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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Z Is For Zoo


For years and years, our family had a membership to our zoo, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. It's a wonderful zoo, and one which has terrific natural habitats like an African Savanna, Wolf Wilderness, RainForest, and Australian Outback. I rode the camels twice and always feed the lorikeets, loving how they land right on my shoulder or my hand as I walk carefully through the enclosure. I've been whistled at admiringly by the African grey parrots, and I've sweet-talked the red pandas out of their little wooden treehouse more than once. I love our zoo, and our family has gone there many, many times. The boys and I made good use of our membership in the summertime, taking guests, rejoicing at the birth of baby animals newly on display (especially awkward young giraffes), and learning not only about different species and biomes, but also about respecting the animals in their homes at the zoo.

After so many years, we started to feel like Zoo Insiders. We started skipping parts of the zoo that weren't that interesting to us. We scoffed at people who wondered aloud if our zoo had panda bears. Duh! We hated the people who read each and every exhibit sign aloud, unless they were reading it to very small children. It drove us crazy when parents let their kids bang on the glass of the animal enclosures when there were enormous signs everywhere that clearly said not to. But we reserved our deepest scorn for two types of people in particular.

The first type wears Inappropriate Zoo Footwear. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a very walkable zoo, but it has lots of hills and winding paths. Despite this terrain, we would still find hundreds of people wearing flipflops, high wedge sandals, kitten heel pumps, and on one memorable visit, stiletto heels. And those Dr. Scholl's sandal thingies with only the strap across the toe and that terrible bump for your toes to cling to. We would see person after person sitting alongside paths or stopped on the hillside terrace, taking off footwear in order to rub his/her feet or remove grit. No sympathy.

The second type is the Pompous Sign Reader/Fake Pontificator. Every single zoo exhibit has an informational sign, sometimes two. And unfailingly, some mom or dad will read information from it as if he or she simply knows this information cold about this exotic animal, like it is so important to impress this kid. The boys and I saw this time and time again, and it was always hilarious and pathetic. But never more than the time in front of the sloth's cage. Because this mom, as she read the sign word for word, kept pronouncing it "slooth." As in "rhymes with tooth." On and on she pontificated, in a very fakey, hyper-engaging, "oh boy, is this ever fun and interesting" breathless voice, just about every line of the plaque's summary about the sloth. "Wow!" she said. "So that's the slooth! Whaddya think, kids? The two-toed slooth!" I thought I would die. (Actually, I probably did die, right there in Cleveland, for a little while, and then Jared and Sam scraped me up off the asphalt and pulled me over to look at koalas, or maybe even flamingos, which always revive me.)

**For the record, that word again is SLOTH. Only one O. I am still Not Over It.**

(Really, now. Does she pronounce the word BOTH as booth? Is an APRICOT an APRICOOT? I mean, how far does this disability extend? When she shops for chicken broth, does she think it's chicken BROOTH?)

I'M DONE NOW. MOVING ON.

And speaking of done, that ends the alphabet for me. Chat me up about your Zoo Thoughts, your own Z Words, or topics you'd like me to take up next.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Y Is For...Yikes! Random Y Things I'm Tossing At You In An Impromptu Post

You know, this whole Alphabet Construct was supposed to help me post more often, but it really turned out to be Not So Very Helpful After All. I'm glad I'm almost done; the Alphabet was starting to feel like The Boss Of Me, and you all know how I feel about that.

Let's jump into this Y Post and I have to tell you, like Certain Persons In The Politics, I have nothing prepared. I'm winging it, composing at the keyboard, hoping The Muse shows up as I go. The difference between us is, Oh hell. There are a ton of differences. Let's not, as they say, Go There.

Y1: Yvonne de Carlo, aka Lily Munster. Here is a photo, for your reference:


Now, for those of you who know/remember/imagine what I look like, just superimpose my face on there because that is exactly what my hair is starting to look like, much to my dismay. My grey is now appearing in huge swathes against my almost-black hair, which I am growing out because I have A) no regular stylist, and B) chronic indifference/sloth. Thank heavens that I do not wear pancake makeup, eye shadow, or lipstick, or it would be Halloween year 'round at the Dept., and you all know how I feel about that "holiday." Ugh.

Y2: Yarn. As in the stuff one knits with. I'm not going to bore all of you non-knitters, I promise. Just let me say that not one single Knitting Person warned me that, once I began knitting, a chemical receptor in my brain would be switched to the On position, and I would become almost pathological in my urge to amass yarn. I'm not even a Good knitter, mostly a Therapeutic one (for my hand arthritis), but I keep looking at and feeling the need to buy/acquire yarn. I have declared a Personal Yarn Moratorium until...Forever. Which is how long it will take me to use up what I now have.

Y3: Yardwork. I was at a party over the summer, and as part of an icebreaker game, we were asked to write one sentence about ourselves on a slip of paper. Each sentence would then be read aloud, and the guests would all guess at who wrote it. One person wrote I love yardwork. My first reaction was Holy Crap. What is wrong with that person? My second reaction was I have got to get the name of that person and see if he/she wants to come work in my yard! Because, honestly, the second part of the word yardwork is WORK. And, remember, I am retired. Yardwork, to me, sounds like something on a prison duty roster. "Okay, Detweiler, this week you've got yardwork. Make sure the inmates don't huddle up in groups larger than three, and watch out for contraband. And stay on top of the litter situation."

Y4: Yams VS. Sweet Potatoes. I still don't care about which is which, and I never ever will. I call them all sweet potatoes because I hate the word Yams. I hate to say it; I sound terrible saying it. Maybe it's what my late friend Ann from Orlando, Florida, called my flat NEO "accent", but when I say it, it sounds like I can't stop the vowel sound soon enough; like I'm trying to draw it out: Yaaaaaams. Let me assure you; I'm not. Besides, sweet potatoes sounds nicer.

Okay! I made it through. I'm back. And I can't wait to hear about your Y Words or your comments on mine.

lily image
y tiles

Saturday, October 01, 2016

In Which I Am Daisy Buchanan And Seeking Your Indulgence And Patience


I've been away on a Solo Jaunt, and Things have gotten Away From Me. Suddenly it's October, and thank goodness the oppressive Summer Heat might be really and truly Gone. The entire Summer reminded me of a brief exchange from a chapter of one of my Favourite Novels, The Great Gatsby. In it, five gorgeous and privileged friends are sitting down to a light meal, and there is already tension in the air. It is only made worse by the incredibly heavy summer heat. They are sitting in a (symbolically!) darkened room, and the conversation goes thusly among the women:

"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon," cried Daisy, "and the
day after that, and the next thirty years?"
"Don't be morbid," Jordan said. "Life starts all over again when it gets
crisp in the fall."
"But it's so hot," insisted Daisy, on the verge of tears, "And
everything's so confused. Let's all go to town!"
Her voice struggled on through the heat, beating against it, moulding its
senselessness into forms.


And that, my friends, is why I had to zip off on a solo jaunt. I'm back now, and Gathering Myself, and I'll be back with my Y Post soon. And off to visit your places as well.

It's good to be back.
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