Fun, fun, fun!

Arrived home to find this beauty in my usual parking space. The body was a work in progress, but nearing the fresh paint stage. The interior was in remarkable shape. The interior color was either goldish green or greenish gold. I'm guessing it's a '64.

Not knowing who owned the car, I couldn't stand around gawking and snapping photos. Turns out friends of the teen boy across the way piled in. The car made some interesting $ounds when started. I wish them luck in their automotive restoration efforts!

It's been ten years since the Woolly Mammoth's 300ZX was towed away. The gang of guys who worked on the Z are mostly engaged or married, paying off college debts, . The senior prom date is a mommy. I miss that whole bunch of kids who had lunch at my condo every Friday. My extra son, Fischer, is getting married this weekend. I wonder if he would like the Z floormats as a wedding gift.

My own TBird was a Christmas gift when I was about two. Girls didn't get a lot of toy cars back then, but I loved the red and white plastic Thunderbird. It looked like Annette Funicello's '57.

By now you might need a bit of Beach Boys!

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Springing forth from cleaning

Inspired by Kathleen and a friend's impending visit, I finished the sewing projects and did a major apartment cleaning. Once upon a time this intense episode of housekeeping would have occurred twice a week. Now I'm doing good if it happens twice a year! And I mean doing good in a very positive sense,

I have the amazing inability to see clutter and grime. It didn't come from kryptonite or a freak chemical accident. I had to go through perfectionist cult deprogramming and then work for years with Jedi masters of selective vision.

The Eightfold Path of Anxiety-Free Housekeeping:

  • "It will never be seen from a galloping horse." I received this insight in a twelve-step program long ago, and it opened new doors of perception. If you grew up in a perfectionist family, you learned that every decision was critical, and every flaw was magnified. The realization that everybody is too insecure about their own appearance to notice yours, especially at the speed we are travelling is very freeing.
  • Creativity is a messy gift that should be celebrated with gratitude. Creativity happens over time, and often requires tools left out. Inspiration may come from the juxtaposition of unrelated items.
  • Accumulating artistic materials is not really hoarding. It's the warehouse for the gift of creativity even when you don't know at the moment the reason for saving the items.
  • Adults should not disrupt kids' constructive play without darn good reasons. Kids need to build large, complex arrangements, often using seemingly unconnected items. They are learning to create and solve problems. They are creating stages for role-playing. They are learning social and cooperative skills by collaborating with playmates. Your living room is not a messy disaster. It is the embryonic infrastructure of the future. The play does not need to be packed up and shelved everyday at five p.m. Get over it.
  • Dust is for writing reminders to yourself. It saves paper.
  • Squalor is unacceptable. Apathy in unhealthy. Empty the cat litter box.
  • Repetitive mindless tasks can be relaxing. I am particularly fond of therapeutic steam ironing.
  • Cleaning products are mostly unnecessary except to the companies who sell them.

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


For just a bit of bacon

With a lemon and some bacon my weekly casserole could become a piece of art, Pine nuts, or maybe sliced almonds I was musing as I pulled into the Tom Thumb parking lot after dark. And there he was, a strange man obviously speaking to me. "How much do you want for your Buick?," he asked. "I used to have a LeSabre," he added. He was maybe eighty years old. Had he escaped from the nursing home like my dad always wanted to do? Had his kids taken away his car keys?

"I love my Buick," I told him. "It is not for sale. Before this I had a Skylark." Maybe I would not get the reusable shopping bags out of the trunk, although the man seemed harmless. What was he doing in the parking lot at night?

"Ah, Skylarks! They were wonderful cars. You were lucky," he replied.

When I came out of Tom Thumb he was gone.

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Brewing trouble with instant

Yet another rambling post that would have been better with more caffeine:

In my outreach presentation yesterday a preschooler assistant inadvertently spilled some instant coffee crystals onto the floor of the gym. NBD, no big deal. We were all learning about stormwater pollution, and the instant coffee was a stand-in for dog poop. We were also using oregano, dill, and parsley flakes (henceforth ODPF) to represent grass clippings. By the time I succeeded in flushing the soggy ODPF down the preschool potty after the show, the Sanka was surprisingly embedded in the flooring surface.

So there I was still wearing my fish had, trying to remove coffee crystals from industrial flooring with damp dispenser paper towels. When wet the coffee made the floor look more like rain-washed dog poop, a little problem becoming worse under my watch. And, dagnabbit, I was probably swabbing live on the nanny cam!

My first real job was working in the hospital kitchen on the tray line. Wearing a paper hairnet, wielding big ladles, dealing salt, pepper, and Sanka packets onto patient trays next to eating utensils tightly rolled in paper napkins, In many ways, this was the best job ever. Mostly mindless, very social, with opportunities for racing and team-building challenges, mooshing foodstuffs in giant blenders, using steam sprayers like light sabers! A fifteen-minute break with a free canned peach half and a big scoop of hamburger-spaghetti-bake, plus $1.21/hour.

Let's just say the combination of the fish hat and the industrial Sanka mess caused one of those flashbacks our health teachers warned about. My bosses over the years have warned about the dangers of spilling glitter and plaster of Paris on outreach assignments. So far, I've never plugged a classroom drain with plaster of Paris. Hoping the ODPF didn't overwhelm the preschool potty!

