Thursday, September 30, 2010

Down with Empty Nests

Today we will get right down to business. No more confusing lead–ins.
Except for the one where I clear up the confusing lead–out from yesterday’s post. Coffee Day is not something I made up. Sept. 29 really is National, or possibly World, Coffee Day. I saw it on a major news network. To The Prude’s mind, Coffee Day is severely undercelebrated and she is working on a line of greeting cards and a merry little song that will commemorate the day and the reason we drink to it.
Now, without further ado, the Disapproval of the Day.

The Prude is beginning to hate, with a consuming hatred, the term ‘Empty Nest’.
Today we’ll use a photo that will be an analogy to the life of a mother on the cusp of an empty nest.

Take a moment to look at the photo. Front and center we have the Mama Bird. (‘Mama Bird’ will be The Prude’s name for the duration of this post, continuing the Animal Kingdom theme of the week begun with the Country Mice)

Look closely at Mama Bird. Notice her bedraggled look. (While this is actually from The Prude’s puppy teething on Beanie Baby ‘Early’, and thus rendering it useless for resale value, the teeth marks play right into my hands.) This slightly battered and bedraggled look is worn by Mama Birds everywhere. It is the result of sleepless nights, anxiety,heartaches,  too-much-to-do-in-too-little-time, and accidentally brushing one’s teeth with diaper cream instead of toothpaste.

See how Mama Bird’s wings droop? This is not due to discouragement. She slept on her side funny last night and now her shoulders hurt. The jaunty tilt to her tail shows that she is still an optimist.

The egg in the foreground represents Papa Bird. (after The Prude took this photo she realized that representing Papa as an egg could lead to awkward surmises that Mama Bird was a cradle robber. The Prude just didn’t have another robin beanie baby and thought using Chocolate the Moose would raise all sorts of difficult questions)
To continue. Papa Bird is in the foreground, heading off to work. He does this every day so Mama Bird can sit home and brood. And peck away at her computer.

The 2 sets of eggs on either side of the nest represent the Son Birds who have already flown the nest  to make nests of their own with their wives, represented by the cute eggs at their sides. (At the point The Prude realizes she should have had them each in cozy nests of their own. She is not conscientious enough to go back and do over)

The little egg right on the edge of the nest is Baby Bird, almost ready to flap his wings and leave the nest. (The Prude is now getting panicky. She realizes EGGS are a very poor representation of fully-grown children. Eggs don’t have wings, for pity’s sake. She probably should scratch this whole analogous thing and come up with something else. But she is not ambitious enough) 

So that leaves Mama Bird, bearing the battle scars of 23 years of Mamahood, looking into an almost empty nest. A nest still strewn with the remnants of 3 baby birds playing and fighting and growing and loving.

Mama Bird is hating the empty nest that looms before her. She loves those baby birds.
But wait! Look at the gleam in Mama’s eye! And look at the plate of molasses sugar cookies placed strategically in the picture. Mama is not above bribing those baby birds for a visit with freshly baked cookies. Come back often, Baby Birds!

Mama Bird disapproves of the term ‘Empty Nest’.
She is thinking of replacing it with ‘Full Tree’

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The Prude has big plans for tomorrow’s post. It will be a sentimental, photo-journalistic piece. It will require a great deal of thought. The Prude needs to save her strength and creativity, so today she is taking it easy. She will alarm you (as she is alarmed) by foremost news stories. 

Note- please don’t panic too much over these perturbing stories. Remember, as Papa Prude often said, “This too will pass.” To make way for the catastrophes of tomorrow.

1) The landing gear on a Canadian airplane didn’t open fully, necessitating a rough landing for all aboard. It is the 5th time in a year these Canadian airplanes' landing gear didn’t perform up to expectations. Canada is coming out of its shell, determined to compete with China in the recall arena.  Next time you fly on a Canadian airplane, ask if they packed a spare set of landing gear.  And reflect on the fact that while it is called a Canadian airplane, the honking winged creatures are called CANADA geese.

2) A heretofore undiscovered crater, never before seen by human eyes, was discovered on a Google Map. The scientific community is a-flutter with excitement, but the rest of us should be very afraid. Besides the obvious danger of meteors or other chucks of the solar system lurking in our stratosphere, ready to bombard us, we should be concerned that:
a) hitherto undiscovered  craters could be lurking among us, disguised as ol’swimmin’ holes, cattle reservoirs, or Yankee Stadium.
b) Google Maps can be the Christopher Columbus of Crater discovery, but it can’t locate
the south suburbs (and there are many of them) of Chicago. (see yesterday’s post. Please.)

3) In sports news:
a) Tampa Bay’s baseball team, which has CLINCHED A PLAYOFF BERTH ( for you non-sporting types, this means they are really good) are giving away thousands of tickets because no one comes to see them play.
This should concern us because:
did you know Tampa Bay isn’t a town? It really is just a bay! Since most residents of Tampa Bay likely have fins or scales, the likelihood  of those 20,000 tickets being snapped up is minimal.
b) Opposing coaches of 2 Texas Pee-Wee football teams engaged in fisticuffs with each other during a playoff game. The brawl meant both teams were sent home and barred from post-season play. This should concern us because:
why on earth would coaches from TEXAS let their teams be referred to as PEEWEE?
This sort of built-up rage could explode in peewee leagues in Montana, California and Alaska. Rhode Island, on the other hand, considers ‘PeeWee’ to be an upgrade.
c) A Green Bay Packer player threw his mouthpiece at a heckling Chicago Bear fan.
This should concern us because:
The Packer did not wipe off his mouthpiece and sanitize it before throwing it

4) A restaurant somewhere in the continental United States has wine that cost $900 a glass! This should concern us because:
-there are likely no free refills

5) When a thermometer in LA saw the temperature hit 113 degrees, it quit. It flat out refused to record any higher temperature. Anything above 113 was not in its contract, dadgum it (excuse the harsh language). Now no one knows what temperature was actually reached. The thermometer isn’t talking till the terms of its contract are renegotiated. This should concern us because:
Is this a trend? Will thermometers everywhere refuse to record temperatures? What will be the effect on the outer-clothing industry? The weatherman industry? The almanac industry? The people who bet on high and low temperatures at office pools?

But finally, the Good news of the day. No, not the reopening of the Grand Ol Opry.
Today is:
COFFEE DAY!   Rejoice!

And here is your homework assignment. Look over each of the above disturbing news stories and see how they could have been better with the simple addition of one of the world’s greatest discoveries- COFFEE.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Black Hole Harangue

The Prude first learned about black holes in her college astronomy class. She smiled pityingly at the professor, much as one would smile at a child expressing a firm belief in Oz, or Never-Never Land.

The Prude spent the next few decades denying the existence of black holes. But her experiences of the past weekend convinced her not only that black holes exist, but that they are here. Among us. Now.

According to The Prude’s Source, a black hole is ‘a region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape. It is the result of the deformation of spacetime caused by a very compact mass. Around a black hole there is an undetectable surface which marks the point of no return.’ (scary emphasis mine)

On earth, this black hole is known as Chicago. The Prude has proof.

First, and most obvious, is the satellite image above.
I know it looks as though Chicago is very bright and light, but remember- a black hole is a region from which nothing, not even light, can escape.  All that light you see? It is trapped in Chicago and it can’t get out. Notice how dark the surrounding areas are. Chicago stole all their light, Every last bit.

For our next proof, we ask that you look at a map of Illinois. The Prude dares you to find a road anywhere in the eastern part of the state that doesn’t get slurped right into Chicago, no matter how it tries to sneak away. Hwy 80 eastbound? It gets its elbow twisted till it shouts ‘uncle!’ and heads to Chi-town. I-94 west is brainwashed till it believes it wants to be Chicago-bound.  39 southbound? Hwy 90 grabs at it to send parts scuttling to you-know-where. It valiantly limps south, even though Hwy 80 makes a bid to pull it to the Windy City. Hwy 39, bloody but unbowed, tries again, but just north of Bloomington it meets it nemesis. Hwy 55 strikes the final blow, and Hwy 39, resigned to its fate, trudges up to Chicago, black hole of the Midwest.

On the Prude Family recent trip to a Chicago suburb, we decided to be technical and modern and take along a GPS.  We’ll call him Tom. Son Prude pushed a lot of buttons that told Tom where we wanted to go, and, smiling, we were off. We wouldn’t have been smiling had we known we were soon to come into the Compact Mass of a Black Hole.

Tom was off to a great start. He led the Prudes along quiet little back roads. But as we neared the Big City, Tom began to get fidgety. The quiet back roads disappeared and The Prudes found themselves in bumper-to-bumper traffic headed straight for the innards of Chicago.  The Prude’s son patiently informed Tom that we wanted the south suburbs, NOT the City of Big Shoulders to the east. Tom tried, but his resistance was weak, and once again The Prude mobile was headed nose-first into that toddlin’ town. Young Prude frantically re-programmed Tom, but the poor little GPS had no fight left. He had passed the Point of No Return (see definition above) and the Prudes found themselves sucked directly into the deformation of spacetime called Chicago.

Tom was unplugged in disgrace. The Prude’s husband and son tried to be manly, but The Prude resorted to her standby in times of extreme duress. She cried. At which point the black hole spat her and her men out into Calumet, located somewhere above the Chicago armpit.
The Prudes were free! Ignoring the disgraced GPS, they pulled an ancient map from somewhere and found their way to their conference. 2 hours late.

Prudes are nothing if not forgiving. Once out of the suctioning power of the town Mrs. O’Leary’s cow couldn’t burn, they gave Tom another chance. The Prude’s son watched him like a hawk and twice prevented him from convincing us that the fastest way to our western suburb hotel from our southern suburb conference was through the heart of Chicagoland( an indirect proof that Chicago is, indeed, a black hole. Do we call NYC, ‘NewYorkland’? Is L.A. referred to as ‘LosAngelesland? Do we eat beans in ‘Bostonland’? NO! Only in the City of Black Hole)

Finally, we refer to the epic football game last evening between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. If you watched carefully you saw Green Bay fumble the undetectable surface (a sure sign of a black hole) of the football. You saw the penalty calls consistently siphoned toward Chicago’s favor. And those final confusing laterals? They weren’t the Packer’s fault. The ball was just irresistibly drawn to the Black Hole known as Chicago.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Extermination of Country Mice

(In a pre-post news flash, we refer back to the horrific hotel sagas related last week, some of which contained bedbugs, the only defense against which seems to be a donning a suit of armor before going to bed in the hotel. The good news: We found the suit of armor. The bad: We found it the morning after.)

To resume: Today’s post expresses disapproval over the treatment of gullible and unsophisticated folk when they travel to the Big City. We will call these good folk Country Mice. (and draw your attention to the ever–vigilant, never–slacking quest of The Prude-Your Prude- to Change Things Up and Stay Out of Blog Ruts.)

The adventure began with the Country Mice on their way to the Big City. Being Country Mice types, they decided to avoid the ubiquitous traffic and road construction that were everywhere present in the great state to which they traveled. They took charming back roads and chuckled naively to themselves as they rolled merrily along.

But City Roads were lying in wait. The Country Mice, within mere hundreds of yards of their destination, turned onto a Street of Perpetual Construction. And sat cowering amongst the City Mice in their Priuses, Mercedes, Landrovers and Lexii.
The driver’s seat Country Mouse gripped his steering wheel and checked his mirrors before moving ahead at 100 mph (meters per hour). The City Mice to his left, right, fore and aft would swig their (presumably cold) coffee, honk, text message, honk, check Facebook status, check their nostrils for foreign bodies, and honk twice. (Son Mouse believes the City Cars are made of Nerf after noting an 18 ft. long vehicle merging into an 18-inch long space.)

Orange road construction signs sense when Country Mice start to gain confidence on City Roads. The Country Mouse behind the wheel sees traffic ahead accelerate to toddler ‘My First Skates’ speed. He removes his stiffened foot from the brake and inches it toward the accelerator. With a fiendish chuckle the Orange Signs swoop down and settle along side the road just as the Country Mice pass. City Drivers ignore them- they have built-in immunity. But Country Mice?  They believe that orange road construction signs actually mean road construction, and with a resigned sigh the driver lifts his petrified foot back to the brake pedal.
(Note: The Country Mice counted 859 Orange Signs but saw not one road construction worker, one shovel, or one backhoe. )

City Hotels delight in playing cat-and-you know what.  Mother Mouse wisely used an online reservation for a great price at a hotel-to-be-named-later. She saved a bunch of money. But City Hotel rubbed its paws gleefully at check-in. Why yes! That great price is your cost! But naturally, you have to pay for parking! How much? A bunch! Son Mouse queried about free WiFi and all the City Hotel employees gathered around and held their sides, roaring with laughter. That’ll be another bunch of money, young man! What was that you asked, little Country Mice? Free breakfast in the lobby? At this point every other City Guest in the City Hotel erupted in a virtual symphony of guffaws as the City Concierge held up a menu advertising a piece of toast, a cup of juice and some coffee. For a bunch of money. Plus tax and tip.

(The City wasn’t completely heartless. They graciously identified this passageway. In case we didn’t know it was a hall)

The Country Mice returned home with their tails hung low, and found comfort in an old, sweet song. It goes like this:
3 City Mice,
3 City Mice,
They all ran after the Farmer’s Wife,
She threatened their tails with a carving knife,
Till they promised to honor the Country Mouse types
The rest of their life.
The rest of their life.

Tomorrow: The Prude expresses disapproval verging on outrage of BLACK HOLES

Friday, September 24, 2010

Papa Prude, Little Prude and the Big Hill

The Prude is already bored with the story format of yesterday’s post. However, in the interests of blogalistic integrity she will finish ‘Little Prude and the Big Hill.” But with a twist. Part II will be told from Papa Prude’s point of view.

                                              Papa Prude, Little Prude and the Big Hill

Papa Prude surveyed his daughter. She was reading a Grace Livingston Hill novel. That made Papa happy. She was reading it practically upside down with her (sunburnt and mosquito bit) legs and (grass stained) feet halfway up the wall. That made him sad. When Papa had first introduced his daughter to the heroines of the GLH books, he did it in the hopes that they would have a positive influence on his child. That they would make her more feminine and ladylike. More genteel. More- unlike her tomboyish and hoydenistic self.

To date Papa Prude had seen little progress in these areas (with the exception of a switch from bright primary–colored nail polish on her gnawed fingernails to a soft shell-pink).  He reflected on the attributes of Mrs. Hill’s leading ladies. They were poised and graceful. His little Prude had a tendency to blush and mumble and had been known to trip over objects that were in entirely different rooms.  The women that graced Grace’s books were accomplished in the arts. Papa’s Prude, although able to draw endless variations of a happy face, had a tin ear, 2 left feet and an alarming inability to tell her right hand from her left.

Papa grudgingly admitted that there were some areas in which his offspring would never be able to emulate, replicate or duplicate the graces gracing Grace’s pages.  Those women were petite and delicate. Prudette had size eight-and-a-half feet by 6th grade, where she towered over her classmates. And the use of ‘delicate’ in conjunction with anything about her would constitute an oxymoron. The only area his daughter out-shone the ladies of the book was her infatuation with modesty. And euphemisms.

One day Little Prude came to her Papa clutching a GLH book in her long-sleeved arms to her buttoned-up sternum. “Papa,” she said sternly. “I can’t be like the women in these books. They are too good. No one can be that good.” To prove her point, she opened the book to a passage on a dog-eared page. Papa winced at this clear violation of book protocol, but wisely decided to choose his battles.

“I know they SEEM too good to be true. But I want to set high ideals for you. I want to give you something to strive for. I want you to have a goal to attain. Prudey, I want you
to reach for the stars!” Papa declared in stirring tones. He glanced at his daughter out of the corner of his eye. She wasn’t buying it. She jabbed her finger at the passage.

“Papa, listen to this part. Sweet Gwendolyn was given a lot of money as a reward for saving the millionaire’s son’s life from the Kaiser’s spies. She gave it all away. Every bit! She kept stumbling over unfortunate-but-pure young women and setting them back on the Road of Virtue. And then when she was going to spend her last few cents on a cup of coffee and a roll, she bumps smack dab into a blind widow with a little lame son who just got kicked out of their home by their evil landlord. And Papa! She gives THEM the last few cents and NEVER GETS HER CUP OF AFTERNOON COFFEE!”
Papa looked in disbelief from his outraged daughter to the book. She DIDN’T GET HER CUP OF COFFEE? What kind of wretched heroine would give up her afternoon cup of coffee? What kind of filth was he exposing his precious child to?

From that day on Papa and The Prude agreed that she would read the books for the sake of a good story, but he would never again use the perverse women therein for role models.

And they lived happily ever after.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Little Prude and the Big Hill

This morning The Prude will change things up, just to keep from getting in a rut. Even a clean, dry, nice-smelling rut can get dull after awhile. In case you hadn’t noticed, Your Prude has a short attention span, which necessitates- say! Do you like how I have started referring to myself as ‘Your Prude’? Over the weekend I plan to delve into my psyche to figure out why I do it.  In the meantime please consider me your own personal Prude.

Today The Prude (I’ll alternate between THE and YOUR to keep things interesting) is going to tell a ‘Once Upon a Time’ story. Get as cozy as you can while reading a story from a computer screen and come along on this fanciful but true voyage.

                                                 The Little Prude and the Big Hill

Once upon a time lived a Little Prude who loved to read. Her Father, the Big Prude, was determined that his children would walk in his prudely ways. So he monitored all reading material for his young prudelings. Although he would allow The Prude to read Nancy Drew, The Happy Hollisters and Trixie Belden, he did so with a sigh. And then he would, with love and sincerity, place a pile of Grace Livingston Hill books in front of his Little Prude.

The Little Prude gobbled up Mrs. Hill’s romance novels. They were filled with action (a daring escape by a secretary in a high-rise office building) suspense (the daring spy work of a young housemaid during WWI) and heroism (daring young man rescues lovely young woman from the clutches of a villain. Who was leering).

One day Little Prude, not always the fastest finger on the trigger, finally noticed that, while the heroines of Mrs. Hill’s books may vary in their hair color (golden-red, red-bronze, bronzed-chestnut, chestnut-gold- NEVER platinum or ebony) they all had similar characteristics.

“All these heroines have dewy fresh complexions!” thought Little Prude. “They would not be caught dead in rouge or pancake powder or lipstick or- heaven forbid!- heavy eye shadow!  Their skin is pure white with a just a hint of a blush on the cheek. Put there by nature, which also graced their sweet little mouths with the sweetest tinge of rosy color!” The Little Prude thought with great guilt of the Bonne Bell strawberry lip smacker in her dresser drawer.

“And just look at their shell pink little nails!  Crimson nail polish would never sully those little moon-shaped fingertips!”  The poor Little Prude sat on her blue fingernails with the unfiled pinky. The ones her aunt said made her look like she was dead. But that matched her polyester pantsuit. And wondered how to achieve shell-pink nails that strong heroes loved to see resting modestly on their arms.

“Modestly! AH-HA!!” thought Little Prude, drawing a deep and cleansing breath. “All the heroines dress modestly! I am just like them!” To the Prude, the ‘70’s word ‘mod’ could only refer to ‘modest’. Little Prude (unbeknownst to most people) actually invented the concept of layering.

But the Little Prude’s happiness was to be short-lived. (Here ends part I. This storytelling format is hard work. We’ll go with the cliffhanger ending)

Please come back tomorrow for the sad ending of the story of ‘Little Prude and the Big Hill.’

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Horrific Hotels/Malevolent Motels

This weekend, (if The Prude can convince her stomach to stop rejecting all incoming food and beverages) we will be staying at a hotel. Or a motel. The Prude has never figured out the difference to her satisfaction.

The Young Prude asked her mother one day, ‘What’s the difference between a hotel and a motel?” Mother Prude turned red and sputtered for words. Immediately The Prude remembered the last time an innocent question had elicited this sort of response. An even Younger Prude had asked, “Where do babies come from?” The answer left Young Miss Prude in a state of trauma for years. So when the hotel/motel question drew blushes and stammers from Mother, Young Prude gasped, ‘Never mind! I don’t really want to know!” and quickly exited the room.

Thus her confusion remains to this day. When The Prude’s children asked the same question with wide and trusting eyes, The Prude responded with the same flushed face and faltering words. Obviously the difference has escaped the family for generations.

But I digress. Have you ever noticed that sometimes Your Prude digresses so far from her original topic that she ends up in an entirely different time zone?

Hotels (we’ll stick with this name in interests of alphabetical priority)- held a certain rose colored charm for The Prude and her siblings when growing up. Color televisions, swimming pools, and tiny wrapped bars of Ivory Soap. Ah-this must be how the rich lived! We didn’t even have to make the bed before we left!

But then The Prude grew up. And as so often happens, those early rose-colored glasses grew brittle with age and developed cracks.

The first crack occurred when a hotel had a default setting on the television. It was the Adult Entertainment Channel. We also discovered it charged hourly rates, and that our socks were so filthy from walking across the carpet that we had to dispose of them. I believe we burned them. And scattered their ashes over the hourly rate hotel.

Crack #2 appeared when we opened the sleeper sofa in a hotel ‘suite’ for our children to rest their weary heads. Out popped a half-smoked cigar.

The next 3 cracks came in quick succession and all but destroyed the rose colored glasses. They included hair (not from the Prudes' heads) on a bathroom floor, a bloody bandage (not from the Prudes' bloodstreams) in a trashcan and an obvious (and aromatic) pet stain (not from the Prudes' dog) in the middle of a floor.

Now The Prude approaches hotels with extreme caution and more extreme suspicion.
She is sure that the only truly clean thing on a toilet with a piece of tape across it is the tape. She suspects that even if the toilet were cleaned, it was nothing more than a swish with a brush below the rim. Unless an 8-legged creature crawls out from under that rim, she is much more concerned with the actual seat and the flush lever, the only parts with which contact is actually made.

She wonders when the bedspread (on which her children are flopped) was last washed.
And do they EVER change the mattress pad? What about the pillows? Didn’t previous guests DROOL on those pillows?

The Prude could continue with questions about the little paper caps on ‘clean’ drinking glasses. Or whether previous guests washed their hands before touching the half-used toilet paper roll leering in the bathroom. She doesn’t even like to imagine scenarios that involve previous guests, with malicious intent, drying themselves with the towels and then neatly rolling them back on the little metal shelves.

The Prude would be happy to hear your hotel/motel horror stories. They may help her convince her husband that they can just sleep in the back of the van this weekend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If I Could Save Time in a (miniscule) Bottle

If The Prude were to tell you that she had a minor bout with stomach flu yesterday, would you know what she meant? Or would you be seized with a mad urge to tell her that it was NOT flu, which is only upper respiratory, but was actually ‘food-borne illness’?

Or would your innards rumble a bit in commiseration? because you too refer to this misery as the flu?
Someday, The Prude will need to make a choice. Correct terminology is critically important to the Prude lexicon, so I may need to make the educated choice and refer to this delicate condition as ‘food borne illness’.  But Family Tradition, being equally important and bearing the weight of several generations of mothers and grandmothers nodding wisely as they cleared the way to the outhouse/water closet/ restroom, set the big Dutch oven with a little water in the bottom next to the bed for up-erps which couldn’t wait for the outhouse/water closet/restroom, and kept saltines and soda pop at the elbow of the person or persons suffering from ’24 hour flu’. (The previous sentence appears to be a fragment. I dare you to figure out how to repair it.)

To continue. The Prude was feeling a bit blech yesterday. This meant she consumed cola (7-Up flu drinkers, don’t hate me. Cola is the Prude Family Flu drink of choice) and crackers and watched daytime TV. As she listlessly flicked through the channels with the remote she saw a commercial that set her heart singing, which immediately caused her fragile stomach to cover its ears and moan pitifully. The Prude quickly reconciled heart and stomach, so she could ponder the commercial.

In it, a well-groomed but harried looking young woman is questioned by a Voice in the Sky. It asks her if she needs more Time to enjoy Life, Living, and Loved Ones. Immediately the young woman’s heart began to sing. (It sounded like ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’). She dashed home and awaited further instructions from the Voice. It told her (The Prude was holding her breath by this time) that if she would pay her energy bill online, she could increase Time spent in and with the 3 L’s listed above!
The next scene showed her clicking her little mouse button to pay her bill, and the commercial of my dreams closed with the no longer harried woman and her loved ones doing some special and loving life activity that The Prude can’t remember.

The Prude shut the TV off as visions of More Time danced in her head, at which point her stomach begged her head to stop dancing or there would be trouble. Gingerly stepping through the office, The Prude timed how long it took to find the energy bill, write out the energy check, place it in the energy envelope, affix a forever stamp and return address label, walk it to the mailbox, put up the flag and walk back into the house.

3 minutes, 24 seconds.

The Prude was a bit deflated. The joy in the harried young commercial woman’s face and the breathless excitement emanating from the Voice in the Sky had led The Prude to expect a slightly larger chunk of time.  However, she was determined to enjoy that extra 3 minutes and 24 seconds she would gain a month. But first she needed to set up the account to pay her bill online.

She sat at the computer, excitement emanating from her fingertips. At which excitement her feeble stomach demanded that if everything was going to keep singing, dancing and emanating, The Prude better Look Out. After a precautionary trip to the restroom, The Prude once again settled down to begin the process that would Save Time. But her feet were chilly. She dug her slippers out of her closet, which necessitated her standing almost on her head which necessitated another cautionary restroom trip, a quick brushing of the teeth and tongue, and a trip to the kitchen to get some precautionary soda and coke. She settled at the computer and began the inevitable tussle with the energy company, its website, password needs and general persnicketiness.

52 minutes later The Prude had used up her More Time from the next 18.8 months. If you have anything fun you want to do with me that takes 3 minutes and 24 seconds, please let me know in June, 2012. Thank you.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Upper GI's

Prudes have been accused of inducing, afflicting and encouraging feelings of guilt in others. ‘Others’ being spouses, siblings, offspring to the 3rd and 4th generation, co-workers, fellow students, fellow church members, politicians, litterers and loiterers.
Of course this is by no means an exhaustive list. A primary Prude duty is to elicit guilt in those who surround us. We proudly refer to ourselves as ‘Unified Prudes Propagating and
Encouraging the Regulation of Guilt Inducement (Upper GI’s).

But please PLEASE don’t for a moment think that Prudes themselves do not experience guilt!  This is a fallacy that needs to be eradicated. Naturally we feel guilt when we have not encouraged enough guilt in others. We know that without guilt there can be no inner turmoil (please don’t try to substitute spicy beef and bean nachos to produce inner turmoil. Prudes are onto that trick)
Inner turmoil leads to self doubt, which leads one to long for inner peace and confidence, which leads that same person by the scruff of the neck to seek ANSWERS, which drags him/her to SOMEONE who knows the all the answers which of course drops them right back at the feet of The Prude who sent them on the journey to begin with. Which is right where we want them.

As you can see from the convolutions of the above paragraph, inner peace is suspect.
When a Prude experiences inner peace, she know something is amiss. There is much too much in the world that requires worry, and if she isn’t worried she just hasn’t dug deeply enough.

So when this Prude-your Prude- woke on a rainy Monday with a feeling of well-being, she immediately began to worry (this is the self-correcting mechanism of Prudes everywhere. It ensures that we are ever vigilant in our search for Things That Need Correction).

She searched her soul and didn’t have to look very far before she located a prodigious pile of unsorted guilt. And digging into that pile (after donning plastic gloves) she discovered the ‘Guilt Over Feeling Happy On Monday’ damp rag. Note- your Prude will develop this analogy of guilt feelings as a pile of laundry more fully in some future post.
Because she is liking it.

Yes, Your Prude is feeling guilty today. Monday. All around her are loved ones packing cold lunches and heading off to work or school, or to the dining room table homeschool, or back to the farm to figure out why the dad-blasted cows keep escaping.
Very few of these loved ones delight in Monday.

But The Prude loves Mondays. She empathizes with the student, the laborer, the teacher. She has Been There, Done That. (except the cow chasing) But she has paid those dues. She now sits luxuriating in front of her computer with a hot mug of coffee, browsing through her worry list to figure out what to tackle first.

But be assured. She feels guilty doing it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Small p people

As a young and idealistic Prude, I loved People. I wanted to help People. Mankind was my favorite kind. I would sing songs like ‘What the World Needs Now, is Love, Sweet Love’, and want to just give the world a big old hug.

Yes, Love for People oozed out of every prudish pore. People with a capital ‘P’, massed together in corporate and anonymous humanity. They were easy to love.  But people? Actual individuals who came in contact with The Prude? Well.

The Prude’s life story is filled with heartbreak and betrayal, most inflicted on her by small ‘p’ people.  Below you will find stories of great suffering. But they need to be told.

1) The Child Prude learned it was wrong (and unsanitary) to stick out one’s tongue. One day, during a rousing game of Tag, The Prude’s older cousin, to avoid a ‘Tag! You’re It!’ jumped in a station wagon and locked the door.  The Prude, already aghast at this clear violation of Tag Rules, approached hyperventilation when the cousin appeared to STICK OUT HER TONGUE! An unwritten Law of Cousins states that if an older cousin does something naughty a younger cousin can:
a) tattle
b) commit the same offense (because 2 wrongs do, of course, make a right)
The Prude, with heady abandon, chose (b). At which point the cousin leapt from her car shouting, “I wasn’t really sticking out my tongue!  I was just pulling down my lip!”
And then the cousin proceeded to option (a).
-This taught The Prude that small p people are unjust. And smart.

2) Another Rule drilled into The Prude’s head was Respect for Elders. This meant all adults were Mr., Miss, Mrs., or, if the adults were particularly close to the family, they were addressed by the courtesy title of Uncle or Aunt.  The Prude Family had a neighbor named Ed. A ‘Call me Ed’ kind of guy. All the neighborhood children called him Ed. With one exception. Yes, to The Prude he was Uncle Ed.
One day, the small Prude came around the corner of the house and met Uncle Ed, trimming his lawn. The Prude looked to the left. She looked to the right. No one was in sight! It was meant to be. She took a deep and daring breath and uttered the forbidden words, “Hi Ed.” At that very moment, THAT VERY MOMENT! The Prude’s big sister came around the corner. She folded her arms, looked down at The Prude and asked dramatically, “WHAT did you just call him?”
-This taught The Prude that small p people would always ALWAYS catch her in the act.

3) The first grade Prude tried, in a gentle and loving manner, to show a friend how to color in the lines. The friend burst into tears and told the teacher. The Prude remained indoors for recess with her head on her desk while she reflected on the lesson learned:
-small p people are ungrateful

4) The eighth grade Prude, in her first foray into law-breaking, (except that piece of Double Bubble she snatched from an Iowa grocery store, which made her throw up, which made her confess to her mother, who made her go back and pay the grocer with her birthday money and beg forgiveness)
Let’s start that sentence again.
The Prude, in her SECOND foray into law-breaking, went toilet-papering with her friends. The Prude and her friends were super-cool cheerleaders at the time, and TP-ing was required for super-cool cheerleaders. Cheerleaders from an opposing team squad got word of our adventure, and, obviously miffed that we were much cooler, threatened to call their fathers, all of whom, coincidently, were chiefs of police.
The Prude’s fellow cheerleaders scoffed and continued with their Scott’s tissue paper crime spree. But not The Prude! She followed behind, removing the Scott’s from bushes, trees and fences, sure that at any moment 7 police chiefs would arrive and place her under arrest.
-This taught The Prude that small p people not only aren’t honest (you won’t believe this, but it turns out that none of those cheerleaders had police chiefs for fathers) but they also leave messes for Prudes to clean up.

There are more stories. I will spend the weekend jotting them down and weeping for my tender sensibilities which were trampled in the mud by small ‘p’ people. Come back next week, because The Prude plans to share with you how she came to be less fond of People as she aged, and much more appreciative of people.

Have a lovely weekend, people!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Too What for WHAT?

It is a dark and dreary morning. The kind of morning that finds The Prude harrumphing and grousing at a world which is rolling along in a highly unsatisfactory manner and merrily ignoring The Prude and her Disapprovals.

The Prude is so grouchy with the naughty world this morning that she is tempted to spend the rest of this post consulting her Thesaurus and listing synonyms for ‘grouchy’ and ‘naughty’. But she will fight the temptation and actually write a post that progresses, and she hopes you appreciate her perseverance.


Humans are born into the world and spend the rest of their lives hearing the phrase ‘You are too old for_________’.  Come with me on a trudge down memory lane, where the phrase ‘too old’ bumped me mercilessly from one stage of life to the next.

-The Prude was happily floating along in her very pregnant mother, 3 weeks overdue and with no intention of going anywhere. Nature said ‘Tough. You are too old for the womb.’ And The Prude was abruptly thrust into a world of bright lights and cold metal.

-The 13-month-old Prude was happily going about performing her duties, clad in her comfy cloth diaper, when her mother said, ‘You are too old for diapers’ and thrust her
onto a cold potty chair.

-The 5-year-old Prude was happily bossing her baby brother and sister, when her parents said, ‘You are too old to stay home anymore’ and thrust her onto a yellow school bus to go to kindergarten where someone else did the bossing.

-The 6th grade Prude and her friend hungrily donned love beads and sashes and granny glasses and went trick-or-treating as hippies. A neighbor said, ‘You girls are too old to trick-or-treat’ and thrust mealy apples into our bags.

-The 13-year-old Prude and her family were on vacation. The hotel said, ‘She is too old to stay for free. You’ll need to pay.’ The Prude’s father thrust his hand in his pockets, and finding them almost empty, cut the vacation short.

-And so it went. The Prude learned that junior high was too old for recess, high school was too old for Nancy Drew, college was too old to be carefree.

-There came a day when her stomach told her she was too old to eat chili dogs, her knees told her she was too old to sit cross-legged on the floor for 3 hours, her brain told her she was too old to memorize large quantities in short periods of time. 

And eventually my entire body will warn me that, while I can still try to hokey pokey, I really am too old for anything but pokey.

Yes, The Prude, without a doubt, disapproves of the phrase ‘Too old’

Yesterday morning The Prude’s uncle was told he was too old for his earthly body, and he was thrust, (albeit gently) into a whole new world, where he was told he would never EVER be told he was too old. Ever again.

But The Prude learned that we are never too old to cry.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fair Warning

The Prude loves to play with words. Take, for example, 'Fair Warning' in a post on the County Fair. She chuckles to herself over the little pun, but in the back of her mind is the niggling idea that she may go overboard someday. If you ever see her drowning in her own metaphors, puns, word plays and (very clean) double entendres, please tell her firmly that you'll rescue her only if she promises to write a disapproving post on Pun Overuse.

Now, without further ado, Part 2 of The Prude Visits the Fair

Itchy Cows are regarded with disapproval. Itches, like yawns, are contagious. After The Prude saw this cow scratching her back with joyous abandon,
she (The Prude) felt itchiness descend on her like the plague. But Prudes do NOT scratch in public.

One doesn't run across young gentlemen playing 2 saxophones simultaneously every day. While The Prude enjoyed the talent and efficiency, she had concerns:

a) the poor boy's lips could stretch beyond the bounds of spring-back-againness, and one day he would find himself unable to firmly get those lips around a straw in his milkshake on his double date.
b) where does this end? Will people start playing 2 violins at a time? 2 harmonicas? 2 bass trombones? 2 CYMBALS???

 When The Prude caught sight of this poor youngster trying to ride the fence bareback, she
could only hope he would eventually realize the health and comfort benefits of:
putting a saddle on that fence before riding off into the sunset.
The flower displays won full approval, tinged only slightly with jealousy
But disapproval came roaring back at the color of the ribbon on this quilt:
What must one do to win a blue ribbon? Sew little bits of the original Constitution in the binding?

 She experienced fear and trepidation when she saw this calf, drinking this much water:
which led to The Prude, realizing it hadn't rained in a long time, giving puddles like this wide berth

County Fairs are enjoyable. The Prude recommends them without hesitation. But to truly experience the Fair, one must walk. A lot. When one isn't skipping and hopping over what are affectionately known as 'cowpies'. (an unfortunate euphemism that ensures The Prude has never partaken in chocolate cream pie)  By the end of the fair my feet hurt, and I was ready to get to the car.
And I couldn't help noticing that while:

The bunny got a ride

and my Bonny got a ride,

and the Blond got a ride,

and even the tractor got a ride,

I had to make my way through the maze of a parking lot to get to my vehicle.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fear at the Fair

The Prude went to a County Fair this weekend.  County Fairs have much to recommend them, and The Prude heartily endorses them on principle. However, she wouldn't be doing her Duty if she didn't warn whoever cares to listen about the dangers that lurk at every County Fair. What follows is graphic, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Even though lecturing 1000 words is a great temptation for The Prude she needs to get some laundry on the line before winter.
This is the sort of person who hangs out at fairs. The sort who swim in pits of you-know-what.
The Prude spent the rest of the fair praying none of her loved ones would spend hours trapped under a cow.

Horses regard one with suspicion,
as do the cows

The Prude tried to warn these innocents about
the dangers of standing behind the back forty of
bovines because-
-bovines leave load mines wherever they roam.

There is food like this,

And like this.
Which creates long lines at-

-Places Like This.  Please note that unless the nether regions in the pit of the earth freeze over, The Prude will not be found perusing Place Like This.

However, as a health conscious mother, The Prude discovered something at the fair that deserves a
'2 Batter Fried Cheese Curds Up' call out.  She learned that the fair has developed a method to keep children healthy even after they have eaten the cotton candy, the fried pickles, the funnel cakes, and half-a-dozen $1 malts.  The Fair just provides rides like this:
And lets Nature and Gravity do the rest.

Tomorrow: Fear at the Fair part II- because the world needs more fair warnings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The 1970's: A split decision

The Prude’s husband this past weekend proved he is more than a pretty half-face (the other half being covered by facial hair). He reminded The Prude that in the 1970’s, we used the term ‘Split Personality’ to refer to those whose personalities were split.

(Please note that The Prude will be engaging in a little whimsy here as she personifies the 1970’s as if it were a real person with a Split Personality- sort of like anthropomorphizing that 10 years but much easier to spell.)

The Split Personality Syndrome of 70’s was a direct result of being sandwiched between:
the 1960’s, the decade draped in love beads and peering through a haze of funny-smelling smoke to see whether that person with the long hair and wearing velvet pants and a frilly shirt was a boy or a girl,
AND (hang on, this sentence is heading somewhere)
the 1980’s, which encouraged the wearing of little alligators on shirts and sweaters and the consumption of vast quantities of money.

This understandably left the 70’s with an Identity Crisis, a sort of cosmic Inferiority Complex.  This led to wild mood swings for the decade, which led to bizarre over-reactions contained within that 120-month span, such as:

-Let’s have a TV show about a lovely lady bringing up 3 very lovely girls!
-NO!!!!! Let’s have a show about an unseen millionaire who HIRES 3 very lovely girls, let’s call them angels, and let’s send them dangerous missions clad in bikinis!

-Let’s have a great, thumping anti-war song sung by a big strapping guy, and, for clarity’s sake, let’s call it ‘WAR’!
-NO!!!!!!! We want a song that features romantic rodents, and we want it called ‘Muskrat Love’.

-We want pants that flap around teenager’s ankles, are bell-shaped, and, for clarity’s sake, are called ‘bell bottoms’
-ARE YOU CRAZY! What we really want is to remove 90% of the fabric from bell bottoms and make them into hot pants!

-Well then, how about we balance everyone and their Elton John on 9” soles and call them platform shoes?
-Good Grief, what are you thinking? That’s like handing the 1980’s an entire chiropractic industry on a platter! The 80’s will be rich enough- let’s fool them and make negative-heeled Earth Shoes!

-If we really want to show the 80’s that we’re a buff and healthy decade, let’s have athletes swim a couple of miles, bike a couple hundred kilometers and run a marathon, all without a break! And for clarity- let’s call it the IRONMAN!
-Nah. If we really want to prove what great shape we are in, let’s have grown men shed their outer AND undergarments and dash about in their birthday suits! We’ll call it STREAKING!

-ICK! GROSS  I’m going crazy! Can’t we agree on anything? Like- maybe long rows of fresh-bowled veggies in restaurants? We’ll call them salad bars!
-Ok, but only if we can invent Ranch Dressing for people to completely douse those vegetables.

-We want to rejuvenate the science fiction genre! We’ll start a series of 3 great movies and call them ‘Star Wars’!
-Maybe. But you have to guarantee me that 20 years later we can make 3 more truly horrible Star Wars movies and utterly confuse an entire generation by naming them ‘Episodes I, II, and III’.

At this point the 1970’s tabled its discussion with itself. It was time to feed its Pet Rock.

DISCLAIMER: The Ironman actually only consists of a 180.25 kilometer bike ride. Once again The Prude was exercising her Poetic License.

TOMORROW: Disapproval at the County Fair

Friday, September 10, 2010

The 1970's- Don't Let The Show of the Same Name Fool You

The previous millennium had many good decades to commend it. (The Prude isn’t inclined to do a great deal of research in the morning, so decades indicated are approximate).

The 1920’s – (The Prude used a dash there because of grammatical uncertainty- is 1920’s singular or plural?)  a constitutional wonderland, with amendments flying around the country to give women the vote and not let them do so under the influence of alcohol.

The 1930’s and the Depression- when dresses that had been scandalous the previous decade moped themselves modestly back around the calves, and young people who had been flapping and smooching in public and drinking hard liquor out of bathtubs had to return home to loving and forgiving moms and dads, too broke to live it up, so they had to get all sober and muscular for:

The 1940’s, when America’s men and women worked shoulder to shoulder around the world to fight for freedom, which subsequent freedom was the chief enabler for:

The 1950’s, which may be half a century ago, but not forgotten, as women with names like Lady GAGA (I’m not making that up) imitate Marilyn Monroe and most people born in the current century are familiar with Ricky and Lucy, who were divorced by:

The 1960’s.  This was not a good decade for Prudes. I refuse to give it any publicity here,
other than to blame it for:

The 1970’s.

The Prude will need to spend at least one more post on the 70’s.  This was supposed to be a one-post topic but she was carried away by the winds of yesteryear, and her lead-in to the eighth decade (that is correct- the 1970’s were the 8th decade-count on your fingers if you don’t believe me) suddenly became 6 paragraphs long.

The 1970’s.  It wasn’t all bad. David Cassidy, The Prude’s first boyfriend, steered into her heart in a multi-colored bus, causing her to purchase gallons of Love’s Baby Soft cologne with her 50-cent-an-hour babysitting money, which she wore while eating pizza rolls and sneering at Bobby Sherman in Tiger Beat magazine.

But, as we know, this is not a commendation post.  The Prude remembers plenty about the 70’s and much of it needs to be Put In Its Place. 

So return Monday as The Prude conducts an in-depth analysis of what she is calling The Schizophrenic Era.  And when you return, don’t be surprised if I have, after considerable research, come up with a more appropriate term for it.  I did take college psychology in the 1970’s, after all.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Push for Clarity

The Prude’s family needs her this morning, which means she can spend very little time hurrumphing and naysaying and frowning through the daily disapproval.  Instead she will tell a small tale from her childhood. It is a cautionary tale.  It is a tale that deals with euphemisms at cross-purposes.

The Prude is an advocate of the euphemism, as detailed at length somewhere in the archives of this blog. But sometimes the euphemism can come back and bite one in the pooket. What follows is a true story of a pooket-biting euphemism. The Prude sincerely hopes no one takes offense at some of the explicit language to follow.

When The Prude was quite young, she and her little sister, for some reason lost in the fogs of time, were visiting Aunt Betty for an extended stay.  It is important to know that the inner workings of The Prude Family stomachs tend to be on the shy side, especially in our formative years.  Our digestive systems were delicate flowers, easily upset by the slings and arrows of outrageous water softeners, spices other than cinnamon, and meat from any animal that didn’t moo or cluck.

This particular visit was particularly painful for The Prude’s sister, and henceforth for Aunt Betty.  Aunt Betty had fed her little niece diligently, but noticed that, while food was going into the child, nothing seemed to be coming out. The situation reached a crisis when The Prude’s little sister curled herself into a tight ball on Aunt Betty’s guest bed and howled for 2 straight days.  Aunt Betty was desperate. Although she had a pretty good idea that the Little Sister’s restroom visits had been unproductive, she needed to be sure.  She summoned The Prude, and thus began one of the worst verbal exchanges in the
Prude’s history.

(To get the full effect of the following, please picture Little Sister, her face reddish-orange and shiny, wailing and groaning while clutching her stomach; Aunt Betty sweating and wringing her hands, and The Prude perched on the edge of the bed, mumbling and wishing herself anywhere else in the universe.)

Aunt Betty: ‘Sweetheart, you little sister hasn’t-um- seemed to use the potty in the last few days.  Do you know if she has?’
Prude: ‘No’
Aunt Betty: ‘What do you call-um-the stuff in the potty? I need to ask her if she has done it’
Prude: ‘Don’t know’
Aunt Betty:  ‘Brown pieces?’
Prude (tiny voice): ‘no’
Aunt Betty: ‘Poop?’
Prude (hesitates): ‘noooo….’
Aunt Betty (inspired): BIG pieces?
Prude (in no uncertain terms): ‘No’
Aunt Betty (getting desperate): “Chunks? Stinkies? Droppings? Waste product? BOWEL MOVEMENT?’
Prude (in utter horror): ‘NO! NO! YUCK!’

The Prude ran from the room with her fingers shoved up against her eardrums to drown out any other descriptions Aunt Betty may have blurted, leaving her aunt and sister
to screech at each other on the guest bed.

Time has mercifully also fogged over how or when my sister and Aunt Betty resolved this calamity.  All The Prude knew was that she would rather have died than reveal the
term The Family Prude used to refer to the outworkings of the incomings of food:

The Prude recommendation of the day:
 Next time you leave your child for any length of time with anyone other than members of your household, make sure to leave a list of your euphemisms and their translations.
Or things could get stinky.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jungle Fever

Any fully mature Prude considers redundancy and repetitiveness to be anathema.  In other words, good Prudes dislike poor paragraph structure.  Which is why The Prude comes before you today with head bowed in shame. In re-reading yesterday’s post, she sees that she used the phrase ‘at this point’ 3 times in 5 sentences.  This is unacceptable.   Obviously The Prude was off her game.  (Unless, of course, it is an early manifestation of dementia.)

And this brings us to the point of today’s post (please notice I didn’t say ‘at this point’).
The Prude’s proofreading left something to be desired yesterday because her son called to inform her that he was ill.  With a fever. And a headache. And a sore neck.  And of course (at this point) The Prude realized he must have Meningitis and she spent the rest of the day calling him and waking him from a sound sleep to have him check if he could bend his head to his chest.

The Prude is a hypochondriac. A RAGING HYPOCHONDRIAC.  She can trace it back to watching ‘Marcus Welby MD’ when she was an extremely innocent 11-year-old Prudling, convinced she had syphilis. She couldn’t understand her mother’s reaction to the disclosure (unmitigated hilarity). The Prude learned quickly that hypochondriacs do not watch medical dramas.  She has never seen 'St. Elsewhere', 'Doogie Howser MD', 'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman', 'Scrubs', 'Grey’s Anatomy' or 'House'. 

The condition grew exponentially worse during childbearing and rearing.  During pregnancy, 2 simultaneous kicks in opposite directions meant the baby must have 4 legs. As the children grew (with only 2 legs apiece) she spent many hours diagnosing their symptoms.
Not thirsty? Rabies.  Too thirsty? Type 2 diabetes.
Too long a nap? Sleeping sickness.  Not tired? Insomniac.
Pale and tired? Jungle fever.  Cheeks too rosy? Tuberculosis.
A rash could mean scabies, a sore was leprosy, and swollen lymph nodes must be elephantiasis.

Hypochondria, left unchecked, develops a related condition as yet un-named. We can call it Worst-Case-Scenariosis.  If my child walked near the edge of the Grand Canyon I was convinced a landslide would occur at that very moment at the very place the child stood. I would debate the propriety of checking the batteries in the smoke and carbon detectors at homes where my children participated in sleepovers, and sweeping the area for radioactive materials. Swimming in a pool could expose them to chlorine-resistant bacteria, swimming in lakes meant unknown creatures could nibble their toes, rivers had currents, the ocean had riptides and Jaws.

A whole new world of anxiety opened when they learned to drive.  Instructions included:
‘Watch out for deer and drunk drivers and wild turkeys that fly into your windshield’
‘It is windy today. Don’t drive alongside semis- they will tip over on you.’
‘It is raining today. Don’t hydroplane, and watch for hippo-sized potholes to open in the road under you.’
‘It is snowing today. Stay home till May.’

The Prude has mercifully restrained from steering you into the entire iceberg of symptoms and what-ifs. She has only jabbed you with the tip.  If you are feeling a little sore and tender right now, be warned.  You may have rickets.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Early this summer, a mommy and daddy mosquito and their 2.3 million babies went looking for a nice place to live. They spotted The Prude’s garden and it looked like the right place to raise a family. But on their initial buzz-through they couldn’t help noticing that The Prude squashed a good 950 of their precious little ones who were frolicking, as children are wont to do, on her arms. legs, lips and ears.  So they filed a restraining order against her, effectively keeping her at least 20 feet away from the garden and the growing family. 

Until this past weekend.  A mighty wind came along and blew them due east (my apologies to Schenectady). The Prude could finally don her gardening gloves, take up hoe and snippers and set out to pull weeds and pick produce. 
These photos show the size of the Weed pile, and the size of the produce pile.
(If you look closely at the Weed pile you may notice some flowers and bean stems mixed in.  They obviously gave up the fight and went to the winning side.)
If you are observant, and I think you are, you will notice they Weed pile’s total domination over the produce pile in mass, profusion, and density. The truly alert reader will also notice ‘Weed’ at this point has attained capital letter status.

You may be expecting at this point to read of Weed Disapproval.  Aber, nein! (‘But no!’ for those of you who didn’t take 3 years of high school German, or watch ‘Hogan’s Heroes’)  The Prude recognizes superior beings when she picks them, and obviously Weeds are superior in almost every way to the measly garden vegetable.

Garden produce is the green thumbs down for the day.

Let’s do a little compare and contrast:
We don’t have to buy weeds,
BUT we pay for those fancy little seed packs with pictures of impossibly lush vegetables on the front.
We don’t have to plant weeds,
BUT we are supposed to sow those little vegetable seeds 1/8” deep and thin them to 12” spacing when they are 6” high.  This leads one to believe only mathematicians can garden.
We don’t need to fertilize weeds,
BUT vegetables require correct ph levels in the soil, organic or chemical compounds and/or unpleasant piles of compost.
Weeds have a strong ego and sense of self, and flourish in the most adverse conditions,
BUT garden produce constantly needs its self-esteem staked, its self confidence watered and its self image Miracle-Gro’d.

Weeds. With a capital Dubya. Why do we fight them? Come with me, embrace the Weed.  Let the doughty Midwestern farmer, with his manure spreader, cultivator, tractor and combine harvester provide you with produce.  Join The Prude. Let us google ‘weed recipes’ together.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Photo Ode to Labor Day (with text bumped inconveniently to the end)





TREE TRIMMER (get it? Think 'Spanx' )




For Labor Day (although The Prude, while affirming labor AND days, believes a day in which we are not to go to work should be called Cease-Labor Day) we have posted some photos in honor of the hard working men, women and animals of America. 
The Prude would so much appreciate if you would help her out and title the job described in the final photo (above). She was going to label it 'Hillbilly Chair Tester', but did not think it very amusing, and is ever-so-slightly concerned about offending any hillbillies who may read her blog. 
I look forward to your contributions and beg you to return Tuesday when we regain our rhythm of disapproval.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Frogs on Windshields

You may look at the title and think, ‘There goes The Prude, bashing nature again.’  And then The Prude steps in to plead her case, to whit:

-    Before The Prude’s various menfolk head out to mow the lawn in relentlessly neat rows, she (going with 3rd person pronouns today in honor of ‘Thursday Variety Day’) has been known to yoo-hoo and stamp around the yard, warning small toads and frogs to hie themselves away to non-grassy areas lest they be compacted, diced and spewn out for mulch.

-    In her college days, The Prude and her roommates, one soft and drizzly spring evening, took a walk down a quiet road, having heard that rain was good for the complexion and more economical than Clearasil. As we (they? they) As they moseyed along, saturating their pores, they noticed a lone toad ever so slowly trying to cross the road.  The roommates feared for the toad.  At any moment a vehicle could come along and extinguish its little life right before the open-pored coeds.  Since coeds of this type and nature Did Not Handle Toads, they took turns nudging it across the street with their late 70’s style shoes.  Somewhere between the center line and the safety of the opposite ditch the coeds noticed the toad no longer responded to their nudges. They beat a hasty retreat, leaving the warty corpse a victim of good intentions and clunky shoes.

This all should convince you that, when The Prude was driving her vehicle last night and minding her own business, looking through her own windshield, only to see a three-inch frog staring back at her, she bore it no malice.

At this point we should address with some anxiety the threat of small frogs dropping from the sky onto the windshields of the innocent.  We should, but we’ll save it for another day when The Prude is running on empty for ideas.

The frog clung to the windshield all along the 3-lane highway, adjusting its position occasionally but never taking its bulgy eyes off The Prude. It practically dared her to turn on the windshield wipers.  Whenever her hand would, of its own accord, creep toward that lever, the frog would blink at her.

The Prude and the frog rode along at this impasse all the way through the city: the frog glaring and daring, The Prude twitchy and neurotic. 

Then the duo reached a country road.  The frog’s demeanor changed.  It sniffed the air from where The Prude assumes its nostrils to be. It heard the Call of the Wild from where its ears lurked. Its muscles tensed.  So did The Prude’s.  She knew what was coming. She moaned, but to no avail.  Sneering, the frog relieved itself on the windshield. Twice.

Then, before The Prude could shout out a warning, the frog took a giant leap into the air.  From a vehicle going 57 miles an hour. Nothing was left but the trail of ick from its backside.

Somewhere, if there is an amphibian afterlife, a toad and a small frog are comparing notes on who or what done them in and how they plan to get even.  Henceforth, The Prude plans to carry an umbrella.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Heaps o' Approval

(Today’s title is in honor of Edgar Guest, The Prude’s father’s favorite poet.  If you know and enjoy Edgar’s poetry, drop a few consonants in his honor today. And rejoice with me over singular possessives.)

Today we continue learning why POVERTS (Political Advertisements) have worked their way into The Prude’s heart (of hearts).

II  A Personal Endorsement of POVERTS

    A.     The Prude’s Guilt is Assuaged
        (If I offended anyone with my slipshod lack of indentation for  A,B,C & D yesterday, I ask            forgiveness and your note of the indent presence today.)
 POVERTS never demand that I look deep into the corners of my kitchen to find dirt and grime, nor do they require me to look closely in the mirror to seek out new wrinkles. They don’t make me feel guilt over saturated fats, chubby puppies or crabgrass.  No- POVERTS are too busy making  Those Running Against the Candidate feel guilty.  The Prude loves few things more than deferred guilt.
    B.    The Prude’s Vanity is Pampered
        When the Candidate looks directly out of the flat screen TV and into The Prude’s eyes, and huskily and sincerely tells The Prude how discerning and intelligent The Prude is, and how she can’t be fooled by who(whom?)ever disagrees with the Candidate…this sentence is turning into one of those syntax corners The Prude referred to early on, into which she has a tendency to paint herself.  Since she sees no way out she will drop the paintbrush and simply begin a new sentence.)
        The Prude has to agree with the tidy and well coiffed Candidate.  She IS intelligent and discerning, and she spends the rest of the day performing discerning deeds and making intelligent remarks.

    C.    The Prude’s Pocketbook is Unscathed
        The best part about the POVERT is that it doesn’t beg for The Prude’s money.  Because, as alluded to yesterday, when one reads the fine print on the bottom of the flat screen, it says, ‘PAID FOR by the something to elect so-and-so to such-and-such’.

 There are only about 9 weeks left this year before the November elections in which to glory in the beauty of POVERTS and The Prude intends to enjoy every minute and every advertisement.  She will also fantasize about a world in which she can send all her bills to the Something to Elect So-and-So to Such-and-Such and they come back marked  ‘PAID FOR’.

Tomorrow: A return to disapproval