reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


1 Comment

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


1 Comment

all we really want. [flawed wednesday]

it’s disconcerting to round the corner to your street and see five fire trucks parked there, lights on, hoses at the ready. more fire trucks continued to arrive, police cars blocking the entrance to the road at both ends. the instant we got out of the car in the driveway it was obvious. there had been a gas line puncture; natural gas permeated the air, heavy in the warm humidity. the firefighters directed us residents into our homes, our tendency, otherwise, to stand on driveways and discuss the happenings. it took a while, but the gas company came, a worker climbed into the hole (i would assume that person receives hazard pay) and, much like the story of the boy and the dike, somehow plugged up the puncture. after some time, the fire trucks left one by one and a semblance of order returned to the neighborhood, though no one was anxious to light a bonfire or a grill or cause any sparks for a while.

the news of more wildfires – again – still – in california is overwhelming to read. with temperatures hovering at one hundred degrees and drought a repeating theme, i cannot imagine the insurmountable task of the firefighters, the constant worry about loss of lives and homes and wildlife.

and then, on the other end of the wet-dry spectrum, the floods in kentucky. worried about the owner of the tiny house we stayed at south of lexington, i texted her. she and her whole family are from the hollers of kentucky, growing up near rivers that are now flooded. i didn’t hear back, but checked facebook and found that her church was underwater and she had – already at that time – devastatingly lost two neighbors.

both extremes. catastrophic.

it seems that these events never end. one morphs into the next into the next. our fragile planet suffers while politicians debate inane issues and, from all evidence, seemingly seek to stoke their own financial objectives. meanwhile, in every corner of the globe there is mighty confirmation that this good earth is in crisis. this puts each of us in crisis, our children, our children’s children, the children of our children’s children. and yet, politicians, in every corner of the globe, sneer and attend to their own shortsighted power grabs. wow.

it would be hard to choose to be a firefighter. it would be hard to work for the red cross, crisscrossing this country in an attempt to attend to the extreme needs of its populace. it would be hard to be a climate scientist, likely frustrated out of their gourds watching and listening to the pushback of idiocy.

and there are more it-would-be-hards. it would be hard to be a teacher or a school principal, as the new 2022-2023 school year rapidly approaches and the worry about potential school shootings revives after summer break. it would be hard to be the manager of a grocery store, the managing director of a concert venue, the owner of a dance club, the grand marshal of an idyllic holiday parade, the owner of a movie theater, the director of a medical facility, the leaders of a religious institution….

we-the-people face down emergency after emergency. i would think that all we really want – now’days – is to think that our safety – whether from climate crisis or gun violence or extreme aggression or marginalization – would be foremost. all we really want is to avoid catastrophe. all we really want is to believe that the leaders of our communities, our states, our country have our best interests – and not their pocketbooks or personal agenda – at heart. heart. yes.

all we really want is to not pull down our own street-that-we-live-on – wherever it is – and see a multitude of fire trucks and a catastrophe – from anything within human power to prevent – that is insurmountable.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


Leave a comment

the other 89%. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

david said, “really, it’s probably the 5% rule. there are about 5% of people who are not good people.” i answered, “eh. i think it’s more like 10%.”

glancing to the side of the road leading out of the trail i watched a guy in the parking lot duck into his shiny pick-up truck. he pulled out a floor mat as i stared and dumped its accumulated dirt and wrappers and garbage on the ground. “make that 11%,” i grumbled.

though i no longer would do this – i have, in the past, pulled up next to someone or walked up to someone, depending on whether on a road or on a walk – to tell them – in an innocent and informative voice – that they “dropped something.” i usually add i’m not sure if they need it but it’s just “back a ways” if they do. sadly, this did not usually culminate in their retrieval of their garbage, but there was something about letting them know it did not go unnoticed that was helpful. probably more helpful would be if i just followed and picked up the garbage that others are dropping.

“earth is neat,” says the wrapper of the justin’s dark chocolate cashew butter cups. to jaunt through the justins.com website is to read the story of a guy with a passion for peanut butter take it all to the next level. his company is self-built and completely and utterly responsible to people, food and the planet we live on. it makes me want to eat more nut butters, make his 4-ingredient-peanut-butter-banana-oatmeal-cookie recipe, support his obviously-boulder-colorado-beginning efforts. bravo, justin.

the trail on saturday was warm. the first day in months. even the vests we wore were too much, so we peeled them off and relished hiking jacketless, even for a day. i suppose that we will take a couple pairs of gloves and a few garbage bags and go back one day without hiking in mind. it might do our hearts good to pick up the stuff that the 11% has left behind.

because earth IS neat. and it takes all of us to keep it that way.

*****

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


Leave a comment

brown bags, baby. [d.r. thursday]

i have fond memories of brown paper bags. the beginning of the school year – backpacks laden with new textbooks and letters home to us parents, new spirals and pencils and pens and dry erase markers, a box of tissues for the class, rulers and glue sticks.

the textbooks coming home required covers and i’d save up grocery bags for the job. i don’t know if i personally ever had a bookcover that was anything BUT brown paper in my growing-up years, so it seemed natural to cover my children’s books in the same. it’s free, it’s sturdy, you can decorate it any way you want.

for some reason, i really liked making bookcovers out of brown paper bags. i can still easily see clearing the dining room table off, grabbing the scissors and the shipping tape. loved it. even in the time-sensitive early morning with a teenager by my side and a sudden “oh-you-have-to-cover-this-now” announcement, i really loved it.

maybe it was this bookcovering fondness that generalized to wrapping gifts with brown paper. (think: “brown paper packages tied up with string”.) the organic look (and earth-friendly environmental responsibility of brown bags) tied with jute or burlap ribbon has a certain jours de vie flair. i have eliminated all glitter from my ribbon choices; there are only so many eyerolls from the children i can handle.

at one point in my wholesale show days i used old boxes and grocery bags as display materials. i spray-painted the old boxes and cut semicircles out of the front to exhibit cds and tore pieces of grocery bags to use as labels and signage. there were no display materials more lightweight and with raw-edged organic fabrics wrapping the booth and tiny spotlights it was pretty magical. i couldn’t believe that i had carried bricks – literally bricks – for a couple years of shows. sometimes it takes a while for good ideas to catch up.

so the paper bags on the counter after grocery shopping are full of potential. they beckon to me to save them for a bit before recycling, to give a little more thought before placing them in the bin. they suggest themselves as containers for clothing meant to give away. they raise their hands as dropcloths for art projects or handyman challenges, ready to be part of a new earth interrupted painting. they remind me that, if i ever run out of pa pads, they could serve as scrap paper, ready to remind me of tasks to be done, ready to be grocery lists. full circle.

the bag o’ bags in the stairwell is ready at any time for any job.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

EARTH INTERRUPTED ©️ 2012 david robinson


Leave a comment

vintage. [two artists tuesday]

the last time i bought a brand new car – right off the lot – was 2003 or 2004. littlebabyscion was almost brand new – with 250 miles on it and that was in 2006. the new-car-smell and negotiating with salespersons and then, of course, their managers…both memories in the distant past.

littlebabyscion is getting up there. 260somethingthousand miles on it now. wrinkles and groans and a little rust here and there and a few mechanical issues here and there, it’s a workhorse that just refused to start last friday. dashboard lights i don’t think i have seen before appeared right before my eyes. we suspect the alternator.

but – in our one car driveway – there LBS sat…in back of big red, blocking the path out.

the jumpstart hooked up to big red made LBS chortle. starting for a moment and trying to chug the engine alive, it stalled and the handbook and google informed us to “go to the scion dealer” and do not pass go. our truly amazing mechanic steve will be its destination when the tow truck comes.

but – on friday – we were left without any transportation.

saturday we pushed the scion down the driveway toward the apron and managed to thread big red through the space between the old brick wall and the front of LBS. the only way out was across the yard, but the yard – all trenched and mounded up from the water line replacement – has seen better days anyway. we rolled our eyes looking at the tire tracks across the snow in our front yard. david suggested moving the couch out front.

we have some real old stuff. between a 1998 ford f150 and our xb and our vw and our stove and mixing bowls and corningware and this very laptop – not to mention hand-me-downs and never-been-replaceds, we qualify as our own antique shoppe. when seeking a replacement adapter cord, the woman on the apple support line told me that my computer was “vintage” and that they didn’t even carry the cord for it. (she was actually wrong about that part as i directed her attention to the correct cord on the apple store.) see…you can rube goldberg things and keep them going when need be.

and as two artists for the majority of our lives – in between and in conjunction or simultaneously with other positions and career arcs – rube goldberging is of necessity. i’d like to also think of it as having a smaller carbon footprint. admittedly, the efficient energy consumption of a new stove vs the half-life of a decomposing stove in a dump somewhere leaves much room for debate. but we, as artists, don’t always have the luxury of replacing things at whim – or even in a longer term plan – and we try to do our best at being responsible citizens of this beautiful world.

i asked steve once what we were going to do when littlebabyscion reached 300,000 miles. he looked at me, surprised, and said, “keep driving it.”

yes, yes. i suppose we will.

we pushed littlebabyscion back up the driveway so big red could fit.

it may be time to start planning for new grass.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


Leave a comment

the gov-of-georgia and plant-based foods. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

i woke up thinking i could have done a better speech. one does not run for the governor-of-georgia without a good speech. but the constituents at the rally seemed to appreciate it anyway, so i shrugged and promised myself to write a better narrative the next time. “they need to know the intentions i have for the office,” i told d, after sipping a few sips of coffee. he stared at me, likely envisioning what a move to the georgian governor’s mansion might look like, or, maybe what it would be like to be first-husband-of-the-gov.

alas, though it sure looked real for a while, things were not as they seemed and the details all started fading away the more coffee i sipped.

we are eating many plant-based foods these days. admittedly, not every day, but often. we looked back a few weeks and there were only three or four evenings our dinner was not plant-based. as we take this path, we’ll see if it’s entirely to the vegetarian-way-of-life. in the meanwhile, we are on a big learning curve. we have punctuated our veggie soup and plant-based sausage veggie hash and impossible burgers and red pesto pasta with a chicken soup here, one ribeye-split there. it is truly amazing what you can purchase now’days when you are trying to eat significantly less meat. you CAN buy anything that looks like something.

we bought the impossible burgers with some doubt. we’ve eaten black bean burgers for years – which taste like black beans and spices – so we figured that these burgers would also taste like something else other than a burger-burger. i wondered how plants-as-a-burger would taste grilled and salt-and-peppered. i had some trepidation. plus, the whole30 had encouraged us away from processed foods.

we were astounded upon first bite. we know these are not whole foods. there is a list of ingredients, some of which are those things difficult to pronounce, but all the ingredients are “derived from plants”. the beyond-meat sweet italian sausage in our veggie hash was pretty amazing, with seemingly a few less hard-to-pronounce ingredients.

i don’t know where this is all headed. we are experimenting with our diet and recipes and we are trying to be environmentally and animal conscious. we do know we love vegetables and fruits and can figure out ways to be more responsible to our world and all its inhabitants. more conscious consumerism.

if you have any recipes to share – or gubernatorial speech thoughts – please don’t hesitate to jot them to us. we’d love to hear from you.

*****

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


1 Comment

and nature strung up prayer flags. [k.s. friday]

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and grimaced to see raging wildfires, upending people’s lives, destroying towns and homes and forests and tiny creatures racing to stay ahead of flames.

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and wept at floods sweeping over land, drowning dreams and crops and families, sweeping away livestock and animals trying to escape mudslides.

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and, wincing at the pain of what it saw, questioned why brilliant science could not prevail, why habitats were being destroyed, why climate change and global warming were not on the lips of all its people, why something so vital seemed so controversial.

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and pondered its resources, its clean water, the fruits of its ecosystem, the sustainability of food and drink for each and every one of its beloved inhabitants on its crowded globe.

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and grieved the ramifications of a raging pandemic, sickness and suffering, lives lost, security decimated, together slashed into separate and distant.

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and wondered about the division of its people, wondered about deep disagreement, hatred and the brash spewing of vitriol, wondered where truth went.

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and wondered about all manners of inequality, wondered about all manners of discrimination, wondered about ill treatment of its dear ones, wondered about cruelty.

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and saw anxiety and angst and surging mental health challenges in its own, fear and instability, exhaustion, unassailable peace assailed.

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and wished the most basic elements would rise to the top, tending the needs of clean air, food, clothing, shelter, education, healthcare, sanitation, protection, communication, belonging, caring about and for each person.

and the universe glanced down at planet earth.

and hoped for a better time, a better way, a resurgence of compassion, a renewing of a world commitment to collaboration, and a rebirth of what it had given each person: a heart.

and nature, well, she strung up prayer flags.

*****

HOPE (kerri sherwood)

listen to music on my little corner of iTUNES

listen to music on PANDORA

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

HOPE ©️ 2005 kerri sherwood


Leave a comment

hopscotch. [two artists tuesday]

susan and i played hopscotch for hours. we’d toss a bobby pin or a rock and hop to our heart’s content, nothing else pressing on us in the summer sun.

the summer sun seems a bit escalated now. temperatures are soaring across our country. it is astounding to open the accuweather app and see places i have saved having highs in the upper 90s or even topping 100 degrees. extreme weather. it’s only june. summer literally just officially opened its season. and yet, there is article after article about drought and rapidly dropping water levels and severe storms and the beginning of oppressive fires and people evacuating.

this morning i awoke to an alert on my phone. pitkin county in colorado sent out an emergency message about a wildfire. i didn’t remember having these alerts but, now that i think about it, i must have initiated something either during avalanches over the winter or maybe when the high mountain county was sending out news about covid. either way, my beloved girl is up there in those mountains so i will not be likely to take the alerts off now.

climate change in all its iterations is upon us. weather pattern changes and global warming are pressing in on us. it would seem that we should pay attention, especially if we want this world to continue into future generations.

yesterday i was forwarded and read an article in the new york times about the giant redwoods and sequoias, trees that have been individually standing for perhaps as long as 3000 years, as a forest for millions of years. the peril faced by these enormous and wise giants of the forest is imminent. old-growth forests are critical, yet there are now less than 10 percent remaining in this country. we are stewards of the future earth. we need pay attention.

summer stretches in front of us now. the stuff of outdoor adventures, barbecues in the backyard, camping in national and state parks, faraway roadtrips and lazy beach days. coming upon the hopscotch chalked on the sidewalk i couldn’t help but hop. the joy of remembering, the muscle memory of the 1-2-3-45-6-78-9-10 or 1-23-4-56-7-89-10, whatever the template, hopping, hopping.

for that same delight, that same closely-held set of childhood memories, it is my hope that concentrated effort and dedicated budgeting is placed upon incredibly important research, on the threat of climate change, on the sustaining of our environment. we must pass on – to our children and our children’s children and our children’s children’s children – a world that is healthy, an earth that can support the drinking water needs of its people, a country that takes responsibility for its ecological challenges.

in the old-growth forests, the trees have somehow survived “fire and clear-cutting, new growth…death, death and life again.” the author continues, “the power of the tree isn’t in forgetting, but remembering.” (nytimes, lauren sloss)

maybe we need grab a bobbypin, toss it into a chalked hopscotch and hop. maybe that will remind us to remember.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


Leave a comment

and then mother earth will dance. [d.r. thursday]

dancing in the front yard – mixed media 24″ x 24″

how many times we have danced there. in the front yard. with abandon.

how many times we have danced there. in the back yard. with abandon.

how many times we have danced there. in the kitchen. with abandon.

how many times we have danced. with abandon.

this morning, the sun streaming in through the windows mottling the old quilt with warm bright light, the birds singing in tall trees, the sky azure blue with promise of a crisp spring day, and i am reminded that it is earth day. penzeys, a company hugely invested in the people and endurance of this good earth, reminded me in an email, “time to breathe in all the goodness this world gives us and rededicate ourselves to not destroying that goodness for all the generations that come after us.” this year’s official earthday.org theme is “restore our earth” which “focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.”

this focus – moving us all toward responsibility – learning, growing, changing, restoring. necessary. vital. life-giving. every little action requires thought. every little action requires accountability to this place we call ‘home’.

yesterday i drove past somers house tavern in kenosha. it’s merely four miles up the road from here on the lake route we often take. leaving to drive north i wasn’t really thinking about anything. but suddenly there it was, on the left side of the road. the feeling of devastation – this was the place that three people’s lives had ended just a few nights ago. their end. the moments that day that got them to that place disappearing into a void. suddenly, tragically, they were no longer on this earth. someone with a gun walked into that tavern and took their lives. and i couldn’t shake it as i drove. i called david and wished i could turn around and go home and take a moment, in the middle of our own patchwork of challenges and joys, to remember to dance.

“world climate leaders, grassroots activists, nonprofit innovators, thought leaders, industry leaders, artists, musicians, influencers, and the leaders of tomorrow will come to push us towards a better world” at the earth day live event today.

head-on, with our future at stake, we must also address issues of gun control, social justice, police reform, inclusivity, healthcare, hunger, homelessness, a seemingly endless list. so much responsibility. on each of us. we need not fear the other’s opinion; we need address the needs of living together on this earth.

“we can’t just hope for a brighter day; we have to work for a brighter day.” (dolly parton)

and if we do, then mother earth will dance too. with abandon.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

DANCING IN THE FRONT YARD ©️ 2013 david robinson


Leave a comment

the long view. like the rain. [merely-a-thought monday]

the catalogs accumulate in the rack in the bathroom. every so often i go through them and ferret out the ones i want to keep, the ones to hold onto for just a bit longer. it isn’t likely that i will purchase anything from them right now, but perusing them is like shopping, even a bit like buying in an odd way. i have found that if i look at something in a catalog often enough, long enough, the desire to have that item is somehow satisfied and will eventually go away. of course, this isn’t always true and some things have cut through the noise of all-those-pages, risen to the top and, after much internal debate, have been ordered. just not so much in recent days.

some catalogs pay close attention to the beauty of the whole. catalogs like patagonia, stio, sundance. pieces written by brand ambassadors, stunning photography, they are like picture-books and beg your attention. some catalogs stress a narrative, the story that makes you want an item; j.peterman rules at this, but soft surroundings creates story as well. some catalogs tell the back-story, personalizing the company, like karen kane. many are aware of their social impact, like LL bean. some catalogs just stuff asmuchinformationastheycan into their pages. those don’t make the magazine-rack-cut and are promptly recycled when they arrive.

i took photographs of many stormy skies, wet grasses, and drips dripping this past week, grumbling a bit about the weather. i would have rathered that the sun of the earlier part of that week had stuck around, the 70 degrees had lingered, the i-am-about-to-put-on-flip-flops temptation. instead, it rained and stormed and drizzled and fogged and rained again.

then i flipped open the january stio catalog on the rack, on the cover a long line down a powder slope created by a skier, always making me think of my daughter. every other page had a gorgeous photo; this company, birthed in 2012 and stewarding responsible outdoor lifestyle, is based in jackson hole, wyoming, so there is much appreciation for high mountain vistas. i perused the photos and the text, glancing at the gear. and i stumbled across the words, “the long view…think for the future.” it was an ad for recycled fleece clothing and their ethical stance, much like the powerhouse patagonia, to “reduce impact and waste and consume less energy – which is all better for this closed loop system we call earth.”

the long view. think for the future.

like the slow and steady turtle. like the fallow of the winter. like the tiny five degrees a month i hope to regain in my wrist. like the first words on a page, the first strokes on a canvas, the first notes in the air. like the extended-term wearing of masks to mitigate a mutating pandemic. like the temporary suspension of dinners in restaurants, live concerts, large gatherings in respect for each other. like the absence of normal, of security in a time of rebuilding. like time-without to remind you to appreciate time-with. like the incessant rain on an april day.

*****

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