reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


1 Comment

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


Leave a comment

vintage. [two artists tuesday]

the last time i bought a brand new car – right off the lot – was 2003 or 2004. littlebabyscion was almost brand new – with 250 miles on it and that was in 2006. the new-car-smell and negotiating with salespersons and then, of course, their managers…both memories in the distant past.

littlebabyscion is getting up there. 260somethingthousand miles on it now. wrinkles and groans and a little rust here and there and a few mechanical issues here and there, it’s a workhorse that just refused to start last friday. dashboard lights i don’t think i have seen before appeared right before my eyes. we suspect the alternator.

but – in our one car driveway – there LBS sat…in back of big red, blocking the path out.

the jumpstart hooked up to big red made LBS chortle. starting for a moment and trying to chug the engine alive, it stalled and the handbook and google informed us to “go to the scion dealer” and do not pass go. our truly amazing mechanic steve will be its destination when the tow truck comes.

but – on friday – we were left without any transportation.

saturday we pushed the scion down the driveway toward the apron and managed to thread big red through the space between the old brick wall and the front of LBS. the only way out was across the yard, but the yard – all trenched and mounded up from the water line replacement – has seen better days anyway. we rolled our eyes looking at the tire tracks across the snow in our front yard. david suggested moving the couch out front.

we have some real old stuff. between a 1998 ford f150 and our xb and our vw and our stove and mixing bowls and corningware and this very laptop – not to mention hand-me-downs and never-been-replaceds, we qualify as our own antique shoppe. when seeking a replacement adapter cord, the woman on the apple support line told me that my computer was “vintage” and that they didn’t even carry the cord for it. (she was actually wrong about that part as i directed her attention to the correct cord on the apple store.) see…you can rube goldberg things and keep them going when need be.

and as two artists for the majority of our lives – in between and in conjunction or simultaneously with other positions and career arcs – rube goldberging is of necessity. i’d like to also think of it as having a smaller carbon footprint. admittedly, the efficient energy consumption of a new stove vs the half-life of a decomposing stove in a dump somewhere leaves much room for debate. but we, as artists, don’t always have the luxury of replacing things at whim – or even in a longer term plan – and we try to do our best at being responsible citizens of this beautiful world.

i asked steve once what we were going to do when littlebabyscion reached 300,000 miles. he looked at me, surprised, and said, “keep driving it.”

yes, yes. i suppose we will.

we pushed littlebabyscion back up the driveway so big red could fit.

it may be time to start planning for new grass.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


Leave a comment

thunks and rattles. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

in the days when i had new vehicles, i don’t remember tuning into sounds with as much trepidation. now’days, ambient sounds that are seemingly happening to the vehicle we are in can be really disturbing. we try to explain them away quickly, pushing the thunk or the creak or the whine or the rattle to the back of our consciousness, but to no avail. invariably, we call steve and i try to mimic the sound that littlebabyscion or big red made. i’m sure he looks forward to these calls – from the middle of kansas or south dakota or our driveway, or, if he’s really lucky, acting it out in his shop.

neither of us have worked on cars, but it counts that my dad and my brother did. somehow that gives me an edge and david will look at me thinking i might have an idea as to what is going on. with no divine intervention coming from the heavens where my dad and brother are rolling their eyes, i make it up, hoping to be somewhere near the mark and we keep driving, if at all possible. to be perfectly honest, in more recent years, i have found the mechanics of these older vehicles really interesting to learn about. if only it didn’t spell a repair.

the perils of driving something with 252,000 miles on it are numerous. but, as you can see by the absolute affection we have for our xb, the rewards are also numerous. it astounds me time and again that this little box car has driven this far, equivalent to over 80 times across the united states. and now? now it needs a catalytic converter. a little hiatus for littlebabyscion. but – as steve reminds us – it’s not a monthly car payment. “there’s no winning in that,” he says. and for right now, though many of the friends we have are purchasing new vehicles for their retirements, we agree.

winning is climbing in big red and driving up over the pass. winning is littlebabyscion turning another thousand and another thousand. winning is appreciating good and solid vehicles, nothin’ fancy, but steadfast and with big hearts. mutual love.

besides, standing in the local, family-owned tire store the other day, it was with great pride i answered a young guy who walked in and asked who had the “cool old truck out there”. “that F150?” i said, “that’s ours.”

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SMACK-DAB SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerri sherwood


Leave a comment

only so much summer. [d.r. thursday]

feels like 101. feels like 103. feels like 105. at some point, the details are irrelevant. it’s just damn hot.

david and dogdog and i had about had it. the “cooler near the lake” theory was defunct-for-the-moment and it was hot and humid in and out. our old house doesn’t have central air and the window air conditioners were still in the basement, as both of us love open windows and light and less noise than they put out. and the next day it was all supposed to break. so…one more evening. we tried to be patient. it is summer after all.

we asked dogga if he wanted to go on errands, to which he always gleefully responds. he ran out to the car in the driveway and eagerly got in, looking out the back window to follow our backing-up, which never happened. we sat there. stationary. not moving. he kept looking out the back window. with the air conditioner cranked up to high and on max, we sat there, blowers aimed right at us and into the back, where the dog was wondering about how he ended up with people who called sitting still in the driveway “errands”.

i will admit that we carried out – to our driveway – a glass of wine. so this was the location of the beginning of our happy hour, sans snacks. the snacks were waiting in the sunroom for us, but we just needed this burst of cold air first.

so far, about a week later, post-desperation, the air conditioners are still in the basement. there were a few cooler, drier days. and those nights – perfection – windows-wide-open-fans-on-under-a-blanket nights. yesterday and the day before were humid – curly hair kind of humid. and looking ahead, it seems that it will be up and down. we glance at the accuweather app and look for breaks coming up. there’s one tomorrow. the high will be 73. those a/c units may not be going in any time soon.

instead, our old double-hung windows will be getting a workout. the ceiling fans are running and there is the clicking sound of the ceiling chain tapping against the light fixture. we wake in the night when it’s raining to hear the dripping against the bedroom window from the flat roof above, a signal to close the window. we hear the latest dark-night sounds of crickets and the earliest sounds of the birds as they wake at 4am, sounds we will miss in mid-winter, sounds it seems we should store up, memorize, stock away. we can hear the lake in its response to wind and the train lumbering in the distance. and the exquisite stillness. we can hear the neighborhood go to sleep and the neighborhood wake up.

we know the a/c units will block the heat, will block the humidity. we’re grateful to have them at the ready. we also know that they will block the summer – and in wisconsin, there is only so much summer to have.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

dancing in the front yard


Leave a comment

what is really real? [flawed wednesday]

back in the day, my sister drove a dodge charger. it was a pretty sporty car then, the 1974 model, and, as a driver on long island’s expressways, she was up to the task. she is still much a new york driver, conversation while driving in the car punctuated with relevant muscle-car-language. it was always an adventure being in the car with her. i am eleven years younger so i learned road-talk sitting in her passenger seat.

when the commercial came on for the dodge challenger i had to laugh. they have been pretty similar vehicles through the years. and the commercial made me think of my sister. until i saw the little boy driving it like a road-maniac. right smack dab in the middle of all the fancy muscling around, the commercial pauses and the little boy turns and says, “our lawyers just want you to know that this isn’t real.”

duh. it’s a commercial. is anything real?

the disclaimer at the end of pharmaceutical company ads listing possible side effects – though it is announced that it is not an all-inclusive list – is always bracing…especially the “do not use this drug (fill in the blank) if you are allergic to it or the ingredients in it…” seriously? what is real?

in our litigious country it is remarkable that you don’t have to sign a waiver no matter what you do. so many potential lawsuits, so little time. everything everywhere is closer than it appears in the mirror.

i had to text my sister and ask her what year her charger was. i remember clearly how much she loved that car – i remember it as butter yellow with a white vinyl top. when she texted me back i found out that she had purchased that very car because a playpen fit in the trunk. it was after her daughter was born so playpens and toting baby stuff was real for her. muscling on highways not so much.

my first car was my volkswagen. it was a 1971 super beetle and i adored it. my dog came with me everywhere and sat in the well. i toted my little niece all around, windows down and singing songs on our way to the beach or to feed the ducks or to play in the park. it was not a muscle car, it had zilcho storage capacity and it was not featured in cool cream puff commercials then or now. but it was real and it was a steadfast little bug.

pre-pandemic we loved to explore antique shoppes. we would stumble upon so many relics, so many memories, so many we-had-this moments. often, we would find things we still have, which made us laugh aloud that our possessions – the ones not obvious vintage treasures – were considered antiques. the mixing bowls, the salt and pepper shakers, the corningware, the irish coffee mugs. wandering through the aisles of antique shoppes, i have been known to exclaim, “people shouldn’t be able to purchase new glassware or mugs or plates or china! it should be a requirement to purchase from a secondhand store or an antique shoppe!” i am overwhelmed sometimes by the vast amount of wasted products, the vast amount of new choices, the vast amount of value people place in the stuff they have. what is really necessary? what is really real?

as the proud owners of stoneware i bought for 25¢ a piece at a wholesale show, passed-down corningware, a stove/oven circa 1980, a scion xb with 247,000 miles, an old 1998 ford f150 pickup truck and, yes, a 1971 vw bug, we are not the audience for the new dodge challenger commercial we saw.

because the little kid was right. it’s not real.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


Leave a comment

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

not our best morning minturn website box


Leave a comment

little-baby-scion sisu. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

scion sisu

for starters, i was raised by beaky and pa.  my sweet momma and poppo grew up in the time of the depression, born in 1921 and 1920, respectively.  so my propensity to turn the shampoo bottle upside down and squeeze the last ever-lovin’ drop out of it – till there are no more molecules left in the bottle – is something i come by honestly.  my momma may not have been the inventor of the soap sock or the wait-and-save-this-new-thing-for-something-special but she had it all down pat.

and so, it seems to run true that i do not easily replace stuff with brand-spanking-new stuff.  our stove/oven is over 40 years old; it still works and why fill up the landfill with yet another stove/oven?  i know that a new stove/oven would probably grace our little kitchen with more flare, but then the whole kitchen would have to be re-done around the new appliance.

among other clothing items i can carbon-date, i have, in my closet and drawers, clothing that was my girl’s or my boy’s – sport sweats or t-shirts, jeans or even shorts – not only do those connect me to memories with them, but, sheesh, why not?  i have shoes from waaaaay back, not hoarding…really.  the last time i bought a pair of shoes – other than my infamous old navy flipflops –  was a few years ago, the black suede boots with fringe were on clearance and i couldn’t resist.  i have worn the heck out of them.

and that brings me to little-baby-scion.  a 2006 model, this little toastermobile is scrappy.  equipped with few amenities, there is far less equipment to break on this little vehicle. (i turn to knock on wood as i write this.)  this scion has been a rock – taking me/us cross-country to see my sweet momma when she was struggling, to see our girl in the high mountains, our boy on the east coast.  it drove babycat home from florida, dogdog home from the other side of wisconsin and was our luxury vehicle of choice on our honeymoon.  it kept me safe driving cartons of cds to concerts and wholesale shows.  it has withstood ferry rides to and from the island.  through rain, sleet, snow and ice it has prevailed.  every time we get in, especially on a long-drive-day, we root, “you go, little baby scion!”

and so the other day i asked d to take a picture as it landed on this mileage.  no real reason, just gratitude for something that has been lasting and lasting.  i have no real drive (no pun intended) to have a new lavish car nor is it necessarily in the budget at the moment to replace something that doesn’t need replacing. little-baby-scion rocks and packs like a u-haul.  and is now joined by big red, our 1998 ford F150 pick-up.  we celebrate both of them, inanimate, yes, i know.  but still…

today i just want to say – way to go, toyota!  way to make a vehicle that is dependable and trustworthy.  it’s a sturdy little car, full of sisu.

and, the best part, around some design table at some point in the early 2000’s, i can picture some 20-something saying, “hey!  let’s put blue lights under the dashboard.  we can do away with map lights and light people’s feet.”  yes!  the real merits of our sweet scion.

keep goin’, little-baby-scion!

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

reflectioninxb website box

 


Leave a comment

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

big red & little baby scion website box copy


Leave a comment

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.

drc website header copy 2

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

juiceglassesonHH website box

 


Leave a comment

ice pops. [two artists tuesday]

ice pops copy.PNG

i know it comes as no surprise to you that we watch the national geographic show ‘life below zero’.  we’ve talked about it before and have even quoted snippets of wisdom from some of the show’s regulars.

in the next day or so it will drop to a “feels like” temperature of -52.  that’s negative fifty-two.  the “actual” temperatures won’t even reach the single digit negative numbers.  now, that’s cold!  and yet, each time the temperature is posted on the screen when we watch ‘life below zero’ it is usually some negative number (which doesn’t include the wind chill.)  then, whichever arctic resident they are following will proceed to go miles to hunt or gather or fish, walking or driving snow machines in bitter winds, dragging behind them sleds upon which they will place their findings.  i think we watch it because it is so far from our own lives.  we love the vistas and can’t really imagine the life.

the whole town was closed today; the school system, the colleges, the city offices.  and we haven’t even gotten to the life-below-zero temperatures yet.  at lunchtime we took a walk and the snow was amazing.  it was quiet and the lakefront was full of ice.  our sedum plants looked like the lemonade ice pops i used to make The Girl and The Boy with the tupperware do-it-yourself-ice-pop-set i’m saving for the possibility of grandchildren.  the snow is everywhere; there are enormous baby-sled piles on the sides of the roads.  icicles abound.  it’s beautiful.  it’s a vision of real old-fashioned winter, a calendar entry on one of those the-year-in-wisconsin calendars, postcard images of this time of hibernation.

and so, in deference to the scope of mother nature’s ability to stop us in our tracks, we plan to limit our outdoor exposure the next few days.  we look outside at all the snow that has already fallen and, expecting more, make sure we have enough basics in the fridge and the cupboards to last, in case we can’t get out.  our little scion rocks, but unplowed roads and extreme cold are not necessarily its gig.

maybe we’ll take a little time and watch some more ‘life below zero’.  by sheer comparison, we’ll realize how easy we have it.  oh! and hey, maybe we’ll make some ice pops.  or not.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

-52 website box