reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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we got us some sense. [merely-a-thought monday]

i can’t remember what state we were in, but it was on the back of an suv.

“act like you got some sense.”

it should be a road sign. posted every ten miles or so. a reminder.

we have turned into backroads people. ok, well, we were always backroads people but now it has been cemented, etched in stone, made immutable. we would rather be on a backroad than any interstate, freeway, multiple lane expressway.

driving down toward chicago on i94 we were surrounded by semis and vehicles zipping in and out, 80+ mph in a 55 zone. it’s craziness. frantic. though it’s clearly worse on expressways, we’ve encountered our share of aggression on regular around-town roads as well. what is WITH people?

we have kind of made some new driving decisions. the two people – who would drive 15 hours, 17 hours, straight-thru 22 hours – have got themselves some sense. our journeys and roadtrips will be a little less pushed, a little less arduous, a little less long each day on the road. the frenetic days – driving, driving, driving – are over. and we bid them adieu without regret, looking back fondly and with not just a little awe.

in this new got-some-sense era of our lives, each step counts, each mile an opportunity to see something new or different, beautiful or funny.

yesterday, while driving down a not-extraordinarily-busy-but-still-busy-enough road, we came upon a bar on the side of the road with a slewww of motorcycles parked outside. in front of us, standing in the middle of the lanes, scarily exposed, was a biker-dude-sans-bike, leather jacket and all. he pointed at us. i slowed down and stopped. from the side of the road came another biker, this one on a big motorcycle. he roared into the lanes and took off like the infamous meatloaf batoutofhell. i resumed driving, without pausing for reflection.

sometimes got-sense means deferring to those – even temporarily – without it.

*****

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


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the void. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it’s like an ongoing game-mix of charades and taboo or catch-phrase over here.

we can’t think of a word…we act it out…we “sounds-like” it…we describe the word without using the word…we gesture wildly and stare blankly at each other. we don’t start panicking right away, but there comes a moment when the void is a little too voidish and we wonder if we will ever come up with the word at all.

since we are writers, this is a tad bit relevant. one of us invariably needs a word – we know the word – we are intimately familiar with the word – the word is like second skin – but it has gone missing.

we try to come up with the letter it starts with – say, r, for example. one-of-us insists it starts with an r and that-same-one-of-us launches a verbose description about TheWord, attempting to get the other to ThinkOfTheWord.

“r!” i repeat, “it starts with an r!!”

“and it’s pasta? something we’d have with sauce?? rigatoni?? rotini?? ravioli??”

“no! no! no!” “think!!” “we have it all the time! r!!! come ON!!” beginning to act out what it looks like, hands drawing in the air…

“ribbon??”

“ribbon?? have we EVER had ribbon pasta?? dang!! come ON!!”

“are you sure it’s not a t? like tortellini? or trofie?? or maybe a c? like cavatappi? or cavatelli??”

“geeez. no! it’s an r!!”

“well, i can’t think of another r-pasta. is it penne?”

“penne!! that’s it!!! yes!! penne!! a p!!”

the void is a moat, equipped with word magnets, it seems.

every day another word is butterfly-netted and held at bay, even if only for a few minutes, just to torture us.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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those gizmos. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it happens. yep. iykyk.

we have all done something like this. did we lock the door? did we close the windows? did we leave the iron on? (who irons these days, anyway?)

my sweet momma’s sign on her mirror – “old age is not for wimps” – was prophetic. it’s not just the aches and pains that seem to grab your hand one day and skip along with you, all jolly-like. it’s the yiiiikes moments. those moments when you wrack your brain to try and remember if you did something. and your silly ole brain won’t let you get there. i mean, what IS that?

these are the moments that we can talk about while sitting around with the up-north gang or at friday potluck dinner. these are not moments you wanna mention to the kids. as it is, our stories are less than captivating to them now. add to it a level of aging-hazard and we’ll soon be the proud owners of whatever gizmo will help us be less feeble.

goodness! my momma was right to put that sign on her mirror. it’s not for wimps, these, err, challenges. good thing we are all doin’ it together.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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older-agers. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

in junior high i wrote a piece which i titled “old age is not a disease”. i was the child of older parents; most of my friends’ parents were at least ten years younger than mine, some fifteen. many of my parent’s friends were also their age and my grandparents were significantly older, so i was surrounded by elders.

i’m not quite sure what compelled me to write this piece, but it was written with fervor and i was passionate about my assertion. though i’m certain it’s somewhere in a bin downstairs, i’ll rely on my tenuous memory when i say i backed it up with facts and a great deal of emotion. always thready and emotional. from the beginning, i suspect.

so i guess it should come as no surprise that i am drawn to things waning. i find the flower on trail past its prime, bowing to the forest floor, petals wrinkling. i find the fallen tree, nurselog to a little community of new trees, striving. i find the dried grasses, glowing in late autumn. my photo library is full of these older-agers.

i keep the daisies until it no longer makes sense. but it seems that is way past when others would keep them. their curling petals no longer crisply open, instead shrinking and closing. they are beautiful. all stages.

daisies are kind of important to us. i was holding a daisy when i met david in baggage claim nine years ago. the second time i met him with a whole armful of daisies. and then, daisies walked with us down the aisle. i suspect they will be with us all along.

so, like us, i recognize their allure in every stage. even in waning.

this past weekend the father of my beloved children, my first husband, turned 65. i wished him a happy birthday and texted that i was astonished that we are the ages we are.

the time between back then and now has flown by and, were i to be defined as a daisy, i am grateful the petals and that yellow center of joy are still present, though a little crumply and a spectrum of many flaxen shades.

i know i don’t look like the daisy of yore. but every stage of a daisy counts.

“may the light of your soul mind you,

may all your worry and anxiousness about becoming old be transfigured,

may you be given a wisdom with the eye of your soul, to see this beautiful time of harvesting.

may you have the commitment to harvest your life, to heal what has hurt you, to allow it to come closer to you and become one with you.

may you have great dignity, may you have a sense of how free you are,

and above all may you be given the wonderful gift of meeting the eternal light and beauty that is within you.

may you be blessed, and may you find a wonderful love in yourself for yourself.”

(john o’donohue – “a blessing for old age” from anam cara)

*****

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


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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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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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beachgrass and self-care. the same. [d.r. thursday]

and i can imagine that i have carefully laid down a blanket on the dunes of fire island or smith point park further east. i can hear the surf rolling and i can feel the sun on my face, warm sand heating the blanket under me. the grasses sway in the breeze and i can hear the tiniest gasps of music from a radio playing a long distance away. it is a piece of heaven.

and so much a piece of my memory that i could feel it when i looked at this through-the-grasses photo taken in my midwest front yard. things that are visceral.

i imagine that the next time i see the atlantic ocean or even long island sound, i will feel the same way as when i first see the mountains or pass into the canyons. it takes me by surprise every time, though i don’t know why i’m surprised. yet it’s overwhelming. the mountains. the ocean. for different reasons and for the same reason. it suddenly occurs to me – all at once and little by little – that i am but a tiny piece of this vastness. were i to not feel it, it would still exist. i am lucky enough to feel it.

i am writing this – a few days ahead – on my birthday. i just had a glorious breakfast in bed, a phone call with my beloved daughter. i’ve opened cards and read text messages and facebook posts. it is sunny and very cold and we will wrap up in warm clothes and go take a hike somewhere.

i was awake in the middle of the night. my beloved son texted me just after midnight. and then i laid awake.

the quilt and i talked about life until david woke up hearing our murmurings. we watched a trail or two and then, the wisdom of the wander women, amazing thru-hiking backpackers of a certain age. they talked about their feet, which got my attention. issues with their feet. bunions. arthritis. toes turning. they recommended tiny gel-rubber wedges and orthotics, ways to honor their own self-care.

suddenly i found tears streaming down my face. as a person who, for instance, wears a wrist brace and a finger splint to sleep, i have – for some reason – labeled this, in a kind of deprecating why-do-you-need-this way, as high-maintenance, a weakness. hearing them – “solution-oriented” – dedicated to gently and intentionally caring for their “gracefully aging bodies” so that they could go and DO – was visceral. i could feel their self-love, and the support they had for each other in that self-love, in thriving, just like i could feel the sun on my face and warm sand under me. not a weakness. no…instead, indeed, a strength. it was a moment for me.

i don’t imagine that i will weep when i try the gel wedges in my hiking boots. i don’t imagine that i will cry if i place an insole under my foot. though maybe i will. it’s not exactly the same as revisiting the mountains or catching the first glimpse of the ocean. but i might be underestimating it.

the beachgrass protects the dunes, trapping windblown sand. it preserves the beach, the barrier islands against severe wave or wind or storm. we work to secure ecosystems in the mountains, protecting vegetation and animals from destruction the best we can, preservation for water and energy.

last night, in the middle of the night as i moved from 62 to 63, i was reminded again: that though i am tiny-in-vast, just like each of us, we are – yes – here to feel it. with all the trappings and obstacles and challenges and gloriouses – we are responsible to care for our bodies – the best we can. to love each inch, despite anything. to support each other in that care.

to realize – suddenly – that finger splints and tiny gel wedges are the same as beachgrasses, really. all part of the same world. it really all counts the same.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

a day at the beach: mixed media 38×52
spoons and sandcastles: mixed media 28×57.5

A DAY AT THE BEACH, SPOONS AND SANDCASTLES ©️ 2017, 2018 david robinson


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the stuff we see. [two artists tuesday]

we cannot help ourselves. we see stuff. i usually don’t suppose that’s unusual, until someone stares at us – with that blank look on their faces that betrays the “oh-sheesh-they-are-SOOO-weird” thought they are having. and then i realize we might be a little unusual. i shrug it off. “we-are-all-worthy-we-are-all-worthy” i repeat.

the shark was on the side of the trail. lurking. all crusty and gnarly, his face. he was obvious. he was cause for conversation, tales of scuba-diving in cold long island waters and off the coast of tropical islands. we can’t help but see and we laugh and gasp out, “look! it’s a ……..!”

seeing. it’s a burden every artist carries. it’s in the backpack with the parmesan cheese and the twizzlers and the tiny box wine and the kind bars. it’s probably good that we are mostly alone during these moments; our imaginations fly wild and free and we crack ourselves up.

and isn’t that the point? the laughter? i can’t think of anything better than laughing together, even at our own expense. we tell stories to friends, emphasizing the goofy, the silly, the utterly-profoundly dumb, self-deprecating and reveling in it. getting my hair cut and claiming the highest forehead in the guiness book of world records of foreheads. having a pedicure and claiming the biggest big toe in modern history. even, recently, at the doctor’s office, asking, please, for a sticker or a gold star for passing my bloodwork. just silliness. we can’t help it.

but to walk with him and find the sharks on trail and the ducks stuck in trunks (see below) and the tree mooning us (see below) and the desert hills from space (also see below) is to walk inside laughter. it’s to have maybe learned – at long last – not to take everything quite so seriously.

it’s to learn how to get older and crusty and gnarly ourselves and to hold it all lightly.

because in truth, the shark tree was beautiful.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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i would imagine. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

at 93-almost-94, i would imagine that my sweet momma felt much the same as she had decades earlier. i would imagine that she would have expected herself to move about the same way she had, to participate in life the same way she had, to be able to do most anything the same way she had. she was always startled when she looked in the mirror, self-deprecating her wrinkles and changed body to the end of her decrescendo. but i would imagine that inside – sans mirror – she was feeling like she felt back in the day, back in the forté of her life.

i actually get it. i, too, am in denial when i look in the mirror. i am shocked to think of myself as almost-63. i am shocked to wake with aches and pains, having had a measly amount of sleep in the night. but behind the wheel? with country music blaring or perhaps the soundtrack “about time” or a lowen and navarro cd or john denver or james taylor and carole king maybe … i am back in my skin.

we – in recent days – have made a decision about roadtrips, which we adore. we have decided that we will not drive the seventeen hour all-in-one journeys of our younger days. we will not drive through the night. we will not drive in snowstorms or fierce rain. tornadoes are another story. we will do everything we can to outrun them. but, my point, since i am getting off-track, is that we are seeing the wisdom of exercising restraint on our drives. stop at dark, have a nice dinner, get a good night’s sleep and start again early in the morning. we are trying not to be foolish. because no one wants to be exhausted or stressed on a roadtrip anyway.

so we check the weather ahead. we try to reasonably plan where we are going each day. we book an airbnb, sometimes a hotel. we keep vigil with our accuweather app. we take the back roads anytime it is possible.

we are yes – getting off the road when it’s no longer safe to be on it.

we are yes – being smart.

we are not – no, not yet anyway – succumbing to our “age”.

i would imagine that won’t be anytime soon.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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the imperative. [merely-a-thought monday]

i loved it all. the halls of john glenn high school, the walls of the classrooms i sat in, most of the extraordinary teachers i had the pleasure of studying with, most of the classes i took. i loved math, i loved science, i loved english and creative writing. i even loved my jewelry class, though i was not particularly skilled at it. i took no music classes in high school. none.

the guidance counselor didn’t know what to do. what direction do i go? what path do i take? what major do i pursue? the emphasis was on the decision. make one, i was told. it is quite possible this is one of the reasons why, years later, i completed a guidance and counseling masters – to scrap the emphasis on the decision and shift it to the process. at a time in the late 70s when college was ever-important and i was top-of-my-class i was underserved. it does not matter where you are in your class if your spectrum of curiousness is dowsed by someone pressing you into a mold, narrowed into a this-or-that.

in my first years of community college i still loved it all. philosophy classes were a stand-out. economics were not-so-much. business law was a low point. environmental science classes fascinated me. because i played the piano, taught piano lessons, wrote songs, and directed a youth choir, i signed up for a couple music theory classes and met paul simon, the godson of my music theory professor sy shaffer. listening to paul talk about songwriting was a huge highlight. i mean, it was paul simon. but i really still didn’t know what direction to take.

a life-changing event, as life-changing events do, changed that.

i moved when i should have stayed. i left when i should have dug in. i dropped the rest of the curiosity to focus on the familiar, the known. albert einstein would have taken me by my ear. “stay curious,” he would have admonished. “what you seek is seeking you,” rumi would have whispered to me. “wait.”

it’s funny to me now – as i look back – that i did not focus on the inordinate number of hours i spent writing in a tree. it’s funny to me now – as i look back – that i wrote songs and music and arrangements – fifteen albums worth – and never really thought of all the heavy composing or theory classes i took in my second half at university. never once have i gone back and compo-analyzed the structure-texture-tonal-system-consonance-dissonance of a piece of music i have written. it’s funny to me now – as i play with design and photoshop and cartooning and blogging – that it didn’t occur to me, as an editor at john glenn’s art and literary magazine “gemini”, how much i loved what i was doing in those after-school hours-and-hours sessions with one of the world’s best and most expansive english teachers, andrea vrusho. it’s funny. we see and we don’t see. twists and turns, paths taken, paths not taken. our stories all different. stages and flatbeds, classrooms, church chancels, the state side of the courtroom, piano benches, recording studios, choir rooms, department-store-holiday-wrapping in lean times. all part of the curio cabinet, never full, never finished. we take paths and, if we are scrappy and confident and lucky enough to be supported and even mentored, we make the best of them. anyway. there is a richness to each story and each path.

no special talents. passionately curious.

we all have something. something that sets us apart from each and every other person. something that the world we are in cannot do without. for every spoke in the wheel counts and every gift, every talent, every nurturing soul, every fixer-upper, every engineer-brain, every teacher, every scientist, every laborer, every inventor, every chef creating magic in a soup kitchen or michelin-star-bistro, every artist, every athlete, every skilled-trade expert are necessary in this place, at this time.

it is exactly that – that is brilliant. it is exactly that which is genius. it is the appreciation of that – so much to learn – which is the gift of being human. it is the imperative of humanity.

*****

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

and a little mood music for you – the orchestra of my professor sy shaffer