“The ramblings and grumblings of author Ad Hudler”

Cool Christmas gift!
Monday, December 27, 2010

Action figures! A few years ago my daughter got me the ancient-Egypt set. This year it was the Rainforest collection.

Indiana Jones, far left, meets Queen Nefertiti.

I keep these in a vase on the bookshelf behind my desk, and when I need a distraction from writing I pull them down and play with them.

My Pinocchio Problem
Thursday, December 23, 2010

I've always been good at lying ... comfortable doing so, too. Fiction-writing was a natural fit for me, and it's made memoir-writing all the more difficult because I find myself wanting to bend the truth.

Usually, I get away with my lies -- but on a rare occasion ...

I hadn't been to Costco for nearly 10 years, so I first visited the customer service counter to renew my card.

"Where have you been all this time?" she asked.

"Out of the country," I said. (The answer poured forth with no thought, no planning. I should have said, "I don't like to come in here because I always spend too much money and leave with something I don't need." But I didn't.)

I was happy to leave the lie at that, but she was curious: "Where were you?" she asked.

"Bolivia," I said.

"Doing what?" she asked.

"Working on a cattle ranch," I said.

Meanwhile, she is calling up our account and looking at it on the computer. "You're Carol's husband?" she asked.


"How is she liking her new job in Nashville?"

"Uhhh.....she likes it. ... Excuse me, but how do you know my wife?"

"She was the publisher of the newspaper here for a decade. Of course I know who she is -- she was a big leader in the community. And I've read two of your books," she said.

"Oh," I said.

As she typed into the keyboard, I tried to soften the lie: "Yeah, I'm only in Bolivia maybe six months of the year, actually maybe like five. It's my dad's cattle ranch. I go to help out sometimes. But Carol and I like Nashville a lot."

She smiled and said nothing more. I walked away, feeling as if I were dressed in nothing more than my underwear.


Parenting in the 21st century
Monday, December 20, 2010

I logged onto my email at 32,000 feet yesterday and saw that our daughter had sent me a religion-class essay she wanted edited. Captive and bored for a four-hour flight, I worked on the essay and sent it back to her. As I hit "send" I looked outside my window and saw that I was crossing directly over downtown Nashville (at 32,000 feet) and, because I'd recently emailed her as well, I knew that Carol, my wife, was in our downtown-Nashville condo right at that moment. "Hi, sweetie," I whispered, recognizing our tower by its rooftop pool.

Connected yet so very unconnected from my two girls.

An amazing manipulation of physics that Mr. Newton could never anticipate ...

Safe travels to everyone this Christmas season.

I play with my food
Friday, December 17, 2010

The little dab of whipped cream that came with my flan had two blueberries in it. I immediately saw a face and broke a mouth and nose out of some tortilla chips. He's kinda cute, ain't he? (mmm, and mighty tasty, too)

When I was in fifth grade I got in trouble for playing with my food. Mrs. Blodgett (we called her Bloody Blodgett) came over to the table and chastised me for wiggling my square of strawberry jello in my hand.

"Ad Hudler, stop playing with your food!" she said

"Yes, Mrs. Blodgett."

But the second she turned away I did it again. Evidently some teacher gave her some sort of knowing glance because she whipped around, grabbed me by the ear and pulled me and my plate over to the teachers' table.

"You'll eat here every day for the rest of the week," she said.

It was Monday.

I decided that I didn't really need to eat lunch the rest of the week. On Thursday, Mrs. Blodgett stopped me in the hall and said, "I hope we're not causing you to go hungry, Ad."

"Oh, no," I answered. "Just trying to lose a little weight." (Indeed, I was a chubby boy in junior high who wore husky-size pants.)

But I'm still wondering: What's wrong with wiggling your jello? I wasn't throwing it. I eventually would eat it. Whom was I hurting?

Another sign that women still work harder than men ...
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

True story:

Wanting to cut down on time spent in the kitchen, I went to Macy's in Macon, Georgia and asked the clerk in housewares: "Do they still make crock pots?"

Her answer: "Darlin', as long as there are workin' women in this world there's gonna be crock pots."

Eye in the Sky Traffic Reports
Friday, December 10, 2010

We discovered another benefit to living in a downtown highrise last night. My wife, Carol, was trying to get home from her office, which I can see from our 29th-floor window. She called me from the car.

"There's a Titans game tonight. I'm frozen in traffic on Church Street and gonna be late for dinner."

"Just a minute," I said, walking over to the window. "Yep. Church is blocked all the way to Baptist Hospital. ... But you know what? Commerce Street is wide open. Turn Right on 9th, then go to Commerce, and come up the back way."

She was home in minutes.

Maybe I can sell this service, hmmmmm?

An unusual death in Boulder
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A few weeks ago, my niece, a junior at the University of Colorado in Boulder, went outside to her porch and discovered drops of blood. They'd been having trouble with urban raccoons and she wondered if one had been caught and devoured by a mountain lion or some other predator during the night.

They looked all over for the carcass but couldn't find it. And then my niece looked up, and this is what she saw:

We're not really sure what happened here. Either he was stuck in the attic, and he managed to squeeze through a hole in the eaves (see a similar one nearby)...only to get stuck in the end. That seems unlikely; I'm not sure raccoons are as pliable as rats.

Raccoon suicide?

Sheer stupidity?

Someone's idea of a joke?

I officially present this as Mystery #473E2

Yesterday, at the pet store ...
Friday, December 3, 2010

...I went to check out with two bags of cat food, and the young clerk says, "Now, your receipt's gonna say that you bought a dozen crickets, but don't pay any attention to that."

"Pardon me?"

"Something happened with the computer, and every time we ring someone up it adds a dozen crickets to their bill. ... But don't worry, we subtract it from the total. You're not really gonna pay for them."

"So my receipt will say that I bought a dozen crickets?"

"Yes, sir, it sure does."


Usually, the receipts get shoved into my jeans pocket and transformed into a ball of pulp in the washing machine. But this one I'm saving.

Author Memory: #427F2
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Remember these things? And the longest one was usually in the kitchen ... so your mom could catch up on all the gossip while cooking dinner.

I recall wrapping and unwrapping myself up in the cord, like a top, as I spent hours talking with friends in the evenings.