reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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words. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

kawaii raccoons

“look it up,” my sweet momma would say.  i blame her.  for my word-curiosity.  for my policing of spelling, punctuation, grammar.  for my love of dictionaries and my commitment to learning.  at 93 she was still asking questions, being curious, looking it up.

black and white composition books, of both thick and thin variety, populated my growing up, my teenage years, my college years, and ever since.  though i do have a thready fondness of using My Girl’s and My Boy’s old unfinished spiral notebooks these days, we have piles of waiting-to-be-used composition books and they beckon when i open the supply cabinet in the sunlit office upstairs.  places to jot poetry, thoughts, reflections, stories, lyrics, these composition books always make me think of my mom.  they are places to process, to remember, to dream, to sort.  they are the beginnings of stories, lyrics to ponder, the coda to the song.  to someone else they are simply words on the page.  to me, it is my breath that gives them life.  we each have stories to tell, songs to write.

in the last few days i have had the frustration of feeling silenced.  as i wrote in yesterday’s post, someone marked all five of my blogposts of last week on facebook as “spam” and that somehow triggered facebook to pull every last one of my blogposts – and any mention of my blogsite – down.  every word – the simple ones, the ones that require looking-it-up – pulled down.  with 650 posts, even averaging 500 words, that is 325,000 words.  MY 325,000 words.  gone.

in these times of chaos and unrest and pandemic, there are plenty of words out there.  foul words, words of peaceful mantras, words of untruth, twisted words of conspiracy theories, imploring words, scientific words, words of wisdom from giants of wisdom, accessible words, words we have to look up, words we can hardly believe we’ve heard from various people-in-the-spotlight, words at which we roll our eyes, words we find reassuring.

in a daily email he receives, david shares a new word with me.  “kawaii,” he reports, “means cute.”

the baby raccoons, most definitely kawaii, peeked out from behind the tree trunk.  upon seeing us on the trail, they had scrambled from the little pond up the tree.  they stared at us; we stared at them.  they didn’t move, quizzically grasping onto bark and watching quietly.  we didn’t move either.  we just stood quietly on the trail and watched.  the story they would tell about our encounter wouldn’t have many words.  all was silent.  all was motionless.  they were safe; we were safe.  for a few minutes, we shared the serene woods together, a little eye contact in hushed regard of each other.  maybe, in their re-telling, in their speckled composition book, they would just tell the coda – “and then they left.”

every now and again i take out an old composition book.  it’s astounding.  i was so…..wordy.

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

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chicken eyes perseverance website box_edited-1

 

 

 


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the ernie straw. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

ernie straw

the ernie straw.  this straw has lived in the kitchen drawer for decades.  it served the sesame-street-zeal of My Girl and My Boy when they were little-little and has made various appearances back in the sunlit-world from time to time since then.

this summer when The Girl was here house-sitting i came home and into the kitchen to find her using it to sip her pre-workout drink.  she laughingly told me, “it’s a good straw!”  i can’t tell you how happy i was that ernie was still in the drawer when she went searching for the perfect sipping-utensil.

in the last week, ernie has become my constant companion.  positioned carefully in my coffee hydroflask or perched in my water glass or teetering out of a wine glass, ernie and i have done beverage-life together.

they say necessity is the mother of invention and, particularly, this past week with two broken wrists, i would have to agree.  stuck closer to the right side of my brain as a creative thinker (although admittedly there is quite a bit of ny-style-left-side there as well) i have had to sort out how to do things, let’s say, in-a-different-way.

i can proudly say that i can put on my socks, eat my own meal with a fork or a spoon, cut a steak (with the steak knife lodged into my RH cast), put on a little eyeliner and mascara with my LH steadying my right hand (not easy, but some things are just necessary), and type.  last night i squeezed (!) the toothpaste out of the tube and surprised d with his toothbrush pre-pasted.  in bigger news, i have played my piano four days in a row.  i have 9 fingers to use right now; my right thumb is immobilized.  but there are a lot of notes you can play with nine fingers, especially at the right angle and taking your time.

ernie and i are trying to keep a good attitude.  his curlycue-ness is pretty cute and his smile engaging.  he keeps me from feeling too sad, too limited.  he reminds me that the constraints i feel right now are exercising my creative juju (he’s a ridiculous optimist).  and he, most importantly, ties me to all the years backward, where he, yes, an inanimate object, has been a part of my life and the life of my children.

i couldn’t be more grateful to have found this life-gossamer-thread in our kitchen drawer last monday, the day i was injured.  once again, something profound and something simple –  and both remind me of what’s important.

i sent My Girl a photo of ernie in my coffee vessel.  she quickly replied, “it’s a good straw!”   yes.

thank you, our ernie straw.

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

old suitcases website box

 

 


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their slippers. [two artists tuesday]

slippersbw

linda and jim were doing the swedish death cleanse.  linda was determined to de-clutter their home of anything that could potentially burden their children one day.  once on a mission there is no stopping her, so they were diligent about going through every corner, nook and cranny of their home, eliminating anything that was not needed, anything that hadn’t been used in ages or was just simply extraneous.

now, we all talked about that around the table.  with the sun setting on lake michigan and wine in our glasses, our little neighborhood group discussed how hard it is to let go of things,  especially things that have some meaning or are mementos of some sort.  add to that the fact that many of us were raised by parents who had experienced the great depression and you have people who are pre-destined to keep stuff, repurpose it, re-use it, save it for sometime you might need it, save it for when it comes back into fashion so you don’t have to buy it again, etc etc etc.  (that’s definitely my experience and my excuse.)

many times i have entered the basement storage room and gazed at the bins.  in years past, we have eliminated most of the boxes and traded them for these bins, throwing out some things, giving away some things, donating items that are useful, so we have made some progress.  now there are bins with christmas ornaments, bins with artwork and stories and projects created by The Girl or The Boy, bins of things my sweet momma felt too guilty to give away, bins of sewing paraphernalia, bins of art supplies, bins of old music (for everyone gives the musician they know all the old sheet music they come across in their own basement and then that musician, who feels like it’s a mortal sin to throw music out, is compelled to keep it all in file cabinets or, yes, bins.)

from time to time i get a wild hair and go through a bin or random remaining box or pile in the basement workroom.  sometimes i am pretty successful at eliminating clutter.  trust me – i have been in peoples’ homes who have been hoarders and just seeing that makes me want to get rid of everything and live in a tiny house (well, one that would fit my piano.)

this winter perhaps we will tackle this once again.  one more layer of cleaning out.  it is possible.  it’s just tough for me to be ruthless.  i am too thready to be ruthless.  touching memories or seeing them around me is reassuring and fills my heart.

one day in more recent days i went upstairs to look for something in the closet in the hallway.  on the top shelf sat these slippers.  stored here, they are my sweet momma’s and my poppo’s.  they kept them here for when they would visit.

i know that they won’t visit our home again.  noticing the slippers stopped me in my pursuit of whatever-it-was-i-was-looking-for.  all the moments of having my parents present in my home swirled around me, the finality once again a reality.  i struggled with what to do.  i took them out of the closet and brought them downstairs to show d.

laying them carefully on the floor, i took this picture so that i could look at it and remember.  and then, i placed them in a bag so that someone else – a woman with smaller feet than mine and a man with bigger feet than d’s –  could have slippers.  slippers with a bank of memories.  slippers worn hugging my children as they grew.  slippers worn around the christmas tree.  slippers worn in the cold winter sitting by the fire or in the summer drinking morning coffee on the deck.  slippers that lived here, just waiting for their owners, my beloved parents, to put them on.  slippers with big heart.  slippers with profoundly good juju.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

kdkc feet website box


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a familiar sight. [two artists tuesday]

jelly jars & sunset

this will become a familiar sight. sunset coloring the lake, an island populated by waterbirds in the distance, jelly jars in hand.  we have arrived.

fog dawned this day, which somehow seems apropos, considering.   dogdog and babycat are struggling to adjust – a different house – the “littlehouse” as opposed to “home”.  we are surrounded by bins and artwork and happy lights and a bulletin board full of photos. we have our picnic basket and our nespresso, office supplies and our peace signs. we’ve hung an old window frame and the chalkboard from our wedding. we have a vintage road-worn black suitcase just waiting to be filled with the stuff of this adventure. we have beach buckets with sunglasses and paintbrushes, kitchen utensils and a bottle of wine. we brought our cloth napkins, jelly jars and a set of our favorite bowls, our hydroflask coffee mugs and water thermoses, our lidded yeti wine tumblers. we have dogdog’s penguin, his lion, his candy cane and babycat’s chase-the-ball-in-the-circle plastic game. we have candles and clipboards, ukuleles, lawn games, and various devices that play music. we have threadied us up.

and it all boils down to this one thing – in my pocket now every day since jen gave it to me – a silver token that says PEACE.

right now, these thready things embrace me. they help with that peace I’m reminded of by this little token.

but this will all become a familiar sight. i know that.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

feet on the street WI website box

 

 


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connected. [k.s. friday]

connected songbox

“wherever you are, that’s where i will be…” the framed needlepoint hangs next to my dresser.  every day i see this message, a message of unrelenting connectedness.

life has a way of taking us near and far, to and from the people we love. children grow and fly free.  siblings scatter around the world in pursuit of their dreams.  parents age and leave this plane of existence.  friends are close; friends move far away.   i can speak for those of us who are particularly extra-ordinarily thready – these are tough challenges.

on the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART, this piece CONNECTED follows the piece i composed called MISSING.  it was a self-reminder when i placed the track order that way.  the connection between us eclipses the missing.  our connections guarantee that they will surpass missing and wrap around us like soft blankets right out of the dryer.  we have to just stand still and feel them.

we had the blissful opportunity of being together with both My Girl and My Boy under the same roof at the same time for a period of days.  my annoying-mother-ness took lots of pictures and memorized moments, from hilariously funny to touchingly heart-full to painfully real.  the first moments i saw each of them deplane at the tiny island airport will be indelibly sketched in my mind.  pure joy.

we are connected.  despite our proximity, despite distance from one visit to the next, despite time between, we are connected.  i will – comfortingly, reassuringly, lovingly, supportively, annoyingly, and yes, unrelentingly – always be there for them.  always.

that is what connection is.

download RELEASED FROM THE HEART on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

BootsWeddingBoots website box copy

CONNECTED from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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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

boots onthe bay website

BABY STEPS from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

 

 


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the two of you. [k.s. friday]

thetwoofyou songbox1 copy

the two of you:  two reasons why i breathe ~ my children (cd liner notes)

this will never change.  most of the things i gather around me are things that make me think of them, feel them near.  it’s as simple as framed photographs or collages or a peace keychain or lanyards that say ‘colorado’ and ‘boston’.  it’s a screenshot of a text message i want to remember.  it’s a note jotted on my calendar about something My Girl or My Boy said to me or a date that is important to them i want to remember.  it’s notes they wrote as children held by magnets to the refrigerator or in small frames bedside.  it’s laughter saved in a video.  it’s moments of tears driving away from their homes.  it’s a rock saved on a hike in the high desert canyonlands with The Girl; it’s The Boy’s childhood favorite ny taxi pencil on my piano.  nothing is huge.  everything is huge.

most of my also-mom-friends will agree that, outside of spending time together, the one thing certain to lift them up on any given day is a reaching-out-to-them by a grown-up child.  it’s the moment ANYthing else stops.  it’s the silently-agreed-upon, strictly-held-to and always-welcome interruption in the middle of visiting others, working, hiking, cooking, sleeping.  both The Girl and The Boy knew – and know – that they can call or text at any time of day or night and i will be there; i will answer.   ‘always there’ is a fierce inner motherhood promise designed to both ground and frustrate children, whatever their ages.   it’s a guiding principle, a mom-creed.   it’s absolute.  it’s truth.

from the moment they were born everything changed.  and, from that moment on, one thing didn’t.  the two of you ~ two reasons why i breathe ~ my children.  ❤️

download AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

Gate F8 website box copy

THE TWO OF YOU from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 


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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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not our heap. [flawed wednesday]

HippieTomChairs cropped copy

1. this is not our heap.

2. these are actual chairs selling in an actual barn at an actual farm where actual people go for an actual sale.

3. this is chaos to me (and maybe you), treasures to the owner.

4. i could only stare at this for a few minutes before i got uncomfortable.  i felt like i had  literally crawled inside the commotion-filled-clinging-onto-everything-psyche of someone who hoarded everything.  it was just moments before i had to breathlessly leave the room.

5. the swedish death cleanse is not a bad idea.  (from the book the gentle art of swedish death cleaning (margareta magnusson) “a charming, practical, and unsentimental approach to putting a home in order while reflecting on the tiny joys that make up a long life.”) clearing out all unnecessary items.  putting things in order.  learning to let go. sounds lofty.  but, heck, we can try it.

6. so we’ve started purging, baby-step-by-baby-step. #purgingsoourchildrendon’thaveto #lessismore #notaseasyasitlooks #wholooksinthebasementstorageroomanyway #thready-nesshasitsdrawbacks #thedeathcleansemightbeoverrated #meh,atleastourhousedoesn’tlooklikethisphoto #we’lltryagaintomorrow

with the ad-campaign-delivery of beautiful jennifer garner, what’s in YOUR basement?

we hate to leave paris websitebox croppedcopy

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED WEDNESDAY

 

 

 

 

 


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memories you can touch. [two artists tuesday]

TV Trays This One copy

he stopped.  walking in the top floor room of a nearby antique mall we love to visit, david was struck suddenly by – of all things – tv trays.  “we had these!” he exclaimed. “growing up, we had these exact trays!” i immediately took pictures.  i knew i would send them to his sister later.  for a few moments, he was back in colorado, clipping the tv tray into place, surrounded by his sister, his brothers, his mom and dad.

when we have free time, we peruse antique stores.  sometimes we are lucky to amble with our dearest friends.  it takes time to walk through antiques – old stuff that connects us to a galore of stories.  we stop and tell tales, sharing, laughing, amazed at how long ago are the moments we are speaking of.  pole lamps that reach floor-to-ceiling, games, figurines, wooden crates, orange and turquoise vinyl furniture, dolls and toys, china, record albums, ancient suitcases with no wheels, teapots and patterns of corelle-ware, mixing bowls and corningware…everything is part of some moment we have passed through, maybe forgotten, but now surfacing with the touch of some item.

i am really thready, without physical reminders.  but with them i can literally touch yesterdays…full of emotion, sometimes pining for times-gone-by.  i relish the stories, the re-visiting.  i can almost, just almost remember our tv trays.  but not quite.  i can’t quite put my mind’s-eye-finger on them.   maybe we will stumble across them one of these days.  and i will stop short.

in the meanwhile, just wondering…what did your tv trays look like?

tvtraywebsitebox

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

click here to share pictures of YOUR old tv trays