Saturday, December 26, 2009


The day after Christmas can be a downer to some, but seldom for me, and not on this day.
The sky all day was deep and blue, with summer-like islands of cloud.
In the bottomland below my home, the sun lit up the ripples in a fast and roguish creek.
Dusk would have been perfect, too, had my late dog Jack been here to walk with me.
After days of cold wind, the twilight air was cool but not cold, stiller than still, and lit by a rising moon.
Trees loomed umoving around and above me, like moonstruck giants.
I hated to return to the house.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) would
enjoy your own comments at

Sunday, December 20, 2009


When Bob and I were newlyweds almost 50 years ago, we were like most newlyweds of the time; practically broke! As Christmas approached, we had money enough for simple gifts for loved ones, but anything else---including a Christmas tree---was an extra that required some ingenuity to obtain.
One windy winter Sunday during Christmas week, we took an afternoon drive in the country---a cheap diversion, with gasoline only pennies per gallon. A cut evergreen tree blew across the highway in front of us. There were no houses around for miles; clearly that tree was meant for US!
We took it home to our living room. The tree was crooked---a minor defect that was more than made-up for by the sloping floor of our old honeymoon farmhouse. But in the dry warmth of our coal-heated home, what few needles still clung to the branches promptly fell off before we had a chance to decorate our tree.
My husband noted that the tree's bare branches, though sparse, were regularly balanced and spaced, and that inspired him; he dashed off to the store, returning with two very large packets of foil icicles,(cheap, at two for a quarter).
For the rest of that snowy afternoon, we painstakingly draped each branch with the icicles. We had no Christmas lights, but no matter; in the sunny window in which the tree sat, the foil sparkled brightly.
I fashioned a remnant of old lace into a tree-top angel; and with bobby pins, we attached ornaments made up of cookie cutters, stray baubles and bits of ribbon.
We found a little wine in the back of a cupboard and stretched it with ginger-ale into a sort of make-believe champagne, which we poured into the only two cut-glass goblets we owned. Then we stepped back to toast our shimmering tree.
At that moment, our big dog bounded into the room, chasing the resident field mouse that seemed to be generic to all country homes in those days. The tree was knocked over and well-trampled; it was also tangled up with a panicky dog.
We righted things quickly, but foil icicles, unlike today's plastic, did not forgive such maltreatment. For the rest of that holiday season, our tree resembled a disheveled bird's nest of crumpled foil.
It didn't really spoil a thing for us. We, the same old husband and wife, are still happily celebrating our Merry Christmases together.
Merry Christmas to all of you from R.A.T. (Rose About Town), who receives your comments at

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Rose About Town bids farewell to her old Harvey High School building just before attending the ceremonial ribbon cutting at the beautiful new Harvey High School building, which she firmly believes will make some good history of its own for many generations.
The quote over the door of the old building is one she saw (and approved of) every school day of her four years at the old building, now affectionately referred to as "Harvey Classic." That building will be demolished in the spring, but the quote over the doorway has been reproduced at the arched east entry of the new high school.
There is a wonderful feeling among the students at the new school. One student called it "magic."
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) can be reached at

Monday, November 30, 2009


It may seem too early to do this;
For so many years I've been through this;
I'm trimming the mantles, decking the halls,
and prepping for Christmas, but NOT at the malls!

I was young when I gave up the malls
Where bah-humbug careens from the walls;
Shop-through-the-mail is my mantra,
And I let UPS be my Santa!

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) still loves these holidays; do you? (Answers accepted at

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Last night before bedtime, I peered into a ghostly glow outside my library window; it was not unlike the radium glow in the faces of some old-time wrist watches I remember.
It had been close to 60 degrees as the night had begun to cool off, and the warmth of the ground was meeting the cold and sending up mist from the earth to the air.
Despite that translucent veil rising up into the trees, the skies were clear and a nearly full moon overhead was shining its rays into the mist, creating a peculiar but quite lovely effect.
Oh, if I could only achieve that effect in a snow globe.

Rose About Town wishes you good night. She can be reached at

Friday, November 27, 2009


On this day after Thanksgiving, when everyone else seems to be out seeking Black Friday bargains, Bob and I are sitting beside our woodburning stove, dipping homemade brownies into hot Irish chocolate... with a few big snowflakes floating lazily down outside our windows...
And we say---(so shoot us, snow-haters!)---this is putting us into the Christmas mood; and that mood NEVER sends us out into the bah-humbug world of Black Friday shoppers.
We're not missing a thing that matters to us. Bargains or not, we have the best of it right here.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) and her Bob live the good life together.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


A beautiful star-littered sky over our dark country night. A crescent moon, bright as can be, with a star like a diamond above it. Cloudless skies, brisk air. If I felt better, I'd walk out into this night. I miss my canine walking buddy.

Rose About Town. Minus her dog.


Some people complain when the leaves are gone from the trees; I am not one of those people.
I like the way the sunlight plays along the bark of the trees...
I like that I can see a larger world without the leaves to screen it from me...
I like that I can see the creek soak up the moonlight, sunlight, blue sky, bright sunsets...
I like that I can see into the woods...
Rose About Town (and country) at

Friday, November 13, 2009


I know when I wake to see my lawns and garden coated white, the growing season is gone. The killing frosts that make it so are often so beautiful it helps with the transition. And after all, by this time I'm ready to put the work of the growing season aside and let nature---and me---enjoy a season of rest.
I share some photos taken by me on this frosty morning.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) hopes you enjoy them.
(Direct comments to


At my walkway, even as the spirea is losing its seasonal life, a succession of heavy morning frosts has turned the leaves to gold. They look almost like flowers. 








    Some years ago, as my Aunt Helen lay dying, she told me many family stories, and one was of my grandfather, whom I had never known. He had died in 1918, 22 years before I was born.
     The Great Influenza Pandemic had struck that year. In my grandfather's own neighborhood, whole families were seriously ill and helpless, and he was going to their doors and speaking from his distance into their interiors to find out what help they might need... food, medicines, errands... 
   He would hear their needs, and he would write them down and see that they were taken care of. He would set the needed foods and medicines at their doors or just inside, without coming close.
    He was roundly criticized by some. After all, he could catch the flu and bring it to his family. Was that not irresponsible?
     But my grandfather told his family a person was obliged to help friends and neighbors who were down and helpless. He assured his family he was being careful not to get close and catch the illness.
     Grandfather did catch the flu, and so did his family, but he was the only one at his home who died of the disease, or came close to dying. Who could know whether he had caught the virus at the doorway of his friends who had not come close to him in his mercy missions; or whether he had been exposed through his work that took him through the city everyday?
     Grandfather suffered mightily, with complications including meningitis, as I later learned from details on his death report. I decided his commitment to friends was a legacy he had left for us, and I felt somehow closer to this man I'd never met.
      Later in the genealogy room at Morley Library, I ran across a front-page item in a December 1918 Painesville, Ohio newspaper. On a late-November morning, a man beloved to the town had died of influenza. He was the assistant superintendent of the city's water plant, active in his community and church, and known to all. He was my grandfather!
     It was sad for me to read there had been no public service for him. Friends and relatives grieved privately because all members of his family were ill, and the pastor of his church, St. Mary's, had banned all public services because of the contagion.
    Now when serious flu seasons roll around, I think about my grandfather, who died in a time when we had not yet developed, or even thought about, the arsenal of medicines we would later have on hand to fight the complications of the flu. 
     And I feel great pride in my dear grandfather, who was among the many people of that time, whose sturdy ethics of neighborly friendship and commitment were not tossed aside when he was tested in that great worldwide pandemic.


Monday, November 9, 2009


Last Rose of Summer? Far from it! Not even the last rose of fall!
This Knockout Rose is one of several that have lived in my garden for years, and they never fail to bloom through the first few snows and sometimes send out a few blooms when you're sure they're done for the year. This photo was taken today in Northeast Ohio, in a valley where we've had many cold days and night-time killing frosts. It was one of the earlier versions---pre-patent, I think, before it bore the Knockout brand. It was a gift from a nursery executive.
Here's to the flowers in your life... be they people or plants.  

(Good wishes all year, whatever the season, from Rose About Town, a last Rose of Summer herself, one of whose passions has always been flower gardening. I receive your thoughts and comments at

Sunday, November 8, 2009


This morning on the TV news, I followed a discussion about the all-year expulsion of an elementary school child who poked a teasing classmate with a pencil. Under zero tolerance policies, the pencil was deemed a weapon. Never mind that weapon-known-as-pencil was required for the student's classes, and therefore the school might be seen responsible for allowing, encouraging and requiring that weapon to be brought onto school property.
Yesterday on the news, I followed a discussion about a school that gave some flu shots without parental permission, and at least one of those children whose parents had withheld permission developed a reaction that sent her to the emergency room. The school pleaded the shots to that particular child were accidental, but in the growing number of silly zero-tolerance cases, "accidental" hasn't been acceptable as an excuse for students.
Is zero tolerance a one-way street that does not apply to staff? Can a hypodermic needle be a weapon? Is it sharper than a pencil? Could the affected parents expel the SCHOOL for allowing the hypodermic needle to be carried onto school grounds?
It's a foolish world and getting more so.
NOW... don't get me started on suspending little kids in school for giving a spontaneous hug and consequently being charged with sexual harassment!!

GRRR-R.A.T. (Rose About Town) thinks she lives in a ridiculous world.(Comments, ridiculous or otherwise, can be addressed to


Not to diminish their grief, but... Am I the only one who watches the "loved ones" gathering for vigils and interviews outside the serial killer's house in Cleveland, and wonders why these missing women's disappearances were mostly unreported? What am I missing here?
R.A.T. (Rose Around Town) comments received at


Is there a monkey in the house?
There are lots of monkeys in the house!
The comedy was unintentional last night on C-Span as the legislative children bickered in their health reform negotiations.
Trouble was, among us watching citizens, it was too important to laugh.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town). Comments to

Saturday, November 7, 2009



In this, his final season, our old dog Jack spent a lot of his time lying around.


On this warm and brilliant Indian Summer afternoon, along the woodsy path where our old dog Jack often walked with me, we buried his ashes near the base of an old black walnut tree.
Jack loved that path where winds were gentled by the trees around us, and we could watch the people passing by on the road below.
He lies where the ground is warmed on clear-sky days by dappled sunlight.
Rest in peace, old Jack. You were a very good dog.

(Rose About Town receives your comments at

Friday, October 30, 2009


What more can I say about life in this valley than this photo says FOR me. This is my view as my husband and I drink our morning coffee today.


Those of you who follow this blog know that my night walks with my old dog Jack have meant a lot to me. Started by necessity several years ago because of the frailty of an aging dog, these night walks became surprisingly important; I saw and heard things I had not expected in the darkness of the night, and I became addicted to the night skies, even in winter.
After doing "his business," Jack would walk to my side to lean against my knee and watch whatever I was watching. I was ever a sky person, and Jack became one too. What I was looking at, he was looking at.
Last night for the first time since Jack died, I threw a sweater over my shoulders and went out alone to visit the night sky. The trees were stripped nearly bare, opening the sky to stars and a very bright three-quarter moon that tossed dark tree- shadows across the woodlands and lawns. The night was so bright that I could see the gold of the leaves on the ground, and so still that I could hear the whisper of every autumn leaf under my feet as I walked.
I loved it; Jack would have loved it as well. Soothing as it was, it broke my heart.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The modern American girl can be tomboy or glamour girl, as these two photos prove. Both these photos were taken by me, a doting grandmother; and the tomgirl/girly-girl is my eldest granddaughter (though all my granddaughters, of course, are beautiful). In the Mudbunnies photo, she's the girl on the right, fresh off a ride through the muddy boonies with a friend. In the glamour shot, she's ready to leave for the homecoming dance. I love both sides of this young girl's spirit; who wouldn't?
(address comments to

Thursday, October 22, 2009


A wonderful little family market not far from our home.



Our creek in Autumn.


Soft and wrapped in dusty blue,
this sweet October air
pulls a leaf from off a tree
and pins it in my hair.

Indian Summer witches' brew,
this sweet October air
tickles me with fancy-free
and paints me debonair.

--Rose Moore
   from "Valley Songs"
              Oct. 1993
              72 degrees

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Black Jack Royal---known to us as Jack---died peacefully in our library this morning, at our feet. He loved all human beings and especially he loved us. We will miss him, but we are grateful this old friend died quickly and without pain. I keep thinking of a quote I read somewhere from the 1700s, from a stone that marked a burial spot: "His name was Jack. He was born a dog and died a gentleman."
Goodbye, Old Jack. Your people will miss you."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


As night falls quiet as a church,
a breeze stirs reverential music as it
moves among the poplar leaves.

Far away I hear an owl's prayer
and watch the evening clouds drift in
like white-smocked altar boys.

Soon darkness draws a blindfold over me,
yet I still hear and smell and feel
this autumn night, with winter waiting
unseen in the wings.

Rose Moore Oct. 1994

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Today, so they say, more and more American children and adults are obese.
Today, also, more and more of the domestic animals from which we produce the meat we eat are laced with hormones fed to them by the farmers so that the livestock will grow for the markets more cheaply and quickly.
Hmmm... Like the sports guys who bulk up on steroids, are we and our children bulking up steadily on the meats we eat.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) looks for your comments at

MILITIA BEN RESPONDS THROUGH GMAIL, basically saying I should go easy on the cows; our arses get fat because we're not smart enough to stop eating.
I'm not attacking the cows, Ben; they eat what you give them. I just don't want to share the hormones through dairy products and meat. Or their antibiotics.
But then, I guess I would't be happy grazing on grass either.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009




In the darkness of this autumn night,
as fallen leaves are whispering underfoot,
nostalgia puts a ticklish hand upon my throat,
calling forth a scent that smoulders only
in my memories of youth.

In this autumn of my life,
when eco-laws forbid that precious incense
of the waning of the year,
leafsmoke is foiled before it comes to be;
the golden, dusty piles of leaves are wrapped
in bags and carted off or put in compost piles,
and our world is said to be improved
by our well-intentioned eco-clarity.

