The Dress or not

While rummaging in the closet for tax info and ancient baby books, I found The Dress. No, not that dress that made it viral on social media this week. This was The Dress my mother made from Marimekko fabric in about 1971. You can choose the colors depending on your vision, but the actual color scheme is pretty radical.

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder



Crispy bacon, smiling yolks

The kids were having BLT in the school library. Books, Lunch, Talk--what a great concept!

Books, Lunch, Talk!
We were touring the Richard J. Lee Elementary School in Coppell Independent School District. The Lee Spurs library is added to my life list. In this high tech model, it was good to see  kids still curled up with a good book to savor on cushioned window seats.
The school is a net-zero energy facility. Our tour was for environmental reasons, but we are also educators, gardeners, vegetarians, scientists, techies, artists, parents, grandparents, debaters, bacon and library junkies. Sometimes we are a team, other times we're a diverse pizza pie of personalities, and this was a team-building adventure. Full disclosure here, half the team had difficulty with the seat belts in the van, so we were late arriving for our tour.

Books, Lunch, Talk!
The trio is classic, just like bacon, lettuce, and tomato on toast. Or if you overslept it could be Breakfast, Literature, Tardy!

I added three libraries to my life list, one each public, school, and long-forgotten academic. Stared, too, up at the wind "sculpture" AKA turbine near the school garden.

So many storytellers are full of hot air we should find a way to power libraries with their gusts....

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Falling on ice krispies

Wrenched myself out of a horribly vivid dream of slipping and falling on a shiny parking lot sheet of ice. Not everyone can hurt their shoulder while sleeping! But it was so real--exactly like the parking lot down the flight of frozen stairs to the Buick. The Advil was real, too.

The lesson here? Going to an Everest opera, haunted by the winter stay in my dad's hospital room after his fall, and reading a Russian novel can make a person feel like a jack-knifed 18-wheeler on an interstate ramp. Reading the novel wrapped in quilts on an unpaid snow day can make that person identify with the Russian peasants, not the glamorous, straying nobility.


Chicken soup and a heating pad.

Crossword puzzle, not Karenina on the Kindle.

Be safe in your dreams and on the sidewalks!

© 2013-2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Weeding the green roof

Another couple firsts for my job history:

  1.  I checked out a sledge hammer. 
  2.  I helped weed the green roof.

True: Janie the goat lady and I used to climb through a restroom window onto the flat roof above the children's library room to clear out the downspouts, but that was a long time ago. We didn't want the roof to leak down into the Dewey seven and eight hundreds again. All in the line of duty preventing soggy widdle riddle books!

True: I watched kids playing Tarzan with the vines hanging down from a green roof.

But this time I got to be up on the green roof! And got paid to pull weeds! And did not fall off!

True: My dad occasionally paid us a quarter for a grocery sack full of dandelions and spurge dug out of the front yard, but this time I didn't have KLMS on my transistor radio.

False: The mythical giant Roc from Ray Harryhausen's "Seventh Voyage of Sinbad" carried off the green roof goats.

True: Jay Ward is a major inspiration in my creative life. There I am trying not to fall off the green roof with the theme song of the 1960's Jay Ward cartoon episodes of George of the Jungle stuck in my head.

From a library standpoint, check-out procedures for the sledgehammer were pretty lax. I didn't have to fill out an application or provide proof of address. I'm not sure when the sledgehammer is due back, or the fine if it is late.

True: My dad sent me out to the back yard to practice hitting golf balls. I managed to hit myself in the leg and get a heckuva multicolored bruise. I never became the golfer my dad hoped.

Check out this sledgehammer technique video. Avoid the bruises!

© 2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Pronunciation team-building and ergot in amber

This blog is only read by the most erudite and informed sort of folks who are all up on the Oregon State ergot dinosaur news, ergo we must consider the pronunciation of ergot.

Put me in any conversation group, and I struggle to fight back my pronunciation anxiety. Scarred as I was at an early age over putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable in "trombone", embarrased by ancestors who couldn't say "Bahamas", and rated deficient by library patrons whenever names of composers were required, I need the Epi-pen equivalent of a mispronunciation antidote. Just jab it into my thigh!

Students of the Eleusinian Mysteries seem to disagree whether to say ur-guht or ur-got when discussing a disease of rye and other cereals caused by fungus. Ergot is not part of the ecstasy induced by including Rye Chex in cereal krunch.

Stepping out of my car onto somebody's Valentine chocolate caramel did not fill me with ecstasy, either. In our staff meetings this week, pronunciation did not appear on agendas, but showed up anyway. Smart phones were consulted over the pronunciation of "caramel". Who knew workplace diversity meant including people who say it with three syllables?

Kraft car-mels

And then there's the "pecan" divide! I thought Billy Crystal was the only person who partakes of pee-can pie.

Oak Point peh-cahns
Inclusiveness means just smiling and not drawing knives when coworkers pronounce "Bowie" like David instead of Jim.

I hope the staff will accept me for who I am, the only person on earth who says "caramelled apples" instead of "caramel apples".

© 2014 Nancy L. Ruder


Survey Monkey

Hello. I am Fred the Survey Sock Monkey. This is my buddy Data Hippo. We want you to participate in our online survey created by the droopy-eyed blogger who usually breakfasts here. She threw us the wrench of responsibility, and trundled off to bed already. And yes, it isn't even eight o'clock! She was muttering about Cream of Wheat and learning curves.

It's possible that this link will take you to our probing primate pretest. Or not. It's a puzzle. If that didn't work try this.

This is a monkey puzzle tree growing at Oregon Gardens. No monkeys took my caps when I slept under it on Easter 2013.

© 2015 Nancy L. Ruder


Toasted Post-Its

Is it more embarrassing to be the last person on earth to learn Power Point, or to admit abandoning my sworn vow to never use PowerPoint?

I would rather watch an acne-blooming eighth-grader deliver a tortured exposition holding 3 x 5 index cards down in the windowless Hall B classroom of Mrs. Walker's Speech 1 class than sit through a Power Point with photocopy handouts of the whole dang thing. Just shoot me full of bullet points.

  • prostituting my art
  • compromising my positions
  • choreographing my images
  • collaging my objectives
  • when Power Point is outlawed only outlaws will Power Point
  • slow marinading in preparation for cooking, but no MSG
  • collaborating across genres to set the mood
  • Joni Mitchell with Herbie Hancock
  • trio jazz combo in smoky venue meeting Romper Room ABCs and 123s

Arm-twisted I am, by kindly experienced educators to use this allegedly user-friendly tool in my presentations instead of slideshows. No, not those View Master slideshow reels or the neighbors' tent-camping trip to Yellowstone!

© 2014 Nancy L. Ruder


Fox in Socks, Rocks and Roll

You be the judge.
Are there more turtles or more rocks? Should rocks take baths? What did you name your rock buddy? Are rocks faster than acorns?

Yes, it was a wild and wacky rock day with the nature families. When it all works it sure feels good.

Ever since I heard Dr. Bob and Mary Hobbs' session at the NAEYC Convention, I've been itching to share their ideas. And the results were all I hoped.

Science #58 Introducing the physical sciences with rocks 12:30–3:30 p.m. Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Room D166 This hands-on workshop will focus on using rocks to introduce the three big ideas of physical science. Sort and classify rocks by properties, measure them using rulers and balances, and see how they move down an inclined plane. Materials and samples will be used to conduct activities. Everything can be done in individual classrooms upon returning home. Kids love rocks. You will too. Robert Williams and Mary Hobbs, The University of Texas at Austin. Preschoolers

Parents and kids explored matching, sorting, estimating, observing, describing, stacking, rolling, racing, measuring, washing, drawing, and choosing favorite rocks. Every child was anxious to tell me a personal rock story, and some stories were actually pertinent. Parents recalled fond memories of skipping rocks. I hope they will share this skill and some oral family history with their kids.
Yes, I've had this fossil since I was six.
My dad and I spent many hours together fussing with our rock tumbler. We had odd outings on snowy evenings to Earl's Lapidary Shop where I spent my allowance money on jewelry fittings and listened to Earl's wild rockhound stories. Sharing a hobby across genders and generations might be one of the most empowering, priceless gifts we can give our kids.

© 2015 Nancy L. Ruder