reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the storage unit. [two artists tuesday]

storage unit copy

on my nightstand next to the bed are two frames.  both written in little-kid-writing, they are notes i saved from long ago.  one is from My Girl and it reads, “goodnight mom” surrounded by hearts.  the other is from My Boy and it has two words on it, “craig” (with a backwards g) and “mom” and has hearts filling up the rest of the notepaper.  each night i see these as i wish them both, from far away, goodnight, sweet dreams, restful sleep.

i come by this threadiness honestly.

we were in florida visiting; two of the days we were there, despite bright sunlight and temperatures in the 80s, we spent in a storage unit.  what was left of my parents’ belongings was packed in boxes, stacked in a unit, waiting for us to put our eyes on all of it and decide what to do with each of these things.  my mom’s impulse was to keep things, especially paper.  photographs and slides aside, there were files and files – some of which we will wade through later.  there were boxes of mugs and baskets and trinkets, a kaleidoscope of the pieces of life, carefully packed by my sister and brother-in-law during a time of sadness, a time that was not ripe with paring down or organizing, a time that is difficult for anyone who has packed up a house. larger items were already distributed – furniture given away or passed down to the next generation.  but these boxes….

i was quite sure that, even if i hadn’t seen anything in any of the boxes, i had all i needed….my treasures of my sweet momma and my poppo are tucked in close to my heart and i have physical memories of them around me in our home.  they are not the high-priced treasures you might think people would save or claim.  instead, they are small, meaningful, invaluable and thready things that speak to me.  old calendars of my mom’s, my dad’s small rickety wooden boxes from his workbench, glasses from which my dad sipped his scotch, a flannel shirt my mom wore that matched my dad’s, a board with hooks that is wood-burned with the word “keys” and hung in our growing-up house for as long as i can remember…

spending time in the storage unit, surrounded by memories and the fading scent of my mom’s perfume and their house, i was heartened to see that i actually could go through and pare down.  it gives me hope about our own basement.  the real things of our past – sweet treasured memories – are not things.  everyone gets meaning from and sees value in different stuff.  two days in the storage unit reminded me again of that.

this time i didn’t cry.  i laughed with my momma, who, no doubt, was rolling her eyes in heaven over the fact that she had saved sooo many pieces of paper…paid bills, old house contracts, warranties from appliances long gone, car receipts from several cars ago.  a collection of life gone by, i know she smiled when every now and then we stumbled onto something i loved to touch….i kept the little scrap of paper that fluttered to the floor that my mom had written my full birth name on…i kept a couple calendars with my poppo’s handwriting…i kept a tiny folder of maps my mom collected in her curiosity about the changing world…i kept my dad’s brown suede cap, the one i bought him a million years ago…i kept a manila folder of letters i had written to them over the years – that my momma saved…these pieces of evidence of who they were, heirlooms of what was most important to them.

i vowed, once again, to go through, give away, sell the things in our own home that are not necessary.  but those bins in the basement labeled “kirsten” and “craig”?  those will stay.  i will delight in going through the artwork and stories and notes and school projects from their childhood and growing up.  and some day, maybe they too will see how infinitely important each of the baby steps and adult steps they have taken are to me.  and maybe some of the thready treasures i have left behind will give them pause and, maybe, they will save a scrap or two, a calendar, a notebook of unpublished songs, photographs, something that reminds them of what was most important to me – the thready things that are memories of love, of family, of them.

it wasn’t sunny or 82 degrees inside the storage unit.  but it was warm in a whole other way.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

mommaandpoppo deer ridge website box

 

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loop. [merely-a-thought monday]

loop copy

i went back to take this picture.  i’m not quite sure why, but the word “loop” on the steps struck me as funny.  truth be told, it was a piece of information; on the metra steps in chicago it was directing us to the train that would take us toward the loop.

there was this time we visited My Boy in chicago.  we took the train down, got off at the ravenswood stop, and walked what seemed-like-miles dragging a rollie-bag behind us with all the ingredients for pasta and homemade sauce.  after a fun day together, we dragged our now-empty suitcase back to the train and waited on the platform for the train home, unwittingly sitting on the wrong side of the platform.  it was a mere two minutes before the train came that we realized our error and ran down the stairs, down the sidewalk, across the street against the traffic light and back up the other set of stairs to the right platform.  it was comical, i’m sure.  we couldn’t even pretend to be cool-calm-collected-experienced-aloofly-confident passengers.  we were total geeks, running for the train, laughing.  i’m sure there were signs (we saw them our next trip down) but we hadn’t noticed.  and so, the word “loop” on the steps made me laugh.  “northbound” on the steps would have helped.

music-in-its-written-form is kind of like this.  there are directions all over the place:  repeat signs, time signatures, words like coda, DC al fine, DS.  it’s a confusing mess for the newbie.  our ukulele band navigates this all the time now; we use lead sheets in lieu of just chord-and-lyric sheets.  we cheer each time we end the song at the same place and at the same time.  for the seasoned musician, these directions are run-of-the-mill; for the music editor, these directions save a lot of space and paper.  for the ukulele band, which now pays attention to these bits of directive material, it’s like writing “loop” on the steps.

it’s all just one big lesson in following directions, isn’t it?  i guess the key is laughter.

