reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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rooting for midwest express. [two artists tuesday]

it’s exactly how i draw horses. back in the day i had a book that taught me how to draw them. i was horse-crazy and i studied this book and practiced over and over. i did not retain much of all that study – or all of the other books i read about horses – but i can still draw a horsehead. so when we flew over this island on our approach to the tampa airport, i was astounded to see the first vestiges of my own drawing. i named it van gogh horse – for obvious reasons. high tide and angle and an active imagination helped, but i sure do think it looks like a horse.

it had been three and a half years since i had flown. we’ve read many articles about aggressive passengers and, i must admit, that doesn’t sound too enticing. i can’t imagine being rude to people who are tending to your needs as you zoom through the sky. not to mention all that recirculated air and the folks in the seat behind us hack-coughing. ahem. so it was a little nerve-wracking.

but it was also magical. you forget. i spent a lot of time looking out the window, mesmerized by the cloud formations and the landscape below, checking the flight plan on my phone to see where we were (technology is pretty amazing!) and taking photographs. i looked – i am sure – like the quintessential tourist-on-the-airplane. but i didn’t care. we have driven everywhere in the last years so it was like a small miracle to jaunt from milwaukee to tampa in two hours and forty minutes.

i remember days i flew often. midwest express airlines and real plates and real silverware and gourmet meals and mimosas in the morning or wine in the afternoon. and, the pièce de résistance…warm chocolate chip cookies. it was an experience – a whole experience. i flew midwest as often as i could, flights to los angeles and nashville and south and out east.

the most memorable experience was the – only – one time the airline lost my luggage. i had concerts and appearances in boston and all my attire was in my suitcase. a midwest express representative – jimbo – who is still my friend on facebook – immediately set to helping me, told me to go buy some necessities, including concert attire, and send midwest the bill. i am mostly a jeans-wearing performer – though there were some exceptions that particular trip – so that kept the costs down a bit, but they covered every last thing i needed. customer service at its best. i called all those items “my midwest express collection” and flew midwest loyally until the airline was no longer.

in a memory-filled moment with the smell of baking chocolate chips in my mind’s eye, i googled the milwaukee-based airline and was jazzed to see it is hoping to make a comeback one of these days. i wish them well. here is the best news:

“the airline plans to bring back the cookies if it starts flying again.” (milwaukeemag.com)

i know that can take some time and some luck. but warm chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the airline’s tiny kitchen could encourage me to start flying more again. i mean, people can’t be ornery with cookies.

if i had to draw an airplane experience – even though i am clearly not gifted at drawing – i would draw people in cushy two-across-seats, trays down, real plates and silverware, coffee cups and mimosas, warm chocolate chip cookies, linen napkins. smiles and horses out the window.

i am rooting for midwest express.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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no pizza, but thank you. [merely-a-thought monday]

if my sweet momma had hung tiny signs in trees, she would have hung this one, “be the reason someone smiles today.”

the historic district of plaza midwood in charlotte is a paradise of bungalows and porches. we walked to the harris teeter slowly, admiring each one, imagining the inside. later, we searched on zillow to see interiors and prices of these gems.

the house with the huge peace sign, the word love by the front door, prayer flags hanging on the side…we knew these people could easily be our friends. an inviting neighborhood. and then, this tree, filled with wisdoms and encouragements.

we porch-sat each night in our tiny mountain town, sitting on the steps or in sling camp chairs or at our pop-up table that travels with us. our airbnb is on one of the main arteries of the little city so there is traffic to watch and there are people walking by.

sometimes the conversations would be short and sweet and we would just greet people and cheer them on their way. other times, we’d start chatting. mike and michaela walked by and ended up at the porch several nights. and the feral cat – so sweet and so very shy – stopped by for a quiet visit each night. it easily started to feel really comfortable; we settled in quickly.

there are definitely times we walk or hike and attempt a littlebittaconversation with others when we are dissed. they will say nothing. truly nothing. no reaction, no smile, nothing. but we – nevertheless – try to subscribe to my momma’s unspoken mantra. we keep on trying to make others smile. it doesn’t take a lot of energy to try and momentarily engage with another, to act goofy or silly or self-deprecating, to do something kind, say something positive or enthusiastic or complimentary.

sitting on the steps of the porch one night, we said hi to a guy walking past. he was carrying his hot-out-of-the-pizza-oven pizza from the gas-station-triangle-stop-shop that oddly “offers growler taps and on-premise beer and wine”. he seemed surprised and then called over, “you wanna piece? i can share.” we laughed, tempted, and told him thank you.

we declined a slice of pizza, but my sweet momma’s eyes were sparkling.

*****

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


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one giant blue notebook. [merely-a-thought monday]

when i was twelve, my parents took a six-week vacation to europe. pre-departure, they arranged to purchase a brand-new 1971 volkswagen super-beetle in germany, picking it up and then driving all over for adventures at hostels and relatives’ homes and small inns in the countryside that served family-style pork chops. they talked about this phenomenal trip for the next forty years or so, reliving memories and favorite moments. in the end, the last time i saw my sweet momma was the day we delivered her cherished blue notebook to her at the assisted living facility and she clutched it to her chest, cooing, “this is it. this is the notebook.” she had written everything down – diary entries and details to remember – and having this spiral was like re-vacationing with my poppo who had died three years earlier. we had searched high and low for it for a couple days and found it in the very last bin we opened in the garage. a treasure. the one thing she really wanted.

there were other trips – indeed, they attempted to visit each of the united states. never extravagant. always cherished.

when i was eighteen i rode in the backseat across the country with my parents in the front seat. they purchased a cb radio before we left and i spent long hours “10-4”-ing as “goldilocks” across the great plains states and up pikes peak and next to the wasatch mountain range and through the flint hills of kansas, which was clearly on a mission for spare change as they pulled my dad over twice within a half hour, deputies standing on the side of the road waving over long lines of cars they then escorted into tiny towns so that you could place money in an envelope at the post office. (i still invoke my dad when i drive through kansas, especially since we’ve had a few breakdowns in that state.) i developed a huge crush on a cute boy in colorado springs at a motel 6 and almost signed on as the touring piano player for the band that this boy and his brothers were in, their parents befriending mine poolside. i pined for days and days after we drove off with four new tires we got at sears and a broken heart i got in the desert meadows behind the motel. i clutched the record they all signed for me and stared at the cover art. no amount of stuckey’s sticky pecan log rolls helped. but my camera and gorgeous scenery were eventually soothing and, even now, as i chalk it up to opportunity not chosen, i remember my mom’s encouragement to consider an unusual path, a road rarely traveled.

in the middle 70s my mom and dad took advantage of what they called “dunphy weekends”. i couldn’t find any details when i quickly googled that, but i remember three day weekends, in places like providence, rhode island – not too many hours from new york – that hotels offered for dirt-cheap, prompting reservations. because they were thrifty, they also would sign on to drive cars to destinations and be flown back, ever the road warriors willing to take on a highway and add to their growing list of states-they-had-been-to.

when i was much littler, i climbed into the pink lilco (long island lighting company) van that my dad and my big brother had converted to a camper and rode upstate with them. never disappointing their rube-goldberg leanings, the camper would always break down on some back road near basically nothing. my dad would take out wire cutters and, clipping wire off of fencing they found on roadside pastureland, they’d figure out ways to fix the van, while i would ponder being lost and never getting home again. their laughter and bantering on those trips was the key to a successful camping trip and we beverly-hillbillied our way across the catskills and the adirondacks.

camping some, airbnb-ing lots, hampton-inning in between, i’ve spent a lot of time on the road on trips and for work, both. when my children were small, we would drive, drive, drive, hiding easter baskets in the stow-and-go compartments of the minivan and toting all the age-related child-paraphernalia we needed. living away from family means that most of your vacation trips are to go see them. as time goes on, that’s really still the case.

in this last not-quite-a-decade, we have driven together thousands and thousands and thousands of miles and snacked and laughed and sang and were quiet across the country. we’ve slept in rest areas and in mcdonald parking lots. we’ve found hiking trails all along the way and have cooked in lots of kitchens from the boundary waters of ely to the beaches of the gulf to up-north wisconsin to high elevation of colorado to the cape. we’ve raced storms through alabama and through wyoming. we’ve had happy meals in montana and california and washington and tennessee and new hampshire and new york and florida and most of the states in-between. we’ve walked through tiny towns, toasted life on long island, combed the beaches of hilton head and had coffee in unexpected places in appalachia. the four days we spent in paris, as an add-on after work in the netherlands about seven years ago now, was exquisitely low-key. we walked everywhere, training only once or twice. we carried baguettes and cheese and wine and tiny salads into parks, onto cathedral steps, up montmartre and into our boutique hotel, choosing picnics over restaurants and never feeling like we had missed out.

the list of places i’d like to go grows. from a night or two to full-immersion for a longer stay, i look forward to all of it. i’m guessing i come by it honestly.

so i’ve never been on a luxury vacation. never taken a cruise. never stayed at an all-inclusive resort. i’m 62 and haven’t done the let’s-just-go-lay-around-and-do-nothing-or-anything-we-want-and-get-waited-on thing. i don’t know if i ever will. but it hasn’t stopped me from loving vacation. it’s all really one giant blue notebook.


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HH. perfect. [d.r. thursday]

HH sketches

david’s sketches on hilton head

i researched.  for months.  looked at tons of sites and reviews.  i ordered brochures from the chamber of commerce (which, incidentally and almost predictably, arrived after we returned from the trip.)  i poured over other people’s adventures and stories, made lists of things to do and places to go.  it was a really important time for me and i wanted it to be perfect:  my-children-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  the perfect mom-gift.

always up for a roadtrip adventure, we drove to hilton head in our littlebabyscion.  first thing upon arrival, we opened the shades in the living room.  the dunes and the ocean exploded into view, the sunset beckoned us.  without unloading, we took two juice glasses of wine and a blanket down to the water’s edge and watched the sky relinquish day.  night arrived and it was perfect.

My Girl flew in the next morning and My Boy the very next day.  the sun was bright, the sky was blue, the sand hot, the ocean was a constant lure.  walks and conversation, games and homemade sangria, bold coffee and generous glasses of wine, watching crabs on the sandbar and googling jellyfish, chips and guac and kirsten-margaritas, eating out on the deck under the umbrella and time in the pool, watching kirsten or craig prepare a meal or two, relaxing on lounge chairs and a one-time bowling adventure.  this was the stuff.  it was hot; over 100 degrees with the heat index; a bit too hot for kayaking or standupboarding under a sunburning sun.  but time seemed to morph and days passed us by in the way time on the beach does.

later i wondered why i didn’t take out my lists, my research, my reviews, the brochures i got from the grocery store.  why i didn’t insist on an adventure-a-day, an activity.  but jen encouraged me to let that go.  she said she does that every time she is lucky enough to have her children all-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time as well. a mother’s brain (and heart) on overdrive.

it isn’t the activities or the adventures.  it’s simply the time.  when you are there and you are real and you share bits and snatches of life, joyful or trying.  when you catch your breath gazing at your children, beautiful human beings experiencing the wide spectrum that life offers.  and you love them beyond words, grateful that they have given you this time.  together.  under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  HH.  hilton head.  perfect.

drc website header copy 2

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

juiceglassesonHH website box

 


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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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old navy flipflops

FullSizeRender68 miles doesn’t sound like a lot until you think about it all in flipflops. $2 on-sale-old-navy flipflops. in the last 19 days (5 of which were spent driving long-distance road trips) we have walked a total of 68 miles (this is the distance logged when carrying my cellphone….we don’t have fitbits so in-the-house or around the yard steps are not logged.). this doesn’t seem remarkable necessarily (although walking to downtown chicago – 66 miles from here – in flipflops seems a bit daunting); if you take away the road trip days and do the division it averages 4.9 miles a day. we are big walkers and will walk places instead of jumping in the car. but, if you remember (which is beyond the scope of your responsibility or interest) i had broken my little baby toe. this was right before we went out east to visit the boy and his boyfriend in boston.

although i packed numerous pairs of sandal-type shoes i was hoping to wear, the only pair of shoes i could wear was this one pair of flip flops. every day. black flipflops. (there are many women cringing right now, thinking of how flip flops don’t go with every single outfit, but as karen told me, “flipflops are my shoe of choice in the summer” so i felt better. i kept thinking about how much space i would have saved had i only packed that one pair. (ok, make that two pairs – i totally had a matching pair as a back-up in the case of flip-flop blowout disaster.). wearing flipflops every day on our trip (and literally every day since breaking my toe) has made one outfit decision easier. and we all know that the shoe thing for most women is stressful and cumbersome when it comes to packing. jay and i exchange laughing texts when we are packing for respective trips about how many pairs of shoes we are including. what is that they say? #firstworldproblems. that’s for sure.

regardless, these flipflops have seen great days. i suspect when they finally bite the dust i will want to add them to our special box….the place we store things that are mementos from, well, everything.

the 5 miles a day or so that these have walked have included time spent on the ball field watching the boy play softball, that batting stance i watched for years, the fielding and play where i can practically see the strategy wheels turning in his brain. what a joy to see him laughing in the field or loping around the bases. my amazing son.

these flipflops have prepared dinner together with the boys on a rooftop patio, toasting with red wine, talking and sharing and watching the rain come in over the boston harbor.

these flipflops went on a merry 7 mile (brisk, cause that’s how they roll) walk through the commons and the gardens, stopping to make the boys pose for pictures and totally play tourist.IMG_2147

they went on the crowded T train with david standing on my left, hoping to stave off people tromping on my little toe. the one time i didn’t have them on? – when we rented bowling shoes, mine two different sizes, one waay too big so as to fit this toe oddity.

these flipflops strolled on the beach by the cape, sat by the bonfire in rhode island, found their way to lots of coffeehouses everywhere along the way (starbucks and wonderful privately-owned cafes), walked along canalside in buffalo. IMG_2351they have since walked with my childhood best friend, the one who knows my mom, my dad, my brother, my grandparents on both sides, my growing up dogs, my old bike, my shag rug in my bedroom, probably still my locker combinations. they have embraced the farmer’s market every saturday, with cherished company and just the two of us. they have been there as we geeked our way cheering, eating, drinking and visiting through the kingfish game. they have walked our crazy aussie-dog. with them on, i have laughed, i have argued, i have tripped on uneven sidewalks snorting my own self-disapproval, i have cried (leaving the boy and the girl always always makes me cry.)

there is a quote on the side of the july 2017 edition of real simple magazine. It reads, “some of the best memories are made in flip flops.” (kellie elmore). I don’t know who kellie is, but i wholeheartedly agree. linda and i were talking on the phone just the other day. she said that she and bill once again agreed that it’s every single moment that counts; we must live every single moment. how many times i have re-learned this. how many more times i suspect i will re-learn this. i expect that i will live them in boots, in slippers, in heels, barefoot. but if every one of them were in flipflops i would be ok with that. these 68 miles have rocked.

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