June, 2013

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Night and Day & the Thief of Thunder

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It was a tough day yesterday out on the prairie. I got a new little doggie, which to you non-cowpokes means a new-to-me trusty steed.


Ain’t she a beaut?

The trusty steed was a feisty thing and needed to be handled just right, and not just anyone could ride her.

But I did.

Yessirree, it took some doing to tame her, but in no time at all I was out there roaming the open range, golf course, whatever, with nary a buck once she knew who was boss.

There were dangers overhead, too. The air was filled with eerie swallows, bent on protecting their turf.

lawnswallowCicada right

Hmm. Looks a lot like a bat. Swoops the same, too. But you know what? I weren’t scared. Know why? Because it was DAY.

Daytime makes all the difference. That’s why all them scary movies happen in the dark. At NIGHT. Can you imagine if “The Shining” took place at a sunny resort? lawnjackA

I ignored the little critters and didn’t even flinch.


A lawn cowboy’s work is never done. I’ll be heading back tomorrow, ready to risk life and limb so you desperados can golf on a smooth surface.


After I took my weary bones home, I heard a distinctive roar across the street, now as familiar to me as the back of my own, lawn-mowing hands. I poked my head out the curtains, expected to see a rugged cowboy like myself. I figured maybe we could swap stories that night over a campfire while eating beans out of a can with our fingers.


HMPF! Apparently, everybody rides riding lawnmowers ‘round these here parts.

It doesn’t matter now. It’s in my blood. I will ride again.


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Speaking of Cowboys…

One of the benefits of being a stay-at-home mom – with an only child at that – is time. I’d always dreamed of a passle of kids, and how each Halloween (one of my favorite holidays) I’d make aaallll their costumes. Since that’s not how things turned out, I put a lot of focus into just the one.

A lot.

Meet “Woody Riding Bullseye,” not to be confused with an earlier plain ol’ Woody:


Since here there are eyebrows painted on, this might be the one and only picture of plain ol’ Woody. Maybe not, since the decorations in the background are the same. Hmm…:


Halloween! The costume’s barely finished, the last seam is stitched, and it’s time to go! I am NOT one of those moms who takes a lot of pictures. Now I’m grateful for any that exist of these costumes Adam and I toiled and pondered over, as blurry and poorly lit as they are!

If you look closely, you can see the foam “pull-string” ring in the back:


Bless his heart, Adam was a good sport and always willing to go whole hog once a costume was decided on, even if there was struggle involved. “It’s just once a year!” was our battle cry. Naturally, Bullseye’s head was HEAVY and Adam had to keep it aloft with the reins.


And even though it was a little embarrassing, showing up at school with these somewhat overly elaborate, many-pieced costumes that would come in several large paper bags to change into, he was not ashamed! My soul mate! Every bit as odd as me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Childhood is so fleeting. You can try and try to cling to it with both hands and still you can’t slow it down, not one bit.


I am so grateful for the time we spent together. I love the young man my son is becoming, and each new phase brings new blessings and there are so many adventures still to come, but oh, how I love that little boy.

Sugar Sticks

Like many of you (and I hope all), I am a firm believer in the “Spoonful of Sugar” method approach to life. In fact, I could happily work at a factory doing the same thing over and over, because in my mind, GAME ON. Faster! Maybe I’ll try THIS this time! Maybe I’ll try THAT! Ha-cha-cha! The weight of the free world rests on my shoulders if I don’t complete this perfectly!!! MUST SAVE THE PLANET!!!

Yesterday I got to do my favorite thing at the golf course. Pick up sticks.

Because this:cowboycourse


Combined with this:Cowboycart


And especially this:CowboyGrab



Because in my mind THIS:


Is what I feel like.

Ooh! Ooh! And I just realized! STICKS are TWIGGS. So many layers! So little time…

Don’t Say It!

LikeThe 1985 Oscars. Almost 30 years ago, and still I cringe. Sally Field, up for Best Actress for her role in Places in the Heart. She wins, and in her acceptance speech uttered those immortal words…

“You like me! You really like me!”

It was the recoil felt ’round the world.

I vow to never utter those words myself. And, yet! Could you, pretty please, go to Hazel Twigg on Facebook and “Like” me? I mean, really like me?

Like1See? DIFFERENT words! Not the exact ones!

I wish I could think of something clever to say so that you would chuckle in delight as you go to Facebook. “Oh, that Ruth!” you would say to yourself as you toddle on over and type into the search window. H-a-z-e-l-space-T-w-i-g-g, enter. LIKE!

I wish I could! But my mind, it is










Seriously. I came this close to writing another Haiku. Happy Tuesday!

The Fishermen’s Sister

One of my favorite fairytales from the Brother’s Grimm is The Fisherman’s Wife, the story in which a fisherman catches a flounder, who convinces the man he is an enchanted prince. The kind fisherman lets him go.

FishermanWhen his wife hears the story, she sends the fisherman back to the sea, figuring they should be rewarded for his good deed. So he goes back to the sea and says:

‘O man of the sea!

Hearken to me!

My wife Ilsabill

Will have her own will,

And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!’

Fisher3They get a nice house out of the deal, but the greedy wife is not satisfied. She wants a castle so she can be Queen. The fisherman goes back, her wish is granted, then she wants to be Emperor and on and on until the fish finally gets fed up and they are back in their original hovel.

I’m laughing a little bit right now because this post is not really about that, but more often than not I go to bed not knowing what I’ll write and wake up in the wee hours of the morning and this is what came. So here ‘tis!

FishGolf2AWhen my brothers first approached me I was working at the golf course here in town. “Rolfe Golf,” surely you’ve heard of it! How fortuitous a city name! Anyway, my brothers took me from that hovel of a clubhouse (just kidding, Rolfians!) and for over a year and a half I got to do what most only dream about: Create. Full time. I have been so very lucky to have two such brothers.

Now things have come full circle. As funds get redirected to the website and the second round of art (because the book has changed so drastically), I am back at the hovel – I mean, golf course as of today. That’s right! Come to the golf course! Barring the predicted thunderstorm, you might just get waited on by the next Austen! The next Rowling! The next Bronte! Or not!

What does the future hold…?


Grass is Grass


See those black doors? If you went through those and to the left, I’d be right there, manning the PBX switchboard. My Dad got me a job as the campus operator. I felt so badly when I was late.

As I work on final, final, final edits for Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway (and believe me, I could edit and change things until the cows come home) while waiting for the website to be completed, I wanted to reflect a little on the past and on how very lucky I’ve been.

Scanned - Ruth-1

There’s me switchboarding, using the same photo I used to kiss that cranky Batman. I loved that dress. It was black and white and a hand-me-down from my sister January. I would frequently ask my mother to French braid my hair.

I’ve been part of a family that’s lived in some unusual places.

Isn’t it a downright shame that we didn’t know then what we know now? My family lived in England for a total of five years, but I only lasted six months! I got terribly homesick and since I’d just turned 18, I decided to move back to the states.


Look at the church! You can’t see it, but it had a black and white checkerboard floor. It was an eerie place with plaques dedicated to boys who had died.

And of all beautiful places to live! The former Royal Masonic School for Boys, sometimes referred to as “The scariest building in Britain” and used for several movies, including “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and even “Harry Potter,” for crying out loud!

The year was 1980, and the school had been turned into The International University-England. My Dad was Bursar (the money guy).

Sometimes you just can’t prepare yourself, although I thought I had!

When I found out we were moving to England, setting for my favorite novel, Jane Eyre, I imagined myself sitting on the moors, strumming a guitar and singing “Mull of Kintyre.” I figured it was a pretty realistic scenario, after all that song, whilst hauntingly beautiful, was only two chords. I went out and bought a guitar and set about making my vision come true. Moors, here I come! “Jane! Jane! Jane!” “Mr. Rochester!

“Go ahead and woo her, Mr. Rochester. I’ve got you covered.” Ahem! “Mull of Kintyre, Oh mist rolling in from the sea…”

Sadly, I couldn’t get past the blisters. The lovers would have to do without my magical accompaniment.

The courtyard was beautiful. And huge. There were two sidewalks that formed a cross straight through the middle, otherwise you had to walk aaalllll the way around to get from one place to another. We were told time and time again, “Stay off the grass!”


I followed that edict religiously, and it drove me wild when anyone would disobey, trampling that innocent, beautiful, pristine grass as if they owned the place. The worst offender was my brother Kenny. “KENNY!” I would yell, me being the big sister and all, “GET OFF THE GRASS! YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO WALK THERE!”

Nothing phased him. Not even my scariest voice. He finally turned to me once and said, “Why? It’s just grass.”

That stopped me in my tracks. For some reason the grass had morphed for me into something fragile and practically sacred. But it wasn’t. It was just grass.

Turns out my brother was right. Years later:


The was a hue and cry when the school was going to be torn down. It has since been turned into luxury apartments. Luxury modern apartments. The quaint and magical interiors are gone. But they were there, and we were there, and I have learned that grass is grass.

And that learning to play guitar, even for a song that’s only two chords, is hard.



Living in Abject Brave

CowardLong ago, my brother wrote an essay about everyone in our family and his impression of each person. The thing he wrote about me was that “Ruth is afraid of everything.”

And I am! I am! I will be the first to state that I am the fraidiest fraidy cat of all. But in way, doesn’t that make me the bravest of all, to live in such abject fear and survive?

For example, Bats. By now I think you know how scared of bats that I am. Over the years, I have encountered no less than ten bats in this home, six of them while living here alone and yet I still go to sleep here every night.

Bravery is leaving a financially secure 14 year marriage to move to a town cold, with no job in the middle of nowhere as a single mother after having been a stay-at-home mom out of the work force for ten years.

I lay there next to my husband in the dark, trying to process being a minor character in  the love story portion of my own life. We had just decided to stay together as friends. We got along really well after all, and could talk about anything. This is not what I had dreamt of as a little girl, nor was it what I observed in my own parent’s long and happy marriage. Still, it would have to do. But then came the punch, and it was a knockout.

“…broccoli…” my husband was saying.

“Hmm?” I asked, pulling myself back to the present.

“You are the broccoli on my plate,” he repeated.

“What does that mean?” I asked, mystified.

“There comes a time in your life where you finally have to say, ‘I don’t like broccoli!’ or ‘I don’t like oysters!’ and that’s what I’m saying now. (Romantically), you are the broccoli and oysters on my plate and have been for quite some time.”

broccoliOh yes, Reader. I left him. It was the scariest and bravest thing I’d ever done.

In the final version of Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway, Ruth is a widow, having recently lost the love of her life. However! There were several different renditions of that part of the story, tiny as it is. For example, at one point Ruth was newly divorced. In another, her husband had tragically choked to death. On broccoli.

Getting to write your character’s story is a wonderful thing. As for real life, I have no idea what the future holds. I would love to be like the brother I admire so much, fearless and sure. But I am what I am.

Broccoli, bats and all.

The Batman Cometh

The phone rang. I answered, it being my phone and all.

“Ruth?” the husky voice on the other end of the line said.

“Yes?” I answered huskily back.

“Where are you? You live in Bode, right?”

Batman-on-Phone2Instantly I knew who it was, and he wasn’t fooling me, no not for one instant.  It was my playing-hard-to-get Batman, finally coming to my rescue, unable to resist my feminine wiles any longer.

“No, I live in Rolfe,” I replied.

“Where’s that?”

Silly Batman. You’re not fooling anyone! You know you’ve been longing for this day!

After he finished his little “I-don’t-know-where-you-live” charade and hung up, I ran around getting the house ready. I had barely spritzed on my favorite bug spray (the mosquitoes are quite bad this year, what with all the rain) when the Batmobile pulled up in front of my house. I ran out the door to greet him.

I could see the grim determination in his jaw as he brushed past me, carrying a tall ladder and his bat-proofing squirt gun.  He climbed to the roof.


“You should just burn this house down,” he said as he eyed my loose shingles and peeling paint.

Well, those are the words that came out of his mouth, but I know a marriage proposal when I hear one! I lifted my chin. Two could play this hard-to-get game!

“NO!” I replied.

Then he came down from the roof, and…


It was just like in the movies! And every bit as real! The games were over. Our hearts were clear.

I could see the anguish in his eyes as he said, “Well that does it! See ya!”


Well played, Batman. Well played…I just hope he didn’t plant more bats up there just so he could see me again.

And thus ends another Romance in the Life of Ruth.

Misery Loves Fantasy

A lot can happen in your mind when you’re working alone. Before I started watching Downton Abbey when I worked (and slept), I used to watch the movie “Misery” over and over. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but Kathy Bates’ performance is nothing short of genius.

As with anything you’re super familiar with, it all becomes noise and allows your brain to wander. Along the lines of the 2113 Antiques Roadshow scenario (previous post), another fantasy came to mind: What if I had a number one fan? One who wasn’t pleased when I temporarily decided to stop sewing and start writing….?






Sometimes, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

A Little Dab’ll Do Ya

As I’ve previously stated, I’ve been going through a Downton Abbey phase. It’s my night light when I go to bed so I can see the bats (that so far have not arrived. I think the pencil in the keyhole of the attic door is working! Knock on wood. But I digress) as I fall asleep.

So it was amazing to me to see the actors from this period PBS drama in real life, and what a difference a little makeup makes. Even if you don’t watch the show, I think you’ll see what I mean.

For example, the evil Miss O’Brien, who would stab you as soon as look at you:



And the crotchety Mrs. Padmore, Ruler of the Kitchen:


What a sweet and genteel lady!

Even Mrs. Hughes, the rather dowdy head housekeeper, fer cryin’ out loud:


Glamour puss!

And let us not forget, Poor Edith, she who was deserted at the altar:


Who would EVER leave THAT I ask you?!

So when I caught sight of myself, all hot and sweaty and without a stitch of makeup after I toiled away taking my Christmas lights down (I figure it’s June, why not?), I decided to be very brave and try the same thing. So here, without further ado (gulp!), is my before:


And here’s the after:


Just kidding! That’s Phyllis Diller! HERE’S the after:


Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. It’s amazing what a little powder and blush and a hint of mascara will do…