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. 


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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Fat Free Popcorn Made Me Fat!

It's my dentist's fault that I gained five pounds last week!
I got the call he is moving and the only appointment available
is two weeks before school lets out. Stupid tooth implant.
My principal is NOT happy.
And I'm worried sick. I'm terrified of the dentist.
The last implant two years ago had me flying the couch for
two weeks. Every time I sat up my head rang for a half hour.
I eat when I'm nervous and with Terry out of town
and not entertaining me it got worse.
I gained ten pounds surviving the coldest winter in
one hundred years so I bought an air popper popcorn popper
but it eliminated ALL flavor. My shredded nerves had me eating non-stop.
I thought I was so smart to buy the glass popper from Amazon.
It worked great until I decided a half teaspoon of butter would
make ten cups of flavorless popcorn taste better.
It DID! I soothed my nerves eating eighteen cups of popcorn a night.
But, a half cup tasted even better and next thing I knew
I had eaten a pound of butter on my popcorn in one week.
I got stuck trying to zip my favorite Route 66 dress over
my back fat yesterday and had to ask Maureen to fold my
fat flaps in and zip me up. UGH.
My fat free popcorn made me fat!
AND, I still have to go to the dentist.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mayomo Mi Tee-shirt Porfavor? Most Embarrassing Moment

My face was bright red as I approached the first table
in the Chitzanitza shopping plaza.
"Mayomo Mi Tee-shirt Porfavor?" I said to the small lady.
I held up my dollars and her face cracked into a huge smile.
"When my husband drove over the speed bump the gas gauge
showed a full tank of gas. You see it had only been stuck on E
and so we didn't need to use our money for gas so I can buy back
all my souvenirs which I had returned for the money from you
because that was the last of our cash and we needed to get to the ferry."
I don't think she knew what I said but the younger lady next to
her did, especially when I repeated myself and pantomimed
what had happened.  Soon the one hundred ladies were
rolling on the floor laughing as they rapidly repeated the
story to the stalls next them and it went around the whole plaza.
After a long drive from Tulum to the pyramid and exploration
of Chitzanita, Terry and I had gone to the plaza and bought a
hundred dollars worth of tee-shirts, mini chacmools and onnxy pyramids.
Unfortunately it was our LAST cash so when we got to the parking
lot and Terry saw the gas tank empty he had a fit.
We got out in the parking lot and were shouting at each other
when the helpful policeman came by. Terry went on and on about
how someone had siphoned off all our gas so he went for a gas can
and put in enough to get us to the gas station a mile away.
Then Terry backed out and went over a speed bump
which jarred the gas tank back to 3/4 full.
He turned to me and pleadingly said, "Honey, can you please go back
and buy all our souvenirs from the ladies?"
I told him we could go together but he said he was too embarrassed.
So, I swallowed my pride and went back and re-bought all our souvenirs,
much to the delight of our Mexican vendors.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

My Husband Will Buy Anything!

I wish I could put a block on the infomerical channels.
After Terry's watches the Amish stove one for four hours
he'll ALWAYS buy another one.
You could dress up as an old Amish guy
and sell Terry anything.
We have six Amish stoves and counting.
When the boxes arrive he spends an hour admiring the photograph
of the old bearded guy driving his horse drawn cart full of stoves.
I think that's why he married me. I sound Amish.
One time thirty years ago I was working a flight and
a man asked me if I was Amish because of my accent.
Anytime I want to go out to dinner all I have to do is
use my Amish accent.
Now if I could only find an informericial of the old, bearded
Amish guy selling one of those robot vacuum cleaners!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What Vacuum Cleaner?

"What vacuum cleaner?" I said to my new handy-woman Pepper Fox.
She gave me a blank look.
"I got rid of it four years ago when I got a job."
Her eyebrows raised slightly and she said,
"You don't own a vacuum cleaner?"
I looked back at her and said,
"When I got a job I got a cleaning lady and she vacuums."
Pepper looked doubtfully at my carpet which had about
three gallons of orange cat hair strewn everywhere.
"I can only afford her every other week."  I said slightly guiltily.
I went on to tell her what I had learned from Alexander-McCall Smith
through his character, Isabel Dalhousie, in his book,
"The Sunday Philosophers Club."
Pepper stared at me with mild disbelief that I would alter my life from some
fictional book I read so I explained myself. "According to Isabel Dalhousie,
people with jobs are obligated to hire people with jobs that help them."
I walked over to the tiny apron cupboard and pulled out the broom
and handed it to her and said with a smile,
"Here you go. "
She took the broom and said to me with a gleam in her eye,
"I think this thing will hold both of us."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Nixon Family Snow Vacay 2017

I was almost sound asleep when I heard the dreaded words,
"Uh oh!"
My first thought was we had a flat tire.
I managed to sit up from my little nest in the back of
Terry's filthy camping van and peer out the front window.
The sign said: Renton. Coal Creek Parkway.
"Oh honey, you missed the turn." I said.
"Now just stay in the left lane and we can get right
back on 405 but be careful, the I-90 turn comes
up really fast. Now Teddy, you help your dad."
Whew. No flat tire! We might make it to the pass yet.
Last March I saw something about an inner tube hill
at Snoqualmie pass but by the time I got all four of our
schedules matching the snow was gone.
I started plotting and planning for this trip in January.
I decided I wanted one snow vacation with Terry
& the kids in my lifetime and this would be it.
I booked two nights at the Summit Inn and
one shift at the tubing hill online.
Funny, I'd driven past the Summit Inn dozens
of times & never noticed it as I was looking
for the nice public restroom with a fair sense of urgency.
Because the other name for our family is The Pigsons,
we started our trip up at the Alderwood mall Claim Jumper.
Once the buffet had turn the men completely docile,
we started onward. Our trip was supposed to be in my
Ford Windstar, the the day before our trip my head gasket
blew out. Terry's old camping van looked dubious to me but
it was either that or cancel so off we went.
As we got near the summit my eyes nearly popped
out of my head. There was TEN FEET of snow
lining the little road to the ski area.  The sign
for the Summit Inn was buried with just the name showing
 and huge tunnels had been dug so you could enter the inn
and adjoining pancake house cafe.
It looked like giant hamsters had been making tunnels.
My entire life I had wanted to stay somewhere where
the snow was really, really, really deep
and now my wish had been granted.
I checked us in and was told rooms were ready on the
back of the Inn and I smiled and shook the front desk
person's hand with a well-folded twenty dollar bill.
It worked just like it did in the movies, and next thing
we knew we were in our huge room facing the ski slopes.
(As opposed to a grand view of I-90)
With no window screen I was able to hang out our
second floor room and admire the view and catch
snowflakes on my hot happy little cheeks for two days.
I snagged the folding bed from the hall and popped it
between the queen beds and Teddy burrowed in
like one of the hamsters we had all become.
The view of the Snoqualmie pass mountains was
amazing me, even through the light snow that never stopped.
We soaked in the hot tub and laughed and joked about
the "view" of piece of plywood covering the window.  The snow
was so deep it was being held back to keep the window from breaking.
We lounged all day and had dinner at the cafe.
It was a bit chilly since the snow had crushed one side
and tarps had been hung to keep the snow out.
The next morning we were all up and rarin' to go.
Terry drove us to the inner tube park and there were
only a few dozen people for the early shift.
We lined up on our tubes at the top and off we went.
Surprising I'm here to talk about it really because
when my tube went backwards at 20 miles per hour,
I was fairly sure I was going to have a heart attack.
We decided to walk up the mountain instead of using the
plexiglass hamster tunnel moving walkway to burn off
our piggy breakfasts in the cafe. I might describe the
I-90 breakfast I had but I'd gain five pounds again
just reading about it!
At the end of two hours it was time to go but I didn't have
the strength to climb the 500 feet up the mountain.
Troy grabbed my hand and pulled me the whole way.
At the top, Terry took off without looking back and
Troy dashed to the restroom and Teddy gallantly held
out his arm for me to hold to stagger to the road.
We had been at loggerheads for three years so the
joy in my heart expanded with every step we took.
We were all happy to be back to Kookmore and as we
got to the top of the driveway Terry said, "Uh oh,
my alternator belt just snapped."  We all laughed at his
joke but it turns out his alternator belt HAD snapped.
He coasted down the driveway and parked and we
were all amazed at our good luck getting home.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Typical Day in the Frankenspine Library

I was panic stricken when my mid-year conference
& post observation ran right up until my 2/3 class.
When they left I had ten minutes to lay out materials
for the 7/8 split for the King County Library System
database extensions & digital citizenship.
Lisa reminded me to breathe & somehow
we crammed a ninety minute lesson into 30 minutes.
Lisa did a GREAT Vanna White at the white board
while I brought up the fields on the from the teaching station.
All 32 kids left with their new access cards.
They now have unlimited e-books, real-time online tutoring,
SAT help & hundreds of databases.
Our 7/8 split grade class does not have a weekly 
library visit and they come for classes 
requested by their teachers or as was the case today,
requested by me.
I truly believe knowledge is power.
Helping these kids to find their power
makes me feel humble before the walking,
breathing, faces of the future.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mail Theft Hurts Nursing Mother

I was sunk back into my little green recliner
on my heating pad feeling content after a lovely
dinner of eggplant towers over vegeburgers.
I heard Terry come in the basement door and
hollered a greeting and waited for him to come upstairs.
Five minutes later he plopped down in his recliner
and said, "The strangest thing happened on my
mail route today. You won't believe it."
I was thinking after my own ten years of odd happenings
and his thirty years of odd happenings, I had heard it all.
Boy was I wrong.
"Last month I was training a new carrier and when he saw
the outgoing mail in a small box he got all excited.
He said his wife ordered these special lactation cookies
from the lady on my route."
I had never heard of lactation cookies so I asked how
his customer got beer into cookies.
"I don't know what's in them but that's not the strange
part of the story. The police were there when I pulled
up and the lady ran over to me and told me that
ten minutes before I arrived she saw a man in a hoodie
steal her outgoing box of lactation cookies from her mailbox.
What do you think of that hon?"  He asked.
I thought about how horrible it was to steal from
a new mother having troubles and what I thought
the worst thing that thief deserved.
"I hope he eats that whole box and
starts lactating."

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Accidental Vegetarian

Terry stared at the TV and recognized the hotest
diet guru of 2015 on PBS, Dr. Joel Furman.
"I'm going to kill you!" He shouted at the TV.
Terry is not and will not ever be a vegetarian.
Don't care.
Three years ago I was channel surfing and when
I stopped on channel 9, an old guy with white hair
was yelling, "Eat more! Eat More! Eat as much as you can!"
I was automatically riveted to the screen
and ordering his book on Amazon at the same time.
I gained five pounds the first month.
I went back and reread the book and found my error.
You can have as much as you want of everything
that tastes bad, but only one cup of anything yummy.
After a few years of chewing my cud & swilling vegetable soup
to keep my weight under five hundred pounds,
I decided to try a recipe for vegepatties. After reworking three
frying pans of goo I created a recipe I could live with.
The eggplant parmesan recipe looked way too hard
so I just made little towers of eggplant circles with the ragu etc.
& threw some cheese on top.
When Terry came home from work he asked what is was I told him it was lasagna
and he wolfed it right down & had seconds.
He was an accidental vegetarian. Didn't even notice the meat missing....

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thor the Bunny

I sat staring down at the yard with my coffee in one hand
and clutching Milo my cat in the other.
It wasn't quite light yet but I could tell it
would be a clear day.
Ahhh, there he was. I could just barely make out
Thor's light brown coat as he hopped through the
open gate down at the bottom of our back yard.
My he has grown in the last two years.
Two summers ago, a strange car pulled into the
driveway and Troy got out with his longboard in
one hand and a cardboard vet box in the other.
He shouted up at me, "MOM!" I went down to
the driveway and he said, "We were long-boarding
on the bike trail at Lake Forest Park by that big intersection
and this bunny ran out and got hit by a bike and
landed in the road. Everyone stopped and a lady
yelled at us to grab the bunny and get in her car.
She took us to the vet and the vet said the bunny
was knocked unconscious but was okay.
The lady just dropped us all off."
Troy, Daniel and Devin and I walked into the
back yard and opened the box.
Troy said, "I want to call him Thor."
I went and got a tiny bowl of water and told the
kids the best thing to do was let Thor sleep it off.
We laid him on a towel and turned the box
upside-down over him and hoped for the best.
The next morning when we lifted off the box,
Thor stared at us, then started exploring our yard.
He hopped down into the park but has returned
every dusk and dawn, hence my creation of
The Bunny Room.
When the kids moved out we saved the upstairs
room overlooking the yard for a guest room.
So now, every morning I grab kitty and hot joe
and watch Thor have breakfast.
When it gets light enough he'll jump straight
up in the air about two feet then hop out of the yard,
his little cotton tail bouncing behind him.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

When I Was Nearly a Grizzly Bear Snack in Denali National Park

The hair on the back of my neck stood on end.
And as I walked through the deserted campground
I could feel someone watching me through the trees.
Odd that no birds were singing. Total silence.
Where was everybody?
It was like an eiry episode of the Twilight Zone.
I gulped down my honey and butter sandwich while
I walked and looked down and said bad words to myself
as I saw that honey had dripped all down the front of my shirt.
I called out, "Terry!  Terry!" and wondered where everyone was.
The campground had been packed a few just a hours ago when
we road the bus through the park enjoying the views of
vast meadows covered in wildflowers.
Terry popped out of the bushes at me like he always does
and I let out a small scream of fright.
"Hurry Greta, we've gotta get out of here!" he said
as he jogged by me in a most unchivalrous manner
and headed towards the main road.
I caught up to him and asked him what was going on.
"The ranger said a hungry grizzly bear just came through
and trashed the campground and they just finished
moving the campers but they haven't found the bear yet."
I raced past Terry with my sticky honey-covered shirt
and yelled back, "Hurry up honey, I'm covered in honey!"