Untethered Dog

You Never Know Where He Will Go

Gratitude Journal

July 2020

3 Friday

  • When you correct yourself: no, it’s not Saturday today.
  • Being safely away from fireworks. Your little buddy added that entry.
  • A new way to serve your dog food.
  • When you check in before anger rises and then find a new, better way to go. Such moments are nothing short of minor miracles.
  • Oatmeal. With cinnamon.

2 Thursday

  • Reminders of what needs to be done.
  • Carpenter ants.
  • Having enough.
  • A cool basement.
  • Sharing when not sharing is an option.
  • Having just enough butter.
  • Wind chimes — intended and not.
  • Saving for a rainy day.
  • Active recovery.
  • Cucumbers.

1 Wednesday

  • Canada.
  • Rides with your little buddy, widows down.
  • A/C.
  • Getting your reps in.
  • Steak sandwiches.
  • Sound sleep.

June 2020

30 Tuesday

  • Clean teeth.
  • Your dentist’s demeanor.
  • Nighttime.
  • Relaxing in bed.
  • Waking up in the middle of the night and then falling quickly back to sleep.
  • The sound and feel of a fan blowing all night long.
  • White butterflies.
  • When they treat your ash tree. And may she stand tall, and provide shelter, for many more years.

29 Monday

  • Summer storms you can sleep to.
  • DavidPal36 and the people who bring it to you.
  • Every moment of writing time.
  • Your stoic group. Such thoughtful people.
  • Leftover steak.
  • When your dog bravely pees in the rain.

28 Sunday

  • Sweat.
  • The wisdom of the body.
  • Frozen blueberries and over-ripe bananas.
  • Bridges over the Mississippi.
  • Cooling off on a summer day.
  • Fatigue.
  • Watching your dog eat.
  • Wading through muddled views on important matters.

27 Saturday

  • Morning coffee.
  • Morning clarity.
  • Morning quiet.
  • Morning walks.
  • Clean floors.
  • Being proactive.
  • Acceptance.
  • A good columnist.
  • Taking your time.

26 Friday

  • When happy people show up in your dreams.
  • Your dog running around like a happy fool.
  • Ants.
  • Clarity.
  • Room for improvement.
  • Hamburger night.
  • The end of the week. And you have gas in the tank.

25 Thursday

  • Running into a friend at the gym.
  • Not trying to do too much.
  • Not being able to do too little.
  • Finding the right person (for you) to do the job.
  • Reconnecting with self.
  • Summer nights.
  • Days made to sit outside.
  • A mid-week break.
  • Chocolate milk. Your way.
  • Think! bars. Brownie crunch, of course.

22 Monday

  • Looking out your window and thinking there is no place you would rather be.
  • When the day goes even better than expected.
  • Long walks that bookend your day.
  • Making the most of your night.
  • Frozen pizza.
  • The chance to teach.
  • The opportunity to choose your reaction to your reaction.
  • When you only have time for squats.

21 Sunday

  • A new recipe for pan-seared steak.
  • Being the first one in the gym door.
  • Being the first one in the grocery store door.
  • Short storms in the afternoon.
  • Watching the wind bend tree branches.
  • Acceptance.

20 Saturday

  • A mowed lawn.
  • Drives with your dog.
  • A new ice cream place.
  • Perfect morning air.
  • Your inspiration.
  • Hustle.
  • Highland Park.
  • The longest day of the year.
  • Mackinaw chocolate fudge.

19 Friday

  • Restrictions.
  • Honesty.
  • Good work.
  • Your words.
  • Your sensitivity.
  • How much you own.
  • Beginner’s Mind.
  • Homemade chicken sandwiches.
  • Friday. And off a little early.

18 Thursday

  • Grounding.
  • The late shift.

17 Wednesday

  • An unexpected compliment.
  • Unanticipated energy.
  • When you seek the answer for yourself.
  • Moving on. Moving forward.
  • All the crazy squirrels in your neighborhood right now.
  • Butcher Box.

16 Tuesday

  • Doing good fast.
  • Getting through a challenging day.
  • Warmth.
  • Driving with the windows down.
  • A new phone case.
  • Cutting out distractions that suck up time and usually leave you deflated.
  • Adding in distractions that refill the tank.
  • Your dog’s soft fur. Almost still puppy soft.
  • Every minute spent stretching is worth two.
  • Prepping for a workout.

15 Monday

  • The chance to teach.
  • Not giving a shit.
  • Using anger as a motivating force.
  • Writing time in the morning and evening.
  • Guacamole.
  • Active recovery.
  • Air conditioning.
  • Paying the bills.

14 Sunday

  • When you are forced to write.
  • When you have the gym almost entirely to yourself.
  • Your dog.

13 Saturday

  • Receiving meat in the mail. What a concept.
  • When you are forced to read.
  • When it’s cool enough for early evening walks.
  • A backyard that really doesn’t look that bad.
  • Being the third one through the door in the morning at the gym.
  • Getting fired up.
  • Speaking up.
  • Stretching out.

12 Friday

  • Making progress on the to-do list on a Friday night.
  • A friendly customer service representative you can talk to. Even on a Friday night.
  • Prep time.
  • Potato chips.

10 Wednesday

  • When your Internet speed goes from go from 2010 speeds to 2020 overnight.
  • The chance to teach. You learn so much.
  • When you move that desk back to its rightful place. What a beast to slay.

9 Tuesday

  • Falling behind schedule because the writing is going good.
  • Bosch, Season 1. You could watch him read police reports all day if he were in that house on that hill listening to that jazz he likes to play.
  • Pending rain storms.
  • Leaning into a challenge.
  • Making the call right away.
  • Not being held back by old self-imposed limitations.
  • Chicken thighs.
  • Frequent exercise.

8 Monday

  • A good night’s sleep. Cannot be rated highly enough.
  • The day after deadness. Honor it — don’t fight it — at least not too hard! — and so much aliveness springs forth.
  • Warm mornings.
  • Long walks before 6.
  • Sweat before 6:30.
  • Squirrels that play on telephone poles.
  • Flies that make your little buddy dash about.
  • Sun in your eyes.

7 Sunday

  • Angst.
  • Perfect weather mornings.
  • The sound of rain.
  • The sound of wind.
  • Strange sounds.
  • Your capacity for renewal, renaissance, restart.
  • Your dog.
  • Your current lack of hunger.
  • Your deadness. For from that is where you plant seeds necessary to be alive.

3 Wednesday

  • Warmth.
  • When your dog walks outside and plops down on the step to sunbathe.
  • A working air conditioner.
  • A break from food.
  • The bird on the side of the road who hopped along with you for a bit on your morning walk.
  • Paying your bills early.
  • Your maple tree.

2 Tuesday

  • Taking a break from safe.
  • Hearing a hero’s voice on your voice mail.
  • Moments of calm.
  • Short storms.
  • Letting go.
  • Easy dinner.

May 2020

31 Sunday

  • Your home.
  • Your neighbors.
  • Your safety.

30 Saturday

  • Your home.
  • Your neighbors.
  • People who check in on you.

29 Friday

  • Grilled-cheese sandwiches.
  • Late-night phone calls.
  • Cool air in the early morning.
  • Thank you notes.
  • Filing a piece and moving on.
  • The end of a long short week.
  • When you get an email from someone famous.

28 Thursday

  • Safety.
  • Justice.
  • People who care about what’s right.
  • When your little buddy tells you he wants to play ball in the backyard.
  • Being done mowing the front yard.
  • When you need chocolate and you have multiple options to choose from at the ready.

27 Wednesday

  • Stoic book club night.
  • Old SNL skits that take you back.
  • The compound effect of a lot of reading.
  • Getting the little buddy a little extra rest when he needs it.

26 Tuesday

  • When the to-do list gets small.
  • When you follow your own plan.
  • Doing what you can do and being good with that.
  • Sweat.
  • Sun.
  • Sitting outside.
  • The promise of a summer storm.

25 Monday

  • The birth of your father.
  • A very generous gift from your parents.
  • A kind offer from a stranger.
  • Taking care of your fallen friend (tree).
  • An offering to your neighbor who has been quite neighborly of late.
  • A conversation with another neighbor.
  • Car rides with your little buddy.
  • A free celebratory meal with brownies and ice cream for dessert.

22 Friday

  • The chance to communicate with written words.
  • Vulnerability.
  • Signs of increased resilience.
  • Being good at something.
  • Reading.
  • Sweet potatoes.
  • Writing assignments.
  • A full weekend ahead with plenty of downtime, too.

21 Thursday

  • Watching an extra episode.
  • When you are an efficient problem-solver.
  • The blahs.
  • Your health.
  • Deadness.
  • The promise of the end of the week.
  • Hamburger Mac-n-Cheese.

20 Wednesday

  • An extra 10 percent off.
  • Extra time in the evening.
  • Summer nights.
  • Your home.
  • Your oven.
  • Your porch.
  • Your values.
  • Not wanting to be anywhere else doing anything else.
  • Cinnamon.

19 Tuesday

  • A clean house.
  • Human interaction.
  • An extra walk.
  • When the energy bill is lower than you expected.
  • Front porches.

18 Monday

  • The crabapple tree no longer with us.
  • A new challenge.
  • Kind neighbors.
  • Time to breathe.
  • A free lawnmower.
  • Leftover salmon when you need a quick lunch.
  • Your immune system.
  • Vitamin C.

17 Sunday

  • Puddles.
  • Meditation time.
  • Getting back on track.
  • Bonus walks.
  • Knowing what to do when a common conflict arises.
  • A break from the common energy.
  • Homemade hamburgers.

16 Saturday

  • Reminders of how far you have come.
  • When you see your address on a screen and it makes you happy.
  • Expanding your self-awareness by even just a little. So empowering.
  • Reading time.
  • Finding a new show. Been so long.
  • Cooking the potatoes before the eyes on them start winking at you.

15 Friday

  • The chance to teach.
  • The end of the week.
  • Doing your best. Then letting go.
  • A friend’s call, insight, humor.
  • The ends of each day. Your favorite times.
  • Gorilla glue.

14 Thursday

  • What it feels like to cleanly and fully pull a dandelion, root and all, out of the ground. So satisfying.
  • When you work late and yet it’s still warm enough and light enough for a leisurely walk.
  • Getting to the grocery store and back. Feels so good to get that done. Not as stressful as it was a month ago.
  • Late dinner. Lemon-pepper chicken.
  • Recycling day.
  • Your oven.
  • Boredom.

13 Wednesday

  • Letters.
  • Eggs.
  • Lights.
  • Leftover steak.
  • Leaving the doors open.
  • The promise of rain.
  • A free find — thanks to your neighbor.

12 Tuesday

  • Three-walk days.
  • Buds of life where you thought there was death.
  • When your dog invites you to come down on the rug and love him up.
  • The extra time quarantine has afforded you with your dog.
  • The chance to be creative during the work day.
  • Lenny’s cookies cooled in the fridge.

11 Monday

  • Those who put bowls of water out on their sidewalks for dogs that are not their own. Gotta be a special place in heaven for these people.
  • Getting outside for sun morning, noon, and night.

10 Sunday

  • Free education.
  • Running in the neighborhood with your dog.
  • The good that comes when you tune out the news that brings you down.
  • The good that comes when you get news that you don’t allow to get you down.
  • Boundaries.
  • Mom.
  • Paying off the credit card each month. Early.
  • Rejuve time.
  • Mobility time.
  • Planning time.
  • Early dinner.
  • Early bedtime.
  • A hungry dog.
  • The chance to learn about control.

9 Saturday

  • The chance to talk about Emerson with some smart people.
  • Deleting old emails.
  • Organizing anything.
  • Extra reading time.
  • Finding a new sports movie in which the good guys win in the end.
  • Rain showers.
  • A much-needed nap.

6 Wednesday

  • Breaks.
  • Sun.
  • What the body says.
  • Nighttime showers.
  • Knowing care is coming.

5 Tuesday

  • Routine.
  • Working out outside.
  • Running with your dog.
  • Cool air and sunshine is an underrated combo.
  • Editing time. You could edit all day. It’s the first draft that drains.
  • Frozen pizza night.
  • Finding a new (to you) chocolate frozen treat with, of course, coconut. It’s all the rage now.
  • Symmetry: 05/05.
  • People who make cool chairs out of plastic thrown into the ocean.

4 Monday

  • Figuring out the root of a problem.
  • Accepting a challenge.
  • Starting a new book.
  • Looking at an old one.
  • Birds that come to visit.
  • Dreams with numbers.

3 Sunday

  • Reminders of how short our time is.
  • A new dressing.
  • Delicious days.
  • When you write it good.
  • Salmon.
  • When you turn anger into energy.
  • The anticipation of chocolate treats.

2 Saturday

  • Green plants.
  • Time to sit out in the sun.
  • Maddie, the clerk who rang up your groceries — two weeks worth — at the store.
  • Going to the grocery store. It’s stressful now, to be sure, but it feels good to have gone.
  • Weekend time — to be both idle and productive in the ways you want to be.
  • Taking steps that help you feel the forward motion of life.
  • Sweet coleslaw.

1 Friday

  • Outside. Nighttime. Shirtsleeves. Under the lights. Slight breeze. Yeah.
  • A big bowl of frozen blueberries.
  • Moving forward.
  • Grass.
  • Ants.
  • Red doors.
  • The sound of voices in the distance.
  • Having your own little perch on the world.

April 2020

30 Thursday

  • Doing the right thing.
  • Doing well.
  • Not trying to be perfect.
  • Perfect weather.
  • Mac-n-cheese.
  • Cashing in rewards.
  • Fast Thursday afternoons.
  • Sardines.

29 Wednesday

  • Reading time.
  • Outside time.
  • The crock pot.
  • It’s been nearly two weeks since you went to the grocery store and you are easily going to make it.
  • A great aunt who was a great woman. Born on this day.
  • People who expose blatant hypocrisy. No one is wholly consistent but … sheesh.
  • Hearing from a stranger who liked your work.
  • People who can’t help but make you laugh.

28 Tuesday

  • A trustworthy, capable mechanic.
  • Driving. It’s so weird now.
  • Going to the park with your little buddy riding shotgun.
  • The way your dog still leaps into your lap when you are going to go for a “ride.”
  • Cash back.
  • Egg and hamburger.
  • Still being able to eke out “fresh” vegetables 10-plus days after going to the grocery store.
  • Rain.

27 Monday

  • Mondays that are every bit as Monday-ish as they can be. You have to love it all.
  • An extra meandering stroll around the block late in the evening just because we can.
  • Weather than defines the word comfortable.
  • Car problems when you aren’t even driving your car. Ha!
  • Frozen pizza night.
  • Modest expectations. Meeting them.
  • The cardinal that posed on your tree yesterday.

26 Sunday

  • Hanging with stoics. Online. But still.
  • Bananas and granola and chia seeds smothered in Greek yogurt. Yum.
  • Afternoon rain. Can’t do yard work when it’s raining. So sad.
  • Cat naps with the dog. Yes, those two things can live together.
  • Clocks that work.
  • Having just enough corn chips.

25 Saturday

  • Learning about anger.
  • Learning new gears in your emotional stick shift.
  • Moving forward.
  • Ending well.
  • Acceptance.
  • Not eating too much.
  • Extra sleep when your body needs it.
  • Finding a dish rack that goes with your countertops.
  • Your countertops.

24 Friday

  • The sort of surprise that stirs all the good stuff inside.
  • Wearing shorts outside for the first time this year.
  • People who sing together in the street.
  • Honey Greek yogurt.
  • Paying off a debt!

23 Thursday

  • Kind neighbors.
  • Lunch break walks.
  • Vivid dreams.
  • Extra rest.
  • Meetings at work. You get to talk to your colleagues.
  • Echinacea.
  • Tuna.
  • The long game.
  • When the world tells you to keep things simple and you do.

22 Wednesday

  • Your job.
  • The people you work with.
  • This challenging time.
  • The chance to help others.
  • The sun.
  • Being able to take a long walk without wearing a jacket.
  • Your home.
  • Spaghetti night. Because sometimes extra carbs are what the doctor would order.

21 Tuesday

  • Imperfections.
  • Opportunities for acceptance.
  • Positive feedback.
  • Your resilience now.
  • Taking a break at the end of the day.
  • Environmental changes. Even those inside the home.
  • The calming power of the breath.
  • Seneca.
  • Fish sandwiches with your favorite tartar sauce.

20 Monday

  • Your energy bill.
  • When mystery mail turns out to be something useful.
  • Moving forward. Not always easy for you.
  • Bob Ryan.
  • Pumpkin flax granola somethingorother cereal. Whatever it is, it’s yummy.
  • A full fridge.
  • Wind.
  • Rain.
  • Patience.

19 Sunday

  • The good that happens when truth is shared.
  • The feeling of your dog’s chin on your foot.
  • The people who work at Trader Joe’s.
  • Having enough food for a good while.
  • Having extra mental energy.
  • Mobile deposit. Cool.
  • Neighbors who give you a jump.

18 Saturday

  • Organization. Order your room, order your soul. Or something like that.
  • Chaos. Love that, too.
  • Being fired up.
  • Reaching out.
  • Getting all the clothes folded.
  • Opening the doors and letting the sun come in.

17 Friday

  • Short, fast Fridays.
  • Filing your piece on time.
  • Finding out — in double time — your editor is happy with said piece.
  • The squirrel that left a big snack on your fence. Is that a scone?
  • Big dinners.

16 Thursday

  • Being able to walk late.
  • Keeping plants alive for like a whole year.
  • Recycling day.
  • Having enough.
  • When your dog comes home from a not-short walk then chases his ball around like a canine gone mad.

15 Wednesday

  • A kind handyman.
  • Good customer service. And at an ISP no less!
  • Salmon and potatoes and arugula.
  • Kindness.
  • Judgment.
  • Writing all day.
  • The sound of really smart people on the pages of books.
  • Your immune system.
  • Cottage cheese and yogurt and a banana with chia seeds. Just made it up!

14 Tuesday

  • Trees.
  • Extra writing time.
  • Short weeks.
  • Short workouts.
  • Long walks.
  • Good meals.
  • Grass.
  • The fridge.
  • Hot water.
  • Your health.
  • Chaos.
  • Confusion.
  • Judgment.
  • Lime juice.

13 Monday

  • The energy to organize.
  • The chance to teach.
  • Mondays that are like Fridays.
  • Mental signposts of growth.
  • Sleeping heavy.
  • The way your plants look on your bookshelf.
  • Short walks in the sun during breaks from work.

12 Sunday

  • Sunday Snow Day.
  • Mind on fire.
  • More time to think.
  • Being in the presence of great minds — in print anyway.
  • Large baked potatoes.
  • Paying the bill the day it arrives.
  • Learning about philosophy.
  • Doing something new with a familiar space.
  • Olive oil.

11 Saturday

  • Discovering a new layer of self-understanding.
  • When you don’t have to say much to participate in the group.
  • Stoicism.
  • Being on fire most of the day — other than during nap time, of course.
  • Salad with freshly diced chicken and sesame vinaigrette.
  • 59 degrees.

10 Friday

  • Crispy chili.
  • The chance to teach.
  • The squirrel that taunts your dog from the top of a tree branch.
  • Pay day.

9 Thursday

  • The dependability and predictability of Trader Joe’s.
  • The unpredictability of Minnesota weather. Snow in April!
  • Extra long mornings.
  • Not having a commute when you have to work late.
  • Having chips to go with the chili you are hankering for.
  • Sunlight past 7.
  • Lime juice.

8 Wednesday

  • The moon.
  • Nurses.
  • Chicken.
  • Grocery store clerks and shelvers.
  • Being able to spend so much time with your little buddy.
  • Shared pictures.
  • Hunger.
  • Echinacea.
  • Amino acids.
  • All the money you’re saving on gas right now.
  • Vitamin C.

7 Tuesday

  • When the house warms without having the heat on.
  • Morning showers.
  • The first half of the day.
  • The moon tonight.
  • Your garage.
  • Chia seeds on top of your yogurt.
  • Getting a message about your student loans that isn’t a stressful problem you have to deal with.
  • Peas.

6 Monday

  • Journalists who do their best.
  • When the mail comes at lunch, thus avoiding barking during work hours.
  • Being able to do your job with your dog.
  • Big meals. When you need one.
  • Vitamin C.
  • Postal workers.
  • Quiet time.
  • Wall sits.

5 Sunday

  • Video chat time with a kind and comely soul.
  • Extended writing time.
  • Extended reading time.
  • Learning about American history.
  • Walking outside without a jacket.
  • Your dog.
  • Naps.
  • Pea protein shakes.

4 Saturday

  • Long walks in the early evening on comfortable days and the sun still shining.
  • Strangers who wave and say hello from across the street.
  • The power of good company, even if from a distance.
  • Staying active, in short bursts throughout the day.
  • Writing time.
  • A clean comforter right out of the dryer.
  • Chia seeds.

3 Friday

  • Short workouts.
  • Surviving the grocery store. At least so far. Check back in 10 days.
  • Cheerios.
  • A freezer full.
  • The healing power of broccoli.
  • Your job.

2 Thursday

  • Reminders of what you must do.
  • Signs that you need to adjust.
  • Confidence to know this, too, shall pass.
  • Perfectly cooked steak.

1 Wednesday

  • Being able to eat lunch outside.
  • Calm days.
  • Food breaks.
  • Sardines and broccoli. You feel so good after.
  • Oatmeal. Comfort food that’s good for you.
  • Hump day.
  • Smart people that write for good magazines.
  • Democracy.
  • People who care more about democracy than they do about their personal or political status.
  • April. No foolin’.

March 2020

31 Tuesday

  • The chance to teach.
  • The cardinal that visited one of your trees at lunchtime.
  • Leftover cod.
  • Push-ups.

30 Monday

  • Extra sleep.
  • Extra long walk.
  • Seeing people wearing shorts on said extra long walk.
  • Your health.
  • Fish sandwiches. With tartar sauce.
  • The men and women directly and bravely fighting this thing.

29 Sunday

  • Mobility day.
  • Money management time.
  • Five dollars to spend at the hardware store.
  • Having enough vegetables.
  • DIY videos.
  • Time spent discussing an article’s arguments and ideas.
  • Chicken sandwiches with cheese.
  • That voice inside.

28 Saturday

  • FaceTime.
  • Zoom.
  • Sensitive people.
  • The good that comes when you move first thing in the morning.
  • Writing partners.

27 Friday

  • Refund checks. Two in two days!
  • The end of a unique week.
  • The chance to be creative at work.
  • The power of anger.
  • Competence.
  • Granny Smith apples.

26 Thursday

  • Getting to the grocery store. Who knew that would ever be considered an achievement?
  • A freezer full of chicken and broccoli.
  • Having a full stock of food for the little buddy, too.
  • 60!

25 Wednesday

  • Your job.
  • The kind and capable people you work with who have adjusted to the current climate so swiftly and skillfully.
  • Extra time in the morning for an extra long walk.

24 Tuesday

  • Squirrels that dance on the top of your fence.
  • Your trees.
  • That there is no longer a snowbank on your driveway.
  • Apples and blueberries.

23 Monday

  • Facing fears: new technology. And it actually works!
  • Being able to get in a quick game of play ball with your little buddy on your lunch break.
  • Long post-work walks with same.
  • The healing power of hot tea.

22 Sunday

  • Apple cider vinegar.
  • Bananas and blueberries.
  • The power of touch.
  • A really nice hug.
  • Neighbors who reach out to make sure you are OK.

21 Saturday

  • Staying connected by meeting with the group over the interweb.
  • Short workouts in the basement.
  • Being hungry.
  • Having energy.
  • Granny Smith apples.
  • Moving forward.
  • Watching your dog sprint after a squirrel.
  • Big trees.

20 Friday

  • Spring.
  • Late-afternoon walks.
  • Getting setup and cleaned up at home.
  • Open doors.

19 Thursday

  • Playtime with your dog.
  • Reminders that this life goes by fast.
  • Tails that wag. And butts, too.
  • Squirrels that make paws scamper.
  • Light meals.
  • Rain.
  • Grass.
  • Hot tea to keep the chest warm.
  • Allowing complicated feelings to sort themselves out.
  • Lemons.

18 Wednesday

  • Getting your taxes done. What a relief.
  • The ability to interact with audio and visual over the interweb.
  • People who work at Trader Joe’s.
  • Sardines.
  • Being prepared.
  • Warm showers before bed.
  • Dreams of chocolate-chip cookies.

17 Tuesday

  • Sleep.
  • Being within walking distance.
  • Your job.
  • Your gut.
  • Your dog.
  • Your house.
  • Your health.
  • Having enough food.
  • The sun.

16 Monday

  • The wisdom of the body.
  • Time to problem-solve.
  • Time off in the middle of the week.

14 Saturday

  • Having enough toilet paper.
  • Fumbling towards a new normal.
  • Long walks in fresh air.
  • Disinfectant wipes.
  • Your connection to you.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Epidemiologists.
  • Infectious disease experts.
  • Antiseptics for the mind.

13 Friday

  • Your health.
  • Your home.
  • Food.
  • Water.
  • Your job.
  • Your dog.
  • Being able to wash your own clothes.
  • Being able to bathe yourself.
  • When you are forced to appreciate the essentials.

11 Thursday

  • The choice to take care of yourself.
  • Doing your best, even when the going is slow.

10 Tuesday

  • Early morning visits to the car wash.
  • Seeing a fox amble over the dark road on the way back from the car wash.

9 Monday

  • The power of simplicity.
  • The strength that comes from connection.
  • Eggs for dinner.
  • The chance to look at something from a different angle.
  • Birds. The sound of birds!
  • The chance to learn something new about you.
  • Brazil nuts.

8 Sunday

  • Conversations that make the hours slip by.
  • Taking time to stretch and bench and put your body into the shape it’s supposed to be in.
  • Being with your people.
  • Mint tea.

7 Saturday

  • The Minneapolis Institute of Art.
  • Being comfortable with someone new.
  • Seeing an old painting that you already knew.
  • Stuffed pizza by the slice.
  • Picking up stacks of magazines from the library.
  • Long walks because why not?

6 Friday

  • Correctional exercises.
  • The chance to speak for someone else.
  • Your dog’s still-soft fur.
  • The pairs of rabbits that greeted you and your dog on your meandering, early-morning walk.
  • Oatmeal.

5 Thursday

  • Patience.
  • Acceptance.
  • Finishing an article and getting the all-clear from your editor. So energizing.
  • Salmon.

4 Wednesday

  • A surprising award/reward.
  • A confidence boost right when you could use one.
  • The clarifying power of anger.
  • The opportunity anger creates for connection.

3 Tuesday

  • People who volunteer at polling places.
  • Deciding your vote on the way there.
  • When your mode of transportation is your own two feet.
  • A familiar face in a new place.
  • Feeling deeply. Even when anger is involved.
  • Pragmatism.
  • Hope.

2 Monday

  • Being asked to take on a task.
  • Asking for what you need.

1 Sunday

  • Finishing a project.
  • Walking through puddles.
  • Mobility time.
  • Free hazelnut cookies.
  • Trader Joe.
  • Pete Buttigieg.
  • Reading the Sunday paper cover to cover.
  • Reading Marshall McLuhan.

February 2020

29 Saturday

  • Leap Day.
  • Meeting someone new that you like and relate to with little or no effort.
  • Leftover coffee.
  • Getting two long walks in.
  • Five dollars off your pizza.
  • When you articulate yourself really well, with vulnerability and humility and insight, to a group of people who get it. Wow. Few things better than that.

28 Friday

  • Mobility time.
  • The moment after you get home from work and can change into “home” clothes.
  • Milkshakes
  • Dreams of closed doors, open doors.
  • Having no credit card debt.
  • Hustle.

27 Thursday

  • The moment you realize you are done for the day and that you soon will be home to relax and eat and be with your dog.
  • Trusting your gut about someone.
  • After all these years learning how to bench better.
  • Ken’s chunky blue cheese dressing.
  • Anniversaries.

26 Wednesday

  • Squatting heavy a second time this week already.
  • Small connections.
  • Bran flakes.
  • The deer you see grazing in the distance as you drive by on the highway in your way to work.
  • The incredible man powers of cauliflower.
  • Albino squirrels.

24 Monday

  • Days that go by in a flash.
  • New basement ballgames.
  • Jim McKay.
  • A more innocent time.
  • Going through the whole day and never getting tired.
  • U.S.A. 4, Finland 2.

23 Sunday

  • The first walk of the year when you think, “I don’t care how long this takes.”
  • Clarity of purpose. It cuts through so much of the crap.
  • A fridge full of meals.
  • A renewed plan in the gym.
  • Chest flys the right way.
  • Capsasin.
  • The taste of maple in your cereal.

22 Saturday

  • Walking without mittens.
  • Purpose.
  • Restarts.
  • Self-connection.
  • Doing one thing.
  • Herb Brooks.
  • Taking care of yourself.
  • Salmon dinner.
  • Being part of something good.

21 Friday

  • Being immersed.
  • Feeling alive.
  • Periods of stagnation.
  • Frustration.
  • Learning new things.
  • Eating in rather than ordering that pizza.
  • A break in the cold that allows the long walk you and your buddy need after a long week.

19 Wednesday

  • Mechanics with loaner cars.
  • The moment you get your car back after an oil change.
  • Texting funnies with your neighbor.
  • Mid-week meal prep.
  • Not taking shit.
  • Making it on time.

18 Tuesday

  • The Elizabeth Warren volunteers who knock on your door.
  • Active-recovery day.

17 Monday

  • Hot baths.
  • Magnesium.
  • Filing an article.
  • Momentum.

16 Sunday

  • Rock-solid sleep.
  • Cod and tarter sauce.
  • Meeting someone new.
  • Making someone you just met laugh so hard they draw tears.
  • Learning a better way to row.
  • A couple heavy squats quick.
  • Your little buddy’s fur.
  • Egg sandwiches.
  • Clean sheets.
  • Letting go of everything and relaxing into the night.

15 Saturday

  • Puddles in February.
  • Free Oreos.
  • Looking ahead.
  • Seeing how excited your little buddy still is, after all these years, when he hears the words “go for a ride.”
  • Pleasure in ordinary things.
  • The birth of my brother.

14 Friday

  • Chocolate and bananas.
  • Nilla wafers.
  • Sausage-egg-biscuit. So, yeah, cheat day.
  • Shoulder day.
  • Back stretches.
  • Thinking of someone and then, poof, they appear.
  • The faint sound of the crack when you snap back into place. So satisfying.
  • The easy way.
  • The window seat.
  • The ability to wash and dry clothes while making dinner and playing with your dog.

13 Thursday

  • That it’s not last February.
  • That you deal better with the cold now.
  • Light dinner.
  • Darkness.
  • The chance to speak.
  • Your job.
  • A warm house.
  • Ginger on your chicken.
  • Ginger in your water.

12 Wednesday

  • Time set aside for you to write.
  • Time set aside for the dog to play.
  • Catching up on sleep.
  • A tidy fridge. And freezer.
  • Hot chili and corn chips.
  • The health of your relationship with you.

11 Tuesday

  • Clean teeth.
  • The sensation of clean teeth on your tongue.
  • Extra time in the morning.
  • What you can do in a half hour when you hustle and the stars align.
  • Making people laugh at work.
  • Making meaning.
  • Making dinner.

10 Monday

  • Fast Mondays.
  • Meal prep.
  • Feeling pumped most of the day.
  • Just getting into the writing, even if for a few minutes.
  • Little Debbie jokes. Because does anyone even eat those things anymore?
  • The Heart Guard alarm.
  • Close quarters.
  • When your dog dreams and you know it.
  • Light dinners.
  • Reading time.
  • Holding tight to love because you know keenly that this life is not forever.

9 Sunday

  • Invitations to dinner.
  • Being around people who strive to better themselves.
  • Snow globe snow.
  • Mobility day.
  • Laughter.
  • Chicken and rice.
  • Driving in the car with your little buddy riding shotgun.
  • Not fighting it.
  • The way the body releases what it does not need.
  • Day dreams.
  • Pineapple.

8 Saturday

  • Two-dream naps.
  • Three-writing-session days.
  • The commitment to action.
  • A tidy closet.
  • The small bird that perched and chirping on your fence, greeting you upon your return home. For a moment there it feels like spring.
  • Donating and delivering a big bag full of clothes to a worthy charity you know can use the shirts and shoes and pants you are not.
  • Getting your sets in on short time at the gym.
  • New toys at said gym, including one designed to help build your pedestrian shoulders.
  • Steak sandwiches. With extra butter.

 

7 Friday

  • When the right thing is done.
  • Evening walks in air that makes you feel alive.
  • The last hour of the work week (even if it doesn’t turn out to be the last hour of the work week).
  • Think! bars. Brownie crunch is where it’s at.
  • The motion-activated light at your back door that clicks right as you are reaching for the keys with your right hand while holding a dog under your left arm.

 

6 Thursday

  • Getting away with one.
  • Being trusted.
  • How bright the light on the way in the door after work!
  • Steak: it’s not just for dinner anymore.
  • A high-energy dog.
  • Dogs who run up to the fence to greet you. Or at least sniff your butt.
  • Journalists who care about the truth and who work long hours to report that truth.

 

5 Wednesday

  • Sun past 5 p.m.
  • A good solid day.
  • That moment right after you proved to yourself that you didn’t mess up big-time after all and, in fact, got it right. Sigh!
  • Friendly neighbors.
  • Green tea in the afternoon.
  • A spoonful of honey dipped in peanut butter.
  • Smiles.

 

4 Tuesday

  • The chance to interview Sal Di Stefano.
  • The chance to learn about resistance training.
  • The chance to introduce a vulnerable population to the benefits of resistance training.
  • The boost you get from the morning workout.
  • The chance to be in this life with your little buddy.
  • The chance to be responsible for another creature.
  • Anxiety.
  • Distraction.
  • New days.
  • The wisdom of the body.
  • Losing your way so you can find it again.

 

2 Sunday

  • Forty degrees.
  • A tidy dresser.

 

1 Saturday

  • Inspiration.
  • Highland Park.
  • Bridges.
  • Honesty.
  • The son.
  • Humor.
  • Corn chips.
  • Your nature.
  • Canada.

January 2020

31 Friday

  • The end of January.
  • Just enough snow to pretty up the place.
  • Confidence.
  • Nancy Pelosi.
  • Despair.
  • People who fight for the principles on which America was founded.
  • The hawk perched on the highway light as you drive by, the rabbit poised on the sidewalk as you walk by, the dog lying at your feet as you sit down at the end of the day.

