All posts by mike

Scenes from Saturday + Wet & Wild

Hey – It’s Michelle, taking over the blog this week. There will probably be less glitter jokes.

I recently listened to a podcast that talked about how difficult it is for men to have meaningful friendships. It was the episode of A Bit of Optimism where Scott Galloway and Simon Sinek get into a spirited discussion about how to show your friends mental support. Thankfully, my husband has formed many strong friendships (for an introvert he sure does have a lot hobbies and friends), so many, in fact, that he was off to Vermont for the weekend with a group of them for a guy’s weekend. [ed. note: ahem, a strategic planning offsite, not a guy’s weekend]

That left the girls and me, and now two dogs, to occupy ourselves on a hot, humid, and rainy Saturday.

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Scenes from Saturday + Croissants & Cobie’s

My newest book will be out later this week.

The older I get the more I realize that most things are a lot easier when you’re blissfully unaware of what you’re doing. Maybe not surgery or quantum physics, but writing, painting, music. Being too knowledgeable can often trip you up or get in the way. It’s often much better if you don’t even know that you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s when you’re fully aware of your cluelessness that you’ve really got to dig in and chasing after it is often much harder.

I mostly try to forget now.

Or, as the poet Rumi put it more eloquently: “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”

We were down on the Cape for the Fourth and Domino enjoyed have a brand new house to explore. And mark – still working on house training – very happy the beach house was updated with hard wood floors this year.

Different house but Dom still takes his job as Ally’s alarm clock seriously.

It’s been open a few years, even changed location, but we finally tried out Eat Cake 4 Breakfast.

While many of the morning baked goods are variations on a croissant dough… who’s ever really complained about that especially when it’s a very good dough.

Also, the closest thing we’ve found to a Philly sticky bun in Massachusetts.

There was also a new cheese maker nearby. We had to check that out.

Luckily they are not relying solely on cheese. They also make a few different types of bread daily, plus breakfast and lunch sandwiches.

The mid-Cape needs a decent bread bakery, so I hope this lasts. The focaccia was very good.

After all the carbs, there was a long beach walk.

Including this strange pole on a particularly desolate section of sand.

I’ll just let that seep into your nightmares.

We gave Dash a break from Domino’s in-your-face energy and took him to the local dog park.

He enjoyed doing laps in the big and little dog sides, including many compliments on his luscious fur.

That was enough activity to get them both to chill out.

A mostly gray day where it always looked like it was going to rain, but rarely did, meant some indoor games. The girls each won both rounds of actual dominoes.

Once a year, we buy the big economy size barrel of cheese balls.

You know vacation is just about over when it empties out.

Puppies at rest just means puppy energy when they wake back up.

Despite his big brother showing him how to do it multiple times, Domino could not be convinced to go down the slide.

I remember actually pushing them on the swings a few years ago. Now they use it as a pull up bar.

It wouldn’t be summer with clam strips and soft serve at Cobie’s.

Cloudy skies and missing sunsets ultimately can’t dim the glow of a well-spent vacation.

The best time off leave us with more than just postcard views.

Have a great Sunday!

Scenes from Saturday + Domino 2

One parenting rule of thumb is to give your kids what you needed but never had. Okay, sure, but why not go further? Give yourself what you needed as a child and give your kids what we they need now.

Summer is a great time to think about what you wanted when you were a kid… and gift it to yourself. That might change day by day and that’s okay.

Only a few short summers left when they both will be home. I need to savor each one even if they are interrupting me or getting on my nerves or asking for money for the ice cream truck. I know I’ll miss it when they’re gone.

This summer I’m giving myself more time to read and more patience to leave the rest of my to-do list undone. The list will never end, but summer will.

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Scenes from Saturday + Oh, Domino

This week I had to fill out my mid-year self-evaluation performance review at work. We are provided guidelines and metrics as targets. As I was writing up notes, it struck me that most of the guidelines…focused on small things. Maybe they assumed the big things weren’t worth mentioning. Or maybe they’d also fallen into the trap of marginal gains. Social media is full of hacks and tiny tweaks that promise to make a difference. Hint…they rarely do if you aren’t already covering the basics.

You fill the big holes first. Why? They are low risk, high reward. Think of these big items as the primary ingredients to bake any bread. They are the flour, salt, water, yeast. From there, you look at surrounding factors that may have a large impact on the overall performance of an employee, such as process, work load, stress, and training. In our baking analogy, these factors are akin to making sure the oven is at the right temperature, weighed the ingredients, and proofed the dough.

It’s only after you know that you have the right ingredients and the right environment to bake the bread that you need to worry about the fine details that might enhance the bread but probably won’t have a big impact on the actual loaf.

TL;DR – if you spend all your time optimizing for the minor things, you inevitably miss the major ones.

Oh, we also got a new puppy this week. Did I bury the lede?

Meet Domino.

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Scenes from Saturday + Traffic & Tacos

School is out and yesterday was the first official summer vacation drive to the Cape. I tend to believe things matter more than they do. Take…traffic. Cape traffic. There are just two (very old) bridges and everyone in New England and New York have a mutual agreement to meet at the bridges at the same time.

If we’re running late, I get stressed and irritable, convinced the entire day or weekend will be a disaster because our ETA has slipped by four minutes. But is it really that important to beat the traffic? Not really. Traffic, missing appointments, airport security lines, dance rehearsals. It can all take me out of the moment and rob a little joy for me (anyone lucky enough? to be with me). Yet often, the actual consequence if I were late or missed something is… nothing.

I often fall into the mental trap of conditional importance—if you want this result, take this action—with the idea that it would be terrible if the result didn’t happen. Sometimes it would be, obviously (getting fired from your job, being respectful etc), but often it wouldn’t.

Intellectually, if I take a step back, I know it doesn’t matter if I’m late, but my body has a hard time deciphering these mixed messages. I’ll snap or be curt or generally tighten up like Dash when he realizes why Michelle is filling up the tub.

Recognizing this helps. Recently I’ve been trying to ask myself (having a teenager gives me plenty of practice): “Wait. Does this actually matter?” Often, the answer is very clearly no. And for just a moment, I understand the Krishnamurti quote on serenity: “I don’t mind what happens.”

Then, I let my shoulders drop, and I exhale.

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Scenes from Saturday + Last Dance

It’s graduation season. I’ve got a few more years until we have a graduate in the house, but if you have a recent grad, skip the Dr. Seuss and have them read Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


That last line gets me every time.

A poetic reminder to accept that you won’t ever get it all done. Be leery of life hacks and FOMO anxiety. Stop chasing an infinite to-do list. It’s all a distraction. Life is terrifyingly short. You will never get to everything. Learn to live with all of the anxiety that comes with that—then you can start living.

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Scenes from Saturday + Pasta & Pollen

I realized I’ve reached the age where each medical appointment is probably going to find something. Might be something. Could be nothing. Let’s keep an eye on it. Or, let’s do another test.

I’m not great at being patient. Whether it’s a road race, a traffic jam, or a medical test. My default reaction is often anxiety.

Waiting three days for results leaves you no choice but to be patient and keep breathing. This is still a work in progress for me (Michelle handles it much better), but it gave me a glimpse of the rewards patience can bring. I realized anxiety is about control, while patience is about faith. Sometimes, having faith and being patient brings you closer to what you want than anxiety ever could.

Not everything can be fixed, controlled, or made to feel okay. Sometimes, you just have to be patient, have faith, and breathe—even if it’s for three days.

Another lesson I learned is that medical equipment is incredibly precise. So precise that it often picks up things that don’t matter. Like in this case. Everything was fine.

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