reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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desi is messy. too. [k.s. friday]

because we see desi every day, it is hard to notice its growth. she is likely changed at every sunrise streaming through the window behind her, yet we can’t see it. we’re too close, sitting at the table with her every day; the changes are imperceptible.

desi is a tiny pine tree, an evergreen whose genus and species are unknown. maybe a white pine, we wonder; she’s a messy little thing. her tiny branches are not orderly; she has a bit of wild-troll or kramer-esque (“seinfeld”) hair-branches going on. but her trunk has gone from a tiny needle stalk to something a bit more solid, a bit more grounded.

we talk to desi, just as we talk to all our plants. they each have a name (plants are people too). and, though i haven’t checked on each plant’s tolerance for this, i touch each one. we talk about the sun and the spring ever-coming and their stoic thriving through the winter. i tell them i can see their growth, for i cannot imagine any one or thing not liking positive reinforcement.

yesterday, in mid-basement-clean, i called up to david in his office. i asked him if he could take just a couple minutes to come downstairs and see my progress. i told him i could use the positive reinforcement. plus, if he didn’t look at the progress along the way, he would likely not realize what it took to get there.

it will take tons more time. i have so much to go through…more than thirty years of accumulation. it’s been an ongoing project. but the space i cleared in the workroom yesterday was significant and, if you looked, you could see the change.

some clearing out will not look like much. there will be boxes or bins that i will go through and things will get messier before they get cleaner. it will be hard to discern what i’ve accomplished. it may look a little wild down there. but it’s changing, nevertheless.

not unlike the stuff going on inside. we can’t really see that growth either. we sit at the table with ourselves every single day. one day someone tells us we seem lighter, a good trend. positive – and negative – changes, both worthy of our attention, both glimpses into direction we choose to travel, the way we want to be in the world, how we want to ground, how we want to grow.

clearing out – on the inside – does not look like much. things get messier before they get cleaner and it is hard to discern what we’ve accomplished. it may look a little wild in there. but it’s changing, nevertheless.

desi nods her wild-hair-branch head.

*****

taking stock

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TAKING STOCK from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood


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restless and fidgety. [d.r. thursday]

and the saga continues. april. “april showers bring may flowers,” someone quips. everyone turns and snarls. that kind of positivity is just a bit much.

i looked at my weather app – again. we have several important places on there: chicago and charlotte (to see what our kids are experiencing), denver and tampa and columbia (family), breckenridge and dory (mountain towns we check in on), brevard (another mountain town we check in on), washington island (because we lived there), northport (because it was home).

the weather was iffy this past weekend (no surprises there). as we drew closer to it, i started googling real estate companies. zillow and realty.com, redfin, trulia. looking at houses in places with better weather, houses in places with different terrain, looking at house plans for places we dream about being. i’ve lived here a long, long time – longer than i have lived anywhere. it’ll be thirty-four years this year – thirty-three of them in this cherished house – more than half my life.

and like spring poking at us, teasing, causing us to be restless and fidgety, thoughts of living somewhere else do the same thing. poke, poke. prodding me…think about it. “what’s keeping you here?” someone asked me. “you grew into it because you had to,” else someone explained my midwest life.

the sky is glowing orange right now. literally glowing. there is some fog over the lake so the rising sun is diffusing into it. it’s pretty stunning. i suspect it’s supposed to be some sort of consolation prize for the rain and snow. uh-huh.

the sun pops out over the cloud of fog and streams into the bedroom. the quilt lights up, david peeks out the window, dogga stirs at our feet, the mourning dove outside coos. and one more morning – yet again – i think about how much i love this home.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY


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dining. [merely-a-thought monday]

we are not fancy-schmancy froo-froo types. we don’t have chandeliers or swagging silk curtains. we don’t have china or sterling silver utensils. we don’t have a matchy-matchy dining room set or linen tablecloths graced with taper candlesticks. but we do have rich dining experiences, nevertheless.

whether at our cozy table in our old kitchen – the square one that my sweet poppo refinished in our basement – the one with a couple white painted legs dogga chewed on as a puppy – the one that i had to wipe clean every week as babycat would rub up against it leaving a dander mark – the one that my babies sat by in their high chairs and that many a cuppajava was sipped….or at the covid table in the sunroom – the one with snakeinthegrass and leticia and nonámē and stubby and boston and, now, charlie – the one with happy lights and tealights – the one looking out back….or at the big table in the dining room – the one with the memories of big gatherings and games played and pass-the-mashed-potatoes and pasta dinners…any table, it doesn’t matter. we sit together and, in our together, are grateful for the chance to prepare our meal and share it.

we choose our plates carefully. it might be a white crock night or a black plate night or maybe kenandloida colorfully-painted ceramic bowls or small plates. the vessel matters. and so do the cloth napkins. no matter what we are having for dinner – vegetable soup or a tagine or plant-based meatloaf – we try to pay attention to dining and not just eating.

we can count the number of times we have been dining inside a restaurant since before the pandemic – on one hand. it has been for very specific reasons – mostly our children, but once, the up-north gang, freezing from winterfest, gathered indoors at a pub to sip drinks and gorge on kettle corn. these times have been rejuvenating and joyfilled, though i have to say, blame-it-on-covid, i usually count the days hence. sigh.

regardless, our two-years-heading-into-the-third have not been without a richness that comes with choosing to make a big deal out of meals. nothing lavish, but still meaning-affluent. nothing opulent, but still flush with deliciousness. nothing fancy-schmancy, nothing froo-froo, but dining. definitely dining.

not just sitting and eating.

*****

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


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the miniblinds. [k.s. friday]

one of the first things i love to do in the morning is open the miniblinds. dogga helps me. “open up the house with momma,” i call to him and he tags along. the moments of letting in the world again.

at night i really like closing the blinds, turning on the lamps and happy lights, closing out the world and cozying into our home. but in the morning – and i attribute this to my sweet momma, the person who would flit from room to room singsonging “good morning, sunshine!” – i can’t wait to greet the day.

there have been days when this hasn’t been so. days when the cold from the outside and some despair on the inside have led me to keeping it all closed up, locking it all out. humans, with a gamut of emotion, we all have those times, i suspect. the days when looking out doesn’t seem like a good idea because you can barely get past the membrane of your own heart or the nagging of your mind. but, in the way that time does, the moments tick by and somehow you do the work – even just a little, sometimes just enough – and you move past closed blinds.

an acquaintance – who i hadn’t seen in quite a while – asked me the other day about my children…where they are living, what they are doing these days. i told her that my son was living in chicago and answered that my daughter and her boyfriend had moved to north carolina. she looked at me and said, “oh! that’s right near where you’re from!” i hesitated a beat or two and tilted my head at her. she continued, “well, you’re from new york, right? that’s right near new york!”

i didn’t quite know what to do – i wondered if she had unfolded the usa map in her head as it seemed there was a folded overlap somehow making ny next to nc – but i answered, “why, yes! they are both on the east coast and on the same ocean!” it was kind of her to ask about my family and if, by choice, you haven’t left the midwest much, save for those all-inclusive-mexican-resort places, those states ‘out there’ might be kind of confusing. it’s a big country. and it’s a big world. it can be safer to stay put, yet, like miniblinds, it might filter out the light.

though the pandemic still has its seesawing challenges, i can feel the tug of backroads and adventures. though cleaning out still has its sentimental obstacles, i can feel the urge of less-is-more. though careful budgeting is always a dominant force, i can feel the itch to freshen things in our home and yard (good grief – that dug-up front yard will be a necessity!). though i feel a little tentative, i can feel the impulse to seek out ways to let creativity bubbles float and fly.

i open the blinds carefully and look outside. the rising sun hits my face and the birds are singing. dogga is by my side, triumphant in helping me open up the house. and i think that today i will make a live-life-my-sweet-potato list. things on either side of the miniblinds. opening up, little by little. to light.

*****

that morning someday

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THAT MORNING SOMEDAY from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL, THE BEST SO FAR

©️ 1996, 1999 kerri sherwood


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the new mandoline. [d.r. thursday]

i read the reviews. i always read the reviews. before purchasing. before booking. before going. before clicking.

this one said, “and the first thing we made was potato chips! because we could!” it made up my mind – that would be the first thing we’d make too. homemade potato chips. goodness! we were jazzed.

the new mandoline was a little bit of an investment for sparing people who already own cutting boards and knives. i kept the tab open on my laptop for about a week, pondering, for we do not buy in haste here. but in the middle of the indecision – and still, the middle of this pandemic – in lieu of restaurants, pubs, bistros – eateries of any kind – we felt we could justify it. plus it was on sale. plus it had a zillion reviews raving about how it changed the lives of the people who purchased it. plus, potato chips!

the slicing was a dream! it took little to no time to have thin slices of three large potatoes. tossed in olive oil (maybe avocado oil would be good too) with a bit of sea salt, we laid them out on the old cookie sheet. (note to self: buy new insulated cookie sheets) the recipe gave a raaaaange of temperatures in the oven so we went with almost the highest. and… bake!

having to turn each individual potato slice over to bake the other side was a tad bit tedious. i cannot imagine the lays people doing that with their baked-chips. we quickly realized that we needed fewer chips-to-be on the sheet in order for them to self-actualize. that would mean three potatoes of potential chips would take a few rounds in the oven. nevertheless, we persevered, knowing that this was an experiment and experiments are supposed to be, er, experimental.

they may not have looked like the homemade chips at red robin, but they did not require driving anywhere or concerning ourselves with a restaurant’s ventilation system. they were browned and crunchy and just sea-salty enough. even the ones that were not-quite-there were devoured. we figure we will try it again. and we can try sweet potato chips too.

cause this new mandoline is pretty cool, just like the reviews said. 2022. who knew?

*****

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the stock pot. [two artists tuesday]

i have kind of a wild-harebrained-dream.

in my wild-harebrained-dream we own a food truck called “and sauce.” and we drive around the country in big red pulling our food truck and selling sauce on pretty-much-anything.

i blame the whole30. or credit the whole30. i suppose there’s a difference between blaming and crediting.

the whole30 is a diet for 30 days (clever, eh?) during which you only eat whole foods and do not eat any: grains, legumes, dairy, added sugars, alcohol. you pare down your menus to fresh vegetables and meats and seafood and, after 30 days, deliberately add things back in to see how your body and digestive system react to various ingredients. it was back in early 2018 and it truly helped me get a tummy that was having a rebellion under control.

in many ways, it kind of stuck.

one of our staples was my homemade tomato meat sauce. but, at the time, we could not have it over pasta – regular or gluten-free. so we had it over spaghetti squash, which was, surprisingly, amazing. then we had it over oven-roasted chopped sweet potatoes. then we had it over roasted brussels sprouts. and over a hamburger. and over a baked potato. when we could add gluten-free products back in, we had sauce over penne, over rotini, wrapped in corn tortillas. sauce, we had discovered, is good on pretty much anything.

and the ideas were born. “and sauce”, the cafe, the food truck, the home delivery service. with the entrance of the pandemic, the food truck seemed like an apt adventure. i mean, who needs to even think about pianos and stages when you can travel around with stock pots and a food truck?

perhaps i am romanticizing this a tad bit, but, since this is my dream and not my reality, i am giving myself grace to daydream.

in those moments where comfort is sought and food that soothes the soul is paramount, we turn to the stock pot, to sauce or soup. the biggest pot comes out, the apron goes on (i adore over-the-head aprons), the cutting boards sit on the counter and life instantly slows down.

chopping and measuring (sort of) and sauteing and stirring with the giant wooden spoon from finland and sampling…it’s all heaven. there is not much that smells better than onions and garlic being sauted in olive oil. (though i recently read how you could re-create the williams sonoma store scent, which is very popular, by simply simmering vanilla extract, rosemary, lemon and peppercorns.)

just walking into the kitchen and seeing the stock pot on the stove is a reassurance. whether there is sauce in that stock pot or veggie soup or – drumroll – my sweet momma’s chicken soup (with the addition of spinach leaves and shredded parmesan, of course), it brings everything back into focus.

and as we ladle out sauce or soup into bowls or onto baked potatoes or penne, we, in turn, put worries and concerns and out-of-sorts-ness into the big pot. cause that’s actually the job of big stock pots. balancing out life.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

to find TRUCKMEISTER – a really fabulous milwaukee-based food truck we had at our wedding, please click here. i might have used a photo of their truck for my rough-hewn AND SAUCE food truck pic. lol.

TAKING STOCK from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood


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the waxing moon. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

“the beauty of the earth is a constant play of light and dark, visible and invisible.” (beauty – john o’donohue)

i prefer to think of it as waxing, not waning. growing in illumination, not heading toward darkness. the moon on our ceiling just above the crown molding shows up from time to time. the conditions need be right, the lighting need be perfect. and then it’s there, waiting to be noticed. i ran for my camera the first time i noticed it, afraid the shadow-and-light interplay would quickly disappear.

like everything else around us – waiting to be noticed – we are always in choice about noticing or not. we can take the time or not. we can nuance our time to scurry past or we can slow down, just a little, to see.

i recently saw an article about spain, a country that embraces the siesta, a time of rest within the day. there is consideration there to move to a four-day work week in an effort to balance work and life. it is hard to imagine that there is much more important than paying attention to that balance. what else is living? why are we rushing through it?

i really love to take photographs. our hikes in the woods and walks in the ‘hood and time-just-being-time are punctuated with my stopping-stopping-stopping to grab a photo here or there. some things are just blatantly beautiful, visible and full of light. they need not beg to be captured on film. others are not so obvious. they are not so visible, darker, perhaps even invisible, courting imagination. on the trail they disappear silently behind the woods-models, the fashionable haute couture of the forest. instead, they are quiet and steadfast. they have a certain je ne sais quoi that cannot be easily named. and they are indeed beautiful.

on the trail, the tiniest pink petals rising from the decayed leaves, the green-and-green variegated leaves tucked behind the flowering shrub, the fallen tree – home to symbiotic white rot fungi – in and amongst the stately, the healthy. the thistles, dried and browned wildflowers, inosculated trees sharing soil, underbrush, like understudies, taking their usual back seat to the crowns of the woodland.

in our daily routine, the way the spring rain forms a heart-puddle on the patio, the way the snow piles on the wrought-iron table, the way rays through the miniblinds shadow the wall, the way barney ages in the backyard, the way wine glasses clinking catch the light, the way the quilt gathers the morning sun, and the way the light in the living room gifts us a waxing moon.

the balance of the obviously beautiful with the less-obviously, less-definitively beautiful.

we take a bit of time as we can – we slow down just a little as we are able – to make sure that we notice the play of light and dark, visible and invisible.

we look around us, through waxing and waning, standing in the light and the dark. to make sure we notice all the beauty of the earth.

*****

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