reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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pop-up dinner. [ k.s. friday]

we popped up at the old beachhouse.

it’s under construction; they are restoring it, this beautiful art-deco historic building, finished in 1940. the southport beachhouse “used recycled materials to cut costs. this way, rather than paying for new materials, the city paid workers to tear down condemned buildings as well as build new ones. the beach house uses luxurious slate, stone and marble materials salvaged from the old kenosha post office, which would have been otherwise unaffordable.” part of the new deal and roosevelt’s wpa (works progress administration) it is a gorgeous structure on the shore of lake michigan and the place we had our reception six years ago, a bonfire on the beach to end a stunning day.

in the middle of the beginning of covid – last year – i read an article about a new york couple’s ingenious solution to the inability to go to restaurants or pubs or gather with others, instead to isolate and social distance. i saved it and thought it was something worth pursuing.

this year, after a lot of research and a couple false starts sent back, i found a lightweight (mostly plastic) folding table and lightweight (mostly plastic) folding stools. i showed them to david and said, “let’s have pop-up dinners!”. small enough to be kept in littlebabyscion or big red, it’s an intention that begs spontaneity.

our first pop-up was this past sunday after our trip to the orchard.

we carried the table and stools and the picnic basket, the one from my sweet momma and poppo, onto the beach and found a spot in front of the scaffolds on the cement by the building, lit our candle-in-a-jelly-jar, set out our plates and cloth napkins and cheese and crackers and olives, our metal stemware. easy.

i imagine this fall, and even winter, will bring many pop-up dinners and happy hours. i can already list the places at which i’d love to pop up. snowpants and mittens won’t deter us. we’ll carry blankets, maybe thermoses of warm soup.

it was a little chilly at the beachhouse on sunday. the breeze was picking up. i picked up my phone and turned on the one piece of music i have saved to it. cherish the ladies began playing if ever you were mine and i watched david rise off his stool. he came over to me, held out his hand and invited me to dance.

as the sun began to dip below the horizon and the colors in the sky began to rise above the lake, on a honeycrisp apple kind of day, we danced on the sandy beach, scaffolding and a smiling cream city brick beachhouse our backdrop, a pop-up dinner waiting.

*****

download music from my little corner on iTUNES

stream on PANDORA

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

MILLNECK FALL from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️1996 kerri sherwood*

*if you are near MILLNECK MANOR on long island, please visit and have a pop-up dinner for us. ❤️


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the anniversary of after-the-comma. [d.r. thursday]

one of my most rewarding moments will soon have an anniversary. in three days SHAYNE will be six and the moment of unveiling her first published book to my sweet momma will be starting its new trek around the sun. in the way that life makes things complicated and that stuff gets in the way, we have not yet released the third book of the trilogy.

a little background stolen from a previous post:

back when my momma was 93 and facing down stage four breast cancer having had a double mastectomy a few months prior, she told us she felt like she had accomplished little in her life.  there could be little farther from the truth.  she died shortly before her 94th birthday but remains a force in the world. her kindness and her zealous belief in kindness continue to ripple outward. i heard beaky firsthand when My Girl was talking about the world and its issues and said, “the best thing i can do is to be kind to people.” i’ve seen beaky firsthand when My Boy has stood firm in raising pride awareness.

but she insisted she had no title (“engineer”, “architect” etc) to put after her name.  we knew she had, however, three manuscripts she had written decades prior – stories about the family dachshund named shayne – stories she had tried to have published with no success back in the day.  stories told from shayne’s point of view and simply wholesome and delightful, we searched for – and found – the manuscripts.  and immediately got to work.

my amazing husband david illustrated the first of the trilogy, named SHAYNE.  i laid out the text and the graphics of the book itself,  designed merchandise like an “author” shirt, banners and a shayne iphone case for momma, built a website, contacted newspapers and we hastened to put together a release party with a reading and press and a celebration with brownies and asti spumanti at her assisted living facility in florida.  when we told her – on MY birthday in march (for what could be a better thank-you-for-my-birthday than this?) what was happening on april 11th, she squealed like a school girl and started practicing signing her name with a sharpie.  it was BY FAR one of the pinnacle moments of my life to see my mom – the AUTHOR- hold her book, read aloud to the dozens of people who attended and sign “BEAKY” on her books as her fans lined up to purchase the earliest copies.   eighteen days later, my sweet momma was no longer on this earth.

in the way that lists-in-your-head nag at you (or possibly my momma from heaven, that traffic-stopping look in her eye) i know that it is time to develop that third book. it is time to re-tell this story. this world – these times – with so much loss, so many undreamed dreams. on a scrap of paper on august 4 in the year 2012, a calendar date that holds significance for my mom who gave birth to and lost her first baby girl on that day in the 1940s, i wrote down that momma said to me, “enjoy life. start living.” don’t put it off. just do it. the words of self-helpers everywhere.

maybe that’s why the woven-wicker-paper-plate-holder-end-cap-display was so riveting. maybe that’s why the giant piles of peeps and peeps cereal made me stop and laugh. maybe that’s why it feels like momma is saying, “hello!” maybe it’s not just “hello”; maybe it’s “what are you waiting for?” or a gentle prod, a “rise and shine, sweet potato!”

procrastinating runs rampant. in all of humanity. we put off things until we feel deserving. we can’t go out until we clean. we can’t travel until we’ve finished schooling. we can’t give up security until we are secure. i’m guessing momma would not necessarily agree with all this. her wisdom was to support going and doing. she did not counsel that one must have guarantee of success first. “try it, you’ll like it,” she’d echo my poppo.

momma had funny quirks, like everyone i suppose. and now, because DNA is a thing, i see those quirks up-close-and-personal in the mirror. i see them in my sister and my nieces. i see them in my daughter. marvelous tiny snippets of beaky walking in the world.

momma had some lighthearted superstitions too. she’d take an umbrella with her places because she believed that -then- it was less likely to rain. she wouldn’t take a shopping bag because she believed that -then- she would have the joy of juggling many parcels at the end of a shopping excursion. she knocked wood.

momma had a sensibility that she undeniably passed down. she made soap socks and never threw out a bottle of shampoo if she hadn’t already stood it upside down for days. she didn’t use or wear or hang up or sometimes even take out of the bag new things. there was some unwritten rule that she had to save it for “special”, a waiting period for anything new. she generously handed this strange little behavior to me somewhere along the line in the same way that she passed the love of cold french fries to me. she would make mounds of homemade french fries ahead of time when i was coming for a visit. not because she was going to re-heat them, but because, with big glasses of iced tea, we would sit and talk and eat them cold. together. as much as i still love cold french fries, it was never really about the fries.

and still, in all her amazing beaky-ness, after living an extraordinary life and setting an example of kindness and simple joy, she had this sense of nothing after the comma after her name. how could this be? easy enough to answer, i suppose, in a world of expectation and measurement, a society of commas – the ones after your name, the ones after dollar signs.

SHAYNE was on-deck in her life for over five decades, waiting. yes. it was one of the most rewarding moments of my life to see her face as she looked at her first book. her glee! elation. there are no words.

now i wonder if she might advise us all to start practicing with a sharpie. “you just never know,” she’d add.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

visit beakysbooks.com to see SHAYNE

SHAYNE ©️ 2015 beatrice arnson, david robinson, kerri sherwood


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and now. the painting. [d.r. thursday]

and now painting copy

this painting is magical.  it is the stuff of dreams, the stuff of hope, a vision of the future, the thready sharing of life and love.  it looks more to me like flying than resting and, perhaps, as the wedding gift that d gave me four years ago today, it was prophetic.  with the presence of mountains and a daisy, holding hands, embracing, perhaps dancing in flight, it is what we knew then.

what we know now is so much more.

our journey, our flight, together has, in its rawest form, a newness.  meeting smack-dab in the middle of middle-age has its interesting elements.  not that either of us is rigid…oh, no….of COURSE not.  but when you are nigh 60 years old you do have your ways of doing things.  add to that the fact that we are two artists artist-ing together.  sheesh! there are some lively chats in these here parts.  and to feel like you are starting over again – in your middle 50s – is time-warpy.  there’s a lot to learn…but i guess that’s always true.

i have to say that i have never argued as much with another person.  i’m quite sure that we agree the sign we purchased on our honeymoon in the mountains of colorado says it all, “you are my favorite pain in the ass.”  it goes both ways.  we definitely have a full-spectrum of emotions together.  we are the best at disagreeing; we are the best team together.

i’m eternally grateful for this gift.  i cannot adequately put this into words, so it must suffice that – this is the man i skip with.

i have no idea where this journey with mountains and daisies will take us.  we are open to the mystery as we continue this amazing flight.  allways.  always.  magical.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 4.09.09 PM

wedding pic with website.jpg

AND NOW ©️ 2015 david robinson

 

 


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old dogs. [merely-a-thought monday]

button to button copy 2

a couple years ago our CHICKEN MARSALA went with us everywhere.  i mean literally everywhere.  FLAT CHICKEN traveled across the country and we have pictures of him in the scion, in front of the ‘welcome to colorful colorado’ sign, with rest area volunteers, sitting with family at an outdoor bbq.

we had submitted CHICKEN to all the major cartoon syndicates with some interest on their part and so we were bringing him with us, to document his travels and keep our hopes up.  ultimately, CHICKEN MARSALA, the strip, was not syndicated and we ended up concentrating our efforts more on short bursts of wisdom and thought in one-panels of CHICKEN in life.

CHICKEN MARSALA and another one-panel cartoon named FLAWED CARTOON, graphic designs we were making or photographs we were taking, david’s paintings, my music – all were fodder for what became a melange, a mixture of it all, the crux of what we would write about each day.  and so THE MELANGE, offered monday through friday,  was born.

it has – this week – been a year since the first MELANGE was published.  and monday through friday since, we have had an image that we each have used as a jumping-off ground for our blogposts, the chute through which we have funneled our thoughts.

i was a crazy person designing products for each of these days…mugs with our sweet CHICKEN MARSALA on them, BE KIND tote bags, FLAWED CARTOON prints, painting morsel throw pillows, what-seems-like a zillion leggings with song lyrics. we posted links for our product lines and re-assessed things daily – placement of images in the blog, placement of hyperlinks, whether or not to include FB ‘like’ buttons….it is an endless list.

somewhere along the way we realized that it was possible that other people might not be as invested in our CHICKEN MARSALA as we were.  he wasn’t their imagined little boy; he was ours…

i have this great tear-off calendar i enjoyed every day last year.  it sat on my dresser and had a unicorn on every page.  it also had a saying of some sort…some words of wisdom, some tongue-in-cheek, some downright sassy.  although i love unicorns, for obvious reasons, i found that i could not tell you what the unicorn was doing each day; i barely looked at the unicorn.  for me, the important part was the saying.  when i realized that, i also realized that was possibly the same reason people were not investing in CHICKEN.  it was whatever the panel said, the words, that held the interest.  when someone would randomly come upon the image of CHICKEN MARSALA, no matter how adorable the drawing, they wouldn’t ‘see the unicorn’ so to speak, but instead would read the words, the starting gate for our posts.  ahhh.  we are ever-learning.

and so, we changed our MELANGE monday from CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY to MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY.  and i stopped, for now, designing more CHICKEN products for a society6.com store that was already full of products.  CHICKEN MARSALA will have his time in the light; it just isn’t right now.

the same thing happened for our FLAWED WEDNESDAY.  as funny as those single panel cartoons were, we found they weren’t necessarily connecting in-a-big-way to our audience, so it was time to re-evaluate our posts for wednesday.  FLAWED WEDNESDAY became NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY with interesting tidbits we encounter in life.

today (ok, technically calendar-tomorrow but alas let’s not be too detailed) we celebrate this monday in february a year ago.  a year of our MELANGE.  a year of selecting images we would feature.  a year in which we have we have blogged every monday-friday.  a year of designing websites, blogsites, products.  a year of questions and thoughts.  a year of assessing and re-assessing.  a roller-coaster of learnings.

who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

thank you for riding along with us.

love needs no words jpeg copy 2

chicken marsala love phonecase

chicken marsala create phone case

 

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN... copy

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

chicken and dogga roadtrip website box.jpg

CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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every breath. [k.s. friday]

every breath song box

we drove the kettle moraine scenic drive yesterday…it was the celebration of our anniversary and we had arranged to take off…everything was lined up…dogdog care by 20…snacks…everything work-related done ahead of time.  on the travel wisconsin website we found this beautiful tour through back roads and areas of fall color that looked like calendars that you buy in stationery stores.  once we got out of the endless whitewater loop we seemed to be hilariously stuck in, we ambled our way north, catching our breath around curves and topping hills formed long ago by geological earth movement.  fall color was everywhere, especially the further we drove.  we missed the selfie stands that were sporadically placed along the way.  but we didn’t miss traffic.  or highways.  or towns.  or strip malls.  it was a breath out of regular life.  a chance to just be together, without work or worries or tasks or errands.  to talk or be silent.  to sing to john denver on baby scion’s cd player.  to gorge on snacks and sip an espresso at a little coffeehouse.  it was the cello line of our day, this drive.  the lift of every breath.

download EVERY BREATH track 1 on AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts about this K.S. FRIDAY

kettlemoraineacornwebsitebox

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 12.27.50 PM


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this is us.

and now painting i don’t think i’ve ever binge-watched anything before. not even repeated viewings of my favorite movie my big fat greek wedding or even when harry met sally. ever. (oh wait. one time in minneapolis while waiting for the girl at her apartment, her roommates convinced me to watch a few hours of big bang theory, which i loved. but that was merely a few hours, so i’m not sure it counts as total binge-watching.)

but yesterday? yesterday was different. d and i celebrated our second wedding anniversary, sitting on the raft binging on a show we hadn’t even been aware of till recently. despite its emmy award-winning status, we were mostly unaware of this is us. But then everyone at ukulele band rehearsal was talking about it and we thought, “ok, ok…i guess we should watch an episode and see what they are talking about.” daena offered us her netflix account (or was it her hulu account?) but we ended up just streaming it on nbc.com, which meant we watched commercials over and over and over. these not only gave us time to talk about the show, but also to breathe in-between the segments of show. the punctuation gave us a moment to rest. just like in music. yeah, just like in life.

we started the day on the rocks watching the sun rise over the lake. it was cloudy and windy and the waves were just about splashing us as we sat on a flat rock clutching our thready-breckenridge-plastic-travel-mugs filled with coffee. (coffee tastes better in real mugs, we discussed on the rock. coffee aficionados that we are, we are experts on mugs and double-experts on thready mugs…ones that make us remember moments, places, people, events, simply breathing.)

a fresh pot of coffee later, with rain in the offing, we all four (dogdog and babycat too) got on the raft and started what ended up to be an out-and-out-major-binge of this show. i was reticent ahead of time to think i would get tied into it…a disbeliever of sorts. i knew that the girl and the boy have binge-watched shows of choice and, yet, didn’t think i could sit and watch for that long.

but as the day wore on and the snacks on the raft changed, my husband’s hand firmly in mine – all day – i began to see that this was indeed a show that drew me in. excellent writing, good acting, lighting that spoke to me, a music score that resonated….it all drew me in. well done. very well done.

we talked about the show as we watched, particularly after episodes as we pondered the next snack on this celebratory day, a day we had put aside to do whatever-we-wanted. the real-life-ness of it was painful sometimes. we could relate. we couldn’t relate. mostly, we could feel it. the sign of a good show.

somewhere in there i looked at d and said, “life is just messy all over, isn’t it?” nothing is neat or tidy or figured-out. nothing is really as it looks. nothing is easy. it’s all complex and layered and muddy and…stunningly beautiful.

a few nights before this anniversary we gathered at dear friends’ house with other friends. we drank wine, toasting our anniversary and john and michele’s as well. we had appetizers, looked at flowers in the garden, took pictures in golden sunsetting light on the lake rocks. we filled ourselves with dinner and conversation and laughter and, yes, dark chocolate. d and i spent a lot of yesterday reliving the days before our wedding, when our children and our families and friends came together to help us marry…in a church community we treasure, in an old beach house where we all danced and gathered for the food truck and wore glow necklaces around a bonfire. we marveled at the relationships with all of these amazing people. we marvel today at the same.

late last night we read our service together. we listened to the music we chose for the service…and we remembered. we honored that day. the song d walked down the aisle to – and now – made us have tears and gabriel’s oboe – what i walked down the aisle to – made us weep openly. 11:11 – the time of our wedding – is a sacred time for us. we notice it as often as possible. yesterday was one of those days.

david painted me a painting as a wedding gift. it hangs in my studio. it is called and now, same as the song i wrote him.  we are joined by hands in this stunning-heart-painting, our bodies touching, reaching forward toward the future. and now close-upeach moment in that time stretching forward will not be without stress, without things that are difficult or painful. but each moment THIS will be us. getting there – together.

this is us appeals to us. not just because it is truly a riveting show. but because this is us reminds us that THIS is us. THIS is life. THIS messy, complicated, incredibly blissful, excruciatingly painful life….IS us.

and now – on itunes