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

roger's park feet website box copy

 

 

 


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babycat in a box. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

babycat in a box copy

remember when you carefully wrapped your toddler’s presents, expecting their absolute glee when he or she opened the gift?  and then, moments after the gift was opened, with wrappings and gift cast aside, you found them ecstatically playing with the box the gift came in?  well, welcome to babycatworld.

b-cat has lots of toys.  we struggle with keeping dogdog from devouring them.  we gave him fun new things for christmas, but he doesn’t seem all that interested.  however, the moment we put a carry-your-stuff-out-box we used at costco on the floor in the kitchen, babycat decided it was his.  no matter where we move it, he sits in it.  he has claimed it; it is his safe spot.  it would be impossible for him to lay down in it; his hulking “big-boned” body dwarfs the box.  but sitting in it seems to suffice for him.  i guess everyone/every creature has their special spot.  so for now, this crest box has become a part of our home.

i might add that it doesn’t match our decor in any way.   i’m wondering if he would still sit in it if we spray-painted it black…

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

chicago market dec 2018 website box


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park next to the potato. [two artists tuesday]

one potato copy

it’s not every day you pull into a parking lot and park next to a potato.  even at church.  we never considered parking in the same spot as the potato.  it was clear that spot was taken.  and as two artists living in this world together, we don’t question things like that.  we parked in the next spot over.  i mean, every potato deserves a little respect.

two potato copy.JPG

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

onthecapecloseup website box

 

 

 


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playing the same stuff. [merely a thought monday]

string bass with frame

just last saturday evening, out on cape cod, we lingered over seafood and glasses of wine with jonathan, our bass player.  we were sitting around his table, chatting about music.

he told us about a group of musicians he rehearses with on an irregular basis.  they play a wide variety of instruments and they all just gather casually together and jam on some “good music”.  “…and once in a while we play the same stuff…” he stated.  his voice trailed off as he thought about what he had just said and we all laughed.  we can picture a whole group of jonathans in the room – all exuberant and, each, lovers of all music, all pick-ready, mouthpiece-ready, reed-ready, hands-poised-over-the-keys-ready.  that kind of enthusiasm shouldn’t be curbed or restrained.  the sheer joy of playing – now that’s the reason to be all together.  it’s not about playing all the notes on the page, playing them all perfectly at the same time, playing them with no mistakes.  it’s about heart.  it’s about the breaths and the rests of silence, the flip-flop your heartbeat makes when soaring notes come together in a sweeping harmony, the tears you get in your eyes when something you just played or heard is sublimely sweet, dynamically touching, deeply resonant, the belly laugh with the ridiculously dissonant moment.

the ukulele sip ‘n strums are about just that.  if we can choose to teach anything at those sip ‘n strums, i would choose to teach just these things.  the things of joy.  music is all about individual hearts…coming together with the immense gift of twelve notes at our literal fingertips.  no matter what we play, we are playing the same stuff.

ukulele laughter

what playing music looks like.

christmas sing dec 7 sip n strum copy

rackcards for sip n strumtake 2.PRINT copy (deleted b'87d4bf65abee4940dca3fe6ba53c1bc6') copy

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

at jonathans with bear website box

UKULELE SIP ‘N STRUM ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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sisu. [merely a thought monday]

sisu box

sisu.  perseverance.  fortitude.  stamina.  courage.  determination.  my grandmother mama dear used this finnish term all the time and passed it down to my sweet momma beaky who passed it down to me.  a philosophy of life, a mantra, “you gotta have sisu!” mama dear would say.  if up against the odds, if forging upstream, my sweet momma would say, “you gotta have sisu!”  and so it was without a second thought when it was time to name my own company, the independent recording label that has been sisu music productions for the last 23 years.  i can’t think of a better name for all the challenges that have risen – and continue to rise – as an independent artist.

any moment of fear, of uncertainty, brings me to draw on that sisu…digging in my heels and standing firmly in it.  it’s kind of a blind faith and has everything to do with that.  in the face of adversity, of the scales tilted not-in-your-favor, you just keep on.  in the face of fear…everyone has their thing…the thing that makes them afraid…the thing that makes them white-knuckled…you just keep on.   sisu.

i was flying back from telluride to denver a couple days ago – in a smaller plane.  there was a big strapping guy all dressed in camouflage who got on the plane before me.  he told the flight attendant he had been out in the middle of nowhere hunting (successfully) elk and mule deer.  he was a rough and tumble kind of guy and ended up seated just across the aisle from me.  when the plane hit turbulence, particularly over the front range, his face turned red and he looked over at me with a deer-in-the-headlights look and said, “i hate this part!!”  i started talking to him then, trying to ease his obvious fear, talking about the wind currents and the mountains…how i could see the airport…we are almost there…just a teeny bit further…wheels are going to touch down any minute….  he was gripping the lock on the little tray table and finally relaxed his grip and smiled.  everyone has their thing.

we can loan others the sisu we carry with us.  we can bank on the sisu we carry with us.  i often credit being-from-new-york for times i have just forged-ahead-anyway, but my sisu roots go way further back than that.

sisu.  i stood back from the edge of a deep deep canyon the other day, my beautiful daughter on another boulder a few hundred yards away.  i looked at the sky, the sunset playing over red rock.  thought about that very moment in time, this moment i was sharing with the part of my heart known as kirsten…this moment that wouldn’t be repeated.  and i heard the voice in my head, “you gotta have sisu.”  i stepped to the very edge of the canyon, stretched out my arms and laughed aloud.

moab edges with website

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Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 12.27.50 PM


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stress. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

ChickenStress BIGcopy copy

i wish.  i wish stress brought out my sense of humor.  i suppose that sometimes it does.  but more consistently would be a good thing.  how does worrying help, anyway?

this is not my favorite FLAWED CARTOON.  although it does actually make me laugh aloud, it also makes me cringe.  (and, to take it further, it makes me want to be vegan.)

in the story i tell myself, she puts down the talking-intervention-chicken and it becomes a free-range fowl, roaming with plenty of fresh vegetation, sunshine and open space for exercise.

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

you should know that stress brings out my sense of humor ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood