Resolution #3

You may wonder what happened to 2. It is in the comments to Resolution #1, and the bean soup is on the stove.

Resolution #3 is to sew some placemats that coordinate with  my new plates and the dining area "graph paper" wallpaper.  I am so excited to have a real set of turquoise Fiesta Ware.

"You must be a grown-up," said my longtime walking buddy.  "You have plates that match."  When she said it I knew she must be a friend.  She would probably sew a button on my overalls, just like Lisa did for Corduroy.

"I like you the way you are," she said "but you'll be more comfortable with your shoulder strap fastened." "You must be a friend," said Corduroy, "I've always wanted a friend." "Me too!" said Lisa, and she gave him a big hug.

I have a few cups and saucers in very old Fiesta Ware colors.  They won't commune with the new place-settings except for historic occasions.

Sending all of you a big New Year's hug. Wishing that everyone everywhere had nutritious food, clean water, adequate sewage disposal, and the opportunity to grow up and find sustaining work.  Is it so much to wish that every child born on Earth could be loved, read aloud to, and learn to read?

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder

Resolution #1

Regain control of the cupboard full of containers and lids from sour cream, hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese, parmesan, and feta.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


An itty bitty bit better

Phew!  It was difficult to work today knowing that my blog was in such an unsettled and aesthetically appalling state.  I can relax a little now.  This design doesn't seem nearly as dreadful.  I still can't get Blogger to accept any of my own photos for the background.  Maybe I need to rethink and simplify all the labels.

Read book reviews all day, but no titles jumped out and grabbed me.  Perhaps I'm still thinking of Wiley the jumping dog grabbing onto his favorite toy.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Removing plaque at the post office

You can't go back again.  Rats.  I spent some discretionary and recreational time fooling with new Blogger options.  This must be like waking up in Margaritaville with a scary tattoo.  I am not in love with my new blog look or sure how I got it, but it seems I'm stuck with it.

At least I'm not married to my postal carrier.  Literacy is important in a lifelong mate, and you would think it would be a requirement for a mail deliverer.  But, NOOOOOO!

Headed to Oregon with a recent history of mailbox malfunctions, I used Our Postal Service's online vacation hold service.  Please don't leave mail for me 12/16-12/21.  When I get back I will pick up the accumulated mail at the post office.  It seemed so simple and heart-warming, like leaving milk and sugar cookies for Santa.

My postal worker ceased delivery a day early.  The automated system sent me an email saying my hold was canceled another day early.  Having specified I would pick up my mail at the post office I just kinda, silly me, thought my mail would be waiting.  But, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! My illiterate Pony Express dude put it in his truck.  His (yes, a guy) supervisor didn't think it sad that the carrier had messed up on all three of the hold specifications.  In baseball he would have been OUT.

This would be the same postal service that delivered an order of replacement electric toothbrush heads to the Woolly Mammoth in D.C. this week.  The package was postmarked last January twenty-fifth!  A lot of plaque and tartar can build up while you wait for the US Postal Service to bring your toothbrush.

At the opposite extreme of customer service, my homegrown mechanic shop is trying hard to solve the Buick's automotive problems without charging me for failed attempts.  The Skylark may need a brain transplant, but Mario doesn't want to replace the brain if my car just needs a wisdom tooth removed.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Filberts frugging in an endless fog

Still in Willamette Mission State Park north of Salem, Oregon I had a Bob Fosse moment. Be glad you didn't see me attempting the "Rich Man's Frug" from "Sweet Charity". I was just angling for a better macro shot of the filbert catkins on the trail to the Willamette River's bank.

The Filbert Grove Day Use Area seemed like a nice place to picnic on a balmier day.  In a fog about filberts along the Willamette River.

Now, back in the real world of Google I find filberts are a type of hazelnut, and a cup of hazelnut coffee sure would be nice.  The Frug was a dance back in the Laugh-In era.  It is not an overpackaged squeezy fruit puree kiddie lunch product. Don't get me started on that!  Well, I'm already started.  We consume way too little fiber, and now our children are moving from an apple a day to a squeezable fruit puree that costs a buck a serving???

So, I wonder as I wander out under the filbert trees down toward the Willamette River what in the hey-ho is wrong with the world.

My sister and I have been on a collision course of wandering wondering about the Christmas LP recordings remembered from childhood.  She sent me a CD of this old Firestone album my dad probably got with a new set of studded snowtires:

If I had the energy to crawl into the far dark back of the bottom kitchen cabinet there might be an old tree trunk nut bowl and cracker.  Tonight I'll go nuts in other ways. Nighty-night.
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Pucomen is today's security word.  It is defined as the financial acumen to not put all your money into Pokemon cards, or Star Wars, or even baseball cards.

At Labor Day the Woolly Mammoth left his baseball card album under my coffee table.  He did a lot of cleaning out on that visit, but I wasn't sure of his intent about the album. So, being a model housekeeper, I left it under the coffee table until Christmas. When I mentioned it to him yesterday he said he meant to take it to the dumpster.

Oh, no you don't! Not without signing an affidavit that you yourself threw out your baseball cards. Mothers always get the blame.

So we spent a lovely half hour in 1992 baseball cards and diamond reminiscences.  The Woolly looked up their values on his iPhone. Basically, each card is now worth nineteen cents, down from twenty. The whole album would hardly buy a biggie burrito with avocado and sour cream. If one had really believed baseball cards were the key to wealth one might puke.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder



If you tell me I'm in a tsunami evacuation zone, my shoes will already seem wet. Mention, just FYI, that there have been no cougar sightings in a year and a half, and I'll spot one slinking at every turn of the trail.
Add to that a buddy who emails when she spots a bobcat on her driveway, and I can find a saber tooth tiger. And no, I don't want to go camping! Appearing large is the least of my problems.  Make noise!  So there I was singing "Frosty the Snowman" loud and off key on the self-guided nature interpretive trail at Willamette Mission State Park just north of Salem, Oregon on a dark and foggy Monday afternoon.

Except for the cougar possibility, this was a nice two and a half mile walk on level, soggy ground.  I saw the largest black cottonwood in the United States.

My National Geographic Book of Mammals says bobcats (aka wildcats) are shy, solitary, strong, and twice the size of a housecat.  Cougar is another name for mountain lion, puma, or catamount.  Those agile felines can weigh up to two hundred pounds.  Stay calm!  What is that creature crouching by the trail and waiting to pounce on me?

Hark!  I hear reindeer!  Or maybe pumas on the roof.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Dog + Fog = No Blog Posts

Watching t.v. with Dad, I'm creeped out by the endless commercials for Christian Mingle Dot Com.  Apparently one can "Find God's match for you" online.

I am in love, but with a five and a half pound dog, possibly a divine gift for mental health and stress relief this holiday season.  While my trip to Oregon included a wonderful visit with my son and daughter-in-law, scenic adventures in several environmental niches, and a break from both nursing home and computer, the best for my blood pressure was probably hanging out with Wiley the Wonder Dog.  Wiley has two speeds, Doggie-A-Go-Go, and snoozing on your lap.  Wiley is either a baby koala, a canine Einstein, or a Schnauzer-Yorkie mix.  He does NOT like to have his toenails trimmed.  Neither does my dad.  Medicare doesn't pay for old farts to have their nails cut very often, and those poor podiatrists probably wait years to be reimbursed for their services.

Sunday my eldest and I visited the Mt. Angel Abbey near Salem.  We went because Fodor's suggested the library was a "masterpiece of serene and thoughtful design", and one of only two American buildings by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Maybe the interior is a masterpiece, but the exterior was less intriguing than the monks' Weber grills on its patio. Since the library was closed, I will not add it to my Life List.
The hilltop abbey was itself a gem of serenity and mindfulness.  Like Brigadoon, it seemed adrift in a sea of mist and fog, removed from real time and concerns.  I felt near Christopher Columbus' edge of the flat earth looking out into the fog beyond the pines.

The Benedictine monks thoughtfully reminded me I should winterize my condo exterior faucets when I returned home.  Please note the faucet cover at the grotto:

What makes a non-dog person in a foggy land go seeking Finnish architecture in the Willamette Valley?  There doesn't seem to be an online specific matchmaking website with or without God's misty assistance. Sometimes we must find our own way or a comfortable chair.  Why seek out an Alvar Aalto project?  Because his chair designs are found in a book I loved as a child. We all find our places of calm where we can retreat.  On a clear day we can see for miles in the valley, but this was a foggy day:

On a  clear day
Rise and look around you
And you'll see who you are.
On a clear day
How it will astound you
That the glow of your being outshines ev'ry star.

You'll feel part of ev'ry mountain sea and shore.
You can hear, from far and near,
A world you've never heard before.
And on a clear day...
On that clear day...
You can see forever and ever more!

So tonight I have Arvo Pärt's "Te Deum" in the cd player.  It fits the fog, the abbey, the aesthetic, and recent memories of a small dog snoozing on my lap. 

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Pairs of pears and polar bears

Twas a hellish last day of the semester with flagrant nose goobies and a pair of preverts in the potty.  Thunder and lightning prevented lightening our teacher moods with an outdoor recess.  We all needed an energetic Strauss polka moment, but twern't to be.

I'm set to teach about pairs and matching.  Have photos of pairs of socks, pairs of mittens, pairs of peppers, pairs of bears and even pineapples.  My students surprised me by being one step ahead. They gave me a pair of polar bear slippers, and let me tell you my tired teacher feet are happy! I might wear them the entire break, even at the public library and in Portland.

In the random coincidence category, I received a gift of pairs--Noah dispensing Post-It notes.  This is the best chuckle of the day, with pairs of giraffe, dolphin, and octopi.  I plan to keep this for a little dose of levity all next year.

Our pair of preschool potty preverts were playing a version of show and tell.  It's not likely to be a reliable predictor of future deviant behavior any more than a preschool art class incident of over-extended glue stick twisting.

 Just don't confuse glue stick with Chapstick and hope you don't have to explain to  Col. Bat Guano:

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel! Colonel, I must know what you think has been going on here! 
Colonel "Bat" Guano: You wanna know what I think? 
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Yes! 
Colonel "Bat" Guano: I think you're some kind of deviated prevert. I think General Ripper found out about your preversion, and that you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts. Now MOVE! 

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


A little less stressed with Wenceslas and Wences

S'awright!  I'm gonna be all right.  Sure, I'm talking with my puppet hand, but it's all good.

Feeling relief tonight that all my little students have painted their clay trivets, wrapped them in bubble wrap, and have them nestled all snug in little gift bags ready to take home on the last day of the semester.

Haven't had enough time or daylight to hike at Oak Point Nature Preserve in December.  The photo was taken in November. This type of seedhead always reminds me of a puppet saying "s'awright" way back in my black and white television childhood. It took a bit of Googling to track down the name of that ventriloquist, Senor Wences.  He appeared often on the Ed Sullivan Show with his puppets, Johnny, Pedro, and Cecilia.  Pedro was a head in a box, and said "s'awright."  Johnny was a face drawn on a puppet hand.  Cecilia was a chicken.

Perhaps this  perambulation began when I spilled the paprika in my hash browns.  My puppet hand had a chat with Billy Crystal!

Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash. 
But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie. 

I've always liked the carol, "Good King Wenceslas", but it's hard to say just why.  As a child I enjoyed being able to pronounce Wenceslas, but there's also the Bohemian connection, and the legend of a kind, good king.  Maybe I just liked it because I managed to memorize it for my piano teacher, a rare miracle!

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing 

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


1/2 inch Plexiglass

"I Wonder As I Wander" is one of my favorite Christmas carols.  Its melody is haunting, and the lyrics slowly seeped into my brain this week.  It was a week of wandering and searching on spiritual, professional, and physical levels.  Tonight I am learning that the song comes from Appalachia.  

My wandering wonders are less momentous and will not haunt for long.  I won't remember them any longer than I can hold the memory of last evening's gorgeous misty ochre full moon rising.  Still, for just this moment I am amazed by the Schoolcraft College culinary students in Livonia, Michigan, creating the wonders of the architectural world in gingerbread and icing:

"St. Basil’s Cathedral," created by Matthew Fisher of Dearborn Heights, Morgan Massucci of Westland and Sheri Frader of Plymouth, won first place. Second place honors went to "Sydney Opera House," created by Anna Darwactor of Macomb.
So I wonder as I wander how one gets the gingerbread out of the oven and drapes it over curved forms while it is still soft to make the forms for the Sydney Opera Gingerbread House.  Then I have to ponder why the rats on NPR have so much more empathy than either my students or the members of Congress.  Maybe the Nutcracker Rat King that always gave me the willies just needed more chocolate chips.

For reasons I can't fathom, my father has begun eating like a horse AND talking. Two weeks ago we took him off Aricept, a prescription for maximizing mental clarity.  A visit with him is more of a wander than before. 

I didn't get to see Dad until 6:30 last evening, so he'd already had supper.  He was talkative, and asked me to change the t.v. channel.  Yikes! Yes!  It was a telethon about cleft palates.  

Dad said he'd watched a program about taxes... federal taxes...  "Nobody minds paying fair taxes, but everybody minds paying unfair taxes".  Yup!

Dad hadn't slept well the night before.  He was thinking about "the prices. Out in the country."  Oh, he's worrying what the farmers will get for their crops in Pierce County circa 1938. 

Then somehow Dad got sidetracked to the Plexiglas problem.  "Half-inch-thick Plexiglas protecting.... Protecting all the furniture...  45-degree angle out from the wall to the corner of the bed's footboard".  Dad says the Plexiglas moves for me when I walk around the bed.  Can't I see it?  

"Get me some paper", he says.  He folds a little piece of paper down to a 2-inch square.   He holds it in the Hail Mary pass position, but doesn't throw it.  He holds it in different places in front of him, and waves it some.  I tell him he is not in a protective bubble.  He says he knows, but without his usual note of exasperation.  I ask if he wants a ball to throw at the Plexiglas.  This is starting to match up with the times he has thrown his wadded diaper or a carton of milk at the wall.  He often acts like he is going to pass a football according to his aides.  I hunt around, we agree on a ball made from a pair of socks. Dad holds the sock ball, but never actually throws it.  His arm raised shows the skin just hanging from his bones.  Finally he asked me to put it away.  Quite an hour to wonder, ponder, mentally wander:

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on'ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all
But high from God's heaven, a star's light did fall
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing
A star in the sky or a bird on the wing
Or all of God's Angels in heaven to sing
He surely could have it, 'cause he was the King

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on'ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

As I've said before, I'm not a religious person.  This is my favorite prayer:

Let me be receptive.  Restore to me my capacity to wonder.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Wholesome fun with the kiddies over winter break?

Pair this with an electric shaver for that super stocking stuffer!

Tsutaya, Kaori. Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts To Make with Your CatQuirk. 2011. 96p. tr. from Japanese by Amy Hirschman. illus. ISBN 9781594745256. pap. $14.95. FIBER CRAFTS Japanese cat lover Tsutaya was astonished at the amount of hair her cats shed during their daily brushing, so she decided to make felt out of cat hair, then turn the felt into cute, cat-themed crafts. If hair balls come to mind, think again—most of the projects are quite subtle and feature cat-shaped cat-hair appliqués on household items and accessories. The pieces are simple enough that supervised children could make them, and the directions are clear. Tsutaya also includes fun facts about cats and plenty of cute pictures. These crafts aren’t for everyone, but cat lovers will have a lot of fun with this book.  

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder

Exploring under Over World

I'm still under the influence of the big Richard Diebenkorn exhibit at The Fort Worth Modern.  Had a delightful girls' art getaway last weekend.

The Modern's architecture suits the Diebenkorn paintings perfectly.  Soon I was seeing a potential painting in every space of the Tadao Ando building.

Monday I discovered some treasure. Finally found the parking and trailhead for the Spring Creek Nature Area.  Had begun to think the city of Richardson, Texas created a trail system it didn't want anyone to use.  Since these trails are close to my workplace I could have a little more walking time than driving to my usual Plano trails. Afternoon light is so soon gone this time of year.

My first trek took me under Renner Road and the 75 Central Expressway interchange with "The George Bush", as we call the 190 tollway. Chilly, and threatening to drizzle, this was an invigorating walk, especially because I found a bird-watching delight.

The rhythm of the traffic overhead was jarring at first, but gradually comforting. Only a little graffiti and day-glo orange spray-painted markings for utility crews. Trash in the creek, of course.

Every so often a bench and trash can. The city has an interactive map so you can locate the trash cans. This one is under the connection from 190 east to 75 southbound. I've looked down from the top so many times in traffic and never known it was a wilderness park down there.
The tree color was striking in the misty rain, and the bushes were full of tiny birds singing their songs and ignoring the road roar.

A hawk seemed to check out the strange intruder in pink fleece, then played a game with me. Come close, come close, no now I'm over here...

Tuesday, no treasure. The "LOW BTY" message showed on the thermostat. In a clumsy attempt to open the battery door, I pulled the thermostat too far from the wall and broke  a wire. Spent a cold night in my old sleeping bag, grateful at least not to sleep under and overpass like too many homeless people in this country.

Wednesday's treasure was Mario the repairman. He's happy to arrive at the time I can be home, does a quick fix, and charges little. He's glad to help me with the other little things like the darn smoke detector hanging out of the wall while he's here. Mario, in fact, seems pretty much happy about everything, a lesson I need. I'm getting better understanding his accent. He's getting better understanding my vague descriptions of malfunctions.

Thursday's discovery was more jarring. I walked into the nursing home room to find Dad entangled but mostly uncovered and having removed his diaper.  You might be saying "TMI".  I sure was.  He hollered at me to get him some help. Since he usually doesn't talk, that was note-worthy. I'm looking for the silver lining here!  I found Big Red and she talked him calm and got everything put back together.  

Dad insisted on being spoonfed as he couldn't shove the ham and yam in fast enough. He's eating like a horse lately. After I fed him I offered to soak his fingernails and trim them. He insisted soaking was unnecessary.  I said I could only help if he soaked and softened the nails. He proclaimed he didn't "need any damn help" and ordered me to "sit on the chair." Hasta la vista, Baby! 

Friday I walked a different part of the Spring Creek trail. Learned, too, that the Richardson police use the trailhead parking to set up a speedtrap for drivers on the 75 access road, so drivers beware.

I like the vague completion date on the sign.  "F W I N T E R Y 2011" is just exactly this season.

I do like ramps, bridges, and boardwalks.  All the under over possibilities make me happy.

Took Dad a poinsettia.  I'd be happy if Scrooge's ghosts convinced Howie to keep the diaper on.  God bless us every one! 
Spring Creek Nature Area

51 acres south of Renner Rd extending from Central Expressway to Foxboro Park at Plano Rd and Braeburn Dr 
Multi-use trail, natural areas, hardwood forest, pedestrian bridge over winding Spring Creek, picnic benches, horseshoe pit. Restroom facilities and parking located at trail head at SE corner of Renner and Central Expressway. Trail links with Galatyn Woodland Preserve.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


At play with the English language

My boss asked, "Do you mind if I play some Christmas music?"

"As long as it isn't that rump a tum tum one," I answered, "or the twelve days."  That one always gives me flashbacks to Seventies t.v.

Long days with children who can't differentiate between pine cones, pineapples, and porcupines.  I slip off to my mental playground.

1 pear
Pair of pears
Pair of parrots
Partridge Family

1 apple
Pine cones
Corn on the cob

Pair of mittens
Pair of peppers
Pail of peppers

Puppy puppet
Sock puppet
Pair of socks
Pair of dogs
Prairie dog

Peanut butter
Peanut butter and jelly

Pizza chef
[Pepperoni with mushrooms, black olives, and green pepper]

9 potatoes
Potato Head in bed

Bongo polar bears 

Had to go forth to purchase pine cones, peppers, and pears for a photo shoot.  DFW is not a conifer-friendly metroplex, so pine cones don't just hang around waiting to be photographed.

Good grief, about a decade ago I ripped this funny illustration of Mr. Potato Head off to snoozeville out of a magazine.  Found the clipping while looking for something completely different, but it still makes me laugh.  Nothing on the page or reverse indicates the source.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Recalcitrant with bur oaks

Standing in the middle of the preschool classroom pondering our students' future twenty years down the line, "recalcitrant" popped into my mind.  Didn't even know my slow mental search engine was seeking that word. True, I rarely realize my darn computer is searching the cosmos for updates or trying to run a comprehensive scan.  My computer's refusal to do my bidding is spreading to my head.

This group of  students doesn't so much kick (L. calcitrare "to kick," from calx (gen. calcis) "heel.") as push, distract, and wipe nose goobies on each other.  They stare at me unfazed no matter what, which is why I wonder, "Did I take my blood pressure Rx this morning?  Did I  pop the vitamin D, swallow the big horse pill calcium and multivitamin, and manage to not drop the tiny hayfever generic fake Claritin on the bathroom floor again?"  I'm getting too old to see a rosy future twenty years down the line.

Daily reviewing of calcium pill intake improved with beneficial fiber is Recalcitrant.  I could be the spokeswoman for this wonder supplement according to my ex.  Our relationship was already prickly that vacation on Galveston Island when he pronounced me "obstinate and recalcitrant".  I pronounced a dictionary a prerequisite for all future vacations.  "Obstinate" is easy to recall, but not so "recalcitrant".  

Obstinate is obviously an anti-osteoporosis med, or I've been watching way too much local t.v. news between five p.m. and six-thirty.  Ask your doctor if you may have low testosterone, chronic dry eyes, dry mouth, Frosted Flakes, insomnia, or marriage flashbacks.

As for the Brickel bush, I ran and found one, and hid myself away.  A Dr. Seuss Brickel bush looks a lot like this bur oak nut-cap photographed out at Oak Point Nature Preserve recently.  I got brickels in my britches, but I stayed there anyway.  

One student has lots of splinters in her hands.  She has been digging in the new layer of playground wood chips.  Maybe that's not the best idea. Should the school have to eradicate every potential source of splinters?  Perhaps that is the Rx in our current litigious educational climate.

Once upon a time in a city park a little girl rolled down a hill in the crunchy grass of autumn.  Prickleburs covered every square inch of the little girl by the time she reached the bottom of the hill.  Her dad scooped her up in his arm and set her in the '54 Chevy and drove her straight home.  Once there, she sat atop the tall metal Cosco stepstool/chair while her mother and dad pulled the pricklebur splinters out of her skin with tweezers while she sat very, very still.  

Was there a lawsuit?  Did the little girl ever do that diggity-dog dumb thing again?

recalcitrant Look up recalcitrant at Dictionary.com

1823, from Fr. récalcitrant, lit. "kicking back" (17c.-18c.), pp. of recalcitrare "to kick back," from re- "back" (see re-) + L. calcitrare "to kick," from calx (gen. calcis) "heel." Used from 1797 as a French word in English. Verb recalcitrate "to kick out" is attested from 1620s; sense of "resist obstinately" is from 1759.--Now flavorless and easily dissolved ....

obstinate Look up obstinate at Dictionary.com

mid-14c., from L. obstinatus "resolute, inflexible, stubborn," pp. of obstinare "persist, stand stubbornly, set one's mind on," from ob "by" (see ob-) + stinare, related to stare "stand," from PIE base *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Related: Obstinately.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Hillary Clinton shops for PJs

Thank heaven I don't travel as much as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  I've got two trips this month, so I'm experiencing pajama stress.  Sure, I should be worrying if the American Airlines bankruptcy will impact my flights, but last December's knit jimmy-jams from Target are looking mighty bankrupt, too.  Don't want to traumatize my daughter-in-law or my old library storytime buddy.

Surely I could pop into Kohl's and pick up a nice flannel floral-print granny nightgown with the discount coupon that came in the mail....and don't call me Shirley.  A flannel nightie for a Victorian B&B girlfriends' chat and art show weekend seemed just right.  But, hey, no, Aung San Suu Kyi, no such thing at Kohl's.  Instead, racks and racks of 

  • neon-colored microfleece woven from fur of tiny sea monkeys forced to live their entire lives in black light.
  • cutesy doggie-woggy prints.
  • knits that hint at way too much middle-aged anatomy when the bed-headed wearer creeps toward the coffee-maker in early a.m. mixed company, but probably okay if one lives alone.
  • dreadful Gypsy Rose Lee Designs Exclusively for Montgomery Wards creations showcased for male gift-shoppers.
  • sleepwear made in China, Cambodia, Vietnam.  Probably Myanmar, too,  if I kept looking.
Poor Hillary.  She has to sleep on airplanes across time-zones.  Wherever she wakes up there are members of the press between her and the coffeepot, then diplomats and foreign heads of state.  She goes home to Bill, and/or Chelsea and Marc.  No wonder she has those bags under her eyes.

Time is short, and I still have to pick out an umbrella in the Totes department.  I choose some pajamas, check out, and go spoon-feed Dad alleged ground-up sweet & sour chicken.  Dad doesn't have to choose his PJs since aides help him into those sleeve-snapping/back-tying hospital gowns way before dark.

Once home, I try on the pajama set.  Dang!  Hillary and I need to save the receipt.  I look like a cross between O, Brother Where Art Thou and an overstuffed bagpipe.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Signs in the sky point to Sibelius

Odd fire-breathing clouds at sunset Tuesday.  Tipped in a feathery spectrum they swirled,, more dragon than rush hour cloud.   Thought I might be hallucinating in the left turn lane with NPR broadcasting an obituary feature about Stalin's daughter, Svetlana. Was this a Lone Star State occurrence of the aurora borealis?  

No good photography options, without causing a traffic accident.  Finally pulled into the parking lot of a Methodist megachurch, and got a few shots.

Not entirely crazy.  Our high school Health Ed. teacher/basketball assistant coach warned us about psychedelic flashbacks.  Beginning to think there should have been warning labels about assistant basketball coaches instead.. The t.v. weather news dude explained that ice crystals in the clouds caused the odd prismatic atmospheric effects.  Not Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  More Sibelius in the orchestra room with icicles and violas.

Sibelius in deep slogging frigid depression opening into an aurora borealis of redemption, hey, what was that piece?  Love that my high school carpool friend wrote back immediately:  

I'm pretty sure it was Symphony No. 2 probably the 4th movement.  

Not Sibelius in a Finnish funk.  Not John Lennon.  Just Lyle Lovett in the cd player singing Guy Clark's perfect fire-breathing quiet song, "Step Inside This House":

Hold this piece of glass
Up to the light comin' through the door
It's a prism glass I found on the road
Can you see that little rainbow
Well it's not really a prism I guess
It just broke a funny way
I was on my way from Texas
Headed for L.A.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Monet pops bubblewrap/writes cursive with sparklers

 Not exactly waterlilies, but still plenty of ripples.  My visual meanderings and Art History 101 flashbacks were interrupted by a buzzer.  ZZZZZ!  Still your turn?

Splendid tiny milkweed pyrotechnics.  Sparklers sold in a sulphur tent.  Spinning faster than that busy bird buzzes ZZZZ.
Noisy as all get out
Smoke detector
Restaurant pager
Seriously pissed
Seriously buzzing tenor
with a chickadee
singing soprano.
Even a do-si-do or two.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


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