Updating a classic

Not a pretty rush hour commute home Wednesday. Many small accidents, many frustrated drivers. We are all always in the absolutely worst lane. And then the cause of the auto clog under the High Five interchange on northbound 75 appears:  Mrs. Mallard. 

Sure, I'm glad Animal Control and good folks pulled over and hopped out to rescue Mrs. Mallard. There were no swan boats. This was not the Boston Public Gardens.  She was really out of her element. But then the rescuers managed to shoo Mama Duck right into oncoming traffic, and step out there to join her. Please let us get through this duck drive incident alive.  They can't arrest the duck for drunk driving If she wasn't drunk, how in the heck did the duck get stuck under the HOV flyover lane plunk in the middle of rush hour dead ahead of my Buick? 

The Case of the Puzzling Duck

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Generations pancaking

Grimmly I must confess the sources of the family legends, fairy tales, and cautionary case studies are not nearly so far back as I imagined during my last genealogy attack a decade or so ago. Not saying there aren't some cows still grazing on top of the thatched roof, but the fabled characters are catching up with me.

BEFORE THE FEAST by Saša StanišicThe spoiled rich girl who eloped with the gardener turns out to be just my grandma's grandmother. No pricked fingers on spindles, no spinning straw into gold. Just a long slog having babies from New York to Iowa after a rough boat ride from England.

That wicked stepmother who banished her husband's daughter, my grandma, to Pierce, Nebraska, all the way from Sioux City, Iowa, wasn't really looking in her magic mirror for the fairest one of all. The fox was out on the chilly night when my great grandfather removed himself from the next chapters of the story, leaving his family to sweep the hearth with twig brooms and stitch by firelight.

My ancestors may have been inn-keepers, stable-keepers, or horse thieves. One admits to being in a traveling theatrical troupe.

The legendary "Unknown Liska" who pushed all his worldly possessions from the Ukraine to Bohemia was a refugee from religious and ethnic persecution, trying to find a way to survive like the ones we see on the news every evening. He was lucky if he even had a wheel for his  barrow.  And Russia seemed to be conquering the Crimea, and repressing Ukrainian national identity. It all could have been this week, or last... It wasn't the Dark Ages. (James Monroe was the U.S. President at the time.)  Upon arrival the refugees hoed sorry plots of depressing root vegetables, fermented and pickled and canned.

The loaf in the breadbox will be fine for your lunch sandwich tomorrow, but then overnight it's covered with fuzzy blue-green mold. How many youngest sons set off with just a chunk of day-old bread, a lump of cheese in a canvas bag and the best wishes of their poor single mother? They needed to meet smarty-boots cats, outwit foxy loxies, and spin stories to win the hand of the princess. Some even had to balance a pancake on edge and send it rolling up and down the hill...

Journey Cake, Ho! by Ruth Sawyer and Robert McCloskey
If we can't keep the stories going we are just a sorry bunch of whiny bratwursts. If we can't learn from history, we deserve the tyrant we get. Maybe what this country needs is more folktales told by wise grandmas with chin  whiskers.

A Treeful of Pigs, by Arnold and Anita Lobel

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Overdue with shoes

Put the new designer shoe department in the fiction room, the nonfiction room by the fireplace, or upstairs in the periodicals room? Display artists ready to arrange spike heels on little gilded tables and atop the marble circulation desk. . . . .

They were going to overdo

overdo overdo

overdues overdues overdues

chug chug choo choo CHOO CHOO lotsa shoes lotsa shoes fancy shoes get the shoes lotsa shoes!

Jimmy Choo Jimmy Choo Jimmy Choo Whoo oo whoo! Whoo oo whoo!

I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can get out of bed to

Hit the snooze hit the snooze hit the snooze hit the snooze hit the snooze hit the snooze

Gotta get
gotta get
gotta get
gotta get

wedding shoes
wedding shoes

Don't overdo



No hat



No haaaattTT!

But you gotta know the territory!


© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Secret decoder ring in every box

Other worlds, everyday vacations, wishful thinking...at least when we were zoned out reading the back of the cereal box we weren't walking into the street and having our identities highjacked by our telephones. Summer was so simple. Get up. Eat cereal. Chase butterflies in the backyard. Have a swim lesson. Eat a hot dog. Go to the library. Read in the tree house. Swim again. Eat. Sit on the warm concrete driveway watching cars go by. Chase fireflies. Put calamine lotion on skeeter bites. Go to sleep. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


I could make one out of tin foil!

Much needed fun came my way today as I considered the possibility of wearing a hat at the wedding of my youngest son. Could this mother of the groom even chew gum and wear a hat at the same time?

Not even if I trained all day on Lumosity! The last time I wore a hat for fashion and fun, Jean Shrimpton was on the cover of Vogue. My hat was a coral color, and I tied a silk scarf patterned like a peach petroglyph around the crown. I was seriously groovy in my own mind. My lipstick was frosted white and my eye shadow was Yardley blue or kitty cat green.

But, still, hats... vintage hats from my great aunts in that round hatbox, yes!

Seems like this hat would be perfect except for the color...If it were made of aluminum foil the extraterrestrials could tune in to the ceremony. With these antique hat pins I could increase my signal range.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Grateful for responders

Much has been written about the horrible, heinous crime against first responders and against all humanity in Dallas this week. I'm not going there. My story is little, but it brought it all home.

Saturday morning in my fog I headed to my Einstein Bros. Bagel shop. It's a hangout for long distance runners, but they let me come in anyway. Runners were chatting about the heat, and I was thinking, "Duh, running in this weather is pretty crazy. A person could have a heart attack."

After ordering my breakfast, I wandered over behind the coffee carafes to wait. That's when I heard the odd whining and gurgling. Must be that fancy doo-dad coffee machine... All of the customers were just trying to come up to the level of consciousness pre-caffeine.

That's when I saw the extremely fit gray-haired runner bending over and clutching his chest. The shop manager was dialing 911. My past first-aid training sessions did not kick me into action. I am embarrassed to say it crossed my mind that my bagel would burn if the paramedics came.

Instead, another gray-haired runner walked through the door, instantly assessed the situation, and performed the Heimlich maneuver several times, grabbing the man around the chest from behind and lifting him off the ground. That response dislodged the ice cube choking the man.

He gave a gasp, then thanked his rescuer in a low-key mano-a-mano manner. I wanted to apologize for not responding, but he was apologizing to patrons and employees for disrupting our morning.

I'm so grateful for the person with the training and instant ability to assess a situation and move to help. Thanks to the anonymous Bagel Ranger who saved the day!

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Don't screw it up, America

Tuesday I stepped out on my west-facing balcony and snapped these photos at 6:19 a.m. The three-day weekend was over. The nation's birthday had been celebrated once again. I wanted to crop the photos and post them with a note to the country that on the first day of its new year we Americans should try to not screw it up, but instead observe the beauty, be mindful of ourselves, and kind to others. But then I burnt the toast for my avocado/egg/cheese sandwich and had to leave for work.

Today was really rough, but tomorrow is going to be another new morning for the nation. We still have an opportunity to stop screwing it up. What say we try? Please.

 © 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Falling out of bed into accomplishment

In the big scheme of things would you rather have more sex or more storage space? This is a serious question! And the winner is ... under-the-bed storage space!

Bed stilts have a 27-month lifespan in the calmest of settings. And, bingo, time was up. So much for kicking off the three-day weekend chilling, making sunprints, skyping, napping, and finishing that book about coyotes.

Bed stilts

Instead I've been snorting a couple years of high quality dust. Even opened the computer tower for major cleaning. Put it back together, reconnected everything, and the old Gateway booted up like a champ. Bibbity bobbity achoo!

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder