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jen-napkins. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

 

napkin copy

these napkins make me think of jen.  it’s the reason we bought them.  at every single gathering with jen and brad, jen, who is an amazing creator of festivity, sets out fun napkins.  patterns and colors and images and phrases.  not the 300-1-ply-approx 6″ square-white-napkins-in-plastic-wrap kind of napkins, but napkins you choose that have some panache.  confident napkins.  napkins with personality.  napkins that celebrate.

i grew up with the other kind of napkins.  my sweet momma bought the 1-ply-approx-6″ kind of napkins all my growing-up years.  sometime in their retirement, beaky switched to vanity fair napkins, which are a bit more substantial and, in their substantiality, a bit fancier.  any sweetly patterned napkins were reserved for special occasions, parties, holidays.  because DNA is a powerful thing, our beaky passed all this down to me, and so, i haven’t yet reached the vanity-fair-napkin-stage.

we actually are cloth-napkin people.  because tight-budgeting runs through my veins, we seek out two cloth napkins as souvenirs when we travel, instead of chachkies.  we can tell you where all our cloth napkins are from and love to pick out which ones to use from the drawer in the dining room.

but there is something to these fun napkins that jen uses.  in the basement where we keep party supplies are several packets of fun, patterned, imaged napkins.  i’ve been saving them.  for company, for special occasions, for a celebration.

the other day i took out a handful and put them on the kitchen table.  the last couple of evenings, as we sit with a glass of wine, i have laid one at our spots.  this little napkin instantly makes me happier.  a simple napkin.  our moments of sharing a glass of wine at the kitchen table have become moments of celebration.

so, in this time of waiting and uncertainty, i have decided, even though it will require much pushing-back-against-that-nagging-stingy-voice-in-my-head, that we will use all those napkins.  i’ll go downstairs and get all the fun jen-napkins we have, no matter the season to which they are dedicated.  we’ll set them out and use them, making each time we are at the table together a celebration.

and i know my sweet momma, our beaky, will be smiling down at us.  “wowee!” she’ll say.

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

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“the first dandelion!” [merely-a-thought monday]

first dandelion copy

one of the sure signs of spring’s imminent arrival in our town is when boats start populating the harbor again.  big shrink-wrap is removed from cabin cruisers, sailboats and yachts of all sizes and the slips start to fill up, slowly at first and then with abandon.

it was with much glee that, on our hike through the trails in a local forest preserve, i spotted it and called out, “the first dandelion!”  i’m aware that not many people get as excited about dandelions as i do, but, for me, this harbinger of spring – along with gentle beauties like lilacs and tulips and daffodils – is cause for celebration.  it conjures up images of cups of dandelions in water on my counter, having gone from little-kid-fists to my hands.  it makes me think of decades ago, sitting cross-legged in the grass, making necklace chains out of clover.  it brings the hope of a new season, the ever-more-constancy of sun and warmth, the season of flip-flops approaching.

with so much uncertainty on the horizon, the drone of winter’s end is taxing.  we yearn for a blanket of warm sun, a chance to raise our faces from worry to face the sky, to breathe freshly mown grass, to put our hands in the dirt, cleaning away the debris of the harder times, perhaps preparing to plant.

but this is wisconsin and this is life and nothing is really static.  life is fluid as is weather.  four days after we celebrated “the first dandelion!” we drove home through a snowstorm, blowing, wet snow covering the courageous pioneers of spring.  the thing i try to remember, as the grasp of winter holds tight the reins of this new season, is that they are still there.

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

FISTFUL OF DANDELIONS – the CD single or download on iTUNES

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CLICK ON THIS ^^TOTE BAG ^^ FOR FISTFUL OF DANDELIONS PRODUCTS

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just. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

just bob just leslie copy

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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grateful. [k.s. friday]

grateful song box

8. grateful (5:31):  for all the blessings, the joy, for life itself.

download the album AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

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

GRATEFUL from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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every breath. [k.s. friday]

every breath song box

we drove the kettle moraine scenic drive yesterday…it was the celebration of our anniversary and we had arranged to take off…everything was lined up…dogdog care by 20…snacks…everything work-related done ahead of time.  on the travel wisconsin website we found this beautiful tour through back roads and areas of fall color that looked like calendars that you buy in stationery stores.  once we got out of the endless whitewater loop we seemed to be hilariously stuck in, we ambled our way north, catching our breath around curves and topping hills formed long ago by geological earth movement.  fall color was everywhere, especially the further we drove.  we missed the selfie stands that were sporadically placed along the way.  but we didn’t miss traffic.  or highways.  or towns.  or strip malls.  it was a breath out of regular life.  a chance to just be together, without work or worries or tasks or errands.  to talk or be silent.  to sing to john denver on baby scion’s cd player.  to gorge on snacks and sip an espresso at a little coffeehouse.  it was the cello line of our day, this drive.  the lift of every breath.

download EVERY BREATH track 1 on AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

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

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but i feel more. [k.s. friday]

song box copy

the choir, ukulele band and handbell players all came to our house last week.  it was the end of the year party.  it’s a tradition to gather here several times a year to celebrate all the music we make together; everyone brings food (amazing dishes and treats) and drinks (wine and delicious frozen drinks or other concoctions ala dan) to pass.  conversation is loud and laughter punctuates everything.  dogdog runs out to greet people and revels in the fact that babycat is locked away for the party.  we crowd foods onto our dining room table and a variety of other flat surfaces.  when we are lucky it is nice out and people can spill out onto the deck and the patio.  it is joyous!

many moments during the evening i will find myself just looking around at these dear people…a community…my community…our community…and i will have a rush of wonder and gratitude and great fondness;  d and i both love them.  they are these faces in our life and it is the love with which they surround us, just like the devoted love in this song, that makes me feel more.

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to purchase the album AS SURE AS THE SUN, please click here

to download the song BUT I FEEL MORE track 7 from AS SURE AS THE SUN on iTunes click here

to download the song BUT I FEEL MORE on CDBaby.com, click here

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

BUT I FEEL MORE from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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i already have them.

fullsizerenderbeing an artist means many things to many different people, but the one thing that i am certain of that is unifying among artists is that there is a budget. hmm…a challenging budget. not a lot of space to splurge sometimes. and other times, maybe some space to splurge. but always an awareness that, although art forms are the things that people gravitate to in times of bliss and utter grief, in times of celebration and quiet, in times of unity and division, in times of conversation and reflection, these ways of making a living are way less sure (understatement) – in a budget kind of way – than most others. and so this is how we live. always aware.

he said he was about to click on the “buy it” button and complete the purchase online when he noticed an additional $10 administrative fee. it made him reconsider; it made him think of other things we might do/purchase/pay for/experience with that extra $10, not to mention the whole purchase price.   and so, he thought about it and, reluctantly, he stopped and cancelled his order.   he seemed sad to tell me this story and prefaced it with an apology. he was ordering flowers. online. to be delivered on valentine’s day. which, might I mention, is really a made-up holiday. (why shouldn’t every day be treated as valentine’s day? i choose him each and every day, not just as my valentine on valentine’s day.)

this morning he brought the newspaper along with steaming mugs of bold coffee when he woke me. we sipped coffee together and chatted as the sun moved into the sky. i found his homemade valentine’s day card that he had tucked inside the paper and felt my heart beating as i read it, tears easily coming to my eyes. it was exquisite.

knowing how he was feeling about the story he had just told me, i asked him what kind of flowers he had been ordering. “daisies and one red rose,” he said.

there’s no need to receive these at our front door. i can see them.

they are the daisies from our wedding and a long-stemmed red rose – the traditional flower of Love – the very thing that he shows me every day, in so many ways.

i already have them.