Untethered Dog

You Never Know Where He Will Go

Gratitude Journal

September 2019

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

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.


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.

9 July 2019

Being able to go for walks in the evening wearing shorts and T-shirts. Just slip on some shoes and go. This far into the summer it’s easy to take that for granted. You are reminded not to because on this night your buddy takes his time sniffing and peeing and maybe he’s soaking it up, too. At point, in the middle of a community garden he frequently guides you through, he stops for a minute and looks around. He has us you wait a few minutes and while you do he draws the interest of a lovely lady with long hair who squats to greet him and ask about him and make his tail wag before she resumes a stroll with her girlfriend and before the two of you leave the garden to find new things to sniff and pee on while walking slowly under the sun and in the comfortable warmth of the evening.

8 July 2019

Making all the lights. Such a satisfying way to go to back and forth to work on the first day following a long holiday weekend.

7 July 2019

You were overdue to clean the fridge. You were up way early and the energy struck. Which, in the direction of fridge cleaning, seldom happens at any hour of any day. Really wouldn’t take that long. It’s Sunday; grocery day — we don’t got much in here anyway. So you cleaned the fridge, start to finish, before five a.m. What a light feeling the rest of the day: you open the door, realize again what you did, and sigh contentedly.

6 July 2019

You hesitated when asked. You are grateful to people who volunteer at animal control centers. But you do not like to visit them yourself. At shelters of any kind. And you heard less than good things about this one. You had driven by before and even that, just driving by, aroused unpleasant thoughts of what might be happening inside. You do not like to see dogs who do not have homes. You expect uncleanliness. You expect sad and lonely animals. You expect to be depressed. To walk away depressed. But you know you should go. This spontaneous opportunity — you would not have decided this but now that it is here you know the planned coffee with friends … that will go on without you. A few blocks from the pound you see a volunteer walking one of the dogs with the same colors as your dog — brown and white — but bigger with sleeker fur. There is some pit bull in there, must be. The volunteer’s body language is that of a person carrying out a chore. On the other end of the lead he the dog explores the world the way dogs do — all in an all there. You have agreed to go with a kind soul who fosters cats. The place is cleaner than you expected. After holding some kittens, giving out a little love, talking to a volunteer, and a couple who will go home with at least one more cat, they just can’t decide which one(s), you agree to go into the dog area, where you see the boy who had been on the walk on your way there. A few minutes later he will walk out the front door again — for the last time — this time with a woman who looks like the female human version of him, who is taking him home. She leaves to cheers from others who are in line. You will also meet a Mastiff who initially struggles to leave his cage but eventually does. Then sits with a woman who wants him. There is something not right with this big boy. Stress? Is it neurological? Two different volunteers use that word. The woman is on the phone. The Mastiff looks out a window. Turning around in an adoption room he bangs his head on a wall. You don’t wait to see how it turns out. Good things are happening. You have more love to give and you should be like these creatures and caretakers and not hold it back.

5 July 2019

To the woman working at the craft store … watching YouTube (or some such) as you approach her desk with your questions … who does not turn off the YouTubs (or some such) as you ask your questions … questions you ask at length not knowing exactly what you are looking for … as she slowly lifts her head away from the screen, listens to each of your questions, not wanting to get up to show you things but doing it anyway … revealing a space between where the back of her shirt ends and the top of her jeans begin, a window into her backside that is altogether lower than she probably intends … and while she is more comely than she might give herself credit for this is not sexy but makes you see her as you are and we all are — as real and flawed and not exactly put together as we might always like … you hope some day the smile she never shows you comes out, stays out — that she finds work that lights her up brighter than the screen you just took her away from.