Steven was quite concerned to arrive home yesterday to find a large box marked Simon's Catfish Filets on the doorstep. Who could tell when UPS had delivered the catfish. The box could have been sitting there for hours on a rather warm afternoon. He stood next to me while I cut open the packing tape and took out all the filler paper. He was poised to flee, and possibly barf. The boy does not have a future in operating rooms or fisheries! I'm pleased, and he's REALLY pleased, to report we received our shipment of clear bags and boxes for our upcoming craft shows.


Seuss on the loose

"I was cutting through a neighborhood between the doctor's office and my precinct polling place, and I came to a big yellow sign that said, "HUMPS AHFAD". I was still thinking it must be one of the Islamic terrorists when I hit the darn speed bump. The brain is the first thing to go..."

I first had this experience in April of 2002, so was surprised to see that the sign is still scratched after a year and a half. Since then I have learned lots more about both dromedaries and Bactrian camels! "So if you like to go bump bump, just jump on the hump of the wump of Gump."


Baby You Can Drive My Car

Woke up to the ringing phone at 5:34. Cliff was giving Steven a wake-up call. Steven needed to drive Cliff to the DART station in order to use Cliff's van to drive to school and a zit dr. appt.

Had to drop my car off at the mechanic at 8:00. The circuit board replacement two weeks ago did not cure my manic depressive turn signal. Dropped the car off, then had a lovely walk home in the cool morning air, and felt virtuous about "exercising". Cleaned house a little, and prepared a delicious lunch for Steven's gang that comes here every Friday. I made a dozen giant turkey-bacon-tomato-swiss sandwiches on Kaiser rolls. (Now I'm wondering why I capitalized Kaiser, but not swiss!) There was a relish plate, chips, red grapes, ripe pears, and three kinds of mustard. I know, I know! My father, the Condiment King, would be embarrassed by such a small array. And also, there were Dreyer's fruit popsicles for dessert.

My friends of weememories.com were working at a craft fair. They called at noon to see if I was coming to visit them as I often do, and would I pick up fast food for them. Alas, I explained, I had no car, but I had a lunch and that's a start. So I made two box lunches, and Shawn drove over to pick them up.

Instead of the usual six teenagers, eight arrived. The band kids had early lunch for a change, but they had to do without cold Dr. Pepper. Eight sixteen year-olds fills this condo! They devoured all the food, wrote up a physics lab, discussed religion, world events, computer games, and people who drive them crazy at school. I kept out of the way by cutting out photos of eyes, noses, mouths, and ears from old magazines. All my students will be doing a face/mask unHalloween/Halloween project this week. It takes a lot of eyeballs.

Steven left school, drove to the zit dr., drove home, put coolant in his dad's smoking vehicle, and got changed for work. The mechanic called and said my car was ready. Steven dropped me off on his way to work. My car was not out front. The guy who isn't named Cletus, but should be, told me the guy who isn't named Goober called the wrong person and my car wasn't ready but would be shortly. I read magazines about bass fishing, hunting, and classic Chevys for 45 minutes, and started to wonder if the guy who isn't named Goober would actually finish it today. Darryl's other brother Larry told me that Goober had my car "fixed", but when Cletus drove it out front it got manic depressive again. Now Goober is going to have to order another circuit board, because the lights and the circuit board "aren't talking to each other". Okay, fine. I walked home again, home again, jiggity jig, with a ride from Shawn for the last leg.

The day vanished like the sandwiches, but moon-flowers are blooming on the patio. Have a good weekend, ladies and gentlemen.


Itsy Bitsy Irritations

My students have a new nominee for most annoying song to hear for two straight hours. It goes like this:

There's a spider on my head, on my head.
There's a spider on my head, on my head.
There's a spider on my head, and I wish that he was dead.
There's a spider on my head, on my head.

While we've been doing some very groovy art projects related to The Spider Weaver, by Margaret Musgrove, I won't have the strength to report on them until I de-web.


Jelly Avoids Recall: Strawberry Leads Charge

120 students cast votes in the 2003 Jelly Popularity balloting during the first part of October. Jelly-lovers beat bread purists by more than two to one. Strawberry beat its only major rival, Grape, by a Wonder Bread margin. Results show upstart squeeze-bottle jellies have loaves to go before they overtake traditional jar jellies, also known as "knife jellies".

During this time voters made still life artworks with an analogous color scheme, and explored color-mixing, transparency, translucency, and paint viscosity. That's really just a fancy way to say they had a fabulous time making gloriously goopy pictures, and pretending to paint with jelly, jam, preserves, and chutney. Materials included colored cellophane, tissue papers, crayons, and my own home brew of Pseudo Smucker Paint.

If you can't get enough jelly, read
Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell Hoban. What goes into jelly anyway? Read Eating the Alphabet, by Lois Ehlert, and guess what would make good jelly. Yam jam?

Precinct results:

Pro 85
Con 34

Jar/Knife 42
Squeeze 31

Flavor Favorites
Strawberry 31
Grape 23
Cherry 9
Raspberry/blueberry mix 5
Orange marmalade 4
"Goober" (PB & J mix) 3
Blueberry 3
Honey 2
Blackberry 1
Chocolate 1
"Plain " 1
Strawberry/banana 1

If you want to know how to mix jelly paints from grape to gooseberry, do contact nlrudr@peoplePC.com. You don't even have to send the million dollars. I would just spend it on scrambled eggs and toast, anyway.


Roses are red, white, and blue

Francis Scott Key is having a severe allergic reaction. Our Commander in Chief has written a poem to the First Lump. If it were hung on an art museum wall, many people would say, "My kid could do this!" They would be right. Still, I am glad that the Republicans have brought The Arts to the forefront of The Public Consciousness. Dubya has done for poetry what Arnold has done for politics--power in the wrong hands, and painful to hear.

Soon we will hear Lieberman playing "Chopsticks". I ask you, "Can Dean paint Elvis on velvet? Is he presidential?" Bush's GOP convention acceptance speech calling for An Aesthetics Administration will leave me wishing for the kissing Tipper. Can Ashcroft go the distance as the armless Venus de Milo?


Whistler's Mother

Came home from work, sat down and did the crossword puzzle, then went to sleep sitting up in the chair for about two hours. Now I'm so groggy, I can't do anything. This all makes me feel like such an old lady.

When I used to have to sell Camp Fire Girl candy around our neighborhood, I always dreaded going to one house. The woman who lived there taught sixth grade. I thought she was a million years old, but she was probably the age I am now. She would invite me in, offer me a chair in the living room, ask me about school, and fall sound asleep. I would just keep sitting there dressed in my Camp Fire uniform, white anklets, and saddle shoes, carton of candy boxes at my feet, afraid to move or sneeze, let alone sneak out the door. After an eon she would wake up, ask me a question about my family, and drift off again. It could take over an hour to sell her a two dollar box of chocolates.

Now that I think about it, maybe acting like I'm asleep might be a new approach to classroom management! Immobilize wild savages with my deep, even breathing...

Early poll exit interviews indicate a very conservative trend in the world of jelly. Non-jelly votes are almost equal to all jelly flavors together. In the flavor category, grape and strawberry have forced out most of the other candidates. Few indie jellies have turned up, although I thought I had some votes for "pumpkin jelly". Turned out that Welch's has some Halloween pumpkins and ghosts on the grape jelly glass. Some students think pink jelly is bubble gum flavor. Bubble gum preserves is a scary concept!

It is somehow reassuring to know that kids still drink out of jelly glasses. Alas, our childhood Welch's Flintstone glasses did not survive.


Election day at last

To coincide with the California recall, this was the beginning of the biennial Jelly Popularity Poll. Since kids age 3-8 influence the spending of billions of grocery dollars, the results should not be taken lightly. Students can vote No to jelly, or vote Yes for their favorite flavor. They may not vote for jello, non-fruit condiments, bodily fluids, or health/beauty products. If they vote for a flavor with a format choice, they may then choose between squeeze-bottle jelly, or traditional knife/jar jelly. The Supreme Court has ruled that the jelly election must include jams, preserves, chutneys, and marmalade options. Also, the Green Party has won two spots on the ballot with mint and jalapeno for the first time.

It could take up to two weeks for Al Franken and Mr. Peanut to certify the results. In the meantime, I will be reading "Bread and Jam for Frances" sixteen times, doing the voices for Father, Mother, Frances, Baby Gloria, and Albert.

Approximately 250 voters are registered, but it is unclear if this is a hot-button, get-out-the-vote issue. Some registered voters will be too busy playing with the new drinking fountain, or squirting all the liquid soap out of the restroom dispenser to state their choice. Fox News has dismissed the lead-up campaign as "just more fruits engaged in slimy behavior". The mainstream media has drowned the public in Lunchables coverage leaving it incapable of making its own sandwich, let alone its own mind.

I'll be mixing up many, many jars of liquid watercolors with glitter tempera and/or Elmers glue so we can paint with "jelly". We will squash down many pieces of irridescent, pink, and red cellophane on to the paint for "glass jars".

Do you feel under-represented in this fun? This is Texas, of course, and we can probably redraw your district. Jif and Wonderbread are calling your name...

If you would like to make the Jelly Poll a national plebiscite, or just need a Smuckerpaint recipe, please email a million dollars to nlrudr@peoplePC.com.

Oh, and it isn't really a good idea to pretend that colored chalk is eye shadow.

Current Mood: currant


Alas, poor Buick!

You can smell it, Horatio. A banana-strawberry-kiwi-mango smoothie has been spilled in the Skylark. I don't jest about the scent. I'll probably have fruit flies in residence by morning. I'm ping-ponging between Lord of the Flies, Hamlet, South Pacific, and Happy Days. One nameless sixteen-year-old has jumped the shark.
He will have to wear the Scarlet "S" for Smoothie Spill.


Table matters

Been out back in my pith helmet, hacking back the cannas, elephant ears, and vines that have completely overgrown my tiny patio. The weather is lovely. Little lizards are hiding among the vines on the fence, and monarch butterflies are floating over.

The high school Gang of Six was here for lunch. I fixed a big bag of frozen hash browns, a bag of Little Smokies, ten scrambled eggs with a half bag of grated cheddar, and a quart bowl of fruit salad. They devoured it, all washed down with the requisite Texas national beverage, Dr. Pepper. Guess they were glad for a change from nachos, hot dogs, and pizza. Today I learned about the prevalence of french kissing in the school hallways, but I don't really eavesdrop.

One evening this week I gave my son The Talk about STDs and oral sex. Always wonderful dinner conversation! Normally we have the (equally disgusting) discussion of Dubya and his daily dastardly deeds. Lysol! Lysol! Clorox! Raid! Weedwackers! At breakfast the two of us don't talk much, but growl and hiss at the newspaper reports of the Texas Republican redistricting power grab.

The "Get Fuzzy" comic series on spray adhesive/deodorant for Satchel reminded me of my olden days in the art department's studio space. The building had been a brewery warehouse before being annexed by the university. It was devoid of windows and any climate control, and primitively partitioned into "private studios" for senior painting majors and grad students. All the rolls of canvas were a happy haven for miller moths. I HATE miller moths! Okay, I'm mostly over it, but there had been traumatic experiences in my childhood and teens that took years to work through with pharmaceutical assistance. The moths were so bad in the studio that they brought out my Dark Side. I came to enjoy, yes, enjoy, bringing down a moth with a well-aimed shot of aerosol artists fixative to the wings. Hell, I felt like Wyattetta Earp and Annie Oakley.

Yeah, I know you are trying to imagine kinky moth traumas! When I was little it was so scary to get up in the middle of the night, walk down the hall to the bathroom, switch on the lightl, and set a dusky miller moth flying at me. The only thing worse was when grasshoppers as big as cigars would jump at my bare legs in our parched backyard when we were sent out to get "fresh air".

When I got my driver's license, my dad drove a red and white '61 Plymouth Sport Fury with push-button transmission and rectangular steering wheel. This is quite possibly the greatest American car ever made. Should I ever be interviewed for one of those "County Snapshot" columns in the newspaper, I know I will name that as my fantasy vehicle. (I waver a lot on the guests for my fantasy dinner party, and my desert island books though, not due to any lack of consideration). The only trouble was my dad parked the Sport Fury in a gravel parking lot with the windows rolled down at his office. In the evenings, my hip-hugger, bell-bottom, macrame belt self would get the chance to drive to choir practice or cruise Taco John's. Mere words cannot describe the total panic of losing control of that car when a miller moth would fly up my flared pant leg while driving on "O" Street. Especially with Alice Cooper on the radio!

Did I happen to mention bagworms? We had mind-blowing infestations on all the bushes in our yard in my impressionable junior high years. My anti-chemical/fiscally strapped dad sent all his natural born children out to pluck the hideous things off the junipers. When we got a good coffee-canful of bagworms, we would roast them in the charcoal grill. The bagworms would emerge from their bags and writhe, but refuse to die. On the good side, I got to take my transistor radio with the earphone out on these shock and awe operations, tuned to KLMS Top 40. "Last Train to Clarksville", "Georgie Girl", "To Sir With Love"...

Alas, we still have bagworms in the Bushes.


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