Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for...

Whenever I see a word with “Z” in it, that word catches my attention.  It is always an interesting word.  It stands out in a crowd of words clustering around it to make a sentence.

And, a word that starts with a “Z”?  WELL, that is one amazing word.

Somehow the “Z” lends an aura of power.  Think about it:

Ezekiel (an Old Testament prophet who did amazing things)

Zed is the wizard on the left, shooting flames at you.
Zed (from “Legend of the Seeker”: a magician/wizard)

There are several movie versions, but this 1979 Peter Sellars movie is my favorite.
Zenda (as in “Prisoner of Zenda”)

Zuill was in the refrigerator, and dragged Sigourney Weaver right into the world of bad things.
Zuill (from “Ghost Busters” in the refrigerator scene)

Hazard (always an attention-getter)

Not his best movie, but it was very sexy
Zardoz (a Sean Connery movie)

Zacharias (father of John the Baptist)

Zerubbabel (part of the lineage of Christ)

Words with “Z” as their chemistry are true stand-outs. 

Huzzah! for the letter “Z”!

This concludes the A-to-Z 2012 Challenge.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for...YELL

Arlee Bird has a blog site on which he discusses dreams and possible interpretations.  I dedicate this post to him.
“Y” is for Yell!

I taught school for twenty years as a second career.  One of my personal mandates was that I did not raise my voice.  I did not yell in the classroom, unless it was part of reading aloud and the character was yelling. 
Oh, I would yell on the playground.  “Get OFF that FENCE right NOW!”

This almost looked like me, so long ago....

I have this recurring dream in many variations.  With a herd of forty students, I am guiding them on a field trip through some hazardous place.  Why we would go to a minefield or an African savannah, I don’t know, but we are there and I am charged with keeping these students safe.
There are always a number of students who wander off the path that we must stay on or dire things will happen
When I see them at the back of the line, I cannot get to them in time.  So I must yell at them, “Stop right there...”

Only I can’t yell.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot yell.  Finally I manage it…and I wake myself up yelling. 

“You okay?” asks my husband.

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for...Xlerator

This is only the beginning...
Every adult who has taken a child to a movie has learned two things:

Popcorn and drinks are great ways to keep a child quiet.
Drinks provide the child with a need to go to the restroom which he/she wanted to check out anyway.
I don’t know whether it is the novelty of the urinal (boys), or the number of stalls (girls).  I do know that children love to wash their hands in the movie restroom. 

The soap dispenser either gives out foam or some pink liquid.  Either one has a novelty about it.
The faucet may even be automatic, which is delightful to me if not to the child.

Then there is the hand drying bit:  paper or air?  Doesn’t matter.
Or, at least, it didn’t matter until recently.  Enter the new dryer on the movie block:
Excel Dryer
Feel the Power!

Those are the honest-to-God words on the machine.  I am telling you the truth.

This dryer blew back the skin on my hand while it air-blasted the water.  Imagine a little seven-year old girl with her five year-old sister placing their hands under that power blower.  Then their faces.  Then their hair….other body parts, clothing…
We will never leave this bathroom.  That hand dryer will keep us entertained forever.
Man, we paid $28 to go to this damn bathroom.  That doesn’t even count the popcorn.  I hope Grandpa likes the movie. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for We Went "Dancing in a Minefield"

This year will by our 40th Wedding Anniversary. 

There were times over the past years that I sincerely did not think we would make it past the next day, let alone the next year. 

Even now, we are both moving into different phases of our life together.  We are older, have more health problems than we would like to admit.  We know each other too well, and yet not well enough.

The only insight I want to share is this video.  A dear friend from church showed it to me.  We both cried.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for...Vexillographer

With St. Patrick’s Day behind us, my granddaughters still proudly wore the tee-shirts I had rigged for them.  I say ‘rigged’ because I am not a craft-oriented person.  I quilt, I make, but the finer point of “Wonder Under” fusible web products eludes me.
Green is for the Catholic faith, Orange for the Protestant, and White is for the Peace that binds them.
In trying to save time, I ironed, and glued, and cursed.  The end result were two little girl orange tee-shirts, garishly decorated with leprechaun prints and edged in gold fabric paint.  The girls liked them, okay?

It was the Irish flag, supposed to be the Irish flag in green, white and orange.

A country’s flag is a big deal.  I recently read an article in National Geographic by Jeremy Berlin, in which he discusses the “Flags of the World Today”.  What does a flag really mean?

Berlin wrote, “…a flag may be designed by contest or committee.  The challenge: to distill a nation’s essence—values, beliefs, traditions—into just a few shapes or colors.”
India: green, white, and orange

From Jeremy Berlin, I learned that a vexillographer   must incorporate the five hallowed principles:  distinctiveness, simplicity, no lettering, two or three colors, and only meaningful symbols.

Note:  I have been reading Jeremy Berlin's articles for years, didn't know it.  Here is one on Polar Bears.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for...Underneath the House

The farmhouse where we lived

The year I turned 14 years old was memorable on so many levels.  Why, you ask?

First, know that memories are locked into our brains by the sensory experiences involved.  Second, know that these sensory images do not have to be good to be effective.

The north porch, where the air was fresh and cool

At fourteen, I was apparently blossoming into an attractive teenager.  I didn’t know it; my brothers kept me humble by pointing out my faults.  My father helped them.  My mother kept silent.

June 1966--Note that I am hiding on the far right, with my evil brothers around me

It wasn’t until we had attended a sister church’s revival in a nearby town that I met the teenagers from other churches.  Teenage boys…good looking boys.  Many asked to sit by me; many followed me to the car and wanted to know where I lived.  Heck, I didn’t know what they were thinking.  

This is what a revival can look like if we were lucky.

Weeks later on a Saturday afternoon, a car showed up at our farm and two of the cutest boys from the revival got out.  I sat and talked with them for a few hours.

They kept coming back! 

What is so amazing about that?  

No, no.  They are NOT cute.

That summer we were experiencing an infestation of animals under our 120 year old farmhouse:  skunks.  Man oh man.  A million skunks, and we couldn’t get rid of them.  We tried everything.  

How to get rid of skunks!

So while these adorable young men were courting me, we were trying to ignore the perpetual skunk odor that erupted from beneath our house.

That is why U is for…Underneath the House.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for...Tattoo

My mother when she was in high school

A few years ago, my 80+ year-old mother and I were sitting in her living room.  I was ‘home’ visiting and our conversations ranged wide and far. 

“I’ve always wanted a tattoo,” my mother said.  (Note: this is from a frail woman, church goer, pie-baker, farm wife).

“Ooooo…kaaaay,” I answered, not sure where she was going with this.  Sometimes Mom would say the most interesting things, and other times we talked about family and gossip.  “What kind of tattoo would you like?”

She chuckled.  “I’d like a….snake!  And I’d have it right here!”  She raised a pant leg, and pointed to just above her knee. 
One of many snake tattoo options

Our conversation continued, and then moved on.  I thought she had put the topic away.

A few days later we shopping and stopped to gas up the car.  

 One of the employees saw us ‘old women’ (I am not that old.) and helped us.  He talked with my mother through the window.  She noticed the tattoes that ran the length of both arms. 

“Where’d you get those done?”  She asked.

He blinked a little, told her a friend did them.  He was a younger, thinner “Larry the Cable Guy”.
I love this Larry guy; he makes me laugh....

“Can you give us his phone number?  I’d like to get a tattoo.”

He blinked a lot, looking at this 80+ yr. old woman.  “Why, sure, M’am.  What tattoo would you like?”

So she told him: a snake, right her above her knee.  When she was young, boys were always trying to reach up her skirt, and she thought it would be funny if she had a snake there.  To scare those frisky boys.

The young man blinked a lot, bit his lip, and nodded, “I’ll get you that number.”

He gave the phone number to me without a word.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for...Shoes

Shoes, gotta love 'em.

I know, they are absurd.  What is so wonderful about painful and yet enticing shoes?

Killer Heels?  That is what they are:  high heels kill the back, arch the neck, hyper-extend the knees, shortens the calf muscles, lends to twisted ankles, and puts SEVEN TIMES as much stress on the foot as a low heel shoe.

The Ladies Home Journal, March 2012, contained an article to sliced into the high heel lovers, clearly laying out what these devilish-yet-lovely shoes do to a woman. 

Okay, you've been warned. 

Here is a site to check out if you are not convinced that those red stilettos in the closet are deadly weapons:

And, for your pleasure, here are some of those weapons:

Who wouldn't want Nike air?

This is my favorite. I wore it to Delores' bash party for Gary aka klahanie.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for...Rites of Passage


The past two or three years have been filled with all sorts of “Rites of Passage” for me. 

Remember when a ‘rite of passage’ was something simple like learning to ride a bike?  Getting to shave (and needing to shave) for the first time?  Losing a baby tooth?

Life is a journey...

Those were simple and mostly joyful.

There were other ‘rites of passage’.

How about:  Losing a pet?  Breaking up with a girl/boyfriend?  Failing an important test?  Scraping the side of your dad’s car against another car?

Go to this site!

Then there are more and more big and little, joyful and painful rites of passage. 

The point is this:  Rites come in all sizes and impact us all in different ways.  Each rite we go through reminds us how vulnerable we are, how hopeful we can be, and how much we need each other.

So, Here's to the “Rites of Passage”!  

May the ones we survive make us stronger, 

may the ones that hurt the most

 make us kinder,

and the ones that take our breath away

bring us closer to

 whom we should be.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for...Quest

Do you remember any New Year’s Eves when you toasted the old year by saying, “Man! I am sooo glad that one is over!” ?

My worst year?  1999.  No doubt about it, that was the worst year on so many levels.  My 44 year old brother Bill died Dec. 12, 1999.  His death took my breath, my heart, and my sense of balance away from me. 

When we toasted the new Millennium, I was choked with tears, and wished I could have somehow saved Bill with the knowledge I now possessed.

Still, it was the holidays.  As a large group, we and my husband’s family went to see “Galaxy Quest”, just recently released.  The theatre darkened, and the popcorn & soda were going fast.

Suddenly, I was taken out of my blackness into this alien world with Tim Allen, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, and Sigourney Weaver.  Their lives as actors on a defunct TV show, “Galaxy Quest”, had not gone well since its cancellation in 1968 or something.  They made their living by hitting SciFi conventions and even attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies at dinky electronics stores.

Faithful fans like Justin Long believed in the reality of the Galaxy Quest world. 

In the dark theatre, I laughed until tears ran down my face.  Strange how laughter and crying are so close in their physical resemblances.  But, I laughed, rolling in laughter.

Q is for…Quest, Galaxy Quest.  For me, the brave crew and I made a quantum leap together that day.

Sources used for this post: