Categories
Art

Seeing what is

Self-portrait writing in diary, Boston by Nan Goldin (1989)

Every so often when we’re watching TV, an ad plays for the latest Google Pixel phone. Like the phone, the ad is slick and sleek, looking pretty and talking fast. It has irritated me since the first time I heard it: when introducing the camera’s Magic Eraser feature, it refers to other people in the background of a user’s photos as “annoying,” as though we shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the fact that others exist in a narrative starring ourselves.

There’s an insidious creep of “main character syndrome” in digital spaces lately. Filters and ring lights make people look brighter and more perfect than they are. Other people or imperfections in the background of our photos are “distractions” (the term used in another Google Pixel ad). We aim for poised and perfected images that can be framed for a gallery wall.

So it felt like a huge exhale when I turned on a new documentary the other night and saw life, messy and often unsightly, splashed across the scene in original photographs. The film was All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, the story of artist and activist Nan Goldin’s life.

Goldin may be most famous for The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1985), a photo slideshow that depicts images of her life in New York in the ’70s and ’80s as the AIDS epidemic ravaged her community. Most recently, she’s fought to hold the Sackler family responsible for their role in the opioid crisis. Her activism dovetails beautifully with her photography, which she says is really a practice in capturing emotion:

A lot of people seem to think that art or photography is about the way things look, or the surface of things. That’s not what it’s about for me. It’s really about relationships and feelings…it’s really hard for me to do commercial work because people kind of want me to do a Nan Goldin. They don’t understand that it’s not about a style or a look or a setup. It’s about emotional obsession and empathy.

Photo: Peggy Nolan

There’s resonance in the work of photographer Peggy Nolan, who just released a new photo book called Juggling is Easy about her experience as a single mother raising seven kids in South Florida in the ’80s and ’90s.

It’s not lost on her why her work is resonating in the time of self-representation on TikTok:

“The age that my kids were when I took those pictures, what really mattered to them was community. That’s what they cared about. To deprive them of that would have been awful — I would have paid the price.”

Categories
Miscellany

Finding a new frame of reference

Daffodils, March 2020

The calendar is creeping back toward March 13, a date that now feels definitive and fateful in my memories and, it seems, on a cellular level, too. I see loaves of sourdough bread popping back up in my Instagram feed, parents posting photos of their children playing in the early spring sun while admitting that four years on, they still feel seized by an existential sense of dread when the days begin to lengthen. In March 2020, we instantly realized that we weren’t sure anymore what was safe or promised to us, if we’d ever had the privilege of believing so. (I would argue that across the sociopolitical spectrum, we still don’t know, or if we feel we do, we aren’t willing to hear anyone else’s perspective on it.)

As Jon Mooallem explains it in his recent piece on spending time with a Covid oral history project: “Anomie sets in when a society’s values, routines and customs are losing their validity but new norms have not yet solidified.”

Put another way, that “normlessness” left us all hungry in early 2020 for a frame of reference, a clear list of guidelines, a way to bring meaning to our suffering and fear and uncertainty.

And yet here we are in spring 2023, and despite the ways in which we consider the pandemic “over” to varying degrees, we’re still mired in limbo. Mooallem’s explanation of this felt, to me, like gears clicking into place: “We tend to gloss history into a sequence of precursors that carried society to the present — and to think of that present as a permanent condition that we’ll inhabit from now on. We have started glossing the pandemic in this way already. But because we don’t totally understand where that experience has delivered us, we don’t know the right gloss to give it.”

But if we’re fortunate, or just trying to survive with our dignity and our sense of joy intact, we homed in on something clarifying from that muddled time — “repertoires of repair,” or practices meant to bring about some sense of normalcy.

My own repertoire of repair includes activities that make life more peaceful even in good times: playing with my child, reading, getting familiar with the plants and animals around me.

I’ll end with this quote that is giving me great comfort as I consider how to make space for (and sense of) art as a part of my repertoire, from another interactive NYT piece published a year into the pandemic:

“I think if I could go back in time and give myself a message, it would be to reiterate that my value as an artist doesn’t come from how much I create. I think that mind-set is yoked to capitalism. Being an artist is about how and why you touch people’s lives, even if it’s one person. Even if that’s yourself, in the process of art-making.”

Amanda Gorman
Categories
Reading

My year in reading, 2022

I started the year with a burst of philosophical ambition, thanks to Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, a clever and surprisingly quick read that turns the self-help genre on its head. And yet because I am but a lowly mortal, I boomeranged back to the most desperate kind of self-help with Suzy Giordano and Lisa Abidin’s Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks’ Old, a goofy little handbook that gave us new parents the confidence we needed to start sleep training when the time was right. Scott Hershovitz’s Nasty, Brutish and Short: Adventures in Philosophy with My Kids made me smile and daydream about the conversations I’ll have with Maeve as she grows older.

Novels helped me escape, starting with Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, which was a fitting parable about the importance of stories. I further flirted with sci-fi in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun, which threatened to break my heart. Kawai Strong Washburn‘s Sharks in the Time of Saviors kept me company in the wee hours while breastfeeding, as did Ash Davidson’s Damnation Spring. I finally fell for the allure of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, which gave me more relief than I’d expected. Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson kept me glued to the couch, and Vladimir by Julia May Jonas had me howling with laughter and gasping in shock. I loved the beauty and hope (and the nuns) of Lauren Groff’s Matrix. Laura Warrell’s Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm read like a jazz song.

I read a bunch of books on motherhood and art and identity — the central theme of my year. Jessamine Chan’s The School for Good Mothers hit a little too close to home, but was devastatingly good. I laughed out loud at the release and the wildness of Rachel Yoder’s Nightbitch and liked Amelia Morris’ Wildcat, in a similar vein. Alison Gopnik’s The Gardener and The Carpenter provided helpful context that I’ll be thinking about for years. I’m grateful for The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood by Krys Malcolm Belc, a powerful read. Ryan and I both appreciated Courtney Martin’s Learning in Public: Lessons for a Racially Divided America from My Daughter’s School and we both read Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change by Angela Garbes, too. I hadn’t heard of Jessi Klein before 2022, when I read I’ll Show Myself Out: Essays on Motherhood and Midlife. It was entertaining, but I’d recommend the opening essay (a gold standard, to me) before the entire collection. Sally Mann’s Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs gave me a lot to think about, although I wish I’d read it in print instead of ebook format. (I’ve written more on a few of these books here.)

A few more memoirs: I’d been waiting to read Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford for a long time, and it was beautiful. I gobbled up Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile, which made me seek out the accompanying playlist immediately. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy was both tragic and hopeful, and Burn Rate: Launching A Startup and Losing My Mind by Andy Dunn had an incredibly clear description of living with bipolar disorder. Remarkable writing.

I read The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life by Mark Epstein, M.D., thanks to this review by Oliver Burkeman. I took Sherry Turkle’s The Empathy Diaries off of my shelf for the first time and found myself fascinated by the history of psychoanalysis alongside the author’s own story. Late this year, I read and really admired Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker.

Here are a few final books that didn’t quite seem to fit in other categories: Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage by Heather Havrilesky, which made me work for it, although by the end I appreciated the ride (a fitting metaphor for marriage, perhaps?) I enjoyed Having and Being Had by Eula Biss, an author I always admire. I also read the classic novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

I’m always eager to hear book suggestions, ideas, and reviews. Send ’em if you’ve got ’em!

Categories
Miscellany

100 things that made my year in 2022

1. Endless amounts of baby spit up. Spot cleaning her clothes, our clothes, the couch, and every pillow we own. Running laundry and then more laundry.

2. Taking delight in simple joys like small-batch jam and cordials.

3. Courtney Martin’s essay about contracting covid and reflecting on what the pandemic has done to the stories we tell ourselves about others.

4. Night sweats.

5. Watching local news at 7 am when taking the early morning shift with the baby. Claiming favorite meteorologists and trying to shake off the jingles from local commercials.

6. Taking anti-racist action by moving half of our savings from a big corporate bank to Hope Credit Union as transformational investors.

7. Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.

8. Going to pelvic floor physical therapy sessions and learning more about the structure and function of one of the body’s most essential muscle groups. Sarah Stoller on reconnecting with her postpartum body through weight lifting. Working out with Ashley Nowe.

9. Feeling very confused about how to show up in public.

10. PCR tests and booster shots. Lots of first-year vaccines. Still masking and staying home as much of the world moved on from the pandemic.

11. Unlearning the many stealthy, relentless ways that diet culture has embedded itself in my beliefs and habits. Listening to Maintenance Phase, reading Virginia Sole-Smith, and embracing food as nourishment, comfort and fuel.

12. Making lists to attempt to order the chaos of life as a new mother.

13. Rethinking my image of work.

14. Finding solidarity and solace in Erin Gloria Ryan’s newsletter Just Enjoy It While You Can.

15. Good TV at all hours of the day and night. The Sex Lives of College Girls. The Letdown. The Bear. Better Things. Rap Sh!t. Ramy. The White Lotus. Reservation Dogs. Hacks. Never Have I Ever.

16. Reading while breastfeeding and fuming about this country’s systemic failures to provide care infrastructure.

17. Doubling down on my caffeine consumption.

18. Jessi Klein’s pitch-perfect essay on motherhood as the hero’s journey.

19. Getting a second wind after putting the baby to sleep. Watching a ton of TV. Talking it out. Making plans. Making out. Writing newsletters.

20. Quiet walks on the Oregon coast. Dipping Maeve’s pacifier in the ocean to give her a first taste of sea water. Introducing her to sea anemones. Letting her eat sand.

21. Learning to bake a cake and eat it, too.

22. Gobbling down a bunch of books about art, identity, and motherhood. The Gardener and the Carpenter. The School for Good Mothers. Essential Labor. Nightbitch. Learning in Public. Wildcat. Sally Mann’s memoir Hold Still.

23. Thinking about non-linear career growth and evolution, thanks to Jenni Gritters. Joining The Writers’ Co-op Patreon community to dig deeper into strategy for my own business. Embracing the idea of the career river.

24. Spending a long weekend with my college girlfriends, sharing our hobbies and secrets and fears and messy selves with each other, as we’ve done now for 13 years, leaving one another feeling better than when we came together.

25. Writing a monthly newsletter and realizing along the way that we were creating a sort of digital baby book to mark our daughter’s growth and emerging personality. Receiving sweet replies from friends and family near and far.

26. Spiraling out in my journal.

27. Embracing the bioregion in my backyard.

28. Eric Carle books.

29. Hikes with Maeve in the front pack. Parents greeting her at the arboretum and in Marshall Park. Stroller walks in the neighborhood. Holding her hands as she toddles down the block and drops to her knees to eat leaves and moss.

30. Identifying and indulging in vacation foods, as inspired by Kathryn Jezer-Morton. For us, it’s cherry Cokes and microwave popcorn.

31. Empanadas and people-watching at the Portland Mercado in late spring. The baby hanging out in the car seat, taking it all in.

32. Playing chase and peek-a-boo with Maeve. Teaching her how to clap, wave and gesture that she’s “so big!”

33. Taking more iPhone videos. Rachel Cusk on taking photos of our children.

34. Breastfeeding in the backseat, on park benches, in exam rooms at doctor’s offices, in bed, on the couch, on a blanket, on a log.

35. Hiking at Oxbow Regional Park and seeing deer, salmonberries, and fairy slipper orchards. Changing Maeve on a bench before realizing there was a changing table around the corner. Eating lunch on the picnic tables at Sugarpine.

36. Growing my freelance business from two to seven clients. Juggling work, business strategy, and the endless daily responsibilities of caring for an infant.

37. Postpartum hair loss. Wearing my hair in a bun more than ever before to try to get ahead of my baby’s grabby little fingers. Finding loose hairs all over the house.

38. Doing what I love in front of my daughter, even when it feels like she’s too young to take it all in. Baking for fun. Journaling in the mornings. Dancing to music. Playing the ukulele poorly. Reading for breadth and depth. Talking it out. Getting outside.

39. Feeling Very Adult when writing notes for the babysitter.

40. Sleep training. Putting on noise-canceling headphones when my nerves were frayed by the process. In the end, finding deep comfort and some wonder in the knowledge that our daughter is learning to care for herself.

41. Making a snowperson on the back deck after a mid-April snowstorm.

42. Playing with a Pentel brush pen.

43. Maeve’s rosy cheeks after a bath.

44. Falling asleep to the sound of a hard rain.

45. Making a regular habit of 8:00 Sunday mass, since we’re up already. Getting donuts after church on the first weekend of the month. Fr. Mike telling us that our daughter has “vacuum-cleaner eyes — they suck you right in.”

46. Maeve’s baptism in May by our dear friend Lucas. Celebrating with Missouri and Oregon family. Tacos and margaritas. Kid-friendly rosaries and toys that recite prayers.

47. Accidentally buying Ryan a birthday card that was meant to be from (or about) a pet dog.

48. Velcro swaddles. Sleep sacks. White noise machines. Watching the video monitor. Taking shifts in the early weeks to get more consecutive sleep. Suffering through the four-month sleep regression. The time when Maeve was a couple of days old and Ryan swaddled her in a confusing blanket with snaps that we later realized was a car seat cover. Maeve napping in my grandma’s coat closet and my parents’ walk-in closet.

49. Breastfeeding in the middle of the night with a red lightbulb in the floor lamp.

50. Eating so much food. Bedtime snacks. Big meals. Getting up in the middle of the night for a string cheese or a protein bar when I was too hungry to sleep.

51. Moving during July, again. Sweating and fretting and putting my daughter in a moving box to entertain her. Learning that our dishwasher has a top utensil drawer.

52. Making terrible line drawings in an attempt to capture ordinary moments in our house.

53. Reflecting on the gifts that my Grandpa Walt gave me and everyone who knew him.

54. Baths with Maeve.

55. Getting away for a weekend and enjoying some time on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. Hiking in the rain. Taking Maeve to the lodge dining room in her car seat. Family naps on the big hotel bed. Having the pool all to ourselves. Splurging on room service breakfast.

56. Movies that made me think. Roadrunner. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. Everything Everywhere All At Once.

57. Being stuck under a sleeping baby and trying to savor the moment. Maeve turning to me or Ryan for comfort and sucking her thumb while laying her head on our closest body part. Her using our bodies as climbing towers.

58. Cooking with Julia Turshen for our third anniversary.

59. Near-daily texts from my retired writer and painter friend.

60. Practicing embodiment and thinking about repair as a form of self-care. Injuring my knee and my ankle and going back to PT. Relearning how to re-regulate.

61. Using the Libby app and reading ebooks from the library on my Kobo.

62. Planting annuals in three big planters on the deck. Stepping outside to visit the flowers.

63. Eating Jimmy John’s sandwiches in a parking lot on more than one road trip.

64. Thinking about the ancestors and mentors in my chosen family after reading Jonny Sun’s essay on his high school drama teacher.

65. Buttermilk biscuits and the tall, fluffy buttermilk pancakes from Smitten Kitchen.

66. Thinking about home décor as a “joyful jumble” of art and objects that reflect our lives, not Instagram ideals.

67. Celebrating Lucas’ ordination in Spokane. Invigorating conversations with smart friends and acquaintances. Pizza on picnic blankets in the park. Driving to Coeur d’Alene on the back roads. Indian takeout and kid chaos. Lucas’ mentor telling us that her students wrote a spoof of General Hospital in Lucas’ honor and they called it General Infirmary.

68. Poetry. Ada Limón’s “How to Triumph Like A Girl.” “Islands” by Muriel Rukeyser. Maggie Smith’s “Rain, New Year’s Eve.”

69. A summer babysitter.

70. Taking our daughter on her first flight to visit her family in Missouri. Remembering that the Midwest normal is different than life in the Pacific Northwest.

71. Angela Garbes’ description of her “pleasure-forward” approach to life and mothering.

72. Teaching Maeve to say “ahhh!” so that I could give her vitamin D3 drops. Her giggling when I floated a plastic bag in the air. The surprise of one of her first words being “CATTT.”

73. Finishing the expert-level ropes course at Tree to Tree Adventure Park to celebrate a local friend.

74. Ordering takeout on the first night back home from vacations.

75. Finally getting a custom nightguard to save my teeth and my jaw muscles from grinding while sleeping.

76. Laughing harder than Ryan while watching Jackass 4.5.

77. Celebrating three years of marriage while stuck in a Vancouver, B.C., hotel room with a feverish baby who couldn’t sleep.

78. Trying to live with limitations. Having no working kitchen range for a month. Being without reliable internet access for two weeks. Working with a child underfoot.

79. My first gray hairs.

80. Collecting as many guides as I can find to making art as a parent. Taking heart in the fact that babies aren’t babies for very long.

81. Making a Rubbermaid shoe storage container into a makeshift backyard pool.

82. Taking marriage inspiration from artists Bernd and Hilla Becher and volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft.

83. Giving and getting free items via the Freeya app.

84. Summer bike rides with Maeve in the trailer. Taking Ryan on his first Bridge Pedal. Sharing the bike so that he can commute to work.

85. Sinking into the comfort of a surprising time capsule in the early episodes of Home Cooking.

86. Taking ourselves out for treats after Maeve’s pediatrician appointments.

87. TheraTears eye drops.

88. Eating out as a family of three.

89. Escitalopram.

90. Getting going to feel good.

91. Cheering on Ryan in two cross country races this fall.

92. Going back to Dove antiperspirant after years of natural deodorants.

93. Watching the World Cup with my Ghanaian brother-in-law.

94. Taking an evening walk down Peacock Lane to see the Christmas lights and displays.

95. Maui with the whole Wilmes family. Cousin love in the mornings. Walks on the boardwalk. Fresh pineapple. Island humidity. Fish and grazing sea turtles and bright coral reefs. Playing in the surf at Baby Beach.

96. Not having a hot take.

97. Using my journal for cheerful retrospection.

98. Spotify notifying me that my top song of 2022 was José Gonzáles’ “Stay Alive.”

99. Embracing Dead Week.

100. Hearing the people I love laugh.

Categories
Miscellany

Repair as an act of self-care

photo by Riho Kitagawa on Unsplash

If I had to pick a word of the year for 2022, knowing what I do now about the past 12 months, it would be “embodiment.”

I have not lost myself in parenthood as I feared I might, and yet everything — even the way my brain functions — has changed. Through it all, one of the best practices I have done (and can do) for my physical and mental wellness is to trust the wisdom of my body.

This can look like:

As Bessel van der Kolk writes in The Body Keeps the Score, “Once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts.”

My 36-year-old body, one that has been shaped and reshaped by life and childbearing and stress and personal growth, can better receive the benefits of movement and nourishment than it could at age 15 or 27.

Lately, I’ve been wondering what it would mean to apply this framework to my home and belongings. I often think about making decisions based on my values through a lens of environmentalism or anti-capitalism or social responsibility, for example, attempting to repair an appliance instead of immediately buying a new one. But what if, say, mending a hole in a sock could benefit my nervous system as well as the planet?

I’m reminded of the Japanese practice of kintsugi, in which cracks in a piece of pottery are repaired by being filled with powdered gold. The mending emphasizes the flaws rather than camouflaging them, adding beauty to the brokenness.

Artist Molly Martin says this about repair (in her case, mending clothing) as an act of care and a reflection on the self:

We carry the knocks of life on our bodies, like an old, much-loved and patched-up pair of trousers. Our wrinkles are a sign of time, of weather and of life. Old age is inescapable, but if we are honest about it, there can be grace and beauty in it. Surely, we can see that this must be so, and when we try to deny it by avoiding old things that are worn, rather than learning to love them, we somehow deny our own reality.

This is the sense of care and intentionality I am trying to live out as life continues to pick up speed and blurs the memories of simplicity imposed by lockdowns and social distancing.

(I keep chanting to myself a new spin on the 90s-era PSA: “Mend, heal, repair.”)

Categories
Art Family

Terrible, but not very terrible

I spend less time writing for myself these days and more time chasing a busy baby away from my books and the compost bin and the internet router. I know this stage in our lives is fleeting, though, so I’m doing my best to stay present to it and to remember these wise words:

“Babies eat books. But they spit out wads of them that can be taped back together; and they are only babies for a couple of years, while writers live for decades; and it is terrible, but not very terrible.”

Ursula K. Le Guin, Dancing at the Edge of the World
Categories
Miscellany

Getting going to feel good

It’s late October now, and the high still hasn’t dropped below 70 degrees. We haven’t seen any significant rain for months. This week, the sky looks and smells like an ashtray, and we’ve been stuck indoors, feeling uneasy about the world. (Somewhere along the way, October 2022 has been branded “Augtober,” which is obnoxious but also feels about right.)

It can be tempting for me to think that I just need to hit upon the right piece of inspiration or muscle my way into the right mindset to feel motivated to do, well, anything when I feel unsettled. Instead, I’ve been reminding myself of a concept I came across in the spring of 2021: I don’t need to feel good to get going; I need to get going to give myself a chance to feel good.

This most obviously applies to exercise, which is how Lindsay Crouse, a runner and writer at The New York Times, wrote about it after struggling with pandemic burnout. But I’ve found it also can help me reconnect with creativity in the kitchen, at my desk, and in my relationships, too.

As performance coach Brad Stulberg puts it: “Show up — even when you don’t want to — and act in service of your core values. That’s the only way you’ll become them.”

Austin Kleon says it more succinctly: “Forget the noun, do the verb.”

Categories
Family

Simply more pleasant

Bernd and Hilla Becher in 1979 via The New York Times

I loved a recent issue of Mason Currey’s Subtle Manuevers newsletter introducing the artist couple Bernd and Hilla Becher. The German photographers spent decades making photos of industrial architecture across America and other countries. When asked what is different about their photography because they make it together, Hilla replied:

“Traveling together is simply more pleasant. … When you are traveling together you can exchange ideas and it feels less bleak when you are in some god-forsaken place—like when we spent weeks traveling through the American Midwest. The nights in shabby hotels are more comfortable when you are with somebody.”

It made me reflect on how much more enjoyable it has been to endure the early months of parenthood because I have Ryan by my side. My version of Hilla’s explanation might go something like this: “When you are raising a child together you can exchange ideas and it feels less bleak when you are in some god-forsaken developmental phase—like when we spent weeks comforting a teething baby.”

As Bernd says, everything is easier to handle as we help each other.

Categories
Miscellany

A move, in micro-blogs

We moved across the Willamette River this week. It’s too hot to be outside and too chaotic in the new place to feel calm about staying inside, but we’re moving through it, one box (and tweet) at a time.

it’s me, a cold-blooded december baby, moving during a heat wave for the third july in six years and hating myself for it

— Brittany Wilmes (@bwilmes) July 25, 2022

i’d be thrilled if i never buy another piece of gray furniture again

— Brittany Wilmes (@bwilmes) July 25, 2022

Little kindnesses in a tough world: An honorary auntie bringing dinner and unpacking boxes at the new place. A new neighbor texting with an offer to treat us to donuts. An old neighbor sharing his trash can and wiping away a tear saying goodbye to our baby daughter.

— Brittany Wilmes (@bwilmes) July 27, 2022

Mom and Dad bringing a trailer to haul furniture — and then Mom coming back to help set up the bedroom and sit with a sleeping baby so we could work. Our 12yo babysitter organizing kitchen cupboards during naps. Our new landlord reading to the baby while we cleaned.

— Brittany Wilmes (@bwilmes) July 27, 2022

there are a lot of good things about housing density but the best might be: no leafblower activity! 😅😅😅

— Brittany Wilmes (@bwilmes) July 27, 2022

Categories
Family

Remembering Grandpa Walt

My grandpa died on June 18 at age 94, and my family asked me to write the eulogy for his funeral. It feels impossible to sum up all of a person’s character quirks and interests and contradictions in a five-minute speech, because it is impossible, but my attempt gave me both a boost of energy and comfort.

To remember a person, and to share their essence with those who loved and were loved by them, you have to dig into the details and the big character traits. When I think of who my grandpa was and how he lived, I think of how he shared with others what he loved. I wrote about some of these things in the eulogy:

Walt loved having green beans on the table at dinner, especially if they were beans he had grown — and you can imagine he never let his kids forget that. He loved skiing, dancing at parties, spending time at his beach house in Neskowin, watching The Lawrence Welk Show, and drinking a cold Budweiser. He loved his classic cars and the 1937 Harley-Davidson motorcycle that he bought as a young man and later restored with his brother Ralph. After he retired (although he would rarely admit that he’d actually stopped farming), he liked to walk with Kathy or drive the Gator around the home farm, watch Judge Judy in his recliner, and have “just a sliver” of dessert at family birthday parties.

My grandpa gave his the family the gift of letting us see him loving what he loved, and sharing those things with others is the best way I could remember him.