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columbus. a jewel. glistening. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

there are days i really miss the littlehouse. perched right on – merely truly feet from – the shore of lake michigan, it was the sweetest house with a gentle spirit. we both felt it the first time we walked in. a reassuring sense of home filled with light. the lake right outside was moody, as lake michigan is. there were nights i could not sleep, its non-rhythmic crashing keeping me wide awake. and there were nights i could feel its powerful presence, quiet, calm, gigantic potential laying in wait. lake michigan is no weenie lake. it is full of peril and demands respect. but its latent power is potent and gives rise to unparalleled energy.

living near lake michigan off-island is different than on-island, but we still feel the lake. a couple nights ago, windows open, we could hear the surf pounding. wave after wave – with a beach hazards warning on our weather app – crashing onto the rocks. and the other day, walking along the shore, the surf rose high and jewels of water caught the light as it motored into the seawall boulders. an unrelenting and dispassionate force of nature.

monday night we received a facetime call. david’s sister-in-law dialed us so that we could see his mom visiting columbus, his dad. columbus, who has been an unrelentingly sweet force of nature all his life, is failing. this has come on rather suddenly, though he has been traveling the road of dementia now for a time. it was shocking to see his face, thinned by weariness and ailing. it was shocking to not really hear his voice, to just gaze at him, oxygen-aided, to try and talk to him, to say all the words – the important ones – in an unprepared moment. it was shocking to hang up so that they could call his next child, so that he could hear another beloved’s voice.

we don’t know what will happen next. we have the wisdom of hospice personnel and their perspective from years of experience. we know columbus appears lost now, not a lot of acknowledgement on the face that used to light up around anyone he loved, well, truth be told, around people in general. we watch and wait now. completely at a loss, gravity driving the tide, a mystery. we sit in the grace of the gift of columbus’ life and the sun rises and sets and the harvest moon is full. and the waves keep us awake.

just like lake michigan, though, columbus’ power is ever-present. his intense love is deep and unwavering. his family will carry him wherever they go. every day. he is a jewel glistening in the light.

*****

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


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a little bitta chalk. [merely-a-thought monday]

sidewalk chalk is pretty cheap. we have several little buckets of it, all different colors, chunky and at the ready.

one day last week some good parent brought out the sidewalk chalk and some delightful children wrote on the sidewalks on 7th avenue. walking our ‘hood, we were two of the recipients of their light-blue messaging.

“i just wanted to say you look awesome,” the sidewalk said to us. it was a hot day and i had on old multi-colored patchwork shorts and a sleeveless top seemingly older than the hills, thinning flipflops from old navy, humidity-messy-curly hair and a hot-flash-aided-shall-we-say-glistening-face. i felt anything but awesome. but this message made me smile. it reminded me of heidi’s sweet momma who said, “you will never be any more beautiful than you are right now.” wise words.

positive messages are free. it doesn’t cost any one any thing to say something positive. it doesn’t detract from any serious issue at hand; it doesn’t lessen the issuer’s importance. instead, it sets up concentric ripples of goodness, of kindness, of value to each person it touches.

“there are a hundred ways they could have said that,” david would say. indeed, a hundred ways to go about doing each moment in life. probably way more than a hundred. and yet, so often, people passing, people in relationship, people in power choose a way that is toxic, that demeans others, oppresses others, suffocates others, debilitates others. so often they choose aggression, argumentative, antagonistic words or actions.

someone in power once said to me, “i’m sick and tired of you.” it was the moment he jerked the heart-string i had to the organization, the moment i realized that all his negativity was intentional; it was toxic, demeaning, oppressive, suffocating and debilitating, not to mention shocking. i wonder what other 99 things he could have said, the other 99 ways he could have acted. i wonder what message he would have chalked on the sidewalk.

appreciation of each other, our beloveds, our friends, our colleagues, our community, this world, is contagious. its goodness is seed for growth, for collaboration, for mutually existing on this good earth in actual harmony.

simple words, spoken gently, simple acts of valuing, can make the difference in a person’s day. whether or not we intimately know that person seems irrelevant. to believe that we have made someone smile, have made someone breathe easier, have made someone’s day better, have inspired someone to pass it on, is irrefutably virtuous. to be optimistic, recognize others in their success, to stand in even-keeled integrity, to bring tender and honest concern, are traits of wisdom. to believe that we have softened a circumstance, diffused a conflict, dispersed anger is actual power.

and goodness begets goodness, in the long run.

for power does not come from negativity and control. instead, it comes from positivity and generosity, from empowering others rather than pushing them down. it comes from not thinking one is righteous, but instead recognizing one’s fallibility, one’s flaws. it comes with recognizing we all have much to learn. it comes when simplicity and kindness come together, in both random and intentional acts.

ask the little kids with the light-blue sidewalk chalk. they seem to really know that.

*****

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


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bullied. as a woman. [flawed wednesday]

“never be bullied into silence. never allow yourself to be made a victim. accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” (harvey fierstein)

“to thine own self be true,” my sweet momma would say. she and harvey fierstein would have been pals. heck, i should be pals with harvey.

there is a cost. we all know that. coloring outside the lines requires sisu, gumption, chutzpah. speaking up, speaking out, speaking for, speaking against. a cost.

like you, i have been bullied into silence in my life. i have been harassed and i have been victimized. i have been liquified and poured into molds that don’t fit. i have been vaporized. i have allowed it. i have not allowed it.

i am a woman. and with that comes bullying, harassment, victimization. with that come molds, generalizations, inequalities, assumptions.

i am not naive enough to believe that were i to be a man i would never face any of these crushing blows. but i do believe that i would have faced seriously fewer.

it is not as likely, were i to be a man, that i would have been sexually assaulted at an innocent 19. it is not as likely, were i to be a man, that, in reporting the abuse of many underage young women, i would have my life threatened at 21. it is not as likely, were i to be a man, that i would have been scarily pursued by a man-with-a-foot-fetish at 35. it is not as likely, were i to be a man, that i would have been terrifyingly stalked at 50. it is not as likely, were i to be a man, that i would have been verbally and professionally assailed at 60.

were i to be a man, the men who wielded the power in each of these might have tucked his superman cape away, might have had a second thought, might have played out his control-game-fantasy somewhere else.

but i am a woman. and, for some reason deeply embedded in society, that changes the rules and empowers the mongers.

i have been silent.

for too long.

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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not. [two artists tuesday]

kindnessSCHITTSCREEK.jpg

granted, schitt’s creek is not a shining example of serious shows.  nor is it the apex of intelligent, thought-provoking viewing.  but we had run out of parenthood (still sniffling over the bitter end) and this is us and everest movies and documentaries and decided to try on something new.  we chose schitt’s creek.

it quickly became apparent to us that the humor in this show was not necessarily in alignment with our sense of humor, but we watched anyway.  we decided it was a study.

the stunning moment came when one of the characters looked at another and, in complete candor, said, “kindness is a sign of weakness.”

we sat and looked at each other, the glow of the moon on water out the window.  we dove deep into those words.  after much debate and a search for profundity, we realized that in this country, at this time, with these circumstances, it was a true statement.  kindness is not where it’s at, not what gets you ahead.  it is without power and control.  its calmness is terrifyingly missing in national goings-on, in international goings-on, in dealings with people even close-up and personal with agendas that serve only themselves.  kindness has left the building in more places than we would care to think about.  but a weakness?  not.

beaky, my sweet momma, said, “be kind.  be kind to each other.”  and she damn well meant it.  it may not have served her as well as being arrogantly demanding might have.  it may not have served her as well as being haughty, nasty, biting might have.  but it leaves a legacy for her that i am proud to speak about.  it is a rare treat to see someone not take sh*t from someone else and do it with strong backbone in a kind way.  my sweet momma was well-practiced.

and, i might add, she was not weak.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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classic. woman. [d.r. thursday]

classic framed  copy 2.jpg

CLASSIC mixed media 20″ x 16″

my sweet momma had a painting of a modestly nude woman hanging in her master bath.  she was proud of this painting and of its location.  it traveled with them from long island to various homes in florida, an item that made the keep-it cut time and again.  now, this painting was not a brilliant work of art, for it was actually a paint-by-number that she had painted at some point before painting her own abstracts. (more on paint-by-numbers at a later date.)

but momma’s painting was meaningful to her and i suspect it represented a powerful statement – the beauty of a woman’s body, the grace of line, the respect shown.  perfection.  i think it resembled her in her youth, and in later years reminded her of earlier years, an earlier body before babies and emotion and injury and surgeries and wrinkles and time changed everything.  changed the shape and the look of body but added strength and wisdom that only life lived can add.  momma was indeed a woman before her time.

CLASSIC is such a painting, but is exquisite art.  the beauty of a woman’s body, the grace of line, the respect shown.

momma would have loved this painting of david’s and, probably, would have convinced him to hang it for her in her own home.  it would remind her of how much she loved being a woman.  of how she taught her daughters and granddaughters to embrace being female and yet, not to stand by meekly or idly or retreatingly.  to revel in the beauty of having a body that is female, but not to tout or compare or compete.  to move with grace as best as you can, for in that movement grace will be found.  to show and expect respect for your own body, in all ways.  to recognize perfection.  in all the times of life.

view/purchase CLASSIC in david’s gallery online

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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CLASSIC ©️ 2013 david robinson

 

 

 


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when push comes to shove, don’t. [merely-a-thought monday]

civility 2 copy

my sweet momma always said that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  although she stood her ground, she rarely pushed back.  well, maybe at my dad…i certainly heard her push back in that relationship.  she was a woman before her time, struggling to be seen and heard…in relationship, in work, in the world.  nevertheless, she led with kindness and generosity.

recently i surprisingly found myself in a situation where i felt the kind of civility that is needed to accomplish anything was lacking.  instead it was aggressive, pointed, antagonistic.  “when push comes to shove” implies escalation and this, indeed, was the case.  instead of actual conversation, it was a push-shove back-and-forth.  instead of communication, it was a shining example of what-not-to-do.

we drove past a passiton billboard on the way up north that read these words:  when push comes to shove, don’t.  civility is in you.  what does a boorish push or a retorted shove accomplish other than an establishment of immaturity, a driving desire and play for power and an uncooperative non-collaboration?

civility is not that hard.  it should be what we lead with.  respecting others and their place in their world.  we each get the same air to breathe and we each breathe in and out the same way.  instead of escalating to shove or pushing yet harder, how might we fill our lungs with responses of peacefulness, thoughtfulness, fairness, appreciation, intelligent consideration, magnanimity, grace, even reconciliation.  why must push come to shove?  it needn’t.

just don’t.

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

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187. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

187 box framed copy

i had no idea how much i would love designing.  through the first ten years or so of album covers, i watched.  i sat with my dear friend 20 as he designed so many of my CD jackets and tray cards.  i learned a lot.  not about how to use photoshop or illustrator or quark but i learned about balance and clean design and how to “see”.  so when we started designing for THE MELANGE, that part came more easily.  the photoshop part?  well, that had a bigger learning curve (as does website designing.)  manipulating images and navigating programs without real directions can be a challenge, but i was up for it.  lots of learning.

the thing that really surprised us was when we looked at each of our society6.com stores this week and literally counted our product lines.   there are 187!  187 lines created across the five stores.

187 product lines later, i look back in wonder.

mugs and laptop covers, tote bags, prints and cellphone cases, beach towels, shower curtains…not to mention leggings.  in the course of the last year, i have designed between 50 and 60 pairs of leggings.  leggings with morsels of david’s paintings, leggings with graphics we have designed or photographs we have taken, leggings with words of wisdom, leggings with punchlines, leggings with lyrics.  i was a leggings-designing-maniac.  i think about even just these leggings designed, available on an on-demand site, and think – we could have all those made and just sell them ourselves.  we could sell those designs elsewhere – to a company that already produces leggings.  we could open a shop with all these products – interesting, different, artistic, not mass-produced or mass-purchased.  we could…  there’s no telling what we could do.

i asked david if he knew how many blogposts there had been in this MELANGE year.  he had already done the math.  we each posted 260 posts, totalling 520.  that’s more than a few words, more than a few thoughts, more than a little heart.

immeasurable energy has been devoted to these designs, these blogs, to this MELANGE.  here – at the one-year-old mark – we are astounded by the amount of time and effort this has all taken.  and we look back in wonder.

what has been the reward?

there is no way to underestimate the power of i/we-can-do-this.  the sisu of sticking it out, meeting the challenge, staying in the game, learning.

THE MELANGE is celebrating one year.  but we are celebrating so much more than that.  we look forward in wonder.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this ANNIVERSARY MELANGE NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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THE MELANGE ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

images in THE MELANGE ©️ 2016-2019 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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count on you [k.s. friday]

count on you song box copy

i drove back and forth and back and forth to nashville when i recorded this album, each time returning with a cd of the work we had done on the album.  i’d play it numerous times, taking notes to share with my producer, re-writing, practicing, sometimes sharing the songs-where-they-were-at-the-time with others.

joan was the one who told me i needed a “strong woman” song included on this album.  so i walked across the street home, directly into my studio and wrote one.

now, this isn’t my favorite song – it’s a little kitschy if you ask me – but i have had many tell me how much they like it and one of my favorite performances of it was when beth’s students sang it.  (i was long-term-subbing for her. she’s a dear friend and an amazing choir teacher in a middle school in our district.)  those kids really rose to the occasion and kitschy fell by the wayside in favor of strength and power and belief in themselves.

recently d and i listened to some of my first recordings.  they were from 1979-80 and recorded in a studio in a town called port washington on the north shore of long island.  i had found a cassette (now isn’t that retro word dating me!) and we have a boombox (another retro word) that plays cassettes so we settled in to listen to the three songs on what would now be called an EP.

one of the songs is called leaving and is a song i wrote for my parents as they retired and moved from our long island home to florida.  i remembered that song well.

the other two?  well, it’s funny.  i could sing every word, but i didn’t remember the intense emotion behind them.  THESE were my #metoo songs, i discovered (rediscovered?) as i listened.  one of these days i might share these songs, not because they are great songs but because they are truth and every artist has songs that are life-defining.  not the ones necessarily that chart (although those are lovely, indeed!) but the ones that speak from deep inside, with lyrics or music that must be spoken.  these two songs were written by a vulnerable (and pretty angry) young woman who wanted to unleash the power of her crayon and live out loud, who definitely wanted to live without fear, who tried hard to break away from an experience i still would rather forget and who prayed – alone at the time – beseeching words.  all this is what i wrote about in this week’s melange.

my heart goes out to all those women who are also card-carrying #metoo survivors.  the out-loud ones and the silent ones.  my wish for each of you: unleash your crayon, live without fear, break away, pray with another, count on you.

from this song of today’s melange post COUNT ON YOU, which may be more #metoo and less kitschy than i thought,  “just move forward and then believe – you gotta trust…in you.”

DOWNLOAD the song COUNT ON YOU track 12 AS SURE AS THE SUN on iTUNES or CDBaby or purchase the CD on kerrisherwood.com

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

K.S. FRIDAY – ON OUR SITE

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COUNT ON YOU from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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unleash the power of your crayon. [chicken marsala monday]

unleashthepower WITH EYES jpeg

on my piano in my studio is a teeny sign with a big message.  it reads, “if you asked me what i came into this world to do, i will tell you i came to live out loud.” (emile zola)   it’s a reminder – a reason for being.  true for each of us, it’s unleashing the metaphoric crayon of our creativity, our thoughts, our knowledge, our gifts, our voices.

there is an extraordinary amount of power in those crayons..the place in the middle that we open…the heart from where our concentric circles start rippling out…where the crayon meets the page, the song is composed, the painter paints, the activist writes.  “loud” (for the sheer sake of being loud) and “out loud” (simply having a voice) are two vastly different things.  and, if you are paying even the least bit of attention at all to world events, we are privy to both in our lives these days.

after living all this life so far, i hope now that the crayons i pick will help to ripple out things that are good, things that consider others, things that are not hurtful, things that are fair, things that are kind.  the power of a crayon unleashed that is “out loud” not “loud.”

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read DAVID’S thoughts about this CHICKEN NUGGET

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

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unleash the power of your crayon ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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flawed cartoon wednesday

DavidGoliath BIGcopy copy 2ahhh.  i don’t even know where to start on this one.  what angle do i speak from?  the fears inside us?  the unknown?  those who hold power over us?  and how do i avoid the obvious? or do i walk right in?

the david and goliath story

the goliaths out there know who they are.  they are puffed up and loud and full of you-can’t-get-me-ness, mean-spirited and self-righteous, self-centered and whatever is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum of compassionate.  they are BIG and are convinced, even, that they are bigger than anything.  they think nothing can touch them.

but it’s not true.

you don’t have to look too far to find the davids out there.  the driven, dedicated, passionate, thinking, empathetic, big-hearted, others-centered people who commit themselves to causes and gather power around them.  they are fearless.

nothing that is rotten at the core survives long.  including goliath.  even if he didn’t think it was possible.  to those goliaths i say, “yes!  be scared!”

fearless IPHONE CASEfearless products in white

             fearless PINK iPHONE CASEfearless products in pink

 

GOLIATHFRAMEDPRINT copy

framed art prints, wall art

 

fearlessLEGGINGS copy

leggings

 

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throw pillows, blankets

 

fearlessSQPillow copy

throw pillows, blankets

 

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beach towels, bath & hand towels, blankets

 

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mugs, travel mugs

 

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GOLIATH/FEARLESS from FLAWED WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts on GOLIATH

LEGGINGS, LEGGINGS and more LEGGINGS

 

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OH MY!  YOU ARE SOOO SCARY!  ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood