Saying goodbye to a longtime challenging companion

Before I even had a blog, before I had this condo, long before I had this job, back when I had healthy parents and even a Woolly Mammoth in middle school I bought a car.  Danger Baby went along to the dealership as moral support, although he was only fourteen. In 1999 it was just a mode of transportation, a tool, a vehicle, a replacement for a Mazda MPV minivan.  This car had an automatic transmission because I never, ever wanted to teach another teen son to drive a stick shift.  For some thrills, once is plenty.

The Skylark gradually became more of a constant companion with a personality disorder.  It could be the pet cocklebur under my saddle blanket, or the reliable spectator shelter during a rainy night soccer game.  From fairly early in our relationship the Skylark began to display electrical system mood swings that defied repair and pushed repair shops past their comfort zones.

The Buick had a frequent hitch in its get-along. On cold mornings heading out to Plano Sr. High School it often had a special ca-chunka-chunk sound effect.  When mechanics heard that sound they predicted impending dire results, but the Buick just kept ca-chunking for another decade.  And by "cold morning" I mean below fifty degrees Fahrenheit.  Brrrrr!

The eccentricities and infirmities of the Skylark often mirrored the decline of that other old so-and-so, my Howie.  The car was more continent than Dad, and slightly less demented.  Many of the 135,000 miles I put on the Buick were missions up I-35 to Nebraska to assist Dad.  It's appropriate that Howie's life insurance has paid for my new wheels.

It brought out my inner Rosie the Riveter, and I am grateful. I never headed out in Skylark without needle-nose pliers. Knobs were always falling off, but somehow no major parts ever fell off.  It was pretty close that one time with the motor mounts, but we all survived!

I'm inviting everyone to reply with guesses of how much I got in trade-in money on the old car.  If you do not live in Texas you can also guess what I purchased as a replacement vehicle.  In a vague "few days" I will post photos of my new vehicle/blog character.

Skylark received a facelift for the 1996 model year in the form of a more conventional-looking grille. The previous 2.3 L 4 was replaced by a new 2.4 L DOHC 4 that produced 150 hp (110 kW) at 6000 rpm. The previous three-speed automatic transaxle was discontinued and the four-speed automatic became standard on all Skylarks. An on-board diagnostic system (OBD II) was standard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Skylark

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Michiko Kakutani's New York Times 3/20/12 review of John Gertner's book, The Idea Factory : Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, crossed my table last Saturday.  Would I actually read the book?  No, although it is "utterly comprehensible--indeed thrilling--to the lay reader".  Trouble is that I keep falling asleep in the limited hours available outside of work.  The review is a delightful, brief explanation of Bell Labs and the visionary leadership that promoted a culture of highest level creativity, innovation, and cross-disciplinary scientific research.  This paragraph caught my attention because of interest in early childhood education and nature awareness, crisscrossed with memories of my father.  Dad had the small town background of those Bell Lab scientists:

Many Bell Labs scientists, including Brattain, Kelly and the Nobel Prize-winning physicistCharles H. Townes, who helped develop the principles of the laser, grew up on farms or in small towns, which Dr. Townes argued were the perfect “training grounds for experimental physics.” Such childhoods, he contended, taught a person how to “pay attention to the natural world, to work with machinery and to know how to solve practical problems and fix things innovatively, with what is on hand.”

Dad was a supreme practitioner of the "fix with what is on hand" mentality.  Once he had rigged a slapdash repair he was oblivious to the aesthetic realities of his idea.  That is, when the man fixed the dang shower drip by stretching a heavy-duty rubber band he didn't care that his family had the ugly, mildewed rubber band in the bathtub for the next two decades.

During a recent windstorm my gate got blown out of its lock lever. I didn't want it to keep banging and twisting off its hinges, so I grabbed the nearest coat hanger.  My fix worked, but I don't want to look at it for very long. I'm a child of a child of the Great Depression, but I'd like a prettier solution long term.

I love stories of resourcefulness, and especially stories that include a pair of pliers in the back pocket of overalls. When I read Andy and the Lion to the preschoolers I worry that they are just too far removed from washing behind their ears out on the back porch to get it.  Then I worry that children won't get to hear this story because hunting lions, even in a tall tale, is not politically correct.  Plus, I worry that kids don't even get to walk to school on their own feeling like intrepid adventurers.  

Dad had few vices, but this vise and lots of C-clamps.  I'm trying to rig a way to hang our coat hanger wire sculptures from the top edge of a cafeteria stage backdrop so they blow in the nonexistent wind.  In the middle of the night I'm pondering how to do this with no money and no knowledge of the depth of that stage back wall prior to the performance day.  And no really big rubber-bands!

Bark is on my mind for good reason.  The school music festival is based on Leo Lionni's very 1968 parable, The Alphabet Tree about "the power of the written word in a democratic society":

The wordbug teaches the letters on the alphabet tree, torn and tossed by a windstorm, how to become stronger by banding together to form words. Then a clever purple caterpillar teaches the letters to become even stronger by forming sentences with a message of peace. 

The costumes for the kiddies are even tie-dye t-shirts!  Did the dyeing on the playground this afternoon.  Stirred the dye with a shovel handle for more problem-solving with material at hand.  Groovy.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder

Hark, hark, we must ponder bark

Backward brain slowly notices the nursery rhyme setting the rhythm for my walk around the Galatyn trail. Backward brain wonders about the chicken or the egg.  First?  Seeing bark everywhere? OR the rhythm?

Unwinding from the high-pressure multi-gabilliozon-dollar world of a Montessori spring festival set designer.  Oh!  The glitter!  The press!  The enquiring minds!  Holy cow.

But back to the bark.  Om.  It's unseasonably warm and dang muggy on the trail.  I'm getting a bad case of sweaty cap hair.  This trail is a little "gem" preserved between a telecom business district and the DART light-rail train line.

Hark, hark, the dogs do bark!
Beggars are coming to town,
Some in rags, some in tags,
And some in velvet gown.

What does this mean???  For answers, I checked here. And it was "some in rags, some in jags" in early versions.  Jags are those slashings in the sleeves of Tudor costumes!

That is all the pondering for now.  Happy walking!

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Leggings all on their lonesome and petticoats all around

Midway through the morning I understood part of my peculiar George Clooney dream, if not the more interesting part.  Our school is have difficulty with the concept of appropriate school attire. This year's fashion distractions and issues:

  1. Leggings worn as pants. At what age/weight do these leggings really need to be worn with a skirt or tunic?  Heaven knows they are as comfy as jammies or thermal longjohns, but is that the right way to feel at school?  There is much consternation and debate among the staff on this issue.
  2. Petticoats worn as skirts. For several years girls' attire has been crossing into realms of pageant, costume, Halloween, or what we used to call "Dress Up Box".  Kids in the Sixties went home from elementary school, changed out of their "school clothes" into their "play clothes".  Then they added their cowgirl holster, and/or an old pink petticoat, Grandma Myrtle's old fox stole, and some clip-on earrings for imaginary playtime. Now that's just normal go-to-school wear.

Everyone, including George Clooney, is relieved that I have been long past the age/weight for showing up to work in leggings. I wore petticoats just once for Halloween 2010 when I was "Art Teacher Diva".  George was absent that day, or he would have been smitten.

Petticoat junction

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


D. What she's wearing

In Sally's recurring dream, what is the one thing that varies?

So there we were in the middle of the dream. George Clooney. Me. We are both clad in Hanes thermal underwear. Tops and bottoms. The bumpy Walmart kind.  Plus bright green fuzzy slipper socks. Making googoo eyes at each other across a crowded room. Chilly. Warm. Then I woke up. At least we weren't wearing dropseat underwear on the way to the outhouse.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


It's a woodchipper day in the neighborhood

They're back!  They're whiny!  No, not the preschoolers.  Not even the cedar waxwings.  It's the condo lawn service pruners and their woodchipper truck.

Pretend it is Hendrix playing guitar...
What would Mr. Rogers do?  WWMRD?  I'm still having those "Fargo" associations, but I know Mr. Rogers would want me to celebrate these helpers in my neighborhood.

This helper dude is cutting back the soapberry tree on my back alley neighbor's patio.  The soapberry is a volunteer tree that has grown rapidly in the nine years since a shade tree fell down in a big wind.  Some would call the tree a "trash tree", but it makes red admiral butterflies and cedar waxwings very happy.

I suppose the waxwings will cope just fine with their diminished soapberry.  The ring-necked doves will adjust slowly as they are not ever going to be academic scholarship recipients. I worry about the hummingbird that had preferred seating on a branch that is now gone, but its arrival is many weeks in the future.

Back in high school I joined the Columbia House Record Club because of those ads in the Sunday newspaper.  What a lesson in consumer skepticism that provided!!  Oy.  I can't go into it here.  One of the albums I purchased by choice rather than default was an LP set of the history of jazz.  One of the selections was Woody Herman's "At the Woodchopper's Ball".  Check out the groovy dashikis on Woody's band members in this 1969 video!  I want to see the ring-necked doves it these outfits.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder

Lung toenails and twitchy ear canals

Al Veoli.  Wasn't he that brown-eyed kid who sat behind me in Mr. Stith's 8th grade American History class? No, that kid was Dougie Something.  Al wasn't in The Godfather, either

Al is the guy sitting beside the dusty elephant while it clips its toenails in my lungs.  Al is the kid trying to slide into second base during the third grade coach-pitched sandstorm.  Al is the hyena rock star growling and prancing like Mick Jagger on the arid Serengeti.  Al is my sister's first fiance who waxed his chest hair.   Aarrrgh... It is spring allergy season here in the blog. Why, oh why is dear little Susie picking up paw paws in my ear canals with those spiny echidnas?

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


New growth on prickly pear

I love the tension between sharp greens and heavy-laden grays of spring,.  I love the sprouts and the storms, the dang piccolos versus kettle drums, Peter Rabbit vs. Old Mr. MacGregor on Pay-Per-View.  The contest gets me through the sinus headaches and aggravations of sticky, green pollen coating my windshield.  The pollen defies the washer fluid and gets smeared by tired wipers. The cobalt violet of blooming redbuds adds the neon shock of pain and ecstasy, much like the time the otorhinolaryngologist rammed his scope into my deviated septum.  This is spring.

en garde   gärd)
Used to warn a fencer to assume the position preparatory to a match.

[French : en, on + garde, guard.]

[Disc 3 of my "Carmen" cd is damaged right where Don Jose and Escamillo fight.  And I dreamt I forgot to shave my legs.  Knew the crossword puzzle answer for the clue "Gillette blade" though--ATRA]

Felt like I'd been through the woodchipper even before arriving home from work.  The elementary students did the printmaking for the music festival invitations, and the results will be totally awesome.  Tonight this art teacher will have a bad case of brayer shoulder and should go to bed early.  Thanks to the glittergoods blogger for this perfect spring green brayer illustration:

The lawn service guys for the condo are sending today's prunings through a real woodchipper.  The high-pitched whine makes the hairs on my arms stand straight up and shriek.  Yup.  Spring.  Now 'scuse me while I ice my March madness injury! 

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


When bass use the crosswalk and the candidate washes his shirt

Why didn't Mitt just put his shirt on the car roof with the dog and drive through the carwash? Why didn't he do the sniff test and just squirt Febreez on the least worst shirt like any teenage guy?  The man makes me miss McCain, for heaven's sake!

I admit to once washing out my kids' Ghostbusters underpants and drying them overnight atop the a/c in a Wichita motel.  The vacation ran long because of car repairs and a broken arm.  BUT GEEZ! THIS MAN IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT and he can't look long range enough to send some local volunteer to the mall! He wants to play chess on the big board???  

So my sympathies go out to all the comparatively normal Illinois bloggers.  There were more fisherman than presidential candidates out at Oak Point Nature Preserve after our 4+ inches of rain in twenty-four hours.  

This father and son were fishing on the dam while water drained across the walk into a runoff stream.  It looked like a golden memory moment.  Suddenly there was a whoop and holler.  I was afraid the dad had lost the lad in the overflow rush.  Nope, the dad was whooping because a "fourteen inch bass just swam across the sidewalk."  Taking traditional fisherman measurement exaggerations into account, that was still a good surprise and a golden moment.

And yes, that is kale.  Scanned it because the camera was behaving badly.  Even if your old dog is on the car roof, it can still learn new tricks.  Never had kale before in my whole live-long life, but the minestrone recipe called for kale.  And it was good.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Cannot blog. Must watch dog.

Spring break is ending, taking no consideration of my need for another two+ weeks.  Why can't years or months or weeks leap on demand? When I am in charge of the world this will be a top priority.

Worked through a lot of estate stuff, and got rid of enough piles of papers I can see my carpet all around the computer desk. The good news is when  a financial institution says it can't tell you who the beneficiary is, "but it is not YOU", it doesn't necessarily mean your father sired another family out in Utah. The bad news is it will take a long time to untangle this stuff.

Having a grandbaby is very exciting, but still feels long-distance.  I'm warming to the name "Grancy", but haven't sprung it on the new daddy yet.

In the strange world of technology I've been able to watch my grand doggy via webcam during his stay at the kennel. He's had wonderful opportunities for socializing, play, and exercise. There have been adjustment issues including nervous peeing incidents, jumping on caregivers, trying to hump playmates, unwanted naptimes, and occasional loneliness.  It is ever so much like my preschool class except dogs can't pick their noses, and there's a little less emphasis on academics! I have to wonder how the relationships between teachers and parents would change if our charges were on a webcam twelve hours a day.

And now the good economic news:

  • I don't have to go live in a box under a freeway access ramp again this week.
  • The price for twenty-four night-crawlers at Academy Sports is still $3.89, exactly the same as last summer.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Pondering the naming of grandparents

Twenty-nine and a half years ago Howie took a big box of donuts to his office and added a sign:

Compliments of Jeffrey Todd Ruder and Gramps 

Was that the name of a new architectural firm in Lincoln, Nebraska?  No.  That was how my dad chose his grandparent name and set it in stone for all his grandkids.  Jeffrey Todd's other grandparents just became Grandma Fritzi, Grandma Bev, and Grandpa Bob for the new generation.

I never knew why Dad decided to become "Gramps", but I know he didn't want to be "Granddad".  That was the name for his father-in-law, and it did not connote loving, fun, or wise. That Granddad, Fred, had declared "Grandmother" the only properly respectful name for us to call Effa Dale.  I never felt close to Grandmother, but there are multiple reasons why.  No warmth attaches to "grandmother" for me.

Howie's ma was my Grandma, the total opposite of Grandmother.  Grandma was loving and bubbly and homey and embracing.  "Grandma" had all those wonderful sensory associations with baking sugar cookie smells, clucking shoes on brick sidewalks, rubber support stockings hung over the back of a rocking chair, lemongrass scent in the bathroom, and the thud of stamping due dates at the library.

Howie's grandmother, (Grandma's mother-in-law), was The Gram.  She was never Gram.  That would be like Greco or Cid without the El.  The Gram had a formidable sound even though I only remember her at age ninety sitting or dozing in her rocking chair.

The Gram's daughters were The Aunties, a term full of fun but strange abilities from a different time or universe.  The small, quiet Auntie could catch butterflies with her bare hands.  The tall, loud Auntie could tutor me in cursive handwriting and good manners with squirrels. They were like Mrs. Whatzit and Mrs. Who.

My parents turned up their noses at peers who let baby babbling name grandparents.  Yes, judgmental.  Still, I have hang-ups about Nanas, Boppas, Oomas, and Dondeegos.

Yet, when my niece and nephew dubbed me "Ants" it seemed a perfectly efficient designation for Aunt Nancy.  Their mom always call me, "Nance".

My new grandson has a daunting seven grandparents. What a lot of old folks to sort out!  How to name four grandmas? Do I want to wait for this tiny person to goo-goo my new title? Can I shape my designation and my role in his life by dubbing myself as Howie did?

Dear friends became Honey and Sparky as grandparents.  I think these are my favorites.

Didn't put my two cents worth into the Name-The-Baby-Challenge for my son and his wife.  Okay, maybe I did say "Bradley" gave me the heebie jeebies.  Can I put my two cents in for my own new name?

If so, I'm leaning toward Grancy...

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder

Worm Lady to the wescue

The trouble with cellphones is Worm Lady can't pull on her tights and cape in a phonebooth that doesn't exist. The signal is beamed into the night sky! I must answer the call tightless! Time to read up on the relationship between worms and water conservation.  I'll be answering calls for the Worm Lady a couple times in coming months. 

Five days into spring break I've mostly stopped doing the pre-K initial consonant sound stutter. Here are some of the highlights of my spring vuh-vuh-vuh vacation.

Wah-wah-wah watch that never worked well made into a pin. Fred gave Effa Dale the  Swiss watch that "never worked well".  At some point the watch was adapted to a pin.  Much later the pin was placed in a cardboard box marked "Locket" inside a safe deposit box, which is why I didn't send it to my brother according to my mother's written instructions years ago.  To make up for it I sent him the coins and bus tokens that were in the same box.

Before I mailed this off to my brother I wondered if there might be a secret treasure map or code underneath the cotton in the box.  Just in case, I pulled it back and found
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Fuh-fuh-fuh 5 toothpicks! Yup. I don't know if the toothpicks had DNA samples or not. Ew.

Welcome to the wonderful world of inheritance, wills, and probate. Everyday is a war-war-warped scavenger hunt. I have been learning about medallion guarantees, P.O.D., and W.R.O.S., plus why Social Security can't change your mailing address if you are dead. I would tell you, but then you wouldn't get to work through all the automated phone menus in either voice or touchtone mode. Maybe Worm Lady should get an automated phone menu, too. Press 1 for vertical-burrowing earthworms preferring cool temperatures. Press 2 for warm-temp vermicomposting red wigglers.

I wanted to finish reading Thomas Mallon's Watergate over the break.  It really brings back that era we mostly wanted to forget, but then we'd be doomed to repeat it.

I had delusions of also reading Matthew Pearl's The Technologists and Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts by Stacy Cordery.  Ruh-ruh right!
Thought I had a couple more weeks to finish the quah-quah-quah baby quilt aka "playmat", but my grandson surprised everybody by arriving this morning.  He is not an afterthought to this post. He is the breaking news. If I don't blog it will be due to turning into one of those mushy blobs of grandmotherly love.

And that's okay.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Grilled tiny spuds with fresh rosemary and feta

Om.  Life is good.  I'm going to write self-help books about grilling your way to serenity, except that I'm way too relaxed.

Last night I marinaded a couple pork chops and a bunch of tiny new potatoes in Ms. Janie's fig jam vinaigrette. After I turned them over on the gas grill I put fresh mint sprigs on top of the chops, and fresh rosemary on the spuds.  While this was good, nirvana didn't really arrive until I sprinkled the feta on the hot rosemary potatoes.  One with the universe.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Wolfie and the elusive wolverines

My new best friend is my Wells Fargo banker up at the corner branch.  He looks disconcertingly like Tom Hulce, but without the wig.

Tom and I shared a couple quality hours this afternoon dealing with my dad's  financial stuff.  Much of it made me head hurt under my powdered wig, but this batch is done.  Tomorrow another estate issue to tackle.

So that is How I Am Spending My Spring Break.
When the leaf blowers and week whackers woke me up at 7:30 this a.m. I trundled down to the computer and found the New York Times video about tracking wolverines in my inbox.  Wolverines are far more elusive than bankers, but they are both in the weasel family.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Bogged down, blogged down

Grover is in the pits.  The tar pits.  He has fallen, and he can't get up.  I can really feel the suck of the asphalt immobilizing the Sesame Street inaction figure in the condo parking lot.  My walking buddy and I discovered Grover on our walk right after the rain ended this noon.

Sucks, mired, immobilized.  Sounds like my life lately, and it is time to pull myself out.

I'm starting a bucket list just so I can put the La Brea Tar Pits on it.  For now my bucket is half full of rubber bands, not half empty.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


we could string them and hang them from a tree

Found this post in my dregs/draft list. I have no idea who or what I was going to string and hang from a tree last December when I started it. Still the title is fitting for this day which was both the last day of class before Spring Break AND school picture day. Yup, individual, staff, and class photos with a whole lotta saying "cheese" and trying to get little kids to remove their index fingers from their nostrils for just a couple seconds.

Any week requiring verbal reminders that paper towels must not be put in the toilet isn't going to merit a twinkly star.  A twinkly star was as good as it got at Eastridge Elementary. The reward and incentive budget was very low and counter to the education philosophy of our principal, Miss Baker.  A student's paper might merit a check, a plus, a star, or a twinkly star from the teacher.

I would have done absolutely anything so Mrs. Erickson or Mrs. Meier could draw pencil "twinkly star" on my first and second grade papers.  Color inside the lines.  Put on my own overshoes.  Solve arithmetic problems on the blackboard in front of the whole class. Rat out Bobby Tooley for some infraction. Erase blackboards. Play Red Rover and run right on over into Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers.  Anything for those two teachers' approval! Most of all I wanted their smiles and attention while they drew that star.

I took piano lessons from a long-suffering neighborhood woman we called "Mrs. Bath Oil". That poor woman received $1.25 for spending a half hour with me, tapping the beat on the keys with her personalized pencils (ANNA MARY BATHEL Instuctor of Piano and Organ), listening to my dismal efforts, and putting lick-on stickers and stars in my music and theory books.  Geez, what a person had to do for $1.25 in the late Sixties!

Tears would run down my cheeks the whole thirty minutes. "I am afraid your daughter does not care for the piano," Mrs. Bath Oil told my mother over the phone after a couple years of our mutual suffering.

Mom didn't give me the option of quitting piano lessons, but we did eventually figure out that my watering, red eyes during lessons were caused by the combination of Mrs. Bath Oil's hairspray, perfume, cigarette smoke, and houseful of cats. Her tears were due to my lack of any progress whatsoever at the keyboard.

This all has to do with stickers and incentives. If Mrs. Bath Oil and I both managed to get through my playing of a song in the Schaum Piano Book she put a sticker on that page. Should I play most of the notes of a piece in the Thompson Piano Book I got a foil star, usually silver. More gifted students merited the gold, blue, red, and green stars.

No promise of a sticker or star could ever make me remotely musical. I just did my time, practicing thirty minutes every morning before school because doing so was not optional.

If my smallest students settle down and fall asleep within half an hour I give them a sticker when they wake up.  If they don't, I don't. Lab rats have to at least press the lever to get the M&Ms.

The other Nap Lady gives every student two or three stickers after naptime just for being their own itty-bitty selves whether they settled down or not.  Her philosophy is, "When you grow up there are lots of things you want but don't get, so you should always get stickers when you are young." I lean toward the life is not a bowl of cherries so the tough get going and learn to not swallow the pits, and you might as well figure that out earlier rather than later.

You don't get the tiara for just showing up, and you have to eat the cereal to find the decoder ring. Oooh!  Life is so demanding!

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Dental dreaming and waking nightmares


Yikes.  So horrified by the New York Times item about little kids needing general anesthesia for dental work that I had bad dreams last night. Not those recurring crumbling teeth dreams that combine Tetris and Pepsodent. This dream was calling me to enumerate all the dentists of my life, of my kids, and of my parents.  Then dreaming the cellphone alarm has awakened me and I've gone downstairs to turn off the alarm clock bleeping in the other bedroom.  Then the real cellphone alarm actually starts bleeping and I am not yet awake.  

Here are some excerpts from Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities:

  • ...because some toddlers dislike tooth-brushing, some parents do not enforce it. “Let’s say a child is 1 ½, and the child screams when they get their teeth cleaned,” said Dr. Jed Best, a pediatric dentist in Manhattan. “Some parents say, ‘I don’t want my little darling to be traumatized.’ The metaphor I give them is, ‘I’d much rather have a kid cry with a soft toothbrush than when I have to drill a cavity.’ ”

  • Brushing teeth twice a day used to be nonnegotiable, she said, but not anymore. “Some parents say: ‘He doesn’t want his teeth brushed. We’ll wait until he’s more emotionally mature.’ It’s baffling,” she added.

My grandpuppy gets meat-flavored toothpaste with his daily brushing.  Can't wait for the doggie to become more emotionally mature.

Wake up! Some prevention requires brief discomfort.  It's part of life. Don't wait until kids need general anesthesia for 12-14 cavities at a time!

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Hobgoblin of little minds

Hodblogkins are in my sinuses with tiny sledgehammers, tapping, driving the golden stake, and hitting their own little thumbs. Tree pollen is high. Grass pollen is medium high. Wind is from SSE at 24 mph gusting to 34 mph.

It's been a bad day all around. Our newest preschool student hides in the restroom when she isn't making herself gag or shrieking about the terrible bunny rabbit. I feel a C-clamp squeezing on my skull.

Just getting past the trouble with the letter C s-s-s- making the k-k-k sound is a trip. Cluck! Again the trouble with my brain being switched with that of a chicken!  Settling Dad's estate has become far more problematic than I ever expected.

Lately I've been buying eggs from the farmer grandpa of a student for $3/dozen.  Love their look and the deviled eggs are to die for. And those tiny hammers are cracking the shells...

"A foolish consistency," according to Mr. Ralph Waldo in his Self-Reliance essay, is the real "hobgoblin of little minds".  Parental inconsistency is the biggest problem facing preschoolers. Self-reliant is what our kids need to become. Tough enough to peel the shell off a hard-boiled egg all by themselves!

On the first date I ever had in my whole life the guy try to get past first base by claiming to adore Emerson's Over-Soul essay.  Unlike Barbra Steisand's Judy/Burnsie in What's Up, Doc? I did not adore anyone who adored Emerson that much:

Mr. Larrabee: I must point out that "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
Judy: Emerson!
Mr. Larrabee: I beg your pardon my dear?
Judy: Ralph Waldo Emerson, born 1803, died 1882.
Mr. Larrabee: You like Emerson?
Judy: I adore him!
Mr. Larrabee: I adore anyone who adores Emerson.
Judy: And I adore anyone who adores anyone who adores Emerson. Your turn.

And now, back to reading Thomas Mallon's Watergate with a lengthy cast of cracked eggs and hobgoblins.  Dad followed the downfall of  his "Tricky Dick" with such concentration that I couldn't skip this novel.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Fig leaf vs.agave; aphid vs. auto; Ashcroft sans arugula

I had to Google to get it straight, but John Ashcroft was W's Attorney General who had that problem with nude statues.  Fig leaf placement is so important!  Location, location, location!

The sculpted female below seems to be looking over her shoulder up the DART light rail line for the next train.  Not sure about the nudity policy for mass transit, but I saw some riders pushing the line on the NYC subway last spring. The statue is in the Woman's Garden at the Dallas Arboretum.

Mass aphids is an altogether different problem.  These little critters are on all my patio plants, a-wiggling and a-jostling and trying to get a free ride.

Don't you know how to spell "vinaigrette"?  No.

Don't you know the meaning of propriety? 

Eunice: Don't you know the meaning of propriety? 
Judy: Propriety; noun: conformity to established standards of behavior or manner, suitability, rightness, or justice. See "etiquette." 

Fig Vinaigrette more or less from a recent Dallas Morning News:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
3 T fig jam, or Ms. Janie's Fig/Raspberry/Lemon jam
1 T white wine or water

Blend until smooth.  Add salt and ground pepper to taste.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


The Happy Bathroom

When the therapists suggests going to my "happy place", she means where I feel safe and calm.  She doesn't really expect a mental bathroom break. But, hey, I like the upstairs bathroom in the condo. It stays clean and has fun, color-coordinated knickknacks arranged by someone nameless with a terrific sense of design and humor. True, I haven't had a therapist for at least a decade. There haven't been three teen sons sharing that upstairs bathroom for many years now, either. Back then it was NOT a happy place!

Today I celebrate the blooming of the shower orchid. I can't wait to see how the flowers open in that contorted corner above the shower stall.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


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