reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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back to back. [two artists tuesday]

dogdogbabycatbacktoback copy

dogdog and babycat – back to back

in the middle of the night when i wake up – which happens every night thanks to the keeps-on-giving gift of menopause – i can hear them.

dogdog is gently breathing, sometimes punctuated by his paws running in a dream where he is doing laps around our pond, excitedly barking.  his even breaths, a dog in mostly-quiet slumber, reassure me, and my heart and i listen as he peacefully sleeps.

the peaceful-sleep bar is different for babycat.  he is not a stealth-sleeper.  well, actually nothing that babycat does is stealthy.   he’s not that kind of cat.  instead, his sleep on the end of the bed (he picks the side and you definitely know early-in-the-night if you have drawn the short straw) is noisy, fraught with snoring.  i’ve never heard a cat snore as loudly as he does; it is absolutely necessary to nudge him a little so that he steps it down a tad bit.  even with the snoring and the give-him-an-inch-he’ll-take-a-mile-bed-hogging, babycat’s presence sleeping on the bed is reassuring and i lay awake in wonder at how peaceful he seems, how content.

these two are buddies.  i was concerned at the beginning, having never had both a dog and cat simultaneously.  i needn’t have worried though.  they will lay napping on the raft back to back, with their people nearby.  perhaps at those times it is the two of them tuning in and listening – to our voices, our laughter, the rhythm of our day.  and perhaps it is those times that they are reassured.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

dogdog babycat paws touchingwebsite box

 

 

 

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flawed cartoon wednesday

MASTER turtlenecks jpeg copysisu sue swore by them.  turtlenecks.  she has them in every color, every kind of weave and fabric.  she looks fabulous in them and wears adorable chic jackets over them.  she is one cool and trendy lady and i adore her.

having already started the hot-flasharama-period of my life when we were working together, i would ask her how she could stand having a turtleneck on; it was (and mostly still is) out of my realm of imagination being able to wear a turtleneck and not ripping it off in the middle of -say- the choir room or the train to chicago or in the car while driving.  this oh-so-wise treasured woman told me that someday i would understand.

THAT DAY HAS COME.

i look in the mirror, a few steps of days away from 59, and stare at (you might want to stop reading now) my NECK.  what has HAPPENED?  suddenly, my neck (and chin, for that matter) have become O-L-D.  where has the time gone?  where did my old neck go?  and where did that new chin-under-my-chin come from?

my sweet momma, at 93, looked at me one day and said, “i looked in the mirror and (in a horrified voice) i saw an OLD woman.”  “momma,” i reassured her, “at 93, you are an old woman, but you are a BEAUTIFUL old woman.”  personally, i thought my momma was striking.  every last wrinkle told a story.  every last thing she saw as a flaw.  but my words fell on deaf ears.  she just stared back at me.  probably feeling much the same as me.  delusionally thinking that time would stand still in our necks and chins and -yup- everywhere else.  time and menopause take their toll.

the next time you see me try not to stare at my neck (although i have likely set you up for that.)  i may or may not be wearing a turtleneck.  the ironic part is that a real turtle’s neck really does look a lot like mine.  sheesh.

TURTLENECKS ARE IN – a link to t-shirts, art prints, cards, throw pillows, phone cases

 

society 6 info jpeg copy

 

turtlenecks FRAMED PRINT copy

framed art prints, cards

 

turtlenecks COFFEE MUG copy

mugs, travel mugs

 

turtlenecks iPHONE CASE copy

phone cases

 

turtlenecks TSHIRT copy

t-shirts, home decor

 

FLAWED WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

 

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on TURTLENECKS

don’t you know that turtlenecks are in?!?! ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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common ground. on this good earth.

yesterday i received a message of generosity.  i was struck by its kindness. it read, “dear kerri, though politically i am on the opposite side of the spectrum of you, i want to tell you i always love reading your articles. we are both wives, mothers, lovers of nature, animals and our families. i choose to take what you write in and love to live in it awhile…”

paper mache earthcommon ground. we have common ground, despite our differences. and we can meet there – on that good earth – to celebrate the ways we are the same. in generosity.

too often we cling to our differences. ptom talked about the icy grip of our own stubbornness and i cringed thinking of the times i had fiercely hung on with that icy grip. we believe it is our right to harbor resentments and hatred. we hold our deposits into a grudge bank tightly, haughty looks on our faces and in our hearts. there is a common ground there too, but no generosity enters that place and the soil is tainted with our own ideas of self-importance.

i was talking to d the other day and we passed a place in our town that always reminds me of a plethora of memories, some of which are not entirely pleasant. i am grateful to the menopause wizards who have somehow blocked the synapses in my brain making it impossible for me to remember all the details of the unpleasantness and difficulty that took place there. the details have become fuzzy; ok, who am i kidding? the details aren’t even fuzzy. it’s more like a very low dense fog. it makes it impossible for me to hang onto the grudges i’m sure i’m “supposed” to still have. i can’t remember them. for that matter, i can scarcely remember all of what happened. what a good thing. instead, with no credit to me or any intentional decision i made, i remember the positive things that happened in that place, on that good earth. i can’t help but wonder what might happen were i to intentionally make decisions that way…releasing the things i have felt that have made me cling to useless negative energy.

i can’t help thinking that our world would be radically transformed if we could release the grudges (and over-important-ized-memories of how we were somehow wronged and prejudices and bigotry and inequity and walls we have built) that hold us back from meeting together, from finding common ground. we could choose to celebrate the ways we are the same. in generosity.

it’s there. the possibility. the space around us could become saner, with grace for each other, a place of peace.  on this good earth.

moon and water horizontal


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what is going on??

deconstructedkneesit used to be we would walk into the mall and you could sniff your way to the abercrombie store. back then, my daughter – the girl – and i would waltz our way into the store, combing for the latest $24 or $30 t-shirt, the latest $78 pair of jeans with holes in them (“deconstructed”), looking for the sale racks in the back. it was important, at that time in her life, to wear the ‘right’ stuff, so we would invest in a few things. on occasion, i would find the perfect pair of jeans for me as well (was that too far out at the time??)

the other day i was pondering summer. the weather was getting warmer and i texted susan that summer needed to wait – that i had nothing to wear. well, let’s be real. i had nothing to wear that fit or that (i felt) looked good. sheesh. once again, menopause rears its head. what is going on?? HE says that all the things i tried on look “lovely, beautiful, cute…” (and some other perfectly-supportive-husband superlatives.) but the mirror tells me different.

so i started to go through my entire closet and drawers. i pulled out everything. i brought a mirror into the bedroom (wow – people actually have standing mirrors in their bedrooms – sooo convenient!) i started to try on everything. and i mean everything!  there were still abercrombie jeans in the pile on the top of the closet. and, except for the fact that the blue color wash is the wrong blue now, they still fit. they don’t, however, look the same as they used to. what is going on??

i came across a pair of hollister jeans i had bought many years ago (at least 12!…is hollister even still a brand??) they were a pair of my favorites. they had great holes in them, a button fly, were a dark wash and have stitching on them that says, “follow the sun wherever it takes you”. i am reticent to let these go. maybe i should make a tote bag out of them? regardless, it is unlikely that i will wear them again. what is going on??

so i plodded on through an entire day (no, i’m not done yet) trying to figure out what makes the cut and what doesn’t. i am a total jeans and boots and black shirt person, so some things were easy to put in a give-away pile. but, once again, i found myself lost in thought and memories as i sifted through all this… aztecsweaterhere’s a wrap that was my sweet momma’s. here’s a top my daddy bought me because he told my mom it looked like me. tucked away is a 1970’s wrap aztec print sweater my dad came home with for me when i was in high school. (i recently saw a remake of this very sweater at a store in chicago on the famous miracle mile.) here’s a ‘peace’ shirt the girl got me. here’s a livestrong tshirt with the word ‘hope’ the boy got me… my ever-‘gets-it’-husband said we should be sure to have a place where i can put items of clothing that are steeped in memory. thank goodness he gets it. that mushy-mushiness, hyped-emotions menopause. what is going on??

anyway, i am determined to make it through the summer with the things that are left. i am no longer a big shopper – i can’t think of the last time i went to an actual indoor mall. i haven’t smelled abercrombie from afar in quite some time, though i still recognize the scent ‘fierce’ if someone walks by me wearing it. i just feel like, with maybe the addition of one or two little things, i can get dressed each day this summer, thank the universe for a body that, although changing, works and celebrates life in walks by the lake, hikes out in state parks, dances in the kitchen, standing at the piano, following the sun….followthesunand i can do it without all the latest fashion, without new deconstructed jeans (i have plenty of those that i have organically deconstructed myself), without judging or comparing or being wistful.

all that can be impossibly hard work for women in a society that challenges us with perfect-body/hair/life advertising. but i’m up for it. what is going on anyway??


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ravioli in the moat.

easiestwaydownwith the grocery list in my hand, i stared at my husband. he looked back with a question in his eyes. he asked if i wanted to add something to the list. i continued to stare blankly and then said, “yes….umm…those square pasta things with stuff in them…..whaaaat are those called???” “ravioli?” he asked. “YES!!!! that’s it!! ravioli!!!”

menopause strikes again.

i told this story in the middle of directing a ukulele band rehearsal. suddenly similar tales were surfacing. jay talked about how she called kleenex “little blankets” not able to remember the word ‘kleenex’. sally said for the life of her she couldn’t remember the word for “those things you sit on at football games”….(that’s easy, you quip….bleachers!)

what is it about menopause??? or is it aging? i swear that there is a moat surrounding my actual brain and every so often things just fall into it. i am completely incapable of getting them out – at least for the moment. ask me at 3am and i will have no problem remembering what it is i forgot earlier in the day. ask me at 3am and i will list more things i am thinking about then i have thought about all week. these synapses aren’t firing as they used to….and yet there are some things i am really grateful for in this middle age. (no. hot flashes are not one of those things.)

it seems that prioritizing becomes a different animal at this age. it seems that you reach the point where you are not ‘striding’….instead, you are ‘strolling’….not really from a literal point of view, more of a figurative thing. even just ten years ago, there were things that were so much more important than they are now. i like this new time, this new age.hopscotch copy

even with the hot flashes, the seemingly overnight fluctuations in the size clothing i wear, the memory lapses, the i-have-to-be-goofy moments, photo-4the mushy-mushiness, the menopausal attention-deficit. i love when i am at rehearsal, surrounded by amazing women (and men too, but they have their own menopause and can’t have ours!), and i say “i’m hot!!!! are you hot???” and they all reply – in girls-who-have-your-back-tribal-fashion, “YES!!! we’re hot!!!”

and now i have to go make dinner. maybe we’ll have those square pasta things with stuff in them.growingoldisnotforwimps

 

 


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“live life, my sweet potato”

“butts are in!” she said, as i walked out of the fitting room and pirouetted in front of the three-way mirror, studying my reflection and the new jeans i had tried on. “good thing,” i said, off on a rant, bemoaning menopause catching up to me. sitting on one of those man-benches outside the fitting room, david laughed and rolled his eyes. buying jeans is one of the worst undertakings for a girl, i told him. it just isn’t easy. nothing about it is easy. no matter what age you are. there is so much to think about, so much to worry about. david said it seems much more complicated than “boysbuyingjeans.” ha! the understatement of the century, eh?

momma looked at me many times, straight in the eye, and worriedly said, “i looked in the mirror today and i was shocked to seephoto-1 an old woman! i look like an old woman!” goodness gracious, momma, you were 93! momma had every single right to look like an old woman. matter of fact, she was the most beautiful old woman i have ever seen. all those amazing wrinkles she earned through life, those eyes that have seen so much, the laugh lines around her mouth, the easy smile, that look that could stop all motion, the little scars- the one she got from playing field hockey, the one she got from a golf outing. beautiful. beautiful. beautiful.

recently scordskiii wrote to me that he is “always slightly baffled by the extreme nip/tuck stuff going on with 50-something women.” the pressure of looking “good”, the worry of not looking “old”. he continued, “there is something to be said for growing old gracefully…hell, it’s a gift when growing old is an option…bring on the wrinkles!”

every time we walk past linda’s house she stops us and cuts flowers for us, sending us home with armfuls of stunning blooms. we protest, saying that she is cutting too many, that she should save them for herself or not cut them. she always shoos away our protest, hugs us and sends us on our way. they are there to cut, she says. to be enjoyed. she is not worried about what she has cut or what she has left in her flower garden. she is embracing the beauty of the flowers she can share. we are grateful. for the flowers and the hugs. she doesn’t worry about the wrinkles it leaves in her garden.

photo-3the other night we sat on the edge of the deck. it was twilight. the air was still. little sun was left in the sky. we could hear the birds readying for the night. in the distance we could hear the foghorn. we held hands. and sat. quietly. then we let dogdog out. he ran rampant around the backyard, his joyful smile leading the way through the hostas. at first i cringed, thinking about all the hours this backyard has taken and how quickly his aussie body can make it look – well – pretty wrinkled. but what would life be like without his exuberance? what would it be like perfectly perfect? the trade-off would be huge…like botox for life, not just cosmetic. shaving off the highs and lows, the spectrum would narrow, maybe even to a point of comfortable predictability. but who wants that anyway?

last december, at some random moment, momma called. after saying hello she said she called to tell me something. i waited, held my breath and listened. “live life, my sweet potato,” she said. “live life.” i exhaled.

photo-4with these wrinkles, this butt, this backyard, all the messiness, the highs, the lows, worries or not, i will, my sweet momma, try my best – to live life.

on sunday he said, “do not worry about life. instead, drink it in.”

yes.

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