reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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road shadows. together. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

road shadows

watching as the ferry arrived, we were practically jumping up and down with glee.  our up-north-gang was arriving and the ferry was taking a few minutes too long to dock.  we had been anticipating them for weeks, our company log on island too few.

it’s not like there is a ton of stuff to show them here or, really, to do.  but there are friend groups who don’t need stuff to see or do; instead they are just there to simply be together.

they are there to laugh at funny hair in the morning, sip coffee and wait in line for the one bathroom.  they are there to pile in and out of the truck, dodge raindrops, play short-list tourist.  they are there, wishing for sun but not minding the bad weather that moves in, content to just be together. they are there to make mimosas and old-fashioneds, pour wine and have more snacks than you can imagine.  they are there to take turns cooking, cleaning up, always gabbing, always laughing.  they are there in the tough moments, profound and honest conversation, balancing, disarming the sting of the sword.  they are there walking side by side, talking and being quiet.  they are there playing games in evening dark, heads drooping with sleep, wishes of sweet dreams.  they are there, together.

we watched as the ferry left, both of us feeling instantly wistful.  our up-north gang leaving for the mainland.  as always, we were ever-so-grateful to have been together.

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

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kind of awesome. [merely-a-thought monday]

your day

when packages arrive here, you get either a phone call or a text from the ferry dock.  you are told that a package will be arriving and that you can pick it up after 4:45 at the ferry dock office.  it’s pretty exciting, especially when you don’t know what it is.  you arrive, curious.  if you are in the back room of the dock office, you are likely surrounded by amazon prime boxes, because amazon prime is definitely a thing here on island.  with a $53 round trip ferry price tag for the two of us to go shopping off-island, paying zero for delivery on items you can’t buy here anyway makes total sense.

last week we got a call.  it was the thursday of a for-various-reasons-really-rotten couple of weeks.  david had been having high fevers for over a week and we had to go off-island to a clinic for some bloodwork, which eventually revealed that he picked up lyme disease in the previous weeks here.  exhausted and shocked, we attempted to stay patient and treat his painful, confusing and somewhat scary symptoms while we waited for those results.  jen and brad knew we were waiting and they knew we were having some heftily trying days.

we left for the ferry dock at 4:30, our pace slow, watching for the sweet leggy deer that wander into the road.  david went in to get the package.  he came out with a big box, from wine.com, with the words: “fact:  your day just got kind of awesome.”  six bottles of our favorite friday-night-potluck wine were inside with a note of love.  you can bet that as early that evening as was acceptable, we opened one of those and toasted our dear dear friends and our gratitude for them.  kind of awesome.

we have wonderful friends at home.  we consider ourselves very fortunate.  20 was just up here for a couple days, replenishing groceries for us, sitting and talking and having the kind of conversation only people who have known each other for years have.  it was kind of awesome.  the up-north-gang is coming this week and we can’t wait.  they will bring snacks and laughter, hugs and listening ears, perspective and big heart. they asked for a list ahead of time, of things we might need that we don’t have access to.  our days with them will be kind of awesome.  back at home, our friends help take care of our home, assisting us from afar.  michele and john mow our lawn, loan their bike to my girl, ask how they can help.  linda and jim make us food and pour generous glasses of wine at the drop of a hat.  dan brings a new dehumidifier.  kind of awesome.  there are too many people to list.  there are too many people to thank. which is, in and of itself, kind of awesome.

today, with a deeply sombered heart, i am aware of a young woman who is losing her grasp on life.  with the thinnest of thread she clings, struggling against a plethora of sudden medical emergencies.  i don’t know the whole story.  i just know that this young woman, with a huge life force, may be moving on to a different plane of existence.  and it very well might be today.  today.  i think about that.  today.  toDAY.

every day we have the opportunity to help make someone’s day kind of awesome.  we can choose that or we can choose to perpetuate something different.  we can gift someone with kind words, kind deeds, or we can be, well, rotten.  we can ignore people’s hearts or we can tend to them.

it’s a choice every day.  fact.

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

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life lessons. [merely-a-thought monday]

lifelessonstuition copy

you have those friends.  the ones you don’t get to talk to or see all the time, but the instant you call or text or, even better, get to be with them, you pick up right where you left off.  sometimes, those calls or visits are really long; there’s so much to catch up on.

susan and i had one of those calls recently.  the conversation ranged across a gigantic prairie of life subjects – from children to lenten service music to food to relationships to age to challenges to direction to joys to disappointments.  there’s always the inevitable “we should talk more often” and “i miss you”; times we realize how much running our crazy worlds past each other matters.  the “tuition” takes just a little bit less of a toll if we can utter the gory details to our friend, divulge our imagined vindication on whatever the “tuition” is, paint a picture – describing in inordinate detail – of each of our chronicles.

linda, infinite in wisdom and groundedness, finds humor and the wise sticking point in situations.  she has been there for me for decades, close by and from afar.  she is a model of loving steadfastness and makes me feel as if she hugged me, even if we are only on the phone.

heidi, another one of those dear people for me, always asks, “what’s the learning?”.  as infuriating as that question can be, it is a perspective-arranger.  it gives you pause for thought and invites another viewpoint.  the thing i may be obsessing on may not be the point after all.

toward the end of our phone call, susan and i laughed about all the things we were ‘learning’.  oh yes, grateful students?  well, maybe not exactly.  but we are pretty enlightened (for the most part) and we kept laughing as susan said, “yeah, all these life lessons are great, but the tuition sucks.”  we hung up with promises to call again soon.  whether or not that happens right away, i know she is right there.

because here’s the thing we can count on – in the midst of the “tuition that sucks” is that our true relationships and the support we receive from them is endless.  the conversation never really stops.  it just hopscotches from one time to the next, a life-thread of lessons shared.

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

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what they value is on the wall. [merely-a-thought monday]

kenosha tire sign copy

my poppo was staunch about a few things.  tires, brakes and windshield wipers were three of them.  not only staunch, he was particular; his tire brand of choice (for him and for anyone he loved) was without-a-doubt-michelin.  and so, with the exception of the time i had a tire blow out on a highway far from home, on a sunday, with no specialty tire store open, i have always bought michelins.

we’ve sat at kenosha tire many times, really for every vehicle:  the vw, the minivans, the jeeps, the xb.  having new tires mounted or a tire fixed or having all four rotated, they are courteous, informative, and speedy.  i never truly mind waiting for something like this to be done; i love to watch people so i stay amused most of the time.

this establishment has been there since 1970.  it’s not a fancy place; there’s a variety of chairs, a variety of plaques with sponsored-team pictures, a variety of tire samples and tire signs and a large screen tv.  sometimes there’s a dog or two and i suspect maybe there is a cat back in that office with the counter-level swinging door.  this is a family business and their dedication not only to their customers but also to the community is obvious.  i always feel like they listen to me; i always trust them.

before we went out west, we had our tires rotated…i could hear my dad nagging, er, reminding me all the way from heaven.  on the wall next to my chair was this sign.  the four-way test of the things we think, say or do printed on rotary international paper.  it struck me as a simple tool…something to help frame our thoughts, the things we blurt out or defiantly or unthinkingly state, the things we do that have the potential to hurt others.

it is clear to me that kenosha tire values people.  it is clear that they support their community.  and now it is clear to me that they found this simple guide to kindness was important enough to put on the wall.  we should all have a wallet-sized copy to which we can refer.

i’m betting my dad would be pretty staunch about using this shop to buy our tires.  kindness in business was another one of those things he was pretty particular about.

as a matter of fact, i’m also willing to bet that, other than 2x4s, i-beams, sheetrock and maybe shiplap, this is the only wall-related-discussion he’d be interested in.

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

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which way? [two artists tuesday]

whichwayTODAYimageBoX

which way product BAR

the moment i saw this trailmarker it made me laugh.  i was feeling exactlyyy this way, so this lightened my mood.  (yes, yes, i understand that the marker made sense, but if you flatten it out (as opposed to three-dimensional) it is admittedly funny and a little confusing.)

middle age (ohmygosh, yes, middle age) seems like a time of arrows every which way.  where we’ve been, where we are, where we are going…these questions are all different now…different from the striding times even a decade ago.  time is starting to mean something else; i recognize the scarcity of time-limitlessness.

i lost one of my very best friends from elementary school, junior high and high school last week.  kenny was brilliant and funny and courageous and a really good person.  together with his twin richard and i, we were often thought of as “triplets” in school, mostly because we were all platinum blond kids growing up.  i haven’t seen kenny for many years.  the last time i can remember was having coffee with him at the atlanta airport; he was an airline captain and based there so we met when i flew through with a tad bit of a layover.  he was thrilled to catch me up about his beautiful wife and son and he joked about how long it took him to find her.  even though i saw him rarely, there was something about knowing he was in the world that was comforting…a piece of my long-ago-past that i could still talk to or text with, maybe see from time to time, who knew me when i was little, when i was a preteen, when i was a teenager, when i loved calculus.  i tried to explain this to d…when certain people who connect me way back to my roots are no longer present on this earth, it is as if i can feel the earth tilt on its axis; it wobbles.  and nothing will ever be the same.  i can’t get to ken’s service, but i hope to carry with me – always – a piece of kenny and our growing-up history.  i hope to honor him somehow.

and the next time i wonder “which way” in angst, i hope to stand still, right where i am.  time is not unlimited.  i don’t want to waste it.

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flawed cartoon wednesday #2 (duuuuude!)

claudine's making cow eyes THIS jpegevery time the girl texts me and says “dude!” i laugh aloud.  i have to say i prefer “mom” or “mommommommommom” to “dude” but i’m just happy to hear ANYthing at ANY time from the girl and the boy that ANY name goes.  i’m guessing AllMomsEverywhere get that.

there is a sweet bistro in town called wine knot that we love to go to.  our favorite spot is at the bar at the end in the corner, where we can people-watch or chat with andy or jeremy, awesome bartenders who, for the longest time, knew to order – wait for it – brian’s amazing meatloaf split and two glasses of merlot – the instant we walked in.  there is something smalltownish and heartwarming to be said about this.  kind of like one of the things we all loved about watching the show cheers with a cast of ted danson & shelley long, kirstie alley and woody harrelson, kelsey grammar and george wendt and other regulars who became a part of our living rooms and lives.  given our new dietary restrictions (gluten free/dairy free -more whole30 compliant and feeling good!) we haven’t been to wine knot as much lately; we are cooking more with glasses of wine on our counter.  but sometimes it is nice to just go and sit and visit on a stool in the corner.

this past saturday we were at the cedarburg winter fest, an annual trip for the up-north-gang, an unparalleled and beloved cast of characters.  we walk around town, in and out of fun boutiques and shops, laughing at merch together.  we watch the parade of firetrucks and snow plows and scurry to the frozen river to cheer for the bed races.  it snowed a bit and was very “winter-festival-ish” (as dubbed by dan) this year, as opposed to last year when it was, oddly, almost 70 degrees and forced the bed races to be on the street.  we – without fail – end our day together at the crowded pub the silver creek brewing company.  dark beers, gluten free ciders, wine and kettle corn are our fare of choice.  it’s a total blast.  everyone talks at once; the topics are all over the place.

this flawed cartoon wednesday  in the melange makes me laugh.  the “duuuude”, the (oh-so-wisconsin) “cow-eyes” pun, the bovines at the bar.  every opportunity to laugh.  it’s a good thing.  happy wednesday.

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claudine framed print  claudine mug  claudine t-shirt claudine bathmat

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

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duuuuude! claudine’s making cow-eyes at you! ©️ 2016 david robinson

 

 

 


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the faces of my life.

IMG_1991“…in the nighttime of your fear…” the lyrics of this hymn jump out at me. how many times have i been awake in the nighttime…wrapping my arms around fear of some sort. how many times have i been awake in the daytime with ‘the nighttime of my fear’? being awake with fear makes every muscle aware, every hair stand on end, every emotion close to the surface. and the fear doesn’t have to be physical…sometimes it is fear of the unknown, fear of change (no! really?), fear of differences that set you apart. any way you slice it, fear becomes visceral and, as carol used to always say, you can taste the adrenaline. in these moments, there are voices i pine for, people i want to be near, reassurances for which i yearn. how many times have i told david i wish i could just talk to my sweet momma. how many times have i asked my dad aloud – hoping for a sticky note to float down from heaven – for his words of wisdom. i’ve asked my brother wayne for car and fixing stuff advice; i’ve asked my friend richie for a tad bit of his sense of humor in a tense moment. the list of people on the other side extends out, in ever-larger concentric circles, as i realize how much i miss their words of wisdom. the faces of my life. and then, often in an awakening moment of grief, i realize that there is indeed wisdom and reassurance all around me.

the ukulele band rehearsals are at our house in the summer. most often outside on sometimes-warm-sometimes-cool summer nights on the patio, last night was inside with impending storms in the area. i had broken my little baby toe earlier in the day and was limping around a bit (and maybe whining also.) betsi and jay offered advice, carol and helen grimaced with me, remembering breakages of their own, david jokingly spoke of designing steel-toed flip-flops. a posse of people making my little toe feel better. there were conversations about dietary/lifestyle changes, inexpensive backyard solutions, growing herbs, new albums out, nitrate-free bacon, up north… really, anything you might want some solid talk-talk about was possible. the faces of my life. “…we are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road.   we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load…”

in conversation with susan or linda or jen or heidi, we talk about loss of a parent or we talk about children growing up and away or we talk about where we are in life…they have been there when i’ve cried…they have shared tears with me. they have laughed with me till it hurt. powerful moments of empathy. with david, the sharing of raw emotion, the frustrations and the bliss of being “too close”, the tears and the laughter are full spectrum. the faces of my life. “…i will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh i’ll laugh with you…”

we were standing on the opposite side of a stream from where we needed to be. three times while we were in the mountains this was where i found myself.  (well, metaphorically, i suppose that would be countless times, but who’s talking in metaphors?) the first time, david crossed over, using stones and a wayward log that had fallen. even now, my feet tingle thinking about it. he quietly told me that i could do it and reached out his hand to me so that I could grasp it as soon as i was within reach. his eyes, unwaveringly gentle and reassuring, convinced me to work with the fear i felt and move forward. “…i will hold my hand out to you..” IMG_2744one of the other times becky, david and kirsten (the girl) had already crossed the stream. it wasn’t a huge chasm, but it was enough to make me think about going the “other way”. and yet, it was their faces on the other side that helped the nugget of fear i felt go away.   the faces of my life.

” …i will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through…” our time on this beautiful earth is forever and fleeting. both. this journey is filled with design of the universe and gorgeous wisdom and warm reassurance. the faces of our lives. on this side and on the other side. they will hold us in ‘the nighttime of our fear’. they will hold us in the moment.  we are never alone.

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