29 Wednesday

  • Fast Januarys.
  • A working garage.
  • Bananas.
  • Mid-week meal prep.
  • How fast your little buddy bounces back.
  • Nights at home with your little buddy.
  • Red Sharpies.
  • The smell of French fries in an unexpected place.

28 Tuesday

  • Not thinking too much before taking a risk.
  • The moment you know your day’s work is done.
  • Taking care of your little buddy when he is under the weather.
  • Exercising throughout the day.
  • Peanut butter and Granny Smith apples.
  • Celebrating someone else, making them happy, being in a position to do that.

27 Monday

  • A la carte dinner.
  • Evening walks, even when it’s cold.
  • A safe home.
  • A dog who is excited to play.
  • The way you look in the mirror while doing lat pull-downs.
  • Yogurt blueberry crunch. It’s a thing.

26 Sunday

  • $5-off coupons.
  • Minnehaha Falls.
  • Special walks on Sundays.
  • Shoulder day.
  • Lifts to grow the traps.
  • Finally digging into a project you’ve been sitting on. Weight lifted.
  • Organized cupboards.
  • A tidy gym locker.
  • Pea protein-filled chocolate milk shakes.

25 Saturday

  • Well-bagged groceries.
  • The feeling of just-trimmed hair on the back of your neck.
  • Sardines.
  • A car that gets you where you want and need to go.
  • Kelp.

24 Friday

  • Snow-lined trees.
  • Slush.
  • Shovels.
  • Emotion that comes seemingly from nowhere.
  • When your dog waves using just his ears.
  • Box-squats.
  • Sun lamps.
  • Knowing you really helped someone.
  • Writing all day.
  • Guacamole.

23 Thursday

  • Two-walk Thursdays.
  • People who care passionately about our country.
  • People who care about the observable truth.
  • People who are good at logic.
  • Democracy.
  • Seeing your dog relaxing in his plush new bed.

22 Wednesday

  • The number two.
  • Two walk-Wednesdays.
  • Compliments: received and given.
  • Sleeping heavy.
  • Adam Schiff.

21 Tuesday

  • When your little buddy has extra pep his step.
  • Anger: sometimes it wakes you up.
  • The power of taking charge.
  • Learning about money.
  • Feeling your arms and, hey, that muscle is getting bigger.
  • Yogurt-blueberry-granola dessert. So good you have an extra helping.

20 Monday

    Hearing Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Reading Viktor Frankl.

19 Sunday

  • Scheduled writing time in a quiet place with a friend.
  • Just the right amount of exercise.
  • Having more mojo at the end of a workout than at the start.
  • Making an offer on something that is way below asking price.
  • The way people respond to your pet in public places.
  • Energy all day: the crud is going away!
  • The Packers not makeup it to the Super Bowl.

18 Saturday

  • A tidy medicine cabinet.
  • A sudden lack of phlegm.
  • Conversation that makes you want to take action.
  • The formation of a clearer vision for a room.
  • Pringles.
  • Reading time.

17 Friday

  • Snowstorms when you are safely at home.
  • The weekend just when you need rest.

16 Thursday

  • The moment you walk in the door after coming home from work and see your little buddy.
  • The moment you sip coffee for the first time while on the couch with your little buddy.

15 Wednesday

  • Not being hungry.
  • Nancy Pelosi.

14 Tuesday

  • Think! bars.
  • The healing effects of fasting.
  • A hot shower.
  • Getting a task done fast.
  • A path through the snow.
  • The sound of your dog’s breath.

13 Monday

  • Apple cider vinegar.
  • Water.
  • Your dog’s new bed, which is soft and makes him feel safe.
  • When an extra shipment comes in.
  • The body’s ability to fight off illness.
  • Being outside, at home, at night, in the winter, under the lights, with snow falling, lightly.

12 Sunday

  • Potato chips with a sandwich.
  • The power of push-ups.
  • Lazy days.
  • Long walks.
  • How fast January is flying by.
  • Don Rickles.

11 Saturday

  • The NFL playoffs.
  • The second person.
  • Connection.
  • Knowing what you want.
  • What it means when you don’t.
  • Being useful.
  • Crispy Southwestern egg rolls.

10 Friday

  • The warmth of home after having a winter wind in your face for four blocks.
  • Having a package locker less than a block from your home.
  • A hungry dog.
  • A calm dog.
  • A dog who sprints to you when you take out his treat.
  • Paying down debts.
  • When debts only get smaller never larger.
  • When a nerve is touched and you do not react until, and only if, you’re ready.

9 Thursday

  • What happens when you flex your muscles.
  • The feeling of being more connected to your muscles.
  • When a tough decision gets answered for you.
  • A full belly.

8 Wednesday

  • Good ideas.
  • Good news.
  • Having too many good weekend options.
  • Good fruit.

7 Tuesday

  • The chance to be interviewed.
  • The chance to be asked for help by a superior.
  • When the dog wants to keep walking on, farther away from the house, even in the dark, even as the temp seemingly drops by the minute.
  • An extra-long and plenty warm shower.
  • Makeshift taco salad.

6 Monday

  • Fast hours.
  • Slow walks.
  • Ricky Gervais monologues.
  • Blue cheese dressing.

5 Sunday

  • Unexpected victories.
  • Chocolate shakes.
  • Warm days in January. Seriously?
  • Getting the Sunday run to the grocery store done early, before the aisles get too crowded.
  • Tarter sauce.
  • Active-recovery day.
  • Football food.

4 Saturday

  • Choices.
  • Freedom.
  • The opportunity to look very differently at the same person, the same problem, the same peculiarity.
  • A big pot of broccoli. Pass the salt and pepper.

3 Friday

  • Snow that doesn’t show.
  • Short weeks that finally end.
  • The confidence to ask good questions.
  • Your mother’s birth.
  • What happens when you don’t fight fatigue.
  • Left-over spaghetti.

2 Thursday

  • Freebies.
  • Cheese sandwiches.
  • A full tank.
  • Morning walks that end on account of time rather than on account of the cold.
  • Back to work after a break.
  • Farmer carries.
  • Car washes.

1 Wednesday

  • New friends.
  • New years.
  • New notebooks.
  • Car rides with the little buddy in which you play music and sing out loud — well, at least one of you does.
  • Happy returns.

Best of 2019

Four things you are especially grateful for in 2019:

1. Your job. New title, new opportunities to contribute within that title, same great team.

2. Your dog’s health. Another year together. A new, capable, and kind person on the care team. Winter, spring, summer, or fall — plenty of places to play.

3. Your writing. How you apply your time and words now — more constructively, more productively, more focused, more true — and how that time and those words enhance your health and well-being.

4. Your people. You know more of them now than you have at any time before as an adult.

December 2019

31 December

  • Spending exactly two cents under the full gift card amount.
  • Spending exactly 38 cents over the threshold for free shipping.
  • New shoes.
  • Adding color to your wardrobe.
  • Skipping the fast-food you had your eye on.
  • A tired little buddy.
  • Heavy squats.
  • Snow that is lighter today than it was yesterday.
  • Ribeye dinner.
  • 2019. For the events of this year made you more competent, more confident and more secure — and never more ready to resume the work you are here to do.

30 Monday

  • Sitting in your shit.
  • Taking a day off from your phone.
  • Compost days for the mind.
  • Writing that makes you cry.
  • Snow that pretties everything up.
  • Cabbage.

29 Sunday

  • Leftover pizza shared with a friend.
  • When you are moved to go somewhere at an illogical time … and then you go … and you find out why … and it makes you happy the rest of the day.

28 Saturday

  • Making it on a day when the roads are like ice rinks.
  • Great conversions.
  • Prunes.
  • Witnessing another’s vulnerability.
  • Personal break-throughs.
  • Ginger chicken and broccoli.
  • The faint whiff of a summer barbecue while driving during the middle of winter. No idea!

27 Friday

  • Yearly planners.
  • Eggs for dinner.
  • Bookstores.
  • Lessening the pile of mail and other miscellany.
  • The smell of ginger cooking in the oven.
  • Time to breath and think and do and be.
  • Winter afternoon sun.
  • Being keenly aware of what is important to you.

26 Thursday

  • When everything falls into place precisely when you thought you were going to be pressed for time.
  • Going to the bank when it’s nighttime.
  • Paying down debt.
  • Cereal for dinner.

25 Wednesday

  • The fact that once a year, whether you are naughty or nice, John McClane comes to town and saves the day.
  • The animals who provide us with our meals.
  • The anticipation of time off.
  • When you can talk politics over the holidays.
  • Generous gifts.
  • Homemade whipped cream over cocoa cake.
  • Surprising someone with sweetness.

24 Tuesday

  • Moments of peace.
  • Working on holidays.
  • Salmon.
  • Calm.
  • Mornings.
  • Power hours.
  • The anticipation of time off.
  • A gift that is a little bit goofy and a little bit sweet.
  • Your thoughtfulness.

23 Monday

  • The way a sporting event can suck you in.
  • Candlelight.
  • Letting things play out.
  • Being OK if they don’t work out.
  • Squats.
  • Half days.
  • Holidays.
  • Helping out.
  • Positive feedback.
  • Making someone feel comfortable through laughter.

22 Sunday

  • Deadlifts.
  • Working out with a new friend.
  • Glorious sun.
  • When the days get longer.
  • Starting the day in the very best way, with writing that moves you.
  • When a team member walks you to the right aisle rather than just pointing in that general direction.
  • Prunes.
  • When you find exactly the right Christmas card.

21 Saturday

  • Home.
  • Vagabon’s “Waters Me Down.
  • The healing power of a single meal.
  • Any moment of regret or sadness that makes you reaffirm what is most important to you.
  • The shortest day of the year.
  • Push-ups.

20 Friday

  • Love.
  • Meatloaf.
  • Mashed potatoes.
  • Green beans.
  • The idea of heart-red shades.
  • Southwestern colors.
  • Honesty.
  • Avocado flatbread.
  • Finding the glass-speckled bowl you didn’t know you were looking for.

19 Thursday

  • When the gas bill goes down in December.
  • When your dog likes your massage so much you can see the relief in his face.
  • Adam Schiff.
  • Alpha waves.
  • Nancy Pelosi.
  • Apples.
  • Not forcing it.
  • The chance to be creative at work.
  • Lactose-free milk.
  • This day and the opportunities it holds.

18 Wednesday

  • Morning clarity.
  • When you are driving down the street and the answer of what to get someone for Christmas just comes to you.
  • Pull-ups.
  • Broccoli slaw.
  • Your dog’s eyes.
  • When the day ahead looks like it will include a lot of good!

17 Tuesday

  • A clean home.
  • Fiber.
  • Irritability.
  • PepperJack Cheese.
  • Solid sleep.
  • Extra time in the morning.
  • Journalists committed to truth.
  • Dry chicken.

16 Monday

  • Sundays.
  • Writing partners.
  • Reconnecting to the most important story.
  • Complimentary coffee from Caribou.
  • Running into someone you want to run into at the grocery store.
  • Saying hello.
  • Early bedtime. A good book. A warm blanket.

15 Sunday

  • Dreams that take some figuring out.
  • The power of the unconscious.
  • Sleep.
  • Your hair stylist.
  • Having just enough food to get through the day, including a three-month-old box of Mac-n-Cheese.
  • Better late than never.

14 Saturday

  • A home-cooked meal prepared especially for you.
  • Great wine. Just enough.
  • Energy that comes from being with another.
  • Cheese and crackers.
  • The best laughter: shared laughter — the jokes only two people know.

13 Friday

  • When there is nothing especially scary about your day.
  • Taking time for adult you.
  • Perfume.
  • Bowls.
  • Moist sugar cookies that are somehow, amazingly, just sweet enough.

12 Thursday

  • Vaccines.
  • Water.
  • Smiles.
  • Laughter.
  • Clocks.
  • Art.
  • Anticipation.
  • Yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt.

11 Wednesday

  • Chocolate.
  • The chance to teach.
  • The chance to write something that could help someone.
  • Honesty.
  • Risk.
  • Adam Schiff.

10 Tuesday

  • Whoever cleared my sidewalk on a cold night.
  • Heat. My god, the heat!
  • Being your own coach.
  • Taking it one day at a time.
  • Mobility practice.
  • Sun lamp light.
  • Memories of a funny night.
  • Brioche.

9 Monday

  • Car rides with my dog.
  • Pet store coupons.
  • Finding out you were wrong about someone.
  • Eye drops.
  • Brussel sprouts.
  • Insecurities. They ain’t all bad.
  • Feeling more secure in what you do and who you do it with at work.
  • Pillows.
  • Vulnerabilities. Where all the good stuff is.
  • Turkey without the stuffing.
  • Connection. Even if across states and time and ages.

8 Sunday

  • Days off.
  • Long mornings.
  • Extra rest.
  • More time with the little buddy.
  • When sleep gets in your eyes.
  • Water.
  • The washing machine.
  • Honesty.
  • The capacity to be honest when being honest might cost you something.
  • Nancy Pelosi.

7 Saturday

  • Free pizza.
  • Extra dough. Cash, that is.
  • A workout that energizes you.
  • Steak for breakfast.

6 Friday

  • Loss.
  • Facing fears.
  • Not holding on.
  • Not chasing.
  • Letting go.
  • Relief.
  • Learning from your actions. Not even learning from your mistakes, really, because sometimes the learning opportunities aren’t wrong actions per se — just instances in which you identify that it might be helpful to take a different tact at a future time.
  • The value of having and building equity in multiple areas. When you get disappointed by something in one area you can lift yourself up on the foundation of another area.
  • Coffee.
  • Momentum.
  • Being in a highly energized environment. It’s draining and intoxicating at the same time.
  • Sadness.
  • A cheeseburger after a stressful day.

 

5 Thursday

  • Dreaming of your little buddy finally catching the squirrel.
  • Late-night texts.
  • Morning naps.
  • Reading a mediocre memoir.
  • Writing during the work day.
  • Memories of past jobs.
  • Always having access to a piece of chicken.
  • Going weeks without spending money in the cafeteria at work.
  • Seeing progress as a saver.
  • Seeing progress in the form of a faster metabolism.
  • Seeing progress toward paying down a debt.
  • Darkness. Especially in the morning.
  • Motion sensor lights.

 

4 Wednesday

  • Three words: free chocolate milk.
  • Extra time to teach.
  • The chance to teach with writing.
  • Realizing you can handle another’s disappointment so well now. (Used to be a particular challenge for you.)
  • Steak and spinach salad.
  • Squirrels that still run around like it’s not winter.
  • Warm evenings for winter walks.
  • Your dog’s breath. Still on a great pace.
  • The chance to make a little extra cash before the holidays.

 

3 Tuesday

  • Busy days.
  • New opportunities.
  • Security.
  • Smiles.
  • Your breath.
  • Being enough.
  • Feeling pumped.
  • Baked beans.

 

2 Monday

  • Compost Days: days when you rest extra, yet remain gently active, writing and reading and letting life energy replenish.
  • Waking up alive.
  • Not giving in to fear.
  • Not reacting from the original wound.
  • Chicken drumsticks.
  • Clarity of purpose.
  • Spinach.
  • Choosing greater self-trust.
  • Looking out the window in the morning the day after it snowed almost all day and seeing the path you shoveled is still clear.

 

1 Sunday

  • Real conversation.
  • Sweet lips.
  • Calm canines.
  • Colby Jack cheddar.
  • Living the dream.
  • Dreaming the life.
  • Extra groceries.
  • Getting the groceries a day early so you don’t have to go anywhere on the usual day to get groceries, Sunday.
  • A day to rest. After the shoveling is done, of course.
  • Finishing a notebook.
  • Starting a new month.
  • Not being in a hurry.
  • Asking the right question at the right time.

November 2019

30 Saturday

  • Your past.
  • The present day.
  • Possible good times in the near future.
  • When you are enough.
  • Worshipping the right Gods.
  • Extra water.
  • The blahs.
  • Messing around in the gym at night.
  • The woman named Emma you talked greens with in the grocery store.
  • Naps.

29 Friday

  • Sleeping through the night.
  • A warm house.
  • The feeling of the side of your dog’s head on the side of your foot.
  • Stuffing.
  • Being able to talk about politics at Thanksgiving — among other real conversations.
  • Clear sidewalks.
  • Listening to David Frum, William Crystal and other conservative intellectuals talk with the integrity that comes from putting principle over party.
  • The chance to analyze your dreams.
  • A great visit to the the vet.
  • The morning routine.
  • Turkey the next day.

28 Thursday

  • Turkeys.
  • Chickens.
  • All birds for that matter.
  • Dogs.
  • Trees.
  • A clear (more or less) driveway.
  • Patrick Reusse’s Turkey of the Year.
  • George Conway.
  • Gyms that are open on Thanksgiving because when do you need to burn calories more?
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Note the book John Candy’s character is reading the first time he talks to Steve Martin’s character. Ha!

27 Wednesday

  • Snow days.
  • A tidy house.
  • Wide awake at 3 a.m.
  • Power naps because 3 a.m.
  • Getting three significant things down at work in a span of 16 minutes.
  • Pumpkin pie.
  • The neighbor who clears your sidewalk.
  • The sound of Scott Russell Sanders’s voice on the page.
  • The day before a holiday.
  • The firefighter who stops her snowblower for you and smiles at you as you trudge on by through new snow.
  • A warm shovel.

26 Tuesday

  • Thanksgiving Day workouts.
  • The power of letting go.
  • The last frontier.
  • Early mornings.
  • Short weeks.
  • Potlucks.
  • High-fives.
  • Sporks.
  • Creamed corn.
  • Confrontation.
  • Your favorite hoodie.
  • David Corn.
  • Being your own influencer.

25 Monday

  • Complicated dreams. Dreams you can sink your teeth into.
  • Feeling things deeply.
  • Going to bed early, waking up early.
  • Aaron Sorkin.
  • The sensation of hunger.
  • Never having to be truly hungry.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Sadness.
  • Being excited to hear from someone.
  • Sun boxes.

24 Sunday

  • Delayed feeling.
  • The power of “I Am Enough.”
  • A great laugh.
  • An easy smile.
  • When you find yourself giggling a lot.
  • When the values you hold most dear serve you in direct ways during big days.
  • Bright red lipstick.
  • When the checkout guy at Trader Joe’s asks how your day is so far and you have to say that up until that point it has been pretty close to perfect, with writing and lifting and meaningful conversation and coffee and spending time with someone special and blazing a new trail (new to you) with your dog at the Falls. And now you have a pesto pizza to top it off.

23 Saturday

  • Lifelong challenges.
  • Being ready.
  • Carrying it all with you.
  • Putting it all to use.
  • Setting it all aside.
  • New days.
  • New ways.
  • Being enough.

22 Friday

  • Who you are now.
  • Hearing from someone special unexpectedly.
  • Buns with butter on them.
  • The healing power of a lacrosse ball that you roll over tender muscles.
  • Tuna-avocado-radicchio times two.
  • The end of the day and it’s way late, as you had to work late, and the dishes are done and you are done, you are fed, the dog is fed, and you both have moved enough so that you are able to be still. The music is right and you don’t want to do anything else or be anywhere else. You just hang with your dog, stroking his soft fur, and dream, waking-style, before you soon slip into the nocturnal dream state.

21 Thursday

  • The middle of the night. The hours between the days. Sirens in the distance.
  • When an Amazon locker comes to the convenience store a half a block away. You don’t order a lot but it is the world right now and what that will do to discourage people with dubious intentions from even driving down the street.
  • The Southwestern style.
  • The sound of rain on the roof.
  • Corn.
  • Sean Maloney.
  • Anxiety.
  • Days that fly by because you are immersed in writing.
  • Memory.

20 Wednesday

  • A healthy appetite.
  • Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you can still sleep for three or more hours.
  • Warm November days.
  • Being able to go for two walks a day with your little buddy.
  • Routines.
  • Hard-boiled eggs.
  • Pull-over shirts.
  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
  • What you learn when you teach.

19 Tuesday

  • The chance to teach a colleague.
  • The way the body knows, waking you up early and keeping you up all day, when there is something you need to tend to.
  • The bunny on the lawn before dawn that your little buddy chases off.
  • Early-week rest days.
  • A baked potato dipped in olive oil and sea salt.
  • Adam Schiff.
  • Happiness at home.

18 Monday

  • A good night of sleep. Cannot be rated highly enough.
  • Quiet moments at the end of the day with your dog.
  • Paring back. You wanted to do more but you did not have it in you to do it all.
  • Chicken wraps.
  • Cereal with pumpkin seeds in it.
  • Fresh sheets on the bed.
  • Baby arugula.
  • Doing push-ups all day, nine at a time.
  • Getting all the laundry done.


17 Sunday

  • The plants in my house. Even though I can’t name them.
  • The chance to read and write with my dog at my feet, content and asleep.
  • The urgency I feel now.
  • The chance to self-correct.
  • My job.
  • Good books.
  • Bad books.
  • Pizza delivered to my door.
  • Pam Houston’s “How to Talk to a Hunter.”
  • The large red spider I found in my basement the other day. May he be well on the other side of my walls.
  • My furnace.
  • Ray Carver’s “Cathedral.” I have read it at least four times over the years. Still fabulous. Bub!


10 Sunday
– The National Wildlife Refuge.
– The life of the dead mole we saw at the National Wildlife Refuge.
– Chocolate milk.
– A cozy home.
– The challenges ahead.

9 Saturday
– Seeing a bald eagle float through the air not very far from your head.
– Watching the Gophers win.
– Laziness. Another avenue to learning.
– The way you come alive when you are around people who also want to dig into the common challenges of being human.

8 Friday
– Decorating a space.
– When you can write about the past and not get worn out.
– Cardinals.

6 Wednesday
– Organizing a space.
– When you can write about your everyday and find yourself come that much more alive.
– Bluebirds.

5 Tuesday
– Two-walk November Tuesdays.
– Chicken sandwiches.
– Power naps.
– Recovering the day after a wasted morning.
– The sight of someone special.

4 Monday
– Having a lot of energy for the day.
– Getting so much done.
– The power of 10 minutes of meditation.
– French Toast.

3 Sunday
– Speaking truth to strangers.
– Saying what you have to say to a friend.
– Accepting the fact that you can’t reach some people at least some of the time — not excepting those you have reached before.

2 Saturday
– Showing up to the party and having a really good time.
– Pretty women who don’t act like they know they are.
– Adding carpet to the basement. Then watching your little buddy run on same.
– Cleaned out gutters.
– Motion-sensor lights with fresh light bulbs.
– Being ready for winter. As ready as you can be anyway.

1 Friday
– Making it another year above ground.
– Bringing donuts to work.
– A Baker’s Wife: the best donuts in town.
– The chance to teach a colleague.
– Working out with good guys: what a great way to start the day.

October 2019

31 Thursday
– When the cheap carpet actually perfectly matches the room.
– Birthday gifts that that simultaneously thoughtful and funny.
– Halloween.

30 Wednesday
– Finding a good doctor.
– Feeling listened to.
– Yoga during the work day.
– Hours that go by in a flash.

29 Tuesday
– Vulnerability.
– The good that comes from speaking your mind.
– Squared cereal.

28 Monday
– Smiles.
– The Mississippi River.
– The red in leaves.
– Feeling like maybe, possibly you are growing a chest.
– One tree full of red leaves in front of an old house.
– When you correct your posture and hear that faint click of bodily alignment. So satisfying.
– Weather just warm enough to walk in — with a hat, that is.
– Cheese-and-chicken sandwiches.
– Cottage cheese.

27 Sunday
– Having the gym more or less to yourself.
– The way you feel the writing in your body.
– Big sale at the co-op on a apple cider vinegar.

26 Saturday
– My dog. Born on this day 12 years ago.
– Visiting the old stomping — and sniffing — grounds because … birthday.
– Cheap carpet.
– Meeting a guy named Steve Martin. No, not that one. Not the wild and crazy guy. The one who knows about cheap carpet.
– Gorgeous fall days.

25 Friday
Productive Friday nights.

23 Wednesday
Opening up your email in the morning to find a note from a history professor at your alma mater letting you knowing your book is part of his curriculum.

22 Tuesday
– Going to the meeting.
– Meeting a maybe new friend at the meeting.
– Free dinner. Indian. And pizza. And shepherd’s pie.
– Having the cake, too, because why not? Did you mention … it’s free.
– Picking up your little buddy from the vet.
– When you get a free visit to the vet.

20 Sunday
– When tears come during a writing session.
– Authentic conversations.
– Going to a new coffee shop and discovering you are 400 feet from the otherwise out-of-the way pet supply you wanted to get to this weekend.

19 Saturday
– The woman who sang while you ate dinner at Hell’s Kitchen.
– The gin cocktails at same.
– Anniversaries: one year at home.

16 Wednesday
– The RE Store.
– All stores that are dog-friendly.
– A hungry dog.
– Finding a hose hanger for $3.50 plus tax.
– Making an old colleague laugh.
– “The Swimmer” by John Cheevers.

15 Tuesday
– Writing all day.
– Working out at home.
– Soaking in warm water.
– The letter W.

14 Monday
– Fall early evening skies.
– Writing in the day’s small spaces.

13 Sunday
– The Highland Water Tower.
– Sun that comes out just in time for the evening walk.
– Heavy squats.
– Making time for writing throughout the day.
– Keeping the grocery bill down. But still getting some chips for guac because those avocados aren’t going to eat themselves.

12 Saturday
Being the only one in the office with time to get caught up.

11 Friday
– Not having any bills to pay. At least not today.
– Going to an art gallery in the middle of a weekday.
– Seeing an art history graduate student at the gallery, there by herself, studying — the voluntary kind.
– Small Yukon gold potatoes, sauteed and smothered with salt.

10 Thursday
– Doing what you are meant to do. If only for part of the day. So energy-infusing.
– Davani’s pizza.
– Guessing right when the correct answer is Zellweger.
– Clean teeth.
– Walking in the rain.

9 Wednesday
A chance to teach.

8 Tuesday
A chance to learn about money.

7 Monday
– The Mississippi River.
– The drive over the Mississippi River.
– The woman with blond curly hair who smiled at you and also laughed at your joke. Sometimes a moment means more than that. Even when shared with a stranger.

6 Sunday
– A new rug. One with the perfect colors. The kindness of strangers.
– A side order of pancakes.
– When bad customer service is made right by good customer service.
– Driving by an old haunt.

5 Saturday
– Sharing your idea with a group and getting more good ideas than you know what to do with.
– Support. A little bit goes a long way.
– A clean house.

4 Friday
Removing all the clutter. Getting ready to clean.

3 Thursday
– Functioning headlights.
– Extra spaghetti.
– Having more energy at the end of a long walk than at the beginning.

2 Wednesday
Blue suede shoes.

1 Tuesday
Extra writing time.

September 2019

29 Sunday
– Rainy Sundays.
– Writing time with a friend.
– When your essay takes a new turn.
– Coffee shop conversation.
– Buttermilk pancakes.
– Having so much to eat you give some of your meal away.

28 Saturday
– Having something to push against.
– Strong arms.
– Reading a printed newspaper at the end of the day.

27 Friday
The whistleblower.

24 Tuesday
– Doing a really good, detailed job that makes someone else’s day a little easier.
– Being so immersed during gym time you nearly go past your allotted time.
– The Highland Park neighborhood.
– Car rides with the little buddy. He still gets as excited as a kid riding on a roller coaster.

23 Monday
– A great workout.
– Fantastic weather.
– The perfect-sized pizza.

22 Sunday
Your abilities to talk to people. Always more comfortable communicating with words on paper, recent signs suggest you can speak pretty OK, too.

21 Saturday
– New seasons.
– Hip bridges.
– Signs you are stronger.
– Mediterranean egg bake.
– Paprika. Not sure which is better — eating paprika or saying paprika.
– How easy it is to write now.

20 Friday
– Muggy fall days.
– Being able to walk to the store.
– Kemps chocolate-chip ice cream.

19 Thursday
– New parks you go to on a whim.
– Gas stations at night.

18 Wednesday
– Being able to wear shorts and Ts on long walks this late in the year.
– Feeling pumped up in those shorts and Ts while on a long walk this late in the year.
– Getting to write all day.

 17 Tuesday
– Healthy eyes.
– New opportunities.
– Having a friend with whom to share the good news.

16 Monday
– The chance to cry.
– Feeling something so deeply you can’t not.

14 Saturday
– Talking to a group of sensitive and thoughtful people and just feeling so alive with possibilities and personal insight.
– Having a good conversation with your hair cutter.
– Green tea in the afternoon.
– Making progress on something important.

10 Tuesday
– Finding a good cardiologist.
– Medical professionals who are patient.
– Being able to see your little buddy’s heart beat.

9 Monday
– Extra gym time.
– The feel of the bar.
– Doing a whole bunch of dead-lifts.
– Early walks.
– Rainy afternoons.
– Making it on time.

8 Sunday
Having a good person as a good friend.

7 Saturday
– Chuck Taylors.
– Making a whole room laugh.

6 Friday
– Squatting heavy and feeling the weight get lighter with each set.
– Sea Salt at night.
– Having someone else observe how many people so positively respond to your dog.

5 Thursday
Learning of another chance to teach.

3 Tuesday
– Old radio interviews.
– T.D. Mischke
– Overhead pull-throughs.
– Steak for breakfast. Oatmeal for lunch. Coleslaw for dinner.

2 Monday
All the people who worked so hard so that I wouldn’t have to work as long each week.

1 Sunday
– Anniversaries of milepost life events.
– Shared purpose.
– What happens when you try to help someone else: usually you help yourself more.
– Sitting by a big window while it’s raining hard.
– The last hour the grocery store is open.
– Old haunts.

August 2019

31 Saturday
– School supplies. Especially crisp, clean notebooks. Mead notebooks. Twenty five cents!
– Going back to school. Even if you are not formally enrolled.
– The chance always to learn anew, to start from the ground up, the beginner’s mind.

21 Wednesday
Hitting the sweet spot in the gym, between working too little and too much. Such a great way to start the day. Better than coffee, even. But, then, why choose?

20 Tuesday
– Chekhov.
– Taking a deep dive into a single short story in the company of thoughtful readers.
– Dark and heavy rain storms in the middle of a summer day.

19 Monday

– Intellectual stimulation.
– Having problems that need solving.
– The calm mind that comes from deep reading. Thank you, James Wood. I don’t always understand what you are saying but I do get rewarded by your turns nonetheless.
– Finishing an assignment and knowing it is a little better than good enough.
– The good that happens in your mind when you space your bodily workout throughout the day.

18 Sunday
When the words just come out and you hardly have to try.

17 Saturday
– Absolutely amazing mornings, with the sun coming up, the air clean and cool, dew on the ground, squirrels prancing on fence lines, and seemingly everyone out walking their dogs.
– Writing fast.
– Writing funny.
– Honesty.

16 Friday
– When you depart on a four-day break from your job and leave behind only a tidy small stack of work.
– Tackling tasks on the weekend to-do before Saturday even arrives.

11 Sunday
– People who wrestle with what it means to live well.
– Epictetus.
– When my little buddy stretches all four of his legs out as far as they go while he is sleeping.

10 Saturday
– Seeing a once familiar face in a strange place.
– The benefits of reading throughout the day.
– Meaningful conversations.

9 Friday
– D-load week.
– Realizing you have greater understanding of your limitations.
– Being asked to help someone important.

8 Thursday
– Fast work weeks.
– Late starts.
– Short dreams during short naps that give you a bit of assurance.

7 Wednesday
– Being able to spend hours outside during the workday.
– Connecting with colleagues.
– Free guacamole.

5 Monday
A stranger’s sweetness.

4 Sunday
– Shared purpose.
– Coffee conversation.
– Getting just what’s on your grocery list. Plus a cookie.

3 Saturday
– The power that comes from sharing of yourself with a group.
– The power that comes from hearing another share. You mean you really face that challenge, too?
– Fixing the air conditioner without having to pay for a service call.
– Kind neighbors with cool toolboxes.
– Being around people who make you want to be kinder and slower. One way you see it is in how you drive in less of a hurry.

2 Friday
– Strange days.
– Pay day.

1 Thursday
– That the false alarm fire alarm went off ten minutes before you went to work rather than ten minutes after.
– Understanding supervisors.
– The chance to show someone something you know a lot about.

28 July 2019

There is an upside to financial challenges: the need to scrutinize one’s choices. If you have greater monetary resources than are necessary you might think less about your purchases. Purchases result in the acquisition of things that must be used/cared for and the accumulation of commitments one must budget time for. There is freedom in restriction.

22 July 2019

I am keen on the natural gifts today:

– The expanse of green grass before me as I type these words.

– The sun that warms my shoulders.

– The robin nesting in the lilac bush to my left.

– The dog who makes a bed in the mulch beside me.

– The sounds of leaves cheering near and far each time the wind returns.

21 July 2019

Art Fairs at community celebrations are the best. Today’s: Highland Fest. First-time goer. Like most, it was free, in the sunshine, and had tents full of variety. Plus, you get to talk to artists, some of the coolest people on the planet.

21 July 2019

I am grateful for people who teach me the value of less. This might be someone in the popular media — in newspapers, on YouTube, or via a radio show/podcast. This could be a conversation with a friend or a colleague at work. Certainly, the wisdom of writers shows me how to spend …

… less attention on activities that do not align with my aims.

… less money on things I do not need.

… less time focused on images and in environments that do little more than divert and distract — and often depress.

The culture encourages more.

The culture conditions us to believe we need to acquire certain things and must do certain other things. The culture is not always correct.

Yet you don’t always know to consider what does not serve — what goes against your default settings — if you haven’t been taught.

Why I am thinking of those who, directly and indirectly, do that job. Even if they don’t know that they are.

To save time, money, energy — to retain or gain any of these precious resources — what a gift.

20 July 2019

Thank you, Patti Smith, for writing Just Kids. I read the last touching sections this afternoon. To summarize is to obscure but forgive me: a story of rare friendship, written in a way that is instructive and revealing a devotion to art that is inspiring. What a love note.

20 July 2019

There are few better ways to start the day than with back-squats. There are few better weather events than the moments before a storm.

This morning I had the chance to back-squat outside right before a rainstorm.

The program I am on at present called for supersets of barbells on my back and dumbbells loaded in front. I did a dozen or more reps on both ends of the set.

I burned, I sweated, I caught my breath below. The clouds above gathered and the wind blew.

Amen.

17 July 2019

Thank you, baby rabbit, for greeting me on my way home from the gym this morning. And especially for nibbling on the pavement salad sprouting through the cracks of my driveway. I did not mind getting out of my car to see you squat there — did not mind waiting to pull in until you finished your breakfast.