Friday, November 21, 2008

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 40

(Please scroll down for today's Daily Gratitude and read about Dennis Puffett.)

This is week 40 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works.

Boy, I had a hard time with this week's words... and only myself to blame for them... what was I thinking! Anyway, I had an awful time this week and my whole day seemed to be running late so I didn't polish these, they just are what they are. Sigh. Looking forward to seeing what the rest of you came up with.

By the way, I have no idea why the type face changed size. The small ones are the way I'd like it to be. Another blogger mystery.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: pipe organ, ravages of time, lottery tickets, angelic music, five x five, boxes of books, flattery will get you nowhere, yodelling, pig tails, knitting needles (or for those who didn't see the update: moisturizing, pickles, seat belt, flip-flop, Chicago, allergies, doctor, ready or not here I come, computer programmer, dog biscuits)

Mini challenge: canary yellow, grizzly bear, out of the frying pan into the fire, simpleton, Ministry of Crazy Walks (or for those who didn't see the update: gluttony, mercurial, tennis bracelet, anchor, molten)

Here's my ten-word offering for this week:

The ravages of time had taken much from Wanda Wingford. Reduced by age and infirmity to living in a 5x5 room filled with a bed, dresser, one chair and several boxes of books, she maintained a vitality of spirit undimmed by her circumstances. Some mornings the nurses would find her with knitting needles in hand creating magnificent scarves and sweaters which she would eventually give to them. Sometimes they would find her, hair in pigtails, yodeling at the top of her lungs. But some mornings – the mornings the nurses most looked forward to – they would find her singing softly. Age may have weakened her vocal cords, but what came out of Wanda’s tiny, time-ravaged body on these mornings, was nothing short of angelic music. The world seemed a better place simply because of the sound of her voice. “Flattery will get you nowhere,” she would laugh if someone complemented her. But she would sing an extra song on those days so she was complemented often. Every year someone gave all the residents a lottery ticket just before Thanksgiving. This year, much to everyone’s delight and amazement Wanda had won. And not $100, either. She had one $20 million. All I want for myself she had declared, is a pipe organ. With the rest she redecorated the home, gave gifts to everyone, contributed to charity… and she sang and sang and sang.

And here's my mini challenge:

Marcus was such a simpleton that he thought the Ministry of Crazy Walks was a real place and prepared a canary yellow resume with video so he could apply for a job. As luck would have it, he did not survive to learn of his folly but went camping instead in wilderness country. Relieved at having escaped a close encounter with a pack of wolves, he leaped rather unfortunately out of the frying pan into the fire, ate a hearty meal and went to sleep, storing his remaining food stuff in the tent next to him, thereby attracting a very hungry mother grizzly bear and her three cubs. His life was not a total failure, however. His video eventually became a hit on youtube and he achieved some amount of posthumous fame.

And the mega challenge:

Harcourt Dingleschmidt loved his job at the Ministry of Crazy Walks despite the fact that his office was a cramped 5x5 hole in the wall. Although he was a something of a simpleton, his crazy walks were remarkably creative. Harcourt was in love with Tammy Twillwinger who worked down the hall from him in the Angelic Music Corps. Her specialty was yodeling, but she also played a mean pipe organ. She had the most beautiful golden hair which she wore in pig tails most days with canary yellow ribbons. He had first seen her sitting in the lunch room sorting through a box of books, most of which had seen the better days and showed the ravages of time in their decaying binding and pages. He had offered to help her sort them and they had found an instruction book for knitting. “You are the most beautiful woman on earth,” he has whispered to her at the end of their efforts. “Flattery will get you nowhere,” she had replied, untruthfully. It had gotten him a kiss and a date. From that day forward she could be seen at lunch each day knitting needles flying rapidly to form what became perhaps the ugliest sweater ever known to man. With the out of the frying pan into the fire loyalty of a man in love and despite the fact that it made him look like a lop-sided grizzly bear and drawing mockery from his co-workers, he wore it constantly. Perhaps fate loves a lover because two weeks later he won the highest commendation for an exceptionally crazy walk, bought a winning lottery ticket, and won Tammy’s hand in marriage as well. He spent the rest of his days wearing a series of the ugliest sweaters ever known to man and he was as blissfully happy as any man – simpleton or genius – could ever be.


This week's vanity wordzzle used the words: bookends, water, cardboard box, candles, carpet, mauve, silky, extrapolate, nonchalant, boisterous, absolve, cousin.

A few months after cousin Walter died and was, I thought, long buried, he turned up in my life again by way of a large, bruised and beaten cardboard box filled with a strange assortment of odds and ends that were, in their way, a perfect reflection of Walter himself. Quite frankly, I never approved of Walter. He was everything I had been taught not to be - boisterous and silly and wild half the time and then, oh so nonchalant just when he should have been passionate. But still, there was something inherently kind about Walter that made it impossible not to like him, and even worse, impossible not to absolve him of guilt no matter what his sin of the moment might have been. But back to the box. What a hodgepodge: first, there was a pair of amethyst bookends, really lovely stones. He might have been silly, but he did have a good eye, our Walter. Then there was a massive six-armed candelabra with 5 dozen green and 6 dozen pink candles, a small, exquisite Navaho carpet, a luscious silky mauve bathrobe which miraculously seemed to fit me even though Walter and I were of totally different builds. There were some books - one on mysticism, one on music theory, one about the Impressionists, and one about a new, naturalistic method for purifying water. The strangest items were five large posters, each bearing a single word as follows: EXTRAPOLATE, ANTICIPATE, REJOICE, IMAGINE, and BUBBLEGUM. That was Walter all over. There were a few other items too, but I'll share that later. Meanwhile, I think maybe there was magic in that box, because somehow I feel a bit lighter and more carefree since it arrived.


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: posthumous, flagrant, seven days a week, cheese and crackers, pyramid, civil war, clarinet, microwave, absent without leave, blue jeans

Mini Challenge: sugar-coated, thermometer, tractor pull, evangelical, masquerade

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.



Jeff B said...

I'm guessing the bear cubs said, "Momma, this one tastes juuuuust right!"

I always enjoy seeing your silly side Raven.

MommyWizdom said...

These were great; very happy endings, even the posthumous video guy.

Do you get bonus points for using next week's word?!

As always, thanks for hosting, Raven! I always love your stories!

Have a great weekend!

Finding Pam... said...

Raven, just great and creative stories. I loved them all, but Wanda really touched my heart and the mega word challenges shows just what extremes a man in love with go to for his woman
Once again, thank you for hosting. Great challenge and fun.

Chatty said...

Oh, I am so happy to read about that beautiful lady who does not go gently into that good night...(I love Dylan Thomas, he's Welsh, and so am I), and I also feel for the poor sod who ended up with a posthumous 15 minutes of fame...

I'm back, too - after a couple of weeks. I've posted mine.

Melli said...

Awwww... I reallllly liked the Walter story! Quirky. Walter was a little quirky. And I happen to LOVE quirky!

And when I first started reading about Wanda I thought it was going to be a sad & bitter story -- but it turned into a sweet and lovely story! And HAPPY! Great job!

Carletta said...

You have a lovely generous Wanda - I bet when she smiles her eyes disappear in a squint. That's just how I picture her.
Poor Marcus - he really was a simpleton to a fault - may he rest in peace.
Ministry of Crazy Walks - I won't ask how you came up with THAT - but I love it.

Mine is up - yep, I did it. I had so much fun this week too. Except, I somehow missed the word changes so mine's the original list.

Akelamalu said...

Ah Wanda didn't want much from her winnings and everyone else gained - how lovely and Marcus's died not in vain - he fed some hungry cubs.

Dr.John said...

All of the stories were great as usual but I really loved the mega challenge. It had a Dicken's feel to it, particularly the ending.
I really love happy endings and Harcourt in his baggy sweater is an image that is really special.

bettygram said...

I like all of the stories but Wanda's the best.

Michael Manning said...

Back when I was in radio we had a show on that I ran from National Public Radio called "Pipe Dreams--yup, it was all about pipe organ, and even the ravages of time that were in many cases reversed by careful pipe organ restoration. Now if my orthopedic surgeon could just partner with them on my shoulders. But then before that happens, Raven, could you pick up a couple of lottery tickets for me while you are at the grocery? I'll pay you back five x five-fold for your kindness. While the saying "flattery will get you nowhere" won't allow me to have any help installing Holiday lights on the balcony this year, I can bribe potential help with angelic music and at least a box of books. Of course, since Jewel finally tied the knot, having her stop by for yodeling in pig tails is out of the questions. But maybe Rosie Grier and his knitting needles could make an appearance to help me with using a staple gun for the ceiling stuff!
TA-DA! :)

quilly said...

I was here read your Wordzzles, and got so excited to publish my own, I forget to comment of sign Mr. Linky! Luckily, Jeff poked me on the shoulder and reminded me.

I loved Walter's story best -- second best I loved Jeff's comment about the late not-so-great camper.

Travis said...

Eaten by grizzlies eh? Yikes!

Good work as always.

gabrielle said...

Raven, these are wonderful!!!

I loved Wanda’s wizened irrepressible grace. The hapless fate of Marcus, the sweetness of Harcourt’s ugly sweaters and Walter’s reincarnation via the discovered box. The thinly veiled lampooning of corporate motivational posters was truly a delight.

All the stories about grizzlies this week remind me of Timothy Treadwell (yes that is his real name,and he was not a character in a wordzzle) immortalized in Herzog’s film, Grizzly Man.

Thanks again for hosting!

Dianne said...

I love Wanda and I really love that she won so much money :)

Lulda Casadaga said...

I would really like to have a pair of those ameythyst bookends for myself! :)

I did one this weekend. I still haven't done the 2 together. Maybe next week.

Still having problems linking up with Mr. Linky!

Lulda Casadaga said...

I finally got hooked up with Mr. Linky! :D

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