Farewell, my Albertsons

I was 100% clueless when I whipped in to get tomato sauce and that magic dishwasher additive for removing film and spots. My sorry old Albertsons was already at 15-30% off in the Inventory Blow-Out Sale as it prepares to close.

The old, old, very wrinkly and possibly wise check-out lady with the twinkly eyes told me the store was over forty years old, a dinosaur in Plano's time scale. Through grocery wars, take-overs, and consolidations the store has survived, but always as a fairy godmotherless stepchild.

When I dropped a gallon in the sloped parking lot one night, it slid and tumbled, cracked open and left a Milky Way trail down to Custer (the street, not the general). Stranded in that parking lot, I've waited for Mr. Rescue to jump-start my pumpkin coach. I once backed out of my parking spot and collided with a woman backing out of her parking spot across the way, an unpleasant, but no-fault, chapter.

In my fifteen minutes of fame, I even wrote an op-ed about using the self-check at Albertsons for the Dallas Morning News. The self-check fad waned and disappeared at the store. My volunteer op-ed gig waned faster.

There were moments of conflict in the saga when gift cards were improperly validated. .. Lightbulb inspirations for art classes with autumn vegetables, office supplies, or packaging materials. .. Bitter fights with recalcitrant shopping carts. .. Humiliating moments when checks bounced during the divorce. .. Cosmic instants of enlightenment understanding the true equality of all humans. .. and hubris about my holier-than-thou plastic bag recycling.

Would this dilapidated store on the way home from work have the same significance for me if I had not written about it so many times?

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Sunshine daydreams

Odysseus Dreams of Home

E I  E I exam O

Dali Doesn't Order Dominos
© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Cracked, chipped, shattered

Making Chinese tea eggs today for a not exactly Easter hard-boiled egg activity. Pleased to report I've not fallen off the edge of the earth in my travels this month. Journeyed with John Man on the trail of Marco Polo, an audiobook short on car chases and explosions. Read Edmund de Waal's slow search for Earth's places with the right clay to produce porcelain. White Road lacked the power and engagement of his Hare With Amber Eyes, but it did cure insomnia.

Into the brew with tea bags and Kikkoman soy sauce I threw everything but the proverbial sink--coriander seeds, whole black pepper, mace, tumeric, red pepper, and fennel. The two warm eggs I ate for lunch were nicely spicy, but not clearly decorated with steeped stains. The rest of the hard-boiled eggs will steep in the brew several more hours.

Don't mind me. I'm out in my stately pleasure dome.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder

A day for art play

Dentist date Not so very sad when my new dentist had to reschedule last Monday's appointment. My inner artist got to play in the sunshine. I've no specific plan for the cyano-treated fabric squares. I just set out to make sun prints as play for it's own restorative sake!

In the early morning I made sun prints out my east-facing doorway. Midday prints were made downstairs in the parking lot or with trays on the Buick's hood. Late in the day the sun was still powerful enough to make prints out on my west-facing balcony.

Between flurries of assembling and positioning shapes on the fabric there were long stretches of waiting for the images to expose in this primitive photographic process. If one sits on the grass in front of the apartments a concerned landscape worker will approach and ask if one is okay. Which means the guy with the leaf blower thought I was either having a heart attack or possibly crazy. Since I was surrounded by lids for Rubbermaid storage tubs topped with fabric and Lego bricks, and checking my watch between light snoozes in the warm sunlight, that might be a DSM diagnosis. It was definitely spring fever.

Artists, even very part-time artists like myself, need dedicated play times to refuel. While the lawn guy was concerned, the schoolkids returning to the apartments on the bus ignored me sitting with my shadow-makers. Don't make eye contact. I was all pumped to explain the process if they asked.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


The 3 Bs

So very lucky to be employed in a beautiful place with books, blooms, and even benefits! Blossoms in early, middle, and late March this year in Highland Park.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


17, 18, 19

How did my kids get such old parents?

Their father, wherever he may be, turned sixty-two today. These remembrances are so rare as to be a shock when they pop to the surface. It was a ridiculously long time ago that I lived in Omaha, was married, and had three little sons. Even before the sons arrived there were St. Patrick's Days. Mid-March in Omaha usually meant a dang cold night on Dodge Street in the Dundee area eating corned beef and cabbage.

One year we celebrated St. Pat's on the 17th with my in-laws at the 18th Amendment bar. It's a surreal memory. Hanging with my mother- and father-in-law  never happened before or after. "Old ladies" in their mid-fifties had green fingernails.  The low drop ceiling was what one might call "festooned" with dangling green balloons and twisted crepe paper streamers. The corned beef sandwiches were on white Wonder bread. My father-in-law who almost never spoke in my presence explained that the earliest one could plant peas in Omaha was March 19th, coincidentally the date of his only son's birth. A green spotlight shone on a revolving disco mirror ball. The Eighties were a scary time! The real-true-actually-happening-global-warming has probably shifted the pea-planting date for Omaha.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Out of sink

I have been out of sync for a few days, barely capable of essential human functions like double-sided copying on legal-size paper.

  • Casseroles conspire to overflow in the oven. 
  • DVD player won't say "ah" and let me extract trapped disc.
  • AT&T bills me for plan changes I never made, leading to many evening online customer service chats to remedy the situation. 
  • Blogger even hates me and won't display my "dashboard".

It's clearly time for some probiotics.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Peering into the abyss

The MOB (mother of the bride) recommended this book to me, the MOG, a couple years back, and it blew my little mind. Turned out snails tango together on the edge of the tank. They are polymorphously perverse.

A snail is often out exploring the sidewalk on my short morning journey from car to workplace. At the end of the day going back to my car I feel sad if I find the snail squashed. So today I set down all my stuff and got almost to snail level. It was headed down into the sidewalk crack for breakfast.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Mushrooming out of control

  • Met the mushroom Monday afternoon about four in big pot that holds a trumpet vine just leafing out. The roly-poly mushroom looked a lot like the ones I buy at the supermarket but I didn't have the nerve to taste it. 

Monday -- meet the mushroom 'neath the mint

  • Tuesday evening Roly Poly was larger and splitting around the edges. The surface looked like layers of feathers.

  • Wednesday evening I tried to see under the cap as Roly Poly stood up taller. I wavered between pulling the mushroom out to see it better, or letting it proceed through stages I didn't know.

  • Vaguely hoping to find a way to make veggie ink prints of the mushroom cap, I stumbled upon spore printing.  Voila, Google! The supplies are budget-friendly:  paper, mushroom, Pyrex, patience, and AquaNet hairspray! True, I would have to interrupt the mushroom's progress. Also true, the spore print is not instantaneous. Thumb-twiddling and deep, cleansing breaths are necessary.

Mushroom interrupted

Can you find the snail?
  • To make a spore print set cap on a piece of paper, and covering it with a bowl. Depending on your patience level, remove the bowl, and lift the cap off the paper in 2-24 hours. Spray the spore print with hairspray.

8 p.m.

7 a.m.
 First spore print 11 hours

 Second spore print just 1 hour.

Third spore print Thursday evening  (11 hours)
  • After four days of rain, I should be able to find mushrooms for further spore print practice this weekend.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


A measure of control

a gauge of rainfall
a measure of anxiety
a tiny bit of breathing room


strange growths on the balcony
mushroom swelling beneath mint and trumpet vine

eye of newt
a blast of trump
spores galore but better every day

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Picking up the spare

Giving myself a break after bowling through my to-do list on Life Maintenance Monday. Knocked down some monster pins including vehicle safety inspection and registration renewal, apartment lease resigning, and sewing machine oiling, paying bills, planning meals for the week, ironing, and mailing my grandson's birthday present at the post office. My new work schedule Tuesday-Saturday has some bonus features!

Monster bowling toy for kids

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder