Walking. With Georgia.

It was Sunday morning. 4:50 a.m. 68° F. Morning Walk @ Cove Island Park. 432 consecutive days, like in a row.

My “observations” from my Sunday walk led to yesterday’s Monday Morning Wake-Up Call post — a quote from Janwillem van de Wetering, about being proud of his awareness, proud of his awareness of his pride, being clever to know that he is stupid, etc. etc.

The quote landed. My cup of awareness (I thought) runneth over, and I have a vice grip on all that I don’t know.  But this observation seemed to bottom out.

This spring, with the increase in seasonal park traffic, garbage cans were planted throughout the Park — electric pink — surely colored to encourage patrons to dump their sh*t in the can. I did notice the green cans, but they seemed fewer in number. And for 100 straight days, I walked by these cans, tossed trash in these same cans, and zero light bulbs turned on.

Until Sunday morning.

They were wearing headlamps, lights bobbing up and down as they approached.

Her head was down, averting contact.

His head turned to me in response to my “Good Morning”.

“Good Morning, Sir” in a Spanish accent. There we go again. Another human being calling me ‘Sir.’  Respect? Or do they see a Retiree? Either way, de-stabilizing.

They kept walking. I took a few steps in the opposite direction, stopped, and turned to look back. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S & N. Money For Nothing.

Hasn’t happened. Ever.
50+ years.
Not a single time.

I’m stuck on I-95 S. Frustrated. I was up early, planned to be ahead of the morning rush, way ahead, and now, here I sit. Nasty traffic, snarled. Waze signals delays, and more delays.

Need a mind set shift. I type Dire Straits in search box. Because dire it is. That ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it / Money for nothin,’ and chicks for free.

Nothing for Free. Stupidity is expensive.

Traffic is at a dead stop. I grab my briefcase from the backseat and rummage through it again. Nothing. What makes you think it will be there. You went through it twice at home. And your Suit jacket from yesterday and the day before. And your pant pockets, from three days. And the hamper. And the floor in the closet. And your other bag. And the kitchen counter. And the car. The trunk. The glove box. Under all seats, and between seats. And the side pockets. A sweat droplet glides down your back, your forehead glistens.  55° F and you’ve just about had it for the day. 

I inch forward in traffic.

I call the office: “Could you please check under my desk? In my drawers? Call lost and found? Call the restaurant hosting the work dinner Tuesday Night?”

I call home: “Could you check my Suit pockets again please? My desk drawer? My other bag? Under the cushions on the couch? The drawer in the night stand? The floor under the nightstand?”

I’m sure with two different sets of eyes, they will find it. I’m sure.

I sit in the cabin, in traffic, in silence, and wait. Nick Flynn: “We are made of waiting –…”

Traffic inches forward.  WTH. Is everyone in the State of Connecticut parked on I-95?

Both calls come back. Nothing.

I’m sitting in my first morning meeting. Mind is gone, Away. Replaying the last 2 days, hour by hour. Or was it three days ago? Forgetting many things of late. A harbinger of things to come?

Rattled. [Read more…]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

He thinks the prices paid for his works sometimes border on madness. “I want to ignore it, mostly,” he says. “I’ve had sufficient money to do what I liked every day for the last 60 years. Even when I didn’t have much money, I’ve always managed. All I’m interested in is working, really. I’m going to go on working. Artists don’t retire.”

~ Lesley M.M. Blume, The World According to David Hockney (wsj.com, Sept 9, 2019)


Other notables from this essay:

  • “I have the vanity of an artist. I want my work to be seen. But I don’t have to be seen.” —David Hockney

  • “[The drawings] seem to exist fully formed. It’s like he bleeds them onto the page.” —Arne Glimcher

  • The drive up to David Hockney’s Los Angeles home in the Hollywood Hills is a narrow, winding route, full of hairpin turns. At the top of a hill, his compound is fortressed away behind an expanse of fence, hidden within a barely tamed jungle of palm trees and bird of paradise plants. Nearly every surface—the walls, the walkways connecting the buildings, the handrails and the roofs—has been painted brilliant colors: bubblegum pink, cerulean, canary yellow, sea green. ~ Lesley M.M. Blume

Painting above by David Hockney: The Road to York through Sledmere1997 – oil on canvas 48×60 in.

 

Clutter: Less may be more, but it’s still not enough

Clutter

NY Times – Pamela Druckerman: The Clutter Cure’s Illusory Joy

I recently discovered the secret to livening up even the dullest conversation: Introduce the topic of clutter. Everyone I meet seems to be waging a passionate, private battle against their own stuff, and they perk up as soon as you mention it…

…Clutter isn’t a new problem, of course. But suddenly, it’s not just irritating — it’s evil. If you’re not living up to your potential, clutter is probably the culprit. Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” the top-ranked book on The New York Times list of self-help books, promises that, once your house is orderly, you can “pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life…

It’s hard to resist the de-cluttering fever. I, too, spend my weekends filling bags with cookbooks, toys and vintage dresses, and then hauling them away. For the first time in years, I can lay my hands on any one of my sweaters.

But the more stuff I shed, the more I realize that we de-clutterers feel besieged by more than just our possessions. We’re also overwhelmed by the intangible detritus of 21st-century life: unreturned emails; unprinted family photos; the ceaseless ticker of other people’s lives on Facebook; the heightened demands of parenting; and the suspicion that we’ll be checking our phones every 15 minutes, forever. I can sit in an empty room, and still get nothing done.

It’s consoling to think that, beneath all these distractions, we’ll discover our shining, authentic selves, or even achieve a state of “mindfulness.” But I doubt it. I’m starting to suspect that the joy of ditching all of our stuff is just as illusory as the joy of acquiring it all was. Less may be more, but it’s still not enough.

Read full story here: The Clutter Cure’s Illusory Joy


Notes:

 

Black Friday Shopping Weekend or…

shopping,holidays,Thanksgiving,Christmas


Source: Japanese Piggy Bank via themetapicture.com


Listen, says ambition, why don’t you get going?

rain-gif-peace

Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary,
or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance
and comfort.

Not one can manage a single sound though the blue jays
carp and whistle all day in the branches, without
the push of the wind.

But to tell the truth after a while I’m pale with longing
for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen
and you can’t keep me from the woods, from the tonnage
of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.

Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a
little sunshine, a little rain.

Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from
one boot to another — why don’t you get going?

For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.

And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists
of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money,

I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.

Mary Oliver, “Black Oaks” in West Wind

 


Credits:

5 Rules For A Happy Life

Charles-alan-murray

Charles Murray’s 5 Rules For A Happy Life:

  1. Consider Marrying Young
  2. Learn How to Recognize Your Soul Mate
  3. Eventually Stop Fretting About Fame and Fortune (Fame and wealth do accomplish something: They cure ambition anxiety. But that’s all. It isn’t much…)
  4. Take Religion Seriously
  5. Watch “GroundHog Day” Repeatedly

#4: Now that we’re alone, here’s where a lot of you stand when it comes to religion: It isn’t for you. You don’t mind if other people are devout, but you don’t get it. Smart people don’t believe that stuff anymore. I can be sure that is what many of you think because your generation of high-IQ, college-educated young people, like mine 50 years ago, has been as thoroughly socialized to be secular as your counterparts in preceding generations were socialized to be devout…I am describing my own religious life from the time I went to Harvard until my late 40s. I still describe myself as an agnostic, but my unbelief is getting shaky…Start by jarring yourself out of unreflective atheism or agnosticism. A good way to do that is to read about contemporary cosmology. The universe isn’t only stranger than we knew; it is stranger and vastly more unlikely than we could have imagined, and we aren’t even close to discovering its last mysteries. That reading won’t lead you to religion, but it may stop you from being unreflective.  Find ways to put yourself around people who are profoundly religious. You will encounter individuals whose intelligence, judgment and critical faculties are as impressive as those of your smartest atheist friends—and who also possess a disquieting confidence in an underlying reality behind the many religious dogmas. 

Read all five rules here.


Image Credit

What’s Stopping You?


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.


Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes!

zeke-vizsla-cute-dog

We become religious,
then we turn from it,
then we are in need and maybe we turn back.
We turn to making money,
then we turn to the moral life,
then we think about money again.
We meet wonderful people, but lose them
in our busyness.
We’re, as the saying goes, all over the place.
Steadfastness, it seems,
is more about dogs than about us.
One of the reasons we love them so much.

~ Mary Oliver


Credits:

  • Thank you MJL for sharing the poem.  I must check out Mary Oliver’s book “Dog Songs.”  Amazing reviews on Amazon.
  • Poem Source: “How It Is with Us, and How It Is with Them” by Mary Oliver, from Dog Songs via Writersalmanac
  • Thank you Susan for the picture of our Zeke.

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