Thanksgiving losses, gains, and late hits

Tonight I'm thinking about my blog muse, and feeling very, very grateful for her encouragement to try the new-fangled concept of blogging back in '03. My dear friend Juliet, who shall remain nameless, thought I might enjoy trying a new creative outlet. She volunteered her early techie support, cheerleading, and the courage to read pretty much everything I sent out into the blogosphere. From this distance it's clear we were new friends then, just a couple steps up from acquaintances, what with "friending" not even a THING yet in that primitive era.

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday having won that title when the Fourth of July became too nerve-wracking as a mom. All Thanksgiving asks is that we spend some time in mindfulness and gratitude. Everything else is gravy.

Thanksgiving does not insist on family, togetherness, football on tv, front yard football leading to dislocated collarbones, long-distance travel, TSA security checks, belief in the Pilgrims/Indians legend, agreement about cranberry or stuffing recipes, aprons, crockpots, brining, yams, family storytelling, or table decorations crafted by children out of toilet paper tubes. Family storytelling is preferrable to political arguments, though.

Over a lifetime I've observed Thanksgiving in many roles. I've been the mother, the child, the grandchild, the grandma, the host, the guest, the cook, the communication hub, the in-law, the parent without custody for the holiday, the parade balloon, the quarterback sack, all alone in nature, the charity case, the hospital kitchen worker, the sandwich generation caregiver, the griever, the teacher, the listener, the organizer, the raker, the pitted black olive thief, and the recorder.

The first Thanksgiving after losing a parent will be difficult, Dear. The pieces don't fit, the floor seems slanted, all conventions are off, but the family stories  bubble up from a long-plugged well. It's all good. The thoughts of many will be with you and your family. I'm thankful for you.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Percolation palpitations

Ruth Ware's  The Woman in Cabin 10  is dredging physical memories of anxiety episodes twenty years past. Probably not the safest audiobook for my long commutes! Factor in the realization I forgot to turn off Mr. Coffee before my drive, and just blast me on-beyond-caffeine back to the panic planet.

How astonishing it is that our brains can connect squiggly black marks on a page or the syllables of a storyteller to personal memories of actual physical experiences deep in our past! Brain imaging would show an aurora borealis lighting up in our heads. And yes, "Aurora" is the name of the luxurious ship in Scandinavian waters in Ware's novel. Unfortunately that same astonishing brain can't remember to turn off the coffee maker.

The neglected old Mr. Coffee did not burn down the apartment building, but I'm not going to push my luck. That small appliance has the certain smell of doom. I need a coffee maker with an automatic shut-off.

...So the new miniature Brew&Go only makes enough coffee for one travel mug then turns off. I get a full sensory memory of every time I've made a tiny carafe of coffee in a hotel room without that twinge of concern about my memory halfway to work.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder


Sun gets in my eyes

Alternate commute route. Alternate universe.

Went down Waterview after two mornings of dreadful drives, crashes, long delays, and emergency vehicles on expressways and arterials. Waterview is just a residential street through nice neighborhoods, sadly no longer a secret shortcut. There are 4-way stop intersections, small churches with changing messages on welcoming signs, mostly nicely mowed lawns.

Ronald Wright's "The Gold Eaters" in the cd player had just reached the epilogue wrap-up of hairy conquistadors and tweezed Incas when I spotted the pair of gold spray-painted yard flamingos standing planted next to a garage. Huh?

Back in the Sixties the summer library programs used to include traumatizing showings of the early Ray Harryhausen creepy puppet movie about King Midas and his daughter Marigold. Spray-paint was a new-fangled craft medium in those times, and scout troops gilded uncooked pasta, cigar boxes, and folded Readers Digest magazines, transforming cheap stuff into gold for festive kiddie Christmas gifts and sewing kits.

Four 4-way stops later I tried to focus on the message outside the little church. Was it political, or did I just need to clean my spectacles? Nevermind, it's all golden:


© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder