwasher. (mirage?) eric now drinks hot tea (drinks what?). eric wears matching raybans and matching faherty fleece sweatshirts with dana. eric sits and has civil conversations with his parents (important note, this is when Dana is present). so dana has been like what dad calls manna from heaven. we celebrated dana’s birthday the other day and i helped her blow out her candles (not really, but i would have liked some cake). dana gives the best hugs. i love dana. and dad said i best love her so she never leaves because then we will get the old eric BD. that’s all for tonight everyone. have a good night. Wally.

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

What would it be like, I wondered, to live with that heightened sensitivity to the lives given for ours? To consider the tree in the Kleenex, the algae in the toothpaste, the oaks in the floor, the grapes in the wine; to follow back the thread of life in everything and pay it respect? Once you start, it’s hard to stop, and you begin to feel yourself awash in gifts.

—  Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and The Teachings of Plants (Milkweed Editions, September 16, 2013) (via acti-veg)

Wally’s Great Adventures (21)

hello peeps, wally here. mom went to run errands and left dad in charge, and thats when the good times roll. I love mom but she treats me like a little baby, baby, little baby – she puts up cardboard boxes blocking my access to all rooms but the kitchen and family room. while dad lets me explore, he treats me like a grown up. I love dad. he gets behind his computer and totally forgets about me so i can go on adventures. i walk from room to room smelling cool things. i crawled into erics open suitcase under his bed, found his leather belt, got myself comfortable, and started gnawing on it. it felt so good on my teeth. 10 minutes later i heard dad calling for me. I got really quiet because this was a great time for dad and me to play hide and seek. dad started yelling louder. “WALLY! THIS ISNT FUNNY!” i barked to let dad know where to find me. dad came running in the room…WALLY, I TOLD YOU TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE. he dragged eric’s suitcase out from under the bed and there i was, laying on my tummy with erics belt in my mouth. i barked at him: peek-a-boo dad! dad asked me to open my mouth, he stuck in his giant fingers and made me gag, and he pulled out blobs of leather gunk. WALLY! he said, your tongue is red, mom is going to freak! dad carried me into the bathroom and started to wash my tongue with a wash cloth. i bit down on the wash cloth and dad’s finger. WALLY, THAT f*cking HURT! dad yelled. well dad how would like me to wash your tongue with a giant wash cloth. so while dad was putting a bandaid on his little boo-boo, he let me explore in the bathroom. after we were done, dad tucked me in for a nap and he went back to work. see the last pic? dad noticed i had red eye and freaked. he told me i had better not say anything to mom or he would blame me for doing bad shit with the belt and now i had pink eye. that’s all for tonight everyone. have a good night. Wally.

Walking. ’tis the season.

955 consecutive (almost) days. Like in a row. Forecast is for rain, and more rain. I can hear it tapping on the gutters and the hood of the car. Wally is sleeping, he looks up out of the corner of his eye, no chance i’m going out in this, no chance. You’re on your own dad.

We’re now 45 days from 1,000, and duty calls. I trudge downstairs out the door, and drive to Cove Island Park.

I’m sitting in the parking lot, car is running, heater blows. Wind gusts up to 44 mph splash buckets of rain against the car, the wipers slapping from side to side struggle to chase it all off the windshield.

I need to find something, anything to record that I was here. You did it. You were here. But, it’s not letting up and there’s no chance I’m going out in this.

I cue up George Winston’s December, and like the magic of the season, it turns the soul to a softer place.

I turn the heat up to 71° F and sit and listen, to the heater blowing, the music, and the wind and rain. Krouse: “Nothing is more comforting than the sound of rain when you’re not in it.”

[Read more…]

Lightly Child, Lightly.

A year never passes without me thinking of them. India. Erica. Their names are stitched inside every white coat I have ever worn. I tell this story to stitch their names inside your clothes, too. A reminder to never forget. Medicine has taught me, really taught me, to accept the things I cannot change. A difficult-to-swallow serenity prayer. I’m not trying to change the past. I’m telling it in order to lay these ghosts to rest.

You paint feverishly, like Mama. Yet you got the steadfastness of Daddy. Your talents surely defy the notion of a gene pool. I watch you now, home from college, that time after graduation when y’all young people either find your way or slide down the slope of uncertainty. You’re sitting on the porch nuzzling the dog, a gray mutt of a pit bull who was once sent to die after snapping at a man’s face. In the six years we’ve had him, he has been more skittish than fierce, as if aware that one wrong look will spell his doom. What I now know is that kind of certainty, dire as it may be, is a gift.

The dog groans as you seek the right place to scratch. I wish someone would scratch me like that. Such exhaustion in my bones. I will be sixty-seven this year, but it is time. I’m ready to work in my yard, feel the damp earth between my fingers, sit with my memories like one of those long-tailed magpies whose wings don’t flap like they used to. These days, I wake up and want to roll right over and go back to sleep for another hour. Yes, it is time.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez, opening lines to “Take My Hand” (Berkley, April 12, 2022) 


Notes:

  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
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