reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the circle of life. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

sometimes asking a question is purely a matter of politeness. you want the other person to know you value their thoughts, but, since you’ve already decided, their answer blurs into the gusty winds inside your mind and you do what you want to do anyway.

i can’t say that all the lost turtles and frogs and hurt birds and chipmunks and leg-damaged preying mantises in the wild have come home with us. i can say that i wanted them to. he generally feels that nature should be left to carry on in the circle of life (i can hear elton john singing now) and so i already know his answer to my “what should we do?” question. we’ve come across kittens on trails and i’ve stared at him without a word as he sorts for something to say about wild cats. of course there is nothing to really say about a tiny tabby in the woods, except that we are not really all that far from civilization and, surely, this cat belongs somewhere, so taking it home would equate to, well, kidnapping it. that, for sure, stops any taking-it-home-ness from happening.

were it up to me, particularly in this empty-nest-time, all the sweet creatures we come across would be our little friends. and the circle of life – if need be – would include a stint at our house, in our nest.

and elton john would be happy.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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spirograph on deck. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we are surrounded by people with grandchildren. there are tiny babies, toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers. we are ‘of the age’. it would seem that each and every day there is yet another announcement on social media of a new grandbaby-to-be, a gender reveal party, a baby shower, a birth of a tiny being into this great big world. my biological grandma clock is pokin’ at me, but, alas, this is not within my control. at all. these are important and very personal decisions; each of us has to decide what is individually right for us. and so, we’ll see. no matter our age, we celebrate our children living their lives.

and so, we watch others as they enter the glee-filled world of grandparenthood. they amass toys and sleeping provisions and high chair options and read books about the newfangled ways small babies learn to eat food and they post adorable videos of all the extraordinarily ordinary moments we – as parents – didn’t have time to notice. they go to the closet in the hallway or in the family room and gaze up at the tinkertoys and legos and trouble game and candyland and the saved baby dolls and barbie dolls and matchbox cars and crayons and stickers and markers and coloring books and they get dreamy looks on their faces as they ponder all these – once again – in their lives. ahh. what perfection.

we have all that stuff too. it’s mostly in the hall closet, where we’ve always kept it. games and puzzles and crafty things and bebop and a jumprope and jacks and egg coloring kits and pumpkin carving tools and those squishy balls you get all soaky wet to throw and frisbees. all the crayons and colored pencils and markers and glue are upstairs in the cabinet in the office. and stickers. lots of stickers.

there is really no reason we can’t just revisit all that stuff now anyway. i mean, if we are going to practice snack-time, we can spirograph first.

he is such a boy. SUCH a boy. any – and i mean ANY – time i ask him if he’s hungry, he always replies with an emphatic “yes!” like he’s been starving for days and days. snack-time is a driving force, a dominant priority, something he has already perfected. but, hmmm….yes, a carrot easily dangle-able.

i’m guessing spirograph is in our future.

happy mother’s day.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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the birdies. [merely-a-thought monday]

ehhhhh, i’ve turned into my parents.

that’s not a bad thing. it’s just a fact. well, at least it’s partially a fact.

on long island, in the middle of growing up, riding my bike with susan, writing poetry in my tree, practicing the piano and organ, doing my homework, playing frisbee at the beach all-year-round, toting my camera around, hanging out at the dive center, fishing with crunch, cruising around in my bug, adoring my baby nieces and nephew, i didn’t notice. maybe i just didn’t pay attention.

they talked birds. birds in the yard, birds on roadtrips, birds upstate, birds at the beach. birdcalls from the woods behind our house, birdcalls passing overhead. they tossed birdnames around and, every now and then, i’d catch one and it would stick somewhere in my memory. but for the most part, their lobbing of vital bird information swooped over me and flew by.

and now.

now i want it all back. because we.love.birds.

we watch their antics in our backyard…at the birdfeeder, at the pond, on the fence, tucked under the awning over the back door, in the trees, hopefully building a nest inside the old barnwood birdhouse on the pine. they are sweet, sweet, sweet.

we guess what they are…sparrow, grackle, mourning dove, starling, crow (oh, so obvious), junco, wren, finch, cardinal, red-winged blackbird, bluejay, chickadee, tanager, oriole… i recognize some from home-home, but some have so many similarities that identification is tricky.

surely they are not looking at us thinking human or ….? they just know. so it feels important to know the difference.

on a great adventure at the botanic garden, we picked up the handiest little spiral pocket-sized quick-guide book called “birds of the midwest“. there are color-coded tabs and you open to the color page that correlates with the primary color of the bird you are trying to identify. such a remedial approach is good for us. (it’s kind of like avoiding the issue of looking up a word when you don’t know how to spell it…you don’t have to look up the bird under what kind it is when you don’t know what it is.) we keep it on our table in the sunroom and use it often as we gaze out back. i imagine we will take it with us as we hike.

in other amazing tools, thanks to dear deb-on-island, we have an app on our phone that is a bird identifier. not only can it identify a bird from a photograph or a list of questions you answer, but – and this is soooo cool – it can identify a bird from the birdcall you record. amazing! the cornell lab of ornithology deserves a giant round of applause for this app, which can identify up to 6000 bird species. the power of science. !!

my sweet momma had an iphone. she adored it, sending random photos to people and receiving photos from everyone in the family. it kept her in the loop and, at almost-94, she was a texting maven. we were in easy contact with each other and she with family and friends from all walks. she both embraced it and made silly technological mistakes, just like us, but nothing a quick turn-it-off-turn-it-back-on couldn’t really solve. it assured her that she was involved, particularly after my poppo died. the power of connection cannot be underestimated.

i wish that i had known – back then – about this app. it would have rocked her bird-loving world.

as it is, i know that every time we are sitting and pondering what a bird is or admiring one aloud or peacefully listening intently or just simply watching the bird-play in our yard or in the woods or at the shore or anywhere, she and my dad are giggling, knowing i’d get there someday.

*****

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


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in the quarry. does my butt look big in this? [saturday morning smack-dab.]

a rock and a hard place. he is wedged between them and help-me-i’m-wedged-and-i-can’t-get-out he can’t escape. there is no choice but to say the wrong thing. go either way and he has sunk miserably to the levels of pond catfish, carp at best.

in these days of changing-changing-changing bodies and expectations of ourselves, we peer in the mirror and are astounded at what we see staring back. menopause and “men”opause (whatever on earth that is called) – in all its glory – has taken its toll on our metabolism and our hips and someone with a line-defining pen has carved on our faces while we sleep in the night. and those jowls. let’s not forget them.

so while i want him to understand – to really get it – to grok it at a cellular level – to feeeeeel my pain, he is thinking, “she’s beautiful” and tells me so. ohmyheavens, seriously? can he not share in my astonishment, couple with my what-do-i-do-now-ness, sympathize in a big-big way, help me pick out jeans in the next size?

there is no winning here.

it is the perpetual “does my butt look big in this?” question. over and over. forevermore.

he can “pretend” not to notice, which undermines his believability factor and, ultimately, leaves him stranded with no credibility when i am facing down the mirror. he can acknowledge and discuss the merits of aging with me, leaving me incredulous that he would suggest that i am aging. he can try to play long ball – riding the fence – acting like he can’t hear me – changing the subject.

no matter what, he will find himself in the rock garden.

eh. who am i kidding? it’s more like a deep, dark quarry.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️2022 kerrianddavid.com


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“went to visit mom.” [k.s. friday]

it’s an octave. though it is not obvious to most and though it is difficult to see, it is an octave. well, slightly more than an octave, actually. d to d and then e and f. f# too. there are still 88 keys, even aged. still 88 keys, even devoid of their black and whiteness. still 88 keys, even in their new patina. still 88 keys, even though some may now be missing. it is still a piano. its soul is intact.

my sweet momma has been gone seven years today. seven.

the other day, in a group text with some dear friends, i read one friend’s response to a question from another about whether she was home. “not home yet,” she wrote. “went to visit mom.” it stopped me in my tracks and i stood still for a moment. those words – “went to visit mom” – were powerful moment-freezers. time suspended just for a few seconds as i pondered what it would be like to be able to write those words – “went to visit mom”.

i know that i was fortunate. my sweet momma was almost-94 when she died. and i was 56, so almost six decades of me sharing the same plane of existence. her life was inspiring and i was lucky to have her cheering for me in every success, in every travail. she was steady and a rock who was always there, whether or not, in different phases of my life, i recognized it. it was true for me that there was no one who was a bigger cheerleader for me – she had pompoms out the moment i was born and never hesitated to use them. and, as is true for most of us, i’m quite certain there were times i took that for granted, took her for granted.

“went to visit mom.” wow. what i would give to have minutes, hours, days with her. to seek her wisdom, watch her enthusiasm, see the glint in her eyes and hear her laugh, coffeesit with her, have a giant bowl of pasta fagioli or a big slab of crumbcake or some silly adventure. to feel enormous unconditional love. to hug her. to be hugged by her.

“neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.” (desiderata)

barney will reside in our backyard for a long time to come. this gorgeous instrument will continue to be worn by weather and the elements. its keys will fall off, the wood laminate will peel. it will still be a piano and each octave will still be an octave.

my sweet momma, i know, is the same. she is still there, as perennial as the grass. i know her love supersedes my loss of her.

maybe sometime today i’ll go out by barney. i’ll take a candle and light it. and i’ll text d, upstairs in the office working, “went to visit mom”.

*****

LEGACY

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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more barn-red and grey after the black and white. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

we are beginning to see more of this: the basement floor. more clear space.

as you know, it is a slow process, tedious, actually. and it is not something he can do with me. this is mine to do. for most of what is down there – in the recesses and the corners, tucked into old built-in cupboards and in, yes, bins and boxes and even bags, precedes him. he is happy to help, but it is somewhat a moot point, as the decisions are mine and he respects that.

it’s not just a little bit of pressure, not just a little bit of work. black and white decisions that aren’t really black and white.

you are weary of reading about this, i suspect. skip today, i would suggest. the basement clean-out is not a short story – it’s an epic tale, really – and, if you find any form of redundancy abhorrent, you will be tallymarking-in-your-mind the number of times i am talking about this. this will be a tallymark mess, cross-hash upon cross-hash, the slashes accumulate.

a few days ago i turned the inner cardboard tube of a roll of wrapping paper upside down. more birdseed than i am comfortable with fell out. i suppose you are wondering how much birdseed-saved-in-the-wrapping-paper-roll i find acceptable. well…really…none…as we are not the ones saving birdseed in that manner and it brings to mind the question of a city of dwellers below us about whom we know nothing. they live in the barn-red-grey zone in silence and anonymity, leaving tiny clues behind in their stash. i wonder what they think of the rest of the stash down there, most of which they are not likely to be able to get to – the bins of barbies and matchbox cars, the mementos and art projects my children created in elementary school, every story they ever wrote or note they penned me or the overalls that were ever-so-adorable on my son, the pink dress so sweet on my daughter. maybe they are intrigued with the antiques, the tools, the not-oft-used kitchen appliances. they are hoping to be invited to the next cornhole bags game, the next bocci ball tournament, the next badminton skirmish, the next time the pingpong table is set up and ready-to-go. they are gazing at the collection of pingpong balls, golf balls, tennis balls, baseballs, soccer balls, thinking the upstairs-dwellers have a pension for round things. surely they are impressed with the stacks of boxes of shrink-wrapped cds, though they are more likely mp3 critters and, being 2022-born, roll their beady little eyes at the mere mention of cds and cassettes. i’m guessing our tiny visitors actually have no opinions about all this and clearly no interest whatsoever in the 8-track player or the record albums. they are not thready nor are they sentimental. they were simply seeking places to stash their seed-findings.

yes, i will need a new broom…one of those angle ones that gets into the corners. there is much to be swept.

in time, there will be more floor. barn-red and grey. i have to get past the black-and-white of it all first.

*****

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


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lions and more lions. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

the summer of 2011 in our ‘hood was dramatic. straight line winds came through, toppling close to a thousand trees in our neighborhood alone. all in about five minutes. i haven’t felt the same since.

when it’s windy out – really windy – or when strong or severe wind is predicted, i get nervous. we – both – lay awake at night, wondering about the tall trees behind our bedroom, hoping that they will prevail and stay standing.

a couple years ago a really gigantic branch fell into our backyard from our neighbor’s tree. it did not land on the house, but it was a fortune to have removed and, in these weird liability times, was ours to deal with. in an even weirder event, the neighbor came by to ask if we wanted to “go in on” the removal of three of the towering trees in his backyard. for obvious reasons, we declined, as did our other neighbors, and this couple, who had been dear to us – after four decades of living there – sold their enormous house and moved to texas without saying goodbye.

anyway, the windstorm-derecho of 2011 has made me tremble.

david’s ptsd came from childhood and being hit by lightning. i’m thinking i would have post traumatic stress, too, had i been hit by lightning. he was in his house, by a window, and zap! yikes!!

so when the rumbling starts and we are out walking or hiking, he is a wee bit trepidatious. the moment the lightning starts, trepidation turns to panic.

we were walking along the lakefront when we could see the storm clouds quickly approaching. boom! the thunder rolled. and then…the lightning. time and again. david was full-scale under-the-desk sheltering (though there was no desk). in no time he had taken cover-without-cover. i convinced him to get home. we are not those people who revel in thunderstorms or chase tornadoes or delight in derechos or any ridiculously windy events. we seek peaceful days and sun, maybe gentle rains and light quaking-aspen-leaf-worthy breezes. idyllic. nirvana.

we are entering the season of wild storms. they are all across the country. we watch the weather and eliminate places as potential places to ever live. “nope,” we say. “not a chance!” we have a short list of places we’d live, which is good, since it will lower the level of decision-fatigue and lessen the analysis-paralysis of too many choices.

in the meanwhile, on the shores of lake michigan with the lion full-on and the lamb – goodgrief – somewhere following at turtle-pace, maybe lost, one cannot underestimate the power of ptsd.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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frogs, sausages, monkeys and hiking boots. [merely-a-thought monday]

we were talking about hiking boots. she said that her tread was so smooth and nonexistent when she was in banff that they had to go buy yaktrax. i talked about sliding on wet leaves as we climbed up a nearly vertical trail in the mountains of north carolina. we wondered how many hundreds – or thousands? – of miles we each had on our respective footware. then, with no modesty or guilt and maybe even a little proudly, we compared how many tabs we have had open in one sitting as we researched new boots. she won, at 20 tabs. my old and intrepid laptop would surely crash with 20 tabs open, though i can totally relate. i asked her, my physical therapist, to let me know when she decided on a pair so i could avoid all the rest of the research. it does occur to me, though, that, at her age, she does not likely have any kind of foot or knee or hip or any-for-that-matter issues. nevertheless. i’ll take her recommendation under advisement. i am tired of looking. we laughed together about our analysis paralysis – as brad calls it – as she manipulated my shoulder – i’m positive she was trying to take my mind off of what she was doing – and she told me she called it “decision fatigue”.

i think decision fatigue is why i have to move around my clearing-out tasks in a circle. i can’t stay in the clothing-decision arena or the shoe-decision arena or the paperwork-decision arena or stuff-decision arena too long. it’s easier for me to spend some time communing with one set of bins, suffering the choices, pulling ruthless from thin air and then moving on to the next. circular. in a circle. i’ll be back and it will all get done, but i’m too exhausted to finish it out in one fell swoop.

it took me a long, long time – and many, many tabs – and a few returns – to come to the decision to tap on “order now” when i was looking for some new lightweight everyday winter shoes. rykä – shoes made for women – won me over and every day i am glad when i put on my boots. i read all the reviews (the one where the mom bought these boots for her daughter when they went to iceland had me dreaming of trips with my daughter to iceland) and i checked multiple sites. by the time decision fatigue set in i had ordered two pairs in different sizes from different websites. one was perfect and the other went back. (what song does that sound like??? speckled frogs “glub, glub” or sizzling sausages …”ten fat sausages sizzling in a pan. one went pop and the other went bang”….come to mind….) (or is it….”five little monkeys jumping on the bed. one fell off and banged his head”…). whatever.

decision fatigue has delayed a new bathroom faucet, the possibility of new kitchen counters, whether the fireplace should stay wood-burning or gas logs or insert and…and…and, most definitely, new hiking boots.

and don’t ask me how many winter outerwear vests i ordered. ya gotta love “free returns”. manna for the decision-fatigued.

*****

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


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those blue cornflowers! [saturday morning smack-dab.]

corningware is a fact of life. my mom had corningware, my sister had corningware, my sister-in-law had corningware, i have corningware. there’s no getting around it. it just is.

it doesn’t really matter that there are other cooking vessels out there – fancier, more expensive, touting evenly distributed heat and cast-iron goodness. i was – from growing up with aluminum stock pots and the blue cornflower pattern – predestined for my “spice-o-life” corningware set. in a nod to bougie, i also have a couple pieces of the “french white” oven-to-table elegance. one of these days i may break out of this. the la creuset people are patiently waiting.

we go to antique shoppes often. someone asked me if we buy things. tilting my head to think about that question, i realized that we don’t buy things all that often, though we have a pension for repurposing old stuff so there are definitely exceptions to that. we have a merry old time, though, wandering around, telling stories and laughing. why is it that we tell stories, you ask? well, it’s because so much of the stuff we c.u.r.r.e.n.t.l.y. have (or, ok, have had) is also stocked in the antique stores. it’s not limited to the corningware and our pyrex mushroom-pattern mixing bowls. it’s the books we read, the albums we listened to, the games we played, the clothing styles we had, the leather tooled purses, the belt buckles we recognize, the peanuts mugs, the sylvester and tweety glassware, the woolen mill spools and the rug beaters i collected in the early 90s. it’s the vases passed down, etched glass platters, the linens from finland, the beer steins from europe, the flour sifters, the handmade yoyo quilts, the happy face wastebasket. i have bins of ebay-worthy treasures. vintage. wink-wink.

one of these days – hopefully in the far, far away future, his paintings and my cds will find their way into an antique store somewhere. people will pass by and they’ll say, “oh geeez. remember when we had a cd player? what year was that again?”

in the meanwhile, we will relish becoming antiques ourselves.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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nothing to eat. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

ohmygosh, we love to run errands together. we make lists and double-check them, stare into the pantry and the fridge, caverns of emptiness, glance at recipes we’ve pulled out on the table or on our phones, scavenger hunt for ingredients. and then, after several pit stops and a “do-you-have-your-mask?” we leave.

the roads in our town are torn up. it seems that they are making everything bigger…more lanes, different drainage. it takes a while to get out to the grocery store and, in the process, we lose a little impetus. if the sun is shining, the temptation to go hiking somewhere or to simply take a walk is much more luring.

nevertheless, we persist. the mother-hubbard’s-cupboards situation at home means that there is nothing left to wing for dinner.

i’ve never had a gigantic pantry or walk-in kind of storage, and i’ve never had a ton of excess to spend on filling something like that. so most of the time shopping has been tailored to what-we-need for this period of time. though we belong to costco, they sigh upon our entrance, knowing that we will not get the big spender’s trophy. it’s always been with a bit of wonder to gaze upon someone else’s pantry, brimming with supplies: gigundous boxes of kind bars, twelve packs of facial tissues, organic broth for a lifetime of soup, beverages to quench every thirst. freezers and fridges full of ingredients for meals-ready-to-be-prepared. truly wondrous to me.

so when we travel about, checking off the things on our lists one by one, and arrive home with littlebabyscion, laden with bags and boxes and assorted wrappings, it is actually pretty exciting for us. we carry it all in, slowly put it all away, relishing the bounty in our own home and excited to be about cooking together these great meals we have planned.

and then, since everyone gets ravenous when they shop, we look at each other, hunger pangs obvious in our eyes and we realize…

we are way too exhausted to cook anything at all.

and besides, somehow it feels like there’s nothing to eat.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com