Friday, January 12, 2018


I'd never switch lives —
but if I had to, I'd choose
to be Jane Goodall.

Sunday, January 07, 2018


I am that penguin.

It is cold, the kind of cold that bores through your exposed eyeballs and freezes the inside of your nose (that sensation always brings me back to being about ten years old in Chicago during an endless winter of towering snow). Tomorrow, they say, will be better. We've even slacked off on our regular dog walks, worried it will be too cold for Clover. Her feet get cold, and she holds them up one by one. We have walked only as far as Deering Oaks and a few times a day let them out back to bound around the yard.

photo by Xavi Bou

If birds left tracks in the sky, they'd look like this. Also like zippers, like strands of DNA, like fish bones painted in watercolor.

The inconsequential floor is beginning to shine.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


Here I am, rabbit rabbiting a day late (and several dollars short, har har). It feels awkward for January first to fall on a Monday, with January 2/Tuesday acting as the first work day of the short new week of the new year. I continue to remember/forget what day of the week it is...

My resolutions, such as they are:

  • Hiatus from Facebook and sugar, for the month of January. We'll see about the sugar one. It may be most sugar, rather than all sugar.
  • More writing, reading, and music listening.
  • Unsubscribe from emails I always delete, however much I agree with their politics, etc. I am also going to unsubscribe from Twitterers and Facebookers (in February, to be clear) who make me unhappy.
  • Slow down in most things, even walking in the cold and cleaning things. 
  • Make things, especially for other people. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wait quietly until you are called

Visitor from the future arrival card.

The idea of going towards love even if grief lives in the same room.

We still haven't returned to Mackworth since the incident with the Frightened Man. This is partly because our routine has changed to accommodate our goal of keeping Gus walking on all four legs, which involves limiting his activity somewhat. Often Mark will take Clover somewhere she can run off-leash (legally) and play with other dogs, and I will take Gus on a sedate neighborhood stroll. Every two or three days we'll take the two dogs together, to the beach or the woods. 

A couple of mornings ago we went to one of our favorite beaches at low tide, and we had what I thought of as the opposite of the Frightened Man experience. I let Clover off her leash to play with a very nice boxer. As we started to head off in opposite directions, a woman who'd been walking by stopped to tell us that she was a dog trainer and dog behaviorist, and that she enjoyed watching our dogs play. "They're like the model of the ideal way for dogs to play!" she said. "The way they're taking turns chasing and being chased, the way they take breaks in between to shake." She turned to me and said, "I could just tell from your dog's body language what a nice dog she is!" A five-star interaction! I was so happy she'd taken the time to say all that.

It's been colder at night lately, and both dogs have been uncharacteristically cuddly at night (cuddly for Gus means lying at the foot of our bed instead of across the room, but for Clover it means sleeping between Mark and me with her head on the pillow).

In non-dog news, we cooked a mini Thanksgiving dinner for two, which was lovely and delicious and a little bit sad and lonely. We both really missed our grown-up, far-flung offspring. Mark is so kindly indulging my love of holiday music. We are trying to make significant progress on Christmas shopping this weekend, and to be super organized about the whole thing. Egg nog has been consumed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


A post shared by Smith Galtney (@smithgaltney) on

We had an unpleasant encounter this morning on our usual walk. It was quiet and cold, so I let Clover off the leash, and she leapt and raced after squirrels as we strolled with Gus along the path. Mark and I were, in fact, congratulating ourselves on how good Clover is, so reliable off the leash, unlike Gus, whose instinct is to dash off and stubbornly resist coming when he's called (he gives us the side-eye and smiles). A man appeared up ahead, walking toward us, and when he saw Clover, he froze. She froze too. She didn't come when we called her. The man started yelling at her, clapping and lurching (in an apparent attempt to scare her away), and she started barking at him, as I ran toward her to grab her. Every lurch the man made sent her skittering away, barking. After I had grabbed her, he started yelling at us, "YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF LETTING A DOG LIKE THAT LOOSE! THAT DOG ATTACKED ME, I'M CALLING THE POLICE, I'M FOLLOWING YOU TO YOUR CAR AND CALLING THE POLICE!"

We were so taken aback, trying to get away/explain/apologize/contradict him all at once. A runner had come up just as this all happened, and she magically calmed the man down. I didn't really hear any of what she said (I was hustling away with my attack dog), but Mark did, and he talked to her later in the parking lot to thank her. She said something like, "I can tell you're really scared and it felt like you were being attacked," all while assuring him he wasn't, in fact, in any danger, or being attacked. She was a magical stranger, sympathetic to us and yet so kind to this man.

(We are typically so careful about letting dogs off the leash, truly. I always try to see things from the perspective of people who aren't expecting a dog, don't like dogs, are afraid of them, are unfamiliar with them, etc. I feel terrible about it, and simultaneously annoyed.)

Monday, November 13, 2017



Well, hey there. I am not doing a great job at this post-per-day attempt. Today is Monday and it's 5:30PM but feels so much later than that, since it's already been dark for six hours.

It snowed a bit today, flurry.

In less than a week, my firstborn child turns TWENTY. FIVE. YEARS. OLD.