reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


Leave a comment

the kitchen counters. [k.s. friday]

there used to be a lot of stuff on the counters. a breadbox, coffeemaker, fruit basket, basket with random mail and school dittos, microwave, paper towels, cookie jar…it makes me shudder now. the counters – back then – were yellow formica – bright yellow circa 1960 or earlier. i suppose the stuff on the counter helped disguise the counters a bit, but the backsplash was the same bright formica and there was plenty of that as well. i tried to think of it as cheery – every kitchen needs to be cheery. but…

the people who owned the house before us – back in the 80s and prior – had applied woodgrain contact paper to the counters and to all the shelves in the pantry and to the inside of the drawers, really anywhere it would stick. when we bought the house they asked us if we wanted a lesson on re-applying contact paper. i was horrified at the thought, and we politely said no. after we moved in i peeled all the contact paper off the counters and backsplash and elbow-grease-scrubbed off the sticky residue. yikes. what a mess. it was bright and it wasn’t without dings, but the kitchen went from peach cabinets and woodgrain to white cabinets and yellow. it seemed freshened, even with the yellow. it was supposed to be temporary.

there were other oddities – there was a door from our kitchen to the sunroom which they had kept on its hinges, blocking space that we filled in with an antique kitchen table that my dad refinished. we still eat around that table now. i suppose anyone touring our home who might consider it as theirs would utter “gut job” entering our kitchen but that’s for some future time. though we will make some updates to it, we love it the way it is. even temporarily.

at some point – a few years back – we decided to see what was under the formica. climbing into the cabinets i looked up and saw really lovely panels of good wood. we assumed that was the counter prior to the yellowness. it wasn’t so, as the first peel revealed. plywood was the countertop material and i literally starting panicking, running to the computer to google how to fix this dreadful mess. a sander, sandpaper, chalkboard paint and food-safe wax was the prescription and it achieved a kind of black soapstone look. black and white. it was supposed to be temporary.

we have pared down what’s on the counter. just the coffeemaker, the microwave and a wooden bowl of fruit – oh, and the roll of paper towels on a wrought iron stand. less busy, it makes it all feel less frenetic, tidier. it feels more orderly and that makes it feel more serene.

the florida national cemetery is the epitome of orderly. it is pristine and it invites you – without words – to wander. it would be easy to spend hours of time just walking among the big oaks and the lines of headstones, to weave in and out of the columbaria. its orderliness lends peacefulness and reassurance, its vastness a reminder of the temporal nature of this life – transitory, fleeting.

we arrived back home after a few days in florida with family, after interring my sweet momma’s ashes, after spending time with the adorable non-stop two-year-old and sat at our kitchen table with 20 who had soup and bread and glasses of wine waiting for us when we got there.

i love traveling and exploring and – simultaneously – always have a little homesickness when we are away, so i gazed around at our old kitchen and all its supposed-to-be-temporary fixings. my heart was full and i could feel all the time spent in there – my dad proudly placing the refinished table, my mom waxing poetic about the happy-yellow, my children in high chairs and suddenly on college breaks and suddenly adults. my kitchen counters and their timeline of transition, their sweet legacy.

one of these days we will update. but, in the meanwhile, i know it’s all temporary anyway.

*****

LEGACY ©️1995 kerri sherwood

download music from my little corner of iTUNES

stream on PANDORA

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


3 Comments

divots and heart. [k.s. friday]

we checked our bags. southwest airlines lets you check two and, as long as you trust that they will actually get them to the same destination to which you are traveling at the same time that you are traveling there, it’s a relief for the prior-to-travel packing frenzy.

there were many golf bags going ’round the baggage claim conveyor. none of them were ours.

i have golf clubs. in the basement. or maybe in the garage. no, i think the basement. i am not much of a golfer, though i have golfed. let’s just say that i am not gifted at the swing…or the stance…or the putt. really, none of it, save driving the golf cart.

i think golf would be more fun without the scorecards and the tiny pencils. so much pressure. everyone – despite their ability level – chasing after this one little ball, getting all crabby-like and self-deprecating…all under so much pressure.

one time i got a 91. people seem relatively impressed with this score. they comment, “wow! that’s pretty good for a total novice! (they can’t think of a word that is lower on the golf-ladder than novice.) really, that’s good! a 91 on 18 holes!”

i take my time replying.

“it was 9.”

“9 holes.”

their look tells all – they are trying not to burst into laughter or look astounded and are likely internally blaming me for all the divots on the course – every last one of them. because i have swung the club a zillion more times than any of them, in every part of the course. at least twice as many times as they have. and i am exhausted just thinking about how tired my arms – and really, every part of my body – have been after a “fun” round of golf. yes, indeedy.

i do think that d and i should go play golf together. we would likely laugh our way through the course, so we need to go when no one is behind us, grousing about how long we are taking or commenting on our pathetic swings. if no one was around we could replace our divots without judgement or sneers from the sideline. a smirkless round of golf could actually be fun. pressureless. pencil-less. one of these days. first i need a few golf lessons from sisu sue. she would be the best teacher.

we walked on the bike trail a few times recently. once, it was just after a few snowflakes fell. the tiny divot in the asphalt caught the flakes just so we would notice the heart as we hiked by. prior to that – though i put my heart into every one of those swings and they all just didn’t notice – the word “divot” made me cringe a little, thinking of my personal golf je ne sais quoi.

but now…i’m honoring the chop.

*****

the entire album: RELEASED FROM THE HEART
©️1995 kerri sherwood

download on my little corner of iTUNES

stream on PANDORA

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


1 Comment

the pink backpack. [k.s. friday]

“it’s projection,” he wrote. yes. bill penzey is right. it is projection. we project love onto objects and we “really see these objects as love.” he continues, talking about his desire – were there to be a fire in his house – to grab the six-quart stainless kettle he has popped corn in for every movie night he has had with his wife, and his love of the heavy-duty spatula his father gave him, adding, “and in a world where nobody gets too much love anymore, i want to do all i can to hold onto that love.” he is clearly thready. i’ve never met him, but he is on my list – people with whom i’d love to have dinner.

we have a pink backpack. it’s packed from back in the days our town was on fire, days i can feel and hear and smell and taste – viscerally – but would rather not. we’ve kept it packed, realizing that it’s wise to have one thing to grab and one place to go to find that one thing. it has important stuff in it…papers and such. it doesn’t have the tiny cheese knife we use every day, the one that was my sweet momma’s. it doesn’t have the wedding ring my dad wore or the matching flannel shirt of a pair. it doesn’t have the toddler drawings of my children or the small bowl turned trinket-holder that babycat ate from. it doesn’t have zillions of photographs. it doesn’t have masters of all my albums or a collection of jpgs or pngs or printed photos of all of david’s paintings. it doesn’t have the rock i picked up hiking with my daughter or the cork i saved from the first fancy dinner my son made for me. it can’t hold my piano or the vintage typewriter 20 gave me or the bowls we love from ken and loida or the snuggly scarf jen gave me or the old torchiere lamp from my growing-up. it doesn’t have room for the old quilt or our favorite mountain mugs or our ukuleles or my guitars or our dvd favorite-movies-collection or the cardinal towels from my sister or the ‘i-found-you-you-found-me” painting of early k.dot-d.dot days.

the one thing about antique stores is that they give you perspective. lots of it. so many items in the world. so much stuff. you ponder why someone might have held onto a plastic flower arrangement in a plastic flower pot long enough that it became part of an estate that passed into an antique shoppe or how it is possible that there are so so so many 45 rpm records out there, collections of so many long-playing albums, and, someday, so many cds. even mine.

and then you know. it hits you like a spatula upside the head.

though none of that will fit in the pink backpack, were there to be any sort of emergency – and all we could grab is the backpack – we would not lose it all.

it’s love. all love.

*****

IT’S A LONG STORY ©️1997, 2000 kerri sherwood

download music from my little corner of iTUNES

stream on PANDORA

read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


1 Comment

the turtles. [k.s. friday]

i think about the turtles. they are there in the warmer months, sunning on logs and rocks that jut out of the river. but, when it dips below fifty degrees or so – and stays there – they disappear. apparently, they dive down to the muddy bottom, their metabolism slows down, they require less oxygen. their mucky homes keep them safe as they bide time, these wise, long-lived creatures of the water and the land.

from time to time on the trail we look for them. we know where they hang out and have watched for telltale signs of small snouts poking out of the water. but then it got cold and we just missed them.

the river is alive with other wildlife. geese and a few hardy ducks, squirrels, deer – we see them as we hike.

but we always talk about the turtles anyway. just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean we forget about them. we know they are there – somewhere – in hidden spots, places they feel sheltered and secure. i think about what they might be doing. they are silent and the fallow is long. i trust they are sorting what is next, kind of like us.

he can tell you i worry about them, despite the fact that i know they are completely capable, totally self-sufficient, quite brilliant actually. nevertheless, i am more comforted by seeing the turtles every now and then – at least – than by wondering how they are faring. time keeps moving, though, and i keep hope that when it warms up and the turtles have a more secure sense of themselves in the world they will reappear, out of the suspension of presence. i’m hoping for an early spring.

i know that the turtles are aware i am watching for them and waiting. and the river freezes. and then it thaws.

*****

LAST I SAW YOU ©️ 1997, 2000 kerri sherwood

download music from my little corner of iTUNES

stream on PANDORA

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


1 Comment

in wonder. [k.s. friday]

right now it is a mystery.

accuweather predicts a blizzard. and we wonder if it is truly imminent. on days of heavy holiday travel, there may be fierce winds, whirling snow, no visibility, bitterly cold temperatures well below zero. such extremes, circumstances that might dictate the comings and goings of loved ones trying to be together to celebrate.

we’ll keep watching the weather and the warnings. we’re hoping it’s wrong, that it’s exaggerated, that it’s cautionary but not totally necessary. that we will get to this day without the extremes.

it is days before the day before the eve of the day. and though i respect that app on my phone i continue to plan as if it will be days of celebration and joy and not snowplows and shovels and heet and de-icer.

there is still much to do. there are packages to ship, a few to wrap, a couple to deliver. there are trips to the grocery store and maybe a tiny bit of shopping. there is de-dogga-furring by vacuum and a little dusting and much tidying up.

and all the while sitting in the wonder of the season. people celebrating love and generosity, time spent gathered, kindnesses and the reminder of ancient stories carried into this time, open hearts, hope and light.

*****

I WONDER AS I WANDER

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


1 Comment

12 for $1.00 [two artists tuesday]

they were 12 for $1.00.

but have no illusions. you cannot purchase them in december. at no time – when i have gone searching the stores in december – have i been able to find them. for they are already all gone, scooped up by zealous ornament-gatherers, present-wrapping-embellishers, holiday-magic-creators.

so if you want them – these delicate snowflakes that sort of resemble the ones people used to make of string and flour or glue and glitter – you need to plan ahead. you must be ahead of the curve, at the front line of festivity-planning, your dollar bills in your hand as you troll the stores, scooping.

i purchased numerous packs of these one year. it was a time of transition for me. i had realized that i, actually, didn’t really like tons of bright red and green together and that christmas was fraught with all kinds of stress for so many people, including me, and i just wanted to simplify a little bit.

it started years ago when i decided not to ornament-decorate the tree. we kept it a little more natural with just white lights and it felt serene when – late at night – we’d turn off the light fixtures in the living room and just sit, keeping vigil with the tree. we are still trying to keep tranquility at the center. i’ve added tiny pine trees – sans anything. we’ve added branches and white lights. and we’ve added snowflakes and silver balls.

one of these days i would like to have a big retro tree. i’ll add all the ornaments of history to it – a tree full of salt dough stars and bells and paper mache snowmen, treasured gifts from family and friends, former students and choir members, memories to spark stories for hours. though i haven’t hung it in years, i can see the rogers christmas house ice skating ornament clearly in my mind’s eye. and small pine, a reminder of the sweet story my children and i loved.

and one of these days i would like to have another big retro tree. it will be decorated with old delicate mercury glass ornaments of my sweet momma’s and poppo’s. i remember these, as i take them out of the box, like it was yesterday. i remember decorating the tree on abby drive and my dad painstakingly adding tinsel, one strand at a time, christmas carols playing in the background. i was a child and lots of it was magical, but even then i could feel the holiday stress, expectations, frenetic energy.

the last time both of my own beloved children were home together for christmas was 2014. they have been living far and wide on mountaintops and in big cities and, with limited time off, haven’t been able to make it. we’ve celebrated on the phone, on facetime, on zoom, and we watch them open presents from our couch. a couple times we had real-life moments in chicago with our son and last year we sat with him on a restaurant patio, clustered under gas heaters in 17 degrees in january, having dinner and watching him open gifts in a time of pandemic. it is with great anticipation we wait for his arrival later this week, an opportunity to hug on him and his boyfriend.

sometimes i wonder if my children would both be more likely to be home here together if their dad and i were still married. i know that holiday magic might be far less magical in a less-than-perfectly-perfect household. the thought brings sadness to my core. i struggle, just like so many, some who are living “traditional” lives, some in unconventional lives, some in times of challenge and some with everything they ever needed. nevertheless, i – like moms everywhere – want the magic to continue, want the dreamy holiday and the warm cocoon of love and celebration. i want to create the quintessential stuff of snowflakes and big family dinners and gingerbread and sugar plums. and i – like moms everywhere – know that i can only do the best i can.

