reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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not unimportant. [k.s. friday]

just like when i take a photograph of a person i try to avoid having extraneous people in the picture, when i take photographs outside i try to avoid any messy unnecessities.

this time i did it on purpose.

on july 29th i will have lived in this house for 33 years. i have sat out back watching the sky turn orange over the garage for 33 years. i have watched the trees grow up over the rooftops in my view. i have watched squirrels on their highways-of-highwire for 33 years.

it suddenly occurred to me that there might come a day when i can’t simply walk out the old screen door onto the deck, stepping onto the patio to watch the sky in the west. there might come a day when i live somewhere else and i won’t have access to this view.

and so the messiness of wires sectioning off the sky became important. important enough to photograph. important enough to remember.

we’re surrounded by things – and views – we have taken for granted. we see them every day – though we don’t really see them.

they seem unimportant.

yet, these familiar sights are the very things that help ground us. in a world that is politically volatile, climate that is destroying mother earth, bombastic leaders itching to reduce freedoms, disrespect and aggression out of control, it would seem that we need grab onto that which grounds us, centers us, slows down our breathing.

because i’m thready, i notice – and try to memorize – things like how the old wood floor creaks in the hallway, what it sounds like when the glass doorknob falls off, the feel of the small chain on the basement door and the decades-rubbed indent it has made, the sound of a double-hung window with ropes and weights opening, the deck cracking in cold weather, the cool painted-cement floor under bare feet in the basement, the places where the plaster has cracked. they all spell home.

and, with a world in turmoil, everything in flux, so much anxiety and grief and worry, things that are solidly familiar help.

*****

THE WAY HOME from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997, 2000 kerri sherwood

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


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on the curb. [d.r. thursday]

you can put most anything at the curb and it will soon disappear. scrappers are on the prowl looking for metal and old appliances, big and small, things that might be repurposed, things that might be tinkered with and sold.

when i put out these three wrought-iron candlesticks i included a sign. i measured the heights and jotted them on the sign that indicated they were candlesticks. i was hoping someone who really wanted some taper holders to jaunt by and find them on our parkway. i didn’t want them to go to scrap.

david said that he saw the person pull up and examine the sign and the bag of candlesticks and that this person gently placed it in the back of his truck, so i’m crossing my fingers he brought them home and showed his partner, suggesting they eat by taper or relax in the evening to the glow of candles. i guess a girl can hope.

because we don’t generally do big giant things, we tend to celebrate the little stuff. this past friday evening was one of those times. right after he finished work, on an absolutely beautiful late afternoon, we got into littlebabyscion and drove south. as is our way, we took the backroads, arriving at the botanic garden, happy to see the parking lot meagerly parked.

we strolled through slowly, arm in arm, talking and quiet. we only had about an hour and a half till its close, but it was an hour and a half of lovely. it shushed our minds and its serenity was contagious.

we drove home the back way, through a few small towns with bistro tables on the sidewalks and people gathered, eating and sipping wine. we pondered stopping and having a bite outside, but continued home to make our own small meal and sip wine under happy lights in our sunroom with our dogga by our side. it was a peaceful way to start the weekend.

you don’t have to lift every little thing, but we have learned it makes a difference. the tiny things – a candle burning, a strand of happy lights, a quiet walk, sniffing peonies in a garden, admiring the wild columbine in the woods, stopping to watch a deer glide across someone’s front yard – these things matter.

you don’t have to be there for each other each moment, but we have learned it makes a difference. the tiny things – helping the other up off the floor after painting shoe moldings, bringing the other a steaming mug of coffee in a tired-time, clinking the day’s accomplishments, crying with the other’s pain – these things matter.

in one of her books, joyce maynard wrote, “when a person gave less, he required less in return.” i suppose life could be easier that way, more centric, simpler. one would not have to notice stuff or do much of anything for another. the give-and-take of relationship would be low-bar and that might work for some.

but time and life have taught me a few lessons, some much harder than others. one is that apathy and paying attention are absolute opposites, particularly in relationship.

we’re putting apathy on the curb.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

dancing in the front yard 24″x24″


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in it together. [saturday morning smack-dab.]

the up-north gang makes plans that feature rest rooms. we travel distances – often caravaning – but we know that we will be stopping. no ifs, ands or buts.

the drive to cedarburg is not long, but the last thing any menopausal woman OR – let’s-face-it – man wants to do upon arrival anywhere is to desperately look for a bathroom. there is no time for that. no one wants to feel imperiled by the call of nature.

it feels somewhat irresponsible to be writing about paper bags and tic-tacs and mini-mart restrooms while russia invades ukraine and people’s lives are in jeopardy. it feels a little like it could be interpreted as not-paying-attention. we sat with our coffee this morning and talked about families packing up a few things and leaving…just leaving…with no place to really go, not knowing what to take, separating from the men in the household who have been ordered to stay, conscripted. it is nothing shy of terrifying and we wonder, yet again, how it is that this world is so conflicted and broken. yet we look around and we see evidence of division and suffering and methods of control everywhere.

and so, last weekend, our little field trip to cedarburg’s winter festival was exactly the right thing to do. we stopped at the gas station we always stop at. they had added two new restrooms, good news for a bunch of 60plussers on the move. less waiting that way. we watched the sled dogs race, we wondered about whether the river had been frozen the day before for the bedraces. we wandered in and out of shops and finished our day all together in the tiny bar of a bed and breakfast there. faces reddened from the wind, laughter up and down the table.

our up-north-gang mini roadtrip was before the invasion. i would choose it again, though. because we need to be reminded – over and over – that those are moments not to be taken for granted. the silly oh-my-gosh-i-need-a-restroom-right-freakin-now shared times of this gang as we age and age. the familiarity and ease of people you have spent time with, people you are in menopause with, people who talk about utterly anything. presence is not to be underestimated.

we are fortunate. and we know it. and as we give thanks for all we do have – including people we love and new mini-mart restrooms and winter festivals and freshly fallen snow – all under a sky of freedom – we also lift up those in a land not really so far away. and we hope for their safety, their very lives and an end to conflict they did not choose.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this SATURDAY MORNING

SMACK-DAB. ©️ 2022 kerrianddavid.com


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the ernie straw. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

ernie straw

the ernie straw.  this straw has lived in the kitchen drawer for decades.  it served the sesame-street-zeal of My Girl and My Boy when they were little-little and has made various appearances back in the sunlit-world from time to time since then.

this summer when The Girl was here house-sitting i came home and into the kitchen to find her using it to sip her pre-workout drink.  she laughingly told me, “it’s a good straw!”  i can’t tell you how happy i was that ernie was still in the drawer when she went searching for the perfect sipping-utensil.

in the last week, ernie has become my constant companion.  positioned carefully in my coffee hydroflask or perched in my water glass or teetering out of a wine glass, ernie and i have done beverage-life together.

they say necessity is the mother of invention and, particularly, this past week with two broken wrists, i would have to agree.  stuck closer to the right side of my brain as a creative thinker (although admittedly there is quite a bit of ny-style-left-side there as well) i have had to sort out how to do things, let’s say, in-a-different-way.

i can proudly say that i can put on my socks, eat my own meal with a fork or a spoon, cut a steak (with the steak knife lodged into my RH cast), put on a little eyeliner and mascara with my LH steadying my right hand (not easy, but some things are just necessary), and type.  last night i squeezed (!) the toothpaste out of the tube and surprised d with his toothbrush pre-pasted.  in bigger news, i have played my piano four days in a row.  i have 9 fingers to use right now; my right thumb is immobilized.  but there are a lot of notes you can play with nine fingers, especially at the right angle and taking your time.

ernie and i are trying to keep a good attitude.  his curlycue-ness is pretty cute and his smile engaging.  he keeps me from feeling too sad, too limited.  he reminds me that the constraints i feel right now are exercising my creative juju (he’s a ridiculous optimist).  and he, most importantly, ties me to all the years backward, where he, yes, an inanimate object, has been a part of my life and the life of my children.

i couldn’t be more grateful to have found this life-gossamer-thread in our kitchen drawer last monday, the day i was injured.  once again, something profound and something simple –  and both remind me of what’s important.

i sent My Girl a photo of ernie in my coffee vessel.  she quickly replied, “it’s a good straw!”   yes.

thank you, our ernie straw.

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

old suitcases website box

 

 


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small gestures. [two artists tuesday]

small gestures.jpg

the first time that i walked into the bathroom and saw my toothbrush pre-toothpasted for me i was surprised and floored.  no one (except my sweet momma) had ever pre-toothpasted my toothbrush for me before.  a small gesture, but i was deeply touched by this kindness.  i was off-island without d a few days last week and three times (!) i pre-toothpasted his home toothbrush as well as mine, without thinking.   small gestures become kind habits.

it’s the little things that count.  not the grandiose presents or sweeping plans.  it is the kiss on the back of your head, the carrying of your bags, the holding of your hand, the packed lunch, the note on the piano, the bacon on sunday, the coffee while your head is still on your pillow, the opening of a door for you, listening through the umpteenth repetition, the patiently-waiting while you scurry about finishing just-one-more-thing, the tetris-packing of the car, the prepping of dinner ingredients, the hug when you didn’t even know you needed one, the quiet support and noisier praise, the questions you don’t want to answer, the reminder of the breath you need to take…

and the toothpaste pre-pasted on your toothbrush.  small gestures.  kind habits.  love.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

BootsWeddingBoots website box


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the storage unit. [two artists tuesday]

storage unit copy

on my nightstand next to the bed are two frames.  both written in little-kid-writing, they are notes i saved from long ago.  one is from My Girl and it reads, “goodnight mom” surrounded by hearts.  the other is from My Boy and it has two words on it, “craig” (with a backwards g) and “mom” and has hearts filling up the rest of the notepaper.  each night i see these as i wish them both, from far away, goodnight, sweet dreams, restful sleep.

i come by this threadiness honestly.

we were in florida visiting; two of the days we were there, despite bright sunlight and temperatures in the 80s, we spent in a storage unit.  what was left of my parents’ belongings was packed in boxes, stacked in a unit, waiting for us to put our eyes on all of it and decide what to do with each of these things.  my mom’s impulse was to keep things, especially paper.  photographs and slides aside, there were files and files – some of which we will wade through later.  there were boxes of mugs and baskets and trinkets, a kaleidoscope of the pieces of life, carefully packed by my sister and brother-in-law during a time of sadness, a time that was not ripe with paring down or organizing, a time that is difficult for anyone who has packed up a house. larger items were already distributed – furniture given away or passed down to the next generation.  but these boxes….

i was quite sure that, even if i hadn’t seen anything in any of the boxes, i had all i needed….my treasures of my sweet momma and my poppo are tucked in close to my heart and i have physical memories of them around me in our home.  they are not the high-priced treasures you might think people would save or claim.  instead, they are small, meaningful, invaluable and thready things that speak to me.  old calendars of my mom’s, my dad’s small rickety wooden boxes from his workbench, glasses from which my dad sipped his scotch, a flannel shirt my mom wore that matched my dad’s, a board with hooks that is wood-burned with the word “keys” and hung in our growing-up house for as long as i can remember…

spending time in the storage unit, surrounded by memories and the fading scent of my mom’s perfume and their house, i was heartened to see that i actually could go through and pare down.  it gives me hope about our own basement.  the real things of our past – sweet treasured memories – are not things.  everyone gets meaning from and sees value in different stuff.  two days in the storage unit reminded me again of that.

this time i didn’t cry.  i laughed with my momma, who, no doubt, was rolling her eyes in heaven over the fact that she had saved sooo many pieces of paper…paid bills, old house contracts, warranties from appliances long gone, car receipts from several cars ago.  a collection of life gone by, i know she smiled when every now and then we stumbled onto something i loved to touch….i kept the little scrap of paper that fluttered to the floor that my mom had written my full birth name on…i kept a couple calendars with my poppo’s handwriting…i kept a tiny folder of maps my mom collected in her curiosity about the changing world…i kept my dad’s brown suede cap, the one i bought him a million years ago…i kept a manila folder of letters i had written to them over the years – that my momma saved…these pieces of evidence of who they were, heirlooms of what was most important to them.

i vowed, once again, to go through, give away, sell the things in our own home that are not necessary.  but those bins in the basement labeled “kirsten” and “craig”?  those will stay.  i will delight in going through the artwork and stories and notes and school projects from their childhood and growing up.  and some day, maybe they too will see how infinitely important each of the baby steps and adult steps they have taken are to me.  and maybe some of the thready treasures i have left behind will give them pause and, maybe, they will save a scrap or two, a calendar, a notebook of unpublished songs, photographs, something that reminds them of what was most important to me – the thready things that are memories of love, of family, of them.

it wasn’t sunny or 82 degrees inside the storage unit.  but it was warm in a whole other way.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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simple question? [two artists tuesday]

these are the things we notice.  little and big.  the things we love about living two-artists-together. little and big.  the things we ponder.  little and big.

this one? an existential question indeed.  but that sweet caterpillar….

for some actual thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY, you might want to click here and read DAVID’S blog

alice's restaurant, california websitebox copy

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 12.27.50 PM


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stars [chicken marsala monday]

youcansleepanytime WITH EYES jpeg

opportunities.  to drink in life.  they happen every day.  sometimes we scoop them up, with the scooping-zeal of a small child building a sand castle.  sometimes we choose to sleep through.

this chicken nugget was inspired by a late-late-night-laying-on-the-rocks-by-the-lake viewing a meteor shower.  it was one of those moments we chose.

i remember one freezing cold wisconsin winter evening.  i was driving My Girl to an oboe lesson in town.  in a crazy-fun moment we opened the sunroof, put on our sunglasses and played loud summer music.  we laughed and it was indelibly etched into my memory bank.  it could be cold or it could be a faux-summer drink-in-life.  another day we drove across the state, donned southern accents and strode around an eau claire, wisconsin country music festival, pretending to be from “naaaaashville” but here in wisconsin because we had “kin” who lived here.  the accents and pretending stuck with us all day and the memory still makes me giggle.

there was the time that i had to rent a vehicle while mine was being repaired.  the only thing available was a big (and i mean big!) pickup truck with a extra-long bed lined with rubber.  My Boy was little at the time and he (an avid car/truck fan at the time) couldn’t get over how big the pickup was and remarked that the bed was so big you could sleep in it.  that night, unbeknownst to him, i carried out extra comforters and sleeping bags, pillows and flashlights and pulled the pickup further up the driveway.  when it was time for sleep and he was saying goodnight, i asked him where he was going.  he replied, “upstairs.  to bed.”  laughing, i led him outside to where i had set up our camp, in the bed of that rented pickup under the stars and dewy night sky.

sometimes you just have to say a loud affirming YES to opportunity.  scoop it up.  my goal is to do that even more.  less sleep.  more scooping.

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

read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN NUGGET

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

you can sleep anytime.  how many times in your whole life can you see stars that shoot across the sky? ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 


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and now

i was surprised the first time i walked into the bathroom and my toothbrush already had toothpaste on it. it was one of those moments – you know, the kind where you get a little mushy (who, me?) and think “wow, that was so sweet of him!” it’s just a little thing, but in the overall scheme of life, it’s those little things that really matter. the big stuff will always pop up, lurk, threaten to overwhelm us, but the little things comfort us, reassure us, heal us.

the girl was home for just a bit. i was sooo excited to see her. i thought of huge things we could (maybe) do, places we could (maybe) go, even though i knew that there really wasn’t even time; she had commitments that would make any of those things impossible. still, a mom can dream. instead, it was the moments at the kitchen table laughing and doing a crossword puzzle that really counted. it was the girl holding on to the pen we were using, refusing to relinquish it to me, filling in all the boxes and just being herself -the amazing daughter i recognize- fiercely independent (see previous post) – that made my heart so filled, so grateful.

my big sister sat on the bed with me and we talked about the big day ahead of us. i was tired and she gently told me to put my head on her shoulder and rest. i can’t remember a sweeter moment i have spent with her in recent days. no shopping spree, mutual pedicure appointment, shared meal, anything, could have been better. i am, still, so grateful for that moment.

the hot chics (aka chics caliente) shared the reading aloud of ‘the blessing of the hands’. they have been there with me for three decades. three decades of time spans many changes, much turmoil, much bliss. in this reading aloud moment, the tears fell freely and the hugs were full of new life, new hope.

these are the miracles of life. the times we need for the rest of the times. it is a miracle sometimes that we even notice the miracles. we stand in grace all the time and don’t see it for the warbled un-grace we grant ourselves.

i stood in the balcony and looked down at the church (which right now, thanks to frank, is stunningly beautiful in its white-light holiday splendor) and remembered a day not too long ago. it hasn’t even been two months since i walked down that aisle into the future. i remember looking around at all the people there to witness these moments and then looking ahead to the man at the end of the aisle. the one who puts toothpaste on my toothbrush. the one who is infinitely tender, who loves to hold hands, who chooses to slow dance in the front yard in the middle of raking, who brings coffee to my pillowside, who reads aloud with me, who chops dinner ingredients alongside me, who makes me madder than anyone i’ve ever met, who makes me weep when i catch his eye, who is “my favorite pain in the ass” (a little sign we bought on our honeymoon). when i wrote this song i didn’t realize he would walk with it down the aisle into us. a miracle of life.

you wonder what the universe has in store for you. you think that you know. you think you have it covered. you think you have control of it, of timing. and when it isn’t playing out how you think, you rail against it, wondering why it isn’t working the way you thought/wanted/worked for. but the universe seems to have a way of connecting the dots, allowing these tiny little miracles to happen, forming the big picture…making the grace bubble around you bigger and bigger and bigger.

until now. when i realize that maybe all the things that happened before -the joys, the pains, the mistakes, the accomplishments, the huge things, the littlest things – add up to now. one of my beloved nieces sent me something on our wedding day. it read, “sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place.” wow. true. my other beloved niece sends me unicorns and rainbows and bubbles and reminds me all the time of the magic all around us at every moment. those miracles. showing up again.

just turn around and look. ahead.

and-now is showing up.

and now~a wedding song : on iTunes

 holiday CD sale on www.kerrisherwood.com

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