Eight life lessons: Don’t take your pressure cooker to the airport

Instant Pot

Inspired by today’s news* and memories of yesterday’s good advice:

  1. Eat your peas. There are children starving in [fill in the blank with country of choice.]
  2. Never send money to Nigerian princes, bankers, astronauts, or spies.
  3. Don’t talk to strangers.
  4. Don’t click on that link.
  5. Always wear clean underwear with no holes. You could get in a traffic accident and be taken to the hospital and you wouldn’t want the doctors to think you are a slob.
  6. Don’t take your pressure cooker to the airport. It might look like a fancy crock pot to you, but it looks like a bomb to TSA.
  7. Always say please and thank you.
  8. Just say no.


* [from today’s news] Operations at Terminal 2 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport returned to normal Wednesday after authorities found a suspicious item in the morning and evacuated the terminal, airport officials said.

The ticketing lobby and checkpoints reopened just after 6 a.m. after the Bloomington Bomb Squad cleared the item, which turned out to be a rice cooker. The man who left the cooker behind was arrested, said airport spokeswoman Melissa Scovronski. X-rays revealed the rice cooker contained only spices.


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Rhubarb Season


Pioneer’s pie plant –
elephant ear leaves and ruby stalks yield
double-crusted pies with artful slashes to let out steam.
Grandma’s garden, gone to the city, yields
sauces and scones, muffins and mimosas, cakes and chutneys:
Millie’s thoroughly modern

Pull rhubarb or chop it close to the ground.
Cut leaves from stalks,
and bring the stalks into the kitchen.
Discard the broad leaves:
They contain oxalic acid,
a strong poison.

Old Noah Webster knew his pie plant,
and also knew how to keep up with the times, naming
Rhubarb, in baseball,
“a bench clearing brawl.”

From dugout to
dug-in plutocrats, politicos,
clearing the benches
swinging wildly/slinging mud
tweeting a
one-man rhubarb,
all leaf, no stalk.

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mock orange blossoms

Twenty-nine years ago
friends overflowed the yard, front and back,
as deep purple clematis climbed the wall and
bountiful blossoms covered the mock orange bush.

Over the years we
said goodbye to that clematis,
and to my dad, his dad, aunts and uncles.

Over the years we
put down roots, and
planted peonies, ferns, tulips, trees,
and children.

A few friends remain.
The mock orange blooms again today,
though showing its age,
as we are.

Twenty-nine years together
watching the world change
outside our doors
inside our hearts.


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Blackbirds some day

blackbird on cattail

Photo by Kurt Bauschardt, published under Creative Commons license

Some day I will stop and
write blackbirds
swinging on last summer’s reeds,
flashing red wings under spring sun,
singing life.

Some day I will stop and
watch swans float serenely
in ponds and pot holes
and learn how to use that zoom lens
waiting in the trunk of my car.

Some day my mind will not twitch
away from roadside minutes
to mourn roadside bombs and drone strikes,
to rage against weasels in the White House,
to ache for starving Somalia and bloody Syria.

This day
spring seems mere mockery while
death blooms along other roadsides
and red means blood, not blackbirds.

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Seize spring

Two geese 1.jpg

Overnight, that puddle ran off
the edges of the sidewalk and sank down
into mud that only yesterday was ice.

Each day, new birds sing. Continue reading

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Chicago I

Fishing on Navy Pier.jpgBig shoulders,
hunched over fishing poles,
sweaters and coats, layer upon layer,
warding off March morning chill,
hoping for a bite off Navy Pier. Continue reading

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When hell freezes over

Are they coming?
Someone tell me, is it true?
Are they searching Cedar Avenue?
Is there a raid in Richfield?
Are they coming? Is it true?

Through the vacuum of cyberspace,
can you hear the tears
in Arizona where
Guadalupe García de Rayos
wife, mother, worker,
checked in at the immigration office
as she did last year and the year before and the year before that,
but this year:
that very day
“The truth is I was there for my children.
For a better future. To work for them.
And I don’t regret it,
because I did it for love,”
The children are here now, and she is not
because hell freezes over and turns to ICE

Are they coming?
Someone tell me, is it true?
Should I keep my children inside?
Lock my doors?
Stay home from work?

Through the vacuum of cyberspace,
can you hear the screaming
in El Paso, as
six ICE agents enter the county courthouse and
drag out a woman:
her protective order
against domestic violence gives
no protection from
hell freezing over and turning to ICE.

Are they coming?
Do you know is it today?
Is it tomorrow?
On the street or in my home?

Through the vacuum of cyberspace,
can you hear the anger in Seattle
for Daniel Ramirez Medina,
a dreamer, age 23,
arrested, taken out of his home,
despite DACA and work permit:
nothing matters when
hell freezes over and turns to ICE.

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