reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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so much tupperware. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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the most important tupperware – the pieces that i will likely save forever and ever – are the sippy cups with lids and the brightly colored small everything-in-a-bowl-bowls that The Girl and The Boy used when they were little.  years into college, The Girl came home, went directly to the cabinet, took out a sippy cup, went to a drawer below, pulled out a lid, poured some juice into the cup, attached the lid and announced, laughing, “i don’t want to adult anymore.”  if it were that easy to avoid, i suspect all of us would be using sippy cups fairly often.  but oh…those sippy cups and those bowls.  a trove of little-kid-memories, a rainbow of cups and bowls waiting for maybe the next generation.

my sister sold tupperware.  well, at least that’s what i remember.  she also sold mary kay products, so i wonder if i am getting confused.  nevertheless, she has more tupperware than anyone i know, so i suspect i am right about her long-ago-sales-effort.  as a result, i have tupperware that spans the years…clearish-white picnic-size salt and pepper shakers, an iceberg lettuce keeper, orange canisters in the closet, tools that zip the peel off oranges, section and core an apple, cut around the pith of a grapefruit, make gravy-making easier, things with lids that store other things.   my hands can still feel working the push-button on the top of the decanter my sweet momma always used for iced tea.

this room – at the school days antique mall – appealed to both of us.  all the tupperware was organized by color.  it made it interesting and easy to be around.  it felt less haphazard and more intentional.  it made us want to look at it.  there is another booth that we both cannot even think about entering; it is a chaos of piled articles, none of which stand out from the mess.  the organization was something that, i’m quite sure, took some time, but it paid off.  the investment in effort to make it appealing, the deliberate intention to be ordered made this booth more worthy of time spent.  i appreciated that.  it wasn’t lost on me that this organizing philosophy of tupperware could apply to most anything.  taking one’s time, baby step by baby step, clean and organized and with a well-intentioned end goal in mind leads to an outcome far better than what any chaos could yield.  hmmm. where else could that apply…..

i’m thinking that anyone who has ever wanted vintage tupperware or needs to replace a piece of their own collection will find it in this place.  and, because of the neat, clean orderliness, they will purchase it, trusting the integrity of the piece in the sale.  it’s much harder to think about purchasing a piece from the piled mess in a far corner of another room in the building.  were i to want something specific to actually be able to use, i would not look for it there.

regardless, i have enough tupperware.  all i really need is those sippy cups and those plastic bowls.

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

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a small adjustment. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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we sat arm-in-arm in the megaphone.  we had been hiking in the snowy woods and it was the driest place to sit.  we’ve written about this megaphone before; it is a nature megaphone and it is supposed to amplify the sounds of nature from the woods and into the woods.  because someone didn’t maybe quite get the purpose, the megaphone is actually pulling sound from the street – a county highway through the woods on the narrow side of the amplifier, the side that draws in sound.  a small adjustment in its location would afford it the purpose for which it was designed.  it was built lovingly as an eagle scout project, but until this small adjustment in placement happens it will, unfortunately, not be as effective as it could be.

a small adjustment.  how many times would just a small adjustment create a path closer to success, a path more in alignment with purpose, a path that maximizes effectiveness, a megaphone that actually amplifies the amazing nature in the woods?  we get stuck in a line of thinking and, full-speed-ahead, think that is the only route, the only way.  until someone says something – a suggestion of a small adjustment – in thinking, in action, in REaction, in placement of our focus.  an ah-ha moment.

in the recording studio, as really in every musical performance, there is a groove.  it is the place where the tempo of the piece being played is “right”… everything comes together and syncs, the intent of the piece shines.  sensitive musicians and conductors can feel any deviation from that groove.  when it’s off, too slow, too fast, it doesn’t deliver the same emotional message.  just a slight adjustment brings it into center.

it’s the same with tuning.  A440 pitch is the universal standard tuning pitch.  a quarter tone off here or there makes a difference; not only can you hear this slight adjustment, but you can feel that the vibration is quivering, off its mark.

two people.  a difference of opinion.  the quivering vibration is palpable.  a small adjustment left or right, quietly spoken or wisely quiet, pivots them back to the heart-core, brings back solid ground.

that same kind of vibration…present in any gathering of people…in sync or magnets repelling each other…with underlying fields of pre-formed assumptions getting in the way of the small slight adjustments needed – the ah-ha’s – to be in actual alignment, stronger together than separate, amplifying the real sound of this earth – in the groove, in tune, on the mark, grounded, mutually, cooperatively, collaboratively on-purpose.

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

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187. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

187 box framed copy

i had no idea how much i would love designing.  through the first ten years or so of album covers, i watched.  i sat with my dear friend 20 as he designed so many of my CD jackets and tray cards.  i learned a lot.  not about how to use photoshop or illustrator or quark but i learned about balance and clean design and how to “see”.  so when we started designing for THE MELANGE, that part came more easily.  the photoshop part?  well, that had a bigger learning curve (as does website designing.)  manipulating images and navigating programs without real directions can be a challenge, but i was up for it.  lots of learning.

the thing that really surprised us was when we looked at each of our society6.com stores this week and literally counted our product lines.   there are 187!  187 lines created across the five stores.

187 product lines later, i look back in wonder.

mugs and laptop covers, tote bags, prints and cellphone cases, beach towels, shower curtains…not to mention leggings.  in the course of the last year, i have designed between 50 and 60 pairs of leggings.  leggings with morsels of david’s paintings, leggings with graphics we have designed or photographs we have taken, leggings with words of wisdom, leggings with punchlines, leggings with lyrics.  i was a leggings-designing-maniac.  i think about even just these leggings designed, available on an on-demand site, and think – we could have all those made and just sell them ourselves.  we could sell those designs elsewhere – to a company that already produces leggings.  we could open a shop with all these products – interesting, different, artistic, not mass-produced or mass-purchased.  we could…  there’s no telling what we could do.

i asked david if he knew how many blogposts there had been in this MELANGE year.  he had already done the math.  we each posted 260 posts, totalling 520.  that’s more than a few words, more than a few thoughts, more than a little heart.

immeasurable energy has been devoted to these designs, these blogs, to this MELANGE.  here – at the one-year-old mark – we are astounded by the amount of time and effort this has all taken.  and we look back in wonder.

what has been the reward?

there is no way to underestimate the power of i/we-can-do-this.  the sisu of sticking it out, meeting the challenge, staying in the game, learning.

THE MELANGE is celebrating one year.  but we are celebrating so much more than that.  we look forward in wonder.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this ANNIVERSARY MELANGE NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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THE MELANGE ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

images in THE MELANGE ©️ 2016-2019 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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toward it. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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“the weakest link,” i said, referring to myself as we spoke about the possibility of going snowshoeing.  i had never snowshoed before, but i was excited to try it.  we were planning on renting some snowshoes at a nature center and then snowshoeing through the woods.  but, in the typical manner of someone who has never tried something before, i was a little nervous about keeping up.  i’ve skied before – both downhill and cross-country – and i know it takes some concentrated ability to do it even partially well.  hence, the nerves about snowshoeing.  (do i need to take lessons?  is there a trick to this?  are there things i need to know about balance and leaning in and switching leads and and and?)

our best friends and david told me it was “like walking”.  i seriously doubted that.  i just knew that i would somehow be trailing behind, poles and snowshoes stuck in drifts, head over heels in the snow (literally).

but it didn’t turn out that way.  i worked at having a you-don’t-have-to-be-instantly-good-at-this-relax-kerri attitude all the way there.  i worried all the way there.  did i have the right boots on?  should i have worn a different jacket?  what kind of gloves would be best?  i complicated something that is actually not complicated.  but, even in the middle of my snowshoe-agonizing, i kept walking toward it.

and, ohmygosh, it was fabulous.  when i wrote to The Girl afterward, she referred to it as “your new fave winter activity”.   it is totally ranking up there, high on the list.  what better way to hike a few miles through snowy woods?  the trails were quiet, save for the punctuation of our laughter and the stops where we had lengthy conversations and brad built a snowman.  it was a brilliant day.

so many times we hesitate…we worry…we think we should already know how to do something or be instantly good at it…we resist trying something new….

i just want to say this:  walk toward it.  it could be an experience filled with quiet and laughter,  stretching of muscles intellectual or physical, simple beauty and fresh air in your lungs literal or figurative, and an i-can-do-this illumination.

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

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snowshoes ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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knowledge. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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an unnecessary display of knowledge…we all have been around this one way or another.

i once received a christmas letter that was about 2-3 pages long, single-spaced.  it was from a long-ago friend from elementary school and i was pretty excited to see her name on the return envelope.  i looked forward to hearing what she was up to; we hadn’t been in touch much since “the olden days” and i was happily curious.

so i opened the envelope and settled in to read her news.  it took less than a few seconds to see that this was not about fun stuff that she, her family and extended family had done through the year; instead it was a report – although she included a flowery description of their home in a california beach town, there was a wordy review of books she had read, a detailed, verbose list of accomplishments at work.  there were no anecdotes about family or, for that matter, any talk about family.  i’m still unclear about whether or not she has children.  her language was untypical, conspicuously intellectual verbiage.  it felt pointedly like a display of knowledge.  ick.

we’ve all been subjected to this.  in writing, in person, on tv or podcasts, on facebook or twitter. it’s definitely eye-rolling territory.  my daughter – The Girl – has perfected eye-rolling and i have used her technique from time to time in an effort to deal with the after-effects of such displays of knowledge.

although i am aware of and respect that you have accumulated vast knowledge through the years, i believe i mostly want to know what you think, how something makes you feel, what your story is, how you participate in life with others.  that will tell me what you know and, with gratitude for you and the unique gifts you bring, i will learn from you.

as human beings, it seems like gaining knowledge is our job.  sharing knowledge is our gift.  displaying knowledge is a whole ‘nother thing.  and so unnecessary.

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

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snow angels. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

snow angels copy

it wasn’t exactly a blizzard, but it was a great snowstorm.  it makes me wonder what would have happened if i had wished for something else….

every weekend My Girl drives back and forth across the high mountains.  she is a head coach for a snowboard team in aspen and instructs in telluride, so this four-and-a-half-hour-each-way-she’s-driving-where-there-are-no-guardrails-worry-zone for me is a necessity in her life.  i check the weather and implore her to stay in touch as she goes.  this last week, both of these towns and pretty much every town in-between had “winter storm warning” and THIS posted: avalanche warning copy

not exactly words that warm a momma’s heart.  but kirsten knows i am worried and, probably rolling her eyes, generously lets me know how things are as she goes.  she has good snow angels and i count on them.

i always say things like, “someday you’ll understand” to kirsten and craig, but i know that right now my mom-worrying might just be a burden to them.  i’m grateful they humor me, and i do know that someday they’ll understand.

when we were driving across the country in really bad weather, wendy had the ability to locate us and we were both really relieved for this.  checking in every so often, had something happened, at least she knew where-in-the-world we last were.  a good snow angel.  both The Girl and The Boy can locate me at any time too.  this is not an uncommon device used by families and i know that every mom has eternal gratitude for such a thing.

we took a walk in the freshly fallen snow.  It was very cold out and the wind was blowing, causing drifts across sidewalks and the waves to slam against the rocks on the lakefront.  i was glad not to be driving and my mind wandered back in time to other snowstorms….ones where my children bundled up and ran out to build snowforts and snowmen, ones where i was the one on the road and my sweet momma was the one worrying.  snowstorms when i went outside and played in the snow laughing with beloved old friends.

it had been kind of a long while since i’ve made a snow angel.  we got back from our walk downtown and were in front of our house.  i took david’s hand and we fell backwards into the snow.  i drew in my breath at the cold and laughed, my arms the wings of a snow angel.

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

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snow? [not-so-flawed wednesday]

snow on the lakefront copy

december 2016 – snow on the lakefront

we are waiting patiently.  after all, this is wisconsin.  snow is a part of our climate.  our average annual snowfall total is just over 36″.  we have a long way to go to achieve that.

it snowed in november but didn’t really stay around.  it dusted snow a few days ago.  and that’s really it.  for two people who love to hike in the woods as a quiet snow falls, this is not exactly our cup of tea.  we didn’t even have a white christmas.  i’m thinking of asking for my money back; this is not the winter i anticipated.

now, there are plenty of people here who are perfectly content without snow.  it’s hard to imagine why they would prefer cold grey days to sky-blue-brilliant sun reflected off of snowcover.  i lust over every photo My Girl posts, not just because of those colorado mountains in her pictures, but the snow is spectacular and necessary – regulating the surface temperature of the earth, protecting root systems, melting to help water tables and avoid drought.  this is the point where i am not mentioning all the research i just did for the last hour about snowfall and our earth and climate change.  it’s painful.

anyway….i know it isn’t convenient.  i know if you must move around in it, it can be dangerous.  i know it’s a lot of work.  but, i’m really thinking it’s about time for a good-old-fashioned blizzard.

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

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snow on the lakefront ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson