reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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up on the roof. [merely-a-thought monday]

adulting is hard.

this is not a new revelation.

it’s just a reinforcement of the obvious.

i’m caught in the onslaught of wistful; fall is here. and the on-and-on thoughts in the middle of the night include a zillion questions, all unanswered.

we took a walk in charlotte, on the way to a pedicure with my girl. i wanted to run to the door of the house-with-this-fence and hug the person who painted it.

where else can we be but where we are? marcel reminds us, “the real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

today is our anniversary. it’s been seven years since we had seven days in a row of parties, were surrounded by family and friends for seven whole days. oh, to relish something like that again! daisies and food truck burgers, heaping plates of pasta and sweet potato fries, cupcakes and gluten-free brownies, bottles of wine from ann’s corner store. we picked pumpkins and danced on the patio and bonfired on the beach. it was a giant celebration and we reveled in it all.

in the middle of middle age we somehow found each other – across the country from each other. we both had been married before – to extraordinary people who have also found a beloved with whom to share life. we often ponder together the “had we been smarter, more capable, wiser” questions, but the “réview” mirror is not where we are going and here – in our 60s – it’s full-steam ahead. we feel fortunate. we are able to share our time together, our growing-old, our foibles and messes and the successes that brought us to now. this time hasn’t been a cakewalk. it sure hasn’t been fancy. coming together in middle age has its challenges and we have had a few extras tossed our way through these years. we sort through the weirds and stand in the wonder. and we know we are where we are supposed to be. maybe there is some sort of design in this universe.

20 gave us a card. like most of his cards, he made it for us. it reads, “love isn’t something that happens to us. it’s something we’re making together.”

tonight we are going to bring happy hour up on the roof. because the very first day of making-this-story-together-the-day-we-met-in-person, that’s where we sipped wine under blankets as the sun went down on a cool may day.

*****

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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one shadow. [two artists tuesday]

in the perfect moment of sun, the perfect angle of ray, the perfect covering of cloud, the perfect surface of shadow, two became one.

i took a second look before i pointed it out to him. i wanted to be sure i didn’t miss the bird, maybe tucked into the shadow of fern. it wasn’t there. it had immersed itself into the shadow of the other.

i knew, upon gazing at this, i would not likely witness this again. it was that kind of moment.

when david proposed on knee at gate F8 at o’hare airport, he presented – from inside a tiny box inside a tiny satin bag – two silver rings, almost identical, like the almost-identical-wrought-iron-green-eyed birds. after a magically vehement and funny proposal, he explained he saw us as two individuals, coming together, yet, with great love and respect, remaining individual, bringing to each other all in each our circles. one ring was etched and one was smooth.

we spend pretty much 24/7 with each other. it’s been that way since the beginning. he has supported me in any work i am doing and, likewise, i have supported him. with rare exception, we have traveled, always, together. we chore together and explore together. we cook meals and scheme happy hours and pop-up dinners together. we love on the dog and pine for our babycat together. we cry listening to lowen and navarro’s last concert together and laugh at the same lines over-and-over while watching my big fat greek wedding together. we walk and hike and exercise and spat together. we lift each other up. we grow older together. david’s office is upstairs so during work hours he is merely a flight of steps away. we, as artists, create together, writing every morning, daydreaming aloud about studios on the side of a mountain. saturday we spent hours – with new ridiculously-liberating paint pens – painting rocks together and walking in the dusky edges of day along the lake.

both rings are almost all smooth now. i imagine one of these days they will be the same.

and, though there will always be two – two silver rings, two iron birds – the sun will shine down on us, day after day, shadows of two green-eyed artists on the sidewalk, in the leaves on the trail, on the sand of the shore, on our new fence.

and then, one day, maybe – with all perfects (and imperfects) aligned – that sun may cast a miraculous shadow of one. we might miss it, but we already know it’s there. mingling with the ferns.

*****

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well and stinky. [merely-a-thought monday]

hash marks are kept somewhere, keeping track of the days we do it well and the days we just basically stink at it…life. the generous thing about it, though, is that, for the most part, no one is waving those down-down-down-down-across-hatches at us. each day, we get to do it again, the best we can. and some days we do it well and some days we stink at it. sleep and repeat.

after six decades of doing life – which admittedly, isn’t really all that much – i can still say i am a newbie. every day i learn something new; every day i sort out a little somethin’; every day i adjust the on-the-dirt-attitude-indicator which, funny thing, is the same as in the air: keeping you relative to the horizon and making you aware of the smallest change in orientation. every day, on this fluid axis, i hope for a little grace – from others, from the universe, from myself.

and i try again. my sweet poppo would remind anyone who was listening, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” and so i do.

yesterday marked forty years since the day of my first marriage. it was a sunny warm day in florida; i was wearing my sister’s gown, my sister-in-law’s train and white stiletto macramé sandals. i carried a silk flower bouquet and the tiny white beaded purse i had gotten for my sixteenth birthday. i had little time in front of the mirror, trying to share getting-ready-time with my lovely big sister, my matron-of-honor, who has a more perfected and lengthier getting-ready practice.

at twenty-three, just three weeks after my college graduation, full of anticipation and excitement and hopes and dreams, a little unresolved trauma and not-just-a-little naiveté, i walked down the aisle to the good man who would become the father of my beloved children. and somewhere, the hash mark collection started. we did things well. we were stinky at things. and i absolutely take responsibility for my own stinkinesses, things that disrupted the horizon.

it’s been years now since i have seen him. time, in its wisdom and flow, has softened the ending, blurred the rough edges. i am grateful for the decades we spent together and for the unique and powerful children we raised. and i only wish the best of health and happiness for him and his wife. someday i hope to see them and share laughter and stories and memories of our daughter and our son as they grew. no one does this life all perfectly and sometimes it’s all much clearer as we reflect back, look at the shadows. grace lingers in the air, waiting.

this past week has brought its own challenges and it has brought its own bits of devastating news for people in our concentric circles. the circles widen and widen and we see the turmoil and angst and tragedy of others. the horizon wobbles under us and we try to adjust, to straighten up, level out. life is flying by. we wake to another day to do it well or stink at it. either one.

and desiderata reminds us, “in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul…” because some days we do it better than others.

“…be gentle with yourself.”

*****

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


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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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what’s your chew? [merely-a-thought monday]

the minis are the best. though i haven’t had them in forever. available in the ever-popular neopolitan ice cream flavors, i prefer vanilla.

charleston chews. yum. everyone has their crutch. a while back, mine would have been kitkats. someone could have said to me, “you can’t kitkat your way out of this” and, though i beg to differ on the “can’t” and “out of this” parts, they would have been right-on about the kitkats. avoidance and tangents and, yes, even food in desperate situations, go hand in hand. diverting, skirting confrontation, maintaining decorum, keeping peace…some things require overt and potent bribes.

he says i change the subject. i get a kind of blank look on my face and “squirrel!” into some other path of conversation. were i to spend some time thinking about this, i am guessing he is right. once i am in an exchange that can only head downhill, my brain is rolodexing for something else to talk about, to veer off to, to act as distraction.

he hasn’t had a charleston chew. this is preposterous and certainly un-american, so i will have to remedy this. but i know if i held a dark chocolate bar or a chocolate chip cookie or, now, a piece of crumbcake, in my hand – even in the middle of a “talk” – he would bite.

because the truth is…you CAN charleston chew your way out of many sticky situations. you just have to know what a person’s charleston chew is.

*****

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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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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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blah-dee-blah-dee-blah. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

much like the teacher in the peanuts cartoon (do not pass go until you watch this!), sometimes when people around us speak – even people we love dearly and eternally, even people who are wise and whose opinions and advice matter, even people who are thinking of our and their best interest, even people who are well-intentioned, even people who want to have thoughtful shared-planning-the-future discussions – we hear “wah-wah-woh-wah-wah-wah”.

we are the victims. we are the perpetrators.

the blah-dee-blah-dee-blah. the eye-rolling moments. the oh-geez-good-grief-criminy. the if-i-sigh-will-they-hear-me-and-stop. the maybe-yawning-would-work. the what-can-i-say-to-bring-this-overkill-conversation-to-a-screeching-halt. the distract-distract-distract. the load-up-the-cleverly-snide-remark-and-shoot.

ahhh yes. and then there’s the faux-innocent-smug-comeback.

and no thanks to cervantes here. clearly, he was full of double-talk.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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a certain age. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

“we’re of a certain age,” 20 said. yeah, yeah. a certain age. what’s that supposed to mean? is that a negative? is that a positive? is that demeaning? is that reassuring? what IS that?

truth is, we ARE of a certain age and there’s nothing to do but embrace it. there ain’t no goin’ back, as they say.

because of social media, in the last decade or so i have watched my high school classmates, previous teachers, people i will likely never see again in-real-life, people i know kinda well, people i hardly know and people i know up-closer-and-much-more-personally change jobs, quit jobs, retire, go on cruises, travel to europe, take roadtrips, go camping, climb mountains, lay on the beach, vacation with their families, witness their children’s weddings, sadly announce losses of parents and loved ones, ecstatically have grandchildren, immerse themselves at disney, have surgery, sip at wineries, sip at pubs, sip at bars, sip outside, get dogs, get cats, lose old dogs, lose old cats, redecorate, remodel, relocate, buy new cars, build new decks, start new hobbies, read old books, read new books, write books, watch butterflies, study birds, make or eat breakfast, make or eat brunch, make or eat lunch, make or eat dinner, eat happy hour food, drink wine, drink fancy-drinks, drink smoothies with alfalfa sprouts, exercise at gyms, exercise at home, exercise online, blow off exercising to eat chocolate, attend funerals, sit at starbucks, sit at independent coffee houses, dine at restaurants, dine at bistros, dine al fresco, show off new necklaces and new boots, new diamonds and new hairdos, post words of wisdom spoken by maya or mahatma or theresa, share hilarious memes, push back with political viewpoints, say really smart things, say really stupid things. and . . . age.

i’ve watched and i’ve watched and i’ve watched.

and my conclusion?

as i look in the mirror and my certain age stares back, it warms my heart to see we’re all in this getting-older-thing together. we are not alone.

how refreshing.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com