The children of today have never known
that tangy autumn fragrance; and yet
on autumn nights I sometimes think
I catch the fine aroma of that smoky perfume
and sense its gentle mist upon the fields.

It might be contraband;
a little fire someone sneaked into the darkness.
Or it might be wishful thinking.

1993... by the Last ROSE of Summer (Rose About Town

(Address your autumn memories and comments to

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


"Witch Rose-About-Town" wishes you a happy autumn.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Long days of heavy rains. Last night at 10 p.m., after listening to hours of the waters beating on my skylights, I put on my coat and took the dog out for his night walk. Every leaf on every tree in the woodland was wet and sharply outlined, gleaming from a high bright moon in a suddenly clear sky.
Sometimes you have to snatch those moments; by morning the rains were back.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) urges you to catch those moments when you can.

(Direct comments to )

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Recently the CEO of our Cleveland Clinic said, if he could legally do so, he would hire no overweight people.

Does this medical executive realize a great many women today are keeping their weight down through eating disorders, such and anorexia and bulimia... and by smoking (none of which are exactly classified as healthy)?

For that matter, what's plump; what's obese; what's slim; what's skeletal?... Is it in the eye of the beholder?... Is it, as the lawmakers have often said about another subject--pornography--that "You know it when you see it"?

One day recently I read a letter to a magazine editor from a 50-plus-year-old woman who bragged that she was 5 ft. 8 inches tall and 110 lbs.

"I've always worked very hard at keeping myself at that level," she wrote, "So I know it can be done." On the other hand, she noted, her sister was 5 ft. 5 and 148 lbs, which the writer designated as obese; the word "obese" seeming to make the woman want to gag (as in bulimia?)...

I can't help thinking about:

*The gym bunnies who spend hours a day all week on the treadmill. (Is that obsessive? Is there room left for living?)

*The skinned-down Hollywood stereotypes, who can tell you everything you want to know about liposuction; tummy tucks; cheek implants (facial and derriere alike); calf implants...

*And those much-ballyhooed "designer sizes." (What the heck does a size zero woman look like; can you even SEE her?)

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) ... accepts comments from people of all types and sizes, at

Monday, September 28, 2009


Today the color is barely beginning in our woodland, but we can see it coming. Soon the leaves will begin to fall around us in great numbers, and our bottomland will glow with many shades of gold. In autumn, we call this acreage "Midas Valley." It's spectacular... and the season all too short.
Rose About Town welcomes your comments at

Saturday, September 26, 2009


It sounds like rain in the woods today,
But the air is clear and bright;
Whatever it is that's falling there
Is happening out of sight.

On quiet feet I station myself
Within the host of trees,
And silent I stand to hear and see
What drizzles among the leaves.

Squirrels and chipmunks stand with me
In the cloistered autumn shade,
Reveling in the bumper crop that's
Creating the rich cascade.

Pine cones and cherries, ripe autumn fruits
Falling from treetop to ground,
Plopping and dropping berries and nuts
In a comfortable rain of sound.

--written by rose on her wooded property, 1993
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A steady rain of matter is felt
When birds of diverse species
Create a painfully ominous sound,
As they spackle Rose with feces!

(Nice work, Ben. You must be talking about YOUR woods, not mine)
R.A.T. (Rose About Town)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Our big dog Jack respects boundaries and borders. It takes just a string or bit of surveyors tape or any type of little marker, and he'll stay away from whatever we're declaring off-limits.
Our small vegetable garden, for instance, where we grow our tomatoes. Though he loves our cherry tomatoes, he hasn't touched them.
Then a volunteer plant from last year established itself OUTSIDE the marker. Jack has promptly declared that particular plant his own personal supply of cherry tomatoes, eating each one as it ripens and still leaving the others alone.
Trouble is, we tasted those cherry tomatoes this morning; they're better than OUR tomatoes INSIDE the fence!!

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) is wondering: If we were to sneak a few of his cherry tomatoes, do you suppose Jack would establish his own marker around his tomato plant?(Direct your own comments and stories to

Monday, September 21, 2009


CURTIS BAUER 1962-2009.
(photo by Ed Krause, photographer)

Saturday, September 19, 2009


This morning a good man will be laid to rest in Concord Cemetery where he can welcome us to that green, peaceful neighborhood when our own time comes. He takes with him a quick brain, a loving heart and a million dollar smile. He has been the husband of Karen, the father of Brad, the son of Liz and Rick, and the brother of Melissa. God bless the Bauer family and help them through this troubled time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


After spending hours in doctors offices this afternoon, we left the building after our last appointment.
In the parking lot, our racy red car was not where we'd left it. We knew exactly where we'd parked, but it wasn't there.
We looked and looked and looked again; oh no!we worried; we've had several cars stolen in our long marriage; has it happened again?
Suddenly my husband started to laugh.
"What's so funny about losing that car we enjoy so much?" I snapped.
He looked at me with the biggest grin and reminded me, "We took the TRUCK today!"
(Our well-worn old tan truck was right there where we'd left it).

It made us think of the time Bob's aging aunt had gone to a church bazaar and happily purchased a bright red floral marker for the top of the aerial on her car. It would keep her from losing her in the church parking lot, as she seemed to do every Sunday.
But... when she left the crowded bazaar and went to the parking lot, it was a sea of cars with THE SAME BRIGHT RED FLORAL MARKERS!

Ah... Senior Parking... Not what it was to us when we were young.

Rose about town...just another senior at

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Today's the loveliest of autumn days, but I'm in deep reflection.

Yesterday, Bob and I passed a horrible accident and knew someone had died; we sent up a prayer for the person's family and friends. We felt so strangely personal about it, and decided it was probably because we've lived in this small Lake County township for so many years that every siren seems to pose a risk that it is someone we're familiar with.

The victim, we found later, had been legally stopped at a red light behind two trucks and four cars when the semi crashed into the victim's car from behind, with no sign of braking. The little car was crushed into the line of trucks and cars ahead. The debris was not easily recognizable as a car.

Later in the afternoon we learned the 46-year-old victim was a cherished family friend; we had known him for years and had also worked with his family for years, in our business. We heard somebody say that he was the sort of man who could walk into a room and lift your spirits just by being there, no matter what your day had been. And that is true.

So many friends had he attracted in our home community of Concord Township, that we Moores are but a few among the countless broken-hearted. His family is greatly on our minds.

Rose About Town

Monday, September 14, 2009


Through my late entry into the world of email and the internet (about three years ago), I have discovered new things about myself:

-I am the long-lost last heir to many a fortune from rich and royal people in Africa, India, the UK and other places...
-I have won the lottery in many a foreign country, even though I have never purchased a ticket, even in my own state in my own USA....
-I am a lost princess. Queen. Tsarina...
-I am eligible for many free and expensive items, including rare automobiles...

Every day in every way, emails arrive to inform me that I am way more than I thought I was... Eureka!
R.A.T. (Rose About Town)has not responded to any such information and/or offers, but I know they absolutely have to be true.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Autumn color has been strangely slow in showing itself in my valley this Sept. 2009, just as spring and then summer had been noticeably delayed.
That was the thought on my mind five minutes ago, around 6:35 p.m., as my dog and I traversed our favorite path in the woods. In no tree or shrub did I see any color but green, nor on the ground beneath my feet did I see any fallen color.
Then something fell on my head---the bright leaf you see here. From where did it fall; from where might the late-afternoon breezes have blown it?
Perhaps it was merely a nudge to remind me, the seasons arrive in their own good time.
R.A.T. (Rose Around Town) can be reached with your comments at . If you're sending a comment for my big dog Jack, I'll pass it along; he listens quite closely to me.


(Clue: clicking on photo for enlarged view might help)
Photo from the gardens of R.A.T. (Rose About Town).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

1960--BOB & Rose

(click on photo area to view full size)

It was fine-wine September
blue-and-gold September
burnished-leaf September
when I wed my own true love.
And the air was warm and veiled
with the fine September sunshine
and the young boys flung down rosebuds
when I wed my own true love.
And I locked my arm in his arm
and we raced away together
and the sunshine turned to cloudburst
when I wed my own true love.
And we wandered 'round like gypsies
and we laughed a lot together
and we didn't think of duties
'til our pennies disappeared.
Then we turned our wheels homeward
and we settled in our farmhouse
and began our world together
me and me true love.
And the years brought joy and sorrow
and we walked through both united
and I've always loved September
when I wed my own true love.
From Rose to Bob, Sept. 10 2009,
49th anniversary

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


(Click on photo to see full size).

The days are shorter, the angle of the sun is switching into autumn mode, the nights are colder. In this deep valley, where the cold comes colder than in the lands above, and thus the frost comes earlier, the blooms I'm seeing now could soon be dying.
Once upon a time, really not so long ago, these were the days when threat of autumn cold at night would send me scurrying to cover all my gardens before nightfall. What changed me in my fever to keep my flowers blooming through as many frosts as possible was actually a long and lovely autumn quite some time ago.
When December came that year, my lawns and gardens still bore their summer vigor. And here I was, surprisingly, still mowing and deadheading and weeding. And I was tired of it!

It was then I fully realized that what I really loved about the beauty of my summer gardens was that they, like life, were temporary; that is what had made their vivid presence precious to me.

In summer, I still don't tire of tending all my gardens and inhaling their aroma. The butterflies and moths and dragonflies and hummingbirds are lovely, lively bonuses that often leave before the frost; they do what nature dictates.
But to wake one morning to a garden blackened by the cold is always startling to a gardener. Now I handle it by jumping in and clearing the debris and tucking in perennial plants and shrubs for winter.
And then, with summer duties gone, I have the time to savor all the beauties... or give in to my normal autumn wanderlust... or lie back on my deck and dream of Indian Summers.
To everything there truly is a season.   (R.A.T.---Rose About Town---will entertain your own seasonal thoughts at

Monday, August 31, 2009


Murky clouds attack late-summer skies,
chilling me by sight if not by feel.

The wind takes on a sawtooth edge,
and the mottled skins of sycamores gleam bright
against a sky that quickly gobbles up the setting sun.

Soon I'm in the dark alone; the night air gathers
clammy strength, and I, a comfort seeker, step inside
and shut my door against the cold.

If summer lingers in the air by day, by night
the coming Autumn reigns.
---Rose Moore
Sept. 1, a chilly night


Black Jack Royal, "Jack," was once a young and vigorous dog who roamed our country acres with energy and enthusiasm. Now he's just "Old Jack," whose engine now is mostly idling.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


You've seen the movies; you know the doberman is a fierce, dangerous dog.
I have an oversized version of this breed. His name is Jack; he's purebred and big as they come, and I don't suppose you'd want to meet him at night in a dark alley.
I thought about that tonight when we ventured out for our night walk, with only the porch light for a guide as we travelled down the long driveway between the large trees that envelop these spaces in such impenetrable black; I could discern Big Jack's presence only by the sound of his breathing. Yes indeed, I told myself, you'd have to be in this mean dog's good graces, as I am, to navigate such darkness with him; I was indeed a safe and well-protected woman, wasn't I?
When we turned back toward the porch, I noticed my husband hadn't closed the garage door. I figured the dog was heeling beside me as I walked into that even darker space and carefully felt my way past the cars to the stairs that would take me up to the button that closes the door. Then I realized I didn't hear my dog beside me.
I looked out to the faint pool of light from the porch and saw that Jack had backed away as I entered the dark garage. He was sneaking as quietly as possible to the safety of the front door, where he could tap on the door with his paw and my husband would let him in to his safe haven.
He had left me to the dangers of that darkness and whatever fears he perceived there.
Yep, a doberman is truly a fierce, dangerous beast. You should have one.

R.A.T. (Rose About Town)can be reached at If the big dog barks, back off.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Be careful about letting Big Government grow bigger, and be careful about letting it do too much for you. It breeds dependence, and in my opinion, dependence is a subtle but powerful form of slavery.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


My big old dog Jack is aging rapidly. Little did I know he'd begin to turn into a billy- goat!

Every chance he gets these days, he goes into the yard and starts pulling up grass by the roots. He comes back to our front door with the grass and roots hanging out of his mouth like a billy-goat's beard!

Not exactly the premier image the average purebred doberman might want to project. But Jack seems, as always, totally unconcerned about his image.

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) loves this silly dog despite his eccentricities. Or maybe because of them; who knows.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Getting up before the dawn is such a pleasure, I told my early-bird dog a bit sarcastically this morning. In a way, I guess I meant it.
The pre-dawn morning was warm; the cicada were softening their song. The morning star was huge and brilliant. The moon was in its final phase, looking like a woman's ring, with slender crescent where the gem would be, and outlined all around by a slender ring of silvery gold.
Apparently as I admired the sky, I fell asleep on the porch chair, and when I awoke, the sun was edging up over the eastern hill of my valley and my garden flowers absolutely glowed in the morning light.
Poor dog. He was sleeping uncomfortably in front of the door on a mat much too small for his big, clumsy, aging body.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) headed for the coffee-maker.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The Northwesterner (and former Northeast Ohioan) who follows this blog and asked me for a "lightning bug" story, sends the following info, worth sharing:

"If you live in the United States, west of about the middle of Kansas, you are not apt to have the flashing type of fireflies in your area. Although some isolated sightings of luminous fireflies have been reported from time to time from regions of the western U.S., fireflies that glow (and flash) are typically not found west of Kansas. The reason for this phenomenon is not known.
"Many firefly species tend to be found around water such as ponds, streams, marshes or even depressions, ditches, etc., that may retain moisture longer than surrounding areas. However, fireflies are also found in very dry regions of the world as well."

Thanks to you for that info. Do the rest of you have firefly info, legends, stories, questions, etc. to share? Contact R.A.T. (Rose About Town) at

Sunday, August 9, 2009


This has been a cool summer, though normally August for us is filled with spa-like nights and cicada night-music.

I recall a different sort of August, in 1993, in our first summer here in the valley, a place of tall trees and creeks that flow through.

August that year was a wonderful string of simmering nights, and I often sat outside on the decks after dark, enjoying the heat and the late-summer sounds of the night.

One night I came in and scribbled the following into my journal

"Under stars that punch bright holes 
in the pierced tin dome of my universe,
I soak in the song of cicada,
sink deep in the mist that is born in creek waters,
and bathe in the moonlight that 

sifts through the trees 
like confectioners' sugar,
making a pastry of me."

In this 2009, my August nights have so far been cool, but tonight promises simmering low temperatures in the 80s.
Rain is possible, but rain or not, I'll spend some time on my deck in the darkness, hoping for heat and cicada.

Rose About Town wishes you a good night.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Tomorrow is my birthday; I will be 69;
If that sounds really old to YOU, I'M feeling fine!

On my body, some signs of living have been sprinkled--
Such as sags and bags and spots and rusty joints and wrinkles!

Some people fear the aging process like a GERM--
Not I! I'm a fine antique; PATINA is my term!

If to the human body time is sometimes unforgiving,
I'm grateful for an awful lot of things... including LIVING!

Happy birthday to me; R.A.T. (Rose About Town)


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

OUR NUNS AT ST. MARY'S 1940s and 1950s

Since you asked, this is what our nuns looked like at St. Mary's when I was a student there. This was the order of the Holy Humility of Mary teaching nuns.

We always wondered what they looked like without their habits. One day my brother and I sneaked into Dr. Mehler's office when a sister was having dental work done, and we were shocked to see she did not look as young without her habit holding back her wrinkles. Her hair was short and gray; she looked like someone's kind grandmother; and she was laughing and joking with the dentist.

Somehow we lost all fear of her, right then and there.

More nunsense for you from R.A.T. (Rose About Town)
Comments welcome.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Some Catholic School stories I remember from the old St. Mary's Elementary School in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio:

*When school was out, we all had to line up outside the classrooms, and the big Victrola was turned on with Sousa marching music. We marched together to the beat... down the hallways, to the front door and down the steps outside to the front walk. The public school kids around the corner liked to stand and watch and laugh at us. (Later one of the nuns told me the music was to teach us to exit in orderly fashion, in case of emergency. Don't know if she made that up. Do nuns make things up?)

*Sister Mary Alice once whacked me so hard along the side of my head that I fell out of my desk. She had refused to let me sharpen my big Laddie pencil, which had broken, so I went after the end of that pencil with my front teeth, like a beaver chewing at trees, until the lead was exposed and usable. Sister apparently considered that a rebellious act of "sassing."

*I had a very deep voice; still do. The thing I heard most often in choir practice was "Who's that singing in the basement?" Little girls, said Sister, were supposed to sing high and sweet like the birds. I guess she had never heard of alto. I was allowed to be in the children's choir only if I promised to follow her order to "just open your mouth and PRETEND to sing." Then when the boys' voices began to change, I sang for awhile in the boys' choir at church. I didn't mind that at all.

*For most of my grade-school years, our children's religious processionals in church on special occasions were often led by... ME! Not because I deserved any great honor, but because I was the shortest kid of all, and the nuns' sense of order seemed to involve arranging us all according to height. What did I hate about that "honor"? I was too close to the smell of the incense! For the processions, the sisters taught me to fold my hands and "walk like a queen with a stack of books on her head"... always walking with my eyes straight ahead and slightly downcast. I figured that unique talent might someday come in handy. It never did, except for those processions. And 8th grade graduation from St. Mary's marked the permanent end of my "career" in processions.

*Sister Marjorie was raised with many brothers. I think that explains, partially, a stunt she once pulled on the boys in our class. In "squirt-gun season," every time she caught a boy in our class squirting us with their water guns, she would quietly confiscate the guns (without a lecture or discipline, however) and store them "for now" in the drawer of her desk; she kept that drawer locked. One day she stopped the class a half-hour early at the end of the school day. She brought out a pile of newspapers and had us all cover the floor with many layers of the papers in the front of the classroom. Then she told the boys to come forward and face the chalkboard, with their backs to the room. "When I say go," she said,"you can turn around." In the meantime, she quietly armed us all girls with the confiscated squirt guns, and we really soaked those rascal boys when they turned around. It still makes me happy to think about that.

*At the end of school days on Fridays, we would quit a little early. Then we were allowed to skate all over the hardwood floors with steel-wool pads under our feet. I guess that floor-cleaning game we all loved really made us unpaid janitors. We didn't care; we enjoyed it.

*All my brothers were altar boys. Masses were sung in Latin in those days, and I learned all the words by heart, because as a big sister, I helped all my younger brothers memorize and say the words of the Mass. One day I told Father Gallena I knew the Mass better than any of my brothers or the other altar boys. I told him I had short hair, so why co uldn't I wear dressy slacks and an altar boy's smock and be an altar boy... just once? The answer was a gentle no; it was against tradition. But his eyes were twinkling, and years later he told me he had been temptedto let me do one Mass as his altar boy, just to see if I could get away with it.
Years later at a friend's wedding, I was sitting in front of the church, wearing a white maternity smock and short hair. The priest who was leading the wedding Mass came out and demanded: "What are you doing here? You belong in the sacristy; we are already late in starting the Mass." The altar boy, you see, hadn't arrived, and the priest had looked out and seen me and mistaken me for that missing boy.
(I still didn't get to say Mass).

R.A.T (rose about town)... I enjoy dredging up such memories despite (or maybe BECAUSE of) the fact that I've been out of school for more than 50 years.

Share some of your own school memories with me ( I'd love to pass them on for enjoyment of readers of this blog.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I FOUND THIS in my journals today, written in 2006. Fun to share:

A few days ago, a friend emailed me a charming "wet pants" tale that may or may not have been true. I responded with my own wet-pants story...a true one! Thought I'd share it with you:
YEARS AGO, a certain little second-grade girl (guess who) was told to stay behind after eating her lunch; Sister Mary Alice wanted her to help in the classroom. When the work was done, the little girl told Sister she had to go to the bathroom REALLY bad.
Sister refused: "You can wait til after prayer. It's good to learn to discipline yourself."
The little girl by now was crossing her legs and dancing and insisting, "No I can't; I CAN'T; You HAVE to let me go." Sister wouldn't budge
The little girl got through the prayer, then as she hurried toward the door, Sister said, "Sit DOWN! I'll tell you when to leave the classroom!"
As the little girl sat down, the dam broke loose! And from that puddle rose an anguished voice, "I TOLD you I couldn't wait!"
THE NEXT YEAR, the same little girl felt very ill in school. Some of the kids had actually thrown up during the week---humiliating!
Remembering the wet-pants humiliation in 2nd grade, she prayed silently to God, "I'm going to throw up in front of everyone, any minute now; I KNOW I am... Please God, if you can help me get through the day without throwing up in front of my class, I'll become a nun."
Well, the prayer was answered, but the little girl did NOT really want to be a nun. Still, a promise to God was a promise to God.
THE LITTLE GIRL constantly agonized over that promise. Then a few years later, she confessed that story to her teacher, Sister Marjorie. Sister Marjorie gave her a big hug.
"God knows that promise wasn't made freely; it was made from fear," she said."So you don't have to be a nun!... As a matter of fact, I don't think you'd make a very good one... You couldn't get past that vow of obedience!"
SO IT ALL ended happily. I loved that little nun until her dying day.    
Love from "Olde Rose... not a nun."
I share that story easily now. I'm almost 69; I'm past my worries about humiliation! R.A.T. (Rose About Town)

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Thursday, July 23, 2009


Anyone who's followed this blog knows I sometimes complain about my dog insisting that I take him out for walks when I'm in the middle of something I find more interesting. They also know my dog sometimes ends up being thanked for the reluctant walk, because I often end up seeing things I wouldn't otherwise see.
On one recent evening in deep twilight, he hauled me out into the gloom and dampness. The clouds were all-encompassing and thick with dropping rain, yet as I looked up, these clouds seemed to develop an over-all glow in all directions. Like a bowl of neon.
I walked awhile, and as the dusk grew darker, I saw a brilliant, fiery sunset. Trouble was, I was looking to the NORTH-NORTHEAST; how could that be sunset?
I shared that vision with my husband, who said the color of a setting sun had probably been picked up by the clouds in the same way light enters a prism and throws the colors off in many directions.
Perhaps. His theory seemed reasonable. Still, it was magical and most unusual, no matter what the cause. Once again, I thanked my pesky dog.

R.A.T., (Rose About Town)reassures you that there was no fire in the region that evening to explain the red illusion Jack the Dog and I were witnessing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It's been a cool and refreshing summer. Our valley has twice registered night temps in the 40s within the past week, and forecasters are predicting cool daytime highs for next week. This takes me back to July of 1993, when I recorded these words in my journal:

September has sneaked in early this year,
setting her cool hand upon the face of July,
chilling our nights
and veiling our daytime sunlight.
She has announced her premature presence
in unseasonal mist-laden mornings,
and heaped her marshmallow signature clouds
along our summer horizons.
She is etching fall colors ever-so-slightly
in the leaves of our summer-lush woodlands;
drenching our summery souls with bone-chilling rains;
and casting the shadows of autumn upon us.
She has sent us her message;
we have felt it and seen it and heard it.
Just so you know,
our winter may arrive upon us, cold and early.

--R.Moore, July 1993, "Observations of a Weather Witch"

Alas, that summer WAS followed by a cold and early winter. We awoke one morning to 38degrees below zero, beginning a long chain of days in which the temperatures did not rise above zero, day or night. The limbs of the trees were snapping and cracking and "barking," protesting the cold. As were we.

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) is sorry for worrying you; try not to think about it.

(Direct your comments to R.A.T. at

Sunday, July 12, 2009


  London's famous Big Ben is now celebrating its 150th birthday. I thought it was much older, didn't you?
  Here in our younger country, in my own community of Concord Township in Lake County, Ohio, our Old Stone School is 16 years OLDER than Big Ben.
   It hasn't been a schoolhouse since 1921. But our community loved and respected it enough to refurbish it inside and out. It now lives again as a museum.
   R.A.T. (Rose About Town) is no longer young, though she's not as old as Big Ben or the Stone School. And she is glad that age is not necessarily a deterrent to respect.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Do YOU have a flowering arborvitae?
  Call this a flowering arborvitae, very rare. Or call it a mischief tree, not so rare when you have a husband with a sense of humor.

  Just before dark yesterday, I had brutally trimmed back a pot full of overly-leggy petunias to shock them into filling in more fully. This morning, I sat down with my morning coffee and glanced out the window at this amazing sight.

   I glanced over at my husband, and his eyes were twinkling; I suddenly knew he had picked up the fallen petunias and set them in the arborvitae for my morning surprise.

   It might have been his revenge on behalf of my now-grown boys. Years ago, they had babied a cactus along as a house plant, and one day I carefully attached a very-real-looking faux flower to the plant for them to find when they arrived home from school.

   They had proudly showed off their flowering cactus at least once before someone spotted the "faux" factor.

    (R.A.T. Rose About Town was never sure the boys really enjoyed the joke, but I did. And today I enjoyed my blooming mischief tree as well.)

(Address comments to

Monday, July 6, 2009


At a picnic yesterday, my husband (recovering from knee replacement) set one crutch down and, using the other crutch, walked to a picnic table nearby. One of the small boys grabbed the crutch on the ground and was told by an adult to "Leave that alone! It belongs to Uncle Bob."

"Well, why can't I play with it?" the boy protested. "Look! He has another one just like it! Doesn't he know about sharing?"

When a full explanation was given to the boy as to how the crutches are used and why Uncle Bob needed both, the boy's face fell.

"Oh," he said. "I thought it was a pogo stick."

Thursday, June 25, 2009


In the heat of this hottest of days in the month of June in this valley, there is beauty despite our immersion in sweat and humidity...

I sit at noon at the rim of my garden, and the colors of Monet, and more, are swirling before me like bits of stained glass in the finest Victorian kaleidoscope. My blooms are providing the colors; butterflies and large woodland moths are adding the motion...

In the deep, silent heat of the night, my dog refuses to sleep. We go to the porch, where he sinks his tired old bones to a mat at the door and I take my place on a cushioned lawn chair. We visit with fireflies that are twinkling like stars that have left their natural place in the skies, their white-strobe brightness making us drowsy; bringing us peace...

In the earliest moments of morning, the first birdsong emerges and dawn reveals a shimmering dome of clouds in a definite fish-scale pattern of salmon and grey and soft purple. A heat-busting storm has been forecast, and these clouds are the omen. It makes me think of the skies described in old diaries by tropical people as they unknowingly faced the arrival of hurricanes.

Our northern Ohio won't be breeding a hurricane, as far as I know. How strong the upcoming, heat-generated tempest will be, I can't say.

But I'm drinking the beauty of now.

R.A.T. (Rose About Town), not phased by the heat wave.

(Direct your own weather comments to

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Years ago in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, I met this free-range calf and fell in love with him. I loved the fact that he wasn't fenced in; he was free to roam and graze as he pleased. To be sure, he was not a welfare animal waiting to be fed; he was a future full-grown steer filling his tummy at his own volition, and in the process ridding the prairie of a lot of flammable excess of vegetation.
I've heard some free-range areas now require fencing; that doesn't surprise me, I guess. But now I read that farmers are being urged to find ways to feed their cattle with materials that won't cause them to burp and thus contribute to "global warming"... now that's a good example of mule-headed foolishness.
As I have aged, I find I sometimes burp as well. Gotta watch that.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) Send comments to

Sunday, June 21, 2009


This is Bob Moore, husband to me and the father of my children.
I've always referred to this photo as "BOB MOORE, OUTSTANDING IN HIS FIELD."
That's tongue-in-cheek, perhaps, but he always was outstanding in the field of fatherhood as well as the field of home-building, with which he supported us.
He is but one outstanding father in the world. How about yours?
If your father is living, call him, visit him and/or hug him.
If he has passed away, think about him.
My own father died when I was 14, and I never stop thinking about him. He had tremendous influence on my life and what I chose to do as a career; I became a newswoman.
My father-in-law was an excellent role model to his children, as to how to raise and love and set them on the right path. He also is deceased, and he also is missed.
In your comments (send to, please pay tribute to your own father or a favorite father figure in your life.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town)

Monday, June 15, 2009


Every now and then we are reminded that a wrinkle here or there in time can mean the difference between life and death; disaster or escape.
Yesterday I was no more than 10 or 20 feet away from a rural intersection when a car full of teenagers blasted at a very high speed through that intersection without slowing or stopping. I felt I could feel their wake, so close were we.
They were playing "chicken," it would seem. When they saw how close we'd come, they shouted exuberantly, as if in exultation and a sense of victory, their laughter punctuated by the tangle of their arms saluting me through open windows.
A tad of time, and I could have been tee-boned and never made it home again, especially at the speed they were travelling; another slight difference in time and THEY could have been tee-boned, leaving weeping families and friends. And yet another fateful time between our two approaches to that intersection, and neither of our cars would have come close enough for me even ponder what I'm pondering.
I'm not sure these youthful beings grasped the same significance as I did; it's very possible this was for them another proof they were immortal.
As for me, it was yet another reminder that life at its brightest can be fragile.
Carpe diem.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town)
Send Comments to


Before you think about selling Americans on little cars, you might seriously think about establishing a separate lane for for all those huge trucks which clog our highways, overpowering us dangerously in size and making it impossible to see the view (and signs) ahead. To be effective, those truck lanes would have to be far left to help our visibility, or possibly on a separate highway.
Small-child car seats figure into the small-car quotient as well. How can a mother of more than one small child get them into a little car; how can she reach in and extricate them without popping her back out of place... ? (There's a reason young families prefer large cars, and we have the intelligence and ability and techno-savvy to come up with economical engines in larger vehicles... especially when we have incentives to do so).

While you're considering changes in health insurance, we citizens who support you financially also suggest that you forget about "universalizing" health care and changing retirement rules until all of you officials (and also public employees and unions) agree to accept the same formula that would apply to the rest of us... and to remove or tax your own perks in the process of taxing ours. We also encourage you to limit the coverage of such insurance to full-fledged citizens.
(R.A.T encourages you to add your own civilly stated suggestions in the COMMENTS section).


Last week I read an interview with bicyclists who complained about the resentment and lack of respect they receive from motorists on the highway, who often get impatient to pass their slower-speed bicycles.
The bicyclists were asked why they don't make use of the many scenic, paved bicycle and hiking trails that have been established through our rural and urban communities.
Their answer? They don't like sharing with people on foot, "because we'd have to cope with them slowing us down. You never can tell when you'll come around a bend or over a hill, and there those walkers and joggers will be in your way!"
DUH! Aren't they displaying the very attitude they complain about in motorists?
R.A.T. (Rose About Town)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Now that GM is breaking up and perhaps dissolving altogether,let me share with you the story of Big Red, my 1995 Cadillac (a GM product, of course).

It was a rainy but leaf-brilliant day in October of '95, and I was still working hard to recover from a serious brain hemmorage that had stricken me the month before. I was still confined to home, and on that day I noticed a brand new red Cadillac coming into the driveway.

The doorbell rang, and to my surprise my husband Bob told me I was the one who would have to answer it. As I opened the door, a young man handed me two sets of gold keys, then tipped his hat and walked to the end of the driveway, where someone picked him up, and away they drove. And there that beautiful Cadillac sat, alone in my driveway.

"What was THAT about," I wondered aloud to Bob. "Read the tag," he suggested. On one of the tags, in my husband's own handwriting, was a note: "Thank you for surviving. Love, Bob"

I wasn't able to drive the car until the following springtime, but each day---even in the snow---Bob would take me for a ride in it. By summer that year, it was also our magic carpet for a long, wandering trip through the American west. We followed our noses, with no deadlines and no set itinerary. Strictly gypsies, we were, and happy to be just that.

While we were away, an Amish family lived in our home with our dog until our return. They thought they had the best of the bargain, but in my mind, nothing could have been more wonderful than our own leisurely, adventurous summer trip in Big Red.

So good luck, General Motors. Please don't get rid of the Cadillac Division... and especially, don't sell it out to an overseas company, especially China.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town)

Sunday, May 24, 2009




For Fleet Week 2009, I salute Bryan Moore who was a yeoman aboard the fast-attack submarine, USS Oklahoma City.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town), mother of Bryan.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Early last evening I walked in the depth of my valley. The setting sun had dropped beyond my line of visibility, but most of the sky above me was cloudless and blue.

I watched a jet, with its con-trail, punching its way dramatically up from the west in such a steep climb it looked to be heading directly for space.

If the sunset itself was hiding behind a high, leafy treeline, it had infused the jet's con-trail with every bit of its gleaming pink neon.

Racing upward through the blue, the jet appeared to be dragging a "baby-pink" banner along!

Beautiful. Unusual. Somehow a bit sissy-ish? Would a macho top-gun pilot approve of this pink-and-blue color scheme?

Whether or not....

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) was glad to be there for the moment.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


A Connecticut friend who follows this blog sent this photo of her husband and grandson(Christopher) reading the morning paper. Fans of newspapers are countless and come in all sizes and ages.
R.A.T. loves this photo enough to share it with you.


I'm an old newspaper woman who will mourn the loss if newspapers ever really do die. That's why I treasure this photograph I took of a granddaughter, Katie, circa 1996. She loved to swath herself in newspapers whenever she visited Grandmother's house.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town), Katie's "old news hen" grandmother

"Miles to go before I sleep... "

One of my still-favorite memorized bits of poetry from my childhood is from Robert Frost and his "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening":

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

Please don't think I have backed away from this blog; I may enjoy my blogging more than you enjoy reading it.
But, like Robert Frost, these days I've simply had too many miles to go and too many things to do before I sleep (or write).
Among the promises I'll keep is this one to you: I'll be back as a regular soon.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) Busy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I happened to catch First Lady Michelle Obama's speech yesterday, and I have to say she's a better speaker than the president. I enjoyed listening. Nothing her husband can do at Notre Dame could be better, if as good, and she was more "real."
Now, if you don't agree, okay. But please don't carp simply because I said something complimentary about someone you don't like. Uncivility is counter-productive.

Friday, May 15, 2009


OMIGOD, I'm so sick of Washington and its booing and hissing of corrupt snakes trying to do each other in. They seem to be trying to eat each other alive.
R.A.T. is in a foul mood.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Remember that custom-made bird house Bob installed for our little wren couple, on the front porch?
Guess where the wrens actually set up housekeeping: On the covered portion of our lower rear patio, in a vintage maple-sap-collecting bucket.
No, I didn't put it there for them as part of my housing-stimulus package. They're squatters!
(They will not be evicted).
Happy day from R.A.T. (Rose About Town)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Spring is truly here. I know it because I just finished mowing my upper and lower lawns for the first time.
The upper land was fun; it's always been my favorite transcendental meditation mode.
The lower land was something else. Grass too high. Ground too boggy. But I got it done.
Ah, Spring! I've forgotten how much fun it is to be covered with mud.
Good wishes to you from R.A.T. (Rose Around Town), feeling earthy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Google Headquarters hit the news today because they have begun using goats as "lawn mowers." Yes, I admit that makes them "green," as they say. But the trend isn't new. In the 1800s, our township cemeteries were mowed that way, and some Amish cemeteries still are (although in both cases, sheep are preferred).
And in 1981, after my husband's heart surgery and my own back problems made it hard for us to maintain a certain portion of our property, we purchased a few sheep to do the job.
It drew a lot of attention, some of it scathing, but the results were beautiful. And we were able to sell the sheep back in the fall, for just what we'd paid for them... avoiding the expense of feeding the animals in the winter.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) and her hubby were way ahead of the curve.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good choruses, bad choruses...

Left the windows open all night so I could hear the nocturnal chorus of tree toads, spring peepers and all that good stuff. I slept well.
Turned on the news this morning and heard the annoying chorus of... "The sky is falling... the flu is coming... the government is trying to borrow money... "
R.A.T. has turned off the news and is on her way out the door, whatever the weather.

Monday, April 27, 2009


The news lately is talking of some sectors of the job market that are booming. For instance, auto mechanics, shoe repair people, tailors, "Geek Squad" computer repair people...
The news people seem to bemoan that because it indicates people are no longer buying new when repairs can make a product usable.
What's so bad about that? As a society, we buy more than we could possibly use, and we fill our local dumps to the brim.
Perhaps our buy-buy-buy is the REAL correction that needs to be made for a healthy economic future.

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) knows far too many people who have so many clothes in their closets that they can't find (or have forgotten) what's there.

Friday, April 24, 2009


i'm not a techie. Why do the posting times on my blog seem more like West Coast time? Makes it look like I start posting long before done in my Ohio home.
R.A.T. (Sorry to spoil the illusion)


As I promised in this morning's blog (below), here's my photo of the eastern morning sky this Arbor Day at 6:15 a.m., April 24, 2009, from my front porch.
Despite the driving rain, the "sky-fire" spectacle was clearly seen, even through the lens of my rather ordinary camera. This photo has not been enhanced in any way. It was the only photo my camera would allow before the battery died. Too bad. The next photo I was trying to take would have shown the rain-wet highway reflecting the color and looking like a river of fire. (Sometimes waking up a bit too early in the day is worth the effort).... R.A.T. (Rose About Town)


Arbor Day started early for us, just after the first light of day. The day looked fresh and calm, but suddenly we seemed to be quickly immersed in a light... as if we were smack-dab in the middle of a flash bulb. The lights kept coming, on and off for a few minutes.

I went to the door to let my dog out for his morning run, and that poor creature, who HATES rain, was drenched in a sudden outburst. He was shivering and dripping water as he walked into the house.

I glanced toward the big west-facing windows, and the woodland was red, as if reflecting a forest fire; the sycamores were gorgeous!

The rains stopped for a few minutes, and I went to the east windows, and the entire morning was red. Not just the deflected red of a sunrise finding its way through cloud cover; the entire sky was immersed in the glow, as if a red translucent bowl had been lowered over our valley.

I admired it and wondered about it, then the rains began again. The windows shook with thunder, and a spectacular lightning show ensued. Things calmed for a few minutes, and the red drained from the skies, to be replaced by an eerie, sulphurish, glowing green.

A weather bulletin reached my ears from my favorite morning radio station. A rogue storm had "come up on radar out of nowhere," moving from Cuyahoga County, east through Kirtland Hills and into southern Lake County (us!) and Geauga. It was headed northeast at 25 miles per hour, possibly throwing off strong winds and hail along the way. Just before his station was knocked off the air, the radio announcer said he'd been receiving calls about triple rainbows.

Temps, according to my weather station, shot up very quickly from 42 to mid-50s and cooled again as the rains returned.

At our house, we got neither wind nor hail... just a few brief, recurrent power outages which apparently made enough problems at Perry, northeast of here, to close the schools for the day. (Can you hear the squeals of delight from Perry school kids?)

The rogue storm departed as suddenly as it had arrived. All in all, this morning daybreak presented our eyes with a rare and beautiful phenomenon; it was an unusual way to begin our National Arbor Day.

Speaking of Arbor Day, have you hear the recent EPA announcement that CO2 is a serious culprit in global warming. CO2 is also necessary for trees and other plant life, and what kind of world would it be without our trees and other greenery?

Happy Arbor Day from R.A.T.(Rose About Town)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Today's late-April cold snap apparently has energized every bird inhabiting my woodland property. Watching from the window of my library at home, I grab my laptop to memorialize the scene:

It's as if there's music from an unseen orchestra with varied repertoire...

A robin hops frenetically, apparently not satisfied with any breakfast worm he comes across as he moves to his own private beat from buffet stop to buffet stop... skittering backward, forward, sideways, all around his grassy dance floor...

Sprightly chickadees are do-si-do-ing, square-dancing their hearts out in my small red maple trees...

Goldfinches are line-dancing carefully along the edges of a long planting box on my porch....

A cardinal is break-dancing his way alone across the branches of an evergreen...

A Carolina wren, always a jammin' little dancer anyway, must be hearing a beat much faster than he has ever heard before. He seemingly intends to keep up with the jive; my sleepy morning eyes can't stay in contact with his moves...

Downy woodpeckers are doing a modern up-speed version of the minuet on a leafless tree limb, stopping every now and then for an insect snack...

An exception to this avian activity taking place before my eyes this morning seems to be a big blue jay, perching coolly nearby on a tree, watching like a chaperon or reluctant wallflower.

But here he goes! He revs his wings, extends his head far forward and storms top-speed across my line of vision. A brilliant blue Speed Racer boldly navigating an unseen track in all that space above the ground, he is stealing the show from every other creature, looping and soaring as his spirit prompts him, changing altitudes and attitudes with great abandon, executing his maneuvers skillfully above my roof and over my lawns and through my trees... He's showing his stuff as brilliantly as any barnstorming stunt pilot of any era... Oh, Mister Blue Jay!

What's been going on here? A reaction to a weather front that's spitting snow into the plummeting springtime temperatures? A prequel to a day of courtship? A mass response to natural harmonic events that fall beneath the radar of our human senses? A spontaneous celebration of Earth Day?...

Whatever, Mister Aviator Blue Jay... R.A.T. (Rose Around Town) appreciates the privilege of having been your spectator, however briefly on this Earth Day 2009.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Dear Mr. President

I hear your family has a dog. I hope it isn't "theirs" alone (Michelle and the girls). I hope it's truly your dog too.

A president needs a dog. A dog will love you, come what may, unless you're mean to him; and sometimes even then.

A dog will listen patiently while you talk about your troubles of the day. A dog will watch quite carefully to see if you are ill or troubled.

A dog will greet you with affection when you return, whether it be from a talk with Congress or a tour across the seas or simply from a corner restaurant.

A dog won't care about your party or your policy. A dog will simply want the best for YOU and everyone you love. A dog won't care about opinions of the outside world; he will simply care about YOUR feelings.

A dog won't see you as the world sees you; he will see you as a human being, the person utmost in his world and sensibilities.

A dog will rejoice when you rejoice; rest when you rest; worry when you worry; mourn when you mourn; he will purposely fine-tune his senses to your needs.

A dog will make your world a better place than it could be WITHOUT a dog.

You cannot buy affection from a dog; you can only earn it.

Love your dog and be a proper master, and your dog will do the same for you.

Good wishes to you, your family and your dog from R.A.T. (Rose About Town), whose world has been adorned by dogs for many years.