Tag Archives: puppies

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 + Rain & Recovery

“Unspoken expectations are premeditated resentments.”

I can’t remember who said that but it’s become my mantra for dealing with children. It doesn’t really lessen the eye rolls or the outwardly physical response. I’m not sure their small brains can stop those reactions, but it does give them less room to attempt to wiggle out with an argument.

It also doesn’t stop them from trying to dodge with technicalities but I’ve become adept at setting verbal expectations almost as ironclad as a credit card service level agreement.

That piano will get practiced by the end of the day.

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Scenes from Saturday + No Retreat, No Surrender

My favorite month is going by too quickly. It’s half over. The only thing I really don’t like about October is dressing up for Halloween and PSL flavors. Everything else, I’m all in.

A haphazard list of the good things I’ve enjoyed so far: waking up earlier than the sun, audiobooks and walks in the woods, Stephen King’s Holly, a new Thursday Murder Club to make me smile, baking bread, homemade soup, hot pizza from the Ooni, fire pits and a properly-toasted marshmallow, pulling weeds and cleaning out the garden pots, a 24-hour stream celebrating Thelonious Monk’s birthday, Oktoberfest beer, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, caramel apples, pulling out favorite sweaters, spooky movies, and waking up from a nap with your dog. Is there anything better than an afternoon fall nap?

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Scenes from Saturday + Boss Baby

Cecilia and I have a running “discussion” about the use of air conditioning in our house. She would prefer to keep it at Rocky meat locker levels. I am a bit more frugal. To avoid having the same “discussion” each night, we’ve come up with temperature thresholds that dictate when we use it. Can’t argue with a thermometer. Well, you can if you’re a teenager….

It’s the ability to tolerate minor discomfort.

Obviously, this really isn’t just about air conditioning usage, but it did lead me to think about our ability to tolerate minor discomfort. It is shocking to me sometimes how readily we all set aside our ambitions, merely to avoid tolerable levels of unpleasantness.

It’s easier to flip through FB or TikTok or Insta and get that hit rather starting that dreaded task even when you know, you know, you’re going to feel better when it’s done.

And this isn’t just me preaching to the girls, I’ve been wrestling with this through my sabbatical with my goal to write 2k words a day. I know its gotta get done, but I put it off or make side deals with myself even if I know better.

What’s the fix? Heck if I know other than just working at it. Exposure therapy. Let those feelings of anxiety or boredom come and then go and get on with the task. Keep doing that and you’ve got yourself a superpower that is slowly going extinct.

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Scenes from Saturday + Haste & Waste

I am (in)famous in the family for listening to podcasts and audiobooks at 1.5x or greater. It drives the girls crazy. Add in my love of flashcards and a to-do list and you wouldn’t think I’d be the primary audience for the slow learning movement, but I’m not always in a rush. There is nothing fast about writing a book. So, I read about about the Slow Learning Project with interest, especially their Bill of Rights.

Immerse yourself completely and make haste slowly. Indeed.

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Scenes from Saturday + Puppies & Piles of…

I learned about the dandelion and orchid parenting metaphor this week. Interesting, in and of itself, but then I tried to figure out what I was.

When I am between projects, I often feel like a dandelion. I feel scattered to the winds, content to land wherever, read whatever, bake whatever, do whatever. I can be easily distracted and can get interested in anything. This is both good and bad. Chaos can be a very fruitful for creativity. My favorite parts of my books often come completely out of the blue.

On the other hand, there are definitely orchid parts of me. Perhaps you’ve heard me talk about flash cards or a compulsive need to vacuum. I’m not sure I could contemplate writing an entire book without a plan, even if that plan gets ripped up and changed many times.

Maybe this metaphor has limits or maybe kids, parents, and artists will always fall somewhere between the extreme. A garden with both is certainly more interesting.

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Scenes from Saturday + Fall & Fur Balls

As it grew darker last Tuesday, and the girls got their costumes ready, Ally asked if I believed in ghosts.

No, I do not believe in ghosts or spirits. But I do believe in memories.

I believe in the collective memory of all the people doing what human beings have always done before me. Being a parent, being a Dad, being a son, being a man. Getting it right sometimes. Screwing it up sometimes.

Whether spirits exist or not, we are never alone. Memories, for me, are a benign presence, not a haunting one. They exist to teach, advise, caution, and inspire with all that prior experience.

They protect us. They reassure us. They give us company.

Act accordingly.

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