reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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my big sister and his big brother. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

and then, there were avocados.

the box arrived on the doorstep and, almost immediately, the text came. “delivered to front porch,” my sister texted, “hooray!!!”.

this was not a small box. this box had 17 avocados in it. and not 17 measly avocados you purchase at the local wisconsin grocery store. 17 that were grown lovingly on a tree in florida, some of which weigh over a pound. a pound!

beautiful golden-green on the inside, they arrived on a difficult day and were a welcome sight from my big sister. yes, ken’s words – “life’s vicissitudes” were wreaking a bit o’ havoc and my big sister’s avocados were a balm, like his big brother’s reassurances and caring and teasing on the phone later that week.

we don’t live close to either of those siblings. one lives in florida, with a beautiful home and pool in front of a lush swamp and lake and one lives in colorado in a lovely neighborhood with stunning peonies and a view of the front range. we don’t get to see them often. but they have a way of showing up. and, for that, we are grateful.

in this world today with broad radiuses of residence instead of the close-by of years past, it’s not easy to stay engaged with those you love. you wish to spend more time with them – the ordinary kind of moments – to see what life is like, to step a tiny bit into their shoes or at least have a window into their day-to-day. it’s hard to hear of other families and easy sunday dinners, errands with elderly parents, adventures with grown children. i’ve pined more than once to go browse at target with my daughter or have a pedicure with my sister or watch my niece hold and play with her toddler-boy or view a hallmark-extravaganza with my other niece or, even harder, coffeesit once again with my sweet momma. i’ve thought about all the time i spent at tennis courts or in baseball fields with my son and wished to again watch from the sidelines as he bats and runs and fields or lobs tennis balls over the net. i’ve thought about preparation for fall and pumpkins and apple pies and corn mazes. i’ve thought about the famous calzones made in my sister-in-law’s colorado kitchen, the sweet niece who would sip red wine with me and taking a walk around the lake with david’s momma. and then, the chance to see all the rest…our families, friends, newly-found cousins, wider concentric circles still connected but a little further out.

these years have taken a toll. though we have traveled a little bit, it’s not like pre-pandemic. and there is so much to miss when wisconsin is not where everyone is, so much yearning. i know Making Time for others is important and, with work and budget and covid restraints, we try the-best-we-can to do whatever-we-can. it doesn’t eliminate the missing.

today is a good day for guac.

*****

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

whole30 fajita bowl


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those dang cupcakes. [merely-a-thought monday]

8:40pm: hostess cupcakes become the topic of discussion outside at the table on our deck in the dark of falling dusk.

8:42pm: despite the fact that they are not gluten-free or dairy-free and, frankly, we aren’t really sure what they are made of, we mutually yearn for a hostess cupcake.

8:44pm: we look at each other, the flame of the tabletop miniature citronella tiki torch dancing on our wide-eyed laughter.

8:45pm: we put on sandals and grab a set of keys and the southport-pantry-now-morelli’s-deli-change-purse.

8:46pm: we are high-tailing it to ann’s corner store, walking fast to get there before its 9pm close.

8:53pm: we arrive and scurry down the snack-food aisle, in our singlemindedness missing the large hostess rack of goodies in the middle of the front aisle of the store. slight panic ensues. and then…

8:54pm: we find the rack. he leans forward to grab the box of eight cupcakes, but i point to the two-pack.

8:55pm: we purchase the two-pack, gleeful, an aura radiating around us as we leave the store and walk more sedately home.

9:08pm: we are home. we sit out back, open the cellophane and clink cupcakes.

9:12pm: we decide they are not what they used to be. or, we are not what we used to be.

9:14pm: we acknowledge the melancholy, the poignancy of the moment, wiping chocolate from the corners of our mouths.

as the evening wore down: we talk about the new eating patterns we are starting the very day you are reading this, eliminating from our diet all things not-clean so as to re-set. we – on this night on our deck – plan out what to eat in the remaining days – before today – our pantry and fridge will be reflective of our whole, unprocessed food choices, eliminating refined sugars and additives. it’s just a 30-day thing – and there is a plant-based version – but, having immersed in it before, we know we will notice a direct correlation of the food and beverage choices we make and the difference in how we feel. yada yada. so we make the decision and the new airpods i’ve purchased will help keep my two nieces close at hand as we are walking into this together.

