reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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big red. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

CO to WI copy

colorado to wisconsin.  with a stop in columbia, missouri.  the first day is long.  twelve hours give or take.  we drive out of colorado into kansas, which has to be one of the wider states in the journey, and head for wendy’s.  she and keith are tolerant of whatever-time-we-get-there, knowing the challenges of a long drive.  this time, it was different.

this time we weren’t in our littlebabyscion toodling along, huffing and puffing up hills.  this time we were in Big Red, a giant ford F150.  she hadn’t been driven this-far-at-one-time in years.  we were high up and felt like road warriors.

columbus gave us a couple cassette tapes to play in the player and, in planning ahead, i had brought a dozen favorites from years past (ok, the 70s are many years past.)  we played each of them, singing along.  and then switched to the radio.  it only seemed right that country music be blaring out of the speakers, so we obliged.

although we blasted cassettes of john denver, loggins and messina, alabama, england dan & john ford coley among others, i have a few favorite radio songs of the journey east and north.  one direction’s what makes you beautiful, lady gaga and bradley cooper singing shallow, toby keith’s i wanna talk about me and my new fave, billy currington’s good directions and turnip greens.  a sweet country-music story.

we were talking with jen and brad last night in their kitchen, lingering over our potluck together.  we talked about compromise and life and decisions and chance.  like everyone, david and i have had our share of each of those.  decisions sorted and pondered, and compromises, bending to the things that make life meaningful, balancing reality with idealism.  and then there’s chance.  we could relate to the story of turnip greens…happenstance changing life.   a choice, one direction taken, a turn, one click…and everything changes.  what comes is predicated on what was and what is this very second.  we second those lyrics – thank God for good directions and turnip greens.

we turned up the stereo in Big Red and opened the windows with the AC on.  somewhere along the way, we decided it was a she, for she had gently mothered columbus as he drove a bit more gingerly in recent days and she sturdily and protectively lumbered us across the country.  laughing and certain of everything and absolutely nothing, we turned this beautiful big old pickup truck toward home.

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

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baby steps. [k.s. friday]

BABYSTEPS songbox

i’m glad my sweet momma saved these, my first soft leather pre-stride-rite walking shoes.  they hang in my studio and are a literal reminder that everything is accomplished by first taking baby steps.  leaps are optional.  long jumps, ridiculous.

as we embark on some new adventures, i keep reminding myself of this.  regardless of age, the idea of learning new things can be daunting and exhilarating, both.  we step  with commitment and with a willingness to bend and be fluid like reeds in the wind.  we hold fast to past lessons and apply them generously where they fit and we recognize when new wisdom will serve us better.   we step confidently and tenderly.  both.

my beautiful niece chose BABY STEPS as the piece that started her wedding on the beach.  the wedding party all walked barefoot through the sand to this music as we witnessed and supported heather and brian starting their new journey, one baby step at a time.

it all starts with baby steps.  one tiny footfall at a time.  speed matters not.  it’s all forward motion.

purchase RIGHT NOW CD or download on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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BABY STEPS from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

 

 


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the curious. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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my niece (well, technically d’s niece) posted this on instagram.  she and her husband, a pastor, are missionaries and have done pure and amazing hard work in the world.  she encountered this sign on a mirror in cairo, egypt while they are out gathering information to make a decision on their next placement.  i can’t think of two people more curious about others and the lives that people live outside our country; they have done impactful work and are seeking the next location where they can make a difference.  this sign must have felt like a sign to her – a reinforcement of their choices, their passion, their dedication, their direction.

it would be my guess that the moment you cease being curious is the same moment that you cease learning.  curiosity takes guts.  so does learning.  and adjusting.  at any age, we like to think we know.  and yet we don’t.

when my sweet momma entered assisted living, she was, quite understandably, apprehensive.  a person who adored her own home, but yet loved to converse with others – all others – it was hard for her to adjust to a new place outside of her own place, a new rhythm, new people, new things to do.  but she had great courage.  and she participated.  confused on lingo, she called to tell me that she was going to “taize on chair” but what she really meant was she was going to “tai chi on chair”.  and she liked it!  i was speechless with respect for her ability to try and learn new things, even at 93.  she was curious.  she kept asking questions.  she kept learning.  she kept having new adventures, albeit small adventures.  it mattered not to her that these adventures were not staggeringly earth-shattering.  what mattered to her was that it changed her.  it made her grow and think.  it made her try something new.  it made her braver.  it made her even more curious.

like hannah, like my sweet momma, i hope to stay outside the box.   to try new things and walk to the edge.  to look to others for inspiration.  to ask questions and listen to the answers.  to trust being curious.

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

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little did i know. [merely-a-thought monday]

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when i was in junior high i wrote a piece for an english class titled “old age is not a disease.”  i’m pretty sure if i searched high and low for it i could find it in a bin somewhere, but, suffice it to say, i have other things on my docket to get done and, heaven knows, i don’t want to even attempt to go near those bins.

when i was in junior high i’m quite convinced that i would have thought 60 was “old age”.  as we know, it’s all relative.  you know, “60 is the new 40” or (i’m hoping) some such faaabulous idiom.

when i was in junior high i’m betting i thought that life slowed down at 60, that people did less and rested more.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i would think i, errantly, believed that getting older also meant less engagement with unknown things, less learning, less involvement.  perhaps i assumed that getting older was a time for fewer challenges, more relaxation, less thinking, less new.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high maybe i thought that most people who were older thought inside the box; their lives and their activities were conservative and tight, protected and quiet.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high it would be my guess that i thought most older people were secure, maybe retired, with essentially predictable lives and not much to really worry about.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i’m sure i, like most junior-highers, looked at people who were 60 and thought, “wow!  that person looks old!”  i probably never considered how their spirit played into their look, how life experience added to their wise eyes and kind smile.  little did i know.

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

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187. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

187 box framed copy

i had no idea how much i would love designing.  through the first ten years or so of album covers, i watched.  i sat with my dear friend 20 as he designed so many of my CD jackets and tray cards.  i learned a lot.  not about how to use photoshop or illustrator or quark but i learned about balance and clean design and how to “see”.  so when we started designing for THE MELANGE, that part came more easily.  the photoshop part?  well, that had a bigger learning curve (as does website designing.)  manipulating images and navigating programs without real directions can be a challenge, but i was up for it.  lots of learning.

the thing that really surprised us was when we looked at each of our society6.com stores this week and literally counted our product lines.   there are 187!  187 lines created across the five stores.

187 product lines later, i look back in wonder.

mugs and laptop covers, tote bags, prints and cellphone cases, beach towels, shower curtains…not to mention leggings.  in the course of the last year, i have designed between 50 and 60 pairs of leggings.  leggings with morsels of david’s paintings, leggings with graphics we have designed or photographs we have taken, leggings with words of wisdom, leggings with punchlines, leggings with lyrics.  i was a leggings-designing-maniac.  i think about even just these leggings designed, available on an on-demand site, and think – we could have all those made and just sell them ourselves.  we could sell those designs elsewhere – to a company that already produces leggings.  we could open a shop with all these products – interesting, different, artistic, not mass-produced or mass-purchased.  we could…  there’s no telling what we could do.

i asked david if he knew how many blogposts there had been in this MELANGE year.  he had already done the math.  we each posted 260 posts, totalling 520.  that’s more than a few words, more than a few thoughts, more than a little heart.

immeasurable energy has been devoted to these designs, these blogs, to this MELANGE.  here – at the one-year-old mark – we are astounded by the amount of time and effort this has all taken.  and we look back in wonder.

what has been the reward?

there is no way to underestimate the power of i/we-can-do-this.  the sisu of sticking it out, meeting the challenge, staying in the game, learning.

THE MELANGE is celebrating one year.  but we are celebrating so much more than that.  we look forward in wonder.

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

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THE MELANGE ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

images in THE MELANGE ©️ 2016-2019 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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knowledge. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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an unnecessary display of knowledge…we all have been around this one way or another.

i once received a christmas letter that was about 2-3 pages long, single-spaced.  it was from a long-ago friend from elementary school and i was pretty excited to see her name on the return envelope.  i looked forward to hearing what she was up to; we hadn’t been in touch much since “the olden days” and i was happily curious.

so i opened the envelope and settled in to read her news.  it took less than a few seconds to see that this was not about fun stuff that she, her family and extended family had done through the year; instead it was a report – although she included a flowery description of their home in a california beach town, there was a wordy review of books she had read, a detailed, verbose list of accomplishments at work.  there were no anecdotes about family or, for that matter, any talk about family.  i’m still unclear about whether or not she has children.  her language was untypical, conspicuously intellectual verbiage.  it felt pointedly like a display of knowledge.  ick.

we’ve all been subjected to this.  in writing, in person, on tv or podcasts, on facebook or twitter. it’s definitely eye-rolling territory.  my daughter – The Girl – has perfected eye-rolling and i have used her technique from time to time in an effort to deal with the after-effects of such displays of knowledge.

although i am aware of and respect that you have accumulated vast knowledge through the years, i believe i mostly want to know what you think, how something makes you feel, what your story is, how you participate in life with others.  that will tell me what you know and, with gratitude for you and the unique gifts you bring, i will learn from you.

as human beings, it seems like gaining knowledge is our job.  sharing knowledge is our gift.  displaying knowledge is a whole ‘nother thing.  and so unnecessary.

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

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in transition. [k.s. friday]

in transition song box.jpg

in pondering what to write about this piece,  i took out the jacket for the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART.  my first full-length album, released in 1995, an hour of my original solo piano compositions, i dedicated it to my big brother wayne who i had lost a few years prior, but whose presence i could feel as i worked on this project.

in the jacket notes, next to this piece IN TRANSITION, i wrote “many changes for many around me.  changes give us time and impetus to sort through (and feel) the stuff of our lives – the transitional time.”  that would explain the minor, a key that invokes going inside.

i guess i will have to defer back to that.  it’s no different now than it was then.  there are still “many changes for many around me”.  i would have thought that things would feather out on the change seesaw, maybe leveling out a bit.  but now, 23 years later from those moments of recording remotely on stage in an auditorium at northwestern university, i see that life continues to be fluid, change continues to happen, we still have to sort and feel and go with the flow, we are still learning, growing, changing, we are ever on that seesaw.  still in transition.

 

purchase the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART or download IN TRANSITION track 8 on iTUNES or CDBaby

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

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IN TRANSITION from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood