Posted by: 2russ | October 16, 2011

Write on

Welcome to   If you would like to contribute a timeless piece of prose, poetry, or your own musing, leave a comment!  Include your contact information, please!

Posted by: 2russ | May 26, 2011

Elegy for a Homemaker

Recuerdos de los Cascade

Memories of life at Grandma’s at the Cascade

Grandma Easter 2009

We watched the Virginia Tech shooting spree massacre, it was April, and Mother said “Oh”!  Turn off that CNN!”

June, July, August, age 92.  Happy 92nd birthday.

September 2010, Saturday afternoon, “Let’s go hear the live Big Band Jazz Band at the Bflat lounge on Douglas Road.  “OK!”

We had fish and sweet potato chips, (not with salt, but with crystallized cinnamon sugar on ‘em), and a “Salad Please!”  It was on her kidney dialysis diet.

October 2010, we’re all of a sudden in the pool at the Cascade.  Grandma, son and daughter-in-law! It’s the late morning; it’s a nice warm day.  Grandma’s got her hat, her sunglasses; she’s down there at Alligator level.  Soon, all of her friends showed up to swim.  The Pool was where Grandma held court.  We stayed in that day for over 1 hour!

Her friends came and went, before We got out.

That night, out on the front porch, we watched the helicopters coming in from the canyon tours at exactly 8:00 P.M.  It was cozy on the porch.  It was her window on the world.  She spoke to and monitored all the traffic in the park.  She noted who walked into or out of the pool and the clubhouse from her vantage point right across the street.  We had 26 plants and a new set of patio furniture on that porch. It was comfortable and beautiful to her.  She loved to grow flowers in the heat on that porch.  Grandma enjoyed the new patio and porch décor, and the new carpeting in the house, too.  She loved looking out at the pool or clubhouse to see the action at 2 in the morning or 4 in the morning.  Whatever!

Remembrances of Grandma on the Island

When Grandma visited us on the Island, we first came across the water, on the ferry, at night.  It was completely calm.  Pitch black.  The drone of the diesel engines.  No lights from the ferry on the water.  I said:  “We’ll be there in 6 minutes.”

“You mean we’ve already left?”“Yes!”  “Well, we’re not moving… are we?”“Yes!”“Well!  I Say!”

Grandma didn’t feel well on the morning of the Lavender Festival.  Her stomach felt “cold” and she had “no legs.”

So, after the festival day, we took her into town.  Late that night I got a phone call from the Doctor at the Walk-in–Clinic saying that the blood test didn’t look good and he’d arrange for us to come in to town in the morning and the cardiologist and the emergency room would take over.

Two stents.

This was July 2006.

Las Vegas 2006 to 2010

Grandma had a lot of sparkle in her eyes.  We had her 90th birthday party.  We were all learning about health and life, good diet, and discipline.

These years, in a way, were like our days, in youth, being raised by our mother.  Only now, it was like being raised all over again.  And we were raising our mother at the same time, in her kidney disease and the management of her health in the disease.

She knew life and love, family and old values, of growing up in Upstate New York, raising kids, working for 30 years for a company, working on a farm, learning piano at age 8 from her relative, caring for Her aging mother who lived to age 86, seeing her children move “out west.”

She followed her kids westward, and finally settled at The Cascade.

One time, as a kid, I remember that we had a two week summer vacation, my parents having only a couple a weeks a year off from their jobs.  Our parents took us up to New England and Canada on trips!

About 8 days into one year’s trip, Mother said to Dad:  “That’s it!  I’ve travelled enough!  Time to go Home!”

And, so, around we went.  Dad turned it around.  And, in a day or two we were back at the home compound, “Little Green.”

What is Home, What is a home?

Home, always home, the comfort of home, Home is where the heart is.  A heart needs a home.  Home, Sweet Home!  Lord, take me Home!  I want to go home!  Home at last, home at last.  Free at last, free at last.

Thank God almighty I’m free at last!


Mother loved to bake; she baked for the entire family for summer events at the lake.  Cakes with fresh raspberry frosting, frosting that is beat until it spins like a thread!  Molasses cookies for us at home, all year long.  Cakes for our Dad – Chocolate ones.  She would bake pies.

Mother loved to garden!  She even pulled weeds for us along our hedge on The Island in 2005.

But back in New York, when I was growing up, she had flower beds of phlox, a garden full of vegetables.  Between the lawns and flowers and the garden, there were 2 and ½ acres.  We had potatoes, tomatoes, corn, melons, cucumbers, and beans. Radishes, onions, carrots, and berries.

I remember on summer nights, our supper would be made of sweet corn, with butter, tomatoes with mayonnaise, cucumbers with vinegar, and potatoes.  Bread and butter- salt and pepper.  All vegetarian.  All fresh.  Sometimes we would simply have , Strawberry Shortcake!

A homemaker like mother also worked nearly 30 years at GE in Syracuse.  What a woman!

She was wife, cook, gardener, mother, daughter, musician, baker, worker, snowplower, neighbor, sister, friend and a love.

A woman is more,

And she was more!

Last year I asked her what she thought happens after life.  She had been foreshadowing her death.  She would say things like I won’t be around by Thanksgiving. Or I won’t be here to see this or that.  We talked about the afterlife, but there were no conclusions.

Before we knew it, she was Homeward Bound.  It was time, to go home…  Home to the free, and she was brave over it.  She was finally free at last!

Posted by: 2russ | May 16, 2011

My Good Counselor

Trees remind us of old men and old women

A Man and a Woman Look at the God Cloud in the God Sky

I can see clearly now, the Rain has gone,

Gone are the dark clouds all around.

Look all around, I can see Sunshine,

Sunshine all the Days…..

My paraphrase from the Johnny Nash song, “I Can See Clearly Now.”

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

Fluffi Lummi – A Site for Writers

Welcome to fluffi lummi!  If you would like to contribute a timeless piece of prose, poetry, or your own musing, leave a comment!  Include your contact information, please!

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

Look for a new Four Part Series, soon!

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

Have an upcoming showing?  Contact us here!

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

Flummoxed? Feathers Ruffled? Write your own fluff, here! Blog your comments.

We met the nicest people!  Don’t we every day?  These were people on bicycles. They weren’t wearing headgear, but they commented on the “nice old dog!

There we were, a couple of editors and ones with a dog walking assignment!  The bicyclists passed us but we caught up to them as they had stopped to chat with an old friend of ours!

Just how did our friend “arrest” them.  The people on bikes were from Canada!  Our friend is not Canadian.

This time the Canadians got to give hugs and kisses to the “old” dog!

I told the couple: To keep up with this “beautiful place”, (their words), visit the fluffi lummi site often!

Just search fluffi lummi on the internet with your search engine of choice!

Maybe our friend is part Canadian!  We are now planning a dinner with her.

We will find out!

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

Suspended Animation


Editor’s note:  This article was drafted well before the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 2011. Mr. Rider-Ribonne is a New York expatriate now living in the Seattle, WA area.

We are Brothers, You and I

We are Brothers, You and I

A Small Earthquake and a large Tsunami like estranged brothers were about to close ranks.  Suspend Animation!  Freeze that frame!

A natural disaster is poised just waiting to happen, as an inevitable surprise, a night visitor, a distant relative showing up at your door, in the pouring rain.  With either earthquake or tsunami the expectation is that eventually help will come.  The Social Contract, from the French), demands that!  And, we are irrevocably linked as a world people.  Or, at least, we’re linked until we are de-linked.  When we are unlinked it is the Unnatural Disaster.

Then, the social contract develops cracks and fissures, and then our weave is not as tight as it once was.  That is unfortunate of course, but people do move along and drift. It is no longer romantic but much more poignant. Lives are disrupted in such an unlinking.  Help doesn’t come readily from one brother to another and your Tsunami and my Earthquake separate us, one-from-the-other. We both decide to go solo with our respective disasters,, as a result of the “unnatural disaster” of the feud.

Out of Our Heads – the Boom and Bust Cycle

The dynamic in good times, the steadily climbing trill of notes leading to the crescendo, leaves us tingly and feeling a warm fuzz.  We like that!  If right, the subsequent melody, played sweetly and softly, only adds to the perfidy.  Go to the balcony and get a breath of fresh air.  The next descending movement delivers a soft landing through easy decrescendo.  Peace!

Sometimes though, the music is too frenzied, we are moved to dance.  But if, like a John Coltrane cadenza, it is much too frantic, we can not even dance.  We and the music are out of control.  Step out on the balcony and hold onto the rail, to keep your balance.  Hold on while reaching for the stars; the next passage is largo and ends in a mighty fall to a new low.

It’s alright to get excited.  We simply need to remember that while we are getting carried away, we might want to hearken back to less flush times in order to remember how to save, ( help one another, have brotherhood, strengthen the social contract, extend the social safety net), and act.

When the price is dear, i can see the excited eyes, especially when the specter of good times stimulates.  Animal spirits take over and risk-takers and entrepreneurs get creative.  They may even desire the “solo” path.

The question is:  will it take?  Is it a deal or a pact?  With whom?  The Devil?  How long is it good for?  If it’s real, does it mean that you can’t ever “look” back for fear of turning to stone?  5 year or 25 year periods can be incredibly short, when compacts aren’t right.

Blood Sweat and Tears

I can see that in times of stress, Tsunami victims would welcome a boat rescue, (to a high and dry place).  Likewise victims of a temblor relish the safety of a flat land.  There is no sense in going solo when one party has a hill and one party has a plain.  To take your ball and go home leaves both sides bruised and no one helped.  The sweat of such a fight is salty and stings the eyes.

The Wild, Wild West

There are of course many stories surrounding the founding of the wild, wild West.  There is “Highway Robbery.”  There is the saga of “Stagecoach” with its shamelessness. We have the Pony Express, the Great Train Robbery  the one-room schoolhouse and Boot Hill.  The hero was the lawman, the rugged individual, the emergency man.  He’s the one who put people up on “Boot Hill.”

Today, we have to take action and cannot rely on the arrival of the next emergency man.  We cannot identify issues, much less problem solvers.  Sometimes quakes are followed by large waves.  A good shake-up may wash something up to shore.  Soon.  Small temblors serve as wake-up calls.  Several market corrections may be favored over one large disastrous crash.  Life in the West is hard today, as it was in the past.  Today we are approaching a box canyon.  If only we can get through, then we’ll look far, far ahead.  But right now it is just four high walls.  Or maybe we need a Justice-Man to ride in on a white horse.  Don’t wait for Evacuation by Helicopter or (Deus ex Machina)!

In lieu of waiting, for the 11th hour or someone to “emerge” to save us, try prudence and timeliness to ready ourselves for natural disasters by working to eliminate our created Unnatural Disasters.

Or, Suspend Animation!

Tyson P. Rider-Ribonne

Seattle, WA.

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

The Sky’s the Limit

The Sky is the Limit, when debt is concerned; We have met the enemy, and they are us!

The Romans used to shave their coins and thus monetize their debt, by making more coins from shavings.  They owned the gold and the smelter.

If you could do anything legal to liquidate your debt, would you go for it?  It’s tempting, isn’t it!  Bankruptcy?  Ugly!  Refinance your loans to the lowest possible rate.  The perfect solution!

Debt is a crushing burden.  Individuals can “garage sale”, “Ebay”, or walk away.  But, can governments?  Really?  No, not really!  The moral hazard is too heavy a weight, too unseemly.  But they have their own trick. And it’s a sleight of hand to get out of the burden, the weight.  It is a bit they have mastered from the Roman days:  the liquidation of debt.

  Percent of Implied Inflation over ten and thirty year periods on a per year basis.

Nominal Rate 10 year Treasury 3.125%  Bond rate
10 year TIPS Base Rate 1.125%
10 year implied Inflation rate per year 2.00 %  = rate of inflation
Nominal Rate 30 year Treasury 4.375%  Bond rate
30 year TIPS Base Rate 2.125%
30 year implied Inflation rate per year-over 30 yrs. 2.25 %  = rate of inflation

Treasury Inflation Protected Securities vs. Ten and Thirty year U.S. Treasury Bonds

If you are not earning over 2.25% interest you are receiving a Negative Yield.

If the government can lower the amount they pay for the money lent to them, (i.e. bonds), then their debt to Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is lower.  GDP represents the total of goods and services produced and sold as a sovereign nation.  A lower debt to GDP ratio preserves their AAA credit rating, (if that is what your government has)!

If this hypothetical sovereign runs low on cash, they have to borrow, (or tax).  Borrowing, being the lesser of two evils, they proffer issuance of bonds, hopefully via the full faith and credit of their good name.  They can raise their credit card limit to maintain the borrowing and the servicing of said borrowing – borrowing known to all as debt.

This would be a good plan for the individual, too.  Except for one thing:  No one is giving anyone, anything! Moreover, banks aren’t lending. businesses aren’t hiring, and most of us are de-leveraging, ( think flotsam and jetsam) everywhere.  No one is buying and we are at one another’s throats out of frustration!  Generation-ally we are competitive, (pitting young vs. old), and culturally we are competitive, (race vs. race, gay vs. straight, rich vs. poor, red vs. blue, coffee vs. tea)!

The Paradox of Us and Them

Paradoxically, government – defined as what we all decide to do together and when no one else wants to do it, is giving things away.  There is some health coverage and some food support.  There is very little housing support.  Then of course there is protection. All in all the government is a trustworthy partner, since they are us anyway! We can trust ourselves!  But more on that later….

What to do with Money – If you have any!

Credit card limits are being reduced and some credit cards are refusing customers.  If you had money saved, you are getting a negative real yield.  1/2 of 1 % is less than the 2% inflation, so you are losing 1 1/2 % per year on your money.  So, that doesn’t work.

So what is a country to do?  What is an individual to do? The individual can change course, change lifestyle, cut corners, adapt and invest in different instruments.  The mattress returns even less % than the bank, though.

But for a country:  Security and defense are necessities; the social safety net is a necessity.  The safety net ultimately catches the above unnamed individual who has found them self with no more corners to cut.  And, they have to be protected from the threat of foreign war.  So, for a country, the sky has to be the limit in terms of borrowing.  The credit card limit – the debt ceiling has to be raised! It’s the way to preserve their AAA credit rating.  People feel assured in lending to them, knowing that they will be paid back.  We all live to play another day to use a sports analogy!  Maybe we don’t win today’s game and we get punched and bruised, but we get to play tomorrow.  The sky’s the limit then, and tomorrow is a whole new ball game!  It starts with a flip of a coin.  Hopefully, though, it is not a shaved one!

If you are a conservative bond investor, a bank customer, a money market person, or a Certificate of Deposit person, you may be shaking hands with the government. Make sure that you haven’t signed up for a certificate of confiscation, as the rate of return is reminiscent of a skunk encounter: you get a bad smell not sensed until after you have passed it.

The tricky part is:  How do you balance AAA safety with the spread you need – to keep up with, and surpass inflation?  For that you will need to explore the so called “Safe Spread concept!”

Until then, if you are shaking hands, make sure the other shaker does not have their other hand – in your pocket!

And, if you are shaking hands with yourself, all your pockets are exposed.

2Russ May 2011


Monthly articles on Economics and Finance covering money, investing and trends in the economy!

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