the stats on a blogsite show the individual blogs that have been read. this morning – the day i am writing this for today – there was a post from 2018. i talked about roots and wings and children and yearning. i quoted my daughter stating that i was “high maintenance” and laughed it off back then, comparing myself in my mind to other moms through the years whose behavior i have witnessed as indeed much higher maintenance. for, though the words of desiderata ring true for all of us “do not compare yourself with others, for you will become vain and bitter….for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself” we still do it. we still compare and measure and wish and feel ourselves come up lacking. i also wrote in that post that if wanting more time with one’s children was high maintenance, then i supposed that the adjective fit. que sera sera.

joyce maynard used to write a column – called domestic affairs. she shared a 1985 column on sunday, writing about the attempt to make christmas perfect and the bitter reality of its imperfection and its crazy-making. it is a roller coaster of emotion – this holiday season. and there are times that i sit and wonder, trying to magicalize it for my family, for my children, now adults, who i love with all my heart. i have wanted to help the universe dazzle for their holiday, to make each christmas perfect. yet i know that they won’t be. perfect, that is.

i look around me, around our life. sometimes i think that the raucous sounds of holiday music and cookie-baking and a turkey in the oven and wrap all over the floor are the only things that would make it ideal. and sometimes i know – deep in my heart – that all i want, really, is to love and be loved, to share a little time and know that my presence makes a tiny difference – in the unique way of a snowflake – in the lives of all those i adore.

12 for $1.00 isn’t really all that much. simple.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


1 Comment

in this season. [k.s. friday]

we are firmly entrenched now.

yes. entrenched in the land of hallmark christmas movies. ’tis the season.

two years ago we actually purchased one – our favorite hallmark christmas movie – a season for miracles. and, though we know it by heart – much like my big fat greek wedding or love actually or about time – we watch it over and over, never tiring of its sweet story.

weeks ago, we walked through downtown to mail our voting ballots. having proximity to town and the waterfront – all within walking distance – seems to be one of our leanings for all potential future places to live. the other is to be far away from everything hectic. it’s a toss-up. that late fall day with golden leaves, we walked along the lakefront and then cut in west – past the historic library and library park.

i must never have looked up there, because it took me by surprise.

an angel statue.

there’s history to this statue, but that wasn’t what it brought up for me. instead, it was a reminder of this ultra-sweet hallmark movie, with a very similar angel statue at the center of the fictitious town of bethlehem and a person who looks strikingly like this angel – an angel who is cast as multiple characters in the movie. it’s a heartwarming story.

we spent the rest of the walk, wondering about never noticing this angel statue before and talking about the generosities and grace in the movie we love. it cast a magical quality to our walk that day. we were surrounded by what-felt-like a gentle cloak of hopefulness, of light.

we’ve held off so far. but soon. soon we will pull out this movie and the fleece sherpa blanket on the couch. and we will sit and watch – once again – knowing exactly what is going to happen and still getting teary-eyed. both of us.

it will remind us of those around us without whose goodness we might be lost.

indeed, we are surrounded by these angels.

in this season and always.

*****

download music on my little corner of iTUNES

stream on PANDORA

read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


1 Comment

off the trail we know. [k.s. friday]

each time the trail curves, i can imagine it. next.

but as weeks go, this one has been harder. we tried our best to be positive, to believe that the new bend in our road is not so fraught. but, the fact of the matter is that it is. fraught.

we are pretty tough. kind of scrappy. definitely frugal. well, most of the time. we have both been presented with lean times in our lives. even our life together has had its lean times. we always eat leftovers. we always repurpose things. we always turn the shampoo bottle upside down. we always keep the heat low. we haven’t bought a vehicle in sixteen years. in some unknown intuitive move for which we are now grateful, we put off the big chimney-fireplace project, necessary but ridiculously expensive. we haven’t flown in three years. we find sanctuary in a forest we know well. we know where the trail curves.

and each time the trail curves, i can imagine it.

as the sun glimmers on what-looks-like the other end, i think – this is just one day, one week, one time in our lives. tomorrow will dawn and it might be a completely different day, starting a completely different week, a completely different time in our lives. and we just don’t know. again.

we are now in a woods we do not recognize, on a path we can not anticipate. off the trail we know. anxiety hikes with us, as do worry, sadness and disappointment. we worked hard on our plan, but the best laid plans are laid down. and this week, as weeks go, this one has been harder.

the sun quivers through the trees in front of us, setting. we keep walking.

day is done, 
gone the sun, 
from the lake, 
from the hills, 
from the sky; 
all is well, 
safely rest, 
god is nigh.  

fading light 
dims the sight, 
and a star 
gems the sky, 
gleaming bright. 
from afar, 
drawing nigh, 
falls the night.

(taps - d. butterfield/unknown)

*****

IN TRANSITION ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

download music from my little corner on iTUNES

stream on PANDORA

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


1 Comment

thongophone. in the park. [k.s. friday]

flipflops and pvc. a marriage!

a merger between old navy and, say, dupont could bring play to the whole wide world. stands of thongophones could be simply everywhere. i can see it…people gathering, favorite flipflops in hand, making music.

it was hard to resist the pull of this two-octaved structure. flipflops – the paddles provided – were chained to the wooden stand, laying on the ground, waiting. it was just a delicious invitation – “try me, try me,” it called. and then, channeling the group chicago, “thongophone, in the park…”.

pretty crazy, it had good pitch for polyvinyl chloride, not necessarily known for its musical talent. and the flipflops? well, everyone knows how i feel about flipflops. they are the symphony of summer, so definitely a good choice.

i, generally, don’t walk up to faux musical structures like this. i usually stand back and watch others discover and play, reveling in their adventuring and exploring sound.

but this time was different.

i played first on the lower octave side. for some reason, the first piece i played was the first piece on my first album, galena. the first day i played galena was also in one of those situations i don’t usually take part in…instead, sitting back and watching others and supporting their fun.

that time was different too.

that time – encouraged (read: pushed) by three girlfriends, playing at the piano in the restaurant in galena, illinois – set me on a road i didn’t know was coming. less than a year and a half later, i released my first album. now, fifteen albums and a variety of singles and blahblah later, i look back.

and i look forward. i’m not sure what’s there. but this past week i stood at my piano and played and sang three songs for d and one of his dear friends. it’s been a long time. i apologized for the dust in the studio. i apologized that it was a little messy in there. d said rob cried. despite the dust and remnants of previous work piled around.

by sheer coincidence, today is the anniversary of that first album – 27 years ago. lots of flipflops ago.

today is a good day for a dustcloth, some garbage bags and a storage bin or two.

it’s not a thongophone in the park. it’s my piano.

*****

GALENA ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

download music on my little corner of iTUNES

stream on PANDORA

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


1 Comment

it’s in our vote. [k.s. friday]

the midterms are rapidly approaching. the rhetoric is amping up. the tv ads, the phone calls, the billboards, the texts, the email messages, the political mail in the mailbox – all dedicated to sway our vote.

i realize that this is the way to raise money, that this is the way to get one party ahead of the other. many voters will elect to vote a straight party ballot. some will vote without asking any questions. some will vote without any information at all. some will vote for vapid minds, choosing the rough edges of spewed anger, covert scheming. they are voting on a bandwagon – with truth obscured – and haven’t looked past the exterior of the candidates.

i was chatting quite some time ago with a college professor. he was teaching a class three days a week and was talking about his experiences. “anybody can be brilliant for an hour and a half,” he quipped. i laughed, thinking how true that is.

but it’s the long haul that counts. it’s what’s at the crux that counts. i wonder what is in the center of what motivates the candidates we are considering. what is past the exterior, what are the things they affirm, believe in, wish to move forward?

anyone can look pious, even righteous, in brevity, for short spurts of time. but these same pedestalized people can bring to the table masked and unmasked agenda that is riddled with inequality, marginalization, discrimination, divisiveness, violence, a thwarting of social, racial, gender, financial equity all under the auspices of brilliance. it is our responsibility to peel back the layers, to poke through the season-of-midterm blahblah, to examine the intentions, the integrity, of the people we choose – truly, in every arena – to represent us.

how these people manifest in their communication, their compassion, their fairness, their steadfast evenhandedness, their actual brilliance – not the hourandahalf variety – should tell us something important. if a person does not represent the values we uphold ourselves, the ones we would lay out to each and every one of those we love, why would we elect that person to represent us, to reflect us? if our vote was revealed to our loved ones, our children, our family, friends, community, colleagues, would we take comfort, would we have pride, in what was revealed?

for it is in our vote that we truly show what is beyond the exterior. it is in our vote that we truly show what is in our heart.

*****

FIGURE IT OUT ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

download music from my little corner of iTUNES

stream on PANDORA

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY