this conversation happened…

Hubs: Hey, what are those cute little animals in Star Wars?

Me: …Ewoks?

Hubs: No, you know, those cute little furry things you can pet.

Stunned silence…

Me: Tribbles? Are you talking about Tribbles?

Hubs: Yes!

More stunned silence…

Me: That’s from Star Trek.

Hubs: Whatever, you know what I mean.


Me: No. Not even, but what about Tribbles?

Hubs: I saw a video of the cutest animal that looks like those.

He was talking about this:



My new go-to play in Words with Friends.

I don’t even know what it means. Well, yes, I kinda know, but let’s go look at the dictionary together. Obviously, if you’re doing this A to Z Challenge, you must love words as much as I do.

So qi, also spelled chi or ch’i, is a Chinese principle that is an underlying part of every living thing. Or something like that. When the article described it as kind of like “the force” in Star Wars, I lost interest.

Instead, I’ll share with you my love of Scrabble and Words with Friends, and why I think qi is both a cop-out and a brilliant play!

I first played Scrabble with my mom, who is a big time puzzle player. To this day she always has those crossword books you get in the grocery check out line lying around, often missing one or two words to complete the puzzle. She doesn’t cheat.

Let me say that again…she doesn’t cheat. I admire that. She will, however, ask for help so she can learn new words. Did I say my mother works on these puzzles in English? Did I say my mother’s first language is not English? I think she learned English watching episodes of Ironside and Marcus Welby and then working on the TV Guide crossword puzzle.

Impressive, if you ask me.

But she probably never played qi.  I don’t play scrabble to win. Well. No, that’s not true — I like to win. Let me rephrase that. Part of the delight of playing Scrabble is coming up with awesome words. Elegant placements that use lots of crosswords and and neat uses of letters are sometimes more fun that racking up points.

The problem is, you need points to win. Q is a lousy letter that requires a friendly U to accompany it, and that’s not always possible. Also, nobody wants to be caught in the endgame with a Q to reverse fortunes at the last minute.

Enter qi. The perfect little letter for unloading the Q in a hurry. That’s the cop-out if you play it too early in the game instead of looking for a neat word like quinoa.

Do you have a “safe” word for Scrabble or WWF?

Ack! My back!

I am lumbering around the house looking like a wounded Varactyl.

You must be wondering what that is. Here ya go:

I know, a little overly dramatic. My other choice would be to cover my lower back in Ben Gay. I tried that yesterday. It was not a good choice for a number of reasons I will not go into publicly. Thus, I am back to lumbering around and whining loudly.

And begging for your prayers.


the crescent moon is low in the sky tonight

It’s hiding in the canopy of the pine trees and peeks out between the boughs, a bright basin with all the stars above it.

The bright lights in the sky remind me of a time when I was kid. I remember going trick or treating with a lot of face paint, and I couldn’t wear my glasses without ruining the frightening effect that I was going for. The trade off, of course, is that I couldn’t see very well. Back then, the liability pretty much meant that I couldn’t see things that were very far away. Like, say, the Goodyear Blimp. This is important later.

I went around the neighborhood with the usual crew. Yuyi, Eddy, Patricia, Richard, and probably the Rocamoras, although I’m guessing we had to go to them, because they rarely left their street.  This was also the time in my life when I lived and breathed all thing sci-fi. It was some time after Star Trek was syndicated in the afternoons, but way before Star Wars and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Maybe I was already a fan of Space:1999 because Gene Roddenberry had introduced it and Fred Freiberger was producing it (as a side note, Freiberger’s involvement may have been why I often felt that the Space:1999 shows were re-worked Star Trek sripts. Even as a kid I realized that there is nothing new under the sun). It would be many years before television sci-fi would get my attention again.

Anyway, tonight’s moon, the pine trees, and the airport holding pattern that brings so many planes across our neighborhood all came together to replicate that night so many years ago when I was absolutely certain I was witnessing a real, live, UFO.

I saw the lights through the pines on Drew Valley, swirling in all the primary colors, and flying low, dipping, gaining altitude, and then stopping. I think my heart skipped a beat and I had a moment of absolute terror like those folks listening to War of the Worlds when they were psyched out. My vision was blurred enough to see the colors, but not realize there were words. Speechless, I wildly gesticulated to my friends, hoping to save us all from the imminent abduction.

They, of course, only saw my childish fascination with the Goodyear Blimp, and laughed at me for pointing it out to them.

There was no way I was gonna confess that I thought it was a flying saucer. Nope. I just shrugged and popped some candy corn in my mouth.