reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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

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

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

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

and elton john would be happy.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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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.

*****

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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.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we are way too exhausted to cook anything at all.

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

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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those lyrics! [saturday morning smack-dab.]

mondegreen. it’s a mondegreen. this is not an anomaly. mondegreens happen.

it is stunning how often we catch ourselves singing nonsensical lyrics to songs we have listened to through time: ever since the dark ages of record players in the living room to cassette players next to our beds to transistor radios on our beach towels to giant portable cd players with carrying handles equipped with batteries so you could lug them anywhere to ipods that plugged into the car to phones that had-it-all to, well, record players again.

at the top of our lungs we will sing these lyrics – they sound like what is being sung, but who really knows, anyway.

then, one day, you see them written down, you read the jacket (in caveman behavior), you glance at the with-lyrics youtube, you google them…and suddenly…you realize you had no idea what the song was about and you had made up words that made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

or, in the case of “don’t bring me down” by ELO, they were the ones making no sense. because for years and years and years when they sing the chorus “don’t bring me dowwwwwwwn”, i – and the rest of the singing-along-world – would finish it with “bruce!” so it would go like this: don’t bring me dowwwwwwn…..bruce!….don’t bring me dowwwwwwn…….bruce!….don’t bring me dowwwwwn……bruce!….don’t bring me down!

but, though it made complete sense to me, it was not “bruce”. it was “groose”…just an ad-lib by jeff lynne. sigh. “you’re lookin’ good, just like a snake in the grass” – yup. made sense to me.

or what about toto missing the rains down in africa? nope. they are singing, “i bless the rains down in africa!” i have sung about their missing the rain since they released that song the year of my first wedding, now forty years ago.

i don’t even want to write what i was singing to the bruce-springsteen-manfred-mann-earth-band song “blinded by the light“, though i think simply everyone was singing THAT wrong.

after i learned this behavior had a name “mondegreen” – this “mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase in a way that gives it new meaning. …created by a person listening to a poem or a song; the listener, being unable to hear a lyric clearly, substitutes words that sound similar and make some kind of sense.” (wikipedia) – i realized that there was some forgiveness in singing all the wrong words.

going back, though, after you come to grips with the real lyrics, tossing aside your memorized gibberish, you kind of have to wonder anew what the song is about.

and then you wonder…suddenly all at once and slowly dawning on you, both…what else didn’t i get?

revved up like a deuce??? a 1932 ford. oh. of course!

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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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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uh-huh. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

there is no such thing. “too tired to snore.” uh-huh.

there is also no such avoidance as “i just won’t sleep on my back.” or “i don’t snore when i turn my face to the left.”

sometimes, snoring happens.

and before you get all up-in-arms about my picking on him, i, yes, sometimes snore too. though naturally, it is delicate whilst in sweet slumber and sounds a bit like a beautiful melody floating over our pillows, wrapping us in a symphony of joy. uh-huh.

there is nothing worse in the middle of the night – pre-menopausal-menopausal-post-menopausal and wide-awake, ruminating over life and all its stuff, desperately trying to go to sleep, staring at the moon out the window, hot-flashing and then freezing, covers-off-ing-covers-on-ing, mushing and re-mushing the pillows, trying to relax through the tiny aches and pains catching up, hungry and thirsty and ignoring the tinkle-urge – than having the person next to you start snoring. like a semi coming through your bedroom. uh-huh.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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that crooked smile. [merely-a-thought monday]

his crooked smile stopped me.

we were wandering slowly through the orchid show at chicago botanic gardens, drinking in the colors, the fragile blooms, the deliciousness of being-out-somewhere-doing-something. in the hallway between two larger spaces, there he was. waiting. wearing the imperial margarine crown, large bulbous nose, really long kind-of-jay-leno-chin and a crooked smile, his eyes squeezed a little shut in an engaging invitation, he was waiting.

i stood there staring at him, laughing. he was sitting in front of an old piano painted in bluebird-sky-blue-peely-paint and he winked at me. all the other orchids didn’t have to do anything to get our attention, and, truthfully, neither did he – they were all stunning and refreshing hopeful harbingers of maybe-spring-will-come – but he tried extra hard anyway.

i see him as toothless. but i have no judgements about that at all. i suspect most orchids are toothless, well, except for the one that made me do the “duh-chomp, chomp, chomp—what’s up doc?” bugs bunny imitation in the middle of a room full of people. that one most certainly had teeth. two buck teeth just screaming for us to notice. nevertheless, this guy – the imperial margarine guy – did not have teeth. his jimmy durante schnozzola was all he needed. and those eyes. and that crooked smile. sheesh! what charm!

when we left the botanic garden we felt a rush of fresh air. this wasn’t just the difference between a heightened-warm greenhouse and the cold chicago air. it was a sense of newness. a refreshing, though albeit tiny, touch of “normal”, a reminder of beauty. it was sheer magic. it was diving into a rainbow and immersing, coming out the other side dripping with colors we hadn’t seen in a long time.

it was admiring blossoms of solid colors and stripes and polka-dots and marveling over shapes and sizes and textures. it was reading of orchid seeds sailing over oceans and great expanses of land, steadfastly enduring. it was laughing with orchids which had personality, confidence and humility, joie de vivre.

they reminded us of life, in the middle of a neverending pandemic, in a period of time that would mark the beginning days that ukraine was invaded by russia, the world shocked by the wickedness of it all. the country-of-sunflowers was under siege and the orchids were blooming. all existing at the same time, on the same plane, in the same world. a gentle prod – yet again – to appreciate every last little thing.

maybe that’s what his crooked smile was all about.

*****

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first gear, clutch out. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

clearly, he is an instigator. just the mere suggestion that he’d be ok with registering a complaint, asking for a refund, asking to speak to management sets me in motion. i am not afraid to speak up in these situations. it’s writing-a-letter (ala my sweet momma’s chutzpah) but in person. i’m the one who goes to the service desk. i’m the one who asks for the discount. i’m the one who returns stuff. i’m the one who will go back and let someone know that their product/service/pricing was not acceptable. he shudders. he set me in first gear and released the clutch; he knows there is no stopping. there have truly been times when he will linger at the sidelines of a store simply while i return something – like chicken that was spoiled when we purchased it or something even easier – like dog food when i meant to buy cat food but the dog food package was on the cat food shelf. i mean, c’mon…that is not a big deal nor is it fodder for embarrassment, but he just sort of wanders off, a little spacey, sometimes like a toddler in a department store playing hide-and-go-seek in the rounders of displays. ahhh.

and let me just say – the aarp discount is a thing, though. i will ask ANYwhere if they offer the aarp discount. you would be surprised how often the answer is yes. you should check it out. it’s a deal. the first day i purchased an aarp membership i booked hotel reservations and saved twice as much as i had just spent on the membership fee. a deal, yes?

a long time ago my sweet poppo was the regional president of the aarp chapter. my parents went to aarp conventions and conferences all over. they were avid aarp-ers. he would be happy with my dedication to his cause.

because i was the product of older parents, i read modern maturity magazine well before my time. even now, i thoroughly enjoy the revised, renamed aarp magazine. great articles. many that are empowering. particularly about speaking up. asking for better service. getting a discount. free cups of coffee. starting a ruckus.

yup.

*****

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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.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com