reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the old file cabinets. [k.s. friday]

it's a long story

two old file cabinets.

the old file cabinets are in the closet in the studio.  at some point i organized all – well, most of – my music, lugged a couple metal cabinets up from the basement and spent a few days filing.  there’s overfill in a few cardboard bank boxes on the floor.  maybe someday i’ll get to those.

yesterday i was looking for a piece of music i thought i had.  i went to the drawer it should be in and starting rifling through the books and sheet music.  every title i looked at brought back memories:  “moon river” made me think of my uncle allen, who took voice lessons and sang that song beautifully.  “all i need” made me think of days at moton school center, comparing ‘general hospital’ notes with lois over lunches of peanuts and diet cokes.  “the rose” made me think of earlier years of promise and love.

i forgot about what i was searching for and dragged out a pile of music, sheets spilling out onto the floor as i struggled to pull them from their tightly filled drawer.  books – collections of artists or full transcribed albums – called my name, begging to see the light of day.  i whispered to them i would be back for them.   it has probably been decades since they were opened.

standing at the piano, not another thought in my head, i started shuffling through sheet music and playing.  it was no longer 2020, transported instantly back to the 70s, the 60s, the 80s.

had i opened a different drawer i would have found all my old piano books, my old organ music – tools of a student learning her eventual trade.  in those drawers are the books my children used for their music lessons, for band and orchestra.  in those drawers are the books i used as i attempted junior high oboe and college trumpet lessons.  in those drawers are the pieces that kept me on the bench for hours as a child and then as a teenager, practicing, playing, dreaming.

other drawers yield a plethora of more advanced piano and organ music, years of accumulated resources.  there are drawers of choir music, both sacred and secular, from years and years of directing and conducting work.  and still others house the scores of music i have written, staff paper and pencil, finished in calligraphy pen.

it made me want to just clear a day off.  liberate my mind from every worry, every task, every watching-the-time responsibility.  brush off the dust of the dark drawers from the lead sheets and scores and play.

i’d love to gather a whole group of friends around the piano and sing through john denver and billy joel songs, through england dan and john ford coley’s “we’ll never have to say goodbye again” and paul mccartney’s “maybe i’m amazed” and david soul’s “don’t give up on us” and the carpenters’ “bless the beasts and the children” and led zeppelin’s “stairway to heaven”,  through carole king and james taylor and pablo cruise.  through the ‘great songs of the sixties’ book and the ‘sensational 70 for the 70s’ book and fake books from all time.   just take a day – a whole day – and sing.  and remember together.

in light of the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, this would have to be virtual, i suppose.  so that might not be such a good idea.  but maybe d and i could just take that day.  think of nothing else but music and where it has brought us, where it brings us.  our long stories.

a few things can instantly place you back in a moment.  songs, scents, pictures.  a whiff of my sweet momma’s favorite perfume has me immediately missing her.  john denver singing anything off any number of albums of his that i owned places me in my room hanging out on my beanbag chairs with my slick 3-in-1 turntable/8-track/cassette stereo or driving my little bug around the island.  wings’ “silly love songs” or elton’s “don’t go breaking my heart” and i can feel the hot sand under my beach towel at crab meadow.

two old file cabinets.  filled to the brim.

so many treasures.

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IT’S A LONG STORY ©️ 1997 & 2000 kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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“it flies by as it drags on.” [merely-a-thought monday]

it flies by as it drags on

we cleaned the garage this weekend.  our garage is old-old-old.  it has a little bow in the front and there is a bit of an issue with the walls no longer in alignment with the foundation.  the decades-old automatic garage door opener no longer opens it.  que sera, sera.

there was the usual assortment of garden tools and clay pots, chairs-in-bags and chairs-without-bags, the wrought iron table and umbrella we hadn’t put out yet, random bags of potting soil, milorganite, sand, a plethora of spiders and their webby homes.  there are old doors in the rafters, the tricycle My Girl and My Boy rode, a red wagon, the hammock.  there are jacks, a snowblower-that-doesn’t-work-but-we-should-have-repaired, a wheelbarrow that has seen many trips down third avenue.  our bikes hang on hooks; we wonder if i will be able to ride this summer – the whole two-broken-wrists-thing has put a damper on things.  there is a woodpile rack waiting for us to re-stock, have a few bonfires in the firepit or the chiminea.  and there is my old vw bug.  smack-dab in the middle of this tiny one-car garage is my well-loved 1971 super beetle.

it was father’s day yesterday when we moved it out of the garage, me behind the wheel, clutch in, gear in neutral, hand ready on the emergency brake as david pushed.  it hasn’t been started in years and i could hear my sweet poppo groan with me from another plane of existence as i looked it over.  dirty from a few years of garage-sitting, it sure-enough wouldn’t start and i ticked off a list of things that likely now need fixing.  these are things i can’t do anything about right now, so i did what i could do something about.

i got a bucket of warm carwash-soapy-water and a good sponge and my dad and i washed our bug together.

i could hear him telling me about when he and my mom picked it up brand-new in germany for their roadtrip around europe, about how it was shipped back home to a port in new york.  i reminded him about how he ‘sold’ it to me in the mid-70s and how i drove that little car everywhere – rain, sleet, snow or ice – and it always kept me safe.  i reminded him about how my little miniature-collie-mixbreed-dog missi used to ride in the well (i could hear him laughing when i retold how she one day actually pooped in the well.)  we talked about its color iterations – it was born baby blue (marina blue, they called it).   somewhere along the way we had earl scheib’s paint it navy and later on down the road it was painted white, its current color.  i drove it with my best friend sue back and forth to florida, a trip where she learned how to drive a stick shift.  it lived in new york and then florida and then wisconsin.  it’s been dragged behind tow trucks and up on flatbeds.  it bowed out of the drive moving up to wisconsin, so we pulled it behind us with a tow bar.  it’s had a couple engine overhauls and lots of tires.  i know how to adjust the timing and the carburetor myself.  i’ve played countless john denver and loggins and messina cassettes at full volume in this little car.   the heat was either stuck on or stuck off.  my poppo reminded me that it had 455 air conditioning – four windows open at 55mph.  i drove it to get both my degrees in florida.  i drove it through a drive-through to get a milkshake the day i went into labor with My Girl.  it’s been around the block.

i gently washed the dirt off of my little-white-vw-bug yesterday and realized how time had flown by.  i was struck by how – right now- in the middle of a pandemic and unrest – time seems to drag.  both are true.

yet i know that one day, as i ponder this time – in all its dragging chaos and emotional upheaval – i will look back and realize time, precious time, was actually flying by.

i sat down on the rusty metal bumper and missed my dad.

“on the road of experience…and trying to find my own way…sometimes i wish that i could fly away.  when i think that i’m moving…suddenly things stand still.  i’m afraid ’cause i think they always will…” (john denver)

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

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time together. [k.s. friday]

time together song box

the air coming through the windows this morning felt cool.  almost chilly.  it has been a long while since the last time i could say that of a morning here.  we have had a very hot, very humid summer…not my favorite combination.  but today.  it was different.  and it made me feel immediately homesick.  that happens every fall for me.  maybe it’s a melancholy recognition of the passing of time, years zooming by.  maybe it’s the season-change-thing…we know grey days are lurking right around the corner.  either way, i feel homesick.

it’s a time when i miss long island the most, recall my growing-up years, pine for the autumn at millneck manor and long deserted-beach walks at crab meadow.  a time when my sweet momma and poppo are really present for me in their absence, if that makes sense.  i yearn to talk to them.  a time when The Girl and The Boy seem oh-so-grown-up now, steeped in their own adult-lives, having adventures and being a dynamic part of this world, far away, without the benefit of hearing ‘good night moon’ every night.  i know that every evening they roll their eyes at my goodnight texts to them, but i figure that someday they will understand.  homesick.

yesterday was my father-in-law’s 85th birthday.  we called columbus and sang ‘happy birthday’ to him.  my momma and daddy did that every year for me and i try to carry on the tradition with the people i love.  he laughed and told us he had gotten back from dinner at texas roadhouse and was listening to an old record.  he listens to old records a lot.  i suspect, because he is the man he is, that he gets homesick.  i can tell by his eyes that he would totally understand me if i told him how i felt.

so today, if you are spending time together with someone, memorize it.  if you are lucky enough to spend time with your momma or your daddy, please hug them.  if you are one of the fortunate parents who have their children nearby, hold on just a little tighter and look into their faces when you say goodnight.  relish it.

there is nothing like it.

time together.

 

download TIME TOGETHER track 3 from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY on iTUNES or CDBaby or PURCHASE the ALBUM

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TIME TOGETHER from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997, 2000 kerri sherwood


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my sweet babycat. [two artists tuesday]

bcat summer with frame

this face entered my life nine years ago now.  i had never had a cat before, but my sister and niece conspired when a kitten showed up on heather’s doorstep in florida.  my sister had asked me, maybe weeks before, what kind of cat i would want if i had a cat (which she insisted i needed.)  not having had sharing-life-with-a-cat-experience (for i know now not to call it “owning a cat”) i was less convinced.  but then this little (short-lived on the word “little”…babycat is BIG!) kitten showed up on heather’s doorstep.  after searching for its owner, it seemed fortuitous that i had answered my sister with the less-than-emotional-or-even-informed-but-kind-of-more-practical response, “i guess i’d want a black cat so it will coordinate with my clothing and i won’t always be using a rolly-thing to get fur off my clothes.”  it was a match!

and, indeed, it was.  after many trials, babycat was named “wilson” (a nod to The Boy’s tennis involvement) and we (The Girl, The Boy and i) drove him back to wisconsin, none of us quite sure how to handle his eating and relieving himself, a crate, food, portable litter box, water, toys and our laps handy.  he has never ever answered to the name wilson and he totally chose his name babycat, readily answering to one of his nicknames.  and so, his dominance over the household started.

babycat was one of those who-rescued-who stories you read about.  at just the right moment, he entered our lives.  he has been a big (no…BIG) presence ever since.  not knowing what cats really do, i taught him many a dog-trick, sitting and speaking on command, coming when called, sitting up to beg for a treat.  he was able and, more so, willing.  (if he’s not willing, there’s no way to make something happen with him.)

and then david and, subsequently, dogdog came along.  b-cat reined them both in, alpha to each of them.  a bit more aloof when younger, but never one to hide or totally ignore us, somewhere along the way, he became a cat who wanted to snuggle.

but that face.  it’s just too easy to read babycat’s mind.  and right now, i agree with him.  where DID the summer go?

babycat.  he’s a force.  and a big (no…BIG) part of my heart.

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for these babycat coasters and other stuff on society6.com/twoartists, click here

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR WEBSITE

wheretheheckdidsummergo ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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in beauty i walk [two artists tuesday]

flower experiment jpeg copy 2

daisy and in beauty PRODUCT BAR copy

today is The Girl’s birthday.  kirsten turns 28 today and i can hardly believe it.  where does the time go?  i am wishing i could spend time with her today (well, like every day)… make her dinner or a decadent gluten-free cake, have a glass of wine with her.  what i would really love to do is take a walk with her.  in her world.  like most moms, sharing space and time with my children is precious; taking a walk outside, breathing in air and talking together is something yearn-worthy.

the best part about visiting The Girl and The Boy is that then – and really only then – i can picture their lives…the place they live, their home, where they buy their groceries, the roads they travel, what they see when they look out their windows, the way the air feels, the angle of the sun, their favorite places to hang out or places that have been in stories they have told me or pictures they have sent.  it’s all vital for me.

The Girl lives in stunning surroundings.  her mountains are massive and grand and the terrain is white with snow or green green with leaves of aspens and needles of pines.  she walks in beauty.  she sees it.  she recognizes it.

today my wish for her is to find that every day of her life.  no matter where she is or what her surroundings.  she doesn’t just walk in beauty.  she is beauty.

in beauty i walk PRODUCTS

daisy, daisy PRODUCTS

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

in beauty i walk & daisy, daisy ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 


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chicken marsala monday

thismomentunique WITH EYES jpeg copy 2late yesterday afternoon, after a day spent working on computers and designs, with technology sluggishness taking over our souls, we headed to the woods to take a hike.  any time we feel tired or ‘stuck’ we walk.  around the ‘hood, along the lake, or to the starbucks about 2 and a half miles away.  any time we feel exuberant or elated we walk.  sometimes in the mountains (ahh!!) or in chicago or the third ward in milwaukee.  any time we need a ‘business meeting’ we walk.  mostly in the woods, in a county or state park.  walking and breathing in fresh air brings us back to the moment.  it re-centers us.

we hiked up the small rise in the woods, the light was waning and behind us the sky was deep deep orange.  in the clearing beyond the stand of trees stood, very still, a deer.  it was clearly the ‘lookout’ as way back in the field were six more deer, easy to count in the almost-dark as their white tails bobbed when the lookout gave the alert.  we stood perfectly still watching this beauty, a magic moment in the woods.  neither of us wanted to leave the spot.  i took a picture, not because you can see the deer in it, but because it preserved the moment for me.  i didn’t want to forget.  because, as you already know, i am thready like that.

around me, every rock or feather or piece of wood or ticket stub or scrap of notepaper carries with it a specific moment – preserved in time.  i could not necessarily tell the story of each of those moments – there are far too many for my synapse-challenged-brain to remember.  but i know that each one had meaning for me.  each one defined yet another piece of me, my relationship with someone i love, a time i shared with another being, a learning, a moment of sheer bliss, a moment of deep sadness.  each moment renewed me and brought me to my next moment of living.

as i have moved through life one thing has become certain.  that everything changes.  nothing stays the same.  life is in flux, always fluid.  what more do we have than each moment as it arrives for us?  i ask myself, “how do i want to spend this moment?  what do i want to feel about this moment?”  for i can never get it back.  i can never re-do it.  time has moved on.  and so i must keep moving.  i write about moments, i compose about moments, i tell stories about moments.  for me, those details count.   attempting to put succinctly (ha!) into words my philosophy-of-what-moments-mean is impossible; it is the umbrella that skies over everything else i believe, everything else i think.

when The Boy was little, he called the rearview mirror in cars the “review” mirror.  particularly poignant i think.  i have seen it written “don’t stare into the rearview mirror.  that’s not the direction you are going.”  instead i try (read: TRY) to review the past moments, learn from them, find grace in them, save the memory threads.  and wholeheartedly embrace the ones to come.  the moments.  unique.  in every way.   i love this chicken marsala image.

THIS MOMENT…UNIQUE…IN EVERY WAY MERCHANDISE

     ThisMomentUnique clock copy

ThisMomentUnique iphone case

ThisMomentUnique mug copy

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY

melange button jpeg

check out DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN MARSALA

this moment…unique…in every way ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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there is a peace in that.

Scan1

for weeks now i have been going through old photos. now, this is an enormous task – 35 years of life, 35 years of memories, 35 years of pictures…uhh…let’s make that 35 years of disorganized pictures…and i haven’t even gone back all the way (“obviously”, you all think, as you do the math between 35 and 57!) the rest of the journey back i’ll make another time. it will take me another long while.

some of you may have every picture you ever took in albums, cleverly captioned. some of you may have every picture you ever took in boxes, neatly labeled. i would like to say these photographs fell into one of these categories, but, uh, no, as my momma would say, “that ain’t so!” (she never used the word ‘ain’t’ unless it was in this context; she prided herself on vocabulary and grammar, and i (and my children – the girl and the boy) have been cursed (?) with this as well.)

so, my task involved bins and bins and boxes and envelopes and more envelopes of pictures, pictures, pictures. organizing photos into categories and sorting out thousands of duplicates that are helter-skelter likens to playing the match game…where did i see this one before? i spent the first week using a system to sort that quickly became ridiculously impossible. there were piles everywhere, spilling into other piles. this is a tedious task, at best, but i needed a better system. so the categories became more specific and boxes were labeled and placed all around the dining room, which became inaccessible to anything else for the weeks (literally, weeks!) this took place. labels like ‘baby-baby’, ‘random cuteness’, ‘winter’, ‘summer’, ‘christmas’, ‘easter’, ‘the pumpkin farm and fall’, ‘thanksgiving’, ‘pets’, ‘house stuff’, ‘trips’, ‘outdoor fun’, ‘family visiting’, ‘friends’, ‘school’, ‘music, sports, ballet’, ‘losing teeth’….the list goes on. it was daunting. bins of mixed-up photos surrounded me.Scan2

and i just finished.

now to find the place to bring them all to so that dvd’s and thumbnail print books may be made. i’ll download onto flash drives all the photos on the computer post-physical-picture-developing. and this task – at least 35/57 of the task – will be done.

last night at ukulele band i told everyone on the patio if they ever thought of doing this that they should either decide not to or to procrastinate it…forever. but on second thought, i am thinking that there has been some real living for me -even in the midst of wanting to scream from the tedium- in these last weeks. i have had the joy of re-watching my children born and grow, the joy of seeing my family – even those who have moved into a different plane of existence, the joy of seeing relationships at their best and through challenge, the joy of seeing what time really is.

there is a peace in that.

Scan3

 


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you can still do it.

dandelionsthe girl jumped out of a plane last week. i look at the sky and think about being 10,000 feet up and stepping out…..

skydiving was on my bucket list at her age. that and hang-gliding, a hugely-70’s thing. growing up on long island, i was hanging out with people who surfed and camped in the dunes, fished in the middle of the night and scuba-dove into wrecks off the beach. and so it didn’t surprise me when she wrote to me that she had ‘just jumped out of a plane’. i celebrate her adventuring spirit.

the boy bought a grill this week. when did he grow up enough to own his own grill? his adventures are all about his spirit – with an ever-growing circle of friends who support him and let him be in his own skin. i celebrate his adventuring spirit.

wasn’t it yesterday when the boy and i walked hand in hand to the girl’s school to pick her up from kindergarten? wasn’t it yesterday when he ran around the field and picked dandelions, dirt flying, and reached up to me with them in his fist, saying “woses for momma”? wasn’t it yesterday when she carried over big piles of books for me to “wead, momma, wead”? wasn’t it yesterday i rocked them to sleep at night after the perfunctory ‘good night moon’ reading?

so many adventures. it has all flown by. i talked to linda yesterday and she laughed when i said, “we realize we actually don’t know anything. time just flies by and we know nothing.” she is gentle and wise and an amazing adventurer, taking on new stages of life with grace and generosity.

every single one of these moments weaves into my heart – yup, that thready heart of mine. i hold them close to me and give thanks for adventures that are big, adventures that are small. adventures that have taught me patience, adventures that challenge me. i try not to have fear or hold on too tight, but…well, i’m human.

hesistantly, because moms just sometimes seem out of the running when it comes to children thinking about people adventuring, i wrote to my daughter that i had always wanted to skydive at her age. she wrote back, “you can still do it.”

you can still do it.

true.

itunes: kerri sherwood: fistful of dandelions

www.kerrisherwood.com