Monday, May 19, 2008

Z is for ZZZZ's

"No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap."
Carrie Snow
Here we are half-way through the month of May and I'm still not finished with April's ABC project. There was a time in my life when I truly believed that I was not only self-motivated, but that I could take down an octopus when it came to a multi-tasking contest. Ha! Those were the days my friend. Today, as you have sadly noted, I'm more of a starter than a finisher.

In this case, I have a wee bit of an excuse. About the time I was going to write my last alphabet post, we had another medical emergency that led to four days in the hospital. The last time I kept bedside watch I was able to pick up wireless signals and maintain my finally honed writing schedule. Alas, while the hospital is undergoing a management change, there is no computer service for guests. (Hospital guests! Like people go to there for a vacation, perhaps expecting chocolates on their pillow instead of IV fluids hanging from a bag over their heads.) As the title of this post suggests, whenever I was near enough to the Internet to actually post anything, I could only think of taking a hot shower and a long nap - in that order.

Even though Dad is home now and regaining his strength, I still feel like a "z"ombie and can think of little else than sleep.

Before the whole hospital thing, I spent a few nights lying awake listening to my sweetie try to breathe through snot encased sinuses. He'd tell you, and I can't deny it, that I'm the serious snorer in our family. Truth be told, however, he is no snoring slouch. He says I sound like I'm sawing down trees. He, on the other hand, sounds a bit like a big North wind blowing cold air through the uncut forest.

Let me try to describe it. Because of his sleep apnia, he takes in a breath but his airway somehow closes off so the air he just took in kind of hangs around inside his lungs until he can't hold it anymore. Then, just when I'm about to wake him by pounding on his chest to begin CPR he explodes with a giant sized gasp that sounds like Old Faithful erupting. When you add the bronchitis and clogged sinuses I liken the expulsion of air to that of rutting moose butting heads ... snort, whack, ca-thunk. Although my sweetie might disagree, I suggest that my log sawing is like a gentle walk in the park compared to the all-night coughing, sneezing, wheezing of a man with COPD.

Having said that, I think I should let the subject of sawing z's rest (pun intended!) If there is to be a contest of words about snoring, I'll surely lose!

And with that I am finished with my tribute to the ABC's.

Without the sing song tune that all preschoolers know by heart, my version of the ABC's is rather like driving across Texas; have you been wondering if it will ever end? But here's what I've noticed by going back and reading some of the posts. It might just work as well or better than Tylenol PM as a night time sleep aid.

Your tired body aches for rest. You've taken a hot shower, and generously slathered your weary limbs with the theraputic, sleep-inducing balm of lavender oil. Before climbing into bed you fluff the pillows so they are just right. You smooth the sheets and re-align the quilt. You crawl into bed, pulling up the covers to your chin, equalizing the temperature. As you inhale deeply your muscles begin to relax. But your mind has not yet turned off the day's activities. You decide to slow your brain activity with some light reading. You pick up my published (remember, we're imagining!) ABC book. As the cat circles a few times at your feet, trying to find the exact spot on which to recline, you adjust the lamp just so. The dog, already in the prone position, has to scratch behind her ear a few more times. Then you open the book and skim the first few words ... "A is for action" you read as your eyelids close to half mast. By the time you get to the third sentence on the second page you're gone.

Sleep! Ahh, glorious sleep! Now that's what I call a great book!

Some other z words:
zippity do dah
"Z"ainab Salbi (Founder and CEO, Women for Women International; Author of Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam and The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival & Hope.
Every once in a while a new voice emerges with the power to change the world. Zainab Salbi, activist and social entrepreneur, is such a voice. Ms. Salbi inspires and moves audiences with the passion of her personal experience as a survivor of war and her dedication to rebuilding communities after war, one woman at a time.)

My "brother" Georges and his new fiance, Nayla "Z"awahra (Are they cute or what?)

Signing off and hoping wishing for you blissful sleep,
Merry ME

Monday, May 5, 2008

Y is for Yak

"Whenever it is in any way possible,
every boy and girl should choose as his life work
some occupation which he should like to do anyhow,
even if he did not need the money."
William Lyon Phelps

If I had posted all these alphabet musings as I had planned, I would have been long finished by the time a particular news item that caught my attention came along. I'm still a day or two late, but as you've probably guessed by now, that's what I call close enough!

Since my children are well grown and much more career oriented than me, I was unaware of the recent passing (4/28/08) of National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (TODASTWD). Since 1993, when the Ms Foundation began a program to encourage young girls to spend time with their working parent(s) so she could get a more realistic idea of career choices than those the Barbie had to offer, the 4th Thursday in April has been designated Take Our Daughters To Work Day.

Then, in an age of political correctness, the program was opened up to boys as well. This inclusion, gave all children, regardless of their sex the opportunity to see that being a grown up is not all fun and games, owning a car and having money in your wallet; adulthood is actually about WORK. Unless of course you work in the circus when I think it would be pretty hard to convince your little princes and princesses that flying through the air with the greatest of ease is work.

Of course, the idea of showing off one's business environment and trying to instill good work ethics - Sit! Shhhhhh! Come! - could not stop with children. In 1999 Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD) was established to celebrate the companionship of dogs and to promote adoption of these benevolent and hard-working in their own right, four-legged creatures from humane societies, animal shelters and breed rescue clubs. If you missed TODASTWD last month, do not despair. TYDTWD is just around the corner, on June 20.

I happen to be a pet person. With the exception of poorly-mannered, teeth-baring breeds, I like most dogs. I come from a long line of cat lovers. Birds are messy, but the song they sing can brighten even a curmudgeon's day. My son has owned and loved both an iguana and a scorpion. Reptiles aren't my favorites but I agree that everyone has their own thing to love. I do, however, draw the line at taking pets to work, or day care centers, or beauty parlors, or birthday parties. Let's face it, pets are animals, not people.

[I know I'll get some flak for those renegade statements. I am also aware that what I'm going to say next might just get me the silent treatment from a certain anonymous blog commenter but I feel I must. I'm making a slight detour in thought, here, but hopefully I'll be able to bring it back around. ]
I believe it's worth saying that, in my opinion, people in the Northwest, particularly Seattle since this is the one NW city I've been to more than once, are different. Not bad different; just different. For example:

* Their style of dress is not what I'm used to. In Florida there is not a great call for flannel shirts, hiking boots, striped wool socks and multi-pocketed pants.

*Floridians consider orange juice health food. We don't have wild black berry bushes, and salmon streams and granola gardens to pick from.

*It rains a lot in both Florida and Seattle. Unless a hurricane is ferociously bearing down on the Florida coastline, afternoon storms come are the norm. Most people have learned to stay inside when the skies open up and lightening zaps anything in its path. Seattle-ites, I've found, put up with dreary, gray days that hint at rain with a constant drizzle by donning brightly colored slickers and rubber boots.
*People in Florida complain of the heat; Washingtonians picnic in a park on warm days.
* Sunshine State residents don't think of driving without the air conditioner on; Evergreen staters revel in Mother Nature's forests breathing in cool fresh air.
* Southerners load their iced teas with sugar; Northwesterners drink coffee ... lots of coffee.

* People in Florida take their children or dogs to work with them. People in Seattle show up with a thousand pound yak.

I am aware of these bi-coastal differences so I shouldn't have been surprised when I heard on the nightly news that on April 30th, Jim Harding, CEO of a Seattle "start up" decided to take his yak to work. YAK? I have to ask, how many people even own a yak to take to work? Okay, so Harding raises yaks; it's a little odd, but someone has to raise them, right? But is there anywhere else you can think of other than Seattle where even an enterprising and think-outside-of-the-box executive would consider taking his friendly yak to work with him?
I'm guessing this half-ton bovine pretty much had the run of the place. Undoubtedly people who want to keep their Cirqe Technology jobs said things like, "Hi there, fella" and "Sure, go ahead and drop a load right there in my cubie, I don't' mind," when the boss's yak came calling. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with TYYTWD, but it does beg the question what next?

Along with that question to ponder, I'll leave you with these "Y" words ....
yin yang
yakety yak
... and this picture which is proof positive that there will never be a Take Your Cat To Work Day!
[Photo: by Melanie Warner]
Merry ME


Sunday, May 4, 2008

X is for eXtra

"The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra."
Jimmy Johnson (American football coach and broadcaster)

I've been wracking my brain for "x" words and not having much luck. Oh sure, there is the obvious "x"ylophone, followed closely by the somewhat familiar "X"erox, and "X"erxes. These are perfectly good words, I just don't have much to say about them.

For some people "a little dab will do ya." For me, however, in most cases I usually want a little eXtra. Such as:

an eXtra scoop of ice cream
an eXtra 10% off
an eXtra hour's sleep
an eXtra long, hot shower
eXtra lights on the Christmas tree
eXtra ice in my tea
eXtra quilts on my bed
someone who goes the eXtra mile
an eXtra long walk on the beach
eXtra scary mysteries when I'm not alone
an eXtra encore
eXtra fragrant purple roses
eXtra thin spaghetti
eXtra chocolaty brownies
eXtra room in an airplane seat
eXtra room in the waistband of my jeans
my eXtra sweet sweetie
Sharpie pens with an eXtra fine point (in my opinion the all time best writing utensil)
an eXtra juicy orange
eXtra sweet watermelon
eXtra cheesy macaroni
eXtra crispy bacon
an eXtra tender ribeye steak
eXtra pudgy baby thighs
eXtra green fir trees
eXtra yellow sunflowers
an eXtra bit of vanilla when baking
an eXtra little bit, but not too much, cut off my bangs
an eXtra short queue in the ladies room
eXtra soft tissues
eXtra long kisses
eXtra huggy hugs
eXtra nuts on my sundae
eXtra fast race horses
eXtra romantic stories
eXtra happy happy songs
eXtra money in my checkbook


An eXtra cute baby pig

an extra large pumpkin!

Wishing for you all the eXtras you desire,
Merry ME

Thursday, May 1, 2008

W is for Weneki

"A daughter is a day brightener and a heart warmer. "
Author Unknown

When I was a kid the only early morning TV programming available to watch while I ate my Cheerios was Captain Kangaroo. Bob Keeshan, who over the years grew into his white haired, big pocketed persona, introduced me to some of my favorite books (Stone Soup, The Story of Ping, Mulligan and His Steam Shovel) as well as Mr. Moose and Mr. Greenjeans. It was a simpler, cornier time.

Fast forward to the 1970's. When my kids were young, the Children's Television Network was still a novelty, not the staple on which children were raised. Like a lot of kids who grew up with muppet friends named Oscar, Bert and Ernie, they looked forward to life on Sesame Street. They danced with Elmo, recited numbers with the Count and memorized letters of the alphabet with Big Bird. It's no surprise that one of the letters that made a big impression in our house was W. W was for W-w-w-Willamina. "Willamina likes to whistle and wiggle as she wades in the water."

During their early reading years, our collection of Sweet Pickle books was the reading material du jour. In the make believe town of Sweet Pickles, anthropomorphic animals, one for each letter of the alphabet, got themselves into "pickles" illustrating to young readers universally owned personality traits. "J"ackal was jealous, "M"oose was moody, and "W"alrus was worried about almost everything. I believe we read the books enough times to be able to say for certain that we were on a first name basis with most of the animals.
For me, however, "W" will always and forever stand for my wonderfully wise and wacky Wendy, who once went wading in a mountain stream and wailed when she lost one of her new gel shoes.

I've already written a lot about this daughter of mine. Whatever else I might say could possibly be viewed as wearisome. However, since I'm the author of this blog I think I'll indulge my poetic liscence. I'm wondering if I can give you more of a hint into her personality and redouble my efforts to pay homage to the letter theme. Remember I'm her mother so a bit prejudiced. But ask anyone who knows her and I think they'll agree that Wendy is:

amazingly awesome, articulate and artistic; beet eating, beautiful, and brave; creatively clutterish; a delightfully, dutiful daughter; an energetic and enthusiastic egg hanger; fun, funner, funnest; generous and grateful; a happy, healthy hiker; impressivly imaginative; jovial, judicious, and jammin'; kind and a little bit kooky; loyal, learned and lithesome; a magazine-loving, music-listening, movie-goer; nice to strangers who fall off their bike; optimistic and opinionated; a private pooting photo bug; quizzically quixotic; reliably responsible; smart, sincere and sassy; technical, trustworthy, and true-blue; utterly vivacious, wonderfully xuberant, and youthfully zany.

Wendy is just about the best thing a mother could ask for in a daughter.

"W"acky girls "w"aiting for Santa

"W"orking "W"endy "w"earing safety glasses

"w"ondrous moment

4 "w"omen that make me smile

I am blessed,
Merry ME
P.S. W is also for If you want to read some sad but inspiring stories check out this site.