Measure The Distance [on Two Artists Tuesday]

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I am surrounded by reminders of how quickly this life passes – or, perhaps, how much has changed in the span of my life.  Joseph Campbell told the story of, as a boy, seeing one of the first flights of a new invention, an air-o-plane. “It was like a flying bicycle,” he said. He finished his remembrance by remarking, “My God, now we are on the moon.” We are among the first human beings to measure our lives according to the blazing changes brought by technological advancement.

What is the distance between three channels, rabbit ears on a black and white television, and HULU available on all of our “devices?” Last night we watched the Barbara Streisand, Kris Kristofferson version of A Star Is Born and laughed heartily at the eight track tape players and telephones attached by cords to the wall. What is the distance between Stars Being Born in 1976 and those about to be Born in 2018?

Kerri and I like to poke around antique stores. It is common for us to stop and point at something, saying, “Hey, we had that.” Or, the more amusing variation, “Hey, those are our mixing bowls!” When a ten year old computer is considered a dinosaur, a 20 year old mixing bowl becomes an antique. “They’d put our stove in a museum,” Kerri quips. And what about those tv trays, Swanson frozen dinners (what was really in that Salisbury steak and those “mashed potatoes?”), the Carol Burnett show, and Gilligan’s Island?

Seems like yesterday. Seems like so long ago.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about TV TRAYS

 

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Touch An Angel [on KS Friday]

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Kerri is thready. Important dates are always noticed and honored in our house. She is nearly Balinese in her attention to auspicious dates. Soon we will honor the life and loss of Wayne. Kerri’s brother Wayne passed away many years before I came into her life. I knew immediately about him. She adored him. He is certainly one of her good angels.

Through her stories and those memories warmly told by her family, I feel he is now one of my kindred spirits, too. Every once in a while, when I need a good bit of brotherly advice, I ask him questions – well, one question in particular (“What am I going to do with your sister?!! She’s out of control!”). He has yet to answer me but like all good angels I do hear him howling with laughter at her antics and my utter confusion.

On this KS Friday, reach for your good angels. Let Kerri’s song for Wayne put you on the back of his bike and take a ride into a special place and time with those you’ve loved and lost. Toast them with a good cup of java, as I do Wayne. From what I hear he was nearly as great a coffee lover as I am.

 

ANGEL YOU ARE on the album AS SURE AS THE SUN available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about ANGEL YOU ARE

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

angel you are/as sure as the sun ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

Take Stock [on KS Friday]

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We just passed an anniversary of sorts. Five years ago, en route to a consulting job, I stopped for a few days to meet a woman. We’d never met, but for the previous five months had exchanged daily emails. It was a surprise correspondence, a deep diving conversation about art and love and divorce and aging and…life. We called our correspondence The Roadtrip.  I thought it was about time to meet my Roadtrip partner. I stepped off the plane, met Kerri, we held hands and skipped out of the airport, drove to her place, sat on the roof and drank wine. And, my entire life changed. I felt as if I’d finally come home.

So, this past week, five years down the road, we’ve been taking stock of all that has happened, all that we’ve experienced together. We are telling each other the story of us. So much extraordinary life in all of its color, bumps, losses, discoveries, illnesses, good coffee, frustrations, delights and small moments of appreciation.

I sit next to H in the choir. He is 92 years young. He inspires me. I told him about the week of taking stock. He nodded. It’s good to look at where you’ve been. It’s the only way to know where you next want to go. I told him that it seems to me that life moves really fast and he laughed and said, “You got that right!”

On this KS Friday, take a moment. Take stock and tell yourself the story of you. Let this beautiful composition, Kerri’s Taking Stock from her album RIGHT NOW, inspire you to look back and, as H said, “Touch the riches.”

 

TAKING STOCK on the album RIGHT NOW is available on iTunes & CDBaby

Kerri’s Designs, TAKING STOCK gifts & products

 

read Kerri’s blog post about TAKING STOCK

www.kerrianddavid.com

taking stock/right now ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

taking stock designs & products ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

Find Your Treasures [On Chicken Marsala Monday]

A Chicken Nugget from studio melange to start your week.

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I adored my grandpa Chan. I carry his middle name. Because he lived in Iowa and I grew up in Colorado my time with him was rare and precious. After his death, as his sons were sorting through his possessions, they asked if I wanted anything, something he might want me to have or to keep close. Immediately I thought of one thing: an old, barely functioning nutcracker that he kept by the pool table in his basement. He let me win many games at that table. We often cracked nuts during my surprising winning streaks.  I wanted it because he held it and, as treasures go, now, for me, it holds him.

find your treasures rect pillow copyI keep Chan’s nutcracker in a special box (DeMarcus’ paint box – another priceless treasure). When I am feeling blue or somehow alone in the world, I retreat to my basement and hold that nutcracker in my hand. I feel the presence of a man, my grandfather, so full of laughter and more than his share of mischief. “Do you want to shoot some pool?” I ask, feeling the alone-ness dissipate.

FIND YOUR TREASURES reminder merchandise

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Chicken Gift Cards

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Chicken Pillows

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Find Your Treasure Leggings

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Wall Art

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Mugs & Travel Mugs

read kerri’s blog post about FIND YOUR TREASURE

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kerrianddavid.com

 

find your treasure ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Touch The Arc

A painting I did twenty years ago of my dad.

Years ago I started a portrait of my dad (we call him Columbus) emerging from – or returning to – a cornfield. At the time it seemed an odd painting, something more elemental than intellectual. Something I had to paint though I didn’t really know why. I thought I’d left portrait painting far behind. Columbus is from a very small town in Iowa so the necessity of the cornfield made some small sense. He yearned to live in the town of his birth and although life took him other places he maintained a deep heart-root to Monticello. For Columbus, Monticello, Iowa was and always will be home.

After laying it out, after applying the under painting, the portrait felt complete – or I felt complete. So, I stopped. I have carried it with me all of these years.

These days, dementia has its slippery tentacles around Columbus. He is a mighty combatant in this tug of war, a war that he cannot win, and feeling his strength waning, his single wish was to one last time visit Monticello. So, this past week, Kerri, my mother, and I – as Kerri likes to say – followed Columbus’ heart around Monticello.

His heart took him three places. The first was to the cemetery. It is the place he will finally rest with his brother, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends. He wanted to wander. We followed him as he touched stones and told stories – stories he told to us but for himself: a friend who died too young in a car crash, a kind scoutmaster and mentor, an old girlfriend, a high school pal who flew an airplane and their adventures landing in cornfields. We followed, listening, renewed to the deeper truth that the stories we tell of others, the stories of shared time and experiences, both comic and tragic, when combined, scribe the arc of our own lives. Columbus needed to go to the end place to scribe his arc, to touch the depth and arc of his experiences.

The second place was the house that his grandpa Charlie built. It was the place of his childhood, the place of his greatest freedom, the place where all his stories begin and, now I know, where they return. This house is the cornfield. It is, for Columbus, the font of family and the source of his ideals. It is the symbol of his pride. This small house, with no electricity or running water, no indoor plumbing, this house that was pieced together with found material, smacked together with a handsaw and a hammer, an evolution, this house is Columbus’ holy ground. It still stands, just barely. And although now a storage shed for someone, it holds riches beyond words or measure. Columbus needed to stand in the source of his belief.

Finally, we followed his heart to visit his aunt JoAnne. She is only two years his senior but his aunt never-the-less. She is the last living person to know him through the entire passage of his life. She is his connective tissue, the one capable of affirming that it all happened, that the house and the people in it were exactly as he remembers, that this life, although only a minute long, is bottomless in the love that they share. They are the burning point of family, the front line. When we left her, Columbus and JoAnne hugged and cried, saying to each other but not for a moment believing it, “I’ll see you again.”

Stories told at the end place. Stories told from the beginning place. Stories told that connect the places. Columbus counts himself a lucky man. He knows with absolute certainty the trinity of places that hold his life/story. Sitting on the porch he (once again) taught me that stories – lives – are like a river and the flow transcends a single life. He just taught me that the story, a good life, like the painting, is never really complete.