reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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our mirepoix. [merely-a-thought monday]

“…all mixed together for a mirepoix of a day,” jonathan-the-wise-one wrote.

what a delicious word. meer-pwah.

i did exactly this a few days ago. made a mirepoix – a sautéed combination of carrots and celery and herbs – in preparation for our homemade chicken soup. chicken soup is “good for what ails you,” according to my sweet momma. really, good for anything that ails you. we had spent time writing ahead – like this post – for there will be a few days we are away. and we had had a glorious fresh air walk – our faces were still flush from the cold wind.

i thought about a dear friend as i added fresh baby spinach leaves and ladled hot soup over them, wilting them. i thought about loida as we ate out of beautiful williams and sonoma bowls. we sipped red wine and talked about our families. we watched videos of jaxon. i thought about jen – who always has fun napkins – as i pulled out our 2023 napkins, willing 2023 to be a good year. we talked to 20 on the phone and sat up late-late-late to watch our son mix music on a livestream youtube. 2am is later than it used to be.

a mirepoix – the base – for flavorful soups and stews, that which is nourishing, life-giving, warming.

i can think of no better way to describe those around us – those people who have loved us into existence and those who hold on – than “our mirepoix”.

*****

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


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clear as day. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

it’s a little foggy. childbirth is like that. cloudy memories.

in the stunning way of time – and how it flies – it has now been thirty years. today.

my baby boy was placed in my arms thirty years ago. it’s astonishing. i remember everything and i remember practically none of it – it is all blurry.

what i do know – just as i knew in 2020 on the thirtieth birthday of my daughter and the thing that i knew in 1990 my very first day of motherhood – is that it changed my life.

both times.

and every day since.

there is little that can color all your days, for most things are fluid and we roll with it all, hoping there is a next day – to right things, to stand back up, to move on. but motherhood doesn’t play by these rules. if you are worried about your child – regardless of their age or stage – it stays with you. it is – for me – one of the first things i think about when i wake and one of the last things i think about before sleep. it is that which will keep me pondering in the night. it is that which will find me deep in thought in the day. there is really no stopping it.

so, my sweet momma, now i get it.

all that worrying you did, all that championing, all that abiding silently by and waiting, all those pompoms – i get it.

the last time i saw my own sweet momma she was sitting on the edge of her bed, a little later in the morning than usual, still in her nightgown, going slowly, but – mostly – concerned we were not yet on the road, driving I75 and I65 and I94 back home. i don’t know if she knew that 18 days later she would be on a different plane of existence. she just worried about me…all grown up and, yet, her little girl.

i get it.

these amazing children – now both in their thirties – are still the same people about whom i have always wondered – about everything – from the tiny to the gigantic – if they need snacks, if they are healthy, if they are happy, if they are feeling valued, if their work feeds them, if they feel reciprocal love and care in their relationships. they are forging their way in the world – making a difference that only they could make – shining their own stars – with their own brilliance and their own wit and creativity and humor. life is fluid clay in their hands, fresh silly putty out of the container, playdoh with the most extraordinary cutters and fun factory presses. they are right close to the ages i was when i became their mother. in a foggy blur of time. how does that happen?

the tree seemed to be alone in the field, nothing beyond it. but because we pass that field and that tree often, we know that is not the case. it is just very, very foggy and so we cannot see.

i look back and back and back. i can’t see it all; it is foggy and very foggy and very, very foggy.

but i can feel it.

all of it.

clear as day.

*****

happy birthday, my beloved son.

*****

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


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this, too. [merely-a-thought monday]

in the middle of tempestuous times, you stand firm, dedicated and focused. you fight for what you believe in, you hold fast to what seems important. you are a warrior and you have a mission and you are unparalleled strength.

and the times pass and the seas level out and you slowly allow the storm to dissipate and the roiling foam on the waves to evaporate. you are a survivor and you have grace – for yourself, for others – and you are immeasurable learning.

“the way you look at things is the most powerful force in shaping your life.” (john o’donohue – anam cara)

it is in the tight holding-on, the clenching, the grudge, that the embers burn hot, easily sparked. it is in the loose acceptance, the fluid release, the forgiveness, that the embers are merely for warmth.

i could hear the firetruck getting closer and closer, until suddenly red lights were spinning around our living room. our neighbors had a chimney fire. they were fortunate and the fire department responded quickly and doused the inside of the chimney with chemical to extinguish the fire. we’ve gotten several chimney estimates in recent months, now put aside for a bit of time in order to budget in the pricey work. our neighbors have the stainless steel flues we want to install and so we wondered about how those could allow a fire to start; we thought the reason to install those was to avoid such a danger.

but it seems that even with stainless steel flues, one must chimney sweep them every few years. because the residue builds up. and then it waits. for the perfect moment, so to speak. a spark – uncontrolled – to ignite.

life lessons from a chimney. we hold dear to things we never want to forget. these memories are close to our hearts and cherished. i guess we need be mindful of those other things…the residue…the things best lived through and then forgotten, washed out to sea, chimney-swept from the places in our hearts residue might hide.

“this, too, shall pass.” (my sweet momma)

*****

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


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mangia! [merely-a-thought monday]

my sweet momma was not italian – no, not at all – but you wouldn’t have known it. “mangia!” she’d insist, “eat up!”.

a product of the great depression, my momma was not privy to fancy and did not prepare schmancy foods. she chose ragu as her pasta sauce of choice. prego made an appearance here and there, but she listed to the ragu side of the shelf. she made many a lasagna, pots and pans of meat sauce and spaghetti, a mountain of meatballs. we didn’t have designated pasta bowls – we used the same corelle plates we dined on everyday. it didn’t matter. everyone gathered felt nourished, by the food, by the conversation, by the love.

i would imagine that – just as we have here – there are refrigerators loaded with leftovers today. all kinds of appetizers – cheeses, hors d’oeuvre meats, olives, grapes … anything you can purchase at tenuta’s – a local italian grocery and specialty delicatessen – in all sorts of containers. leftover pies and chocolates and cookies stacked in containers. leftover homemade pasta sauce and plastic ziplocks with penne in containers. because it worked with the train schedule of our son and his boyfriend, our christmas day early afternoon meal was a big pot of chuck roast chili and cornbread followed by a trip to the station and big hugs and a wistful mom – me – waving goodbye as the they disappeared into the metra. in the fridge, the big stock-pot, chili not having made its way yet into a – yes – container.

i guess that it is the thrill of most moms to have as many as possible gathered around the table. it is a thrill to watch your family enjoy a good meal together, to have conversation, to laugh, to table-sit afterwards. the first thing i remember my momma asking anytime we’d all arrive was, “are you hungry? what can i get you?” and the last thing she’d do is hand us a doggie-bag of leftovers or a snack bag for our travels.

as the boys prepared to leave, i asked, “what can i send with you? what snacks do you need for on the train? what about these cookies?”, though in my mind i was envisioning sending them with a full charcuterie so they could munch on their brief train to chicago. one does not want one’s children to go hungry on the train.

we got home from the drive to the station a little noshy. we poured glasses of wine and peered into the container-crowded fridge. pulling out the leftover pasta, we heated it up in the microwave in its leftover container. the arugula salad was within grasp without having to move too many things around the fridge shelves, so we pulled that out as well. with merry christmas napkins and a couple forks, we sat at the kitchen table eating leftovers out of their respective storage vessels – unfancyschmancy containers. the dining room table – in the space between living room twinkling-light-lit-trees and sunroom happy lights – still had candles and cloth napkins, a tiny tree festive for each of our meals all together, but the kitchen called our names after the holiday rush and we gazed at the piles of bowls and plates, silverware and glassware on the counter, waiting to be tended.

and just before we left the kitchen to go put on our match-the-fam buffalo plaid pjs and thick socks to early-snuggle under a fuzzy blanket on the couch and watch “love actually” i could hear my momma. “are you sure you had enough? can i get you anything else? a little dessert?”

clearly, somewhere in her dna – even maybe way-way-way back – she was a little italian.

*****

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


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me and lucy and ethel. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

i would not call myself a whirling dervish. though there are moments we all must succumb to that. any time i have spent whirling and dervishing i have felt like i was in the middle of an “i love lucy” episode, all eyes on my fumbling and klutz. i truly don’t know anyone who can stake claim to getting all tied up in the vacuum cord, but maybe it’s just that no one else will admit to it. it is one of my nemeses. yes, you read that right. the vacuum cord.

my sweet momma had a maroon electrolux. it was the kind where there was a long hose and the canister tank was on metal sled slides and you pulled it around behind you. for some reason, it seemed easier to operate. i suspect this is solely my problem.

in recent developments of technology i see that there is a vacuum operated on battery. the dyson v15 detect has been getting a lot of attention. i’m wondering if there is any merit to this machine. i mean, we have an aussie. and aussies shed twice a year. the first half and the second half. dogga has an unbelievable amount of doghair and it is a constant battle with tufts gathering en masse in corners of the old wood floors everywhere. my continued war-with-the-cord challenges me at every turn – even if i hold up the cord that would tangle my feet – while dogga tries to stay away from the monster whose cord he chewed the very first day we got it. someday, it may be time for a new purchase. i’m hoping that they improve the battery-operated variety by then.

in the meanwhile, cleaning and chores will continue to be somewhat circular, spinning and twirling from room to room…thinking broom, dustrag, oh-what-about-that-pile, wait-i-need-a-drink-of-water, sheesh-throw-on-a-load-of-laundry, yikes-did-i-pay-that-bill-due-online-today, don’t-forget-to-take-something-out-for-dinner, oh-these-dishes-need-to-be-washed, what-about-THIS-pile, where-are-my-favorite-jeans, maybe-i-should-take-out-our-gloves-from-the-winter-bin, maybe-i’ll-go-work-on-smack-dab, does-this-still-fit, write-down-that-thought, make-a-grocery-list, the-bathroom-needs-cleaning, let-the-dog-out, let-the-dog-in, make-that-call, page-through-a-catalog, i-should-darn-these-socks and …….. vacuum.

in my spare time – the time that no woman i know has – i’ll be hanging out with lucy and ethel, honing my handy dandy vacuum skills.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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a strawberry by another name. [two artists tuesday]

every summer we would go strawberry-picking. my mom kept the berry baskets from year to year, hanging in our one-car garage. we’d go “out east” on long island, get all sunburned and strawberry-stained. my dad would quip, “one for the basket, one for the breadbasket,” chomping in-between picking.

when my children were littler, we would do the same. thompson strawberry farm in the county was our destination. the kiddos were also big fans of “the breadbasket” and i have pictures to prove it. sweetest moments, in all good ways.

if you were to describe a strawberry, you would try to describe its long-conic shape, the petals at the top where the stem connects. then you would likely go on to describe the color as it matures, the way it crunches, the way it tastes, the way seeds might get stuck in your teeth and, maybe, the way juice would stain your hands and, probably, your clothing. there’s nothing quite like a strawberry fresh-off-the-vine on a hot summery-sun day in the middle of a field with your tummy kind of pokin’ at you. amaaaaazing. my dad would agree.

as we walked on the trail, we encountered this strawberry-shaped pod. it’s a wild teasel. upside-down. but teasel is the perfect name for this flowering plant. for unless you spoke to the prickly nature of this, you could be describing the shape, the sessile leaves, the stem of a strawberry. any touch or, worse yet, a bite, would indeed tell you the difference. naturally, the color – or lack thereof – would also never tease you into picking it for your berry basket.

i guess you really need to examine closely what you believe to be a strawberry or what you think might be a strawberry. you need to question the properties of a real strawberry. you may need to research.

just because it sort of looks like a strawberry does not make it a strawberry. and, for your well-being, you need to be able to tell the difference.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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momma, poppo and dolly parton. [merely-a-thought monday]

i wish – every day – that my sweet momma and poppo were still here. that we could coffeesit with them, make them great soups for lunch, spoil them for dinner. that we could take them apple-picking and introduce my dad to a new scotch or two he hadn’t tried yet. that we could maybe adventure a little or just be quiet and listen to their old stories. i wish.

the thing i know, though, is that they would be beside themselves in this circus of a country we now have. it would make both of them irate to watch the vitriol being tossed about, the divisiveness that is being fed by rabid spewers, the lack of transparency, the lies. my daddy-o would have a few choice words to describe these folks and they wouldn’t be pretty.

and my mom? well, she would have no time for anyone who is less than kind to another. she would want nothing to do with any politician or religious leader or pundit who skips kindness in their approach to life, who excuses their own behavior, stance, agenda, platform, control tactic, extremism based on warped interpretation of law or scripture. she would point out the colossal hypocrisy. she might reiterate the story about when, in the dark night, they parked their little vw bug next to a small hill off the road. tired while traveling europe by car, they needed to rest and could find no guesthouse nearby. the little hill would serve them well, they thought. they woke up next to a gigantic dung pile, covered with black tarp held down by old tires. she would trust that we could connect the metaphoric dots. sometimes a hill is not a hill.

i think that both of them – were they here – would be ashamed of what it’s all become. my dad would wonder how his service – missing-in-action in world war II and then as a POW in a bulgarian camp – mattered now to these people who are making a mockery of democracy. my mom would be aghast at how people are being treated, marginalized, discriminated against, excluded. she, who worked hard to be kind to everyone, would worry about the popularity of this ugly trend. yes, they would both – were they here – be astonished at how, in so many arenas and in so many circumstances, people are just downright not good to each other.

i guess that – were they here – they would love a sit-down with dolly parton. they’d probably all talk at once, new yawk and a southern drawl all intermingling in conversation. and they’d all agree that they didn’t understand why anyone at all would “let religion and politics and things like that stand in the way of just being good human beings.”

and then – were they here, the three of them together – they would remind us all to stay away from dung piles posing as hills.

*****

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


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alive. [k.s. friday]

marty was the first man i knew who was a breast cancer survivor. we also learned he was deathly allergic to shrimp – while we were all at joe’s crab shack devouring seafood. yiiikes. it feels like a zillion years ago, but it was a great community of folks – all who were dedicated to their craft and showing at large wholesale shows, lining up accounts with small and large shops across the country. it was before streaming was really The Thing and i was moving boxes and boxes and boxes – thousands – of cds with displays, all to be sold by real people in real places. the days were long – yamaha delivered in a piano and it was hours upon hours of playing, talking, writing purchase orders, selling cash and carry. in the evening we would all sometimes gather together somewhere, to share stories, to unwind. that one night, joe’s crab shack made us a little bit nervous. we traded seats around so marty wasn’t near any shrimp and wondered why we didn’t go to a steakhouse.

community makes a difference. in this latest lean time of community that is now particularly pronounced.

i watched as my dear big sister shared her breast cancer story on facebook. she is now, thankfully, on the other side, mostly healed from surgery and radiation, slogging slowly through a period of difficulty adjusting to a long-term hormone blocker. i know, without a doubt, that the people who sent her their love – even online – helped her. a community that rallies around is the village we all need, especially in desperate times.

heidi and i spent so very much time together. our mutual work was in the oncological field – performing at large and small cancer survivor and breast cancer awareness events. there are many posts in this blog about places we have been and i consider them to be moments i was honored to be a part of the supportive oncology community and a part of the story.

my grandmother-who-i-never-knew, my dad’s mom, died of metastatic breast cancer. my sweet momma had a double mastectomy at 93. my dad was a lung cancer survivor and my brother died because of lung cancer. this year my sister’s breast cancer diagnosis scared us.

in the middle of the night, when things are raw, i decided that a “sisu” bracelet was in order so i found an artist who designed and crafted it out of silver so that my sister could wear it and know i was with her, a part of her community, holding her close. i ordered one for me as well. because the middle of the night can be a scary time when you are thinking too much.

marty didn’t mention the whole shrimp-thing until we were already at joe’s. i guess he had decided to just go-with-it, to just live. he had already been through so much.

though i really wouldn’t change it – as i love my “sisu” bracelet – i wonder if it should just say “alive”.

*****

click here for a few other words about “i am alive”

I AM ALIVE ©️ 2005 kerri sherwood

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


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a bottle of rosé instead. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it’s not true.

he is actually a great chef. he loves sous-cheffing but he is never averse to preparing an entire dinner. give him a recipe and some space – and maybe the promise to clean up later – and he will take on anything. especially if he and 20 are at it together. they practically sing and dance while they cook. ok…they DO sing and dance while they cook. and soon, very soon, fall and winter will have us inside more and they will be making-up-dinners-as-they-go while i sit and sip wine and try to ignore how seventh-grade-ish they are.

not to say that we would not be above having a big mac. though we haven’t had one in literally years and years – diet choices at the forefront of reasons – sometimes “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun” sounds dang good.

regardless, billy joel brings me back to luigi’s and gino’s in northport, new york pizza slices folded in half, concerts at the nassau coliseum and my sweet momma’s lasagna.

i might have to settle for a bottle of rosé.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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this. a happy swiss cheese plant. [d.r. thursday]

there is a magazine i look at most every day. it is a simple-magazine publication and features container gardens of all sorts. each time i page through it i see something new, get ideas, wonder about unique re-purposing, changing old typewriters or baskets into succulent planters or large-animal feed scoops or galvanized tubs into fence pots. the photography shows beautiful plants in all seasons of growth and it makes creative juju pick up pace.

we walked slowly through the daniel stowe botanical garden with our daughter and her boyfriend, enjoying every second. the greenhouse was steamy and we got misted as we walked. gorgeous orchids punctuated the tropical plants. we stopped to read information, take pictures, admire textures and the colors that looked like dr seuss had taken crayons to everything.

the monstera deliciosa (or aptly-named swiss cheese plant) captured our attention. nature has a way of making sure that rainwater and dew are properly retained yet the leaves are not perpetuating algae or molds, fungus or disease. amazing. instead, waxy fronds or holey swiss-cheesed leaves let the droplets roll off, keeping them open to sunlight. each plant has its own system for balance, all depending on its ever-changing circumstances.

the day at the garden was over too soon; visiting is like that. there were only a few days and it’s hard to fit months and months of not-seeing into bits and pieces of 72 hours.

i now know why my sweet momma always had lists when i called or visited with her. there were things she wanted to know, needed to know, that she didn’t want to forget to ask. there were tiny and big questions about my daily life she wondered about – the extraordinary and the mundane, my feelings about things happening in the world, curiosities she had about my comings and goings and adventures and challenges and transitions. she just simply wished to hear my stories, have a window into my life. without being too invasive, without crossing the ever-changing-invisible-tightrope-line, she wanted to share in it, be a part of it. i get it.

kc, my bonsai gardenia plant, is difficult, “one of the most loved and challenging plants”. i never know if i am watering her enough or too much, if her brown-edged leaves are due to too much attention or too little attention. she has not had a bloom, though she did have two hopeful buds. she is not easy, but she is beautiful and particular and i am determined. charlie, my heart-leaf philodendron, the other plant that was also a lovely gift from my beloved daughter, is easy. she grows no matter what. she is healthy and thriving. she is green and lush and i can practically see her smiling. charlie is the opposite of kc. treasured plants on our garden table in ever-changing light and seasons as they grow, so much like the diversity of real living, i talk to them every day; i appreciate and adore them. they are lessons.

and it occurs to me that these two beautiful plants, both on the table in our sunroom, are – indeed – the spectrum definition of motherhood, the nature of every single cherished relationship, the easy-hard, the fragile-resilient, the holding-on-letting-go, bursting blooms and foliage or the missing of blooms, the learnings, the balance of unconditional love. perhaps a good addition would be this happy swiss cheese plant, a reminder to let it all roll off and keep on keeping on.

no wonder my momma had so many plants.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY