Untethered Dog

An Online Notebook by Tom Swift

Home Life

COVID Winter

Now is the time to learn anew who you are. To write and reflect. To ask yourself good questions. The sort of questions you would ask a good friend. All contentment is available when you forego externals. To grasp is a form of fighting yourself. You will, you must, admit defeat. Your happiness is up […]

Leaves — So Many Leaves

You are subpar at tending to the yard-work. Yet it feels good to do it anyway.

Baby Doesn’t Need a New Pair of Shoes

It didn’t occur to me this achievement were possible. I thought the Air Jordans were a permanent part of the visual landscape.

Do the Work

Not feeling well? Hurting? Frustrated? Angsty? The cure might well be not in meditating or journaling or lighting incense and trying to become one with the universe but rather in just rolling up the proverbial shirtsleeves and doing the work.

Beautiful Morning

The squirrel, my dog’s arch nemesis, showed up first thing. So did the birds — so many small birds gathered around the feeders, on the tree limbs. And bunnies. We must have just passed mating season for we see so many young rabbits on our walks right now. This morning, we had the neighborhood to […]

The Endless Search: A Life Story

There is death happening all around me. After I found a couple of carpenter ants in the house, I called an exterminator. Mostly, he put down preventative — he’s trying to thwart the ants’ pheromones; trying to make them think otherwise about taking up residence here with me and the little buddy. It’s a sort […]

Be Careful What You Wish For

While I am not in favor of destruction, and I take a strong stand against accidental death — most especially if innocent animals are involved — I do like me a good summer storm. Give me rolling thunder and flashes of light that cut through windows and bounce around the room. Rain. Is there any […]

Let the River Run

Turns out, my sleep last night wasn’t as restful as I thought. I needed to close my eyes. I put my head on the arm of my couch. When I woke up a few minutes later, I heard the humming of engines. Our trash/recycling pickup was canceled this week. I wondered: could they possibly be […]

Tassels and Plywood

He stood tall in full cap and gown. He smiled. A camera would, no doubt, soon be aimed in his direction. Maybe more than one. Family had gathered. Hands were around his shoulders. They were on the front step of a house on 42nd Avenue. I saw his carefully combed hair and intuited from the […]


I took care of my fallen friend (tree) on Memorial Day. I sawed her limbs. I broke off her branches. I crushed up her twigs. There were twigs everywhere. I held in my hands her stump, which weighed more than it looked. I piled her logs, which were more in number than it appeared. I […]

Rest In Peace (Just Not on the Walkway, Please)

Only took one punch. I kid because I can. Not because I should. Sarcasm masks something. Oh you go ahead and figure it out. I had known this friend had fallen. Now I know she can’t get up. This was the view as of yesterday when I went outside for lunch. So sad. I had […]

The Eyes

We had a rough patch because of a sore spot. Something got lodged in my little buddy’s back right paw. Must have walked over something. Or scraped something. Anyway, it didn’t look right. Or at all comfortable. I have been learning about stoicism from books and talks and lectures of late. But, of course, I […]

Things Related and (Maybe) Not

My car battery is dying. My electric tooth brush is dying. Both still can still take a charge but neither can hold it very long. Come to think of it, this weekend I had to replace the battery in my kitchen clock. I have noticed of late, too, that my phone battery drains noticeably faster […]


After a few weeks of adjustment, I feel settled into my shelter-in-place life. I generally resist the placement of restrictions on my options but, when I am really honest about it, sometimes I do better after they are imposed. As long as I have my health and a notebook and my dog and some snacks, […]

New On the Menu: Crispy Blackened Chili

Let’s say — hypothetically — that before you started work in your home office this morning you started a crockpot of chili. Here you were, the day after it snowed, on a cool early spring day, a Friday no less, with hope of warmth and ease in your heart. (Very possibly you were also looking […]

Safety Measures

There is something unseemly about getting fat during a pandemic. To spend precious time in the grocery store gathering ice cream, filling one’s cart with potato chips, thumbing through the pastry selection, at a time when going to the grocery store itself is a risky proposition, makes even less sense to me than buying excessive […]

Ah Ahh Moments

On Saturday, I tidied my medicine cabinet. Here I don’t mean just that I tidied a shelf of my medicine cabinet. Or just that I plucked out and tossed from my medicine cabinet tubes of ointments last used before President Obama left office. Or that I discarded from my medicine cabinet bottles of medications that […]

Shoveling More than Snow

You brace when you hear a snowstorm is coming because a snowstorm means two things: inconvenience and extra work. In this case the inconvenience is that you may have a tough time getting home from work and always a blast of snow means shoveling. All day you glance out the window in anticipation. Your colleagues […]

Sixty-Four Cents

It is one of the best things I have done. It worked out better than I hoped. It looks nicer than I thought. It was, in other words, money well spent. (And I am a stingy dude.) I speak, of course, of the carpet I put down last month in my otherwise unfinished basement. Since […]

Out Sick

Sometimes you have an idea on how a day or a night is going to go and then life interrupts. I came home from work Monday excited to see my little buddy, play with him in the basement on a chilly evening, make us some dinner, and maybe get a few tasks done. Nothing too […]