reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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me and lucy and ethel. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

i would not call myself a whirling dervish. though there are moments we all must succumb to that. any time i have spent whirling and dervishing i have felt like i was in the middle of an “i love lucy” episode, all eyes on my fumbling and klutz. i truly don’t know anyone who can stake claim to getting all tied up in the vacuum cord, but maybe it’s just that no one else will admit to it. it is one of my nemeses. yes, you read that right. the vacuum cord.

my sweet momma had a maroon electrolux. it was the kind where there was a long hose and the canister tank was on metal sled slides and you pulled it around behind you. for some reason, it seemed easier to operate. i suspect this is solely my problem.

in recent developments of technology i see that there is a vacuum operated on battery. the dyson v15 detect has been getting a lot of attention. i’m wondering if there is any merit to this machine. i mean, we have an aussie. and aussies shed twice a year. the first half and the second half. dogga has an unbelievable amount of doghair and it is a constant battle with tufts gathering en masse in corners of the old wood floors everywhere. my continued war-with-the-cord challenges me at every turn – even if i hold up the cord that would tangle my feet – while dogga tries to stay away from the monster whose cord he chewed the very first day we got it. someday, it may be time for a new purchase. i’m hoping that they improve the battery-operated variety by then.

in the meanwhile, cleaning and chores will continue to be somewhat circular, spinning and twirling from room to room…thinking broom, dustrag, oh-what-about-that-pile, wait-i-need-a-drink-of-water, sheesh-throw-on-a-load-of-laundry, yikes-did-i-pay-that-bill-due-online-today, don’t-forget-to-take-something-out-for-dinner, oh-these-dishes-need-to-be-washed, what-about-THIS-pile, where-are-my-favorite-jeans, maybe-i-should-take-out-our-gloves-from-the-winter-bin, maybe-i’ll-go-work-on-smack-dab, does-this-still-fit, write-down-that-thought, make-a-grocery-list, the-bathroom-needs-cleaning, let-the-dog-out, let-the-dog-in, make-that-call, page-through-a-catalog, i-should-darn-these-socks and …….. vacuum.

in my spare time – the time that no woman i know has – i’ll be hanging out with lucy and ethel, honing my handy dandy vacuum skills.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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the fat seagull. [k.s. friday]

“you must begin by knowing you have already arrived. your true nature lives as perfect as an unwritten number, everywhere at once across space and time.” (richard bach – jonathan livingston seagull)

i followed the seagulls on my ten-speed. to the beach, always the beach. later, i followed them in my little blue volkswagen, their screeches out my open window, their soaring showing me the way. and i felt kin to richard bach, his writings about freedom and passion and dreaming and the meaning of life. we met at the beach – crab meadow – and talked telepathically. well, i talked. i don’t know if he was listening. he was on the west coast and i was on the east, though i suppose jonathan livingston may have been able to deliver any message of gratitude i had.

and so we arrived at the fat seagull. it is beyond me why we had never discovered this bar and grill tucked into the downtown of manitowoc. it’s a cheers! kind of place, people who know each other gathered at the bar and around tables, eating, drinking pints, playing games, talking. in the way of wisconsin pubs, there is a vast menu and we order a thursday special to split. the bartender tells us that the two wine glasses they had were broken so he gives us diminutive stemware and charges us less. we choose the bottle still corked, wondering who last drank out of the open bottle and how long ago that might have been. we are kind of strangers in a strange land…17 draft beers and traditional old-fashioneds surround us and our tiny wines.

we listen to live music and gaze around – at people, at the bar, the old wood floor, the ceiling. it is a study in perfection. we feel alive – out and about – a two hour drive each way – food we didn’t prepare – wine we didn’t pour. we talk about how it feels. we laugh and dance. we don’t realize it’s raining out; it had been a beautifully sunny day. we are glad to be there.

we end this week in uncertainty. we reach backwards, examining all we have done – so far – in life and work, what we have accomplished, what we have not. sixty-something is not youth, nor is it aged. it is somewhere in-between, located wherever we are. we bring all we know – and all we do not know – with us. we try to trust that we have arrived, that we are on the tarmac – or – in the terminal, that we – too – despite our lack of certainty – have flown, screeching and soaring.

“instead of being enfeebled by age, the elder had been empowered by it; he could outfly any gull in the flock, and he had learned skills that the others were only gradually coming to know.”

*****

TAKE FLIGHT ©️ 1997, 2000 kerri sherwood

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fluff and pine and raynor winn. [d.r. thursday]

and we will give thanks over costco rotisserie chicken and homemade mashed potatoes.

and we will play favorite cds in the happy-lit sunroom as we set a table, thoughtfully choosing cloth napkins, deciding which place, which memories we want to evoke.

and we will speak of others gathered around tables and tv trays, spilling into family rooms from dining rooms and kitchens filled with light and food and conversation.

and we will call and have chit-chat, maybe even a facetime visit.

and, if the rain holds off, we will take a hike in the woods. it will be slightly warmer and there are few dishes to wash.

and, maybe, we will read poetry or the new raynor winn book, if our copy arrives soon enough.

and it’s possible we will watch a movie or two, with a duraflame log burning but not stressing the fireplace and chimney.

and we will dessert on brownie bites, perhaps a dollop of whipped cream, perhaps a few raspberries. or ice cream from our yonana, still a dollop, still a few berries.

and we will miss those not here…those gathered with others, those too far away, those on other planes. we will speak of them in our gratitudes and hold them all close.

and we will sit – and stand – and maybe even dance – in the day, even in its liminal space.

and we will begin to decorate with fluff and pine to welcome the season, earlier than usual.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY


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just over. just beyond. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

just over the horizon, a midwest-calendar-worthy farm. the photograph could be black and white save for the old barn and an outbuilding, red boards peeking at us, just over the horizon.

there was snow. way more snow than we realized. at home the lake effect had kept the snow at bay – this time. but up there, snow lay on the evergreens, drifted along fences and there were even those piles in parking lots. just over the horizon.

we drive and wonder. we take the back roads to milwaukee, choosing to stay off the interstate. we wish to see the horizon as we pass it. we wish to wonder. who are these people – these hardworking farmers in these days? we pause to talk about what life must be like, the challenges, the rewards, what the horizon will bring them as the years click by.

it makes me think of a song –

i look once more
just around the riverbend
beyond the shore
where the gulls fly free
don’t know what for
what i dream, the day might send
just around the riverbend
for me
coming for me

(alan menken/stephen schwartz)

it’s in looking back we realize how far we have come. from where we stand – still – we can’t see how the horizon changes. we cannot see what is beyond the horizon. were we to live life like a leica drone – or a gull – we might be able to catch a glimpse. but maybe all that would do is fill in the gaps – color in the rest of the old barn, show where the silo meets the ground, capture the next bend in the river, the next rise of the land.

it wouldn’t show the snow that might fall. it wouldn’t show new dreams dreamed nor the future coming.

it would simply give us the architecture of what’s out there. but not the heart.

that’s the stuff to wonder about.

*****

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


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crinkles and shoestrings. [two artists tuesday]

they aren’t even my favorite. shoestrings are my favorite. but it didn’t matter. we pulled into the culvers drive-thru, rolled down the window and ordered “the biggest french fry order you have”. sometimes you feel like a nut. so…crinkles.

in really-more-news-than-you-need-to-know, we ate them all. the entire contents of the family-size-fries-in-the-heavy-plastic-hinged-take-out-container. all of it. well, except for like ten fries. we left those to be all virtuous.

i could instantly feel a zit forming on my chin, somehow lurking there since early teenagehood, waiting for me to indulge in toomanyfries. i vowed not to go out anywhere until it was gone. all-the-way-gone. errgggh. you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. we neeeeeded those fries. but they were not without peril.

you might think that was a bit of an extravagance for two artists onastricterbudgetagain. but receipt 186 for “kari” reveals it was merely $5.55 and we ultimately figured that “1 fry fam” was a lower level vice than other things might be. we think about these things way more than you might think.

the fries helped, actually. well, like vices, at least for the moment. we devoured them, along with dogdog, who was in littlebabyscion with us.

and then we went to the rv dealer for continued escapism. astounded by the interior of both you-drive-them-rvs and you-pull-them-campers, we moseyed for a few hours, in the gigantic domed building, out onto the multiple parking lots full of options and back inside.

the fact that one of the lowest-priced campers had a kitchen nicer than our own was disconcerting. i mean, it had an island and a dreamy butler pantry with a wine fridge. and an oven. it had an oven.

good thing. something in which to make those ore-ida shoestrings.

i’m guessing we’ll need them. and you can’t find a culvers everywhere.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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teeters and totters. [merely-a-thought monday]

there are days that i find it stunning – the number of wisdoms quoted on memes on social media. goodness-gurus like maya angelou, dalai lama, buddha, mr. rogers, gandhi…as facebook profile pictures, cover photos, posts, instas, sage snaps. so many of these are about kindness – basic, the foundation for living in and amongst others.

the center of gravity on a seesaw is in the center of mass. two people on a beam, fulcrum pivot point in the middle, there is a place negotiated where the seesaw will balance. maybe this is the secret of interactions with others.

in too many instances it would seem that our interactions with others are out-of-balance, that they are a study in power struggle, in a quest for control. the seesaw slams into the ground as the heavyweight force succeeds in out-maneuvering the lightweight with no attempt at level. you cannot hide the heavyweight forces and think they don’t exist. the choice to let someone’s else’s side of the seesaw slam into the ground or to let them fly off the high side is conscious and real. and the goodness-gurus frown.

yet the teeters totter on and quote and proclaim and tout and proselytize and do not choose to lead by guruwisdom, ever righteous. it’s astonishing hypocrisy.

sue aikens lives alone in the most northern regions of alaska. she spends most of the year in frigid darkness, with an airstrip and a camp for those willing to brave the remote arctic. her wisdom is seemingly honed by years of introspection and sorting. she has no seesaw at her camp, but she lives everyday on the slim board that is life in those parts, always balancing with nature, with wildlife, with her own abilities and limitations. i imagine there are days that she spends on the low side of the metaphoric seesaw, trying to control her surroundings, the rises and falls, as much as possible. but i would also imagine that most of her days are spent trying to find the pivot point, equilibrium – the place where she interacts with the good earth and its inhabitants with grace and generosity and keeps the seesaw in balance. she has teetertottered in kavik over twenty years. she is clearly doing something right.

as she says, “your interactions are always your choice.”

*****

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

BE KIND BUTTONS


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we know. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

“and their eyes get all wet.”

yes, they do.

because babycat, well, he rescued me. this black and white hulking tuxedo cat was not merely a cat. he was always an angel in disguise, just like all our pets are intended.

we – truly – miss him every day. and so does dogga. the alpha-in-the-house, babycat’s presence was part of the most basic of maslow’s hierarchy. he was as necessary to a sense of rightness-in-the-world as any of the physiological and safety needs.

i suppose as time continues to go on, the lump in our throats will ease a bit.

but as the hierarchy presses, rears its pointy head and pokes at us in these times, we gather dogdog and that babycat-angel around us and tuck in.

we do know, b-cat.

*****

read DAVID’s thought this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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off the trail we know. [k.s. friday]

each time the trail curves, i can imagine it. next.

but as weeks go, this one has been harder. we tried our best to be positive, to believe that the new bend in our road is not so fraught. but, the fact of the matter is that it is. fraught.

we are pretty tough. kind of scrappy. definitely frugal. well, most of the time. we have both been presented with lean times in our lives. even our life together has had its lean times. we always eat leftovers. we always repurpose things. we always turn the shampoo bottle upside down. we always keep the heat low. we haven’t bought a vehicle in sixteen years. in some unknown intuitive move for which we are now grateful, we put off the big chimney-fireplace project, necessary but ridiculously expensive. we haven’t flown in three years. we find sanctuary in a forest we know well. we know where the trail curves.

and each time the trail curves, i can imagine it.

as the sun glimmers on what-looks-like the other end, i think – this is just one day, one week, one time in our lives. tomorrow will dawn and it might be a completely different day, starting a completely different week, a completely different time in our lives. and we just don’t know. again.

we are now in a woods we do not recognize, on a path we can not anticipate. off the trail we know. anxiety hikes with us, as do worry, sadness and disappointment. we worked hard on our plan, but the best laid plans are laid down. and this week, as weeks go, this one has been harder.

the sun quivers through the trees in front of us, setting. we keep walking.

day is done, 
gone the sun, 
from the lake, 
from the hills, 
from the sky; 
all is well, 
safely rest, 
god is nigh.  

fading light 
dims the sight, 
and a star 
gems the sky, 
gleaming bright. 
from afar, 
drawing nigh, 
falls the night.

