Title: Fashion Plate (Ball Dress)
Creator: Rudolph Ackermann

When I was a little kid

I desperately wanted to fit in

I wanted to wear what the other girls wore

I wanted to play with the same kinds of toys that the kids  with

I wanted to ride a bike with yellow streamers and rollerskate and have a shag haircut.


Oh. My. God.

I desperatley wanted to be snazzy.


I wanted to sparkle and shine like the neighborhood girls and the girls on tv.

But I never quite got it right.


When it came to crunch time

I got the wrong haircut, asked for the wrong toys, and the clothes I wore

never looked right on me and I never came close to looking like the girls I knew or saw

on tv.


This is what I did manage-even though I was snazzless.


I made friends with the neighborlady whose father, I learned many years later,

had been an executioner.

I used to take tea with her and we watched Dark Shadows as soon as I got home from

school ( I was eight ).

I didn’t ride the bike with the streamers flowing from the handlebars

but 6 years after learning to ride bikes, I learned to ride dirt bikes ( thanks Darrin ) just

before I turned 13.

By the time I was in highschool I had the wrong hairstyle, wore the wrong clothes, I was

dateless until I graduated from highschool


I was not snazzy by a long shot.


On the other hand,  I played lead guitar in rocks bands, I won more writing contests

then I lost I wore a

spiffy leather jacket and I was on the Honor Roll.


At  the end of the day, I will be the first to say I wan’t a bit snazzy but I think I was


just maybe

I made it close to being the

Cat’s Pajamas.

Tour Groups


Photo A.M. Moscoso

If you have never taken a walking to through a cemetery for Halloween, I’d suggest you give it a try.

The first time I took a haunted tour through a cemetery was in New Orleans where I was pleasantly suprised to find you could wander around with a giant fruit flavored drink ( I think I had a strawberry margarita, but it may have been a daiquiri , I get then confused ) in your hand and along side the plastic straw jammed in the top of the cup  was a hallowed out red licorice stick encrusted with sugar.

I’m from Washington state and drinking alchohol as you stroll through a cemetery is frowned upon- and by frowned upon I mean it’s super illegal.

The tour group I had joined that Halloween was a haunted history tour- so there weren’t any ghost stories per se, but that’s ok. I know plenty of ghost stories and the only way you can come up with new ones  (when you’re a writer ) is to take reality and coat it with chunks of sugar and jam it into a giant plasitc mug full of Rum or Tequila.

Trust me here, sometimes it works.

Every  now and then I would peel off from my group when we were freed up for a bit to take pictures or wander around the masoleums on our own. I shadowed a group of  Wiccans,  a group of Vampires ( yeah, well it was daylight so that sort of hurt my brain ) and another group getting a pretty detailed and graphic description of Voodoo rituals.

Then I would find my group and the tour would start back up again.

I was drinking, I mean touring with a lady from Michigan when we found a few ruinous crypts. The marble had slid away from one masoleum and the plate on the door that told you who’s place of eternal rest this is was a pile of rubble on the ground.

” Can you inagine what that sounded like when this fell apart?” she asked me.

Just then the Vampires joined us and I figure they were sort of floating around behind us to freak us out a bit.

I mean they were in black and they fangs looked pretty cool and the ones who weren’t wearing shades were wearing contact lenses that made their eyes look purple or wolfish. It was Halloween and if you’re going to dress up like a vampire and walk around a cemetery I HOPE they were trying to have a little fun.

On the other hand, I was on vacation from work where  I embalm people so I didn’t spook easily.

” Must have sounded like the end of the world  here when that marble hit the ground. ” Michigan told me.

” Oh yeah. But you know what? It must have sounded worse from inside. I mean all that cracking and slithering and sliding when the marble and granite fell away and then BOOM.” I sort of bellowed.

Michigan jumped a little. She poked me in the side with her drink. ” How would you know what it sounds like from the inside. ”

I poked her back.

Then  I turned around and took a long drink from my licorice straw encrusted with sugar. ” Cause I’ve been in there  a few times when things went wrong.”

All of the sudden my Vampires decided to tour the crypts a row down from us and me and Michigan continued our stroll on what was a beautiful, sunny Halloween afternoon.

Mr. Hoode

RDP Saturday: FLOW

Gertrude Abercrombie, Pink Carnations, 1939

When I think about all of the stories, all of the quips and conversations going on in the world around me, I see myself in a forest with tall dark trees that blot out the sky.

There aren’t any trails racing along the ground, there are no bugs scuttling over rocks, the are no birds perched on leafless branches watching the world belong them with golden unblinking eyes.

The only thing moving in the woods is a river  raging in silence and standing on a single slick black rock  in the midst of racing river is me.

That’s how I think of information- it flows at you  and around you like wild white water before it disappears into creeks and streams and is slowly baked or starved to death under chunks of concrete or trapped by fallen trees where it turns thick with rot.

If you’re lucky though, you’ll catch those little bits of information that pass along in that river before they drop off the face of the world forever- I was lucky  to catch some of those snapshots neatly stored in a read leather  scrapbook  and I have Mr Montague Hoode to thank for that.

Photographer Unknown

I used to visit my Great Grandmother Minnie in what we used to call ” Rest Homes, ” Now days we call them ” Memory Care Facilities ” but if you ask me both terms sound pretty awful.

My Great Grandmother had no idea I was there which was pretty much in keeping  with how she treated me before she was warehoused by my Dad and his sisters and even though I was under no obligation to do so, I visited her twice a month and once a week in October.

We would sit together, near a window overlooking a garden with wide smooth cement paths that ran up and down the garden in long smooth rows lined with wooden benches and driking  fountains.

She would look out the window and I would read a book or magazine until Mr, Hoode made his way into the dayroom, all alone and unassisted to where we were sitting.

” And how are we today?” he was ask as formal as a character from a Charles Dickens novel.

I would reach out and take  Grandmother Minnie’s wrist from where I was sitting. I checked for a pulse. Still looking out the window I would say, ” Alive and kicking.”

Mr. Hoode would look around and when he was satisfied that nobody was looking our way he would laugh and not caring if anyone saw me I would laugh along with him.

Photographer Unknown

Before Mr. Hoode took up residence  at The Rest Home  he lived in a small town in  Wisconsin and that he worked for the local newspaper, He told me he started carrying the papers and then he delivered the papers to the green barrels where the newspaper boys used to pick them up for their routes and then eventually he went to work in the office as a staff writer where my Great Grandmother Minnie was an editor.

He wrote little stories about dog shows and church functions and sometimes he did stories about local people who moved away.

He enjoyed writing those stories because they always made the front page and most important he said ‘ they were above the fold ”

” Were they famous ?” I asked once.

Mr. Hoode thought for a second. ” Nope, ”

” Were they bank robbers or you know- unsavory types.”

“Not really.”

” Then what did they do to get those writeups?”

Mr. Hoode took a deep breath and closed his eyes. ” They  always managed to die in the most spectacular fashion. Oh Francesca, they didn’t just drop dead. They were gunned down by bank crooks like Al Capone or  Bonnie and Clyde. They were attacked by circus animals or their planes fell out of the sky or their ships sank in shark infested waters.”

On the days when the people in his hometown  died quiet and traditional deaths it  also fell to Mr. Hoode to write their obituaries.

” Those were the slow days.” Mr. Hoode got up, stretched his legs and sat back down. ” Not challenging at all. I mean, I could have written them in my sleep and most of the time I did.”

Sometimes when he was finished stretching his long spidery legs, he would tap the side of his nose and say, ” Let me get my scrapbook. I have a write up that will tickle your fancy. ”

Photographer Unknown

On this particular day, my fancy was tickled to death.

Mr Hoode bounced out of the room and then he  popped back in and while he was still standing he opened his leather scrap book with a flourish and then he handed it to me.

” For real? He had a heart attack and died while burying his business partner behind their offices? ”

I tried to not laugh but I did.

” Burns and Cahill were an exception to the quiet spectacular deaths. They sort of went out with a bang ” Mr Hoode said as if he was a little mystified by these deaths but he shrugged it off.

Photographer Unknown

Whoa to me and Mr Hood because  the day I read the story about Burns and Cahill was the day one of the Care Givers was sitting with Mrs. Linden and she heard and saw Mr. Hood and I going over that story.

Mrs. Linden’s caregiver ( Ms Toliver ) got up and when she was sure she had our attention and nobody else’s attention she leaned over the backs of our chairs and hissed- and I mean she hissed just like a snake, ” I’m getting sick to death of listening to the two of you and your twisted morbid death stories every Sunday. So you understand me? I am SICK TO DEATH OF IT.”

I reached to backpack and unzipped it. I fished around for a pen and handed it to Mr. Hoode. ” Go on. It’s to good to good a story to pass up. Maybe they’ll run it. ”

Mr. Hoode dropped me a wink, took my pen and and sat down. He flipped his book to the last page  and with a smile eating away at his face from ear to ear he began to write.

Photographer Unknown


Monday Life Hack

Song in the Twilight
Franz Sedlacek

When that little voice in your head tells you to not answer you phone – to not go shopping – to

not even THINK about ‘ just running  the Mall for just a mo’

when it tells you to read a book, draw ( well, in my case I use color books which are


or play with your dog or watch Doctor Who Episodes from the Jon Pertwee era…

listen to that little voice.