Friday, January 29, 2010

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge, Week 97

This is week 97 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. This week's words came to us courtesy of Argent at Delusion of Adequacy. I was going to get the challenge done early today (having gotten up extremely late), but I looked at the words and decided to take a break and hope that inspiration would come later. As I post this, inspiration remains at large and in hiding. Where is the muse when you need her?

This week's words were: teflon, idealistic, marshmallow, opportunistic, kittens, beef, sawing logs, slapped, tickled, scissors For the mini: ripen, shelve, laminate, goofy, Siamese

Well, I wasn't sure I was going to post anything today (actually it is 1:00 am as I finally thought of something to write, so today kind of came and went and it's already tomorrow) but I finally got a mega done. Hopefully on Saturday morning I''ll come up with the other two. We will see. I don't know if it's the words or me, but I had a very tough time this week even coming up with this one miserable offering. Yikes.

My mega:

Wes was asleep and sawing logs
Zoe was off to feed the hogs
Farming was not the life she'd dreamed
But alas it was her fate, it seemed
Shelved were once idealistic dreams
Lost to her parents' opportunistic schemes
Words like scissors had shredded her pride
Pushed her creative dreams aside
Slapped her down without a care
Indifferent to their child's despair
But a goofy man her heart retrieved
Saw her spirit and believed
Unlike her parents' teflon hearts
Wes's was one of many parts
Compassion for his woman's pain
A driving passion for her gain
Empathy for others' grief
No energy for holding "beefs"*
He had a love for Siamese kittens
Marshmallows, poetry and mittens
His easy laughter tickled her
His gentleness her heart did stir
The greatest treasure she possessed
A laminated poem by Wes
In which he vowed his love unending
And how he saw their beings blending
How love now rich would ripen more
As life together they would explore
How in his heart, he hers would keep
She smiled at him so deep in sleep
Her man, her lover, saint and boy
Source of her unending joy
And whispered in his dreaming ear
I love you, husband, may you hear
And feel and know my heart is true
And all my love I give to you
Today, tomorrow and ever after
In times of sorrow and of laughter
Thank you so for loving me
And soon my love we will be three

*I suspect that using the word "beef" to mean grudge is probably an Americanism. I was pretty desperate to find a way to fit it in.

10 word: ????? - maybe tomorrow

mini: ???? - maybe tomorrow


Words for next week's 10-word challenge are:
treasure chest, idiom, pantry, crippled, baying wolf, wind chill, time, angel, salamander, laundry list

For the mini: risque, radish, ring tone, ravishing, ruler

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

Enjoy! See you next week!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 96

This is week 96 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. This week's words came to us courtesy of Don't Feed the Pixies. Many thanks for the challenge. I love it when I don't have myself to blame for my troubles.

I note we are short a word in the 10 word set. Glad I'm not the only one who does that. It's so easy to count them over and over and think you have 10 and it turns out you 9 or 11. These were really rough so I'm glad we were one short.

This week's words were: Badger, roll out the barrel, amazing, a lovely cup of tea, pressure, frozen, Gandalf, pixies, top gear And for the mini: smelly, politician, favourite, token gesture, garden

My mega:

Badger Gandalf sat down for a lovely cup of tea, hoping to escape the pressure of running always at top gear in an attempt to stay ahead of the competition. Who the competition was, he wasn't sure, but he was frozen with fear that "they" would outdistance him. It was amazing and sad how wickedly he tortured himself with self doubt and dissatisfaction. He turned the TV on to see if there was anything good. Alas, the first thing that came up was some silly oooom pa pa band playing Roll out the Barrel. Not his favorite kind of music at all. Next was news and some smelly (well that was conjecture, but the guy had a smary look to him and probably was smelly) politician offering some kind of token gesture to try and dupe a pitifully gullible public into voting for him and against their best interests. So much for escaping pressure... there must be something else... and then he found it... a lovely tale of pixies in a magic garden. Just the thing to distract him from his troubles.... and maybe a couple of yummy cupcakes to go with his tea. Ah, he thought... maybe everything will be alright after all.

My 10-word:

Margaret Merrymaid had thought to have a lovely cup of tea in the garden where she could enjoy the beauty of her flowers and enjoy review her amazing collection of garden gnomes, each with its own name. There were 25, but her 9 favorites -
Langerloff, Gandolf, Frodo, Marley, Miranda, Jolly Jane, Samson, Sara Sue and Rex - were displayed on a fancy 3-tiered rotating platform. It seemed the pixies (who were not fond of gnomes at all) had been up to mischief again and the top gear of the mechanism seemed to be frozen in place. Try as she might, she was having trouble exerting enough pressure to get it unstuck. She would have to badger Fred to fix it and listen to him complain again about what eye sores they were. She thought perhaps this crisis called for her to barbeque his favorite burgers and "roll out the barrel" (six pack in this case) to soften him up for the job. She knew he would do it anyway, but she loved him and a nice barbeque in the fresh air would do them both good. She would leave some treats for the pixies in hopes that they would understand that she loved them too and meant no insult to them in her love of gnomes.

My mini:

Ted Favourite thought there was something a bit smelly (the odor of deceit) about the politician's promise to preserve the endangered public gardens that had been his life's work. He knew the man was offering help as a token gesture in hope of garnering public support. The trick, Ted knew, would be to find a way to make it impossible for him to reneg on his promise. Ted had not gotten the Gardens this far, nor kept them alive this long without knowing a trick or two. The soon-to-be mayor didn't know he was about to be ambushed in a way that would force him not only to keep - but to quadruple - his promise. Outside the joy he got from the garden itself, few things gave Ted more pleasure than outsmarting a politician. This was going to be fun.


Many thanks to Argent at Delusion of Adequacy for the words for next week.

Words for next week's 10-word challenge are:
teflon, idealistic, marshmallow, opportunistic, kittens, beef, sawing logs, slapped, tickled, scissors

For the mini: ripen, shelve, laminate, goofy, Siamese

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

Enjoy! See you next week!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dashed Hopes and Despair

Well, I'm a pit of gloom this morning. The sky is gray and my curtains are closed (a sure sign I'm in the dumps).

I wasn't happy with the health care reform that was materializing out of the Congress, but at least it was reform. Now, it appears, hope is gone. Why? Because as they put it on the daily show last night, Obama is not a "magical Negro" who can fix all things in 12 months and we as a nation have the attention span of 3 year-olds who want everything NOW. So instead of patience and adult behavior, we're going to quash all hope of getting anything done at all and punish the team that's at least trying. We gave Bush and the Republicans 8 years to screw things up but we want it all fixed over night and instead of being adults and knowing that healing takes time, that progress is the NOT the no-new taxes bullet that is part of what got us into the hell we are now in - we are giving the store to the people who robbed it in the first place... to punish the people who are trying to get it back in the black. Agggghhhhhhh!!! God, we're a nation of idiots.

Sorry, I'm tired and depressed and I have a cold. I'm keeping my thermostat below 60 much of the time (makes me feel very brave and tough) this year in hopes of making it through the winter with heat and food. I'm lucky. I have medicare and I'm too stupid and stubborn to go to a doctor, so I've got the health care coverage we all deserve. It baffles me that universal care is even an issue, but I believe "one nation under God" means we care about and for one another.

A friend of mine was hospitalized a few months back. He has a job but he didn't have insurance yet. Now he's over $7,000 in debt. The county has grant programs, so he's getting some help with it, but how awful is a country in which too many choose not to see a doctor until it's hospital time. Or until they die because they couldn't afford to get care. Another friend is still trying to crawl out of the economic hole that cancer put her and her husband into despite the fact that they were well insured.

The system is a mess on so many levels. Probably the first thing that should be done is to reform the election financing so that it would at least be harder to buy and pay for politicians and elections. But the media is bought and paid for too, by and large and inept and corrupt as well, and an illiterate under-educated public drinks whatever cool-aid they serve without bothering with that peculiar concept called thinking.

So anyway, depression is now topped with pissy rage. I think this is about as bleak as I've ever been in a post. I apologize. Obama hasn't met my hopes for him, but he has been trying in spite of a divide party of his own and an opposing party whose sole function is opposition and a public that thinks the world runs by magic.

Lucky for me, Nate fixed my computer. I lost some stuff, and I still have to reinstall things, but I can play games again so I think I'm going to just go crawl into an alternate reality where I can beat up the bad guys and where truth and justice eventually reign.

I'm disappointed in the President, but I think he's a good man and I think he has a good vision for the nation. He's not the kind of politican we've been used to, not willing to fit into anybody else's box. Not trying to please anybody, just trying to work around obstacles and move us forward in increments because there's too much obstruction afoot to do anything else. I just finished reading his Dreams from my Father auto biography. It's a beautiful book. I have always believed that words carry the energy and character of the writer. This is a good man and a profoundly honest one (even if he is a politician).

Anyway, sorry for the rant. (Not sorry enough not to push the publish button... a bit ashamed of my vitriol, but too much in it to not go ahead anyway.)

And there is always hope. Even in the bleakest winter, there is much beauty to be seen...

And the Angel and Tara Grace still make me smile...

Today may be bleak, but tomorrow is another day....
And maybe your day is wonderful. I hope so.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 95

This is week 95 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works.

This week's words were:
alternate reality, shadows, frantic, tomatoes, field, lilies, DVD, snow mobile, aggravation, music And for the mini: grounds for divorce, pink panther, salutations, wavering, lasagne

My mini:

"This lasagne is grounds for divorce,"Martin Salutations muttered testily. Maria, his wife, sat wavering between laughter and anger. When he was like this, he reminded her - though she wasn't sure why - of Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther. It was why she loved him, she thought, so she opted for laughter, at which he looked up from his plate, smiled and added, "but I love you in spite of it. I'm yours forever, sweet woman."

The 10-word:

John sat in quietly on his snow mobile at the top of the hill, looking out across the snow covered field that only months earlier had been aglow with lilies of all colors, from white to yellow to bright tomato red. No matter how frantic his week had been, how steeped in aggravation, coming to the farm literally took him to an alternate reality where he felt refreshed and restored by the peaceful, vibrant beauty of every season. On a winter day like this one, he loved watching the shadows play across the snow as the sun moved through the sky, stark lace of the tree branches reflected in shadow art. It was so beautiful he had trouble pulling himself away but dark was settling in and there was an equally enchanting pull in another direction - Liza back at the farm house waiting by the fire's glow, the aroma of a fine meal and the promise of a quiet evening listening to music or watching a DVD. He was a lucky man, he thought, so blessed to have this woman and this place. He longed for the day when they could stay here full time and have the city as their "away" place. Soon he hoped, but for now he could rejoice in the time he had here and savor every minute of it. Life was good.

And the mega:

Gregory "Snow" Mobile (his parents had thought that was funny), rifled through his collection of DVDs looking for an escape to an alternate reality. He found himself wavering between golden oldies or something newer. Among his options were a real antique called Grounds for Divorce, the original Pink Panther, a collection of Tracy and Hepburn flicks, Lilies of the Field (he hadn't seen that in ages and it was very tempting). Then there was Fried Green Tomatoes. He hadn't much liked it the first time he saw it, though and he didn't really feel like the aggravation of watching something he didn't like on the chance that it was better than he thought. There was always The Sound of Music, but that was a bit too cheery for him at the moment. Then there was Frantic, but he wasn't in the mood for Harrison Ford either. He was quickly spiraling into despair as the shadows of night began to settle in. But then as though she had read his thoughts - his cell phone beeped and his twin sister's classic "Saluations, big brother, popped onto the screen. "Lasagne in oven. Smells wonderful already. Bored. Need company and entertainment. Let's go see Avatar." He smiled gratefully, knowing she was none of those things but that she had felt his need. "On the way," he texted back, smiling for the first time in days.


Many thanks to Don't Feed the Pixies for the words for next week.

Words for next week's 10-word challenge are:
Badger, roll out the barrel, amazing, a lovely cup of tea, pressure, frozen, gandalf, pixies, top gear

And for the mini:
smelly, politician, favourite, token gesture, garden

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

Enjoy! See you next week!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cyber Woes

Hi all,

Have been without a computer for the past two days. Lucky for my friend Nate is a master computer person and gave a day and a half of his life to fixing my old girl up. I've got to restore all my programs and am having some trouble doing that so if I don't show up for wordzzles (I'm sure I'll be there), please forgive me. I will try to set up Mr. Linky and everything in a few minutes so that even if I'm not there, wordzzles & Mr. L will be.

Was going to post a picture with this but can't find one that I like. Over tired, brain fried from too much non-cyber time.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 94

This is week 94 of the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works.

I hope everyone had wonderful holidays and that your New Year is off to a good start. It's still cold here (15 degrees) and it's snowing as I type this, but my little corner of winter is pretty tame compared to other parts of the country so I'll only whine a little bit. And I'll whine about the words secretly in my head because I always whine about them and it must get boring hearing me do it. Looking forward to reading this week's offerings. Happy New Year!

Postscript: Went to read my first wordzzle and realized what my brain was trying to whisper to me all the while I was writing yesterday. Minarets are NOT Chinese. Pagodas are Chinese. I feel very foolish, especially since I came up with these words myself. Agggghhhh!

This week's words were:
space cadet, silver lining, wood, turtle soup, minaret, ice, grease, sales, mandala, mug And for the mini: broken bones, slide rule, garbage, Chinese, sanguine

My mini:

The sanguine Chinese gentleman after watching me slip on the proverbial banana peel in the garbage strewn alley, smiled as he helped me up, intoning what he called (in his somewhat unique English) "the slide rule." No want broken bones, beware banana peels and back alleys." I had to admit he had a point.

The 10-word:

The silver lining to being in love with grease monkey Johnnie "Ice" Wolfensen was that there was much more to him than met the eye. Those who didn't know him thought he was just some stupid space cadet and he encouraged them to think so. He was careful about who he allowed into his life. Behind the scenes he was a genius on multiple fronts. He was an amazing painter and exhibited under the "pen" name "Wood." He was quite famous in art circles and sales of his paintings were consistent and brought in major bucks. Her favorites were the mandalas he made. There was something transcendental about them as though he channeled peace and healing onto the canvas and not just paint. Oddly, she had fallen in love with him before she knew all this, against the advice of friends or her own common sense. He had only let her in on the truth of his other life after they had dated for six months... on the night he proposed to her, actually... She never quite understood why he loved her, but he made her happy whether he was Johnnie or Wood. For their wedding he had given her a special painting... her favorite among all his works. It was a mandala made of a series of exquisite minarets of different sizes. Impossible to imagine or describe. Almost as good as his paintings were his abilities as a chef. Tonight the smells coming from the kitchen promised that he had made one of her favorites... and indeed he greeted her with a smile, a kiss and a wonderful warm mug of mock turtle soup. "I'm a lucky woman," she whispered. "I love you.."

The mega:

Space cadet, space cadet
Sanguine, I sing songs of silver linings
Mandalas and beautiful music
Space cadet, space cadet
I make sculptures of wood and ice
Of water and wind
Motion and stillness combined
Space cadet, space cadet
I make a Chinese minaret
Out of garbage and grease
Broken slide rules and broken bones
Space cadet, space cadet
I search for sales and
mugs of turtle soup
I search for hope in all these things
And once in a while I find it


Words for next week's 10-word challenge are: alternate reality, shadows, frantic, tomatoes, field, lilies, DVD, snow mobile, aggravation, music

And for the mini: grounds for divorce, pink panther, salutations, wavering, lasagne

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

Enjoy! See you next week!


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Death Penalty

I had good intentions of doing Ruby Tuesday this week, but I stayed up too late, got up too late and am preoccupied waiting for the Schwan's truck this morning... and then there was an itme in the news this morning that caught my attention. The American Law Institute - the group which originally were the strong advocates who rationalized the use of the death penalty - have announced that they are dropping their support for it. They have not been brave enough to come right out and denounce it, but they have admitted that it isn't effective and won't support it any more. Yippee, I say! Hopefully this will be the start of something good like the revoking of capital punishment. I know, I'm a dreamer. Still, this offers hope. This announcement is apparently a big deal since they were sort of the literati of the "kill the bastards" set.

I've never understood the concept of the death penalty. I don't get what another killing fixes. I was so grateful that my sister's murder took place at a time when New York State didn't have the death penalty. Killing her killer - a 16-year-old boy - would have made it worse for me, not better. She would still have been dead and more blood would have been added to the horror of what happened. Another family - albeit a pretty broken one - would have mourned its dead. For what? Revenge, I think, is seldom as satisfying as people expect it to be. It doesn't undo the loss or take away the pain. One of the best movies ever on this subject is Dead Man Walking. It starred Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon and is based on fictionalized true life experiences of the nun played by Ms. Sarandon. Though it tilts to the anti-death penalty side of the equation, it is very fair to those who are pro death penalty, very respectful and cognizant of the pain of losing someone to violence.

I find the idea that the existence of a death penalty is any kind of deterrent to murder to be either delusional thinking or sophistry, but certainly absurdly illogical. Most murder is spontaneous and unplanned and I doubt anyone in the heat of such a moment is going to say ... "oops... I forgot this state has a death penalty, better not kill anyone." By the same token, those who plan their murders usually think they are too clever to be caught and again are not likely to be put off by the possibility of execution. Anyway... I ramble mindlessly here. Sorry.

I know today's news doesn't end the death penalty. The state of Texas seems to revel in killing people, even when they know they aren't guilty. Prosecutors are notoriously loathe to admit to their mistakes. An organization called The Innocence Project works tirelessly to clear those wrongly convicted of both death penalty and other crimes. Since 1973 close to 200 innocent people have been released from death row sentences based on DNA testing and other efforts.

I think it's murder when we as a society kill a guilty man, but what about the innocents we have unquestionably put to death over the years? Aren't we morally accountable for these deaths?

But anyway... I got delayed and side-tracked after I started this post, so I'm a bit fragmented and very late in the day posting it. Still the news this morning made me feel a bit better about the world. The death penalty may not be dead, but some of its strongest proponents are quietly sneaking out of the room and hoping nobody remembers they were there. That, at least is cause to smile.

Hope you all had a happy day. We had a bit more snow and more cold, cold weather. I guess we are not alone.

Some more winter pictures...


Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

Note: Jay Simser of Bailey's Buddy has wisely pointed out that this is the last year of the decade, not the start of a new one. I'm way too lazy to rewrite this, though, so... It had occurred to me at some point but then I forgot. Happy New Year.

Note #2 - Melli has pointed out that Jay (who is very wise and seldom wrong) is incorrect in this instance. Counting starts with 2000 and 2009 is the 10th year in that cycle, so that 2010 actually begins the new decade.

We have begun our New Year/Decade here in Hancock with snow. Not too much, though - at least not yet. It's snowing again so we may be moving past my "tasteful" snow limit. Yesterday's storm put down slick slippery stuff. Mercifully, Margaret, who comes every 2 weeks to help me out was able to make it because we were out of crunchies. Tara Grace was on the verge of a break down. Three days without her bedtime treat was making her very cranky... And my guilt level as she stared at me with disbelief each night was pretty intense.... I'm glad we are resupplied and not starting a whole new decade with distraught felines. Happy kitties followed me to bed last night. Phew!

Yesterday, I visited Melli's Insanity Prevails blog. She talked about the history of her decade from 2000 to 2010. Made me think. My life has changed so much in these ten years. I left NYC, spent time in AZ, came back east and went through 4! moves... this after 33 years in the same place in NYC. I've lost old friends and made new ones. I have my own home, something I never thought could happen - especially after becoming disabled. This year alone, my sweet little house has had it's own miracles. My new bathroom is cool, but the kitchen.... what can I say about the kitchen. It's a miracle every time I step into it.

My first two kitties - Katrina and Abigail - both died in this decade. Katrina was with me for 17 years and Abby for 21. They saw me through my sister's murder, the death of my parents, the loss of my independence. Abby traveled with me to AZ and back to New York State. And now Angel and Tara Grace keep me laughing (and sometimes yelling in Angel's case).

The last two sixths of my life have been full of so much pain and loss - my sister, my parents, my ability to really walk further than across a room... yet they have been a time of great growth too. I'm hoping that the next decade will offer me growth and learning with a bit more gentleness than the past two have done, but life will be what it is, so I guess I'll just wait and see what the future brings. In the meanwhile, I wish you all a New Year and Decade rich in love, beauty, abundance and all good things.