YOU KNOW YOUR INSOMNIA IS SERIOUS WHEN YOU’RE UP POSING YOUR CHRISTMAS MOOSE AT 3 IN THE MORNING

BASHFUL MOOSE

I often wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning. Sometimes I wake up because there is something on my mind. In those sleepless hours, I’ve resolved business problems and come up with ideas for

MOOSE AT A LOSS

growing my business, then gone peacefully back to sleep.

Sometimes a new idea awakens me and I’m excited. Once I created a complete outline for a novel that would have been a best seller – if I hadn’t gone back to sleep and remembered not a word of it in the morning.

MACHO MOOSE

MACHO MOOSE

But the mornings I hate are those when I go from totally asleep to wide awake in an instant and know there is no hope I’ll fall asleep again for hours. I toss and turn. I get up, roam around the house. When you’re too awake to sleep and too sleepy to think, three o’clock in the morning is a boring time – even with 500 plus TV stations.

You know your insomnia has hit a new peak when get up the next morning and realize you’ve spent two hours posing and reposing your Christmas Moose, naming the poses, and taking poictures of him — perhaps for a giant coffee table book.

Insomnia .. spent 2 hours posing and naming my Christmas moose

MOOSE IN THOUGHT

Insomnia .. spent 2 hours posing and naming my Christmas moose

DISCOMBOBULATED MOOSE

 

 

OLD SAYINGS SAY IT ALL

TEMPEST IN A TEAPOTHave you ever created a, “tempest in a teapot?” I have. This old saying describes a state I’ve put myself into I don’t know how many times.
Some minor problem comes up (minor means it doesn’t have any big effect on my life, my family, or my business) and I overreact. I fume and fuss and get myself all worked up to a lather. The only good thing about keeping your tempest in a teapot is you usually don’t involve anybody else in it.

 “That’s the last straw!” which is, of course, “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” (Charles Dickens)

I’ve been intrigued by that image since I was a little girl. It’s incredible that it was just one straw that did it. Every single straw up to that one was fine. Then came that last, all-powerful straw — and bam!

CARTOON, CARTOON CAMEL, the straw that broke the camel’s back, CAMEL, FUNNY CAMEL

“Little pitchers have big ears.” When I was little, that’s what one of the grownups would invariableLITTLE PITCHERS have big ears say when they were going to talk about something they didn’t want me to hear. I’d always thought somebody in my family made it up. So I was surprised, and a little offended, to hear a stranger say it. “Little pitchers have big ears.”

But when the stranger said it I heard it in a different way. I reflected on the words and it occurred to me, pitchers don’t have anything that could be called ears. Some ancient amphorae had two handles that could be called ear-like, but they didn’t say amphorae. They clearly said pitchers.
Maybe pitchers wasn’t the right word. I suppose it could have been pictures – I’ve heard people pronounce the words the same way. But pictures don’t have ears either. So did they mean the people in little pictures had inordinately large ears. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be unkind to not only say it but turn it into a maxim?

“Root, hog, or die!”
Old saying, ROOT, HOG, OR DIE

“Root hog, or die.” Now there’s a great one. It gets right down to where we live. It’s about self-reliance, taking action, and standing on your own two feet. It proves another of my favorite quotes. “How you feel and what you have to do today have nothing to do with each other.” (author unknown)
I asked a few people about it. Thet’d never heard of it and didn’t get it. I told them I”d seen the hogs on Uncle Gus’s farm rooting around in the ground for food. I looked it up and thanks to Wikipedia learned it came from colonial times and has inspired several songs including one written in 1856 by G. W. H. Griffith
I’m right from old Virginny wid my pocket full ob news,
I’m worth twenty shillings right square in my shoes.
It doesn’t make a bit of difference to neither you nor I
Big pig or little pig, Root, hog, or die
And a folk song:
Sometimes it’s dreadful stormy and sometimes it’s pretty clear
You may work a month and you might work a year
But you can make a winning if you’ll come alive and try
For the whole world over, boys, it’s root hog or die.

THE RUTHI POSTOW STAFFING CARTOON COMPANY

 

Cartoon drawing of Mr. Magoo, soft-coated Wheaten terrier

Mr. Magoo

I had what I thought was a great idea – to draw cartoon faces of all the people on my staff for the website. I figured it would be a quick and fun project so I jumped right in. That was 17 months ago and I’m almost finished.

The first I drew was, of course, the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Magoo, soft-coated Wheaten terrier.
He was easy – he has no bad side.

 

The next was going to be my business partner, Jenni O’Toole. But she wasn’t so easy. Drawing after drawing went, crumpled, into the trash. I couldn’t get her whole face to come together and I totally couldn’t get the mouth right. The best one looked like the Cheshire cat. I decided to put her aside and go on to draw the staff.
Maura and Colleen were easy. Get the hair right and the nose and mouth will follow.

CARTOON DRAWING OF MAURA SHEA

 

COLLEEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought I did a pretty good job with Alex, but he said he would really prefer to have a professional do his face. I hadn’t

ALEX

captured his essence.

 

 

 

 

EMILY

I gave up on his essance and went on to Andrew and Emily, our recruiters in the temporary division.

ANDREW

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy was by far the easiest, because she obliged me by posing

WENDY

which allowed me to capture her best side.

 

 

 

 
I had just two more to do before I had to face Jenni again.

CARTOON DRAWING OF LESLIE LEE-CHUN OF RUTHI POSTOW STAFFING

LESLIE

Drawing Leslie, our resident fashionista, wasn’t too hard,
but she was disappointed
that I didn’t do justice to her outfit

Then I came to Marcia. She’s our business manager. She’s scary. She demanded over a dozen proofs. After she finally chose one, I had go back and add a soft lighting effect. Talk about prima donnas!!

MARCIA PROOF 1 SEPIA

MARCIA PROOF 10 with aqua contactsMARCIA PROOF 10 with makeup

 

 
 

 

MS. MARCIA WHEATLEY

At last she picked one and I had nobody left to draw except Jenni.

I tried but STILL couldn’t get Jenni’s face to come together.

Finally, I captured her eyes – both of them – but I still couldn’t get the rest of her face or stop drawing that Cheshire cat smile.

 

Then I got a brilliant idea that meant I didn’t have carry the burden of drawing her whole face.

All I needed was to draw a wall and have Jenni

JENNI BEHIND A WALL

looking over it.

Problem solved!

ME

IF YOU DON’T LOVE YOUR JOB AS MUCH AS THESE PEOPLE, QUIT! AND FIND ONE YOU WILL!

I had the most amazing experience today! My son took me to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. I’ve lived in DC for years and I’d never been there.

Collection after collection, it’s a rollicking trip through portraits of American leaders, heroes, cowboys and Native Americans, and two of my favorite Edward Hopper paintings, to the gilded age and a grand piano from the Teddy Roosevelt Whitehouse, and monumental Pac Man games. I saw my first, live and in person, Grandma Moses painting!

With all the wonders of the collection, what I can’t quit thinking about is not the art. It’s the people who work in the museum. I’ve rarely experienced anything like it. From the woman at the front desk, to the guards, to the clerk in the museum store, they all had something special and rare that is a lesson for everybody who has a job anywhere. They loved their jobs!! It showed in their enthusiastic answers. It showed in their curiosity! It showed in their pride.

I asked the woman at the front desk if there was a map. Such a pedestrian question, but she reacted as though this was her opportunity to share the wonders of the museum with me.

Later, we were looking at a display of Tiffany glass. A guard came over, not to tell us we were leaning too close, but to say, “Tell me. What’s with this glass? What’s so special?” He and my son went on to have a conversation about the delicacy, the colors… I moved on – too intellectual for me.

Finally we went to the bookstore. I asked the clerk if there was a book on the folk art collection. “There are two. This is the book on the current collection. I always tell people we have two and this one is my favorite, but come over here. This is an old one but it has the full collection, and it’s on sale — a great deal.” He stopped to tell another couple they could find a better book on artists of the blacklist in another room.

I bought both of the books he recommended and took them to his desk. He asked, “Did you see the Lichtenstein sculpture?” Alex asked if it was the cowboy in front?

“No. It’s out this door and around. Go see it. New York gave it to us! They gave it to us FOR FREE! And it’s a Lichtenstein. Go see it!”

There’s a question here: Do you love your job this much? If you don’t, quit, go find one you do. Not only will it change your life, but all those you encounter.

THE QUEEN OF CONNECTICUT AVENUE

Of all the original characters who are now gone from the streets of Washington, my most memorable was the Queen of Connecticut Avenue.

The Queen reigned from her spot in front of the Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Tall, regal, and royal in her vibrant turbans and dresses, she reached out to greet her subjects with loud enthusiasm.

THE QUEEN OF CONNECTICUT AVENUE

THE QUEEN OF CONNECTICUT AVENUE

Queens can be intimidating, and I was intimidated. The first time I saw her, I practically ran past for fear I’d be singled out for her greeting and embarrassed if I didn’t find a dollar or two to out in the vase that sat on the sidewalk beside her. But the Queen gave you her greeting whether you paid homage or not, and I started looking forward to seeing her.

And what greetings they were! She called out in voice that was melodious, mellifluous, and animated, “Ohhhh, Honey. That outfit – I know it’s new – it works (with the word drawn out to last 4 beats) on you.”

“Ooooh, Sweetheart, that look is good on you! I hope you’re doing something special tonight.”

“Yes Sir, you are looking sharp today! Walking tall! Looking like you can take on the world and all.”

As long as the Queen was there, we had someone to notice new hair styles and fashions. We had someone to care about our feelings. “You look sad. Is the world beating up on you.?”

We had someone to care if we were there, to notice when we were gone, and make us feel that we were missed. “Well, there you are. Where have you been? I hope it’s somewhere warm and fun. I’ve been missing you.”

One of the recruiters in the staffing firm where I worked approached the Queen with the offer of a receptionist job. The salary was around $40,000 / year. “Honey, you are so sweet to think of me, but I couldn’t afford to take that big a cut in pay. Besides, I won’t be here but a couple of months. I plan to spend the winter in Florida.”

K STREET STRAVINSKY, 1995

WHERE HAVE THEY GONE, THE ORIGINALS?
 
K STREET STRAVINSKY, 1995
K STREET STRAVINSKY WHEN PEOPLE ON THE STREETS WERE INTERESTING

K STREET STRAVINSKY

 He’s at his post,

On the corner of Connecticut and K
Where the subway sends vibrations
up the escalator
to mix with the rhythm of rush hour traffic.
He’s dependable
as horns at intersections.
 
Bike couriers, briefcase carriers, joggers
        pass by adding their parts
But HE’S the street’s original,
Its Stravinsky,
He creates the dissonance.
He conducts the Rush-Hour Suite.
He sweats
        Clothed in every emotion he’s ever owned,
        and pushing a wailing Safeway cart
        loaded with thunder and rage,
        he screams his sermons —
       obscenities mixed with Bible verses
        trough a homemade megaphone,
        at strangers who rush, shoulders hunched,
        away from the madman’s strange music
        for fear they’ll wake up
                      humming it in the morning.
 
 
 
 

MR. MAGOO DINES AT CAFE MILANO BUT IS BANNED AT HOME DEPOT

The face they turned away

The face they turned away

Home Depot (7 Corners) bans dogs! Mr. Magoo tried to shop there and was denied entry.

When he was snubbed he experienced all of the emotions any of us would have. At first he was just astonished and confused. He had always been welcomed in the best places. Café Milano and Billy Martin’s Tavern welcome him with fresh bowls of water.

Mr. Magoo, Soft-coated Wheaten terrier, waiting for his table at Café Milano

Mr. Magoo waiting for his table at Café Milano

The best stores in Georgetown greet him as a long lost friend. He did his Christmas shopping at Streets of Georgetown and Tumi Luggage — and they have hardwood floors and sell expensive leather goods and clothing – not dusty cement floors stacked with lumber and bricks.

After the initial shock, Mr. Magoo felt hurt and depressed. The extent of the psychological damage is yet to be measured. I’ve talked with other people who live with dogs and learned many of them also suffered the snub.

Bones, the Labrador retriever shops at bodega

Bones, the Labrador retriever, shops at bodega

When asked how the ban made him feel, Bones, the Labrador retriever, said it saddened him so much it that even having the owner of his favorite Bodega give him a whole sausage didn’t lift his spirits m. But it did help a little that the owner listened – like therapy. Still he couldn’t smile.

Joe, the golden retriever who resides at Silverbrook Farm, Hillsboro, VA, was nonplussed. “I live in an 18th century bed and breakfast, for goodness sake. I’m practically a plantation owner. There is no human on earth who doesn’t want me.” But he went on, showing his newfound insecurity, “Is there?”

 Sammy and Lucky, Jack Russell terrier brothers, weren’t bothered, “We’ll go in, grab a few sticks, and get out before they know what hit them.” That is unless Sammy bites someone’s ankle.”

Mr. Magoo, Soft-coated Wheaten terrier, gets a treat at Old Pearson’s

Mr. Magoo gets a treat at Old Pearson’s

 

           After Mr. Magoo was comforted with treats at Old Pearson’s Wine and Spirits, and got love from the staff at Ace Hardware, he felt a little better. But he has made the commitment to support only those businesses that support dogs.

CONTINUED ON PREVIOUS POST — MORE PHOTOS

Mr. Magoo Welcomed at Best Stores and Restaurants

After Mr. Magoo’shurtful experience at Home Depot, his many fans rushed to support him.
The face they turned away
The face they turned away

He shopped at Tumi.

Mr. Magoo at Tumi Leather

Mr. Magoo waiting for his packages at Tumi Leather

 

 

 

 

Mr. Magoo, Soft-coated Wheaten terrier, gets a treat at Old Pearson’s

Mr. Magoo gets a treat at Old Pearson’s

The owner of Old Pearson’s Wine and Spirits comforted by with treats.

He got love from the staff at Ace Hardware, and felt a little better.

Mr. Magoo, Soft-coated Wheaten terrier, getting love at Ace Hardware

Mr. Magoo getting love at Ace Hardware

He has made a commitment to support only those businesses that support dogs and encourages other dogs to do the same.

 

Old Fashioned Beet Balls In Sweet And Sour Sauce

 

Beet Ball

Beet Ball

Sometimes I’m not quick. My friend, Dot, who owns Silverbrook Farm near Leesburg, VA, gave me some recipes from the 1940’s that she found in an old trunk. The first one was for beet balls in sweet and sour sauce.

I read the name again. Beet balls. Like meatballs, I wondered?

I pictured myself grinding up beets to make balls. What would hold them together? I couldn’t imagine why I’d even want to.

 It wasn’t till the next morning that it hit me. Beets ARE balls! Here’s the recipe – I love the differences in words. I never hear people say cupfuls or tablespoonfuls these days.

 

1940's recipe for beeets in sweet and sour sauce

Recipe from the 1940's

Start by cooking the beets — she doesn’t say how, but that’s why we have Google.

3 cupfuls of cooked beet balls
Make a sauce by mixing together 
¼ cup cupful of sugar, 1 Tablespoonful of cornstarch,
½ cupful of vinegar, ½ cupful of water.
Cook till slightly thickened, add the beet balls 
and simmer five minutes
then add two tablespoonfuls of butter.
Serve sprinkled with shredded almonds

 

MR. MAGOO AND THE CHRISTMAS MOOSE

You said he was my moose!

You said he was my moose!

Bones, the golden Lab, gave Mr. Magoo a toy moose for Christmas. The moose was dead by nightfall! Perhaps his rubber chicken put him up to it — jealous, I suspect. No moose could replace him!

Whatever his reason, the moose didnt stand a chance.

THE STUFFING'S THE BEST PART

THE STUFFING'S THE BEST PART

 

I TOOK CARE OF THAT MOOSE

I TOOK CARE OF THAT MOOSE

 

POOR MOOSE

POOR MOOSE

DEAD MOOSE

DEAD MOOSE

Bones has not destroyed his Christmas toy — but it looks as though he might be trying to smother him.

Bones - smothering Christmas toy??

Bones - smothering Christmas toy??