reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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we got us some sense. [merely-a-thought monday]

i can’t remember what state we were in, but it was on the back of an suv.

“act like you got some sense.”

it should be a road sign. posted every ten miles or so. a reminder.

we have turned into backroads people. ok, well, we were always backroads people but now it has been cemented, etched in stone, made immutable. we would rather be on a backroad than any interstate, freeway, multiple lane expressway.

driving down toward chicago on i94 we were surrounded by semis and vehicles zipping in and out, 80+ mph in a 55 zone. it’s craziness. frantic. though it’s clearly worse on expressways, we’ve encountered our share of aggression on regular around-town roads as well. what is WITH people?

we have kind of made some new driving decisions. the two people – who would drive 15 hours, 17 hours, straight-thru 22 hours – have got themselves some sense. our journeys and roadtrips will be a little less pushed, a little less arduous, a little less long each day on the road. the frenetic days – driving, driving, driving – are over. and we bid them adieu without regret, looking back fondly and with not just a little awe.

in this new got-some-sense era of our lives, each step counts, each mile an opportunity to see something new or different, beautiful or funny.

yesterday, while driving down a not-extraordinarily-busy-but-still-busy-enough road, we came upon a bar on the side of the road with a slewww of motorcycles parked outside. in front of us, standing in the middle of the lanes, scarily exposed, was a biker-dude-sans-bike, leather jacket and all. he pointed at us. i slowed down and stopped. from the side of the road came another biker, this one on a big motorcycle. he roared into the lanes and took off like the infamous meatloaf batoutofhell. i resumed driving, without pausing for reflection.

sometimes got-sense means deferring to those – even temporarily – without it.

*****

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


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until the next time. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

“wherever you go, go with all your heart” (confucius)

this is not hard in the quiet bow of a canoe on a pristine dark aquamarine lake under a baby blue sky. my heart is all in.

from one time to the next you forget a little how the paddle fits in your hand, how it easily skims through the water, how it rubs that spot under your thumb. you forget the sound of water droplets hitting a quiet surface as you raise up the paddle, the swoosh of the oar back into the water, the peace. no real destination. just point the bow and paddle.

if we have a thought in the world, it is only about beauty and fresh air and a breeze in our favor. we pass water lily pads and, every so often, a lily gracing them, pink pondweed above flat vases of gathered rhododendron-looking leaves. it’s serene. it’s quiet.

there is no race, so set time limit. we simply go, aware of how full our hearts feel. we paddle back only when it seems time.

the walkie-talkie crackles, “happy-hour-snack-time-tchk.” we laugh. and turn the canoe. no pressure.

we make our way back past the fisherman, the floating mats waiting for kids and splashing and laughter, the island created by the rising lake level. past the place we saw the porcupine, past the place the turtles were swimming, past the place someone caught a giant bass some time ago.

they wave from the dock and tease over the walkie-talkie that there is nothing left.

we paddle to shore and climb out.

part of my heart stays – quietly – for a moment – in the bow and memorizes the way it felt. until the next time.

*****

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


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the little alleluias. [merely-a-thought monday]

texting with our son, who was about to attend a music festival out west, he wrote that i would probably like the artist. he sent a link to the teaser of above and beyond’s song “gratitude“. i followed the link, loved it, jaunted over to the full-length, and loved that.

the everest youtube paused, we followed the soundtrack song to find that new favorite i wrote about in may, “you and me“.

it is not likely we would have just stumbled upon either. there had to be a tiny opening, a tiny window, a door to something new.

explorations don’t have to be gigantic. they can be mini adventures, pocket-sized, teeny-weeny, a moseying into something unknown, a reminder that there-is-just-so-much-out-there. exploring creates a yearning to explore, a synergy of sorts, to keep-on-ing.

mary oliver, in her book, “long life”, writes of “what she calls ‘the little alleluias’ in her days and in her doings.” (frederic and mary ann brussat) those tiny noticings. micro adventures. “nature, animals, the soul, place, and literature.” and sound. and music. and touch. and color. and laughter. and cooking. and creating.

in these days we don’t get far. our roadtrip juju has been poking at us for months now; our last roam was in december. that’s a long time ago for two people who love roadtrips. but work and an intentional budget and, yes, covid, have kept us closer to home. “soon”, we say to each other, “soon.” and then we sigh. the mountains are calling, the coast and points north, family down south, family out west.

in the meanwhile, we scout out other exploring. we paint rocks and hide them. we dance on the deck. we listen to music we don’t know. we pay attention to the girl, the boy, friends tell us about things we might like. we use two tortillas instead of one.

last night we had the best pancakes for dinner. gluten-free. and real-live maple syrup. my niece sent me the link to them. breakfast for dinner. it’s not a trip to the mountains, but it gets us to the foothills of adventure. something different.

exploring is like snickers minibites. sometimes five grams of delicious feeds us.

it’s the little alleluias.

*****

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


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toddler tizzy. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

they were perfect little travelers when they were little – my children – seasoned roadtrippers happy-as-clams as long as there were snacks.

not unlike the kiddos, we simply cannot get from point a to point b without snacks. roadtrips are synonymous with non-stop grazing, all bets off, things we don’t usually eat at home. though i’d like to say it’s all about trail mix and flax seed bars, the reality is that twizzlers and munchos and peanut m&ms sometimes make their way into the bags easily accessible from the front seat. carrots and grapes and cut-up apples and water bottles are in the cooler. and coffee. there’s always coffee. hydroflasks filled at home followed by cardboard starbucks cups of the boldest pour. back in the non-gluten-free days there would be those amazing lemon loaf slices too – the ones with the slightest schmear of frosting. and we’d bring along schmearless plain panera bagels, just to chew on. yes, yes, we know how to rock the highways.

lately, we’ve tried to be more – conscious – of our choices, tried to eat healthy snacks – even in the car – more kind bars, less pringles, more gf granola bites, fewer hostess cupcakes.

but then there’s david. trying to be all healthy-like, waxing poetic about the glorious bags and coolers full of nutritious, wholesome foods, robustly clapping at our roadtrip fare.

he’s all-in, a clean-snacks, upbeat good-food-eater until…that toddler-award-winning-tizzy-moment he completely loses it when he realizes that, indeed, we have not included peanut m&ms.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

*using an apostrophe in a non-possessive plural really gets my inner-grammar-nerd going, so much research went into whether there is an apostrophe referring to the plural of these candies. since m & m are names and the candy is actually called “m&m’s”, i decided to go with the apostrophe referring to the complete name, but not without cringing at the use of an apostrophe sort of doubling as a plural. ugh. blame my sweet momma. 😉

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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there. [two artists tuesday]

maybe one of the reasons i love brochures so much is the chance they give you of picturing yourself there. a good glossy pages-long-fold-out brochure can transport you, make you dream, put you there.

this morning we were talking about bus tours. not a fan of buses, i am not likely to participate in many long bus tours in upcoming days and years. i know that a bus tour will take a group of people to the highlights, the places-you-don’t-wanna-miss, the photo-ops. but i rail against experiencing those things at the same time as everyone else, in the same way, taking photo turns in front of the cliff edge, the monument, the cathedral. i realized that i would rather miss a few things along the way just so that we could do it ourselves, take our sweet time, breathe it in, immerse in our surroundings, really feel a place before moving on to the next. there may be times that a bus – for a jaunt here or there – might be necessary, but i don’t really want to see everything-on-a-big-trip out the window of a coach line.

my sweet momma and poppo, thinking ahead – and also not bus people (so now you know where i get this) – ordered a vw bug to pick up in germany back in 1971 when they went on an extended roadtrip (clearly genetic) in europe. they tooled around small towns and backroads all over, my mom in her glory with maps, my dad relying on her sense of direction. they sometimes slept at relatives’ homes, sometimes at inns, sometimes at small hostels, and even sometimes in their little bug in a field, once waking up next to a gigantic pile of dung covered with plastic tarps and tires. they adventured and missed stuff, but they immersed themselves and the stories from that time were delicious tales. the missed-stuff didn’t matter. the stuff and people they saw did.

i imagine us – as we watch pct hikers and john muir trail hikers – someday – hopefully – on these trails. i imagine us in all the national parks in utah. i imagine more time hiking our favorite trail in breck. i imagine us chatting with the owners of the general store in putney, vermont. i imagine us walking a bit of the salt path. i imagine us on the cliffs of ireland and the amalfi coast and maybe in the brilliant blue and white of santorini someday. like mr rogers’ “picture picture” i can see the video in my mind’s eye. it satisfies the yearning for now and gives me photos of dreamy quality, viewmaster brochures in my heart.

we spent an evening at the botanic garden, wandering. we didn’t sit down on this particular bench, but i can see us there, feel us there, surrounded by green.

we missed a few of the plant collections that evening, we missed the greenhouse. but we immersed in the paths winding around the garden and breathed differently upon our leave than we had upon our arrival. and that made all the difference.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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parking spot swagger. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

there are three parking apps on my phone. and that’s just to cover chicago.

not wanting to appear outdated (ahem!) or out-of-the-loop, just before the last time we went to visit our son, i loaded two new apps…that way, no matter where we parked i would have it covered. no matter what space – on the street, in the lot, in someone’s yard, anywhere – i would be able to -all-casual-like – take out my phone and calmly pay for our spot without a second thought. i was ready. the credit card was loaded, the apps were signed into and open. and i was both proud and brave, thinking i was on top of it. i mean, driving in the city has enough issues sans parking woes. i detest bumper-drivers and people who weave in and out of lanes, the aggression of people-trying-to-get-somewhere faster than the people in front of them. we choose the back way as much as possible.

we had picked him up and drove over to the restaurant, through a crowded wrigleyville on a cubs-home-game-day, having had someone drive right into littlebabyscion’s back bumper at a red light, arriving to parallel park on the street. i was all ready. i pulled out my phone, poised to impress everyone with my parking readiness, this new knowledge of parking spot ease.

i studied the sign on the side of the street. a little confused, i looked over at my son, who was counting his lucky stars he had survived my city-driving to arrive at lunch. alas, it was sunday. and in a moment of utter letdown-from-a-big-buildup, he announced that we didn’t have to pay to park.

as lovely as it was to park for free – imagine! – i was disappointed to not use my newfound parking je ne sais quoi. the irony.

we drove home the back way, through little towns and on country roads, with no one on our bumper, figuratively or literally, confident that we could park anywhere our little hearts desired.

*****

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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.

*****

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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pancakes! [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we are creatures of repetition. we will eat black-bean-burgers every single day for lunch until – one day – we cannot stand the idea of another black-bean-burger ever-again. and then, after some time – poof! the yen for a b-b-b comes back.

it’s like that with oatmeal too. oatmeal-oatmeal-oatmeal. oatmeal’s biggest fans. with walnuts and dates and raisins and dried cranberries and bananas. yum! oatmeal! until – ugh – we cannot stand to eat another bowl of oatmeal.

and then, in our latest obsession, there’s rye toast. now, keeping in mind that we have been eating gluten-free, rye toast is kinda out of the safety-loop. but….ohmygoodness…it’s rye toast! it makes me think of my sweet momma and her momma and long island and – this is really great – the day my daughter was born. they brought me scrambled eggs and rye toast in the hospital and now, forever, the association is sealed. so…rye toast, rye toast, rye toast!

for a while we would have midnight-pancakes. what is not to love about pancakes and maple syrup late at night when your tummy is kinda pokin’ at you?

we aren’t ihop people. i can’t tell you the last time i went to an ihop. denny’s too. the stand-out time i went to denny’s was the day we moved to wisconsin on thanksgiving day and ended up at denny’s for dinner. it was a pitiful scene, i’m sure. but it wasn’t for pancakes. my mom and dad always went for the grand-slam-breakfast, which, i think, includes pancakes. denny’s has never made it onto our list of places-to-go when we roadtrip.

there was this place – a diner – in hanover, new hampshire just on the other side of the state line from vermont. i was eighteen or maybe nineteen. a group of us had been to a drive-in movie (where the guy driving drove in the exit backwards while i worried about getting in trouble) and were properly starving at the end of the double feature. especially me. anxiety will do that. the diner served up piles of pancakes and lukewarm coffee. it’s hard to remember the details from back in the dark ages, but, somehow, i remember the pancakes.

these days we generally try to find hole-in-the-wall kinds of places. back-roads places. small-town places. and, truth be told, we never ever – and i really mean never ever – go to any thing or any where that is “all-you-can-eat”.

though all-you-can-eat-pancakes does have a certain ring to it.

kodiak cakes had an ever-present home in our cupboard for a long time. because, really, pancakes have a way of satiating all worries and bringing peace.

the world should eat more pancakes.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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no anonymity. [k.s. friday]

anonymity is not a strong suit of airbnb. and, for us, that’s exactly the point. the relational piece of staying in places other real people own does not usurp privacy. but it offers a glimpse into lives – those which you may never have peeked into otherwise. without reservation, i would say that most all of the airbnbs we have stayed at have been owned by someone with whom we’d love to be friends.

the window that opens when you unlock the front door to the tiny house, the condo, the bungalow, the loft, the cabin, the cottage is an invitation. on the most basic level, it is an opportunity to see how someone else makes a space a home, how it’s designed, how it’s appointed. it is an opportunity to reconstruct – in your mind – something about your own home, an idea to take with you. it’s a chance – for a bit of time – to experience another place as-if-you-live-there: to wander and cook and porch-sit and immerse, even a little. when you stay in the vicinity of the owner’s place it changes things, for then, on a whole ‘nother level, it’s an opportunity to see morsels of how someone else lives, their real-life. and when you have the chance to meet the person or people who host where you are staying? that is a gift.

sitting on the adobe open-air-to-the-mountains-balcony off the bedroom in ridgway, in rocking chairs on the front porch on the farm in kentucky, at the table overlooking snowmass, under the après sign in breckenridge, watching people go by in tiny brevard. it is not without wonder we think about places we will stay someday.

and, i guess, not surprisingly, there’s something about all these places that makes us say, “we could live there.” something different than what any hampton inn, our hotel chain of choice, can offer.

it is not randomly that i pick out places to stay when we travel. i carefully consider location, amenities, the presence of light, whether or not we can cook, if there is outdoor space, a fireplace, a kitchen counter where we can chat. i look at pictures and read reviews and one will always jump out as a place that looks like us. so not so random.

and i guess it is not random either that we meet people – it boils down to the people – who stand out. they are living lives and opening themselves up to others. in providing more personal lodging they are reinforcing the humanness and opportunity of travel. they remind us – again and again – to be just a little more vulnerable, just a little more open. we don’t walk in someone else’s shoes, but to stay in someone else’s home, even for a night, has given us the tiniest chance to know them and to get where they are.

we are not here to live anonymously.

*****

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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