10:12pm: we turn out the light and, in the dark, giggle about our frantic dash-for-delicacies adventure. and, in deference to the power of the hostess-cupcake, we nod and agree that there is still something about those fudgy-frosting-covered moist-chocolate-cupcakes filled with a light-marshmallowy-filling and flourished with a swirl-of-vanilla-icing. though simply sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and white flour, all of which are “basically free of any naturally occurring nutrients”, those cupcakes are a bank of memories and a touchback to the anticipation of the first joyous bite.

today: we admit to all of you, even though they are not likely to reappear any time soon, we will continue to hold hostess cupcakes gently and lovingly in our hearts.

*****

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


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hand-holders. [d.r. thursday]

in my memory bank, i can remember my sweet momma and poppo holding hands. they would grasp each other firmly. they would hold pinkies. they would hold hands often. and, for me, it was one of those telltale signs that they loved each other, despite the day, despite the challenges, despite everything. my dad would not let my momma cross a parking lot without holding her hand. my dad would not let my momma walk on a sidewalk without holding her hand. for that matter, my dad would not let my momma walk on the road side of the sidewalk – ever. he placed himself between momma and the cars zipping past. he opened doors wherever they went and waited to close the car door after she got in. a gentleman always, his stock of niceties was plentiful and momma never had to remind him.

i am a hand-holder. and i, obviously, come by it honestly. but i haven’t always been around hand-holding types. some folks just prefer not to hold hands. for me, it is an intimate sharing of moments, a warm reassurance, a statement of adoration. to adjust one’s stride to match another’s, to hold their hand, is gentle reinforcement – of pooh-piglet “making sure of you” right-here variety.

i don’t know if david’s mom and dad held hands through the years; i haven’t known them that long. but columbus is a sweet man who tears up when it’s time for anyone to leave, who loves to hug, who has a glint in his eye that says, “i like you! you’re in!” and so, i would imagine that he has been a handholding proponent, an advocate of a firm and tender grasp. and david’s mom stands with this man who, if he still understood and remembered all that had gone before these sadly-ever-increasing dementia-ed days, would still grab her hand, declaring his undying love and devotion.

i cannot think of a time that we do not hold hands. we hike holding hands. walk the ‘hood holding hands. watch movies holding hands. sit together to talk holding hands. it is a gift i relish – a many-many-years-yearning during which i spent years watching others. and pining.

in this painting columbus stands in the cornfields of iowa, the place he grew up, the place he packs to go regularly in his memory care apartment. jeanne finds him with bundles of clothing secured by belts or wrapped up between the sleeves tied in button-down shirts. he’s excited to see her when she comes to visit, a new limit that must be incredibly difficult for her to fathom after decades of marriage. most of the time he still knows that she is ‘the one’ – the one he would choose most in the world to hold hands with. but he is confused and sometimes he does not readily recognize her for who she is. he is still settling into his facility. it’s not likely he will go to iowa again now.

it matters not. together they stroll the halls and step into the colorado sunshine. jeanne, steadfast and brave, chats about the family and reminisces and columbus tells tales of the things he believes he has seen that day, visions of beloveds who have gone before, of places he cherishes and stories of the way-past. they walk slower than they used to; columbus breathes with a little bit of oxygen helping him along. jeanne checks in to see how far he wishes to walk, how tired he has become.

i imagine jeanne takes his hand and squeezes it. and i imagine columbus smiles. he knows she likes him. and, just like piglet, he knows she’s right there.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

browse DAVID’S paintings on his virtual website


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and we vamp. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

text message

delayed gratification.  it’s something we are growing used to in these days of days.  anticipatory glee.  it’s all an exponential wait-for-it.  as relatively impatient people, these are mostly new learnings.  there is no date on which we can hang our all-will-be-normal hats.  we must vamp until we know.

a long, long time ago, in the end of march, there was an opinion written by a woman with two teenage daughters who had a new appreciation for the way her grandparents lived.  she expressed that these grandparents owned a tiny home and had simple furnishings.  they took pleasure in the most basic of things:  dancing in the living room, watching a bare minimum on tv, sitting on the porch, crossword puzzles, having conversation, walking the familiar sidewalks of their tiny town over and over again, handwashing the dishes.  in the midst of this pandemic she could see their shining appreciation of the smallness, the stillness.  she could see the brilliance.

it occurs to me that we are living elements of her grandparents’ lives; i hope the same wisdoms will be bestowed upon us.  in the time after we have finished our work, we dance on the patio, watch little on tv, converse together, in texts, on the phone, on videoconferences, across driveways.  we sit on the deck or in the sunroom and watch spring chuggingly arrive.  we walk the same sidewalks we have walked together for years, noticing small changes: the heaved concrete or the bloomed daffodils, new mulch in gardens or new sturdy fencing.  we cook dinner; we do the dishes.  we are both quiet as we wait for what will come and we are just a little noisy in the moment.

to everything there is a season.  a time to plan.  where we will go, what we will do, who we will visit.  gratification, yes, delayed, but sage learnings in the moment.

one of the memorable texts of this waiting-place was one from a friend.  after some really serious life conversation, back and forth texting, she wrote, “let’s go out and have a drink.”  before i could wonder when we could do that, her next text arrived, “next year,” she added.

in the meanwhile we’ll do the dishes by hand and walk the sidewalks, waiting and planning, yearning, vamping till the song starts.

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

wineandbeertogether website box

 


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i didn’t know. [k.s. friday]

i didn't know song box

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 12.03.36 PM

yesterday, the senate passed the Music Modernization Act, a complex bill that is supposed to help songwriters in these days of streaming.  as quoted in one article questioning the feasibility of pushing through this bill as is:  “…niche labels and independent musicians face either a zero, or statistically insignificant, chance of a return on their investment through streaming. many report barely paying for a sandwich with their royalties.” (maria schneider, musicanswers.org) yes. creatives are still facing a grotesque misalignment of power and income despite an effort to supposedly be “helped”.

i didn’t know, back when i released my first album, that there would be another…and another…and another…

i didn’t know how vulnerable i would feel each time i released a collection of my soul, turned into tracks of music.

i didn’t know how grateful i would feel each time i stood on stage and spoke to an audience that was there to hear this music – my music.

i didn’t know how many stores, in the early days, would carry these cds (and cassette tapes, way back when), how many times i would be live on QVC-TV, how many radio interviews i would be relishing.

i didn’t know how humbling it would feel that many people would respond to something in my music, something would resonate with them, something would be healing or heartening or touch them.

i didn’t know, through the years, how many thousands of cds would sell, how many boxes i would carry, how many wholesale shows or retail shows i would be present at or how many phone calls i (or wonderful people who worked with me) would make or receive, taking and shipping orders.

i didn’t know that the BMI royalty statements i was getting earlier would soon decline as our world and the internet changed them drastically.  the one i got two days ago for a period of the year included 59,000 performance counts and a $47.47 check.  streaming has made it unnecessary to purchase a physical cd or even pay for and download an artist’s music and so i agree with the writer who said: “streaming revenue for most independent musicians doesn’t even amount to pocket lint.” (m.schneider)

i didn’t know that the yearning inside me to compose and record more music to be released on cds would be stymied by the cost vs earnings debacle that has been created by an industry that doesn’t lift up the independent, while the behemoths remain behemoth.

i didn’t know how sad it would make me.  i didn’t know how it would change me.  i didn’t know i would keep wondering ‘what next?’  i didn’t know i would be seeking answers to where i stand as a composer.  i didn’t know my piano would call from my studio and i would ignore it, feeling betrayed by a profession that should pay my bills like any other.

i just didn’t know.

purchase the physical cd THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY or purchase a download of I DIDN’T KNOW (track 4) on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

I DIDN’T KNOW from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1998, 2000 kerri sherwood


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self-control. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

Pinochio BIGcopy copy 2

yesterday on her way out of church one of my friends stopped to talk to me.  she said (words to the effect) that the only reason she was able to sing the last song (which was o beautiful for spacious skies) was because the last line has the expression “self-control” in it.  more specifically, “america! america!  God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.”  she asked if i had picked it intentionally, this one patriotic song she felt she could actually sing at this moment in time – beCAUSE of the expression “self-control.”  i couldn’t stake claim to the wisdom of picking this one; ptom had requested it weeks earlier for yesterday.  but i understood her completely.

self-control.  america.  it doesn’t seem, these days, that these go together.  if you’ve ever had the chance to look at a small child’s coloring book – you know, the ones where they have puzzles in them also…the one where there are four shapes, for example, three circles and a square and at the top of the page it says, “circle/color the shape that doesn’t go with the others”, you will know what i mean when i say this.  perhaps there is a coloring book page with the words “america”, “division”, “polarity”, “untruths”, “inequality”, “retrograding” and “self-control”; the directions on the top of the page read “circle the word that doesn’t go with the others.”  you would be hard-pressed to NOT circle “self-control”.  so i understand marykay’s ability to sing this song with the YEARNING of the soul of God confirmed in self-control.

this coming sunday, the other weekend flanking this week of the fourth of july, the sending hymn will be this is my song, lyrics by lloyd stone and georgia harkness with music by jean sibelius (the tune of finlandia) and i AM choosing it intentionally.  these are the lyrics:

this is my song o God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine. 
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

my country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
so hear my song, o God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

this is my prayer, o God of all earth’s kingdoms,
your kingdom come; on earth your will be done.
o God, be lifted up till all shall serve you,
and hearts united learn to live as one.
so hear my prayer, o God of all the nations;
myself i give you; let your will be done.

for the world i want to live in is a world of peace.  it is people (each of us striving individually and in community) in a world continuing to move toward MORE unity, MORE equality, LESS judgment, MORE truth, LESS division, MORE generosity, LESS polarization, LESS elitism, MORE inclusiveness, LESS hatred, LESS self-serving indulgence, LESS excuses, MORE respect, with the soul of God (or whatever you call this spiritual magnificence) clearly demonstrated in our mindful self-control.

happy independence day.

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

really, i always tell the truth sometimes. ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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held in grace.

it was snowing when we woke up this morning. huge white flakes. gorgeous. it’s april 2 so that isn’t so unusual in wisconsin, but we all have spring knocking at our hearts – waiting for it to happen. we walked in it…heavy snow boots, down jackets, earmuffs, gloves…it was cold…we were exhilarated. much of the snow was melting as we walked, the intermittent weak sun warm enough to melt it, just as the grey clouds made more snow swirl around us. we talked about waiting.

living with an artist and being an artist can be a challenge. we both feel the time of fallow needed to generate creativity. we get frustrated in that fallow. we rest in that fallow. we are held in the grace of it. and hold vigil for the spring.early tulip

his newest paintings are part of a new series. i stand in front of his easel and marvel.  the series is called “held in grace”. we hold each other in grace. (well, most of the time.) others hold us in grace. our universe holds us in grace. God holds us in grace. the freedom to be (in our case, human) grows in grace and green sprouts push through the fallow, becoming exquisite expressions – be they tulips or amazing paintings or pieces of music that make us cry or a dance we share in the kitchen.

we are waiting. and in each wait-full moment i am grateful. for the white flakes, the green sprouts, the fallow that makes me yearning-crazy and the ordinary extraordinary moments that i know exist because i can feel them. because i am lucky enough to be alive. because i am lucky enough to be held in grace.

www.kerrisherwood.com

itunes: kerri sherwood