reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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no time to spare. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

this doesn’t really need a whole heck of a lot of other words. suffice it to say, we’ve been there. the days of old – or is it days of yore? – are over. the days of driving with venti starbucks at our sides are over. the days of driving without stopping are over. the days of toodling along with no cares in the world are over.

we are rest area junkies. we know where they are – those familiar blue signs on the interstate. we know which rest areas have the nicest bathrooms. we know the gas stations and convenience stores that have the nicest bathrooms. and we have – more than once – exceeded the speed limit on the exit ramps to these fine amenities. there is no time to spare.

we know that the busy bee in live oak, florida on i-10 rocks and that the sphagnum-moss rest area on the way to door county is clean and safe. we know also that we will “hold it” across montana unless we can find a mcdonald’s and that, even in snow, there are portapotties in the rest area just up the road after frisco before vail. in other news, we know the best back roads and where corn grows high, but we won’t talk about that.

i’m guessing, if you are reading this, you get it. there is nothing worse than an hugely-anticipated rest area under construction.

read DAVID’S thoughts this SMACK-DAB SATURDAY

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twizzlers. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we adore roadtrips. they are excuses for meandering thoughts, quiet appreciation of landscape, coffeehouse exploration, ridiculous amounts of snack foods. we are guilty of eating our way across the country and we have no established rules for that. all bets are off and we have joyfully entered gas station and service area mini-marts nationwide looking for anything and everything that will refill our snack-coffers and amuse our palates. gourmet or down-and-dirty salty chips – it does not matter. the one consistent partner for me, the sidekick – as hershey’s calls it – though, is twizzlers.

twizzlers are age-appropriate no matter your age. happy candy with amazing roadtrip powers, with a presence in every state or country we have traveled, i’m thinking the hershey folks should sponsor us. yes, in their own words, i’d suggest they “chew on it!”

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING SMACK-DAB

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packing. a solo sport. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it is not unusual for it to be 1am and for me to still be packing the night before a trip. well, specifically, fretting over packing. he – who shall remain nameless – will have packed in less than fifteen minutes. i am struggling and being tortured by the what-ifs of every trip you ever go on. what if you need to dress up? what if you spill on your favorite shirt and there is no laundry available? what if your flip-flop breaks? what if it’s unusually cold? what if it’s unusually hot? what if we have to walk far? what if my shoes give me blisters? what if i feel like wearing a skirt? what if i don’t?

he – that nameless one – patiently sits by (though i’m betting underneath it all is rather smug), offers meaningless male-advice but is, nevertheless, good moral support as i go through my increasingly-anxious shenanigans: things in, things out, repeat. though packing is a solo sport, having someone there sitting with you sort of helps.

shoes are an issue. that and jackets. he has learned to grab one of those gigantic blue ikea bags and hand it to me, “just pack whatever shoes and jackets you want! there’s plenty of room in the car!”. this is a man who, though it all seems so incredibly simple to him, knows better than to question the process.

he runs downstairs and gets me a bigger suitcase. ahhh, good man. good man.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING SMACK-DAB.

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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intrepid. [two artists tuesday]

and just like that – on a beautiful sunday driving a back road in wisconsin – little baby scion turned 250,000 miles.

we drove with the camera ready…ready to take a video of the 249,999-250,000 turnover, ready to stop and take a picture on the side of the road of this momentous moment. this tough, scrappy little vehicle is intrepid. with a few bumps and scratches (like the rest of us) and a few rattling noises (also like the rest of us) littlebabyscion diligently trods on, dutifully and reliably chalking up miles and experiences with us. and we are devoted to it.

we knew it was coming. we were less than thirty miles away, a mere backroads drive to lake geneva to pick up a piece of flourless chocolate cake in anticipation of our celebration of this no-frills little square vehicle. we planned our sunday afternoon around it, loaded dogdog in and, in sunday-drive fashion, took our time both on roads we knew and roads we turned onto, just to see where they went. we pulled over when it turned. it was astounding to actually think about: that this little car had safely driven me/us 250,000 miles. that’s 83 times across the united states! we sat there and thought aloud about all the places we’d gone in it, all the roadtrips, and all the really significant events that had happened.

when littlebabyscion turned 235,235 miles i recounted some of those; it is no less inspiring to me now. littlebabyscion delivered my girl and my boy – and all their stuff – back and forth and back and forth and back and forth etc etc etc to college dorms and apartments. littlebabyscion brought babycat home from florida. littlebabyscion drove across the country loaded with cds for concerts and wholesale and retail shows. littlebabyscion picked up david at the airport for the first time we met and drove us away on our honeymoon. littlebabyscion drove dogdog home from a farm in a little town on the river on the other side of the state. littlebabyscion took us back and forth and back and forth and back and forth to florida to see my sweet momma in the last of her life. littlebabyscion was our haven the day, on the highway to see her, my momma died. it held us safe, a buttress for our grief. littlebabyscion moved us all – with dogdog and babycat ferry-quivering each time – to the island littlehouse and then home again. littlebabyscion has determinedly climbed mountain passes to get to see our girl and driven in traffic jams out east and on chicago’s highways to see our boy. littlebabyscion has slept in rest areas, restaurant lots, parks. littlebabyscion has eluded storms and hail and snow and straight-line winds. like 20 said, when he heard of its milestone, “to the moon and back!”.

i asked steve, our miracle mechanic, what i would do when littlebabyscion reached 300,000 miles. “keep driving it,” he said.

he’s right. keep driving it.

so one of these days, a while from now, expect to see this same shot with 300,000 miles on the odometer.

you go, littlebabyscion, you x-ceptional xb.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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the rest area. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

rest area

we haven’t just dreamed at the rest area.  we have out and out drooled at the rest area.  faces planted against the window, pillow smushed between forehead and glass, i’m sure we’ve been a spectacle.

one time we pulled into a rest area in iowa when it was still dark.  we chose a spot close to the building.  we just needed a few minutes to close our eyes.  when we woke up, the sun was up, the rest area was full of people coming and going and our bodies were stiff from a shocking three hours of rest-area-sleeping.  barely able to move, i slowly unfurled from my up-close-and-personal relationship with the steering wheel and d attempted to bring his foot down from the dashboard.  with plenty of square-car-glass making us visible – like a snowglobe scene without the snow –  we were right in the line of vision of absolutely anyone who had stopped to use the facilities.  our wrinkled faces and the fog on the windows next to our baked-sweet-potato-smushy-visages belied any other story except resting-at-the-rest-area.  i’m sure we were charming to look at.

it is not without stopping at a few rest areas that little baby scion has 237,000 miles on it.  our road warrior days are accompanied by snacks and punctuated by rest areas.  it’s a roadtrip symphony of necessities.

when we were driving long distance just a few days ago we googled the approximate distance across the united states, which, surprisingly,  is around 3000 miles.  (kansas and pennsylvania and north dakota make it seem so much further, and, going the other way, so do georgia and indiana.)   but i digress.  so that means that the current mileage equates to having driven this little vehicle 79 times across the country.

we have visited rest areas in most states in this nation and we can tell you where the nice ones are, like the ones in ohio on i80.  we can also tell you where the scary ones are:  montana, a certain rest area down south where you drive about a mile off the road and a couple security guards watch you walk in and out of the building.  you can get a free cup of coffee at the rest area on the eastern side of colorado and orange or grapefruit juice entering florida.  you can get maps and brochures at most rest areas and the ones in indiana specialize in those magazines where you can find coupons for hotels you would rather not stay in.  pennsylvania has full-service areas, as does one little spot in kansas.  you can “eat and get gas” as they say, the word-smithing on that not expected to be classy.  you are reminded that this is a rest area, after all.

the rest area on the way home from on-island is always a stopping ground these days.  for various reasons we won’t list, the little blue sign on the side of the road is a welcome sight and we eagerly pull into a spot.  recently, after packing for hours and then leaving, we leaned back and closed our eyes at this wayside.  full-out dreaming commenced.  when we woke, which wasn’t too long after, we shared notes and our surprise about falling asleep in a matter of minutes.  d said, “if you can dream at the rest area, you’re supposed to be there.” yup.  i bet all kinds of safety engineers would agree with that.

it was in iowa again – this state must make us tired – just a few days ago on a trip when we traveled 24 hours in a 36 hour period of time.  having sampled (read: gorged on) the whole buffet of snacks, i was driving, desperately seeking the little blue sign, pining for the chance to close my eyes.

alas, finally.  the rest area.  we pulled in.  d handed me a pillow.  i laid my face against the window.  and voila!  a sight to behold.

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

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big red. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

CO to WI copy

colorado to wisconsin.  with a stop in columbia, missouri.  the first day is long.  twelve hours give or take.  we drive out of colorado into kansas, which has to be one of the wider states in the journey, and head for wendy’s.  she and keith are tolerant of whatever-time-we-get-there, knowing the challenges of a long drive.  this time, it was different.

this time we weren’t in our littlebabyscion toodling along, huffing and puffing up hills.  this time we were in Big Red, a giant ford F150.  she hadn’t been driven this-far-at-one-time in years.  we were high up and felt like road warriors.

columbus gave us a couple cassette tapes to play in the player and, in planning ahead, i had brought a dozen favorites from years past (ok, the 70s are many years past.)  we played each of them, singing along.  and then switched to the radio.  it only seemed right that country music be blaring out of the speakers, so we obliged.

although we blasted cassettes of john denver, loggins and messina, alabama, england dan & john ford coley among others, i have a few favorite radio songs of the journey east and north.  one direction’s what makes you beautiful, lady gaga and bradley cooper singing shallow, toby keith’s i wanna talk about me and my new fave, billy currington’s good directions and turnip greens.  a sweet country-music story.

we were talking with jen and brad last night in their kitchen, lingering over our potluck together.  we talked about compromise and life and decisions and chance.  like everyone, david and i have had our share of each of those.  decisions sorted and pondered, and compromises, bending to the things that make life meaningful, balancing reality with idealism.  and then there’s chance.  we could relate to the story of turnip greens…happenstance changing life.   a choice, one direction taken, a turn, one click…and everything changes.  what comes is predicated on what was and what is this very second.  we second those lyrics – thank God for good directions and turnip greens.

we turned up the stereo in Big Red and opened the windows with the AC on.  somewhere along the way, we decided it was a she, for she had gently mothered columbus as he drove a bit more gingerly in recent days and she sturdily and protectively lumbered us across the country.  laughing and certain of everything and absolutely nothing, we turned this beautiful big old pickup truck toward home.

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

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so much life lived. [merely-a-thought monday]

so much life lived box

we were talking on the phone.  it had been quite some time and there was so much to catch up on it was difficult to know where to start.  we started with this week.  “so much life lived this week,” heidi said.  yes.  so much.

in the last week or so we have traveled both east and west.  from the ocean to the mountains.  from children to parents.  from littlebabyscion to big red.  we traveled from together to missing.  from gathering things for a new home base to removing things forever from a home.  from being known to the dementia-induced-agony of being not-known.  from a new plan to yet another new plan.  from certainty to uncertainty.  from before to after.

we have driven over 3000 miles and flown 1000 miles. we had the absolute joy of being with our children.  we had the absolute joy of being with david’s parents.  we’ve been with beloved family, with our dearest friends, with complete strangers on airplanes, in rest areas, in hotels, in shops.  we laughed, we talked, we questioned, we argued, we cried, we cringed at how life changes, we celebrated life’s changes.

days swirled around us as we turned the pages of our calendar and we kept going.  taking snapshots, memorizing moments, sealing memories for eternity (as mike wrote).  for this was only one week or so.  and yes, there was so much life lived.

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

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HH. perfect. [d.r. thursday]

HH sketches

david’s sketches on hilton head

i researched.  for months.  looked at tons of sites and reviews.  i ordered brochures from the chamber of commerce (which, incidentally and almost predictably, arrived after we returned from the trip.)  i poured over other people’s adventures and stories, made lists of things to do and places to go.  it was a really important time for me and i wanted it to be perfect:  my-children-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  the perfect mom-gift.

always up for a roadtrip adventure, we drove to hilton head in our littlebabyscion.  first thing upon arrival, we opened the shades in the living room.  the dunes and the ocean exploded into view, the sunset beckoned us.  without unloading, we took two juice glasses of wine and a blanket down to the water’s edge and watched the sky relinquish day.  night arrived and it was perfect.

My Girl flew in the next morning and My Boy the very next day.  the sun was bright, the sky was blue, the sand hot, the ocean was a constant lure.  walks and conversation, games and homemade sangria, bold coffee and generous glasses of wine, watching crabs on the sandbar and googling jellyfish, chips and guac and kirsten-margaritas, eating out on the deck under the umbrella and time in the pool, watching kirsten or craig prepare a meal or two, relaxing on lounge chairs and a one-time bowling adventure.  this was the stuff.  it was hot; over 100 degrees with the heat index; a bit too hot for kayaking or standupboarding under a sunburning sun.  but time seemed to morph and days passed us by in the way time on the beach does.

later i wondered why i didn’t take out my lists, my research, my reviews, the brochures i got from the grocery store.  why i didn’t insist on an adventure-a-day, an activity.  but jen encouraged me to let that go.  she said she does that every time she is lucky enough to have her children all-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time as well. a mother’s brain (and heart) on overdrive.

it isn’t the activities or the adventures.  it’s simply the time.  when you are there and you are real and you share bits and snatches of life, joyful or trying.  when you catch your breath gazing at your children, beautiful human beings experiencing the wide spectrum that life offers.  and you love them beyond words, grateful that they have given you this time.  together.  under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  HH.  hilton head.  perfect.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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coffee. without fail. [two artists tuesday]

starbucks copy

coffee is how we start the day.  hot bold black coffee.  columbus says it’s way too strong, but this is from a man who makes coffee that his son says tastes like ‘sockwater’.  our coffee must be an acquired taste.

when we travel we seek out starbucks (and, to be honest, small independent coffee cafes as well) to stop and have a double espresso.  now that we are a teeny weeny bit older, it’s not as smart to have huge cups of coffee while driving long distances.  there’s a teeny weeny bit of an issue with not enough rest areas now.  so we try to be smart.

every single time we stop for a double espresso we take a picture and then we send it to 20.  we have pictures of double espressos in illinois and indiana, in colorado and wisconsin, in florida and georgia, in north and south carolina, in kentucky and tennessee, in connecticut and massachusetts, in new hampshire and rhode island, in new york and pennsylvania, in washington and idaho, in iowa and kansas, in montana and north dakota and minnesota, in missouri and california, in amsterdam and brussels, in paris.

coffee has always been one of our touchstones.  from the very beginning d and i spoke about and revered coffee, together.  i learned early on from my sweet momma and my poppo how to coffee-sit and it is with them in my heart, coffee in hand, we continue the tradition.

as each day ends and d sets up the coffeemaker for the next morning, dogdog listens for all the familiar sounds he knows that signal the end of the day.  he waits on the bed for his bellybelly and then time for sleep.  and he knows, too, that when he wakes we will sit with our hot black bold coffee the next morning.  without fail.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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pray for our nation. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

pray for our nation copy

i am a sign-reader.  whether i am driving or riding in the car, i read signs.  billboards, people’s clever license plates, bumper stickers, storefronts, oh, and road signs.  there are certain areas of the country where signs for attorneys are rampant.  other areas tout strong religious beliefs.  some signs are clever “buckle up next million miles” and some are deeply insightful “when there’s only one race and that’s mankind… love is in you.”  because we adore both road trips and short drives, we are privy to signs galore.  one of my pet peeves is to see blatant spelling or punctuation errors on billboards; it makes me rant for several minutes about editors and proof-reading and the propensity for people to ignore the amazing thing called the dictionary.

we took a drive the other day.  it was after all the services of the week were over and we were unplugging.  turning the car west we headed out in search of a new hiking trail.  on our drive we passed this sign.  PRAY FOR OUR NATION.  no fancy font, no centered spacing, just four simple words.  i don’t know how long that sign has been there.  it’s not in the front yard of any religious building; it’s just there, in a small park-like setting.  i thought, “no kidding.”  it seems apt timing.

instead of reading the paper first thing everyday now, we are reading meditations.  we are considering the mica moments of the day before, the mica moments to come.  we are trying to be hopeful, trying to slough off pettiness and disagreement, trying to avoid those who are clearly toxic to themselves and others, trying to engage in positive ways, trying to spend time doing things that advance us as humans in a big world rather than mire us in stunted selfish plots to further polarize and make inequity even more profound.

PRAY FOR OUR NATION doesn’t just start with folding hands and closing eyes, as much as that may help.  it also starts with reaching out hands, opening your eyes, listening, learning, believing that there is only one race and it is mankind.

buckle up.  next million miles.

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

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