Think Like An Old Guy [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Little-Baby-Scion was minted in 2006. Big Red rolled off the line in 1998. Both of our vehicles are old. Oh, yeah. The VW Bug in the garage is vintage 1971. I rarely think of it as a vehicle because it hasn’t moved in years.

We didn’t realize how old our cars are until last week when we rode around as passengers in newer cars complete with the latest technology. Had we rented these cars, we’d have required a how-does-it-work tutorial. To say the least, it was eye-opening.

Riding around in the back seat I couldn’t help but think of the washing machine salesman that agreed with us when we walked by the newer computer-driven machines to the lonely old school washers. “We just want it to wash our clothes,” Kerri explained.

The salesman whispered to us, “The new machines are crap. Designed to breakdown and too expensive to repair. You’ll be replacing it in a few years.” We bought the old warhorse. It came with a 15 year warranty.

I nestled into my seat and laughed at my old-guy-thoughts, “Nice, but necessary?” 20 tells me that heated seats are the greatest invention since sliced bread. If I had them, I’d probably agree.

read Kerri’s blogpost about NEW CARS

smack-dab. © 2023 kerrianddavid.com

Return To The Spot [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

When we brought Dogga home for the first time, Kerri worried that BabyCat would never accept life with a dog. She needn’t have been concerned. They were fast-friends and constant companions until the day BabyCat passed.

There are a few places around the house that were Dogga & BabyCat cuddle spots: after breakfast they’d snooze together in the kitchen. The living room rug was a favorite daily rendezvous. The raft (our bed) was their safe place when we were gone on errands.

And then there’s the door. We have a photo that breaks my heart. The day Kerri rushed BabyCat to the emergency vet, Dogga stood vigil at the door. Just as each morning after breakfast he wanders into the kitchen and waits, he often returns to that spot at the door. We think he’s waiting for us. BabyCat knows better.

read Kerri’s blogpost on this saturday morning smack-dab.

smack-dab. © 2023 kerrianddavid.com

Dream [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Sleep is hit or miss in our house. If it’s a miss for one, it’s a miss for all. Synchronized sleeping is rare.

Last night, Kerri woke me at 12:45. “I’m-up-you-up?” We ate snacks. We talked. Our midnight conversation lasted until 4am. In case you’re wondering, important stuff arises when talking through the night.

The downside of world-class-deep-night-chat is that morning arrives and it’s brutal. Coffee is not a luxury. I immediately invoke the no-power-tools rule. It’s important, when sleep deprived, to stay away from sharp objects or motor-driven-blades.

It’s good thing I don’t work in construction. These days I’d get very little accomplished.

read Kerri’s blogpost about DREAMS

smack-dab. © 2023 kerrianddavid.com

Let It Rain [on DR Thursday]

We are reading Raynor Winn’s new book, Landlines. It is terrific. We make a cup of tea, get under a blanket on the old couch in the sitting room, Dogga asleep at our feet, and Kerri reads to me. Life does not get better than this.

A theme in the book is to put yourself in the way of hope. It has become my mantra for the turn of the year. Hope is coming through; stand in its path.

I started a new painting. I’ve been making sketches for a few weeks. It is the theme I snagged on when broken wrists and lost jobs stopped all artistic motion.: train through trees. As David Bayles and Ted Orland write, there is a difference between stopping and quitting. I stopped for a spell. Putting on my painter-clothes and descending into the studio felt like coming back into myself. Embodiment. As I lay out the composition and layered in some under tones, I felt as if air rushed into my lungs after holding my breath for too long.

We mimicked our smack-dab cartoon and took a midnight walk along Lake Michigan to bring in the new year. “Star dust is raining down on us,” Kerri said, in the first minute of 2023.

Stardust. Standing in the path of hope. A deep full breath. A good book and a warm blanket. A cup of tea. The excitement of rushing to photograph a train racing through the trees – and all things that inspire a painter to paint, a composer to compose, and two writers sitting side-by-side to capture their thoughts as the ritual beginning of each new day.

Life does not get better than this.

read Kerri’s blogpost about BUFFALO PLAID

Greet The New Day [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

“It’s like we have this one chance. To greet the new day. Outside. A night with stars. And…it’s a new year. Riiiight now. All ours. Under the big, big, sky.” ~ Kerri Sherwood, Smack-Dab.

It warmed my heart when she showed me this week’s Smack-Dab. A message of hope. Available Riiight Now!

My beautiful wife, whose very first words to me, when I asked her to tell-me-in-a-nutshell-what-was-going-on, were, “I don’t do nutshells,” has achieved at long last an exquisite nutshell.

Happy New Year. Greet the new day. All yours. Under the big, big sky.

read Kerri’s blogpost on this saturday morning smack-dab.

smack-dab. © 2022-23 kerrianddavid.com

Celebrate The Pivot [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Rob and his family celebrate the solstice. Arnie and his family celebrate Hanukkah. My sister and her clan observe Christmas. The earth travels. There is a moment when the tide of retreating light tips and returns. A touch more light than dark. Minimum declination pivots and slow walks, minute by precious minute, toward maximum. For eons, humans have celebrated, personified, and symbolized the moment of light’s return.

The best story. The fewest words.

[in preparing for a cantata, she wrinkled her brow and said, ‘I need another piece!” She noodled for a few minutes on the out-of-tune church piano, pulled a few phrases from the imagination-sphere, and then sang this song. It sprang into earth fully formed. Thank goodness I had my old iPhone at the ready to capture it. We didn’t record the performance. I tell her, again and again, that she needs a proper recording of this beautiful song. She says, “Someday. And maybe with a cello line…” In our own way, we await the return of the light]

read Kerri’s blogpost on this saturday morning smack-dab.

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Do The Important Thing [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

These are the short days of the year. The moment I’m finished with work, we head out the door for a walk before the sun disappears. Sometimes, like this week, when the weather is gorgeous, we walk the neighborhood during my lunch break. We are walk-opportunitsts.

It’s easy on the weekends to fill up the days with the-things-that-need-to-get-done. The gutters need cleaning. The leaves need raking. Winter is coming. Generally, we build the list around a walk but occasionally there is an inversion. The walk goes on the list.

I know we have our priorities straight. Even on the days of inversion, even if the list is lengthy and incomplete, we recognize that the most important thing is not the door that needs fixing or the deck that needs repair. The most important thing is to hold hands and take a walk. Together.

It’s how we appreciate our moment of life. The list can always wait for another day.

read Kerri’s blog post on this saturday morning smack-dab.

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Use Your Fingers [on DR Thursday]

They call them life lessons because they cycle back again and again. Each successive cycle peels off another layer and reveals a new simplicity. Currently, I am having another layer peeled.

My layer is a renewed appreciation and deeper understanding of a famous Picasso quote: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” I think I may be shedding some dedicated self-importance and a thick-headed notion of what I ought to be. What I should have been.

I am surrounded by paintings of my own making. They are serious stuff! They are meant to move people and mountains. Some make me smile. Most make me knit my brow. They are generally absent of fun.

I’ve taken a vacation from my serious pursuit and thank goodness! In the meantime, I’m drawing cartoons. And, most importantly, I am painting rocks. We are painting rocks. No thought. No necessity. Just because we can. It is the most fun I’ve had in years.

It is the fun, the complete abandonment of taking-myself-too-seriously that may bring me back to art-as-play. Fun at my easel.

I have fingers so there may or may not be brushes involved.

read Kerri’s blogpost about FISH!

snowflake with possibilities/flawed cartoon © 2016 david robinson, kerri sherwood, john kruse

Give The Benefit [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

Because this strip is about making assumptions, it shot to the top of our publication list. It’s most relevant this week.

A few days ago I had a health crisis and had to rush to see a particular doctor who will remain un-named. In a story of universal-weirdness – or – metaphors I choose to ignore – every time we leave the parking lot of Dr. X, we blow a hole in the muffler of our car. EVERY TIME. We arrive in relative quiet. We leave in a riot of noise. Little-Baby-Scion sounds like a prop plane attempting to take off. I refuse to associate mufflers with my emergency.

We have an appointment next week at Paul’s Bender Center to fix the problem (with the car). In the mean time, our ride is making some serious noise. At stoplights, we get “looks” from people, the same look we give to people when we pull up next to a car with a roaring muffler-about-to-fall-off.

Having just received our umpteenth dirty look, over the din, Kerri shouted, “This is humbling! I think, from now on, we should give people the benefit of the doubt.”

Yes. The benefit of the doubt. Assume positive intent. Next time we quietly pull alongside a rattling, roaring car, I will smile a supportive smile, “I know. I feel your pain.”

read Kerri’s blogpost about ASSUMPTIONS

smack-dab. © 2022 kerrianddavid.com

Notice It [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

I’m chuckling at the absurdity of myself.

Yesterday, I wrote that the theme this week at the melange was “noticing.” I wrote that everything we write is, in one way or another, about noticing. Paying attention.

Nothing gets by me! Nope.

Recently, we shared with the Wander Women our smack-dab cartoon featuring their impact on our lives. They shared our cartoon and blogs with their audience. Our readership exploded, some very nice comments rolled in, and while reading the comments, Kerri urged me to check the “comments” tab. “The what?” I asked. “What ‘comments’ tab?”

Years of generosity and kind responses flowed just beneath my nose and I had no idea. None. I never saw it. In my very weak defense, there’s a notifications-pull-down menu with comments and I assumed…

To the writers of kindness and sharers of thoughtful story, thank you. Tom told me of his great grandfather, Lak, who, as a young man, travelled west across the country in a covered wagon and took a ship through the Panama canal to arrive at last in California. A letter from his siblings took several years to travel from Ohio to his promised land. I live in the age of the internet and, although your letters reached me instantly, it took me longer than the pony-express-letter-delivery-service to notice your correspondence. Lak saw his mail faster than I saw reader’s comments.

There is, of course, no expiration date on gratitude, and I am as grateful today as I would have been on the dates those thoughts were sent. I can only hope my appreciation reaches you with the same force as your words impacted me.

And, remember, I notice everything except for what passes just beneath my nose.

read Kerri’s blogpost about CHERISH