reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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we can sit together. [two artists tuesday]

and in the hours of late evening we discovered it. a song that spoke to us in every way.

it wasn’t intentional. we were intentionally watching an everest youtube, the highest of mountains, vicarious adventure.

but there was this song. we stopped the video and moved the cursor backward, to hear the song again.

you and me.

we’re meant to be.

in the great outdoors.

forever free.”

it’s been nine years since we met face to face now. nine years since baggage claim at o’hare. nine years. it doesn’t sound like an eternity; it just feels like an eternity. and yet, not long enough.

because the moments i glance across the room and catch his gaze – well, it still takes my breath away. he drives me crazier than probably anybody else on earth, but he can make me well up in the turn of a second.

and the times we are inside, sitting and writing together, cooking in our old kitchen, happy-houring at the table in the sunroom, loving on our dogdog, mutually missing our babycat, planning trips…those times…are times that create a little bit of wonder.

and the times we are outside, on a mountain, on a trail, on the sidewalk in the ‘hood, by the side of the lake in the shadow of an aspen stand, in the new black adirondack chairs…those times…are times that create more than a little bit of wonder.

the wonder of finding, the wonder of reaching, the wonder of meeting, the wonder of walking this walk together.

we feel lucky.

eldar kedem got it right.

“we can sit together.

it’s so beautiful.”

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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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.

*****

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


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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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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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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.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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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.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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in it together. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

the up-north gang makes plans that feature rest rooms. we travel distances – often caravaning – but we know that we will be stopping. no ifs, ands or buts.

the drive to cedarburg is not long, but the last thing any menopausal woman OR – let’s-face-it – man wants to do upon arrival anywhere is to desperately look for a bathroom. there is no time for that. no one wants to feel imperiled by the call of nature.

it feels somewhat irresponsible to be writing about paper bags and tic-tacs and mini-mart restrooms while russia invades ukraine and people’s lives are in jeopardy. it feels a little like it could be interpreted as not-paying-attention. we sat with our coffee this morning and talked about families packing up a few things and leaving…just leaving…with no place to really go, not knowing what to take, separating from the men in the household who have been ordered to stay, conscripted. it is nothing shy of terrifying and we wonder, yet again, how it is that this world is so conflicted and broken. yet we look around and we see evidence of division and suffering and methods of control everywhere.

and so, last weekend, our little field trip to cedarburg’s winter festival was exactly the right thing to do. we stopped at the gas station we always stop at. they had added two new restrooms, good news for a bunch of 60plussers on the move. less waiting that way. we watched the sled dogs race, we wondered about whether the river had been frozen the day before for the bedraces. we wandered in and out of shops and finished our day all together in the tiny bar of a bed and breakfast there. faces reddened from the wind, laughter up and down the table.

our up-north-gang mini roadtrip was before the invasion. i would choose it again, though. because we need to be reminded – over and over – that those are moments not to be taken for granted. the silly oh-my-gosh-i-need-a-restroom-right-freakin-now shared times of this gang as we age and age. the familiarity and ease of people you have spent time with, people you are in menopause with, people who talk about utterly anything. presence is not to be underestimated.

we are fortunate. and we know it. and as we give thanks for all we do have – including people we love and new mini-mart restrooms and winter festivals and freshly fallen snow – all under a sky of freedom – we also lift up those in a land not really so far away. and we hope for their safety, their very lives and an end to conflict they did not choose.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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tiny heroics. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it somehow seems apropos on the cusp of the closing of the 2022 olympics that we have a little chat about falling-and-getting-up. well, maybe not so much the falling. but, yes-indeedy, the getting-up.

for unknown, er, rather, undisclosed, reasons, getting-up is not what it used to be. falling down hurts more than it used to, so it seems to go hand-in-hand that getting-up would too…in a tit-for-tat, measure-for-measure kind of way. but, no. it’s exponential, this getting-up thing.

the heroics of getting yourself up should not be downplayed. nor should it be underestimated. it’s surprising when it suddenly takes a little longer, with a few more groans and creaks.

i’ll be the first to tell you that d is always there, offering a hand to me. he is a gentleman even when we hike. he will reach out to me as i step over rocks or streams or hike down inclines. he’ll crook his arm to me up steep grades. he even walks on the side closest to traffic if we are walking on a road; he learned this from my poppo who never let my momma walk on the side with cars coming. so he will always run and hitch me up off the ground, if needed.

but, for both of us, there’s sometimes that you just wanna do it yourself. just so you can say you did. just so you can make sure you can. just to flaunt it like a hero.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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spiffy-doo-dah suggestions. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

the chasm between women and men widens post-menopause. i mean, it’s not exactly a divot before that. theyyy – meaning men – love to solve for things. everything. no matter what. weee – meaning women – sometimes just want to talk or vent or express how we feel. we are completely capable of solving-for when we want to be. and we are also completely capable of asking for help, asking for advice, asking for solutions…when we want them.

but, ahhh….that chasm. there are moments i start a conversation and announce, “i just want to vent.” it absolves me of guilt when i start growling if he starts to solve for the issue.

as we all know, many – and i won’t say “most” here, to avoid generalizing – many men can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. in mere seconds after placing his sweet problem-solving head on the pillow, d will be sleeping. down and out sleeping. meanwhile, my head is on my pillow, pondering life and all its idiosyncrasies. i find it flabbergasting how quickly time passes in the day and how slowly 2am – 5:30am crawls. or 12:30am – 3am. or 1am – 4am. it’s a goulash of wee-hour-clock-combinations.

so, while changing diet and exercise and patterns all seem like spiffy-doo-dah ideas, when one wants a little sympathy, one does not want spiffy-doo-dah suggestions. just sayin’.

not that i’m speaking from experience or anything. 😉

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

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no time machine. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it flies by.

they all told me. they tell all of us. in those moments, when you think time is standing still, they tell you: time flies by. it is in retrospect – days, weeks, months, years down the road – you realize they are right.

i have awakened in this room for over thirty years.

the light has streamed in through the windows in that way i recognize and that gives me great comfort.

the radiator in the sitting room just outside the frosted-glass french door to the bedroom has clunked each cold morning as the boiler kicks on.

through the years multiple sweet dog-faces and one beloved cat-face have greeted me with breakfast and outdoor anticipation.

the smell of coffee manages to drift around the corner and waft its way toward my pillows.

i have had the good fortune of turning my head on the pillows and looking into the face of two very different men, husbands who have shared different times of life with me, one who drank nary a sip of coffee in the way-back-when and one who brings first coffee to the bedside table.

and my beloved children. i counted the months of pregnancy, reading “what to expect when you’re expecting” cover to cover perched in bed in this room. then suddenly, they lay in onesies in the crook of my arms, newborns nestled under the comforter with me. and suddenly, they wore footie pajamas and curled up after a dream. and suddenly, they were peeking their heads in the door to announce they were home so i could relax and sleep. and suddenly, they were home on college breaks and random weekends. and then, just as suddenly, they were no longer living here and the empty nest was a real thing.

and i awake every morning and they are the first thing i think of in the middle of familiar light rising and coffee brewing and dogdog’s gleeful greeting and d’s face on the other pillow.

our son cautioned us that we shouldn’t ask how he described us when he arrived at the restaurant and looked for our table, but of course, that was an open invitation and i couldn’t resist asking. “i asked where the older couple was sitting,” he said, watching me for my reaction. i poked him on the shoulder and rolled my eyes saying, “geez! we’re not THAT old!”. there was so much to talk about so the subject of us aging into ‘the older couple’ dropped, but i thought about it later.

when i was shy of 30 my parents were in their late 60s, a few years older than we are. i suppose it’s possible that i might have described them the same way. fair is fair, after all. and time probably flew for them too. even without them realizing it. as i think about it now, i bet they didn’t feel old either.

sometimes in the quiet moments of morning, as i sit with coffee perched against the pillows, i imagine the sounds of the house waking up thirty years ago, twenty-five years ago, twenty years ago, fifteen years ago, ten years ago.

and, although i would love to have those moments back – to live again, to embrace again – time has moved on and there is no time machine.

instead, i cherish the times that were – each and every slow-motion and flying-by-time – and look at my children, all grown-up and living life out on their own and celebrate them.

i look to each and every time i can see them with joy and excitement.

and at the end of the day as i lay my head on my pillow in this very-familiar-room, i thank my lucky stars to have had all of it, to have all of it.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com