reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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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


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22″ of fire-bliss. [k.s. friday]

i imagined just that. staring at the flames flickering in the wind, taking in the perfect and imperfect of our lives. with the sun setting and the firepit column dancing, a rare quiet night in the neighborhood, it’s easy to lose yourself into the flicker.

the column just made its way into our backyard. it is not large. at merely 22″ it is portable and does not take up much room. there are not a lot of things i see while browsing that i lust over. this small tower-of-fire, however, was one of those things. it was not at a pricepoint i could justify, so i watched it.

sometimes when i watch items – or look at them time and again in a catalog – the yearning for that item goes away. as an artist, this is necessary, as buying whatever-suits-my-fancy is not reality. so it is convenient that my appetite for whatever-it-is is sated simply by looking at it over and over again. but the fire column didn’t fit under that category.

we don’t buy things willy-nilly these days. everything takes deliberation and an intention for the item’s use. and in my mind’s eye, i could see this firepit giving us countless hours of ambience on our deck – our sanctuary – the place we will spend most of our free time this summer. i started to give it some serious thought.

and then . . . there was a flash sale. thirty percent off. i stopped pondering, ordered it and picked it up at the store.

we really love it. funny how this tiny firepit elevated our space. we have surrounded ourselves with simple things out on the deck this year. inexpensive pillows – for the first time – on furniture that dates back and back, furniture that was handed-down, re-purposed, a wrought iron table and chair set i have painted time and again. an old door we pulled out of the basement storage room leans against the house next to a ficus we re-positioned from the sunroom. a couple old stepladders act as end tables. old barnwood and pipe hold our precious tomato and basil plants. there are a couple adirondack chairs on the patio and our wood-burning firepit; a chiminea is tucked over by the garage.

we read an article about a man who designed his outdoor space. it was pretty gorgeous. somewhere in the article the author shared the cost of this patio-deck-extravaganza: $550,000. five-hundred-fifty-thousand-dollars. seems slightly high to us; ours was just shy of that.

i seriously don’t know what we’d do if we had five-hundred-fifty-thousand-dollars to spend, but i’m guessing it wouldn’t be spending it on our outdoor space. though our grass isn’t perfect and the textures of our patio and pond and cement and stone pad don’t necessarily coordinate and dogdog has holes he loves to dig, we find this space brings us peace.

we gaze into the small flames of this tiny fire column and feel the darkness drop out of the sky around us. we are grateful for these moments of reflection, the moments when we see how perfect it all is, even in the midst of imperfection. we sit back, awash in the ahhh of having pillows behind our backs, watch the fireflies and a couple swooping bats, look at dogga laying quietly on the deck near us and take stock of our good fortune.

*****

listen to music on my little corner of iTUNES

tune into my growing collection on PANDORA

read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

TAKING STOCK from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood


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hopscotch. [two artists tuesday]

susan and i played hopscotch for hours. we’d toss a bobby pin or a rock and hop to our heart’s content, nothing else pressing on us in the summer sun.

the summer sun seems a bit escalated now. temperatures are soaring across our country. it is astounding to open the accuweather app and see places i have saved having highs in the upper 90s or even topping 100 degrees. extreme weather. it’s only june. summer literally just officially opened its season. and yet, there is article after article about drought and rapidly dropping water levels and severe storms and the beginning of oppressive fires and people evacuating.

this morning i awoke to an alert on my phone. pitkin county in colorado sent out an emergency message about a wildfire. i didn’t remember having these alerts but, now that i think about it, i must have initiated something either during avalanches over the winter or maybe when the high mountain county was sending out news about covid. either way, my beloved girl is up there in those mountains so i will not be likely to take the alerts off now.

climate change in all its iterations is upon us. weather pattern changes and global warming are pressing in on us. it would seem that we should pay attention, especially if we want this world to continue into future generations.

yesterday i was forwarded and read an article in the new york times about the giant redwoods and sequoias, trees that have been individually standing for perhaps as long as 3000 years, as a forest for millions of years. the peril faced by these enormous and wise giants of the forest is imminent. old-growth forests are critical, yet there are now less than 10 percent remaining in this country. we are stewards of the future earth. we need pay attention.

summer stretches in front of us now. the stuff of outdoor adventures, barbecues in the backyard, camping in national and state parks, faraway roadtrips and lazy beach days. coming upon the hopscotch chalked on the sidewalk i couldn’t help but hop. the joy of remembering, the muscle memory of the 1-2-3-45-6-78-9-10 or 1-23-4-56-7-89-10, whatever the template, hopping, hopping.

for that same delight, that same closely-held set of childhood memories, it is my hope that concentrated effort and dedicated budgeting is placed upon incredibly important research, on the threat of climate change, on the sustaining of our environment. we must pass on – to our children and our children’s children and our children’s children’s children – a world that is healthy, an earth that can support the drinking water needs of its people, a country that takes responsibility for its ecological challenges.

in the old-growth forests, the trees have somehow survived “fire and clear-cutting, new growth…death, death and life again.” the author continues, “the power of the tree isn’t in forgetting, but remembering.” (nytimes, lauren sloss)

maybe we need grab a bobbypin, toss it into a chalked hopscotch and hop. maybe that will remind us to remember.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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the ice cream truck. [merely-a-thought monday]

“stop!!!!” we’d yell at the top of our lungs.

it didn’t happen often, but every now and then, we got to stop the ice cream man as he jingled his way around the neighborhood. then began The Choice. toasted almond bars or chocolate eclairs or or creamsicles or nutty buddy cones or italian ices (although we most often got those on the way out of modells sporting goods store, which, for some reason, had a stand by the doors). my momma would buy fudgsicles and ice cream sandwiches for in the freezer, so those weren’t viable options. and we would never-ever just buy a cup of ice cream with those wooden spoon things you got in elementary school or with your modells italian ice. that would be lame. it seemed important to get something more novel than what was inside your own house. particularly if it was ice cream on a stick. we knew, at the time, that it was a splurge and we loved every single second of it. we’d sit on the curb or on the grass or on the stoop and relish whatever treat we picked. summer in east northport. summer on long island.

you can hear it coming – “pop goes the weasel” playing incessantly around the ‘hood. it used to drive both my girl and my boy crazy as it approached and passed by – the pitch of the ‘song’ changing keys as it approached, drove by eventually and was in the distance. we laugh now as it passes us these days, for the same reason and because it would likely take a small mortgage to feed ice cream treats to a family from the ice cream man these days. we have marveled at watching families with small children gather together in the park eating dairy queen. a medium blizzard is $4 so a family of five would be $20 just for an afternoon carry-out treat. i don’t know but, to us, that seems like a lot.

harry burt, the founder of good humor, apparently stumbled into ice cream kingdom rule when he froze chocolate topping to use with ice cream. it turned out to be a messy affair so his son suggested using the sticks from his previous invention (jolly boy suckers) and – voila! – the ice cream bar was a hit. his decision to start the ice cream truck/wagon/push-cart was on the heels of his treat-success and, believing that good “humor” had everything to do with the humor of the palate, he had his company name picked out. good humor is synonymous with yummy ice cream and childhood. what a legacy!

a few days ago, 20 went to his freezer after we finished a scrumptious dinner with him. he gestured to 14 to be quiet and reached his hand in, pulling out a container but shielding it from my view. it turned out to be a half gallon of coffee ice cream, which is my favorite tied with mint chocolate chip. it was not cashew or almond; this was straight-up ice cream, which he guiltily knew i couldn’t have. he and 14 enjoyed bowls of this dessert. i had two tiny bites, which were amazing. coffee ice cream always makes me think of my big brother who, night after night, would load his bowl up and eat to his heart’s content. after my minuscule taste-test, i googled cashew/almond coffee ice cream and have a photo of a couple options saved on my phone so that i might seek them out.

someday when i pass a freezer with talenti dairy-free-sorbetto cold-brew-coffee displayed, i will literally yell, “stop!”

it won’t be the ice cream truck ringing bells or playing “it’s a small world” or “pop goes the weasel”. it won’t be standing at the side of the road in the hot sun with a dollar held tightly in my hand in line behind other sweaty, excited kids. it won’t be staring at the poster on the side of the truck with too many choices, the scent of coppertone wafting through the air. but, like all the children gathered around the proverbial ice cream truck in full glorious summer, i will be filled with good humor.

*****

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

and a little reminder from our CHICKEN MARSALA:


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this labor day. [merely-a-thought monday]

it’s the stuff of hamburgers and hotdogs, cold pepsi-colas, potato salad. it’s the stuff of pick-up wiffleball games and music from a boombox and friends gathered in the backyard. it means going to the beach a few last days, going up north for a long weekend, going to the big box store for picked-over school supplies. it’s the three-day weekend coda of summer, the last-licks of time spent more freely, the season marker of the starting of routines.

in this pandemic time, it is a ticking time bomb.

how difficult it must be for healthcare workers to stand by and watch as americans all over this country make poor choices. these workers have laboriously teetered on sheer exhaustion these past months as they have treated covid-19 patients – over 6 million of them. these workers have grieved with over 185,000 families as coronavirus patients died, often being the only ones to witness this passing with the patients, to ease their burden and pain, to hold their hands. how it must feel to be a doctor or nurse or assistant who has tediously tended to a patient (or several hundred or several thousand patients) to see the cavalier and apathetic way people are moving about, gathering, non-masking wearing, non-social-distancing. for how blatantly have these months of labor, these months of learning bit by bit, been devalued. it’s bracing. and, for those working side by side to eradicate this pandemic, despairingly ungrateful, i would suspect. an utter disregard for the appreciation of the mountains of hardship this pandemic has created.

labor day, a “yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country,” would be the perfect time to recognize the endless and diligent work of the experts in medicine, research and science.

this labor day would seem the perfect time to, once again, examine your commitment and dedication to the health of this nation, to eliminating the pandemic that sustains itself off the aggressive ignorance of those who refuse to acknowledge its severity or, in some cases, its very existence.

this labor day would seem the time, a dire time, to acknowledge the way you may have become aloof to mourning the sheer numbers of people who have been affected by this contagion. it would seem the time to cease warped game-playing with the reporting of the dramatic effect this has had on this country. it would seem the time to fact-check everything you eagerly ingest about this global pandemic, a planet-changer in its own regard.

this labor day would seem the time to put aside big-picnic-wishes, kickballs and croquet sets and, instead, work toward regaining strength, prosperity and well-being.

this labor day: the time to wear masks, to social distance, to not gather in large groups, and generally, to just not ignore that which could kill you or someone you love.

read DAVID’S thoughts this LABOR DAY


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shift-key. [merely-a-thought monday]

shift key framed

summer is soon going to draw to a close.  it’s august 10 and with today’s feel-like at 96, it’s clearly not anytime too soon.  but soon enough.

this summer has been unlike any other.  in our deference to the pandemic we have limited ourselves to that which we believe shows regard to recommendations given so as not to be responsible for spreading this.  we’ve worn masks.  we’ve social distanced.  we’ve not eaten in restaurants or stood by barstools sipping wine in enclosed spaces.  we haven’t shopped in department stores or had people over in our home, and, differing from every other summer we have had together,  we haven’t traveled.  it has been unlike any other.

but that isn’t the case for everyone.  people have flocked to the beaches and water parks.  people have traveled to hot spots – on purpose, in the name of looking for a break.  people are eating in restaurants and are gathered at bars and at big backyard barbecues.  people are singing in indoor venues and are clustered on sandbars.  people have gone to little towns, vacationing and, with the it-won’t-happen-to-us mindset, placing the locale at risk, placing the locals and the health care system in that locale in a precarious way.  hundreds of thousands of people are headed to or are gathered in sturgis right now.  it’s their summer.  and, if you scroll through facebook, it’s not a heck of a lot different than their last summer.

i read a quote today that spoke to the sturgis crowds.  “there are people throughout america who have been locked up for months and months,” was the excuse for an influx into this town of 7000.  i have to disagree.  any instagram or facebook peek will reveal that people are not locked up; many people have lived summer just like they always live summer:  any way they want.

in the attention-deficit way of america, many people have simply moved on and their temporarily-outward-gaze has shift-key-shifted selfishly inward.  but we are still out here:  mask-wearers, social-distancers, stay-close-to-homers, quietly and not-so-quietly trying to mitigate this time. and we can see the others so we are disappointed, saddened and stressed and we are riding the long-limbo-wave of impossible decision-making.

the masses have spoken – at least in this country – and freedom (read: independence from the government mandating for the safety of all) rules.

but freedom isn’t free, as the old up with people song points out, “freedom isn’t free. you’ve got to pay the price, you’ve got to sacrifice, for your liberty.”

i suppose that our sacrifices count, little as that might be in the big picture.  as this pandemic continues to rage, as chaos continues to ensue, as relationships shatter over disease-disagreement, our not going to wine-knot matters, our crossing-the-road-to-the-other-sidewalk counts, our consistent mask-wearing-social-distancing makes a difference.  it just doesn’t feel that way.  the bigger picture looks bleak and my heart sinks looking ahead, fall and winter just over the we-have-so-many-unanswered-questions horizon.  whether they (in a countrywide sense) are exercising caution or not, our little part is significant.

the up with people song continues, “but for every man freedom’s the eternal quest.  you’re free to give humanity your very best.”

what is our very best?  individually?  collectively?

perhaps a nationwide shift-key would be of value.

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

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summer. [d.r. thursday]

Watercolor-Tree copy

summer is coming.  at least that is what the calendar indicates.  in recent days it has snowed in colorado.  it has been rainy and damp and cold in wisconsin.  the spring storms have been devastating the central states.  but summer is coming.

and with summer comes a little slowing-down, moments to linger in the sun, sit in lawn chairs and chat, sip iced tea on the deck, have picnics under the canopy of a tree.  we pick clover and make necklace chains, count the petals on a daisy, lay in the sweet smell of freshly mowed grass.

wishing you a peaceful and rejuvenating summer.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

drc website header copy 2

buffalo adirondack chair website box


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sandcastle with me. [d.r. thursday]

MorselSandcastle withMe copy

one summer, (almost) every single day, i took The Girl and The Boy to the beach.  not the beaches on lake michigan, for the water there is way too cold, but a beach that is inland in our town and is man-made.  that was the summer-of-the-best-tan and the summer i loved packing and re-packing our beach bag, a small cooler with drinks and snacks and buckets and plasticware and shovels for building castles in the sand.

they were littler then and it was easy to keep them happy on the beach.  when The Boy was reeeally little, he, like his dad, did not the feeling of sand in his toes.  he preferred to stay on the blanket or the beach towel.  but at this time in his life – the-summer-of-the-beach – he loved it.  he played in the sand and the water as much as every child there, including his big sister and me.

looking at this morsel SANDCASTLE WITH ME from the painting SPOONS AND SANDCASTLES makes me want to go back.  go back and do it again.  repeat that summer.  play in the water more.  have more icepops from the refreshment stand.  stay late until the sun was almost directly on the horizon.  and make more sandcastles.

click here (or on the image above) for SANDCASTLE WITH ME products

click here or on image below to see the original painting SPOONS AND SANDCASTLES on david’s gallery site

spoonsandsandcastles copy

spoons and sandcastles 28″ x 57.5″

read DAVID’S thoughts on this D.R. THURSDAY

D.R. THURSDAY (DAVID ROBINSON THURSDAY) – ON OUR SITE

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spoons and sandcastles/sandcastle with me ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

 


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time to learn new stuff. [chicken marsala monday]

notknowinghowtodoit WITH EYES jpeg copy 2

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN...

summer is teasing us….right around the corner, it is gesturing to us and making us yearn for the time in the sun, the time to relax in the hammock, the time to take longer walks, to go on vacation, to maybe do a long-put-off-project.  maybe it is the time to learn something brand new.  in that case, i have to remind myself it’s the time to put aside the insecurity of not-knowing-how and just jump in with both feet.  you just never know what might come of that not-knowing.  consider it might even be fun!  (watch out d, cause i really want a donkey!)

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts about this CHICKEN NUGGET

not knowing how to do it is what makes life fun ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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color.

flowers and trees have dominated the photo stream on my phone this summer. soaring pines against snow-topped mountains and streamside wildflowers, a street called “daisy dr”, aspen trees reflecting on a building in a light show, roots of fallen trees in sculpture untouched by hands, gorgeous flowers in a downtown boston median, window boxes filled with red geraniums on a beacon hill walk, IMG_0031the nurse-log’s new life in the lake up north this year, the strawberry patch, the new herb garden we built out of re-purposed schtuff (as wendy calls it), and, speaking of wendy, the tulips on her wall (sometimes the flowers aren’t real-live-in-the-dirt-flowers). there are photos from ocean-side marshland, the sweet gift of farmer’s market sunflowers, saved pictures of susan’s porch with hanging flowerpots…just to look at…as if i were there. flowers in linda’s abundant garden, IMG_0035huge basil at jen’s, gorgeous orange impatiens that stubbornly live in our backyard, even when we don’t notice them. black-eyed susans from our walks, white-flowering hostas on an iowa farm. soybeans in the field and bamboo alongside the lake, unidentified purple flowers IMG_0033and pink and yellow flowers along a neighbor’s front walk, purple sedum buzzing with bees a few houses away. the first tree to turn in the woods we were hiking in, a lone red leaf on a maple in the ‘hood. my photo shoot of the painting david painted me before we married, the daisy we used on our invitations, the daisy we are using in website and marketing materials for our upcoming, soon-to-be-released two-person play, “the roadtrip”. so many flowers. so much color.

perusing through right now, i see that isn’t the only source of color…the IMG_0040old painted chairs hanging in the shop in the mountains, the homebuilt faux-adirondacks in front of the liquor store in breck, the photographs of texture in vibrant colors, the gay pride flag flying outside a church in the city, the peeling-paint side of the old barn, the sunsets, piles of rocks, the solid blue sky, the sand, aqua water, white snow on the mountain in june, rainbows, the red moon. color.

now, truth be told, there are a TON of pictures on my photo stream. i take a ton of pictures and save everything that the boy or the girl send me, so at any given moment, i can re-visit the whole summer IMG_0034and breathe it back in. sometime, in the middle of winter, when the days are not as fluffy or romantically snowy, i will want to look at these pictures. to remember. you know, the whole thready thing. it’s a curse.

last weekend we went to a wine and harvest festival in a little town up north a bit. expecting it to be like the winter festival we attend there with friends, a kind of joyous and outstandingly fun mecca every february, we were surprised when we got there and it was a mob scene. the streets were full of vendors, food and art and creations of all sorts. overgrown humonga-pumpkins were being weighed in a contest and we hear we missed the carved-out-pumpkin races on the river. we walked around, squished between people, laughing about how hot it was, how crowded and how we had underestimated the festival. it was absolutely a blast.

there was this bag there…just a simple backpack. from the side of the vendor’s 10×10 IMG_0029tent, which i am well-acquainted with, it called my name. “look at that happy bag,” i said to david. usually i don’t purchase much at these shows. i am often feeling that i-don’t-need-more-stuff feeling. but, as david told someone recently, pieces of art (really, despite what medium they are) reach out and find their true owner. and, i have to tell you, this happy bag found me. and you’ll never guess what the fabric was. for this dedicated wear-blue-jeans-and-black-tops girl (ok, that term “girl” may be outdated for me, but humor me, ok?”), this flowery backpack found its way into my hands. now i am using it each day. i know i will return to other purses i own (aka pocketbooks, aka handbags), but this happy bag will bring back -with just one glance- the hot day at the festival, the flowers in my summer, the color in my life. and we all need that, don’t we?

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www.kerrisherwood.com