reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the old brick wall. [d.r. thursday]

they saved the old brick wall.

the sign we have in our yard out in front of that brick wall is a proclamation of things we hold to be true. a few phrases down is: water is life.

yes. water is life. and for the last few days, we have been dealing with yet another water issue…this one seemingly the culminating water issue, though just writing that makes me want to knock wood. suddenly, the underground water line from the curb to our house was leaking, gurgling up through the muddy grass, puddling and icing on the sidewalk and down the neighbor’s driveway and into the street. we blocked the walk with our old rickety adirondack chairs that featured signs that read “sidewalk closed”. and we called the utility department, which labeled it “an emergency”.

the water utility folks came out monday morning and the week’s upheaval started. the engineer who came and gave us all the information about having the service line replaced was kind and patient and reassuring. i have spoken to this man at least thirteen times over the past couple days and we are considering him (and his wife who we haven’t yet met) – and all the participants of what seemed like grand central station in these last days – members of our new friend group.

though there are less invasive options to replacing the get-out-the-lead old service line, it would seem that the universe was having a good ole time and made those options impossible for our situation. when the boss came inside to tell me they had to trench the yard, i could tell by the look on his face what was coming. already working for about four hours, they were unable to “pull” the pipe through our old line and so it was back to ground zero.

they left about six hours after that. back hoes and dump trucks, pickups and extra scoops and other large equipment lined the street, the front yard was dug up, big slabs of sidewalk by the road and by the front door removed, bushes gone, our big old tree limbed to accommodate the equipment, the basement floor jackhammered, the closet wall along the front of the house removed and a new hole installed in the foundation for accessible water line placement. shiny copper was laid in the five foot deep trench from curb to our home. and the number of very hardworking people through our house or out front during a very long day was at least a dozen.

dogdog was in the bedroom having a hairy snit all day, eliminated from the fun. we were in the midst of it all, alternately working on stuff and pacing. it was a lot.

i’ve seen the yard ravaged before; when we first moved in, decades ago, we had an undisclosed underground oil tank removed. the oil tank surprisingly rotated on the front-loader and sludge spilled out, which they rapidly covered with kitty litter and then excavated it all out, digging inches below the surface, removing everything that resembled landscaping.

and so i know that there is a next day to what the yard looks like today. it will take a good long time for the trench-fill to settle and the city-guy recommended not sodding until next fall to avoid disappointment with the very large dimple that would invariably form in the yard. so…patience through the winter and the spring and the summer. i told him we’d have our neighbors call him if they wanted to complain about the aesthetics of our yard.

jen wrote, “it’s so hard to see bits of our life story destroyed.” pretty emotional in the middle of all the chaos, i agreed.

the guys in and out of the house were aware. we knew they didn’t want to dig up the yard and wreak any more havoc than we felt. we are grateful for their careful demolition, their problem-solving expertise and for the obvious camaraderie they all have, working together to a common goal. every spoke in the wheel counted yesterday, counts every single day. together is something for which we should all express thanks. none of us do this – life – alone.

before they left, most of these excavating, plumbing, mechanical, engineering specialists wished us a happy thanksgiving. thinking of everyone and everything we hold close and for which we have enormous gratitude, we wished them the same.

we’ll rebuild the yard and put in new flowers and bushes, new ornamental grasses, new landscaping. we’ll hope that the old tree will withstand the jostling and limbing and its root system backhoed into pieces. we have water again. in this world where so many do not, we are lucky enough, lottery-lucky if we really think about our globe, to have fresh, clean water … and now through shiny copper pipes.

and the old brick wall is still standing.

happy thanksgiving.

*****

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


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shabby chic. [two artists tuesday]

i was grateful when they attached a name to it – shabby chic. my inclination to love things with the texture of peeling paint and a bit rough-hewn was vindicated…wait!…not only vindicated, but reinforced by the decorating fashion industry. phew! that meant that the old screen doors on the wall, the glass-less window frames tucked here and there, the chopped-off-side-of-the-vintage-desk end table, the vintage black suitcases, the metal radiator grate catty-corner in the foyer, the old door laid horizontal on horses, the tin ceiling panels…these were all fashion statements and not statements of making-do-decor. such a relief.

i must say, however, that i wouldn’t have changed anything anyway. these all make me happy. they are cozy and warm and, mostly, they have history. and it’s the history-that-remains-a-mystery and the history-that-i-know-a-smidge-about that i love. i had no idea whose screen door screens these were when i got them at a wholesale trade show years ago but i could imagine the sound they made when they slammed shut. nor did i know where the old black window with one colored glass square in my studio was from. the old four-foot tall window frames were being thrown out of the historic lakefront building where i had my offices, making room for new windows. i couldn’t bear to see them in the trashpile and the way i adored those offices made it easy to take them home. someone literally chopped off the side of the old desk leaving three drawers and a rough edge and selling it in the estate sale for $5. you can’t see the rough edge unless you really look and this piece has been in the living room for years and years now, serving a purpose and feeling loved. the tin, well, who knows? what i do know is that they make marvelous places to magnet photographs and cards and tiny little signs with sayings that help each day. so, yeah, i guess my point is that whether i know the back-story or not, i really appreciate the warmth of long living they bring. they sit alongside many rocks and sticks that have made short and long journeys home with me, in the back of little baby scion or in backpacks with corks that come home from times spent with my children and moments i want to remember.

i haven’t purchased a lot of brand new furniture. there was the first herculon-fabric overstuffed couch with two matching overstuffed chairs, a tweed in lovely shades of very-early 1980s brown.

well over a decade later that was donated to a youth group and a new couch in mid 1990s floral barn red and forest green with a reclining wingchair of red and white checks made its way into the living room. both of those pieces still have a place in the house – though no longer in the living room. the couch, still very comfortable, is covered with a black slipcover and has a place in the sitting room with a hand-me-down lazyboy, an old farm table and an antique copper boiler tub that stores our roadtrip writings.

there’s a black leather couch in the living room now that has been there over a decade. it shares the space with the old secretary that was my brother’s, the bistro table that was in the second story porch of my old offices, a vintage typewriter 20 bought me for my birthday a couple years ago, a few paintings i spattered, the desk-turned-end-table you now know too much about and the driftwood we brought back from a trip to long island. the two big branches we painted white and potted to hold happy lights still stand steadfastly happying up the room and each day i pass them i wonder if they are too holiday-ish. i quickly reject this as too big a decision and plug them in.

it is in recent days i have had the good fortune of hearing from a dear old friend i taught with in my first two years of teaching way-back-when. we soon will have a phone chat and catch up on everything from a-z. what lois doesn’t realize is that i have thought of her simply every day…as it is her dresser that stands in our bedroom of vintage size that couldn’t really accommodate one of those bedroom suites you see in magazines. instead, this old sturdy five-drawer sits opposite the windows of the sunrise and hold my dad’s peanut can, one of the precious items i have of my sweet poppo’s, the planters peanut blue metal can he tucked in his drawer that always held a few dollars and was the place he sent you if you were going to go pick up the pizza.

as i look at the top of that dresser right this second, pictures of d and me and of my beloved children are on top. there is a small piece of the carpet padding from the irresponsible-gasket-flood waiting to go in the special box next to the yago-sangria-wine-bottle-turned-lamp i made when i was 19 and there is a card in a glass frame that reads: “someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin and they will say, what have you done with your life? and though there are many moments i think i will remember, in the end, i will be proud to say, i was one of us.”

all of this – the stuff with history i know, the stuff with history i don’t know, the peeling paint, the rough-hewn, the used and the it-took-me-a-long-time-to-decide new…all of it – around me reminds me of that and is the connecting thread. of the concentric circles of me, of us. probably that’s why “shabby chic” speaks to me. it is most definitely why it works for me.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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two artists tuesday

typewriter copy 2anyone walking in our home knows this is true:  i’m a vintage type.  our home is not populated with new things fresh from the pottery barn catalog.  instead, it is filled with things that are re-purposed, things that are old, things that have some history, things we haven’t replaced with new things.  even our manner of work is kinda vintage, although this blog and our online product lines aren’t evidence of that.  but as an acoustic-analog-type musician and a brush-to-the-canvas painter, we pretty much scream
“vintage”.

one of my most treasured physical memories of my poppo are a few old small wooden boxes we found next to his workbench.   they would likely have been thrown away, but i knew he had “saved them” for some future purpose – perhaps holding random fasteners or nuts and bolts.  we carefully wrapped them and brought them home and they now sit in our sunroom (next to our not-so-vintage-and-really-awesome nespresso machine) and they hold nespresso capsules (which are recycled) and a collection of old clothespins my sweet momma used to use on the old clothesline in our backyard growing up.  it’s not the fancy stuff.  it’s the vintage stuff.

i lusted over this typewriter in the antique store.  i’m still thinking about it.  if it’s still there one day when we are visiting that shop and i have a little bit of extra spending money, i will buy it.  i’m not sure what i will do with it, but it speeeeeaks to me.  my sweet momma loved typewriters too.  what is it about those??  i think correctotype and purple carbon paper, the workout your fingers got, how it feels when you take the return handle to move to the next line down of type, and that really great sound -think of it…hear it- when you pull the paper out of the roll.  it’s visceral.

the stove/oven in our kitchen is, ummm, old, and, although i prefer to think of it as ‘vintage’, it doesn’t necessarily count as  romantic ‘vintage’.  it was here when we bought the house in 1989 and had likely been here at least ten years at that point; the people who owned the house before us were not the buy-new or even fix-it-up type.  matter of fact, they took it to a new level, putting contact paper on the countertops and backsplash and offering to teach us how to replace it.  (eww.  the sheer bacteria-breeding-ground-ness of that makes me shiver.  one of the first things i did was remove that stuff.)  but, back to the stove/oven.  it continues to work and i can’t tell you how many meals i have cooked on it and how many people have eaten those meals.  (if you merely consider almost 29 years and maybe just one meal a day, that is 10,585 times that this appliance has served me and my family and it is likely about 40 years old.)  my sister has had multiple stoves/ovens in the time i have had this one.  granted, she has enjoyed lots of updated features i haven’t had, but i haven’t (knock wood) spent anything to date on a stove/oven since 1989.  amazing.  it’s a testament to kenmore’s older appliances.  someday i know we will have a new one, but in the meanwhile this workhorse is not taking up room in a dump somewhere, with a half-life of a billion years (ok, slight exaggeration) and i feel good about that.  it’s not pretty, it’s not high-tech; i feel it has earned the label ‘vintage’ and no one seems to run – aghast- out of our kitchen because it graces the spot for ‘stove/oven’.  there is something to be said for that.

we just had breakfast; d made it as he does each morning these days.  he cooked it on that stove and it was deeeeelicous.  and me?  i’m going to get out our coin jar and count what’s in there.  maybe there will be enough to go back to that antique shop so i can bring home this typewriter.

I’M A VINTAGE TYPE – this link will take you to wall art, cards, leggings, throw pillows, bags, fun stuff

 

society 6 info jpeg copy

 

vintage type FRAMED ART PRINT copy

framed art prints, metal wall art, cards

 

vintage type SQUARE PILLOW copy

throw pillows all shapes & sizes, floor pillows, clocks, rugs

 

Vintage tyoe LEGGINGS copy

leggings/yoga pants

 

vintage type COFFEE MUG copy          Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 10.49.14 AM

 

vintage type TOTE BAG copy

tote bags, phone cases, laptop sleeves

 

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

 

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on A VINTAGE TYPE

i’m a vintage type ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

 

 


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#yougolittlescion

FullSizeRender(1)in 414 miles our little scion’s odometer will read 195,000 miles. i have driven in it all but 250 miles of that, having bought it used-brand-new. every time we get in it for roadtrips, we pat the dashboard and say, “you go, little scion!” we tell it we believe it will easily travel to 300,000 miles, its little organic self saying, “iknowican, i knowican, i knowican.”

i have two cars. one is this little scion (the 2006 model that looks like a toaster.) the other is my 1971 volkwagen super beetle. i treasure both. my sweet momma and poppo ordered the vw new before they went to europe back in 1971 and drove it around europe for weeks, before shipping it back to the docks in ny (i still remember driving there to get it and bring it home.) in 1976 it became mine and has been a thread since then.

which brings me to our little scion. the xb is one of the un-fanciest cars out there. you had to pay extra (which i didn’t) to have armrests. there are no maplights; there are, however, blue lights which light up your feet – which makes me wonder in amusement what the good folks at scion were doing when they decided that was an important feature. these lights generally come in handy when you have new shoes and like to look at them a lot. or if you like the color blue. the radio display has various colors you can choose from – early mood radio, i’m guessing. regardless, i carry a handy-dandy flashlight, cause it’s pretty dark with few dashboard lights and no maplights.

so two cars. neither of them new. we are surrounded by people who are in retirement or planning ahead to retirement or are in a position to purchase new vehicles. all of them are lovely, with conveniences and style. yet, right now, we choose to padiddle along in our little scion and i can’t help but think about how this little car has been a part of my life, has served me, and now us, through the years.

it was there when i drove back and forth across the country, wholesale-ing my cd’s at shows, rascal flatts and phil vassar music blaring. it was there the day i took the girl to college, glowing pink with dorm-room-stuff. more importantly, it was there when i drove home, tears streaming down my face. it was there, but not glowing any particular color, when i took the boy to college and each time i drove all over the midwest to watch him play tennis.   it was there, somehow getting me home from the airport in the early morning i flew home the day my daddy died; i have no recollection of that drive. it was there in every drive-straight-through to visit momma in florida, to be there in times of sickness, to celebrate her book release. it was there the day i got a text message while driving to florida that my sweet momma had died, keeping me safe as i steered to the shoulder. it was there bringing our adopted babycat home and it was there when dogdog became part of our life. it was there driving from the church to the beachhouse on lake michigan to celebrate our wedding and driving to the mountains of colorado for an amazing honeymoon. it was there when, somehow unnoticed prior to 186000 miles, the spark plugs and rings imploded right at the exit to a rest area, not too far from a dealership that immediately set to work on it so we could rush home to see the boy before he moved out east. with only five windshields (it has this propensity for attracting breakages), four sets of tires, and three sets of brakes, (and yes, new plugs and rings) it has moved the kiddos in or out of minneapolis, appleton, indianapolis, chicago, the high mountains of colorado. it looks a little worse for wear, a few dings and scratches, but who among us doesn’t? it was there in the snow, in ice and in sunshine, dutifully doing its little-scion-job.

so, talk about thready… i am attached to this little car. its un-fancy-ness makes me proud. it’s a workhorse, packs better than most vehicles its size, and has protected me and us for almost 200,000 miles. thready indeed.

300,000 here we come. #yougolittlescion