Just another Friday night…

  • 8:05 pm. I arrive at home, 15 hour day. ooooooo, how do you spell, e-n-o-u-g-h…
  • 8:10 pm. Sitting at kitchen table. Thai takeout. Cold. Sticky rice, stucky rice.
  • 8:15 pm. Susan fussing with remote and TV. “Bloody cable box must be broken.”
  • 8:16 pm. DK: “No, must be the TV.  It’s time for one of those new 8K T.V.s.”
  • 8:17 pm. SK: “Are you out of your mind?”
  • 8:17 pm. She continues fussing with remote.
  • 8:18 pm. I’m picking at the cold rice which is slathered with Duck sauce.
  • 8:19 pm. I google Cablevision to see if there are outages. Widespread outages since 7:49 pm.
  • 8:20 pm. DK: “Why don’t you google it?”
  • 8:21 pm. SK: “I’m not googling anything. You google it.”
  • 8:22 pm. 36 years of marriage last week. I sit in silence and pick at the cold Garlic Chicken.
  • 8:23 pm. She reboots the cable box by powering it on and off. She waits for system to reset.
  • 8:26 pm. System resets.  She curses. Still no fix. She’s now irritated, advancing to angry.
  • 8:26 pm. She scurries over to the other room to test that TV.
  • 8:27 pm. She’s back. She’s isolated root cause to a cable problem.
  • 8:28 pm. She resets the entire T.V. to default settings. And waits and waits and waits.
  • 8:39 pm. It’s back up. No fix.
  • 8:40 pm. She runs downstairs to reset cable modem to reset the entire system.
  • 8:45 pm. Alarms beep. Entire system reboots.
  • 8:45 pm. I’m watching her with the remote, clutching a crucifix, whispering to herself.
  • 8:50 pm. Entire system reset. No fix.
  • 8:51 pm. DK: “Why don’t you google it?”
  • 8:52 pm: SK: “I’m not googling anything.”
  • 8:52 pm. She texts neighbor. To learn that neighbor has texted entire neighborhood.
  • 8:53 pm. Neighbor: “Cable out in three states CT, NY, NJ.”
  • 8:53 pm. Three states of cable addicts blitzing Cablevision 800 # and website.
  • 8:54 pm. I’ve moved onto dessert, continue watching this show. Who needs Broadway?
  • 8:55 pm. She googles Cablevision with her back to me. She finds number and dials. She’s on hold.
  • 8:58 pm. After being on hold for several minutes, she learns that it’s the wrong number.
  • 8:59 pm. She collapses onto couch, still clutching the remote.
  • 9:00 pm. I walk upstairs, looking over my shoulder. There she is, eyes closed, slumped on the couch. And I’m the one with problems?

Image & Story: Optimum customers report widespread outages (CtPost, September 6, 2019, 9:42 PM)

Sunday Morning

“You’re going to ask if you can marry my daughter,” Nan’s father said.

“Yes,” James answered.

“Why?”

James thought: Because she is jolly and pretty and bright, like a firefly, blinking in and out of hedges and trees. Because I imagine her in the kitchen, washing dishes, looking out the window and humming to herself, her brow knit in concentration. I imagine myself coming up behind her, putting my arms around her, resting my chin on her shoulder. I imagine her face turning up to me, bright and pale and astonishing, and I imagine her lips just before I kiss her, full and parted, almost singing the words of a song. Because I think beyond kissing her, because I think about her naked and warm under clean sheets and damp from the bath. I imagine her bare ankle rubbing against my own. I imagine her hair disheveled; I imagine myself smoothing it out of her eyes. I imagine making toast with her and eating it at a round table. When I do, I am just as crazed with passion for her as I would be in bed. There is no difference between imagining her naked and imagining her with a kerchief over her hair. 

“Because I love her,” he said.

~ Cara Wall, The Dearly Beloved: A Novel (Simon & Schuster, August 13, 2019)


Notes:

Running. With Restraint. And With None of It.

What do you excel at?

A) Habitual repeating. (Professional kind)

Consistent, effective execution. Compulsive in following through on commitments. Dependable. You can count on him.

And that’s life isn’t it, the antithesis of what makes you effective at “A”, makes you a disaster a “B”.

B) Habitual repeating, in bulk. (Personal kind. Random, exculpatory list below.)

  • Thoughts. (Swirling, incessant, dark)
  • Doubts. (Many)
  • Food (Binges, sugar, fast food, anything).
  • Running ‘paths’ (Note emphasis on paths and not running, there should be zero inferences to mastery in frequency, distance or pace.)
  • Blog post ‘themes’. (Note emphasis on themes. And no mention of original work.)

How many times can you spout on about the same sh*t? Let’s see. Let’s use metaphors, not your own of course. Because that would take talent, effort. How many times? Richard Powers, “A thousand—a thousand thousand—green-tipped, splitting fingerlings.”

So here we go again. [Read more…]

A Division of Labor. A Promise Kept.

Saturday morning. Bird song, many species, ease softly through the window. The body, the bones and the mind at rest. The peace and sanctuary of Saturday morning. Bliss.

Until, it’s not.

For most, the smell of freshly cut grass conjures warm images of youth, of order, of parallel lines, or of a task completed. Or perhaps it’s the smell of rich, black soil, or the solidity of earth under one’s feet. Or perhaps a feeling of rebirth or growth.

For most.

But not for me.

This past, this dipping back into youth, of weekend chores, of hundreds of yards of uncut grass, of an aging push mower, of a hot sun bearing down, of a rush to finish – offers no such relief.

[Read more…]

Twenty Years of ‘Marital Blitz’: ‘Happily-Ever-After Doesn’t Exist’

In a recent email, Suki John and Horacio Cocchi attempted to sum up their 20-year marriage in one paragraph, which read like a grocery list. It included: 8 homes, 9 housemates, 1 foreclosure, 21 jobs, 3 layoffs, 2 miscarriages, 1 birth, 3 parents and 2 friends deceased, 1 bankruptcy, 1 set of dentures, innumerable road trips, 3 days in Amarillo waiting for parts, 9 cars, 5 billion phone calls, far too many dance performances, 5 weeks in Europe, 17 weeks in Cuba, 1 summer in Vermont, 6 mattresses, 2 bread machines, 9 espresso machines, countless bottles of extra virgin olive oil, 5 tango lessons and 2 wedding rings.

The couple met 21 years ago, when she approached him in a coffee shop on the Upper West Side. “I saw him across the room and it was like a magnet,” said Ms. John, 58, who is as excitable as her wild, curly hair. […]

They are not a quiet or even-tempered couple. Living next door to them is probably akin to living next to trombone players. They argue often, about the symbolism of tango dancing, or which rug would look best in their living room, or whether God exists (she’s Jewish, he’s an atheist). “It’s noisy and messy and emotional,” she said. Mr. Cocchi describes their relationship as “marital blitz.” […]

After a lot of arguing, he acquiesced. “My wisdom is, it’s very hard to have a long-lasting relationship,” he said. “For me, it was about how much am I willing to give up to keep this marriage growing?” […] He likes to say, “Bad times will be followed by good times,” which seems true at the moment. […]

They also have a new ritual. They regularly meet at home in the afternoon, between teaching responsibilities, to take a “siesta” together. They lie next to each other in their dark bedroom. “It’s so sweet,” she said. “We just want to be with each other. I still think he’s absolutely adorable.”

~ Lois Smith Brady, from Twenty Years of ‘Marital Blitz’ (NY Times, August 10, 2017)

 

 

 

Miracle. All of it.

Each fork in the road: the choice to stay home, to go out, to catch the flight, or cancel it, to take the 1 train, to stop at the bar on the corner. The chance encounters, split-second decisions that make the design — that are the design. […] Change even one moment, the whole thing unravels. The narrative thread doesn’t stretch in a line from end to end, but rather, spools and unspools, loops around and returns again and again to the same spot. Come closer now and listen. Be thankful for all of it. […] A coup de foudre: a bolt of lightening. You would not have your bright and sunny boy. There is no other life than this. You would not have stumbled into the vastly imperfect, beautiful, impossible present.

~ Dani Shapiro, Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage


Notes:

  • Credits: Photo by Atsushi Korome (via mennyfox55). Quote: Brainpickings
  • Post Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  • Related Live & Learn Posts: Miracle. All of it.

Holy Crap, how DID I get so lucky?

Sad man worrying about hair loss problem

32 years of marriage.

We can rely on the integrity of my portioning of responsibility for the tenor of the marriage or you can call on the Children, those coming from her womb…still tethered…but, come on, you can’t really count on them to be objective, right?

Or, you can come to your own conclusion.

Listen up.

There are ground rules, rails, that permit the Holy Union to remain One for more than 30 years.  There are simple rules that follow a grueling day: 1) no requests to share the day’s highlights and 2) the maintenance of a strict quiet zone for 10-15 minutes. That’s it.

So, when simple rules are broken, the Union is tested.

It’s 6:45 pm. It’s the tail end of a long day.  I’m sitting alone at the kitchen table. The fork hovers over meatloaf, mashed potatoes and a generous river of brown gravy. Susan sits in the family room (respecting the quiet zone).  The Nightly News offers background noise with gaps filled with commercials for Viagra, Depends and Bradshaw pitching remedies for Shingles.  The irritation level ratchets up from high to Red Zone. Network idiots feeding me this crap during the dinner hour. Are there no boundaries? [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly.

light-portrait

People always said Ove and Ove’s wife were like night and day. Ove realized full well, of course, that he was the night. It didn’t matter to him. On the other hand it always amused his wife when someone said it, because she could then point out while giggling that people only thought Ove was the night because he was too mean to turn on the sun. He never understood why she chose him. She loved only abstract things like music and books and strange words. Ove was a man entirely filled with tangible things. He liked screwdrivers and oil filters. He went through life with his hands firmly shoved into his pockets. She danced. “You only need one ray of light to chase all the shadows away,” she said to him once, when he asked her why she had to be so upbeat the whole time. Apparently some monk called Francis had written as much in one of her books. “You don’t fool me, darling,” she said with a playful little smile and crept into his big arms. “You’re dancing on the inside, Ove, when no one’s watching. And I’ll always love you for that. Whether you like it or not.”

~ Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove: A Novel

Notes:

  • Photo: mwozniak
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • 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.”

Just another Māori Wedding


Haka is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance, challenge or act of support from the Māori people of New Zealand.  This Haka was performed at Benjamin & Aaliyah Armstrong’s wedding.

Wow. Moved.

Which year was the best?

poet

Jane Kenyon and I were married for twenty-three years. For two decades we inhabited the double solitude of my family farmhouse in New Hampshire, writing poems, loving the countryside. She was forty-seven when she died. If anyone had asked us, “Which year was the best, of your lives together?” we could have agreed on an answer: “the one we remember least.”  […] The best moment of our lives was one quiet repeated day of work in our house. Not everyone understood. Visitors, especially from New York, would spend a weekend with us and say as they left: “It’s really pretty here” (“in Vermont,” many added) “with your house, the pond, the hills, but … but … but … what do you do?”

What we did: we got up early in the morning. I brought Jane coffee in bed. She walked the dog as I started writing, then climbed the stairs to work at her own desk on her own poems. We had lunch. We lay down together. We rose and worked at secondary things. I read aloud to Jane; we played scoreless ping-pong; we read the mail; we worked again. We ate supper, talked, read books sitting across from each other in the living room, and went to sleep. If we were lucky the phone didn’t ring all day… Three hundred and thirty days a year we inhabited this old house and the same day’s adventurous routine.

~ Donald Hall, The Third Thing from The Poetry Magazine. [Read more…]

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