reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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we can sit together. [two artists tuesday]

and in the hours of late evening we discovered it. a song that spoke to us in every way.

it wasn’t intentional. we were intentionally watching an everest youtube, the highest of mountains, vicarious adventure.

but there was this song. we stopped the video and moved the cursor backward, to hear the song again.

you and me.

we’re meant to be.

in the great outdoors.

forever free.”

it’s been nine years since we met face to face now. nine years since baggage claim at o’hare. nine years. it doesn’t sound like an eternity; it just feels like an eternity. and yet, not long enough.

because the moments i glance across the room and catch his gaze – well, it still takes my breath away. he drives me crazier than probably anybody else on earth, but he can make me well up in the turn of a second.

and the times we are inside, sitting and writing together, cooking in our old kitchen, happy-houring at the table in the sunroom, loving on our dogdog, mutually missing our babycat, planning trips…those times…are times that create a little bit of wonder.

and the times we are outside, on a mountain, on a trail, on the sidewalk in the ‘hood, by the side of the lake in the shadow of an aspen stand, in the new black adirondack chairs…those times…are times that create more than a little bit of wonder.

the wonder of finding, the wonder of reaching, the wonder of meeting, the wonder of walking this walk together.

we feel lucky.

eldar kedem got it right.

“we can sit together.

it’s so beautiful.”

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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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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temporary. [two artists tuesday]

we have a ridiculously high level of dedication to this. despite the fact that no one is requiring it, no one is requesting it, no one is paying for it. every weekday, for one week shy of four years, we have written a post. i guess it’s part of the autograph we leave on the world, whether or not anyone reads it.

they poured the last bit of temporary sidewalk this week. it’s there till spring when it will be replaced by something permanent. i stood at the front door and chatted with the guys, who told me we should sign our names in it…after all, it is temporary cement. i did have this fleeting thought that, even if it were permanent cement, it is still temporary, but i didn’t think they wanted to have an existential conversation so i said nothing.

i went upstairs to get d from work. “we have to sign our names in the sidewalk. the guys told me to,” i pulled him away from his desk. he grabbed a yellow craftsman screwdriver from the kitchen drawer – where we keep one to tighten the door handle and that thingy on the door jamb that the lock slides into…what is that thingy called…oh yeah, strike plate….that.

it wasn’t too cold out – which is why they poured – so we went outside, stared at the open, undisturbed, perfectly raked canvas of wet cement and … drew a blank. the possibilities were endless. a peace sign? a heart? flowers? a mountain sunrise? paralyzed with uncertainty and too many choices, we decided on our names, which presented its own set of problems.

for we never really call each other our names. of course we will reFER to each other as kerri and david to others, but saying the name david TO david feels funny coming out of my mouth. and hearing david say kerri to me is just weird.

because a long time ago now we found out that we had the same middle name. in the very early stages of our relationship – when all we did was write emails and then texts – before we had met in person and before we had much voice-to-voice conversation, we discovered that, in the oddest of odds, our middle names are – for all intents and purposes – the same.

erle.

and

earl.

mine is the feminine version (that’s what my sweet momma would try to have you believe. having been named after my dad erling, she tried to convince me that e-r-l-e was soft and girlie. mm-hmm.) david’s was “the sound that bears make” – according to him; he was named after his grandpa.

regardless of the obvious chatter this will create as you try to discern if it is indeed soft and girlie or more of a gutteral utterance of a grizzly bear, it was decidedly a unique moment to find out we had somewhat rare names as our middle name.

and so, i started to call him david earl. (and similarly kerri erle.) soon, the formality dropped to d.earl – which is pronounced d-dot-earl. and this was shortened to d.dot – which is pronounced d-dot and does not include the obvious redundancy (d-dot-dot), because, heaven knows, we would not want to be redundant.

most of the time now, i just call him “d”.

so…standing there…in front of cement just pining to be written in…we had a decision to make. what.to.write.

and there you have it. the absolutely unnecessary story that you can’t believe you just read to the end. k.dot and d.dot in the cement sidewalk. temporarily.

the next morning – the morning after the installation – i stepped out to look at our handiwork. the sidewalk had cracked in the bitter overnight cold.

but they’ll be back, like they said. in the warmer spring or early summer days. and they’ll pour the next.

there’s a good chance we will write in that permanent sidewalk as well. our autographs.

those, too, will be temporary.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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wishes and dreams. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it’s completely mind-boggling how you can be totally exhausted at the end of the day and, yet, be totally awake as soon as laying your head on the pillow. what IS that?

as this year ends, i read an article that impresses upon you to choose a resolution you are capable of keeping. i suppose that’s a good idea … i mean, why set yourself up for failure when you can set yourself up for success?

my new year’s resolution, thus, will be this: i wish to sleep and i wish to dream. and i hope to succeed at it.

history shows this would not be a good resolution. but i am determined. after leaving everything of concern back in the waterfall, i am hoping for my peaceful slumber.

so’s david.

sweet dreams, y’all.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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the best part of waking up… [merely-a-thought monday]

the conversation started just over nine years ago. emails back and forth and then texts. going back, reading, it is stunning to see how many times coffee entered the stage of our new relationship then, as if it were anxiously waiting in the wings or in the green room, one of the stars of that friendship that grew into love. we would send photos of mugs or cups full of coffee across the country, finding each other in our respective days, the places we were sipping, where we were headed. coffee became a locator. and still now, it was one of the joys of those early days, months and months and months of writing and wondering what it might be like to have a coffee together.

the tiny house had a coffee station. nothing run-of-the-mill and industrial, instead it was a sweet spot along a bit of wall bespeckled with signs about coffee. certainly this was an airbnb owned by someone who appreciates the finer points of first-thing-in-the-morning brew.

i think coffee is one of those things you either love or totally dislike. it’s not really a take-it-or-leave-it kind of beverage. my sweet momma and poppo could sit over coffee for hours. it wasn’t the cup of java that lasted that long; it was the coffee-sitting. it was conversation and quiet, it was waking up and catching up. it was at breakfast, at coffee-break time, maybe a cup after a celebratory dinner. i learned the goodness of coffee-sitting from them and miss those times around their table. coffee makes me think of them.

i know that, although my dad never met david, he is rooting every day for him. i’m sure he watches each evening as david sets up the coffee for the morning, his own practice back in the day. i’m sure he approves heartily when d pours mugs early in the morning, adding no sugar or creamer or milk or sweetener; he was a black-coffee drinker too. i’m sure he smiles and nods when d walks steaming mugs in to me, still with my head in the pillows. he is likely whistling, “the best part of waking up is [coffee] in your cup.” it took a long while for me to convince him that there was coffee that wasn’t folgers. we are big bold coffee fans. but when there was a ball jar sitting on the counter in our tiny house with the words “fresh folgers” on a lid it was me smiling, positive of the presence of my mom and dad.

it is the wee hours of the night as we write today’s post. i couldn’t sleep, so we decided to sit up and compose our blogs. david said, “should i put the coffee on?”. i emphatically replied “no!” as i have every intention of trying to sleep again once we have written and my insomnia turns to sleepiness.

besides, i so look forward to a bit of mountain-town light streaming in the windows in a few hours and hearing david’s voice as he offers me a mug, a cuppajava, as i pick my head up from the cozy pillows. and just like my dad, i can hear it: “the best part of waking up is [coffee] in my cup.”

*****

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


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balance.balance.balance. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

so the end of the day is not a good time for me to have a profoundly meaningful planning-goals-and-plotting conversation.

i have found that it has been necessary for me to learn sensitive ways to say a resounding “no!”. not wanting to totally shut him-who-shall-remain-nameless down, still wanting to honor (at a later date and time to be announced) his desire for discussion, and understanding the need for review and reflection and visioning and all that stuff, i try valiantly to gently re-direct, delicately postpone, waggle carrots of tangent.

it’s all about balancing – relationship – isn’t it? i’m feelin’ quiet and he’s about to launch into profundity. he’s feelin’ silently meditative and i’m chattering boisterously with the accent on verbose.

somehow we all figure it out.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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yep. keep playing. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

i have spent hours of my life playing hopscotch. susan and i would chalk up a board and find a couple bobby pins and spend sunny days outside hopping and laughing. i still can’t resist a hopscotch. david, however, can.

but there are some delicious circumstances in which you find yourself in the driver’s seat. those moments when all things align and, for the other party, there is no recourse. this little story is one of them. giggle, giggle, laugh, laugh, snort, wink, wink….

hop away, my dear, hop away. 😏

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

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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“wait! what??” [saturday morning smack-dab.]

it’s not a not-listening thing. it’s not even a not-paying-attention thing. it’s just that sometimes we are simply on two different planes thinking about two different things – entirely. we can have whole conversations during which we both think we are communicating and, yet, we are talking about different stuff. i have learned to preamble my questions or statements with a little background, kind of painting the picture, so to speak – no pun intended – so that we might stand a better chance of being on the same page subject-wise.

we rarely disagree. when we do it is with gusto. but there are those really strange moments we gusto ourselves out and suddenly realize that we were talking about the same thing, the same opinion, in agreement. all that bluster for nothing.

and then there’s always the bemused reality check “wait! what are we talking about again?”

read DAVID’s thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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frankie’s wisdom. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

there was an emphasis on beauty long before mass media made natural aging formidable. women and men, but especially women, went to lengths to be beautiful, taking great pains to conform to whatever was the current measure of beauty.

but in the past century – later 1900s through now – there has been a shift to devaluing the aging process, to undercutting the beauty of what aged looks like. the look of youth is prized disproportionately and has made middle age look inadequate. we are under siege and it is increasingly impossible to measure up to those decades younger.

there is no good reason any woman of any age should be feeling that beautiful is not unconditionally hers, is not inherently attainable. there is no good reason any young woman, glowing with new maturity, should be feeling beauty-challenged. there is no good reason any woman on the menopause roller coaster should be feeling that beautiful is bygone. there was no good reason my sweet momma, at 93, should look in the mirror and sorrowfully cry, “i look like an old woman!”. on the contrary.

the confidence, just like the wrinkles, has been earned over a lifetime of living, over struggling to be healthy, to be engaged, to learn, to be active. there is no measure for the wisdom gleaned and the story each of those wrinkles might tell, the love and struggle and perseverance each grey hair might represent, the days in the sun playing with children and grandchildren reflected in crepey skin and the lines next to her eyes from laughter with her friends.

just like hallmark aggressively pushing made-up holidays or the internet naming days as “national – whatever – day” compelling us to be involved, mass media on all levels, in all arenas, has foisted “youthful appearance” upon us as the measure of value, of validation, of relevance.

the cultural preoccupation fighting the intrinsic processes of aging is surely a mark of ignorance, of superficiality, of contrived campaigns for products and images from which we should gracefully walk away. transformative surgeries and injectibles and laser work are on a stunning rise. for what?

surely in this society we are not as inept as it seems at helping others, particularly women, to develop self-esteem, positive body image, confidence.

surely our preoccupation should be on frank lloyd wright’s words, “the older i get, the more beautiful life becomes.”

my daughter – naturally amazing and naturally beautiful and naturally talented was not even twenty when she chose those words – in french – as her first tattoo. ink as a reminder. words of wisdom.

*****

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

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com


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what’s for dinner? [saturday morning smack-dab.]

anticipation (noun): the action of anticipating something; expectation.

they say anticipation is everything. planning and devising and strategizing and dreaming – so much before actually executing. it all looks so good in your mind’s eye. getting there can be a let down, anti-climatic.

often we go out to hike at the end of the day. sometimes this is merely a walk around the ‘hood, along the lakefront. sometimes we drive to a trailhead and walk in the woods. it just depends on how much time we have before the mosquitoes.

there is one common denominator, however. we always end up talking about food. the conversation falls on dinner plans and seems to hang there, treading water in an eddy of food-possibilities as we get hungrier and hungrier.

on the trail and on the sidewalk we often have grandiose designs for dinner, thinking of some of the new recipes we would like to try or zeroing in on favorites that take time and are particular.

and then reality hits.

it’s like when you go grocery shopping and have a huge basket of groceries. you wander the store with your vast list, fuss over produce, price compare, fill the cart, stand in line, check out, load the bags in the car, drive them home, unload them and put them away. and then – the fridge and the pantry replenished – you no longer want to cook. you have had your fill.

the same happens walking. after talking so much about choosing a recipe, listing the ingredients, talking about how lovely it will be to prepare this dinner, we have exhausted ourselves. no longer is it possible to go all out and cross the fine dining line.

we give in. it’s time for charcuterie and a glass of wine. or take-out.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2021 kerrianddavid.com