Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Letter From Our Unofficially Adopted Florida Son

Hello Terry and Gretchen!

I got your Christmas card over two weeks ago, and I've been trying to find a moment in all this lunacy to write.  Our football team went undefeated last season for the first time in history, and the party has been going so strong since the peach bowl the streets downtown are still closed!

I loved reading your letter, it's good to see y'all are doing well!  I had to chuckle at your footnote about visiting Key West.   I've lived my entire life in central Florida and have never been there.  People find it funny that I've been to the Northwestern most point of the nation over 3000 miles away, and haven't been to the Southeastern end, only a 5hour drive.
I am definitely ready to go, so just let me know in advance, and I'll accompany you!  Of course, I could not do such an adventure without Lucy, that Ranchero has made it to the other side of the continent already, so she needs to be there for the other end too.  Looks like we'll have a convoy!

As for Terry wanting a pet alligator, I could probably hook y'all up, but it's not nearly as much fun as it sounds.  My brother captured a good sized one a year or two back to gift to my mother for her birthday, and that went about as well as could be expected.  They are lazy, ill-tempered, heavy and covered in scratchy things.  The best way to deal with a gator around here is to roll it in breading and deep fry it for a couple minutes.  It tends to make them more enjoyable.

I can't wait to see you guys, and hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,
Alex

Friday, December 29, 2017

Boneless at the Nudie Spa

After a few splashes of hot mugwort water,
I followed Mary to the hottest hot pond at the nudie spa.
It was our fourth visit so we knew the routines fairly well
and I didn't expect anything new.
I was wrong about that.
Usually the clientele is about ninety percent older,
pleasingly plump ladies such as ourselves.
We must have missed the ad for Young Person Day
because as I sat down and let the jets work their
magic on my achy old bones, I noticed it was only ten percent
older ladies and ninety percent under fifty.
I saw more of normally hidden tatoos than I needed to.
I thought I was in an episode of "Orange is the New Black!"
Mary pointed to a sign on the wall indicating fake
organic snow to drop from the ceiling every two hours
and I thought that sounded wonderful.
We soaked and rotated into the steam room for
a few hours until our massages, then put our
spa robes over our boneless bodies for lunch in the tiny cafe.
I looked at the clock and was filled with excitement.
It was time to get in the middle hot pond for the snow show.
Mary didn't want to lose her massage oils so I climbed
down into the pond and felt a thrill as the fake snow
cascaded from the ceiling vent.  It was beautiful!
I unsuccessfully tried to catch one in my mouth but
managed to have a big flake land in my eye.
My eye started burning and I was in horrible pain.
Soap flake snow.








Saturday, November 18, 2017

Doll Town

I walked down the aisle of our little library between the tables
and saw tiny Alyssa, standing over the recycle tub,
boldly cutting out four original paper dresses at one time.
The normally shy girl with long dark hair and big dark eyes,
had a look of fire in her eyes as the scraps of florescent yellow,
green, orange and pink paper fell away from her masterpieces.
I said, "Look girls, Alyssa has created a new technique for dressmaking."
All I could think was, "Lisa and I have birthed the next Liz Clairborne."
Once a month on a Friday afternoon our school holds elective classes
taught by parent volunteers. The two dozen classes range from coding
to cooking and all points in between.  Then there is Lisa and me.
I grew up with two sisters making paper dolls and dresses and ended up
with two sons. Lisa loves to sew and has two daughters, so she liked
the idea of running a paper doll class with me in our library.
We had eight six year old girls and one nine year old girl.
Near the end of our ninety minute class, our nine year old Gabriella
said, "I really like this class. It's nice to be with the little kids.
It reminds me of when I was young."
We started our class making little houses to store the dolls in.
I'd found a stack of old manilla folders in the workroom and
used the paper cutter to remove the tabs and add roofs.
The girls wrote their names and the year at the top and
were excited to use rulers for the first time to make straight
windows and doors.  Gabriella said, "I'm going to use my
math skills and make my windows perfect one inch squares."
My sister and I had found the card stock paper dolls down at
Michael's Arts and Crafts store. They had boy and girl dolls.
I had scrounged the staff work room for colorful recycled paper
and put my sample house and dresses and play sets up on the
white board to show the girls the importance of long tabs.
I had photocopied one dress and play set to get the girls started.
I introduced the class with the book, "10,000 Dresses"
and "The Princess and the Pea." In this version the princess
and characters were stylized paper dolls in paper ballgowns.
Once their houses were made, they put faces on their dolls
and they were off and cutting.  Some of our recycled paper
had old flyers on the back for Halloween so the girls used
the cool orange with owls for some nice fancy dresses.
I was delighted to see a few tiny wolf logos cut from
school newsletters taped to dresses for Cascade school pride.
When Alyssa taped a piece of white paper to beard her boy doll
and proclaimed him Santa, a flurry of Christmas-wear began.
Holiday dresses, play suits, pajamas, Santa suits...
Even black paper boots were taped to tiny feet.
When I asked the girls if they wanted the class again they
got very excited and told us everything they wanted to make
in future classes. Paper pets, food, furniture, cafes, barns
and little Haley stunned me when she said,
"I want to make a little house and a little doll for my
big doll to play with."  The little blue-eyed blond went on to
say,  "I want to make a doll town."

































Monday, November 13, 2017

Birthday Lunch With My Kid

Yesterday I was sitting in my grubbies & saw
Troy leaving in his Chevy Blazer.
I leaned over the deck railing & yelled,
"Where's my birthday card?"
He turned red & waved cash at me.
I went down & he had TWO $20.00 bills in his hand.
I took it and said,
"Where do you want to go for my birthday lunch, I'm loaded."
 We went to Jay's cafe where he had a ham & cheese omelette,
sausage, bacon, hash-browns, pancakes,
a double bacon/blue cheese cheeseburger & French fries.
I had the special & the bill was $33.00
& I left a $5.00 tip.
Birthday cash from kid=$2.00,
Time With Kid=Priceless.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My Idea of Fashion Is...

My idea of fashion is to cover myself enough
to stay out of jail for indecent exposure.
One day, my bff Brenda was telling me how she just bought some
"motivation jeans."
She bought jeans two sizes too small to motivate her into losing weight.
She told me she has over a dozen pairs of jeans ranging from
"motivation wear"
to "holiday fat girl wear."  She loves clothes.
I'm lucky to toss a clean muu muu over my head most days in summer
and sweats the rest of the time.
It's not like I'm not vain though.
Four times a year I get my hair done
and the annual cost is more than my first car.
Add the full face wax the same day
and you're nearly at the down payment of our house!

(My first car was a faded army green 1965 Volvo sedan with 250,000 miles
which I bought at Ravenna motors in 1976 for $500.00 )

Monday, October 2, 2017

My Letter From Barack Obama 2017

Before I tuck my letter from Barack in his biography book tomorrow, this is the contents.
I still miss him and how he wanted us to be united not divided.
I think he was the best president of my lifetime.
I will always think of him as a great thinker, eloquent speaker and compassionate man.
The letter was typed on heavy cream colored paper with the gold-leaf presidential seal at the top.

Dear Gretchen:

 Thanks for your kind message. Michelle and I have been touched by the words of support we've received from Americans across our county, and I appreciate the time you've take to write.
I'm proud of the progress we've made together. Thanks to the participation and resolve of everyday Americans like you, our county is a better and stronger place today than it was before I took office.    
None of our accomplishments were inevitable-they were the result of people from every background and station in life stepping forward and embracing the important responsibilities of citizenship. As long as we continue working in common effort and assume the inherent goodness in one another, I'm confident our brightest days will always lie ahead. 

Again, thank you for writing. 
It was the honor of my life to serve as your President, and while there are many milestone moments we will always remember, it was my conversations with people like you that kept me going every single day. 
They've stayed with me, and they always will. 

Thanks for everything-I wish you the very best. 

 Sincerely, 

Barack Obama

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Chicken Hat

I listened intently as my ninety-seven year old friend Ruthie
told me about a tiny Bantam chicken she had forty years ago.
"Anytime I went out in the yard, Blueberry would hop
up on my shoulder to ride around the yard with me."
Hmmm.  My son Teddy had just picked out two little hens
for his twenty-first birthday. When the farmer kid picked up
the Little Red Hen out of the mass of chickens in the dark barn,
I fell in love.  She looked EXACTLY like the hen in the book
I loved as a little girl. "Who will help me bake the bread?"
The kid only had one other Bantam and she was gorgeous.
We were driving home on the hot August day from Fall City
with the top down on my little Mustang and I asked Teddy what
he wanted to name his chickens.  He said, "I like Bonnie."
I said, "Well, if you name The Little Red Hen Bonnie,
may I call her bff Connie?" He just smiled and nodded.
So back to me wanting chickens riding on my shoulders.
I pondered draping worms over my shoulders to entice them,
but attaching worms to myself seemed problematic.
Every night for a week I would take turns gently holding
and petting Bonnie or Connie.  I was petting Connie and
Bonnie walked over and looked up at her bff.  I patted my lap
and she hopped up. I petted them while they sat side-by-side
"talking" and then Connie got up and hopped up on my shoulder.
Bonnie started staring at my face.  I was certain she was
going to peck my eyes out because I didn't think she liked me.
Right as I closed my eyes, I could feel her wings brush my face
and the next thing I knew I felt a gentle set of claws holding
my scalp and a slight weight on the top of my head.
I was delighted with my Chicken Hat.