reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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little-baby-scion sisu. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

scion sisu

for starters, i was raised by beaky and pa.  my sweet momma and poppo grew up in the time of the depression, born in 1921 and 1920, respectively.  so my propensity to turn the shampoo bottle upside down and squeeze the last ever-lovin’ drop out of it – till there are no more molecules left in the bottle – is something i come by honestly.  my momma may not have been the inventor of the soap sock or the wait-and-save-this-new-thing-for-something-special but she had it all down pat.

and so, it seems to run true that i do not easily replace stuff with brand-spanking-new stuff.  our stove/oven is over 40 years old; it still works and why fill up the landfill with yet another stove/oven?  i know that a new stove/oven would probably grace our little kitchen with more flare, but then the whole kitchen would have to be re-done around the new appliance.

among other clothing items i can carbon-date, i have, in my closet and drawers, clothing that was my girl’s or my boy’s – sport sweats or t-shirts, jeans or even shorts – not only do those connect me to memories with them, but, sheesh, why not?  i have shoes from waaaaay back, not hoarding…really.  the last time i bought a pair of shoes – other than my infamous old navy flipflops –  was a few years ago, the black suede boots with fringe were on clearance and i couldn’t resist.  i have worn the heck out of them.

and that brings me to little-baby-scion.  a 2006 model, this little toastermobile is scrappy.  equipped with few amenities, there is far less equipment to break on this little vehicle. (i turn to knock on wood as i write this.)  this scion has been a rock – taking me/us cross-country to see my sweet momma when she was struggling, to see our girl in the high mountains, our boy on the east coast.  it drove babycat home from florida, dogdog home from the other side of wisconsin and was our luxury vehicle of choice on our honeymoon.  it kept me safe driving cartons of cds to concerts and wholesale shows.  it has withstood ferry rides to and from the island.  through rain, sleet, snow and ice it has prevailed.  every time we get in, especially on a long-drive-day, we root, “you go, little baby scion!”

and so the other day i asked d to take a picture as it landed on this mileage.  no real reason, just gratitude for something that has been lasting and lasting.  i have no real drive (no pun intended) to have a new lavish car nor is it necessarily in the budget at the moment to replace something that doesn’t need replacing. little-baby-scion rocks and packs like a u-haul.  and is now joined by big red, our 1998 ford F150 pick-up.  we celebrate both of them, inanimate, yes, i know.  but still…

today i just want to say – way to go, toyota!  way to make a vehicle that is dependable and trustworthy.  it’s a sturdy little car, full of sisu.

and, the best part, around some design table at some point in the early 2000’s, i can picture some 20-something saying, “hey!  let’s put blue lights under the dashboard.  we can do away with map lights and light people’s feet.”  yes!  the real merits of our sweet scion.

keep goin’, little-baby-scion!

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

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spider sisu. [two artists tuesday]

whoa….we saw one on the des plaines river trail and stopped short.  it looked like candy on the path, but on closer examination, we discovered it was a spider!  an orange spider.  it’s called a marbled orb-weaver.  and it’s pretty intense.  and, i suppose if you are not spider-phobic like me, it’s beautiful.

later that month, we were hiking at bristol woods, one of our favorite go-to places to hold staff meetings as we walk together.  out of the corner of my eye i caught the glimpse of bright movement in the air…sure enough, it was one of those marbled orb-weavers (doesn’t that just slip off your tongue? lol!)  it was dangling on a web-strand that was at least 5 stories high!  whattheheck!  this roly-poly little spider was bravely trying to reach a white mass that was a bit flattened (an egg cocoon with several hundred eggs, we read later) while being tossed about in the wind, up and down, sideways.

i could practically hear this spider whisper to itself, “gotta have sisu, gotta have sisu” as it climbed, bobbing, bobbing, up its long, high-above-the-ground web, finally reaching its cocoon and wrapping it close into its body.

wow.  what we do for our babies, eh?  amazing stuff.  the stuff of sisu.

marbled orb-weaver

read DAVID’S thoughts on SPIDER SISU

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SPIDER SISU ©️ 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

read DAVID’S thoughts on SISU

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two artists tuesday

MASTER be relentless big copy 2i don’t have to look further than my two children for examples of being relentless.

The Boy decided, early in high school, that he wanted to change his attention from baseball to tennis.  now, most of his classmates who were tennis players on the varsity team had played since earlier childhood.  The Boy had only hit the ball around on the court a few times with his very-best-growing-up-friend-miles or pierre-who-hung-out-here-all-the-time-in-high-school but his decision was made and he pursued it with zeal.  a part of the jv team, he practiced and took individual lessons, group lessons, worked with his coaches.  i, on the sidelines, sweated and watched, trying hard to be quiet as he pushed himself.  he, a natural athlete, was moved up to the varsity team and doubled-down on the hard work of tennis – a “game” possibly more psychological than physical….ridiculously tough on a mom.  he went to a university that welcomed him on their tennis team and, for years, i spent the better part of tennis season (and tournament season) driving all over the state and beyond, proud to see his skill on the court, proud to see his drive and, mostly, that it paid off for him.  now he applies the same strategic tennis-approach to his life, his career.  he was – and is – relentless.

The Girl decided, upon moving to the high mountains of colorado, that she, having never been on skis or other propelling-downhill-snow-gear (other than a sled), wanted to snowboard.  she was working in a professional (indoor office) position out there, but she spent every spare moment on the slopes, striving to learn.  every now and then she’d report in about her experience on copper mountain or keystone or breck or vail or ….  she broke her arm, she twisted limbs, she broke her helmet.  she persisted.  time passed and she traded up for better snowboards, more equipment; she asked more people for advice or pointers; she was a learner beyond compare.  she boarded in aspen, in snowmass, in patagonia.  she dropped off ledges and split-boarded up vast mountains.  fast forward just a few short years and she, no longer in an inside office doing the piece-of-paper-from-the-university-of-minnesota-work-she-was-trained-for, has taken the learn how to learn, learn how to persevere, learn how to dream – from life, from college, from her own purposeful heart – and is a snowboard instructor and a snowboard coach for a team in aspen.  she offers more than snowboarding to those around her; she is the picture of excited zealousness.  she was – and is – relentless.

so i………who read to them as little ones and tucked them in and drove them to music lessons and sporting events and played with matchbox cars and dressed barbies and ran alongside two-wheelers and crossed my fingers as they sat behind the wheel of the car and tried to instill a little appreciation of beauty and respect, and helped with homework and stayed up all night while they worked on last-minute-projects and rocked them to sleep at night with a well-loved-tattered ‘goodnight moon’ falling off my lap……..now learn from them.  to be relentless.

there is this adorable couple from mississippi on hgtv these days.  erin and ben star in a show called Home Town and they are working to restore their tiny town of laurel one beautiful home at a time.  my favorite moment, as they run commercials for this very popular show, is erin passionately looking into the camera saying, with the most charming southern drawl, “get up and DO it.”  you can tell she means this about every single thing.  and to her call to action, i just might add – and be relentless.

BE RELENTLESS MERCHANDISE

 

BeRelentless METAL WALL ART copy

metal wall art

 

BeRelentless LEGGINGS copy

be relentless leggings

 

BeRelentless coffee mug copy

be relentless coffee mugs

BeRelentless square pillow copy

be relentless throw pillows

 

 

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTIST TUESDAY

 

be relentless ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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chicken marsala monday #3

fallingdown WITH EYES jpeg THIS COPY copyevery summer i break one of my two little baby toes.  every single summer.  last summer alone i logged tons of miles on my $2 old navy flipflops as a result.  i even talked about it on this blog.  what did i learn?  in particular, what did i learn THIS time as opposed to all the other times?  i learned to either 1. slow down a little  2.  watch where i’m going a tad bit more  3.  never go barefoot.  the thing is, i’m pretty sure it will happen again.  i’m still learning.

i haven’t fallen off my bike in quite some time (and hope not to cause these days it will hurt much more than it used to) but i can relate in countless ways to our chicken marsala monday in the melange this week.  i can distinctly remember taking off the training wheels and teaching the children to ride their two-wheelers, running down the sidewalk next to them.  for that matter, i can totally -and (yougetthis) viscerally- remember teaching them how to drive.

we’ve been watching the olympics.  athletes of inordinate ability who had to start somewhere – and, for sure, who fell in the process.  not afraid of failing, but keeping on keeping on.  being an ace anything is far off.  do any of us ever really get there?

as an adult (ugh, i guess 58 qualifies me if for no other reason than sheer number) there are a lot of things i still want to learn.  a few years ago i wanted to throw pots.  i spent more than i bargained on for clay and lessons and studio time and more clay and ended up with the most wonderful tea light holder. (ok, i also threw a cereal-size-bowl and a few other assorted incredibly-shrinking-bowls as i struggled to center them and not have the clay collapse on the wheel.)  let’s just say i was not gifted at this.  but it did (and still does) make me laugh.  and i know that i will someday try it again and i will add to my assortment of teenytinyclayobjects in which i can store paperclips.

when we see my amazing son and his boyfriend, we seem to be developing this tradition of bowling together.  now, even though i live in wisconsin – and it is practically a law to be a good bowler here – i am pretty bad at bowling.  every now and then i do something (like pick up a spare or get a strike) and am shocked, but most of the time i am aghast at how the ball creates splits in the pins and i find myself leaning while watching it careen (generous term) down the alley.  the thing i must say, though, is that each time i do a little better.  and the reallybadscores will, if i dedicate any time at all to practice, perhaps improve.  mostly, i laugh.  and i wish i could bring that to ANY thing i am learning – be it a new sport, an artform, a study of some philosophy or political issue, or – a big one – relationship.  we fall.  we get up, brush ourselves off, ask for grace and try again.

even though there are so many venues of crashing, the recording studio is a prime place to watch yourself fall down.  you’ve written music, lyrics.  you’ve practiced and practiced – there’s muscle memory in each measure.  you’re ready, water and coffee by your side.  (for me, not so much water once in the studio as it ….toomuchinformationalert…makes throat noises i can’t avoid.)  and then you start.  there’s so much riding on the line.  and some days?  some days you can’t get through a track.  something is amiss; something is wrong.  the first track of my first album was recorded in a studio in evanston.  ken, my producer, was a stranger to me and i drove down with a posse of friends.  i felt a little nervous, but mostly felt confident i was prepared.  hours later, i had recorded the solo piano track for galena (the album released from the heart) and ken gave me a cassette tape (how funny is that?!) to listen to.  i put it in the cassette deck of my old chrysler blue minivan and turned it on.  and was appalled.  rigid playing met my ears.  it sounded nothing like me or my playing, or my piece of music, for that matter.  all that confidence translated to a coldness, an unemotional-ness instead of a good track.  i called ken (who i barely knew then, but now the same brilliant producer who has produced 14 of my 15 albums) and he suggested that, “maybe you should just write the music and have someone else play it on the recording FOR you.”  what???!!!  uhhh, i didn’t even know what to answer that would sound in the least bit polite.

and so i painfully listened to the recording again and sat back down at home on my bench.  and i realized i needed to be ready -at any moment- to fall.  THAT is what would make the piece sound like me and sound like, well, music.  the rawness, the every-moment-ness, the vulnerability to mistakes and moving beyond them.  that is what would make it shine as a learning.  preparation is wise, flexibility is a must, a sense of humor is required, confidence is irrelevant, perseverance is utmost.

and falling down is a gift.

FALLING DOWN IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF LEARNING MERCHANDISE

chicken falling down mug copy                    chicken falling down pillow copy

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY

kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

check out DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN MARSALA

falling down is an essential part of learning ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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brave.

raw-1heidi (also known as h) said, “all of life requires us to be brave.” such truth.

tonight, as i scrolled through facebook, i saw a friend of mine from high school who posted that it had been three weeks exactly since her mom had died and she couldn’t “stand it.” i so totally understand that. totally. so so hard. where is our ground? brave.

last night crunch called and we chatted for almost an hour. our friendship goes back forty years to a time of innocence and playfulness. we don’t get to see each other hardly at all, but the time inbetween calls or eye-to-eye contact drops away with our laughter and reminiscing on the phone, my long island accent rising to the surface as we talk. the first thing i thought of when i got off the phone was that i couldn’t wait to tell momma that crunch had called. brave.

scott wanted to bring his mom’s birdfeeders with him after emptying the sold-house and driving the uhaul truck away.  but the birds in that yard needed them.  he had to leave them behind. so he took the potted plant she last watered, the last living thing between them.  brave.

stress – everyday stressors, big stressors, teenyweeny stressors – wields a big punch. even with huge reminders about perspective, we still trod down the road of worry. what will happen, we wonder. brave.

kim posted a picture of kennedi going to pre-kindergarten, dianne posted a picture of charlie going to preschool, jamie posted pictures of the children eating corn dogs after the first day of school. all. brave.

my little girl -25- lives high in the mountains. my little boy -22- lives in the city and is at the starting gate of life. i am so proud. i adore them and i miss them. brave.

beth posts this amazingly stunningly tough and gorgeous photo of herself each time she learns of someone else who has to walk the track of cancer survivor. this photograph is beautiful and gripping and breathtaking. she is life itself in this picture. brave.

we face down our fears, we risk our dreams, we forgive without being forgiven, we acknowledge our disappointments, we are given grace in our mistakes, we plod on, we face the sun, we scurry through the rain, we feel our way through the fog, we celebrate the moment without investing in the whole day, we love without ceasing.

we’re braver than we know. every single day.