reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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hard questions. simple answers. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

i don’t know about you, but i – most definitely – talk to my dog. not just the sit, stay, come, paw sort of talk-talk. no, i am talking about laying bare my thoughts and questions and deep despairs and utter joys.

dogga usually looks as though he is paying attention; he is a really gifted eye-contact dog – better than many people i know. he doesn’t act like it’s unusual that i am divulging my innermost fears or existential ponderings. instead, he keeps eye contact and listens, his ears moving forward and back as he recognizes words…or maybe it’s because he thinks i am drawing to a close. either way, he is a really good audience and, though he never answers in words, his presence is comforting and steady and sometimes that is all i need.

i do believe, however, that somewhere deep inside of him is all the knowledge. somewhere in there he is all-knowing and all that is divine can be found in our dogs (or cats) and we are fortunate to share any tidbits of life with them.

somehow dogdog knows that steadfast and quiet are the real answers. he knows that letting me lay my head on his side is reassuring. he knows that his job is simply to love me back.

he does that without any hesitation. his gentle snoring, the rise and fall of his body breathing in sleep, his eyes closed in trust – he models how to do life. one moment at a time.

and we find the simplest answers to our hardest questions.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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we know. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

“and their eyes get all wet.”

yes, they do.

because babycat, well, he rescued me. this black and white hulking tuxedo cat was not merely a cat. he was always an angel in disguise, just like all our pets are intended.

we – truly – miss him every day. and so does dogga. the alpha-in-the-house, babycat’s presence was part of the most basic of maslow’s hierarchy. he was as necessary to a sense of rightness-in-the-world as any of the physiological and safety needs.

i suppose as time continues to go on, the lump in our throats will ease a bit.

but as the hierarchy presses, rears its pointy head and pokes at us in these times, we gather dogdog and that babycat-angel around us and tuck in.

we do know, b-cat.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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weird moments et al. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

so there WAS this time…i was walking around the house on hold with some representative – i don’t remember that part…whether it was insurance or healthcare or a store… – and i wanted to send a text. so i started looking for my cellphone. i looked high. i looked low. i looked in my purse, by the bed, in the kitchen, on the sink in the bathroom, in my studio. i looked downstairs in the basement by the washer and dryer. i went up to the office. i ran out – still on hold – and looked in littlebabyscion. i was starting to get worried. somehow i had left my cellphone s.o.m.e.w.h.e.r.e. but where?

in the final moments before i panicked, i pulled my hand away from my ear to see how long i had already been on hold. voila! my cellphone. yes, indeedy, i was ON my cellphone all along.

it goes up there in the list of weird moments.

oddly, those seem to happen more and more these days.

i wonder why….

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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math geek. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

mathletes. i loved mathletes. a math quiz team, we gathered and did math problems and equations and then went out and about, competing. apparently, it stuck. i blame woody p. and then, mostly, mr. h, everyone’s adored high school math teacher. i still cannot help myself. it’s constant, this figuring-out-thing. and, though i would love to maybe forget some of the number details, i simply can’t. i love math.

and so poor david is stuck listening to me as i study stuff, run the numbers, figure percentages and cost per ounce, apply coupon discounts, choose items or discard them as choices. even though i know it’s way-too-much-information, it spills from my brain and out of my mouth before i can help it. again, mr. h’s fault, making me a total math geek, but i love him for it anyway.

the fuel and heating guy came to check our boiler. it’s about thirty years old now, but a workhorse and there is a coupon that comes in the mail every year to remind you to have it serviced. as he went back out to his truck to write an invoice he asked, “do you have the coupon?”

do i????

of COURSE i do!!

and the best part (other than the a-ok on the boiler)???

figuring out how much we saved because we had The Coupon.

life is good.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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will a little blue liquid work? [saturday morning smack-dab.]

my whole life.

i have experienced motion sickness my whole life. no books, no games, no phone-use, no looking down.

this was a problem when – at eight and ten – i couldn’t drive. and at eleven. and twelve. and…at every turn on the number line.

they say as people a-g-e it can go two ways…either get better or worse. i thought that maybe menopause – with all its marvelous gifts and surprises – might generously reward me with a hormonal shift in my motion sickness tendencies. but no. post-menopause i can report that these days it has gotten worse. i want my menopause money back.

so i drive.

everywhere.

all the time.

and david sits in the passenger seat and entertains me. he feeds me snacks and treats and reads the news or tidbits of interesting factoids, he gps-es and makes sure we stop at rest areas to walk around a bit.

and then…

the other day these funky glasses came across my feed. i wondered how my feed knew. about the whole motion sick thing. ahhh, your feed knows all.

i clicked. because that’s what we do. we click.

and it brought me to an info-ad for motion sickness glasses with a blue liquid in them that is supposed to readjust your brain in such a way that you will no longer be motion sick. you will – indeed – look a little goofy, but you will not be motion sick.

the original ones were made in france and the ceo says, ““motion sickness comes from a sense of conflict between what your eyes can see and what your balance system and your inner ears can feel.” they have two round lenses in front and two on the side, the hollow rims each half filled with blue liquid. the liquid moves with the movement of the boat or vehicle, creating an artificial horizon. “your eyes always get the reality of the movement and get a signal that is consistent with the balance system perception.” in the same way as generic anythings, there are many other companies making them now as well.

i’ve never actually seeeeen anyone wearing these, but they seem like nothing shy of a miracle.

have you tried these?

i’m seriously wondering if my brain would participate.

i think it’s worth a try.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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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.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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blue, red, yellow, blue. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we were on the mountain past the junction where the blue trail met red, in the middle of the red trail, heading to yellow. it was considered “moderate” but i wondered what temperature it was outside when someone deemed it “moderate”. because at 90 degrees and humid, it wasn’t feelin’ too moderate.

the day before we had climbed to see a waterfall and then took the trail up from there. up, up and away it went and with north-carolina-mountain-summerish temperatures, we were lucky to find a cool stream at some elevation. david climbed down and dipped the bandana, which i wrapped around my neck. that helped. we got to a spot where it was purely a scramble up boulders and decided to turn around. frozen shoulder and high heat aside, it wasn’t as inviting as advertised. we hiked back down.

back on red, with a branch-ala-trekking-stick in hand, i tried to decide which way to go. back would mean a trail i already had climbed – and i knew there was a lot of up on the way back as well. forward would be a lot longer, but would also mean completing the trail.

to be clear, we were not flip-flopping it here. we had full-on hiking boots on our feet and carried small backpacks with water and snacks and our alltrails app, a wonder of science and technology. thankfully, we had the bandana and there was a stream punctuating our hike.

i’m pretty stubborn most days. if we are walking around town – our own or this mountain town we are currently in – we love to wear flip-flops. we actually haaave hiked in flip-flops, though i wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. standing on the red, even with my boots, i wasn’t sure which way to go. i was overheated and my knee was screeching a little at me. i drank some water and grabbed my stick.

we kept going.

the hike was about six and a half miles, which doesn’t sound too bad, except for the stats said we had also climbed 47 floors. mind you, those are not like the twelve levels of steps in the parking garage after the ej concert. these floors are indicative of elevation and don’t mention roots and rocks and clay and loose pebbles. and humidity. did i mention it was hot?

it’s usually roots that get me. i mustn’t pick up my feet. i don’t know. what i do know is that david – always the genteel and solicitous husband – reaches out his hand or places his shoulder at arm’s reach. he steadies me so i don’t bounce off the side of the mountain or land – never-too-gracefully – in the middle of the dirt trail. he offered to turn around, reassuring me it didn’t matter which way we finished.

sometimes he talks about my shoe choices. but on the side of the mountain, sopping cool bandana around my neck, more than halfway there, he was only encouraging. our conversation about shoes was only about finding new hikers that will take us to yet more adventures. maybe something even more sensible, even more sensitive to our foot-knee-back-hip-shoulder – full-body – needs.

the red trail met up with yellow. i was grateful. mostly, though, i was really happy when yellow met back up with blue. yeeeeeha!

we made it. the whole hike.

and then we sat on the front porch in bare feet sipping a good red watching the traffic go by.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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juicy fruit gum and frank. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

the lyrics are going through my head. “stretch your coffee break! top it off with juicy fruit gum!” i can hear the jingle. over and over.

there is only sooo much you can stretch a coffee break. a few minutes is merely that – a few minutes. kinda like there is only so far you can stretch a $dollah. i mean, one $dollah does not go as far as it used to. stating the obvious. just saying. anyone shopping at the grocery store or filling their vehicle with gas can tell you that. not to mention house sales, rents, deferred maintenance items and – the big one – healthcare. the mighty $dollah just doesn’t stretch.

so, for two artists, in carefully planning how to execute a retirement, there is much to finagle, much to calculate, much to belabor, much to bemoan. and then – like the rogue waves they are – stuff gets in the way. and the aggressive efforts at The Plan get undermined, waylaid, jolted.

we will retire. someday.

frank sinatra croons to me, “fairy tales do come true. it can happen to you. if you’re young at heart…”

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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remotely intuitive. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

we have a basket under the tv on the tv stand. in it are all the associated remote control devices. remote for the tv, remote for the cable, remote for the firestick, remote for the dvd player, remote for the older chromecast, universal remote, remote for the ipod dock and a remote for the standing fan, because it seems to be in good company there.

i remember the days – way way back in my growing up house on long island – when we would be sitting and watching our blackandwhite tv in the den. you had to turn the dial to switch the channels and turn a different dial to raise and lower the volume. pretty straight-forward. a product of older parents, i would watch doris day/rock hudson movies and mash and petticoat junction and gidget together with them, never feeling like we were underserved, never thinking we didn’t have enough choices.

and then there’s now. an infinite number of choices.

and yet, we look at each other and ponder when we should cut the cable and minimize – slightly – the cost of all these choices. we know that wifi will connect us to the firestick thing or the chromecast thing or – should we decide a smarter tv is in order – the roku thing. as it is, there are already too many remotes. i personally have lost track of how to access all of it. i think a smart tv would make tv-viewing-life easier that way. but, when is enough enough?

i remember when i wanted to watch a movie – a dvd – after my son left for college and i was an early-on empty nester. i had no idea how to set up the tv (you know, that bottom left button on the tv remote – nonotthecableremotethetvremote! – that sets things to av or something like that) so i called the boy. he patiently walked me through the process, which i wrote down in an effort to not have to call him again.

yikes. it is not necessarily intuitive. and now, with all the paraphernalia and a non-smart tv that’s rapidly approaching “vintage” (even though it is a flat screen and cost a bazillion dollars back in the day) it’s even less intuitive. middle age has its technological challenges. i don’t feel like anyone warned us.

add to that the fact that it is difficult to find something worthy to watch. we roll our eyes as we roll through the viewing guide. and keep a list of things people have recommended you can find elsewhere without all the accessories or, perhaps, with a few less. there’s really a short list of the things we care to view anyway.

goodness! ikea has the right idea. draw pictures and people will figure it out. simple. intuitive. they’ll get it.

my intuitive reaction is to just turn off the tv.

*****

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SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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our muffler. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

“dirtbag!” i could see it on the guy’s disgusted face in the parking space next to mine at the festival grocery store lot. i tried to wait until he was in his vehicle, but he was futzing around outside his car for too long and i needed to get home with my few groceries, so i started littlebabyscion.

it roared to life. i mean, really roared. susan says it’s pretending to be a ferrari for a few moments in time, but i dunno. it’s a bit more jet-engine-like. “prepare for take-off. we’re number two in line on the runway. cross-check!”

i’ve always wanted to say “cross-check”, mostly because i still haven’t figured out what it really means. i just didn’t anticipate saying it in my car.

anyway, i digress.

i know the guy in the parking lot drew ridiculous conclusions about me – me…63 and generally not this noisy – and my vehicle – littlebabyscion, our faithful and trusted toyota companion for the last 258,000 miles and a vital continued part of our retirement planning so as to avoid a new car payment. in the matter of mere seconds, he thought he knew it all, simply from the din. sigh. go drive your buick, you buickman, you.

littlebabyscion – in the middle of other crisis – decided the stress was just too much and blew a hole in the muffler assembly. this happens every september or october; i’m really not sure why they make mufflers out of stainless steel but all the connectors out of metals that rust out rather quickly. regardless, we can count on visiting the exhaust system shop each early fall.

it quickly became louder, from the whisperings i could hear when we left the medical center to the loud and booming voice it had announcing its arrival – and departure – from, well, everywhere.

it’s humbling to drive a car down the road that is making too much noise. people stare. people roll their eyes. you know people are thinking, “geez. get your dang car fixed.”

and – in big surprising news – people make assumptions.

we have an appointment. i called the shop within a half hour of The Noise starting and drove by for a drive-up check to make sure nothing was dragging (which i hope-against-hope stays the way it is now – a tiny strap is holding things together, much like my composure.) our appointment is next wednesday, so there is a considerable amount of time we will still be driving littlebabyscion…aka the-noise-machine.

it surely is a reminder to not make assumptions. we cannot stand in another’s shoes. we cannot know the details of another’s life. we cannot decide that someone is a “dirtbag” simply because their non-sports-car is making a tad bit of noise. it reminds me to step back and give lots of grace.

and to wear earplugs. ’cause it ain’t gettin’ any quieter.

*****

ps. we all know the saying about the word “assume”. by golly, it’s true!

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com