Modify The Plan [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

When you are an artist, you begin your career with the understanding that retirement is not really an option. You will work as hard or harder as any of your friends. You will have satisfaction in your work that few people can imagine. And, you will, most likely, unless you are very lucky or have a surprise trust fund, never experience lasting financial security.

Also, when you are an artist, you can’t imagine not making art so “retirement” generally means the-big-dirt-nap.

We have, since our great-double-wrist-break-and-financial free-fall of 2020-21, changed our approach. It’s less easy to improvise when the world perceives you as old-and-should-be-retired (non-dirt-nap-variety). Your networks collapse. Your mask obscures your capabilities.

We’ve modified our plan. We’ve modified our expectations. Now, we need only live long enough to break the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living artists. Anything is possible! That belief, a hard-core dedication to abundant possibility, is what makes us artists in the first place!

Retirement (non-dirt-nap-variety), here we come!

read Kerri’s blogpost on this saturday morning smack-dab.

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Punch The Buttons [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

I drew an outline around the remotes and numbered them. I sketched in important buttons and numbered them in sequence, “Press this first.” Then, I wrote scenarios. “If you want to do this, pick up #3 and follow the numbers.” Finally, I set each remote in the matching outline. It’s a fool-proof remote-map for Unka John when he comes to house-sit and take care of Dog-Dog. Dog-Dog does not require a remote so no map is necessary.

The volume control is on a separate remote than the power-on remote. Also, the volume remote wreaks havoc with the standing fan in the living room. Adjusting the volume causes anxiety in the fan so it’s important to move between the fan and the television while aiming the remote. The fan also has a remote but it ignores the television altogether. I think. We never use that remote. We’re old school and stand up to punch the buttons on the fan.

Dog-Dog also has a fan for his crate. I am the remote for his fan. I’ve looked and looked for his volume control but, so far, no luck. I’ve punched all the buttons but his bark-volume remains the same. Technology! It can be so fickle!

read Kerri’s blogpost on this SATURDAY MORNING SMACK-DAB.

smack-dab. © 2022 kerriandavid.com

Give The Benefit [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Because this strip is about making assumptions, it shot to the top of our publication list. It’s most relevant this week.

A few days ago I had a health crisis and had to rush to see a particular doctor who will remain un-named. In a story of universal-weirdness – or – metaphors I choose to ignore – every time we leave the parking lot of Dr. X, we blow a hole in the muffler of our car. EVERY TIME. We arrive in relative quiet. We leave in a riot of noise. Little-Baby-Scion sounds like a prop plane attempting to take off. I refuse to associate mufflers with my emergency.

We have an appointment next week at Paul’s Bender Center to fix the problem (with the car). In the mean time, our ride is making some serious noise. At stoplights, we get “looks” from people, the same look we give to people when we pull up next to a car with a roaring muffler-about-to-fall-off.

Having just received our umpteenth dirty look, over the din, Kerri shouted, “This is humbling! I think, from now on, we should give people the benefit of the doubt.”

Yes. The benefit of the doubt. Assume positive intent. Next time we quietly pull alongside a rattling, roaring car, I will smile a supportive smile, “I know. I feel your pain.”

read Kerri’s blogpost about ASSUMPTIONS

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Listen To Dan [on saturday morning smack-dab]

Between the dog-of-destruction reigning supreme in the backyard and the water-line-trench-destruction in the front yard, we’re the award winners in our neighborhood for worst yard. Luckily, we have Dan. He knows everything about grass. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. For years he’s given us great lawn advice that we forget almost immediately after we ask. Patience is a virtue and his name is Dan.

With the complete annihilation of the front yard, first resulting in a weed-covered-burial-mound and then the subsequent scraping away of the mound and all living things with it, we thought it best to finally put Dan’s advice into action. He drives by periodically to check on our progress and give us some hints and encouragement.

Things are looking up! Tender grass is growing in most spots in the front. We’re awaiting the fall day that Dan gives us the go-ahead to “over-seed.” With any luck, he tells us, our once bald lawn will have a full head of hair by this time next year.

The award will have to go someone else.

read Kerri’s blogpost about GRASS

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Hold Vigil [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

BabyCat waited until I was traveling. He was with Kerri long before I arrived in her life. I believe, to leave, he needed to have her all to himself. He passed suddenly, with little warning that something was wrong. She raced him to the vet. He was gone. In the blink of an eye.

When you wake up in the morning you never really know how your life will change that day.

We have a photograph that kills me every time look at it. Dog-Dog standing at the door, looking out. Not understanding. Holding vigil for BabyCat’s return. Sometimes I feel like I am Dogga standing at the door. I hear a sound in the house and think, “What’s that BabyCat doing now?”

And then I catch myself. Dog-at-the-door. Holding vigil.

read Kerri’s blogpost about MISSING BABYCAT

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Remember [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

It’s taken some time but Kerri has, at last, taught me a hard-to-learn-lesson: when I am to listen versus when I am to listen and give voice to a thought (sometimes known as “Offer advice”).

The challenge: the cues are not readily apparent. To misread the cue is to unleash certain havoc.

This, in a nutshell, is what I’ve learned: In 100% of the cases, listen and nod. Say nothing that is not the verbal equivalent of a nod. These moments that seem-to-my-eyes like problems-to-be-solved are never what they appear.

Boil the nutshell down to its essence: nothing needs solving. There are no solutions required so don’t offer any. There are only four words that are universally useful. It. Will. Be. Okay. (variation: We. Can. Do. It) (Bonus word: Together).

Now, if only I’d remember my hard-learned-lesson when I most need it. Remembering is not so easy.

read Kerri’s blogpost about ZEN-GEN!

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Let Go And Fly [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

“Learning and unlearning can only take place in the context of decision making.” ~ Russ Ackoff, On Learning and Systems That Facilitate It

I was reading this phrase in the article when Kerri showed me the Smack-Dab cartoon for this week. Uncanny. The decision to change. Unlearning who you think you are in order to learn who you might become.

There’s a lot of unlearning going on in our house.

Here’s a secret about maps: you can only draw them after the fact. “Knowing how” comes second, after “not knowing how.”

Unlearning, facing the unknown, it’s not linear or easily traced. It’s a tug-a-war between the safety of what you know and the absolute necessity of getting lost.

There’s a photograph I often think about: my uncle Al, in the last months of his life, dying from cancer, fulfilled a dream to fly on the high trapeze. In the photo, he’s released the first swing, sailing through the air, reaching for but not quite touching the second swing. The look on his face, eyes wide open, full delight, utter freedom. Elated. Fully alive in the space between.

There’s a lot of that going on in our house, too. The decision to let go and fly.

read Kerri’s blogpost about MAPS

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Listen [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Sage advice someone, somewhere, offered to Kerri: sometimes there’s only one way to get through it and that’s to go through it. No resistance. Turn around and see it, feel it, experience it. All of it.

Once, long ago, I emailed my friend Rob and wrote that I felt like I was lost in the forest. He wrote back that sometimes, when you feel lost, it’s best to sit down, smell the pine, and enjoy the birdsong. That, too was sage advice. Be where you are, not where you think you should be.

Identity crisis is a misnomer. Growth and change only feels like a crisis, mostly because it requires letting go of “the knowns” and stepping into “the unknowns.”

My sage advice to myself, learned from too many experiences of opening my mouth when I had nothing of value to offer: if you’re lucky enough to attend to someone who’s stepping off the edge of their known world: listen. Quiet presence is better than loud comfort.

read Kerri’s blogpost about IDENTITY CRISIS

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Wear One Sock [on saturday morning smack-dab]

My elders warned me but I scoffed. It will never happen to me! “Words,” they cautioned, “will become like socks in the dryer. Two sock-words will go into the spinning barrel of your mind. Only one will come out.”

What happens to the other sock? Where is that perfect word match? I open the drawer of my brain only to find half the word-socks have gone missing. Poof.

I should never have scoffed. I wander through my days trying to mask the fact that I’m only wearing a single word-sock.

I imagine the satisfied smiles of all the ancestors getting the last laugh. “Told you so,” they smirk, frown, and ask, suddenly snapping their fingers to stimulate their synapses, “And, what’s your name, again?”

I’d tell them (in my imagination) but think it’s good practice to exercise their brains so I smile and quip, “Who’s asking?”

read Kerri’s blogpost about WORD LOSS

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Try To Remember [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

I made a list of all the stuff I forgot and now I can’t find it. I’ll add “the list” to the list if I can remember where I put the list. Of course, there’s also that business with my pen. I can only imagine the pen is with the list. Somewhere. If not, I have no idea where it might be. The pen. If I can’t find my pen I’ll have trouble adding “the list” to my list of things I forgot. I could try to remember to add “the list” to my list but we all know where that story leads.

Poor Kerri. She has to deal with me every day.

read Kerri’s blogpost about REMEMBERING

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com