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the path back is the path forward


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what’s important. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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in the last few days, both of us have heard the deeply sad news that someone in our lives – each a unique voice of great wisdom – has passed.  it’s bracing.  we are here and then we are not.

in all the difficult moments we have had these past months, both on-island and off-island, these past few days once again remind us of what is actually important.

it’s not the work challenges or politics. it’s not the worry over details and relationship snags. it’s not competition or one-upping someone else, nor is it about power-struggles and issues of control.  it’s not about being undervalued or serving those who do not appreciate you, nor is it about the tippy-top of the ladder where lower rungs are no longer visible to you.  it’s not what you don’t have or what you wish you had.

instead, it’s what you do have.

it’s the simplest of moments.  when you look over and dogdog and babycat are butt-to-butt snuggling. or you are sitting next to your beloved, writing or reading together.  or your grown children call to chat a bit, out of the blue.  you spend time together.  you do good work and stand in it.  or you take a walk, in fresh air, under a sunlit sky or in a night full of stars.  you savor a hot cup of coffee or raise a glass of wine in a toast with friends. you embrace or hold hands with someone you love.  the simplest.

with gratitude to a man, alan walker, who encouraged me to love both the piano and open-faced peanut butter sandwiches.  and my thanks to a man i never met, quinn, who, in innumerable conversations in his study, brought many moments of wisdom and perspective to david.  you both remain reminders of what is really important.

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

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he rules supreme. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

babycat computer

babycat’s work ethic is clear.  he is not dedicated to screen time, nor is he dedicated to long portions of work-related tasks.  he prefers to nap.  anywhere.  anytime.  his eyes squeezed shut, he pretends to be unaware of the things going on around him.  because he is “big-boned”, a-lot-of-cat, scooting him out of the way is like gently easing a massive concrete block a little to the left or a little to the right; there is no give.  yet we work around him, we absolutely accommodate him.  if he is sleeping on the bed, taking up perpendicular space, we will squish to the side, choosing to list starboard or port, whichever direction he is not.  he rules supreme.

i wake in the middle of the night, d jostling me, a clear sign to turn over and stop snoring.  only i am not snoring.  from the foot of the bed or perhaps under the bed, where jostling is impossible, it is babycat who snores loudly.  his contented breaths both amuse us and keep us awake.  a gentle poke-at-the-cat yields a temporary lull, but his sweet hulking body settles back into sleep and snoring commences.  the white noise of our overnight, he rules supreme.

dogdog wants to get a drink of water from their mutual bowl.  but babycat stands over it.  dogga reaches his paw out to try and drag the cat from the bowl, but babycat is firmly planted and dogga is unsuccessful.  so, even though he whines with frustration and looks at us with a “do something!” plea, dogdog, at least twice the size of this supersized cat, waits.  because babycat rules supreme.

and yet, even with the snoring and the bed-hogging and the torture-of-the-dog and the clear reign-of-the-house, we cannot imagine life without the babycat.  his presence and the fact that he-saved-me-i-didn’t-save-him rules supreme.

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

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“………..” merely-a-thought monday

dogga end of day.jpg

at the end of the day, when we sit listening to the quiet, waves lapping at the shore, a silent moon pulling our attention outside, dogdog lays, finally resting, his eyes tightly closed.  there is something about the trusting nature of a beloved pet sleeping that tugs at your heart.  i wonder what are the thoughts he thinks; what are the dreams he dreams?

as we weave through complicated days, dogga weaves with us.  he is always aware, always watching.  our sweet aussie, he is a mess of empathic energy, his eye contact unnerving.  his little heart beats fast and he watches, watches.  he has comforted us with his gentle knowing more times than we can count.  he doesn’t say much, but then, he doesn’t have to.

and then, at some point, he drops to the floor.   for him, everything is right in the world.  his people are close by, his babycat lies next to him or across the room.  all is well.  and he sleeps.

sometimes i wish it was all that simple.  it’s people who complicate matters.

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

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boundaries. [k.s. friday]

boundaries songbox2.jpg

we were lost when we brought dogdog home from the farm.  it had been a long time since either of us had a puppy; our dogs had long lives and after that it had been years.  the first few days we literally followed dogga around inside the house, like he was a toddler in search of an electrical outlet or a cabinet without childproof latches.  jen and brad brought us pizza and wine and assured our deer-in-the-headlights-look that all would be well.  so we read pretty much anything we could get our hands on and discovered (re-discovered?) the fact that puppies really like confined spaces.  smaller spaces make them feel safe, secure; they are calming.  it worked.  dogdog was happy to be in the kitchen-ala-three-gates-in-the-doorways.  he seemed to sigh with relief at the end of the day going into his crate for sleepynightnight.  he was a happier puppy and we were (legit) back in our bodies.  boundaries facilitated maturing (for all of us.)

there is a whole lake out in front of our littlehouse.  the yard is big and full of green grass and flowers and grasses and trees.  the deck has space and flower boxes.  and then there is the rocking chair.  in between two closely-placed-spindles, perched on the lower rail, this little tree frog found a place of solace.  snugly in this warmed-by-the-sun spot, he lingered for hours, the tight place perhaps restorative for him, perhaps simply a sanctuary, its boundaries affording him the freedom to stay.

boundaries are underrated.  we need them.  to flourish.  the constraints serve us.  our clear boundaries for others create balanced lives.  drawing boundaries.  growth depends on it.

early on, given, say, three chords – and only three chords –  to compose with limits the angst of analysis paralysis.  it gives a place to start, a direction to go, discipline and yet, boundaries that reach only to the sky.  it eases up the balking-at-it of artists.  it facilitates the creation of a composition.  it facilitates artistry.  it facilitates energy.  pushing the walls of these boundaries back little by little opens an artist when he/she is ready, when he/she feels safer.  one step at a time.  one rocking chair spindle at a time.  one kitchen-dog-gate at a time.  one muse at a time.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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BOUNDARIES from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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gaze south. [two artists tuesday]

dogdog pondering copy.jpg

dogdog sits at the edge of the lake and gazes south.  i wonder what he is pondering. south is where home-home is.  south is where his backyard is, where he runs in gleeful circles when the dachshunds next door are out in their yard.  south is where he goes on extended errands in the scion, where unka john comes over, where the upstairs gives babycat space from him and for him.  south is where he barks and rules the domain that is clearly his.

i wonder what he is thinking.  is he wondering what it all means?  is he curious about when he will be home-home next?  is he wondering where we are now?  does he like this location, full of wildlife he hasn’t seen before?  does he like the smaller space, putting us four all together more?  does he like the treat he and babycat get every time we arrive home, the “mom-and-dad-are-home-treat”?  does he like to fall into dreams at “sleepynightnight” time in his familiar crate in a mostly unfamiliar place, next to our bed as usual?

babycat was slower to adjust.  his adjustment came under the bed in the middle room, as he sorted through his “where-the-heck-are-we-and-did-anyone-ask-me-if-i-wanted-to-come?”  eventually he came out from under the bed and started finding that, yes indeedy, there is a bed with the quilt he recognizes that he can sleep on.  and yes, indeedy, “they” brought my favorite toy, the turbo-scratcher-round-circle-chasing-ball toy.  and yes, indeedy, it’s a different food bowl, but it’s the same food.  he has discovered that he can sit by the french door to the deck and watch seagulls and ducks and geese and bald eagles flying past and above.  it’s work but someone has to do it, and babycat is all-in.  yes, all is seemingly well in babycat land now.

adjustments are a bit easier when your unicorn toy and bones and treats and chasing-toy and leash and kibble are there, are the same.

i, too, have sat on the edge of the lake and gazed south.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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a familiar sight. [two artists tuesday]

jelly jars & sunset

this will become a familiar sight. sunset coloring the lake, an island populated by waterbirds in the distance, jelly jars in hand.  we have arrived.

fog dawned this day, which somehow seems apropos, considering.   dogdog and babycat are struggling to adjust – a different house – the “littlehouse” as opposed to “home”.  we are surrounded by bins and artwork and happy lights and a bulletin board full of photos. we have our picnic basket and our nespresso, office supplies and our peace signs. we’ve hung an old window frame and the chalkboard from our wedding. we have a vintage road-worn black suitcase just waiting to be filled with the stuff of this adventure. we have beach buckets with sunglasses and paintbrushes, kitchen utensils and a bottle of wine. we brought our cloth napkins, jelly jars and a set of our favorite bowls, our hydroflask coffee mugs and water thermoses, our lidded yeti wine tumblers. we have dogdog’s penguin, his lion, his candy cane and babycat’s chase-the-ball-in-the-circle plastic game. we have candles and clipboards, ukuleles, lawn games, and various devices that play music. we have threadied us up.

and it all boils down to this one thing – in my pocket now every day since jen gave it to me – a silver token that says PEACE.

right now, these thready things embrace me. they help with that peace I’m reminded of by this little token.

but this will all become a familiar sight. i know that.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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coffee. without fail. [two artists tuesday]

starbucks copy

coffee is how we start the day.  hot bold black coffee.  columbus says it’s way too strong, but this is from a man who makes coffee that his son says tastes like ‘sockwater’.  our coffee must be an acquired taste.

when we travel we seek out starbucks (and, to be honest, small independent coffee cafes as well) to stop and have a double espresso.  now that we are a teeny weeny bit older, it’s not as smart to have huge cups of coffee while driving long distances.  there’s a teeny weeny bit of an issue with not enough rest areas now.  so we try to be smart.

every single time we stop for a double espresso we take a picture and then we send it to 20.  we have pictures of double espressos in illinois and indiana, in colorado and wisconsin, in florida and georgia, in north and south carolina, in kentucky and tennessee, in connecticut and massachusetts, in new hampshire and rhode island, in new york and pennsylvania, in washington and idaho, in iowa and kansas, in montana and north dakota and minnesota, in missouri and california, in amsterdam and brussels, in paris.

coffee has always been one of our touchstones.  from the very beginning d and i spoke about and revered coffee, together.  i learned early on from my sweet momma and my poppo how to coffee-sit and it is with them in my heart, coffee in hand, we continue the tradition.

as each day ends and d sets up the coffeemaker for the next morning, dogdog listens for all the familiar sounds he knows that signal the end of the day.  he waits on the bed for his bellybelly and then time for sleep.  and he knows, too, that when he wakes we will sit with our hot black bold coffee the next morning.  without fail.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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