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Steely Dan goes to JoAnn's

"Then, being much troubled in mind, I said to my men, 'My friends, it is not right that one or two of us alone should know the prophecies that Circe has made me, I will therefore tell you about them, so that whether we live or die we may do so with our eyes open. First she said we were to keep clear of the Sirens, who sit and sing most beautifully in a field of flowers; but she said I might hear them myself so long as no one else did. Therefore, take me and bind me to the crosspiece half way up the mast; bind me as I stand upright, with a bond so fast that I cannot possibly break away, and lash the rope's ends to the mast itself. If I beg and pray you to set me free, then bind me more tightly still.' 

Yup. Odysseus heard that spring siren coupon song from the fabric store. Homer didn't mention the coupon, but he spoke of the dangers we face hearing the seductive duet between polyester batting and fat quarters. Who will thread the Cyclops' needle on this epic journey? It's getting tricky with my tremor.

Perhaps if Penelope, Edith Hamilton, and I keep sewing floral patchworks we will not be sucked into the next danger, the green thumb eddy of Calloway's Nursery.

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


When it's allergy eye drop time in Plano, Texas

When it's cherry blossom time in Orange, New Jersey, we'd make a peach of a pear.

Awaiting the eye drop falling into my itchy eye this morning I could hear my dear old dad, Howie, doing a silly routine about blossom time. Who did Dad imitate? This is the time of year Howie and I would have our annual daffodil vs. narcissus debate, and in later years our income tax knock-down-drag-outs. And always in the spring break visit Dad would go off on "blossom time in Orange, New Jersey."

Finally, three years after his death, I am able to remember my funny father. A gift, a corner turned, a wish granted, and I've got the silly dad who taught me the Charleston bees knees back. The dad who shared my rock tumbler adventures, who found figuring square roots an entertaining diversion on long road trips to his in-laws, and even patiently taught me to shuffle cards.

So I'm trying not to rub my gritty allergy eyes, and glad to find Danny Kaye doing Sylvia Fine's "Lobby Number". My parents were fans of Danny Kaye, so it all makes sense. And I'm thinking of the gorgeous fruit paintings by Jonathan Koch that appear often on Kathleen's Wait! I Have a Blog.

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Frankenberry cedar waxwings

It would be a horror movie if not for their adorable face masks and tails tipped in Testors yellow model car paint. The cedar waxwings have arrived. They don't wander the city in search of brains like zombies. They just want berries. Ve vant to dwink your verries!

I love that the cedar waxwing call is named the "hissy whistle". When hundreds of the invaders are making that sound, it's difficult to ignore.

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Don't talk to me before nine

Enough with the personality trait, communication style, learning style, Briggs Myers, My True Color tests. Just give me a shirt printed with this warning:

Do not talk to me before nine.

Okay, maybe three shirts in different colors* so I don't have to do laundry every night. I like the ambiguity of not specifying a.m. or p.m. On the back of the shirt it should say:

Don't make me pick up the phone. 
         You know how to email.        
     You aren't Lindsey Graham.       

I love my job! I have my own cubicle. It's a grownup version of the cereal box fort at the breakfast table. I won't swipe the illustrations from this blogger, but do check them out.

*Cheerios yellow, Wheaties orange, Frosted Flakes blue

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Dropping my printer/scanner off Everest

Full disclosure: It has been a long week since we've seen the sun. At work I'm trying to craft a perky civic presentation about the economic impacts of litter. Asleep perchance adreaming I'm dancing en pointe atop a leaking Seventies waterbed. Commuting in the freezle drizzle I'm obsessing about the plastic bags and milk jugs washing into storm drains on Coit Street. My Canon printer/scanner should be punted off the planet because of its My Image Garden program. AND, yes, AND I've got a bad case of Billy Joel earworm. "Only the Good Die Young" has been playing continuously in my head since Monday.

So Sherpas having to pick up litter behind climbers on Everest was the LAST STRAW. The wind is howling. The mountain is moaning. The ice is shifting, but that's just my trip to Kroger. It's thundersleet with gusts to 45 mph. Heck, Billy Joel was 45 rpm.

The back story: Still pondering The Dallas Opera's icy Everest opera premiere. A young coworker with a fondness for hats reminiscent of Danger Baby and the Woolly Mammoth sports both Everest styles. Attempting to scan the Playbill cover set off a really ugly adventure with Canon's My Image Garden program. Uninstalled and reinstalled the printer/scanner, but I reserve the right to toss it off a mountaintop if it doesn't clean up its own high altitude litter.

So just stop whining and get your reusable bags out of the car when you go shopping. Bundle up if it's cold. Go paperless where possible. Don't annoy Mother Nature. She so DOES NOT want to build a snowman with big-eyed Disney princesses. She will send them on blind dates with Billy Joel.

Nepal's government imposed new rules last year requiring each climber to bring down to the base camp 8kgs (18 pounds) of trash the amount it estimates a climber discards along the route. Climbing teams must leave a $4,000 deposit that they lose if they don’t comply with the regulations.

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder