Nellie and Nanny – Chapter One

My name is Nellie and I am 50+ years old. I am one inch tall. I was created as a party favor to sit on top of a cake for a baby shower. I wonder if that makes me a party doll? I am called Nellie Baby.

I am created out of peach-colored plastic. I look like a baby. My arms are outstretched and my molded body has the imprint of a diaper. I wonder if this means I have been sitting in the same diaper all my life?

I wonder about a lot of things, like where Nanny’s brother is at this moment? He is brother number two of three, aka Brothers Grimm Number 2, aka BG2. I have nightmares about BG2. Did you know he destroyed an entire package of Nelly Babies? Also Nanny’s doll, Mary Ann, was found down in the bottom of a two-holer outhouse! But those are stories for a later time. This story is about how Nanny and I met.

Every weekday morning, from the age of four until she started kindergarten, Nanny would go to Catholic Mass with her grandmother Florida Gregoirre Lemire. She doesn’t remember much of it, except being bored and restless, with all the standing up, sitting down and kneeling. The hardest part was communion where she had to kneel the entire time. To entertain herself, she would see how close to the edge of the kneeling pads she could get and still be on it. Grandma Flora put the kibosh on that when one time she got too close to the edge, and with a lot of noise, she fell off right during the quietest time of the Mass.

“Now you behave yourself, now you kneel quietly, now stop that wiggling, now shame on you,” grandma yipped and niggled in, her French Canadian accent. Mon Dieu! After that, going to Mass was something Nanny laboriously endured.

That’s when I came into her life. I don’t know why I was lying on my back near a garbage can in a back alley. As usual, my arms are outstretched and my legs are in the air like I’m waiting for my diaper to be changed. I don’t remember how long I had been lying like that, with the endless Portland rain falling on me. It was cold, but good thing I’m just plastic, because I didn’t feel it and I didn’t melt.

Nanny said when she spied me in the dirt, she let go of her grandmother’s hand and dashed across the alley and picked me of. “Now don’t you go running off! Now what did you pick up? Now throw that dirty thing away!” But Nanny didn’t, she kept me tight in her hand, not even daring to take a look at her treasure.

After that day, Nanny was a quiet girl in Mass. She and her Nellie Baby (me) quietly walked every ledge Nanny could reach and that I could stand upright on, without having to be held. We two had such adventures and travelled many horizons. We were inseparable for many years, until BG2 found me and I don’t really know what happened after that.

I was found again, fifty years later. We have talked over old times and those we will share with you. Nanny said I was the reason she began collecting miniatures. I still wonder about things, like if my arms will ever relax at my sides or if BG2 will ever find out Nanny found me again or ….

Sometimes Things Just Happen That Way – “So Who Are You?”

A few years back I went to a conference on wetlands and water resources. When my coleague and I arrived, the guest speaker had just begun. I put my bag down and was about to go and get a cup of coffee and a danish, when this gentleman across the table said, “Hello Leanne.”

I said hello back and said I was going to get coffee. I couldn’t place the man. Who was he? We had just hired a new chemist to analyze the lake waters that I had been collecting.  Maybe that was him? No?

I came back and checked his name tag. It was the last name that I finally recognized .. it was my ex.

“Oh,” I thought. “I am so over him.”

Sometimes Things Just Happen That Way…

Losing Credibility

This is a second hand story, or maybe third hand, but it was told to me by a friend. I think about it on occasion and sometimes I laugh and sometimes I wonder about where in wherever the human race came up with some of the choices they make.  Tonight, I am laughing.  Sorry to the lady who had to endure this.

This woman, manager of some big corporate project, going full tilt with full on excitement and intent. Many people look to her for inspiration and direction. This powerhouse of a woman is heading down an aisle between some desks and does not see that one of the desk drawers is sticking out.

In her power suit, she flies head over high heels, and lands with one leg sitting at a very wrong angle. Her leg was broken. The thing is, she lost all her credibility with her co-workers. I know they felt bad for her, but when she was flying through the air, she let escape a very long and loud fart.

It’s not fair that something like this would define a person, but sometimes things just happen that way.

A Yappy Way of Knowledge, by Dog Juan

I believe ancient knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation of the canine ilk. It is why most dogs are happy. They can eat the same food every day of their lives and have pretty much the same routine day after day. Yet if you ask them if they want to go potty, or go upstairs or go downstairs, or have a treat or a bath or get their vaccinations, they are happy. They are ecstatically, stupidly happy, at least until they see the bath water running. But even after that’s over, they will cavort and romp, no matter how old they are. Dogs are happy.

No one really knows who Dog Juan really was, but he established the “Yappy Way of Knowledge.” According to legend Dog Juan gifted dogs with a daily dish of his top ten kibbles to chew on. These are not in any particular order, but they are guaranteed to make any dog’s life happy. These kibbles are: Love, Bark, Eat, Sleep, Poop, Scratch, Procreate, Check your P-mail, Roll in stinky stuff, Find your spot.

So, let’s talk about them checking their p-mail. What is the first thing a dog usually does when out an about? You got it, they smell garbage cans, trees, tires or whatever that smells great and gives them information. Then they pee their reply on top of it. So let’s say I take my Shih Tzu Luke, and my Shih Tzu/Pekinese Chewy to the off leash park down by the airport. Oh the joy on their faces to be there and immediately they start their p-mail rounds. What they learn could be something along these lines:

C: “Hey Luke! Guess who’s prego?”

L: “Who?”

C: “Lady Dane!”

L: “Woof!”

C: “And guess who the puppy daddy is?”

L: “Who?”

C: “That annoying little Chihuahua.”

L: “Wonder how that happened?” A little while later, Luke says to Chewy, “Guess who got fixed?”

C: “Who?”

L: “That annoying little Chihuahua!”

I have read some of the works by Carlos Castaneda, who studied under Don Juan D’Marcos, a Yaqui wise man. Now I am not saying there is any correlation between Don Juan and Dog Juan, but I prefer to believe that Don Juan had a dog that sat at his feet and learned from him like the devotee it was.

The Fairy Journals – Chapter 1

I love gardening and even when it’s winter, I pour through seed catalogs and spend countless hours at the local Barnes & Noble trying to figure out ways to make my small plot of land productive and pretty. In the spring, I have a plant and seed swap with my neighbors and friends. In the summer, I nibble my way through the cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and peas that grow in my small garden plot. It feels good to be in and amongst the flowers and plants. My gardens include rocks, a toad house, a butterfly house, hummingbird feeders, birdbaths and a couple of whimsical fairy figurines.

I share my small house and yard with a fat cat and a small dog. My yard is not fenced, so the cat is tethered when she is out. Emma doesn’t mind; she’d rather be tethered then stuck in the house. Chewie, my 14 pound dog, is leashed and the end of the leash is hooked to the belt loop on my jeans. He doesn’t mind either; he’d rather follow me around then be stuck in his kennel.

One particular day, while puttering around in my garden, I noticed the cat straining against her leash to get at something near the shed. Whatever it was, it held her attention. Then she let out a yowl and jerked back away from whatever it was she had been studying. She began to hiss and growl and soon her fur stuck straight out until she looked like a painting done by the schizophrenic painter, Louis Wain.

I stood up, stretched out my back, and wandered over to see what she was so intently staring at. Normally Emma is perfectly content to lie in the sun in the grass or perch on my neighbor’s retainer wall, surveying everything around her. I assumed it was one of the chipmunks that had forced her to leave her lofty domain. The chipmunks in my neighborhood know the cat’s leash limitations and they chatter and taunt her just out of reach. They would be even braver if they knew Emma didn’t have front claws.

When I looked at what the cat was so enthralled over, I thought it was a small ragged and dirty doll lying in the grass. I reached down to pick it up and my hand suddenly felt as if it had been jabbed with a needle. When I looked at my hand, indeed there was a needle protruding from the palm. Attached to the needle was a long dirty thread, and just as I was about to pull it out, it sprung away back to the ground. There was a bead of blood where the needle had just vacated. I calculated in my mind how long it had been since my last tetanus shot.

I looked more cautiously down at the thing on the ground and saw it moving. I was about to pick it up when I noticed another movement just to the right of it. My hand froze, first in caution and second in shock. This wasn’t just a discarded doll, but a tiny human like creature. Actually there were two of them, one of them holding a damned darning needle, poised and ready to strike again. In response to a tiny high-pitched wail, I turned to look at the first one again. In that instant, I knew that what I was seeing would forever change my concept of our logical, over analyzed and over researched world.

I started to cry. I mean, I didn’t sob, but my eyes blurred with tears. I love whimsy and if there could truly be fairies or little people, I would be ecstatic. I don’t know why some of us wish for fantasy or enchantment, but here they were in my backyard by my shed.

My first thought was that I had been in the sun too long and that I was seeing things, but then I reasoned that it was my cat that had seen them first. Regardless, here they were. The little man crouched close to the woman who was lying on her back in the grass. He never took his eyes off of me for a second, yet he assured her by his presence. She keened again and I bent down a little closer, ever cautious and aware of the man’s weapon, not wanting to get my eye poked. She gripped her very swollen belly.

“Pregnant? Was she in labor? Where were they from and what had gotten them in this predicament to be caught out in the open like this?” I wondered. Then Chewie, my dog, ran up and I had to hold him back. I think he would have loved making a snack out of them both. “How do I protect them and how could I get them out of harm’s way and not get stabbed again?”

I had been thinking how Chewie eats first and regrets later, never seeming to weigh the danger of his actions. Yet with lightening speed, I dropped my hat on the little man, picked up the little woman and swooped the hat back up, making sure he couldn’t get out. Obviously I was as thoughtless as my dog, when at that moment I could see the needle being jabbed here and there through the cloth of the hat.

Chewie had no choice but to follow me as I dashed into the house and set them gently down on the kitchen cabinet. If their expressions were at all human, they were very frightened. It was obvious she wouldn’t be able to go anywhere quickly, and the little man appeared to be fierce and brave enough to stay with her. Kudos to him.

The keening began again and it was not long before the tiny baby was born. I had gone to the basement and found a discarded birdcage. I didn’t know what else to do and they needed some kind of protection and shelter. By the time I had cleaned the cage out and grabbed a wash cloth and run back upstairs, there was a tiny pink infant, about the size of a new born gerbil lying in her arms.

These little people aren’t really fairies but I didn’t learn that until later. I had been writing down the events that had occurred and by the time I found out who and what they were, the term Fairy just stuck. So here they are, “The Fairy Journals.”

Sometimes Things Just Happen This Way – Bob the Stupid Boss

During this economic downturn that we have been experiencing for the passed few years, I have had to work numerous temporary positions to tide me over until something more reliable came around. Some of the jobs have been fabulous, like working in another state and being paid to stay in a great hotel, with per diem and being able to bring along my two pups. Other jobs … well … not so good. One of them was for a mortgage company where I tried to get the homeowners set up on some kind of plan so they could ride out this rececession and still keep their homes (now that was bogus).

That mortgage job was bad, really really bad, but I stuck with it for the entire contract (I still have nightmares). The boss there was “Bob the Stupid Boss” aka “Stupid.” He started the same day the group of us did, yet we were never told that he was going to be our supervisor, or stupidvisor. So Stupid, with a slight strut that was supposed to make him look sophisticated and confident, keeps himself aloof as he takes the tour along with the rest of us. I never spoke to him during the tour, but I instantly did not like him and wondered whether he could feel my “I don’t like you” vibes that were eminating from my being.

I could go on about how he hadn’t a clue what he was doing, how he specifically told us that “what was true yesterday was not necessarily true today.” (Now really, how are we supposed to help the homeowners when things were changed so quickly and without announcement?) Stupid was also a bully and a tyrant and had people walk out on him in the middle of their shift. Now I’m going to get to the good part.

Bob the Stupid Boss came over to assist my co-worker. He crouched down beside her so as to “be her peer” and to enable him to listen to her telephone conversation with the homeowner.  He crouched too low and wound up looking up at her, which wouldn’t do if he was trying to show authority along with being an equal. Stupid had to be satisfied with a half crouch and half stand, that made him look like a bow-legged rooster.

When the conversation was over and Stupid finished with his patent “at the end of the day blah … blah … blah … ,” he tried to gracefully come to a full stand and turn back toward his office. Instead, his chicken legs would not allow him that move. His upward turn was not as tight as it should have been and his angle of departure was a bit off. Stupid came within a hair’s breadth of smacking his beak into the forgotten support post behind him. Nearly kissing the concrete, he set himself upright and quickly skittered away.

It’s my only good memory of the place. I was told that a week after I was gone security arrived in the middle of the day and escorted Stupid out of the building. When the door shut behind him, the entire office applauded.

Sometimes things just happen this way.

Dogs on the Catwalk – Mel-O-Glaze Bakery

Angie and I had gone to get a cup of coffee and a donut at the Mel-O-Glaze Bakery in South Minneapolis. Neither of us had been there before, but she had read about it in the paper and that the place had good donuts. She bought two glazed and I bought one. The coffee was from a drip pot, and nothing could have tasted better with these donuts.

We sat at the bistro tables on the corner of 28th & Minnehaha Parkway, sipping our coffee and murmuring our “yum’s” over these fabulous donuts. The bakery has been family owned for four generations, and their donuts are mouth-watering.

As we sat there enjoying our treats at the outdoor tables, a gentleman walked by with his dog.

“Angie!” I said. “Look at that dog!”

It was small, fluffy, blue-eyed with black and white markings that reminded me of Shirley MacLain’s movie “Victor/Victoria.” Right down the middle of his nose was the delineation between the black and white.

The gentleman went in to get his own fix of coffee and donuts. I followed him in to get my second donut. When I came back to the table, Angie was engaged in conversation with the man and I learned the dog was a Sheltie, Edie the Sheltie, and quite well mannered. We both resisted the urge to squeeze it.

The gentleman left and we sat quietly in the early summer sunshine. Then a woman walked by with a West Highland Terrier, once again well-mannered. I have two small dogs of my own and they definitely are not as well behaved as the ones around here. We chatted with the woman, who told us her story of Sophie. She too went on her way.

Our corner view was definitely becoming interesting. We could see from all sidewalk directions and the dogs on leashes came and went. It wasn’t until a young woman came from across the street toward us, that I began to wonder if this entire scene had been staged. It was all too perfect.

As the tree branches arched over the sidewalk, dappling the pavement with sunlight, a slight breeze scattered the first lime-green leaf petals ahead of the woman as she walked with her dog. The woman was pretty and her pup was perfect. She held the leash exact and they both stepped lightly into the crosswalk.

“This is like watching a dog show,” Angie said, as she made herself more comfortable.

“Yes,” I said. “Or maybe like models on a runway, with their dogs.”

“Isn’t a runway called a catwalk?” Angie mused.

“What irony,” I said. “Dogs on the Catwalk.”

Angie has a better memory than I do, but neither of us could remember all of the owners and their dogs. We decided not even bother to with the owner’s names, just their fabulous dogs. There was Edie the Sheltie and Sophie the Westie, to start. Then there was Finn the Collie mix, Buddy, the tall and black, and Cato the Shepherd mix.

I love the stories that people tell me about their dogs. Most of them were ones they had rescued, either at a shelter or the Humane Society. Since Angie and I were together at the Mel-O-Glaze bakery, I have been keeping track of them and will share as time permits.

Sometimes Things Just Happen This Way – Chapstick

I bought this little house in Lauderdale, MN back in the early 2000’s. My daughter Aeriel, a friend of hers and I went to Menards to find her a floor rug for  her bedroom. Aeriel and Beth ran off to look around, while I perused the racks and discussed each item with the store assistant.

It was winter and my lips were very chapped. While I was talking to the gentleman, I not only covered my lips with chapstick, but I made sure the edges were also coated. I even rubbed it in deeply to about an inch around the outside of my lips. They really were chapped.

As is my nature, I engage in good hearted banter and kept him laughing. when Aeriel and Beth came running up, Aeriel, in a very stern voice said, “Mom! What are you doing?”

“I think I found a rug for you!” I said excitedly.

“No.” She said. “Look in the mirror!”

I looked in the mirror. I had used my lipstick, not my chapstick and it was smeared all around my mouth and lips. I asked the assistant why he hadn’t said anything (he had laughed quite a bit at my humor and now I think he was really laughing at my clown face). He just said he thought I liked it like that.

Sometimes things just happen this way.

Sometimes things just Happen this way – Falling In Love

i had this dream last night that i finally found a potential “man of my dreams.” fully clothed, we kissed and tousled in a sunny park. then i noticed that Mr. MOMD (man of my dreams) was completely limp and unresponsive. i was so surprised that i awoke from my dream and realized i was kissing my down comforter and i had a really dry mouth.