Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekly Wordzzle Challenge # 218

I have become the lone wordzzler once again. All the worse since all I'm posting these days is wordzzles and the occasional political video. Still haven't decided on how to deal with the photo issue (out of space). Doesn't feel like a post to me unless it is decorated with some visual distraction or another. So it goes. Not sure if I will try to do my exercises this evening or put them off until Saturday as usual.

Saturday 5:00 update:  I am happily NOT the lone wordzzler. Yee ha! Finally did my exercises. Not that good, but they are done.  Now I'm off to visit the other wordzzler, bless her heart.

Words for this week's 10-word challenge were:  gargantuan, Alice doesn't live here any more, gas, paper clips, speak, advice, state, ginger, spray, important  And for the mini:  hamburger, ostrich, vinegar, perpendicular, frozen

My mega:

On the advice of her therapist, who insisted that it was profoundly important her to face her fears and speak to her mother about the pain and abuse in her childhood, Amanda Spray found herself on the road to her childhood home. It was a challenge she had resisted for weeks, months, years. "You can live like an ostrich, frozen with your head in the sands of a past that is long gone," Ginger Grand, her therapist had said a few weeks ago, "or you can face your fears and state your case to her. I'm not promising you any miraculous change from her. She is who she is. But however cruel or indifferent she may be, you need to face her to understand that she is not the gargantuan monster that the inner three year old controlling your life right now believes her to be. As I told you, I'm willing to come with you because I know how frightened you are."  They had stopped for gas and since Ginger's anxiety was so intense that she was having trouble remaining perpendicular, had decide to stop for a bite to eat.  The diner across from the gas station was called Alice's Restaurant. This made them both laugh and sing a few bars of the Arlo Guthrie song and that alone eased some of Amanda's anxiety.  The place was not what they might have wished - the menu was four typed pages held together with paper clips - and the waitress (to put it kindly) was neither friendly nor good at her job. "I guess Alice doesn't live here any more," Ginger quipped and Amanda found herself laughing again and They both ordered a hamburgers. Amanda ordered a salad with some kind of vinegar dressing and Ginger opted for french fries.  Despite appearances, the food was good and by the time they left - having milked the Alice's Restaurant meme for many more laughs - Amanda felt steadier and ready to face what lay ahead. It was as though the restaurant's odd name and the song and the laughter had all been some divine preparation for what lay ahead. When it was all over, she wondered how she could ever have been so terrified of the sad, tired, bitter woman who was had shamed and brutalized her child self and become a giant specter still ruling her life. In real life she was small and rather pitiful. She had even apologized, although it was clear that she didn't really understand what she had done wrong. Still, it was something. When the left, she felt like a new woman. "Thank you for making me do this, Ginger. You are the best therapist ever." "I just pointed the way, Amanda. You had the courage to come here and face your fear. I'm very proud of you. Congratulations."

My mini:

Fred Martin could not believe the merchandise at the new supermarket - Perpendiculars, it was called for no apparent reason - which had just opened in his town with much fan fare. While they did still carry traditional foods like chicken and hamburger, they were actively marketing ostrich meat and eggs, buffalo, elk, bear and a host of other odd "delicacies," which he had no interest in trying. Even the frozen food aisle had a host of peculiar items. They did have an excellent selection of ice cream, though. He would give them that, he though, selecting a couple of items that he hoped would delight his girl friend, Jane. Heading towards the counter with his frozen bounty, he almost forgot the vinegar she had sent him to the store to purchase and gave thanks that he had remembered in time. Much to his irritation, such lapses in memory were the kind of thing Jane never let him live down. Luckily, she was a superlative cook and pretty and he loved her, so he lived with it and tried not to give her any extra ammunition.

And the 10-word:

Looking at the tragic state of her once lush garden which was now swarming with gargantuan spiders, Japanese beetles and an apparent host of other creepy crawly momsters, Ginger Matthews rather regretted not listening to Alice, the former owner's, repeated advice about how important it was to spray on a regular schedule. That kind woman had even left her some 50 pages of "Garden Guidance" suggestions clipped together with a giant paper clip thingy. When her neighbors and even her mother had tried to speak to her about the consequences of neglecting to tend to the garden, she had stubbornly refused to listen. (It was actually more that she hated being told what to do, than that she opposed spraying, but the result was the same regardless of her reasons.)  "Bunch of old gas bags," she had muttered to herself. And more than once as someone invoked the former owner's name, she had responded crankily: "Alice doesn't live here any more. I do." This made her present predicament even more disturbing. Unless she could find someone to help her undo the damage and cover her tracks, she would have to admit to being wrong. That would be even worse than being told what to do. "Stupid garden," she muttered, while frantically searching for gardeners on the internet. "Stupid bugs.... Ah, here's one... No Spray Organic Gardening." Even if they can't help, she mused happily, I can always blame them. And sighing happily, she picked up the phone and dialed.


Words for next week's 10-word challenge:  gratitude, immediate, vivid, choice, fragments, carving, charity, solitude, lagging, where did I put my glasses

And for the mini:  irresponsible, teddy bear, colorful, knife and fork, wheels

Thanks you for playing.  Newcomers can check here for some guidelines to make the game more fun. There are no rules, just some general guidelines and tricks.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Weekly Wordzzle Challenge # 217

Boy, did I mess up this week. Besides running late, I forgot to post new words for next week (corrected now) and  think I may have forgotten one or two other things even though I don't know what exactly they are yet.


SATURDAY 7:15 PM: MY APOLOGIES... A bit under the weather today. Will try to post tomorrow.

SUNDAY, 6:30 PM.  FINALLY done. Now I have to feed Tara Grace who is apparently starving. 

Words for this week's 10-word challenge were:  holding, retrospect, sniffles, ice, stepped in, falling off a cliff, grab, lavender, breakfast, after-life   And for the mini:  chewing, magnetic, how much is that doggie in the window, more or less, shaving

My mega: 

Chewing on her lip and holding back sniffles Amanda sat at the breakfast table more or less transported back in time by the song that was playing on the radio. How Much is that Doggie in the Window was a long-standing family joke of sorts. She had never had much faith in the idea of an after-life, but she could not help feeling like this was a message from her mother, who had died three weeks earlier. In retrospect, when she described it to her husband and her brother later that day, she explained that she had felt emotionally like she was both falling off a cliff and floating at the same time. The thing that had really grabbed her attention, she had told them, was that she could swear she had smelled lavender. "Mother always wore lavender," she said. "Funny, her brother said, "I thought I smelled lavender when I was driving to work this morning. Do you really think it might have been Mom? Wow." "I do, Joey, I do." she replied, not failing to notice as she spoke that her husband - who was at the sink shaving ice for their drinks - mad one what she thought of as his "I stepped in shit" faces. Stan was not just a skeptical of all things spiritual, he was scornful about them. "Get your imaginations under control, you two. The dead are dead. Gone. Dead. Mother Maggie is not visiting." As he made this pompous pronouncement, the magnetic refrigerator decoration that said "World's Best Mom," flew across the room, hitting him squarely on the forehead. "You were saying, dear?" Amanda said laughing. A bit shaken, Stan, looked unhappily at his wife and then with a laugh spoke to the air, "Subtle as always, Mother A.That hurt."

The mini:

The large shaggy creature chewing on what looked like some kind of doll, seemed to hold some kind of magnetic sway over Pam's emotions. She felt more or less compelled to go into the shop even though a dog was the last thing she needed, especially a LARGE, and VERY furry dog. Still, in she went. "How much is that doggie in the window," she asked the pimply young clerk who appeared to have cut himself several times while shaving. "The one in the window? You're interested in him? Don't tell the owner I said so, but I think he'd give that dog to you if you play your cards right. But you might want to think twice about taking him. That dog is - well - kind of different." Even with such a blunt warning and even though she did not really have room in her life for a dog, she seemed impelled to take Max - that was what he seemed to be saying his name was - home. She couldn't explain to anyone, herself included, but Max felt "familiar" to her, like they belonged together or like they had been together before. "Crazy," she whispered to herself. But it wasn't as she would learn over the coming weeks and months. Strange, but not crazy.

And the 10-word: 

Panic written all over her face, Lavender LaGriff grabbed her boy friend's arm and continued holding on for dear life as her feet slid out from under her on the ice of the rink. She felt like she was falling off a cliff and would soon be extracting revenge from the after life. Jimmy had caught her off guard while she was eating breakfast and still half asleep. Why had her mother not stepped in to stop her? "Lavender can't go ice skating," she could have said, "she has the sniffles and I don't want her getting sicker." But mother had not done any such thing. In fact she had encouraged it. In retrospect, three hours later, skimming over the ice, she was grateful for her mother's wisdom. Skating was FUN. Who knew!


Words for next week's 10-word challenge:  gargantuan, Alice doesn't live here any more, gas, paper clips, speak, advice, state, ginger, spray, important

And for the mini:  hamburger, ostrich, vinegar, perpendicular, frozen

Thanks you for playing.  Newcomers can check here for some guidelines to make the game more fun. There are no rules, just some general guidelines and tricks.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Weekly Wordzzle Challenge # 216

Late again. Absorbed in politics. Too absorbed. Will probably post my exercises tomorrow. 

6:00 PM - Finally posting. Guess I'm back to being the Lone Wordzzler again. 

Words for this week's 10-word challenge were: convention, top, case, bells, frolicking, organic, vice, listening, drenched, distinction   And for the mini:  outrage, ham and cheese, on the road, chief, immediately

My mega:

Vice President Samantha McGrath quietly savored the delicious ham and cheese omelet which had been brought to her hotel room a few minutes earlier by a lovely young woman who had compensated for the unfortunate distinction of being drenched in some awful perfume, by immediately telling her that she hoped that in another 4 years she could vote for Samantha to be the first female commander in chief. It was a good start to the day. Samantha enjoyed being on the road. Although, she relished the bells and whistles of high office, sometimes the environment of the White House was too stifling and insulated. Being a heart-beat away from the top job in the world was a mix of frustrating, daunting and inspiring. Timothy Hawks - besides being a great man and president - treated her as a true partner. He believed, he had told her, that someone who might one day have to fill his shoes (you never knew, he said), ought to have some idea about how to walk in them. And he had added, he valued both her wisdom and her common sense. He knew, he had told her, that there was a chance he might not live to see the end of his term. Even the mid-21st century, the threats were very real. She wondered if people would ever learn. She felt genuine outrage at the things that were said about him by the opposition. They played on the bigotry of those who - now that they had a gay president - looked back with longing to the days when they were upset about a black one. They accused him of frolicking around the White House and insisted that his sexuality was a threat to national security. One of them had even made the case that he should be impeached for immorality.  But despite all this, she loved politics; it was an organic part of her, like breathing or thinking. The big conventions were soul-nourishing for her. She loved listening to the speeches and talking to citizens from all over the nation, hearing their hopes and concerns. She loved making a difference in this world. Life was good, she thought, and getting better.

My mini:

Miranda's chief outrage while she was on the road was the difficulty of finding decent places to eat. The last time the band had done a concert tour she had been forced to virtually live on ham and cheese sandwiches. She had fired their manager at the end of that trip and had immediately informed his replacement that the longevity of her job would be contingent on her ability to provide real sustenance and NO... not even one... ham and cheese sandwiches. It turned out that in her previous life, Sandra has worked as a chef and could prepare a meal fit for angels. The other band members - who had mocked her obsession with food - were now willing to admit the error of their previous derision. It seemed to all of them like Sandra's food had magic in it. They had more energy, they were getting along better, they were all bursting with creative ideas - and best of all, perhaps - their performances were better. They felt it and so did the audiences. Concerts which had been doing reasonably well in the old days were now booked solid and their CDs were selling like hot cakes. Delicious, nutritious hot cakes, they added, laughing. Samantha was happy too, both for the appreciation of her skills and for the generous raise they had given her along with that gratitude. Not only that, they were going to call their next CD Soul Food Sandy. How cool was that!

My 10-word:

Frolicking across a grassy meadow drenched in dew might not be strictly conventional behavior for a top criminal lawyer, but George had never been in love before. He had taken Molly's case as a favor to his aunt Susan. It was something about whether the organic farm where she was buying her eggs was really organic or something like that. He didn't really quite understand the distinction, to be honestQuite a change from dealing with prostitutes and the vice squad. He could not believe he had fallen so hard. She was so smart and so pretty and listening to her voice was like... like that song from The Music man about bells on the hill and never hearing them ringing.... Back in the house, Aunt Susan poked her sister in the ribs with a big grin on her face. "Didn't I tell you she was perfect for him? I love it when I'm right."


Words for next week's 10-word challenge:  holding, retrospect, sniffles, ice, stepped in, falling off a cliff, grab, lavender, breakfast, after-life

And for the mini:  chewing, magnetic, how much is that doggie in the window, more or less, shaving

Thanks you for playing.  Newcomers can check here for some guidelines to make the game more fun. There are no rules, just some general guidelines and tricks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

For Cat Lovers

What we will do for our four-legged friends....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Names

For the 9/11 dead...

Friday, September 07, 2012

Weekly Wordzzle Challenge # 215

Well, I'm late and going to post my wordzzles tomorrow, but it was fun to not be the only player last week. Mabye we are making a come-back.

Words for this week's 10-word challenge were:   key, why, balance of power, the motor is running, yesterday, creaky chair, steel, hook, longing, pretzel   And for the mini:  oxen, merchandise, comfort zone, plastic bottle  (Just realized we are a word short on the mini this week, so it's a mini mini, I guess. Sorry.)

4:00 pm.  Finally done. Sorry about being a word short. Well, not really, I had a tough enough time with 14 words...

My mega:

Sitting in her creaky chair at her beat up old desk sipping water from a re-used plastic bottle, Samantha Steel was in her comfort zone. Well, that might be something of a stretch. Samantha didn't actually HAVE a comfort zone. She sometimes ached with longing for those distant yesterdays when the balance of power in her head had tilted towards normalcy. She had spent years trying to find the hook, the key to why her emotional wiring had gone askew, but the answer - and thus a solution - continued to elude her. Eventually, when it because clear that there would be no untwisting of the pretzel of misfiring axions in her brain, no matter how hard she worked at it, she decided to make what peace she could with the person she had become. At least at least the motor is running, she would tell herself, at least I'm alive. Today, though, looking over the merchandise in some new catalog that had come in the mail, she was taken back in time to happier days and fond memories of sitting with friends at the Four Oxen Bar and Grill in lower Manhattan. It would pass, she knew, but just for these few moments she felt rather sorry for herself. Then, with a deep sigh and a shake of her head, she shook it off. At least I have memories and many other blessings. "It is what it is," she said out loud. And then added. "Thank you for everything. I have no complaints whatsoever."

My mini:

Miranda Masters found herself deeply offended by the merchandise offered in the new Comfort Zone Living catalog. "What genius came up with the concept of designer plastic bottles," she muttered angrily. "They cut down trees to market this junk to pretentious fools and then put a picture of oxen on the cover and pretend they are trying to make a better world." Calling her assistant into her office, she handed the catalog over to her and said, "Another one, Margaret. See what you can find out about how much money actually goes to third world countries and how much goes into the pockets of a few greedy crooks. I have a feeling about this one. Lets see if we can put them out of business... or at least make sure they are forced to send the money people waste on this junk to the people the say they are serving.

And my 10-word:  the motor is running,  pretzel 

Jane Hook, her voice quavering with aggravation addressed her husband. "Francis Hook, husband and love of my life, please do something about that creaky chair before I'm forced to take matters into my own hands. That squeaking noise drives me crazy. Fix it or find it gone. That is my warning." "Yes, dear," her husband muttered, although it was clear he was not paying any attention to her words. "Information is the key," he muttered,  "but even though Obama is a great communicator, somehow the word fails to get out there. It gets drowned out in the sea of Republican double-speak Clinton's speech yesterday was brilliant and just deepens my longing for more real information Why can't we have more of that? Why doesn't he get credit for anything? Biden is right when he says the man has a spine of steel. He's also got a brilliant mind and a big heart. I don't know why there is so little recognition of his heart.... just because he doesn't put on a big show about it, I guess. This society is a mess. We are on the brink. We simply have to re-elect him. We are doomed if..."  Kissing the top of her husband's head, Jane Hook, took him by the hand. "You need to think about something else for a while or you'll make yourself sick. I've packed a picnic lunch and the motor is running in the garage. I know that's wicked, darling. I did it because I knew it would have the power to distract your attention from politics. Humor me. Let's go have a picnic, and then maybe stop by the mall for warm pretzel and a new chair for your desk... Oh... and put our Obama bumper sticker on the car.... and got a hundred more for us to pass out on our travels." "You're a good woman, Jane. Let's go pass out some bumper stickers!" "And buy a new chair," his wife reminded him with a smile.


Words for next week's 10-word challenge:  convention, top, case, bells, frolicking, organic, vice, listening, drenched, distinction

And for the mini:  outrage, ham and cheese, on the road, chief, immediately

Thanks you for playing.  Newcomers can check here for some guidelines to make the game more fun. There are no rules, just some general guidelines and tricks.

The Poetry of Voting

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Bill Clinton Rocks

Bill Clinton still rocks!  For anyone who missed Clinton's speech last night.... the man is pure genius.  This is long, but it's good. There were a lot of good speeches, but this one was Clinton at his best and the defense we have needed to hear expressed in simple, clear language.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Politics and Laughter

If I make it through November, it will be in part because Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have made me laugh - and pointed out glaring truths while doing so.