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guidance is eternal. [merely-a-thought monday]

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it drives them nuts, i’m sure, but i still write or say “triple always” to my children.  a redundancy of course, the “triple” emphasizes the “always”… an unnecessary modifier that says “eternally”…. i love you eternally.

there is a boeing commercial we see often.  in it, the narrator is stating steps of preparation for flight, counting down.  then she says, “guidance is eternal.”  that’s what i have heard every time.  until one time i asked d why he thought she said that.  he responded that she was actually stating, “guidance is internal,” which clearly makes more sense in the aviation world.

i had to listen more closely the next time to hear “eternal” as “internal”.  i did discern the difference, but i still, each time it airs, hear “guidance is eternal” anyway, and maybe that’s a good thing.  it serves as a reminder from an unlikely source, a sort of subliminal message, perhaps, at a time i need it.  an absolute when looking to the universe for answers to unsolved questions, small eddies of confusion, sorting and attempts at balance, at level positivity, seeking wisdom from those who are beloved but on another plane.

the guidance is there.  waiting.  it is internal AND it is eternal.  triple always.

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

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plan ahead. [merely-a-thought monday]

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my poppo would probably have liked chip hailstone.  an as-long-as-i-can-remember subscriber of national geographic, i imagine he would have liked the show ‘life below zero’.  he was good at solving problems, figuring things out, making stuff out of nothing.  his words of wisdom were simple.  “plan ahead,” he would say.   he was a card-holding-club-member-regular-reader of the handyman magazine; he easily could have been a contributing writer.  he would have loved chip hailstone’s comment, “you can make a long piece of wood short, but you can’t make a short piece of wood long.”  ahyup.  it’s in the details.  plan ahead.

we were coffee-sitting around the kitchen table.  it was a late florida morning, years ago now, and coffee break time was an every-day thing.  my dad suddenly got up from his chair and left the room, using his “stick” to get to the bedroom and back.  he returned moments later and started to speak.  “i have something for you, brat,” he started.  “with these years on your own you have learned so much out of necessity.  it’s time for you to have this.  you have earned it.”  he handed me his handyman club membership card and said, “this is yours now.  i’m proud of you.”

it was big news to get this card from my poppo and i didn’t underestimate its import. it would not have made me more gratified to receive a grammy award.  his -my- membership card is in plain view in my studio, reminding me of my dad and his words to me.

we watch ‘life below zero’ episodes and there are simple wisdoms dancing throughout the show.  things i can hear my dad say in his brooklyn accent.  things you think, “well, duh, of course.”  the same things you realize after-the-fact that you should have thought about before-the-fact.  yup, poppo.  plan ahead.

poppo & handyman club

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

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conversation. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we started our day with mimosas.  the up-north-gang was in cedarburg and we descended upon the stagecoach inn’s pub, a place built in 1853, dedicated to their bed & breakfast.  we sat at wood and iron tables surrounded by vintage stone and brick walls and chatted away a very fast almost-two-hours.  we hadn’t ever been at this little pub before to start our winterfest fun.  but it was perfect and it was an easy choice when the day was over and we stopped back there to sip wine or old-fashioneds (a wisconsin staple), review the parade and bed races on the river and talk about any old thing.  i grabbed a brochure (because i, well, love brochures) and looked at it later at home.  “where you can actually hear your conversation” the little pub (named the five20 social stop) advertised.  it was true.  it was refreshing to be able to actually have a conversation and hear each other.

we do our best work in the woods.  d and i will take a walk and solve things that have stymied us.   the quiet, the beauty – it’s centering and it removes all the interruptions of home-office-work.  it offers us a chance to actually have a conversation and hear each other.

at this point, i don’t know what it would take for this world, this country, our state, our community to actually have conversations and hear each other.  so many seem to be yelling, reacting.  certainly not conversing.  it’s tempting to turn off the news app on my phone, but i don’t want to bury my head in the sand.  and yet, lately, this earth seems oddly tilted on its axis, bent on anger and strife, inflated egos, name-calling, exponential self-serving, and pointed blame.  it’s all so toxic.  where is the listening going on?

i would think about suggesting mimosas and a walk in the woods but, with all the noise out there, i don’t know who would hear me.

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

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old dogs. [merely-a-thought monday]

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a couple years ago our CHICKEN MARSALA went with us everywhere.  i mean literally everywhere.  FLAT CHICKEN traveled across the country and we have pictures of him in the scion, in front of the ‘welcome to colorful colorado’ sign, with rest area volunteers, sitting with family at an outdoor bbq.

we had submitted CHICKEN to all the major cartoon syndicates with some interest on their part and so we were bringing him with us, to document his travels and keep our hopes up.  ultimately, CHICKEN MARSALA, the strip, was not syndicated and we ended up concentrating our efforts more on short bursts of wisdom and thought in one-panels of CHICKEN in life.

CHICKEN MARSALA and another one-panel cartoon named FLAWED CARTOON, graphic designs we were making or photographs we were taking, david’s paintings, my music – all were fodder for what became a melange, a mixture of it all, the crux of what we would write about each day.  and so THE MELANGE, offered monday through friday,  was born.

it has – this week – been a year since the first MELANGE was published.  and monday through friday since, we have had an image that we each have used as a jumping-off ground for our blogposts, the chute through which we have funneled our thoughts.

i was a crazy person designing products for each of these days…mugs with our sweet CHICKEN MARSALA on them, BE KIND tote bags, FLAWED CARTOON prints, painting morsel throw pillows, what-seems-like a zillion leggings with song lyrics. we posted links for our product lines and re-assessed things daily – placement of images in the blog, placement of hyperlinks, whether or not to include FB ‘like’ buttons….it is an endless list.

somewhere along the way we realized that it was possible that other people might not be as invested in our CHICKEN MARSALA as we were.  he wasn’t their imagined little boy; he was ours…

i have this great tear-off calendar i enjoyed every day last year.  it sat on my dresser and had a unicorn on every page.  it also had a saying of some sort…some words of wisdom, some tongue-in-cheek, some downright sassy.  although i love unicorns, for obvious reasons, i found that i could not tell you what the unicorn was doing each day; i barely looked at the unicorn.  for me, the important part was the saying.  when i realized that, i also realized that was possibly the same reason people were not investing in CHICKEN.  it was whatever the panel said, the words, that held the interest.  when someone would randomly come upon the image of CHICKEN MARSALA, no matter how adorable the drawing, they wouldn’t ‘see the unicorn’ so to speak, but instead would read the words, the starting gate for our posts.  ahhh.  we are ever-learning.

and so, we changed our MELANGE monday from CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY to MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY.  and i stopped, for now, designing more CHICKEN products for a society6.com store that was already full of products.  CHICKEN MARSALA will have his time in the light; it just isn’t right now.

the same thing happened for our FLAWED WEDNESDAY.  as funny as those single panel cartoons were, we found they weren’t necessarily connecting in-a-big-way to our audience, so it was time to re-evaluate our posts for wednesday.  FLAWED WEDNESDAY became NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY with interesting tidbits we encounter in life.

today (ok, technically calendar-tomorrow but alas let’s not be too detailed) we celebrate this monday in february a year ago.  a year of our MELANGE.  a year of selecting images we would feature.  a year in which we have we have blogged every monday-friday.  a year of designing websites, blogsites, products.  a year of questions and thoughts.  a year of assessing and re-assessing.  a roller-coaster of learnings.

who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

thank you for riding along with us.

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

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CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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it’s not a problem. [merely-a-thought monday]

it's not a problem correct aikens box copy

my poppo would likely have agreed with sue aikens.  he was a solution-finder.  i will, right-here-and-now, brag about his ability to fix absolutely anything; he would find a way, even if he had to make it up.  well, mostly because he made it up.

i’m not sure how he learned everything he learned; his knowledge base was incredibly practical.  give him any problem and it became a challenge for him – an undertaking he never-ever thought of as insurmountable…it was simply a solution he hadn’t yet found.  and so, i hear sue aikens (of national geographic’s life below zero fame – living a solitary life out on the arctic, solving problems i will likely never encounter) and i think of my dad, whose list of favorite places on earth included his workbench out in the garage (or in the basement in earlier years when they lived up north.)  he saved every screw and nut and bolt and tool that crossed his path “just in case”.   he was a re-purposer before it was vogue.  and he was an expert at turning cardboard boxes inside out or fashioning a new box from old in order to ship or store any thing.  his rube goldberg fixes were always pretty amusing, but they all worked and i can hear him in my head pondering and strategizing when i look at something-that-needs-fixing.  sue aikens would be proud.  her glass-half-full attitude is pretty amazing, considering the elements she deals with.  she’s pretty black and white about things; a lack of grey is something i can’t really relate to, but maybe that’s why she solves things more easily – she doesn’t get lost in any part of the emotional response to the problem.

i have to say, though, that i wish i could look at problems in the same positive way as sue.  yes, yes, yes, i know how much we all grow from problems and solving problems and blahblahblah.   it’s the stress of problems i’m talking about…the worry.  there was a prayer yesterday in the bulletin that said, “help us resist the reflex to worry constantly about every single detail of our lives…”  wow.  i double that.  mmm.  make that triple.  it is a reflex.  we know that the moments beyond problems will come.  more than likely we will be on the other side sometime soon, sitting in the middle of the solution and looking back,  shaking our heads at how befuddled and stressed we felt.  but in the meantime….

in the meantime, i would like a collection of some straight-up solutions for the problems that lurk…a (metaphoric) closet full of how-to-do-its or at least how-to-make-it-ups.  oh, and a better attitude about problems.  they are just solutions we haven’t found yet.

uh. yeah.  (eye roll)

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

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dear brain. [merely-a-thought monday]

dear brain copy

we walked past the store window in ridgway, colorado and i stopped to laugh and take this picture “dear brain…please shut up!”  i’m not sure i can count how many times i have wished my brain would just stop talking to me for a few minutes.  as a detail person, it is always engaged in figuring something out, sorting or strategizing.  there seems to be always something i am wondering, worrying about, thinking-thinking-thinking-through.  even while hiking, in the middle of the woods or on a trail of bountiful beauty, i ponder.

now, there are times i have managed to ignore it – moments sitting on a precipice staring out at mountains, sitting on the rocks staring at the lake, sitting on the beach watching the waves hit the shoreline, sitting and warming up by a bonfire, sitting on a pew absolutely silent.  all those involve sitting still.  in those rare moments of slower breathing and meditative peace, i can feel my whole body let down.  more of that, please.

wishing you – wherever you are – a few moments to sit.  for your body to be still, your thoughts to be quiet.

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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