reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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but those rustic barrels. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we do love to read together. we’ve hiked the appalachian trail, the salt path, treacherous trails in iceland. we’ve read deeply moving novels like the shack, the best of us, factual accounts like 102 minutes, the 33….. we read mary oliver and rumi and john o’donohue and the book of joy and lyrics of songs and pablo neruda. it’s actually pretty magical to read aloud to each other.

romantic poetry is the stuff of friday night date nights. we haven’t read poetry on a friday night lately, but it sure sounds like a good plan – a fire out back, the gurgling pond, a fan gently keeping the pesky mosquitoes at bay, a glass of wine, a book of poetry and an itty-bitty-book-light to illuminate the pages.

our newest pablo neruda book asks questions – in spanish and in english. it is my preference to read them to david in spanish (neither of us having had any spanish instruction). we stare at each other – no, no, gaze adoringly at each other – and he tries to sort out what i asked. eventually, i give in and read the question in english. there are no answers in the book. only questions. and they are truly sink-your-teeth-into-them questions. we ponder and pull on them like taffy.

maybe tonight. a saturday night date night. glass of wine. firepit (though it will be about 80 degrees). if the lights strung across the yard aren’t enough, the itty-bitty will be nearby. and we will read delicious words of love and promises of bluebells and dark hazels. i won’t expect the bluebells or the dark hazels or gifts to be bestowed at the door, arriving through david’s remarkable ability to order them via AI or siri sending them as we read aloud (which may not be far from reality some day). unexpected gifts are rare these days, for many reasons. as we go through and declutter and clear out, we see we need little.

because, truth is, the sitting together is actually the gift.

but those rustic barrels of kisses…

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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those wander women. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

i hearted the comment by one of their instagram followers. it read: “boss move. inspire when you go. inspire when you stop. along for the ride whatever’s next.” exactly our sentiments.

the wander women HAVE inspired us. they have entertained us, taken us along on their adventures, encouraged us to plan, made us dream. we have watched them thru-hike the appalachian trail, the continental divide trail, the pacific crest trail – the triple crown. we have seen them in their rv, bemoaning the ailments that aging graces us with, yet, embracing those ailments, researching, asking questions, dealing with the cycles of grief that accompany those kinds of changes and, mostly, doing something about them. they self-care through the trappings of difficulties; they are solution-oriented and flexible. they are thriving.

their latest undertaking is to ride across-country on surly bikes – rail-trailing – from “sea to shining sea”. they rode from the pacific ocean through the state of washington, into idaho and entered montana. things got sketchy in montana – this country is not yet equipped to ride straight-across – and they were riding on shoulderless roads next to semis going 70 and 80mph, gravel or wobbles threatening their every pedal.

we are proud of their decision to stop. 700 miles in and they have decided to find a new plan, they have decided their safety and the enjoyment of each day is more important than just keeping on in a precarious situation.

and yes….it’s a boss move.

the wander women’s fortitude and courage and open-armed seize of life and experiences have made us realize that, though we have not thru-hiked before, we can set it as an intention. we can picture ourselves outside, weeks, months at a time, reveling in nature and quiet and every step. we can see the toe guards and the snack bags and the ponchos and the headnets. we wonder how we might arrange amazon-drone-drops of wine every so often.

though we watch many trailhikers, many backpackers and, as you know, have a certain affinity for, among others, that elusive my-own-frontier joey, it is the wander women – kristy and annette and, on earlier journeys, lynn, who inspire us, people of the same ‘certain’ age. they made a plan and set goals – retired, sold off their homes, their stuff, paid off their remaining debt, bought an rv and have a somewhat itinerant life full of fabulous escapades.

our plan will not likely mimic theirs, but who knows. the important thing is that it is making us excited about planning, excited about deliberate movement in that direction. those amazing wander women have been active hikers together all along, for decades. they have paid attention to their growth, their middle-age-changing-bodies; they have been mindful about their self-care and their continued movement. they “get outside”. but, they had to start somewhere. our hats are off to them – kristy and annette.

i figure – if they can do it, we can do it.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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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.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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we’ll see. part two. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

i mean, i love calculators. really love them. i got excited the other day when i found a TI-30X IIS in a basket i was going through. sheesh. i blame my high school math teacher, a man everyone adored and for whom we all worked really hard. he’s one of the reasons so many of us ended up loving math…still.

and so i am the billpayer. i have a dollar store calendar with due date notations each month which serves as a folder for outstanding bills. i check it often and keep track of spending. i prepare our personal and business taxes in february, a task – everything line-item-ed to bring on to the accountant – that is sometimes daunting, but…ya gotta love all that math. i never really mind any of it. sometimes, though, i wish the numbers were different. it would maybe be a little easier with better numbers. sigh.

the aarp magazine and newsletter come into the mailbox and i peruse them for thoughtful advice, words of wisdom, pointers. invariably, they have some article on retirement – which is, of course, their real area of expertise. and, along with the article that lists all the things you need to “successfully retire” (aka do whatever-the-hell you want) there will be lists of IRAs and 401ks and savings pie charts and spending allowances and how they proportionately relate to each other and your life post-wage-earning.

good grief.

it is not in my best interest to take these too seriously.

by the time we are fully retired, with inflation going the way it is – gas prices and groceries, continually rising heating bills and let’s-not-talk-about-cable anymore and oh-right-then-there’s-healthcare – we might have like zilcho to spend.

i love the articles about places to retire to – small towns and lakefronts, unexpected charming villages. there’s always the question of retirement living communities with amenities and activities or planned gated neighborhoods or mobile home parks set in tropical locations.

with housing costs and rents rising ad nauseam, it is hard to think about having the resources to purchase a new home and move. we dream and look at tiny-house plans. we consider this beloved old house we live in. we wonder about traveling. we wonder about adventures. we wonder about the pacific crest trail.

we make a strict budget, planning ahead. i thank bill h., my math teacher, for the ability to think it all through and do the math in my head. and i warn d.

so in our fun and adventurous retirement, after working hard in our lives, after judicious and frugal-no-real-frills spending habits, i calculate our likely extraneous income…that expendable fluff – like reddi-whip piled high on top of a hot fudge sundae – and i tell david.

“zero,” i inform him. “we can spend zero.”

we’ll see, i guess.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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way past enough. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

way past enough.

enough was a long time ago. enough was after the first mass shooting. “enough” is no longer relevant.

i hardly know what to say. every one of us in this country should be shocked into exhausted, sickened silence and then pushed into action, no longer sloughing off of the actual responsibility to protect the citizens of this land from the barrel of a gun, from the devastation of people’s lives blown apart.

this spacious-skies-amber-waves-of-grain united states is an embarrassment. the freedom to live life – at school, at church, at a concert, at the movies, in the mall, at the club, at the grocery store – the freedom to continue breathing is usurped by powerful money-rich-control-hungry leaders – voted into office, no less – with not even a nod to the sanctity of lives taken at gunpoint.

it is utterly shameful if you are not filled with rage, if you are not horrified with the guns in this land and those who support the exponential growth and prioritizing of their presence and the power they wield. they will utter their passive “heartfelt” “thoughts and prayers” and will soon forget their “outrage”. until the next time.

there are no more excuses.

there never were.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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we’ll see. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

i read it on facebook. her daughter had fallen in love with the perfect home and had made an offer, only to lose this perfect house they had been saving and saving and saving for to someone who offered $200,000 (that’s two-hundred-thousand-dollars) OVER the asking price. all cash. it’s insanity!

we ponder the next chapter often. we have dreamy homes in our mind’s eye and on my laptop screen, plans i have saved, photographs of houses over which we have lusted. out the window are mountains and space, oftentimes water. and never perfect grass. i’ve noticed a theme of more natural settings, without the greenscape of manicured lawn, edged and treated and de-dandelioned.

but i cannot imagine how any of that is possible. we are fortunate to live in our old house in a beautiful old neighborhood near a giant great lake. we don’t usually have tornadoes or hurricanes, ice storms or lengthy periods of time over 100 degrees with feels-like humidity pushing us to stay inside. we have winter, yes. we have snow, yes. we have very-late spring, yes, sort of. we have gorgeous fall, yes. we have thunderstorms and sometimes windy derechos, which are scary as heck. every now and then we have ice and every now and then there will be a period of time with hotter-than-heck temperatures. and we love our home…the creaky wood floors, the fluted glass doorknobs, the high ceilings, the six-panel doors, the nooks and crannies, the light. even with all its idiosyncrasies and the ever-present maintenance list, we are grateful for it.

but…the next chapter. i hear about people retiring and moving south – to florida, most often. i hear about people moving southwest – to arkansas, to arizona. these aren’t places we would choose. we have a short list at the moment: colorado, north carolina, vermont, maine. i think that’s about it for now. i’m not sure how we could afford any of those places. we don’t have two-hundred-thousand-dollars-cash-money-over-and-above-the-selling-price to entice a seller to accept our bid. my heart goes out to my friend’s daughter. buying a home these days cannot be easy – for most.

so every day, really, i tool around online looking at our top destinations, dreaming. i jaunt over to airbnb to see what it would be to live in those spots for a couple months, enough time to immerse and feel like we have gotten out of dodge. i show david pictures and we chat about the possibilities of someday. i look at calculators and equations and budget projections. yikes!

and we start to make a plan. our roadtrip. i guess we’ll see.

there’s a lot to consider and, clearly, we need a much bigger piggybank.

mostly, though, i’m guessing we will follow our hearts.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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the circle of life. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

sometimes asking a question is purely a matter of politeness. you want the other person to know you value their thoughts, but, since you’ve already decided, their answer blurs into the gusty winds inside your mind and you do what you want to do anyway.

i can’t say that all the lost turtles and frogs and hurt birds and chipmunks and leg-damaged preying mantises in the wild have come home with us. i can say that i wanted them to. he generally feels that nature should be left to carry on in the circle of life (i can hear elton john singing now) and so i already know his answer to my “what should we do?” question. we’ve come across kittens on trails and i’ve stared at him without a word as he sorts for something to say about wild cats. of course there is nothing to really say about a tiny tabby in the woods, except that we are not really all that far from civilization and, surely, this cat belongs somewhere, so taking it home would equate to, well, kidnapping it. that, for sure, stops any taking-it-home-ness from happening.

were it up to me, particularly in this empty-nest-time, all the sweet creatures we come across would be our little friends. and the circle of life – if need be – would include a stint at our house, in our nest.

and elton john would be happy.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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spirograph on deck. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we are surrounded by people with grandchildren. there are tiny babies, toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers. we are ‘of the age’. it would seem that each and every day there is yet another announcement on social media of a new grandbaby-to-be, a gender reveal party, a baby shower, a birth of a tiny being into this great big world. my biological grandma clock is pokin’ at me, but, alas, this is not within my control. at all. these are important and very personal decisions; each of us has to decide what is individually right for us. and so, we’ll see. no matter our age, we celebrate our children living their lives.

and so, we watch others as they enter the glee-filled world of grandparenthood. they amass toys and sleeping provisions and high chair options and read books about the newfangled ways small babies learn to eat food and they post adorable videos of all the extraordinarily ordinary moments we – as parents – didn’t have time to notice. they go to the closet in the hallway or in the family room and gaze up at the tinkertoys and legos and trouble game and candyland and the saved baby dolls and barbie dolls and matchbox cars and crayons and stickers and markers and coloring books and they get dreamy looks on their faces as they ponder all these – once again – in their lives. ahh. what perfection.

we have all that stuff too. it’s mostly in the hall closet, where we’ve always kept it. games and puzzles and crafty things and bebop and a jumprope and jacks and egg coloring kits and pumpkin carving tools and those squishy balls you get all soaky wet to throw and frisbees. all the crayons and colored pencils and markers and glue are upstairs in the cabinet in the office. and stickers. lots of stickers.

there is really no reason we can’t just revisit all that stuff now anyway. i mean, if we are going to practice snack-time, we can spirograph first.

he is such a boy. SUCH a boy. any – and i mean ANY – time i ask him if he’s hungry, he always replies with an emphatic “yes!” like he’s been starving for days and days. snack-time is a driving force, a dominant priority, something he has already perfected. but, hmmm….yes, a carrot easily dangle-able.

i’m guessing spirograph is in our future.

happy mother’s day.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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in the quarry. does my butt look big in this? [saturday morning smack-dab.]

a rock and a hard place. he is wedged between them and help-me-i’m-wedged-and-i-can’t-get-out he can’t escape. there is no choice but to say the wrong thing. go either way and he has sunk miserably to the levels of pond catfish, carp at best.

in these days of changing-changing-changing bodies and expectations of ourselves, we peer in the mirror and are astounded at what we see staring back. menopause and “men”opause (whatever on earth that is called) – in all its glory – has taken its toll on our metabolism and our hips and someone with a line-defining pen has carved on our faces while we sleep in the night. and those jowls. let’s not forget them.

so while i want him to understand – to really get it – to grok it at a cellular level – to feeeeeel my pain, he is thinking, “she’s beautiful” and tells me so. ohmyheavens, seriously? can he not share in my astonishment, couple with my what-do-i-do-now-ness, sympathize in a big-big way, help me pick out jeans in the next size?

there is no winning here.

it is the perpetual “does my butt look big in this?” question. over and over. forevermore.

he can “pretend” not to notice, which undermines his believability factor and, ultimately, leaves him stranded with no credibility when i am facing down the mirror. he can acknowledge and discuss the merits of aging with me, leaving me incredulous that he would suggest that i am aging. he can try to play long ball – riding the fence – acting like he can’t hear me – changing the subject.

no matter what, he will find himself in the rock garden.

eh. who am i kidding? it’s more like a deep, dark quarry.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️2022 kerrianddavid.com


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lions and more lions. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

the summer of 2011 in our ‘hood was dramatic. straight line winds came through, toppling close to a thousand trees in our neighborhood alone. all in about five minutes. i haven’t felt the same since.

when it’s windy out – really windy – or when strong or severe wind is predicted, i get nervous. we – both – lay awake at night, wondering about the tall trees behind our bedroom, hoping that they will prevail and stay standing.

a couple years ago a really gigantic branch fell into our backyard from our neighbor’s tree. it did not land on the house, but it was a fortune to have removed and, in these weird liability times, was ours to deal with. in an even weirder event, the neighbor came by to ask if we wanted to “go in on” the removal of three of the towering trees in his backyard. for obvious reasons, we declined, as did our other neighbors, and this couple, who had been dear to us – after four decades of living there – sold their enormous house and moved to texas without saying goodbye.

anyway, the windstorm-derecho of 2011 has made me tremble.

david’s ptsd came from childhood and being hit by lightning. i’m thinking i would have post traumatic stress, too, had i been hit by lightning. he was in his house, by a window, and zap! yikes!!

so when the rumbling starts and we are out walking or hiking, he is a wee bit trepidatious. the moment the lightning starts, trepidation turns to panic.

we were walking along the lakefront when we could see the storm clouds quickly approaching. boom! the thunder rolled. and then…the lightning. time and again. david was full-scale under-the-desk sheltering (though there was no desk). in no time he had taken cover-without-cover. i convinced him to get home. we are not those people who revel in thunderstorms or chase tornadoes or delight in derechos or any ridiculously windy events. we seek peaceful days and sun, maybe gentle rains and light quaking-aspen-leaf-worthy breezes. idyllic. nirvana.

we are entering the season of wild storms. they are all across the country. we watch the weather and eliminate places as potential places to ever live. “nope,” we say. “not a chance!” we have a short list of places we’d live, which is good, since it will lower the level of decision-fatigue and lessen the analysis-paralysis of too many choices.

in the meanwhile, on the shores of lake michigan with the lion full-on and the lamb – goodgrief – somewhere following at turtle-pace, maybe lost, one cannot underestimate the power of ptsd.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com