(taps - d. butterfield/unknown)

*****

IN TRANSITION ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

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a mixed bag. [d.r. thursday]

$6.99. for ten. that’s not cheap. and i have often wondered why they are not included as a perk for city taxes or the utilities and waste pickup. i always – really always – print out the coupon for $2.00 off and have them in my purse every fall. but even then, $4.99 is still not inexpensive.

the other day we stood in the grocery store in front of the biobag display and had a few terse words. i didn’t have any printed coupons in my purse and he-who-shall-remain-nameless-in-this-story wanted to buy a couple boxes. everything inside me railed against buying them without the coupons. i even said that i would go back – after i downloaded the coupon page and then went to the officemax to print them (since our printer was on the fritz). he said my time was worth more than that. i wondered – again – why, if kenosha is providing a link for the coupons on their city site for anyone and everyone, the stores don’t just discount them at point of purchase. it seems like a ridiculous exercise in wasted paper, a little bit of irony – especially when the reason to purchase them is to be environmentally mindful. seems a little plastic if you ask me. to let you off the waiting-with-bated-breath hook, we bought the biobags – two boxes – and i tried to forget that we paid full price.

while i recognize the absolute need for biobags – and the ability for them to disintegrate – i wonder how all people can afford them. they simply cannot purchase boxes and boxes of biodegradable biobags in lieu of food or in lieu of paying the mortgage or rent or gas for the car to get to their job or the WE energies bill. there has to be a way for everyone to have access without breaking the bank. i can tell you that there were many times we stood in the store and had to think about whether or not to purchase them. and now, we are back there…thinking again about the cost.

the trees around us haven’t lost all their leaves yet. we will finish out the boxes of bags we have and then, i suspect, we will use those big black plastic bags and take them to the compost site out by the airport and dump the contents into huge piles. we can reuse the black bags for the next runs and the next runs. as we fall into winter we will definitely mulch some on the yard as well and rake some into the gardens for critters to take refuge and find warmth.

leaf-raking time is a funny time. it brings back a zillion memories of my poppo out front raking leaves and leaf-raking parties with hot cocoa and cookies (we had a zillion trees at my growing-up house) and, later down the road in a different time, a different state, my kiddos loving jumping in the leaves and despising raking. we love to swoosh our feet through the leaves as we walk and the scent of fallen autumn leaves is divine. we drive around the ‘hood, astounded at the sheer number of bags at the curb and try to remember how many weeks the city will pick them up. we can smell leaves burning as we drive to our favorite trail and we watch as people use those big blower devices to blow leaves into the street, passing on leaf-responsibility and encouraging their leaves to blow into their neighbors’ yards.

leaf mulchers. leaf blowers. leaf burns. leaf piles. leaf bins. leaf parties. leaf them alone.

it’s a mixed bag. yes. pun intended.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY


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dandying me with courage. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

it plummeted. this stunningly beautiful day – high 60s and touching the bright happy face of the low 70s – and then…

the highest high this week is 42, with a feels-like of 38. the lowest high this week is 26, with a feels-like of 13, which, incidentally they label “very cold” in parentheses next to the number 13. no duh. the lowest low will be 15 and the app leaves us guessing – right now – on the feels-like of that. so…yes…it plummeted.

but for a few days november teased us and dandy lions rose from the dirt, roaring, “spring! it must be spring!”. i’m betting if we hiked out there – say today – snow showers in the forecast – all the dandies would be gone, all shriveled and sad, tucking their heads down against the wind and elements. but those few days…

they are reminders of things we don’t appreciate while we have them. reminders to stand in gratitude – to look around all bright-eyed and see the amazing things in our own sphere as we encounter them. we linger often on the negatives, the anxieties and angsty worries, the what-we-don’t-haves. but on the day you can feel the sun on your face and are surrounded by the colors of autumn and the dandies are in bloom and the owl hoots in the night, i feel like it would sustain me longer were i to linger just another minute to recognize it all.

this past week. a hotbed mixture of happenings and emotions. loss and sundrenched days, both. the dashing of dreams and dreaming, both. end-of-life and birth, both. i look back and try to stand in each of those places, try to soak it up – like a dandelion in last-licks-sunshine – and i try to appreciate it all. not just appreciate it…reeeeally appreciate it. it all matters. fear is in there too…we are human and we get scared. but gratitude is like a warm blanket and it helps, even a little.

we were lucky to hike, lucky to drive north a few hours to see a friend perform, lucky to have had a time of security, lucky to stand together in an rv dealership and dream “someday”, lucky to prepare soup for dinner with 20, lucky to sit by our pond sipping wine, lucky to light happy lights around our house. we were lucky to see the sun come up through the windows east of our pillows, lucky to see the sun go down through the trees on the trail. i was lucky to hear even a tiny text from both beloved kiddos, lucky to 3-way-hug with d and dogdog, lucky to stand at the kitchen table and miss my sweet momma.

to spend a few more minutes relishing might carry me a little further down the road, a little further away from big worries. each thing a bit of ballast, stabilizing, centering, grounding me, dandying me with courage.

*****

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