reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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only so much summer. [d.r. thursday]

feels like 101. feels like 103. feels like 105. at some point, the details are irrelevant. it’s just damn hot.

david and dogdog and i had about had it. the “cooler near the lake” theory was defunct-for-the-moment and it was hot and humid in and out. our old house doesn’t have central air and the window air conditioners were still in the basement, as both of us love open windows and light and less noise than they put out. and the next day it was all supposed to break. so…one more evening. we tried to be patient. it is summer after all.

we asked dogga if he wanted to go on errands, to which he always gleefully responds. he ran out to the car in the driveway and eagerly got in, looking out the back window to follow our backing-up, which never happened. we sat there. stationary. not moving. he kept looking out the back window. with the air conditioner cranked up to high and on max, we sat there, blowers aimed right at us and into the back, where the dog was wondering about how he ended up with people who called sitting still in the driveway “errands”.

i will admit that we carried out – to our driveway – a glass of wine. so this was the location of the beginning of our happy hour, sans snacks. the snacks were waiting in the sunroom for us, but we just needed this burst of cold air first.

so far, about a week later, post-desperation, the air conditioners are still in the basement. there were a few cooler, drier days. and those nights – perfection – windows-wide-open-fans-on-under-a-blanket nights. yesterday and the day before were humid – curly hair kind of humid. and looking ahead, it seems that it will be up and down. we glance at the accuweather app and look for breaks coming up. there’s one tomorrow. the high will be 73. those a/c units may not be going in any time soon.

instead, our old double-hung windows will be getting a workout. the ceiling fans are running and there is the clicking sound of the ceiling chain tapping against the light fixture. we wake in the night when it’s raining to hear the dripping against the bedroom window from the flat roof above, a signal to close the window. we hear the latest dark-night sounds of crickets and the earliest sounds of the birds as they wake at 4am, sounds we will miss in mid-winter, sounds it seems we should store up, memorize, stock away. we can hear the lake in its response to wind and the train lumbering in the distance. and the exquisite stillness. we can hear the neighborhood go to sleep and the neighborhood wake up.

we know the a/c units will block the heat, will block the humidity. we’re grateful to have them at the ready. we also know that they will block the summer – and in wisconsin, there is only so much summer to have.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

dancing in the front yard


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hold kjeft. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

i never asked where the deer head on the den wall came from. we were not a hunting family and we were verymuch a mammal-loving family, but it must have never occurred to me to ask. this old deer head, hung on the paneling of the room with our black and white tv and giant rock fireplace built stone-by-tedious-stone by sven, ruled over the garage wall side of the room and was somewhat opposite the back door.

if snoopy, our modell’s sporting goods $10.20 dog (of which i paid the 20 cents), got to barking incessantly, my sweet dad would point to the deer head and, in his brooklyn-voice, taunt her, “you wanna go on the wall?” somehow she understood this empty threat and would mostly stop barking. but if she didn’t stop, my dad would bark back at her, “hold kjeft!!” my sons-of-norway norwegian lessons were not long-lived, but they were comprehensive enough for me to know that meant “shut up!”. spoken in a different language, it didn’t seem as rude.

when they were growing up, i never allowed the girl or the boy to say “shut up!” to each other or anyone. it just seemed like an unnecessarily aggressive way to ask someone to be quiet or at least quieter. i never thought to use “hold kjeft” as an alternative back then.

but now, as dogga runs the backyard looking for the rest of the cast in 101 dalmations to bark back at him, “hold kjeft” is my command of choice. as we pass people in the car and he is suddenly aware of a dog on the sidewalk out the car window, “hold kjeft” is my command of choice. as the neighbors get him riled up, with fifteen kids or so in the backyard all screaming at the top of their lungs and their dog barking-barking, “hold kjeft” is my command of choice. every time i say it, i see the deer head in the den and i can hear my sweet poppo’s voice.

it doesn’t necessarily do the trick all the time. but it conjures up precious long-ago memories of a different time, when i watched black and white tv with no remote, sat on the hearth with hot chocolate and sit-upons, paid no attention to decor or other adult-riddled-responsibilities and laughed when my dad stared at our underbite-blessed-boxer-mixed-breed-mutt and pointed to the wall.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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dog and cat. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

his best friend. he waits at the door for his best friend to return. his sorrow is quiet, subdued. his grief is confusion, dedication to a belief that babycat will come home. he has never been in this house without him – not even a day – and this last week has been heartwrenching to watch his reaction. his sadness is palpable, his loss profound.

the first few days after his babycat disappeared he was almost silent. dogdog is never a silent dog, so this was noticeable. without a sound, he looked everywhere for his cat. with lydia’s wise recommendation i tried to visualize for him all that had happened once his babycat had left the house, to give him some context, to let him know he did not have to wait, to tell him that his babycat was now in our hearts. he looked deeply into my eyes and then looked away, as if to dismiss my explanation, to hold close his own perspective, his own interpretation.

‘the boys’ spent the days together – every day since we brought dogdog home as a puppy. they’ve navigated through changes and ups and downs with us. they’ve kept us amused and entertained. they’ve nuzzled us in our times of angst. the rare times they were apart were very few times that we were on a trip. they moved to the littlehouse on island with us and adapted, finding mutual spots at the place where the kitchen met the living room and the sun streamed in. the noise of the ferry on the crossing scaring babycat, dogdog stayed close to him, signaling all was well. they channeled reassurance to each other, touchstones of steady, ever-present. they shared their water bowl and cheered each other on when it was time for treats. where one would go, ultimately the other would follow. and at the end of the day, butt-to-butt, they lay on the raft, waiting for us to sleep. babycat ruled. they were best friends.

last tuesday morning as i sipped coffee on the bed and babycat lay curled up down by my feet, dogga jumped up and laid down. gently, with all absence of play and what seemed in all seriousness, he moved his face over to babycat’s face. they laid nose to nose, heads on the soft old quilt, their hushed stillness, in retrospect, a clear display of their great love for each other. after a bit of time, babycat’s symptoms surfaced suddenly. and everything in the world changed for our sweet dedicated-to-his-cat aussie.

i understand dogdog’s quiet. though our presence and snugs and words to him might help, solace will only come in time. “woundedness is one of the places where normal words and descriptions break down.” grief is not limited to human hearts.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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“………..” merely-a-thought monday

dogga end of day.jpg

at the end of the day, when we sit listening to the quiet, waves lapping at the shore, a silent moon pulling our attention outside, dogdog lays, finally resting, his eyes tightly closed.  there is something about the trusting nature of a beloved pet sleeping that tugs at your heart.  i wonder what are the thoughts he thinks; what are the dreams he dreams?

as we weave through complicated days, dogga weaves with us.  he is always aware, always watching.  our sweet aussie, he is a mess of empathic energy, his eye contact unnerving.  his little heart beats fast and he watches, watches.  he has comforted us with his gentle knowing more times than we can count.  he doesn’t say much, but then, he doesn’t have to.

and then, at some point, he drops to the floor.   for him, everything is right in the world.  his people are close by, his babycat lies next to him or across the room.  all is well.  and he sleeps.

sometimes i wish it was all that simple.  it’s people who complicate matters.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

doggadeck website box

 


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dogga-chip-head [two artists tuesday]

DoggaChipHeadwithwords

what you can’t see in this picture of dogdog, his gaze intent on me taking his picture, is that he has a chip on his head.  a tortilla chip.  a mission tortilla chip, to be specific.  gluten free.  dogga loves chips.  he loves to have chips on his head, staying perfectly still with the “leave it” command issued.  even more, he loves when “leave it” is released and he can bend his head down and eat his treasured chip.  he prefers it sans salsa.  good thing, because his aussie hair would be a total mess WITH salsa.  and i hardly think salsa is on his doggadiet (for that matter, neither are chips.)

i have to say, dogdog and babycat pretty much run the show here.  not just merely sponsors, they are producers, directors, screenwriters, actors and extras.  we laugh every time we wake up after a fitful night sleep because babycat has taken up 2/3 of the bed, snoring his way through his peaceful slumber.  we could move him, wake him up, nudge him, anything…but instead he just rules over his two-thirds and we deal with it, yawning and complaining about cramped legs all the next day.

dogdog, on the other hand, sleeps in his crate next to the bed.  he loves loves loves sleepnightnight (his word) time and makes sure that everything happens in the “correct” order.   he goes out.  he runs back in.  jumps on the bed.  and listens.  he waits to hear the water-in-the-fridge spigot filling the coffeepot.  waits to hear the coffee grinder.  waits to hear d put a small amount of nighttime kibble in babycat’s bowl.  waits to hear the container on top of the fridge opened from which d gets his cookie.  waits for his bellybelly (also his word) on the bed and kisses on his sweet head, chipcrumbs mixed in with his messy fur.   day’s end for a dogdog.

i don’t know about you, but i don’t know what i’d do without them.   our sponsors.

read DAVID’S thoughts about this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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