Friday, January 11, 2008

Advice from Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew, girl detective. The books were first written in the 1930’s and are a great read today. My daughter and I read a few of them together and still chuckle over some of the language used. Nancy would take a ride in her “roadster” and attend “luncheons” where “gelatin” was served.

Apparently I missed the advice to live by that could be found in her books. As a pre-teen I was not a Nancy Drew reader which would be one reason for my missing this valuable information. But I can make up for the important deficit in my life skills because of the Nancy Drew Guide to Life I found in Barnes & Noble. In case you, too, missed out on these important Nancy Drew gems, I will share some of them with you. Brace yourself as your life may never be the same!

Nancy offers simple but helpful advice about certain situations one may encounter. In Mystery of Crocodile Island she advises that “Simple screaming can scare off snakes.”
The tip from The Haunted Showboat will come in handy the next time I am in Haiti or the swamps of Key West. “Never interrupt a voodoo doctor.” Heaven only knows what kind of critter I could be turned into or what ailment would afflict me if I had not read this and indeed interrupted a voodoo doctor. And while she doesn’t say it, our little Nancy must have been a Thoreau fan because she knows that “The best way to clear one’s mind is to commune with nature.” Ms. Drew had a way with men and kindly shares her advice with us. My mother must have gotten the information she passed onto me from Nancy. “The best way to lose a boy is to chase after him.” Ah, I actually believe this is true simply because men can be like cats. Show them too much attention and they ignore you. Ignore them and they come running. “If a guy’s hunch results in a dead-end, don’t flaunt your better judgment and intuition in front of him. Smirk secretly to yourself.” Nancy probably learned that the hard way. I imagine she chastised the guy aloud and then had to recommend this advice from The Secret of the Golden Pavilion, “Flowers sent by secret admirers might be coated with poison.” One piece of advice Mother never shared is found in The Mystery of the Glowing Eye. Nancy wisely suggests “After receiving an electrical shock to the system, find as many men as possible to vigorously massage you.” Words to live by, hey?!

Nancy did lead the privileged life as the daughter of a successful attorney as evidenced by certain suggestions. “If you are afraid of being followed when you leave your house, buy a new car and have it brought around to the back of the house for a sneaky escape.” Righto, Nance. Most of us have enough spare change for a new roadster at the drop of a hat. Our girl sleuth has expensive tastes and gives advice those who frequent QVC or Zales Jewelry stores should note. “When the lights suddenly go out, hold onto your diamonds for dear life.” And for you jewelry loving circus goers she cautions “Don’t wear expensive jewelry to a circus. A clown might notice it and try to lift it.” Whew – good to know the trapeze artists I am fond of aren’t suspect. But no matter what trials and tribulations a girl detective may face, a well-to-do daddy can put all concerns aside. “Never lose your girlish glee when your dad buys you a ticket to Hong Kong.”

Don’t think that just because Nancy Drew leads a privileged life that she isn’t well versed in roughing it in nature. No, sir, she can handle herself with snakes, smelly swamps, and all means of wilderness danger. If lost in the woods she advises that “caves are excellent shelter.” Those of us living in Wisconsin must heed this clever insect news and “dive into any available water when attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes.” For those of us who enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and swimming in fresh water but are afraid of shark attacks, Nancy assures us “If you see something resembling a shark in a river, don’t fret. It’s more likely to be a small submarine operated by thieves.” And all these years my phobia of river sharks has been unfounded.
So, as you can see, Nancy Drew is clever beyond her years. These are a few samplings of the wisdom this heroine has to offer. Read some of her stories and you will be awarded with more than a good book but with new life skills! I raise a cup of gelatin to our girl sleuth.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Save Me

I am in a serious snit today about the Presidential campaign. Last night I let myself get involved in a political discussion with 4 conservatives and me. I am not going to be very nice here so if you are looking for “fair and balanced” you won’t find it today. (Of course, most conservatives couldn’t find it on FOX news if it hit them in the head)

The subject of Barack Obama arose when it was mentioned that he doesn’t support the Constitution because he won’t put his hand to his heart when saying the Pledge of Allegiance and that he isn’t a Christian. I had heard nothing on either of these topics and I read what I can get my hands on about candidates. So, I found a Christian Science Monitor article about his religion and turns out he belongs to the United Church of Christ. I personally don’t care. I didn’t pursue the Pledge of Allegiance issue because I REALLY don’t care about it. I don’t always put my hand on my heart (and never do when the Star Spangled Banner is played….when did that trend start?) and frankly am not enamored with the entire pledge saying.

Well, Bush got glorified last night….no President could do better than him after 9/11; he does fine as a speaker; no Republican candidate is better than him; Iraq broke a treaty on nuclear arms so we had to invade them. (The analogy of a broken contract was used --- if I had a contract with someone and they broke it I would take them to court. We had a treaty/contract with Iraq and since we can't take them to court we needed to invade them. Wouldn't that mean I could invade someone's home or business if they broke a contract with me? Can anyone say bully?) I don’t know in what United States of America these people live but must be in a universe other than mine. If a person is going to read “news” online than he/she needs to make sure the source is reliable. Does “discerning reader” mean anything anymore?

What is interesting is that every one of those conservatives has not benefited from the Republican Party. They are being oppressed by the economy and struggle with health care costs. Gas prices are affecting two of them. But, hey, their party will guarantee them gun ownership and a pro-life stance. Plus, their party has gotten the country in horrible debt that their children will have to chip away at while they themselves are in a nursing home wondering why they have no retirement funds.

I was disappointed in myself for getting into the discussion. When will I learn it just isn’t worth it. Is it a wonder I surround myself with like minded people --- as in those who search out reliable information and read more than what is platter fed to them. I say it in jest but gads, there are some days I believe a voter readiness test should be mandatory.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Takin' Down the Tree

I took down the Christmas tree yesterday. As always, it is more fun to decorate the tree than undecorating it. When the tree is put up in December and the ornament boxes are brought upstairs, unpacking each ornament is visiting an old friend again. Not all ornaments have deep memories but many do.

There is the “World’s Ugliest Barbie” ornament. I had started collecting Barbie ornaments for Ann, and this Barbie looks just like the Barbies I played with as a child. We have a few ugly Barbies and many Christmas Barbie ornaments but Ann announced last year that she doesn’t like them! I always put up at least the World’s Ugliest Barbie each year.

The study hall supervisor at the junior high where I taught was in a ceramics class and made Ann and Patrick each a bell ornament. These were given to me for the first Christmas after the kids were born so are special to me.

Ann dislikes this tree ornament but it is one of my favorites! It was made in 5th grade and has hung on every Christmas tree since then. I wish I had more homemade ornaments from the kids because they are really the best – probably one of the reasons I love the new Traditional Trout!

I have a few nun ornaments but this one is the best because it is homemade. A friend presented it to me one Christmas. A friend of Cori’s made them and she knew she had to get it for me! I collect nuns and, amazingly, did not have one for the Christmas tree.

I add a frou-frou bird to my ornaments each year. There is no logical explanation for wanting these other than I just like the frivolous nature of the birds. It started when Ann and I were in Door County and found one in a Christmas store, and I look for one each year now.

The living room looks bigger now that the tree is down and more light comes into the window where it sat. I’m leaving some of the other decorations up for awhile longer, though.