reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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you can sit on the tooth. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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i did not inherit good teeth.  were i to be a horse i would not be running in the derby or any other horse race (which, right now, sounds like a good thing.)  anyway, i blame my sweet momma and my poppo; i’m not actually sure who gets the lion’s share of the blame, so i will just blame them both (and all the ancestors before them who did not have great teeth – we might as well make this a class-action-blame-suit.)

when i was a child growing up, my parents were quite a bit older than most of my friends’ parents.  this is because my sister is sooooo much older than me.  i was born soooo much later and, so, had parents who had some, maybe, backwards ideas.

drumroll, please.  my sweet momma – adorable as she was – and my sweet poppo – equally adorable – never ever EVER had novocaine when they got fillings.  for some unknown reason, they just toughed it out.  now, i am quite sure you are cringing at the very thought.  those drills.  that hook thing that tries to pull your tongue out of your mouth.  the sounds alone are unnerving.  anyway, they seemed to reach deep inside, thinking they were getting extra points or something, and they endured the pain throughout drilling/filling procedures.

this brings me to me.  because that is what they believed in, i was subjected to the same torture and did not have novocaine until i was well into adulthood and realized it was a thing.  having had two children without the benefit of anesthesia, i can honestly say now that i would rather have more children than go through any more dental work without novocaine or some such numbing agent.

so, this is a long preamble to my story.

i broke a tooth during lent.  you would think things like that wouldn’t happen during lent, but, alas, it did.  my dentist, who is a saint, was out of town and i waited for his return. because of my ptsd from childhood dentistry, i cannot go alone to an appointment like this so david went with me.  he always does.  we try to be there for each other in each of our doctor/dental appointments; it’s part of the i-support-you-in-everything deal.

my favorite moment when we walk in (my REAL favorite moment is when we walk OUT) is when the dental assistant says to david, “you can sit on the tooth.”  it is pretty funny to see a grown man figure out how to sit on a tooth.  it’s even funnier to watch him not feel awkward.  he handles his tooth-sitting with great aplomb, alternately cracking jokes with dan, the dentist, and holding my foot, since he can’t reach my hand from the tooth.

for this dentist who has all the patience in the world for my terror and for david’s presence there on the tooth, i am eternally grateful.   i would totally sit on the tooth for him.

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

ps.  don’t believe anything david says in his post.  i suspect it’s all not true.

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a few warts. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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a burl on a tree is caused by the tree undergoing some form of stress.  indeed, if this were true for humans, we would be loaded with burls.  instead, our burls are inner-burls.  they don’t generally manifest as growths on the outside or present as small or large bark-covered lumpy warts.  instead, our worry makes us lose sleep, have intestinal issues and headaches.  it makes us eat too much, pour the glass of wine a bit too early, seek medicinal solutions or drugged numbing.  it makes us argue and lash out, insist on our own way, slam doors both figurative and literal.  it causes sickness, physical exhaustion, loss of relationship or work or time in our lives.  we become afraid to share our burls with the ‘outside’, scarcely making headway, fearful of the opinion of others, confused by the wart in our lives.

we should be like trees.  the burls cover with bark, insulating from the outside yet evident to the outside.  they grow in response to the stress of disease or injury or insects, but a tree may continue to live with these burls indefinitely.   actually removing the burl exposes the tree to infection. the burl wood is prized, with swirling grain patterns.  often, burls are harvested (both legally and illegally), with stunning furniture and wooden bowls the goal of burl-wood-turners.  these trees stand tall and mighty, growing from seedlings, co-existing with disease, injury, insects and, even, together with trees more beautiful sans burls. they wear their wrinkled protuberances with grace.  they don’t rid themselves of the evidence of life amid stressors, seeking botox to hide irregularities and minimize affirmation of living.  instead they continue on, growing and growing and growing – despite a few warts.

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

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pray for our nation. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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i am a sign-reader.  whether i am driving or riding in the car, i read signs.  billboards, people’s clever license plates, bumper stickers, storefronts, oh, and road signs.  there are certain areas of the country where signs for attorneys are rampant.  other areas tout strong religious beliefs.  some signs are clever “buckle up next million miles” and some are deeply insightful “when there’s only one race and that’s mankind… love is in you.”  because we adore both road trips and short drives, we are privy to signs galore.  one of my pet peeves is to see blatant spelling or punctuation errors on billboards; it makes me rant for several minutes about editors and proof-reading and the propensity for people to ignore the amazing thing called the dictionary.

we took a drive the other day.  it was after all the services of the week were over and we were unplugging.  turning the car west we headed out in search of a new hiking trail.  on our drive we passed this sign.  PRAY FOR OUR NATION.  no fancy font, no centered spacing, just four simple words.  i don’t know how long that sign has been there.  it’s not in the front yard of any religious building; it’s just there, in a small park-like setting.  i thought, “no kidding.”  it seems apt timing.

instead of reading the paper first thing everyday now, we are reading meditations.  we are considering the mica moments of the day before, the mica moments to come.  we are trying to be hopeful, trying to slough off pettiness and disagreement, trying to avoid those who are clearly toxic to themselves and others, trying to engage in positive ways, trying to spend time doing things that advance us as humans in a big world rather than mire us in stunted selfish plots to further polarize and make inequity even more profound.

PRAY FOR OUR NATION doesn’t just start with folding hands and closing eyes, as much as that may help.  it also starts with reaching out hands, opening your eyes, listening, learning, believing that there is only one race and it is mankind.

buckle up.  next million miles.

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

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just. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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we were in madison and we really could have gone anywhere to linger, have a glass of wine and a meal.  my sister had sent me a birthday gift, with instructions that we celebrate with it, so we were on a quest to find the right place.   it was a crowded friday early evening and just getting around the streets was nuts.  we looked at each other blankly, unable to find a place to park and walk the downtown area to scour for THE place to celebrate.  and then i turned the car east.

we drove onto the main street of the little town of fort atkinson and turned onto water street.  there sits cafe carpe, a small been-there-since-1985 cafe, bar and music venue, run by two  “fairly sentient centenarians” (as it states on their website).  we walked in and were two in a total of five.  it was early though so we had our choice of seating.  we love to sit at the bar, especially if we are in a place where we can gaze out and see most of what is going on, people-watching and enjoying the camaraderie of a place.  we found two spots at the bar, on a small stage-like pedestal, and got comfortable.  two glasses of wine were delivered; lingering started. and all was perfect.

cafe carpe started to fill up.  the door, with the bell on it alerting you to its opening, a sound you associate with shows like mayberry rfd, opened time and again and customers came in, greeted as they did so, clearly locals on their friday pilgrimage.  it was a step into the past, and just exactly what we needed.  we settled in for the next few hours in a place that felt like a second skin.

somewhere along the way, i noticed i was sitting in front of a spot on the bar with a brass plate that read “just bob” and next to my spot – to my left – was a plate that read “just leslie”.  we asked our sweet bartender about this and she told us that the couple that is there every.single.friday.night.for.years. had purchased and installed these plates, marking their territory.  we worried that we needed to move and asked her to give us the high sign when they arrived; we would not tread on their designated spots.  she laughed and agreed to let us know.

leslie and bob didn’t show up while we were there, so we sat in their spots, keeping them warm for them.  i’m sure i can imagine them walking in though.  the door opens, the bell jangles against it and they stride in slowly.  everyone turns and calls out hello to them and they take their seats at the bar, ordering maybe a standard wisconsin old-fashioned sweet.  just leslie.  just bob.  how good is that?

our celebration?  it was just.perfect.

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

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notice. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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going to our local grocery store is kind of a social outing for us.  we always walk in the same door and are immediately greeted.  it’s like walking into ‘cheers’ the bar on the tv show of the same name.  no one yells out, “norm!” but it feels the same.  leticia and skye and anthony and thank-goodness-she-is-recuperating-and-is-back-hugging-everyone-cheryl…all are sweet and hardworking people who make us feel welcome, noticed.  it keeps us going there; it makes a difference.  it’s this grocery store’s mission – to serve – no one is forgotten.

feeling recognized – whether you are or not – is essential.  someone else’s act of including you can change everything.  for you.  for them.  someone else’s act of noticing you can change everything. for you.  for them.  it humanizes experiences that can be mundane and even cold.  those moments on an elevator in the absolute quiet, everyone staring at the door.  the security line at the airport.  finding your way through a train station.  in the doctor’s office waiting room.  seated in an event auditorium, minutes before its start.  fast-walking through city streets.  in the oil change wait area.  and yes, in the grocery store.  notice.

i try to remember this.  it’s my natural inclination to fill the gap of awkward silence with something, anything.  i have had many strange stares on the subways of nyc, actually having had the audacity to talk or laugh with someone i don’t know.  but those brief words or quick laughter changed something in me right then; the moments on the subway became real, the people became real, everything slowed down and it was about right then.  noticed.

we heard a comedian once say, (words to the effect) “it’s not about making people laugh.  it’s about bringing laughter TO people.”  festival’s got it right.  they are on target with their mission – to serve.  the are enriching the lives of others.  in the simplest way, by noticing people, their customers, they bring a sense of community.  noticing.

and no one – or thing – is forgotten.  not even lettuce.  well, maybe green leaf.

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

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white rot fungi. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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“healer of the forest” nurselogs are numerous in the woods we hike in.  the white rot fungi grow easily in the outer bark of the tree, breaking down the structure of the wood and allowing small pockets of rich soil to form, remediating and inviting moss, mushrooms and small plants to feast on the nutrients and grow, stretching roots around the fallen tree to plant themselves deeper into the ground.  small animals find welcome in these healers and they live companionably together, each benefiting the other.  the concentric circles ripple outward.  symbiosis.  harmony.

i’m trying not to read the news as often these days.  i find it deafeningly dissonant. apparently, we, as a human race, are not naturally healers.  instead, we are creators of havoc, bullying, agenda-pushing individuals who give little care to remediating or living companionably together.  the concentric circles that ripple outward are filled with toxins; people get lost in power and control games, indeed benefiting no species whatsoever.  strident discord.

we could learn something from white rot fungi.

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

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#TheMicaList [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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dear Life,

my sweet momma would often call me just as the time i was born would pass on my birthday. at the end of her life she didn’t do this anymore but i always remembered anyway. mid-morning i would know that this was the moment i arrived at this place, this was the beginning of my passing through, the time of my visiting.

today, this very morning, it was 60 years ago that i joined the rest of this good earth on its journey around the sun. spinning, spinning. every day.

it wasn’t long till i realized – as an adult – that we spin our wheels constantly to get to some unknown place we can’t necessarily define or find. we search and spin faster, out of mission, out of passion, out of frustration, loss, a feeling of no value or a sense of lostness. we spin. we seek. we try to accomplish. we try to make our mark. we try to finish. we try to start. we leave scarred rubber skids of emotions on the road behind us; we burn out with abrupt, unexpected turns, we break, wearing out. spinning. spinning. from one thing to another, our schedules full of busy things to do. often, days a repetition of the previous day. every day full. full of spinning. but we are still seeking. life is sometimes what we expected.  life is sometimes not what we expected. and that makes us spin faster, our core dizzying with exhaustion.

the simplest gifts – the air, clear cool water to drink, the mountaintop exhilaration of parenthood, hand-holding love, the ephemeral seconds of self-actualizing accomplishment, the sun on our faces…we have images stored in our mind’s eye like photographs in an old-fashioned slide show, at any time ready for us to ponder. but often-times we fail to linger in these exquisite simplicities. the next thing calls.

this morning, as i stare at 60 – which, as i have mentioned, is kind of a significant number for me – i realize that everything i write about or compose about or talk about or hold close in my heart is about these simplest things, the pared-down stuff, the old boots on the trail – not fancy but steadfast, not brand new but muddied up with real. in our day-to-day-ness i/we don’t always see IT.  the one thing. there is something -truly- that stands out each day in those sedimentary layers of our lives.   it is the thing that makes the rest of the day pale in comparison. in all its simple glory, the one true moment that makes us realize that we are living, breathing, ever-full in our spinning world. the thing that connects us to the world. the shiny thing. the mica. that tiny irregular piece of glittering mica in the layers and veneers of life. the thing to hold onto with all our might.

that tiny glitter of mica. mica nestles itself within a bigger rock, a somewhat plain rock – igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary ordinariness. not pinnacle, it is found within the bigger context. sometimes harder to find, harder to notice, but there.  and it makes the day our day, different than any other. it is the reason we have learned or grown that day. it is the reason we have laughed that day. it is the reason we have picked ourselves up off the floor that day. it is the reason we have breathed that day.

and now, at 60, i resolve to see, to collect those pieces of glitter. not in an old wooden box or a beat-up vintage suitcase, but, simply, since they are moments in time, in a tiny notebook or on my calendar. join me in #TheMicaList if you wish. as we wander and wonder through it is our job, in our very best interest, to notice the finest shimmering dust, the mica in the rock, the glitter in our world.

with all the reminders around us to remember-remember-remember that every day counts, we get lost in our own spinning stories, narratives of many strata. i know that in the midnight of the days i look back on the hours of light and darkness in which i moved about and remember one moment – one moment – be it a fleetingly brief, elusive, often evanescent moment of purity, the tiniest snippet of conversation, belly-laugh humor, raw learning, naked truth, intense love – those are the days i know – i remember – i am alive.

my visit to this physical place is not limitless. but each glitter of mica is a star in a limitless sky of glitter, a milky way of the times that make me uniquely me and you uniquely you, a stockpile of priceless relics. my time stretches back and stretches ahead, a floating silken thread of shiny. it’s all a mysterious journey.

and i am grateful.

kerri

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