Get that guy an egg timer

How many sudoku do you do, dear, before you call the cops?

One clue.
Assumptions of gender and age.  Male. Teen.
No pounding on the bathroom door. Only child.
Possible crime or accident scene.

You've  read the book. You've seen the movie. 

The victim is only discovered when the water overflows into the next apartment.

Natural causes?
Water waster?

Saturday evening just home from work to the plumbing roar of the shower running in the next apartment. Kick off shoes, get a beverage, boot up computer, plug in phone, write to-do list for the weekend. The shower is still running. This guy (I assume) must have a hot Saturday night date. Or, more likely, the tenant has fallen and hit his head on the faucet, his blubbery, wrinkled body blocking the drain, water overflowing down into the vacant show model unit.

Time to dial 9-1-1?

But, no. The shower is off.

Alarm rings at 7:20 this morning and the shower guy is cleaning up again. Unbelievable! I do a sudoku (medium difficulty), write a grocery list, and begin a second puzzle. Water is still running. This is serious. Either the guy is a serial bathtub murderer, or he just uses up all the hot water for the entire building to torture us. He must  be stopped! I'm calling the cops!

P.S. No singing heard.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Gong Show

Even my meditation app hates me. 

Grateful I am that my employer is focused on employee wellness. Tuesday lunch break is given over to mindfulness meditation with instructor Janet Sandman. Other days I make a little meditation time in my office using the Insight Timer app on my phone. It's free. It gongs, and gurgles with falling rainwater. And then I still have time for my sandwich.

Between phone settings and meditation app settings I scored a fail, not to be judgmental, but there it is. I was just sitting and breathing and counting "one" on each exhale and gently reminding my shoulders to stay away from my ears and kindly escorting thoughts out through the back hall to the fire exit over and over and over and the water was gurgling and gurgling and how could this only be fifteen minutes? I finally left my breathing to discover that the final gong setting was unspecified. It was never going to ding, no matter how long I set my thoughts on tiny origami boats and floated them off down the stream. Infinitely treading water while the sunburned lifesaving instructor in the Speedo quits without giving two weeks notice, clears out his locker, and drives off in the VW microbus, spewing gravel in the parking lot.

Looking out the window at the gorgeous yellow ginkgo leaves I gulp my sandwich. Thoughts onward CASCADE® 

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

No matter what, my dishwasher declines to open the detergent dispenser at the appointed time in the cycle. I try creative visualizations of suds bubbling out of the cave from behind the magic door. Letting go of expectations for the appliance did not work any better than attempts to chisel the solidified detergent with a kitchen knife.

In the busy household with young kids the sound of major home appliances running was more constant than breath or heartbeat. Wash to rinse to spin was my inner timer. App was short for appliance! The dishwasher was my chuckling spiritual guide.

Preschoolers pause for a mini-moment of breath awareness. Breathe in slowly through your nose smelling a flower. 1 - 2 - 3. Breathe out slowly through your mouth blowing a bubble. 1 - 2 - 3.

Leaving the mental default habits of enumerating, naming, judging, anticipating to become one with the cosmos, right? Wrong. The computer declines to send jobs to the physical printer right beside me on the desk. It wants to send the jobs to a cosmic printer in the clouds. GONG! Gong! Gongggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg

Recent library acquisitions:


And just fyi, Chuck Barris was the host of "The Gong Show." Also, the lifesaving instructor was named Merle.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Miss Scarlet in the Lavatory with the Shower Curtain

Like millions of Americans I live in an apartment painted a weird Pittsburgh Paint color between grey poupon mustard and hummus. The color is the go-to for multi-family community management companies because if at first it makes tenants nauseous, in no time at all it becomes invisible.

Amazon Prime shipped its "Basic" shower curtain and vinyl shower curtain liner with hooks for about twenty-two bucks via flying monkeys.  Yippee! The shower curtain looks fab with hummus/poupon paint.  Bad news: the clear vinyl liner fumes may kill me before I get a test morning shower.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Black and white challenge OR Ghost vs. Fairies

Blog author of  NOT IN A STRAIGHT LINE, Photolera Claudinha, challenged me to post black and white photos on Facebook and tag friends to do the same. I can't quite get that together, but I've enjoyed the reminder to try some black and white shots. Halloween seems like a good time to compare black/white images with color.

Having just startled three deer on the trail as I went up the hill, it was nice to stop and snap the sparkling webs in the ten a.m. sunlight and catch my breath. The black and white photo emphasizes the underlying geometry of the spider's web, while the color one showcases the light coming from behind the web through the stems and grasses.

Flying off to haunt the neighborhood.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Abby Normal

Our favorite yard decorations on the every Sunday morning walking route are these delightful dancing ghosts. The slightest breeze gets them doing a bit of a shimmy. In the early dark of October evenings the ghosts are lit by a long string of lights that form their "arms." It is the ghosts' second year in the neighborhood. My walking buddy and I find they make us ridiculously happy in the era of dismal news, disasters, lies, predators, massacres, and on and on. I don't know if Trump has brought back Christmas as he proclaims, but I am sure glad for Halloween. If I had a yard and a tree, I would sure make some dancing ghosts! Here's how.

When the "Addams Family" television series premiered in 1964, my dear parents, Howie and Fritz, took their big book of New Yorker cartoons off the high shelf and introduced me to the cartoons of Charles Addams, William Steig, Saul Steinberg, Syd Hoff, Peter Arno,  and James Thurber. Dad would patiently explain the historical and political back stories of cartoons I did not understand. I've been hooked on political cartoons ever since. They gave me an insight into history, but also into my parents' takes on the history they had lived through. Later they would introduce me to World War II through Bill Mauldin's cartoons in Up Front.

Saying "Merry Christmas" again.

Instead of cartoons, I've spent the day studying a cookbook! Talk about abnormal behavior! This is one very practical and inspiring cookbook, with great color photos and explanations. Since it is finally cool enough to consider cooking, I am hooked. Look for it at your library, and request it if they don't have it! America's Test Kitchen's One-Pan Wonders may change your life.

And just in case you haven't taken this trip:

Get on the bus, Gus.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Imagine walking into Stone Moth Canyon

At the far end of the trail you pass beyond a ridge and can no longer see or hear any signs of the city. No houses, no traffic noise, not even the tinkle of the popsicle truck. Thankfully, no litter.  Just the trail and the volcanic basalt, and the markings. The canyon has a low, continuous hum. Bending low, you realize it is the sound of small bees.

Imagine the petroglyphs scratched into the black basalt are symbols of moths. Hundreds, thousands of moths marking the boulders. You would have to climb in and around the stones to spy moths on every side, even on the top to be viewed from high on the ridge. What do the moth symbols mean? Who made them? Why?

We can only guess at the meanings of the petroglyphs in Albuquerque's magical National Petroglyph Monument. We can only be open to the wonder and the connection to those artists of so long ago. Are there moths painted deep inside caves? Are there moths in the art of indigenous peoples of Africa, Australia, even the polar regions?

Thank you to the moth-makers whose images I edited onto the basalt of the canyon. They seemed like images across millennia. Here are a couple sites that intrigued me as I went on this imaginary hike:

The petroglyphs below were made 400 to 700  years ago. Most were made by Native Americans, but a few were made by early Spanish settlers in the area. They are very young compared to the estimate of 20,000 years old for the Lascaux cave paintings.

This one is my favorite. It seems to tell a tall tale of long-billed birds eating lizards and snakes. A person with big feet walked through the story!

When I see the hand symbols my thought is always, "I am. I make."

Keep making.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Signs are up at the water walk

Stopped over at the Environmental Ed.  Center to check on the water walk signs. Sure I was procrastinating going to Walmart for Swiffer Wet and Swiffer Dry, Tide, and t.p., but still, I wanted to know if the signs would be up for my granddaughter's arrival.

The messages are clear, if brief. The design is cohesive and child-friendly. I like that many of the photos were taken at the site.  I continue to hope for a future phase to include a kiosk with more detailed explanations for adult visitors.

Sometime this fall a big guy named Herbie will be installed.

And yes, I forgot the Swiffer Dry. But I got three $1.00 mums for the balcony pots.

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Where's Waldo wildlife photography

Took a crazy number of photos on my two day trip, trying to catch bees, lizards, ground squirrels with fluffy silvery tails, and jack rabbits on the go. I saw more jack rabbits on this trip than ever before. They pop up, zigzag off at great speed, then freeze completely blending into the vegetation.

Back home I've downloaded the photos and fired up the Photoshop. Let the search begin! There are about seventy images that must have some creature in them...

1. A cooperative Painted Lady butterfly at the Elena Gallegos Picnic Area in the Sandia foothills. The million dollar views up there cost one dollar admission weekdays.

2. Also at the picnic area, a jack rabbit. Yes, there really is one hiding in this photo. Hint--it's on the right half. Out of all the photos, this is the only one I where I can spy Waldo.

3. Piedras Marcadas Canyon of Petroglyph National Monument was full of jack rabbits. I'm not making this up.  See half a dozen of them in this photo? Me neither! Remember the olden days of film cameras? My photo failures would have cost a fortune!

4. My walk in the canyon was accompanied by a constant low hum. Bees! Big, small, tiny, all very busy and not the least interested in people. The petroglyph symbol lower right looks like a bee to me.

5. Turtles at the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park.  Three more dollars well spent to see this nature center and learn much about the ecology of the Rio Grande River. Walked the Bosque and River trails, and had enough sense not to attempt hummingbird photos.
 6. The lizards were surprising willing to pose for pictures. Note the blue-tailed juvenile.

I wish all the moth-makers of the Moth Migration Project could visit this enchanting state and experience the creative refueling I always find. And good luck with the jack rabbit photography!

© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder


Things are looking up!

No wonder my neck is sore. What a week of looking skyward!






© 2013-2017 Nancy L. Ruder