Eclipse of reason produces squirrels

Merlin whispered to me that a miracle may occur Monday, August 21st, in the early afternoon. There's a slight chance a significant number of Americans may look up, up and away from screens of their phones, tablets, and computers, the wizard mused. Even the toddlers!

Wooooee cool, I whispered back. I didn't know they could still do that! Will it be dangerous???
Indeed, hinted the magician, this foretells an era of liability, litigiousness, and neck strains. These are anxious times deep in the pit of your being. Lo, the tower will fall in darkness and dragons will battle in the sky.

On the upside, there will be increased tourism on Guam. You can watch it all in real time on your devices with hashtags and tweets. Just don't look directly!


We have received numerous calls regarding the proper way to view the solar eclipse. None of the glasses, sunglasses or dilating glasses provided by our office are safe to use during the viewing. Glasses must be stamped with an ISO 12312-2 certification. Any product without that designation is to be deemed unsafe. Looking at the sun without proper protection can cause irreversible retinal damage and is not advised. Unfortunately, our office can not supply you with this product.

Merlin has drifted off on a time-travel nap, and I'm trapped in the body of a squirrel.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Water walk--Time is

How long does it take a fallen tree to decompose? How long does it take to build a bridge? Realism says I am squinting ahead a shorter distance than the one I gaze back upon. And that's okay. But time is on my mind, perceptions of time.

Just a few days ago now, well two and one-half years, a fantastic hollow log was delivered to a nature playground to be a chute, a boat, a rocking cradle, and many other things for imaginative children. How long would it last?

When I stopped by Friday I was stunned that some of the log remained with evidence of children using it for a treasure hiding spot. The decomposition of the log has sculpted new shapes and revealed surprise patterns in the wood.

How long is five-minutes of public-speaking? Much shorter in the giving of the talk than in the agonizing ahead of time!  My talk was about the hollow log and other aspects of our Nature Explore Classroom (aka nature playground), and about our future extension of a water walk to the site. Five minutes was way too short! I was yanked from the podium and the slide clicker pried from my hand.

How long does it take for that water walk to become a reality? I worked on the committee researching the project to use a Keep America Beautiful grant for about six months before I left for my current job. I still feel a deep investment in the project which will be used as a site for clean waterway and litter prevention education.

Driving home on a scorching Friday afternoon we suddenly had dramatic lightning, and rain. Just as suddenly it was gone, and the late afternoon sun was shining prisms through the moisture and cooler air. The sight was so hippie-dippy I took a detour to check  on the water walk construction now finally nearing completion. And it looks terrific!

Why has the project taken so long? The original completion date was supposed to be December 2015. The legal and purchasing wheels of a municipal project grind slowly. Contracts, bids, flood plain and storm water sign-offs, approved vendors and contractors, project management vocabulary (argh), encumbered funds all make one want to hide in a magical hollow log! Removal of invasive species and habitat restoration took time, as did relocation of other educational projects. I'm really pleased to find so much of our original concept in the finished water walk. I look forward to installation of sculpture and signage soon.

We wanted a gathering spot by the creek under a tree, and obtained leftover stone for seating from another city project.  I'm not sure if the stones in the photo are from the donated rock.

The shaded gathering point Friday.

Big pile of rocks near future seating circle autumn 2015.

Rock seating will be under nearest tree in photo taken fall 2015.

We wanted easy access to the creek level at a specific point for sstudent water testing experiences. These very shallow steps will provide that:

Special photo effects by Mother Nature!

A long view site for teaching about storm water outflows and litter prevention.

An attractive third class area for discussion of riparian habitats and the food web

Awesome spot for watching herons , turtles, and dragonflies.

And, yes, It's A Beautiful Day.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Quinoa jumping, and the lunches are easy

Late to the party as usual, dabbling in the cult of Salad-in-a-Mason-Jar. Didn't know this was "a thing." Note to self: Spend more of my life surfing Pinterest.

Coworkers explained to me very slowly and slightly loud, in case I was a deaf elder or foreign speaker, that salads in jars were a make-ahead brown bagging life-changing revolution. Geez, and I thought they'd just melted all their Rubbermaid containers in the microwave.

Lunches. Break room. Tedium. Looming.

Target. Two dollar. One quart. Enlightenment?

If canning jars are the path, I'm willing to layer my ingredients according to the words of the wise who have gone before:  homemade lemon vinaigrette (*bonus pts. for spelling correctly without looking up), then chopped carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini (*another spelling word), edamame, grape tomatoes, black olives, oven-broiled salmon, quinoa, lemon wedge, lettuce jammed in at the top.

Will I lose points if the Ball jar tips over in my lunch bag? Will Pinterest know I just had that 1/2 cup of quinoa in the back of the cupboard left from some other culinary experiment? How many days before my little apartment stops smelling like smoky broiled salmon? (* if you guessed more than two)


  1. A quart of salad is a lot of chewing.
  2. Salmon is worth the trouble.
  3. Dumping a quart of salad onto a plate is a risky business.
  4. Tomatoes roll across the floor leaving a vinaigrette trail.
  5. Healthy quinoa jumps all over like particles in a physics super collider info-graphic.
  6. Clean-up on aisle three.
  7. It's okay that I didn't keep all the canning jars from my ancestors' cellars.
  8. Looking forward to a boring old ham and cheese sandwich tomorrow.
© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder