Thursday, December 28, 2006

Reasons Not to Get a Haircut Today

At least once, we’ve all come out of the hair salon wishing we had not gone in. Here are some really good reasons to cancel your hair appointment or walk out if you are a walk-in. Run, run, I say, out the door and don’t look back.

1. If your hairdresser says, “My four kids all came home with blotchy red spots and now I have it. Do you know what this rash is?”

2. If your hairdresser says, “That rotten ex-husband of mine is a real b - - - - - d. I could just kill him!”

3. If your hairdresser says, “It will only take a minute to rinse out your shamp…. , ooh, yuck, what is that stuff in the drain?!”

4. If your hairdresser says, “I knew I shouldn’t have had that last drink at the party. What a hangover I’ve got this morning."

5. If your hairdresser says, “Hey, look how big a bubble I can blow with this new gum!”

6. If your hairdresser says, “Do you smell smoke?”

7. If you hairdresser says, “Do I smell like I’ve been smoking pot?”

8. If you hairdresser says, “Hey, do you know where I can score some more pot?”

9. If your hairdresser says, “You’re not a cop, are you?”

10. If you hairdresser says, “Uh, you did want it really short in the back, right?”

11. If your hairdresser says, “Oh, I thought you meant bright red, not auburn.”

12: If your hairdresser says, “Dropped the comb, but don’t worry, the floor is clean.”

13. If your hairdresser says, “AAAAAAAHHHHHHCCCCCHHHHOOOOO!”

14. If your hairdresser says, “Gotta hurry, I got a hot date.”

15. If your hairdresser says, “OOPS!”

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas 2006

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head.
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

The words to this carol were originally written as a poem, “Christmas Bells,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1864 just months before the end of the American Civil War. The poem originally contained two extra stanzas that were omitted by John Baptiste Calkin in 1872, who added the music and transformed Longfellow’s poem into the carol we know today.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pet Gifts

I just watched a commercial about the “perfect gift for your pet.” Huh? “The perfect gift” for what? When did we start buying “gifts” for our pets? And how do pets actually determine the difference between a “gift” and an old tennis ball?

Do pets have color preferences? Do they prefer squeaky toys that match their eyes or their fur? When two pets are just sitting around, do they discuss what they want for Christmas? Is there a Peta Clause? Maybe an Afgan Hound with long silky red fur who wears glasses? And just how would a pet tell Peta Clause what they want, pee on the leg of his chair? Are pets disappointed if they don’t get the latest jeweled collar or the right squeaky toy? Would it be better to just give them gift cards to PetSmart so they can shop for exactly what they want?

Ask yourself, “Does Fido or Fluffy really give a damn about a cedar-filled, heated bed cozy covered in designer fabric? And speaking of beds, do pets really need foam steps to make it easer for them to climb into your bed and plop on your pillows? Think about it. Do you really want to put your face where they just … oh, never mind.

What about the abandoned and feral animals during this holiday season? Will the more privileged pets soon be standing in front of pet shops and feed stores ringing the bells on their collars and wagging their tails while nudging small kettles in your direction?

People, people. Get a grip. Pets are not furry people. They would think a stick or a piece of string is a gift! Ripping the paper from a “gift” is as much fun as an actual gift (unless it’s edible). Ever see a cat demolish a roll of toilet paper just ‘cause he can? Now that’s fun.

Tell you what. If you are determined to buy your pet a gift, send me $49.95, plus $9.95 shipping and handling, and I’ll send you Mr. Stick – gift wrapped in newspaper at no extra charge. Mr. Stick comes in two sizes, twig and a little bigger, in your choice of flavors, oak or pine. For that special feline, don’t forget the six foot long String Buddy for only $29.95, $5.99 shipping and handling. Five dollars from the sale of each Mr. Stick and String Buddy will go to a nearby spay and neuter clinic. Hurry, quantities are limited.


© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Friday, December 15, 2006


Fruitcake … love it or hate it. No, wait, love it, hate it, OR love it but say you hate it and eat it secretly, sort of like a closet fruitcake fan.

There are two types of fruitcake, really, really good fruitcake filled with all sorts of real fruit and plump pecans or really, really bad fruitcake filled with way too many raisins, mystery nut bits and bits of mystery nut shells, and tough, dried green, red and yellow blobby, chewy things that may have originated at the end of pencils.

Good fruitcake is a divine pleasure to the senses, moist, fragrant and a thrill to the palate. My dear Aunt Elizabeth made the best fruitcake in the entire world. A visit to her house from October on meant a “taste” of the latest fruitcake to mature. She used all the finest ingredients and the best whiskey to produce a dark, rich and highly intoxicating slice of heaven. She wrapped her fresh fruitcakes in cheesecloth, put them in metal cake containers and poured a generous glug of “preservative” over the tops before snapping on the lids. About once a week, she would open all the cans and add additional glugs for insurance. Her whole house would be so perfumed during this ritual, it was a wonder the feds didn’t raid the place.

She also tasted the whiskey occasionally – okay, frequently – to make sure it was still acceptable and took a lot of kidding from the rest of the family about which had more whiskey in it, the cakes or the cook.

With such a good role model, it was only natural that I later became sort of famous for my fruitcakes “preserved” with apricot brandy. I also had to carry on the tradition of making sure the preservative was acceptable and once ran out of brandy, but was too, uh, well let’s just “tipsy” to drive anywhere to get more.

Along with the rise of mass produced brick-like (and tasting) fruitcakes, came the fruitcake jokes, starting with the now famous “there’s only one fruitcake in the world and it just keeps going around from family to family.” Standup comics and cartoonist have seasonal fodder to make people smile and I’ve yet to hear a really bad fruitcake joke.

So, in keeping with the season, here’s my contribution to fruitcake jokes: “How many nerds does it take to eat a fruitcake? None, not even nerds eat fruitcake!” Okay, okay, I’ll stick to baking.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fruitcake!

P.S. You might enjoy reading "Irish Fruitcake Recipe" written in November 2007.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Man Who Thought He Was a Train

This is a true story, or at least as true as I can remember. My girl friend and I first became aware of the man who thought he was a train during a shopping trip to downtown Jacksonville, Florida, in the early 1950s. We needed gloves and hats for a luncheon. Luncheons were big in those days as we learned to become proper young ladies.

There were several hat stores in town and we were just coming out of our second when here he came, dashing past us so fast we weren’t really sure of what we had seen. We also heard him. The shop owner must have seen our startled faces as we jumped out of his way and back into her doorway.

“That’s the man who thinks he’s a train,” she explained. “Right on time, too. Comes past here every afternoon about this time.” Our teenage faces must have given away how startled we were. The man could have been anywhere from 25 to 55, dressed in faded blue overalls and plaid shirt, and atop his head a grey and white striped engineer’s cap. He was pulling a clattering “caboose,” a red Radio Flyer wagon, smiling and nodding as he flashed past at a brisk trot.

We soon learned the man who thought he was a train lived nearby, but no one knew exactly where or even his name or why he thought he was a train. He appeared about noon coming through Hemming Park, past Morrison’s Cafeteria, past the Presbyterian Church, then on to Jacob’s Jewelers where he rounded the huge pedestal clock and made a left toward Kresses, then several blocks later, a right at Walgreens, to circle past the Imperial Theatre, past the First National, finishing up across from Penny’s and disappearing into the residential neighborhood just east of the Post Office.

He was a legend in downtown Jacksonville and delighted most people with his familiar “whoooo whooo” to let those in his path know he was coming their way. He also made chugging noises that became most audible when he occasionally had to stop for a red light. He was a free spirit; always smiling even when chugging and whoooo whoooing. There was even a brief article about him in the local paper.

Fast forward four years and, with high school diploma in hand, I went to work for a downtown insurance company. On the third day at my new job, just as I was leaving the building for lunch, there he was – hat, caboose, sound effects, and that radiant smile. By then he had acquired the name of “Train” and was greeted warmly by many friends along his route. He just smiled and nodded, gave a friendly “whoooo whooo” and kept going.

Later, with several more years away for college, I was back in town and working for the same insurance company in the public relations department. That first day I couldn’t wait to hit the street at noon to see if the man who thought he was a train was still around.

I headed for the sandwich place with a view of Train’s route. Just as I was finishing up the best pastrami on rye in the area, there he came! Slower now, but with the familiar whoooo whooo, what looked like a new cap, and his Radio Flyer caboose. He had added a small lantern to the back of the wagon and a small dog atop a pillow inside, ears flapping in the breeze. I saw him a number of times during the next few years before changing jobs and moving away.

I suspect by now, some 56 years later, “Train” has gone to that great switching yard in the sky, but his memory lives on. Although no one knew who he was or where he came from, he was accepted, loved and appreciated for the smiles he brought to weary office workers. Even now, after all these years, when I hear a train whistle, I think of the man who thought he was a train and the joy he added to the lives of so many people.

So, Train, where ever you are, here’s one for you: whoooo whooo!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Señor Poly Ester

On warm summer Saturday evenings of the mid-80s, several of my friends and I would head to an outdoor bar along the downtown river to enjoy the setting sun and listen to the big band sounds of the 40s piped to the outdoor area. The breezes kept away the mosquitoes and perspiration, making it ideal for relaxing or dancing a few slow dances. Occasionally, a hit from the 50s (our generation) could be heard, so we would break into the “bop” for a bit of high school nostalgia.

The few husbands in tow would make sure each of us “single gals” danced at least once, then we would settle into quiet conversation until the sun set, the breezes faded away, the last drop of alcohol had been drained and the mosquitoes descended with voracity.

The place was seldom crowded, with couples drifting in on the way to or from dinner or dropping in, like us, just to hear the music and share the events of the week.

Once, during Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade, a handsome young couple emerged from the shadows and for several minutes held us all in awe as they put on a spectacular display of professional ballroom dancing. Wow. We were entranced and when they glided back into the shadows we all applauded. The rest of the evening was spent speculating about who they were, where they came from and where they were going.

Toward the end of the summer, a 40-ish, dark haired, dark eyed man appeared at the bar. We all noticed him as he was resplendent in a dark brown polyester leisure suit with a matching shirt of orange, yellow and brown design. (Remember now, this is the 80s and polyester had been declared a fashion disaster and, in Florida during the summer, these non-breathing garments turned into sweat machines.) The smell of his Old Spice, even from a safe distance, was so strong that it overrode our own perfumes, cigarettes and drinks.

He first approached one of my single friends, bowed slightly, and asked her to dance. She didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so she accepted. Upon returning Barb to the table, he bowed again, kissed her hand and – yes – clicked his heels. He was a pretty good dancer, as we women were all soon to discover. Before the evening ended, he had danced with each of us. Ever the gentleman, he was polite and not once improper, kissing our hands and clicking his heels as he brought us back to our seats. After we each had danced, he disappeared, much to the relief of the husbands.

Who was this man? We giggled and guessed, and that’s when we dubbed him “Señor Poly Ester.” It was two weekends later before we all got together again and headed to the river. We had forgotten about Señor Poly Ester. Just as the sun had fully set, there he was, this time impeccable in a powder blue leisure suit with matching shirt. As before, his shoes glistened almost as much as the pomade on his hair and the scent of his cologne tipped us off he was behind us at the bar.

We women hit the panic button and hurriedly plotted whispered escape routes. Would it be too obvious if we all hit the ladies room at the same time? Oops, too late. He was so gallant that we didn’t want to be rude, so all but Barb, who professed a sprained ankle, were, in turn, on the dance floor, trying hard not to breathe in too much Old Spice. This evening, after he had hand-kissed and heel-clicked each of back to the table, he even went to a group of women on the other side of the deck and successfully whirled each of those four around the dance floor.

When he finally disappeared, we all collapsed into laughter, including the four across the way. My group also decided that it was time to find a new place to meet. We just couldn’t endure another encounter with Señor Poly Ester, as charming and outdated as he was. Besides, with the end of summer, the breeze off the river was cooling down.

We never saw Señor Poly Ester again, but we often talked about him. He never told us his real name and other than to ask us to dance, had very little to say.

It’s been over 20 years now, the river bar is long gone, one of my friends has passed away, and I haven’t seen the others in several years. I wonder if they, too, remember Señor Poly Ester and the Saturday summer evenings on the river. I wonder, too, if Señor Poly Ester remembers us and if he ever updated his wardrobe.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Before and After

Have you ever awakened at 2 a.m., flipped on the television to dull your senses to fall asleep again, and been subjected to the amazing “before and after” tales of how Betty Lou in Michigan and Bob in Alabama lost a zillion pounds in only twelve days?

Not only did Betty Lou and Bob loose all that weight, but they didn’t have to diet OR exercise, they just took this amazing pill. Two things the infomercial doesn’t tell you: what’s in the drug (newt’s eyes, snake sweat or perhaps powdered cave slime?) and that poor ol’ Betty Lou and Bob didn’t sleep during the twelve days of shedding all those unwanted pounds.

Betty Lou went from a size 98 down to a size two and feels wonderful. Bob now has lots of energy and can leap over automobiles from a standing position. Heck yeah, they feel wonderful. They’ve been high for the past twelve days!

Okay, here’s the part that I can’t figure out. If the people portrayed in the before and after shots lost all that weight, why are they wearing the same outfits in the “after” as in the “before,” and why don’t the “after” outfits fall off?

Could it be that the advertisers are exaggerating just a teensy bit?

We all know there’s only one way to loose weight. Not the most fun, but it won’t mess up your head as well as your cute, but pudgy body. As for me, I’m headed to the fridge for a large helping of ice cream. I’ll settle for the carrot sticks and cross my fingers that someday “they” will come up with a tasty Rocky Road with no calories or cholesterol. Humm, wonder how carrot sticks taste dipped in chocolate syrup?

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I Want New Stuff Gift Registry

Unless we are having a baby, moving to a new home, or getting married, we folks over the age of 60 are getting shorted on gift registries. Remember when brides registered their china and silver patterns at jewelry stores? Where I grew up, there were only two jewelry stores downtown (there were no malls back then) and we future brides all trouped into the most prestigious to register our patterns.

In the years to follow, we’ve all shelled out a pretty penny for bridal and baby showers, graduations, and house warmings. I figured out that just to break even, I’m due back close to $8,692.37 in gifts.

There’s a lot of stuff I could use since the sheets, frying pans, and welcome mat I got at bridal showers has long since worn out. Trouble is, there are no socially accepted reasons for me to “register.”

So here’s my idea. I propose that once every four or five years, we 60-somethings cajole our friends into throwing us a “I Want New Stuff” shower. The heck with the silver and china (even the kids don’t want it), let’s go for replacement linens, a new toilet seat, a microwave, and some of those dandy outdoor solar lights just to get started.

I’m real excited about the prospect of registering for gifts at such innovative stores as Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Sears, and now K-Mart.

You know that as soon as the larger stores get wind of this idea, it’s headed straight to their marketing departments. I’m starting my list now so by the time the ad campaigns and greeting cards are rolling out, I’ll be ready to shop!

So what’s on your list?

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Where Have the Green Stamps Gone?

Remember S&H Green Stamps? (If you are under 40 – never mind) Remember the thrill of getting enough Green Stamps with one purchase to fill a page? Remember the even bigger thrill of filling a whole “book?” With enough Green Stamps, a family could furnish their house from the redemption catalog.

Short of fresh foods, you could get almost anything with enough stamps. With some negotiating, you could probably get a train load of fresh corn. I read somewhere that students from one school saved enough stamps to “purchase” two gorillas for their local zoo.

Green Stamps, those tiny little glue-backed squares of perforated paper, made a difference where a person shopped. Moms would often go out of their way to buy the week’s groceries where they could get those little gems, fill the last book, and finally bring home new canisters or set of frying pans.

Only the most responsible kid was assigned the chore of gluing the stamps in the redemption books and reporting the progress to Mom. Until ready for pasting, the “onesies” and “twosies” were stored, along with the books, in an old cigar box held closed with a sturdy rubber band. The cigar box was then hidden in the back of a kitchen drawer, safe from younger siblings’ hands and burglars. If the house were on fire, Mom would grab the cigar box and leave her wedding band behind!

One of the surest ways to get out of being the “paster” was to lick and slap a stamp on your forehead and waltz through the house as if all was normal. If you didn’t escape Mom’s wrath fast enough, you could count on losing a bit of facial skin when the stamp was removed.

The glue on the back of those stamps must have been made from the most disgusting things on earth. It only took licking three or four stamps to get a green tongue and send you running for a wet washcloth or sponge in a saucer of shallow water. Bleaugh! It wasn’t long before those little tube “moisteners” with the sponge thingies on the end appeared. Fill the tube with a bit of water and gently – gently! – dampen the back of the stamps. (Too heavy a hand and you had to wait for the stamp and surrounding tablecloth to dry, then go find the bottle of paste.)

I just found out you can still redeem old Green Stamps, but they are much more fun as “collectables.” The redemption catalogs from which to choose your treasures are even more fun. Did we really think “earth colored” lime green, orange and yellow dishes made food more attractive? If you are really determined to cash in your stamps, check out the “green points” link below.

For a bit of fun, paste a few stamps on your forehead and waltz through Walmart. Just be ready with a really, really good explanation when the security guard says, “Please come with me.”

Redeem your Green Stamps:

For a bit of history:

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fall Back

Daylight Saving Time ends October 29, 2006.

Is it just me or do other people feel that we have more important national considerations than fiddling around with the time? Can we take a vote on sticking with just one time and skipping all this Daylight Saving Time business?

Yes, yes, I know. I’ve already fussed about this last April when we sprang forward. To read my original post, click: Daylight Savings Time .

I will probably keep fussing about it for no other reason than I can. So there.

Who came up with this falling and springing anyway? With a bit of searching, I did learn that the correct name for this nonsense is Daylight Saving (no “S”) Time and that the Department of Transportation is responsible for ensuring that the time zones observing Daylight Saving Time all begin and end on the same date. Wonder how they do that – call all the mayors? “Hi, Debbie, this is Stan over at the D.O.T. Don’t forget to remind everyone to fall back on Sunday.”

Now if you think there will be a lot of grumpy people when the time changes October 29 (not as bad as in the Spring), whoooeee, just wait until next March 11, 2007. According to and a number of other Web sites, President Bush has extended You-Know-What-Time by four weeks. I can hear those alarm clocks being yanked off night stands and slammed into walls now. Okay, show of hands – everyone who looooooves getting up an hour early, wave now. You, over there, you morning person – get out of this blog!

I really don’t care which way we fall or spring. I would be happy with just one time all year. Right now my car clock is set on the correct time. Last Spring when the time changed, it took me three weeks to figure out which button controlled the clock’s hour setting. In the meantime, I found a mileage thingy for trips, a place to store loose change, and the best county-western radio station in town.

Well, all I can say is that it’s a good thing it wasn’t fall back or spring forward day in 1955 just as Marty McFly was barreling down Main Street in Doc Brown’s plutonium-powered DeLorean "time machine” to hook up with that power cord just as lightening strikes the old clock tower. Why, just think, one hour either way and, oops, some of us might not be here today!

For a bit of fun, check this out:

P.S. You might enjoy earlier comments made Saturday, April 1, 2006, when it was time to “spring forward.” Daylight Savings Time

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Road Trip

If you grew up in the 40s and 50s and went on family trips, then you probably tasted the gooey sweet, pecan-covered goodness of a Stuckey’s pecan bar.

Clever kids of my era would time their bathroom break demands with the proximity of the next Stuckeys. Why? Well, my dear, you had to go through the gift shop to reach the restrooms and although you may have had to dash in, you could take up to the end of your parent’s patience to saunter back out past all the delightful souvenirs. With a little luck or a lot of whining, the least you would come out with was a pecan roll to be shared with parents and siblings.

If Stuckeys wasn’t on your immediate route, you watched for the Howard Johnson’s signs and begin to salivate for one of the 28 flavors of ice cream. Dad would stop for gas to fill up the old blue Plymouth and fill up the kids with a sugar fix. “Well, hurry up and decide, dammit. I want to get to Aunt Flora’s before dark.”

On the way to or from, you had to pass at least one “See Rock City” ad emblazoned across a barn. Being first to spot a barn with the famous sign was part of our back-seat game, but now I can’t remember exactly how it was played or what the prize or consequence was.

And just to keep things lively and everyone awake, there was always a sing-song chorus as we rattled off the Burma-Shave shave signs in time to the soft bump-bump of the tires across the big, modern two-lane highway.

To kiss a mug
That's like a cactus
Takes more nerve
Than it does practice

And who could return home without one of those fabulous chenille bedspreads? Most were displayed on long ropes slung between trees with bamboo poles propping up the ropes to keep the spreads off the grass and waving enticingly to passing motorists. Some of those 1940s and 50s bedspreads are still in use. Finding one today to buy is still possible, but the price now would have paid for our whole trip, or maybe even two, then.

So which is better, the slower, stop and go, road trips of our childhood, or today’s zoom-down-the-highway-in-half-the-time? Hard to choose. Childhood trips included open windows in the summer to dry the sweat and cold hands and toes in the winter, so today’s autos are much more comfortable. On the other hand, the scenery of yesterday was constantly changing with plenty of farms and dairy herds to admire. Today’s interstates are easier to drive with ample service exits and rest stops. But still it would be nice to stop for a pecan roll and plastic alligator with bobbing head, or double scoop of fudge ripple now and then. Oh, sure, I know those and many more treats are still available, but somehow they just don’t have the same magic as that we hold in our memories.

Fun sights/sites to visit:

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Friday, September 01, 2006

That Competitive Nature

As children, we learned about being competitive.

“I can run faster than you.”

“Nonny nonny nah nah, I got a bigger piece of cake!”

“Bet my grade is better than yours.”

“I’m the prettiest.”

Teen years only made the spirit of competition more robust and by the time we achieved status in the working world, we had honed our talents to a razor sharp edge.

Now we are retired. Has the urge to compete worn off? Absolutely not. We are just competitive about different topics. The only good thing to come from the high prices of drugs is that we elders now have something new to berate and/or brag about. Have you listened in to any conversations at the pharmacy counter among the “Part D” recipients?

“Whooeee, why just last month my blood pressure pills alone were over $200!”

“Huh. You think that’s bad, you should see the cost of that dang drug the doc put me on for high cholesterol.”

“Listen, the two of you just think you are paying through the nose. Look at the cost of these refills for my arthritis and diabetes medicine. Just out of sight, I tell you, out of sight!”

“Well, you would just not believe what I had to give up just to pay for this small bottle of pills. I just don’t see where the money is coming from for the refill.”

Oh, the competition.

Truth is, it was a lot more fun when we were younger. Besides, you may have been able to outrun me, but I definitely was the prettiest!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, August 21, 2006

Coffee Mugs

Have you ever noticed that coffee mugs multiply behind the closed doors of kitchen cabinets? First you start out with a matched pair or a nice set of four, then suddenly one appears emblazoned with a logo from a local business. It snuggles up next to the newly arrived gift mug that says, “World’s Best Mom,” and before you know it, there are mugs of all shapes and sizes filling the cabinet and spilling over to the counter top.

They hide behind the toaster, lurk on the coffee table (just why is it called a “coffee table” anyway?), and even hitch rides in the car. In desperation, you may take a few to work to share with others, but that only invites more mugs to arrive from coworkers with the same idea.

Gathering up a box to give to the neighbor for a garage sale may not be met with enthusiasm. The neighbor already has four boxes full of mugs from other neighbors. Don’t even think of asking Goodwill or the Salvation Army to come pick them up for their thrift stores. Their shelves are already overflowing with mugs that won’t sell for even a dime. Sneaking up to the over-night donation bin just means you are opening the trunk of your car to the possibility more mugs will find a way in than you are dropping off!

What to do with all these mugs? Could they be used as a building material, sort of like bricks, only with handles? Maybe they could be ground up and used to pave driveways or walkways or build retaining walls. Does the government need to offer mug manufacturers a subsidy of some sort to stop making these household pests before the landfills are over run?

Phew. I’m exhausted now and think I’ll have a cup of coffee. Would you like one? Oh, and do take the mug with you!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Things Our Parents Said – Part 2

Chew nails and spit tacks.

Dumber than a doorknob.

Scarcer than hen’s teeth.

Older than dirt.

In a tizzy.

Nutty as a fruitcake.

Screw loose.

Lights are on, but no one is home.

Up shit creek without a paddle.

Running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

Like a bat out of hell.

Meaner than a snake.

Can’s see the forest for the trees.

Up one side and down the other.

Straight as the crow flies.

Solid as a rock.

Weak as water.

Spends money like it is going out of style.

Can’t fight his way out of a paper bag.

Ants in his pants.

Run around your thumb to get to your fingers.

Three sheets to the wind.

Tight as a tick.

Preaching to the choir.

Silly as a goose.

Loose as a goose.

Your word is your bond.

Sealed with a handshake.

Now here’s a little something from a good friend.

“My grandfather taught me the this over 50 years ago and I haven't been able to find where it originated or what it means. Any ideas?

‘As I was walking out in the street on the third day of last Julember with my shonebone in my pocket and my knees under my arms, I saw a white blackbird picking up grapeshot out of the wall. I picked up a rock and threw it at the white blackbird and killed a dead dog. Five furlongs on the other side of nowhere, a dead possum bit the hatchet's head off. You think that's simple but it isn't half as simple as Doctor Doolittle's blister-plaster falling out of his pocket and blistering his old horse's back, five feet or five feet square, whichever you want to call it.’”

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Things Our Parents Said

With the help of friends, here are some of the things our family members said to help us grow into adulthood. Some made sense, others … well, at least they got our attention. Others only made sense when we became adults and finally understood what those “old” people were talking about. Now that we are the “old” people, we hear the echo of our parents as we pass these “sayings” along to our children and grandchildren.

A special thanks to Moms: Mary, Eva, and Gladys.

If you keep making that face, it will freeze that way.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Parental variation: If wishes were horses, what a job the street cleaners would have!

Wear clean underwear. You never know when you could be in an accident.

I’m so mad, my butt could chew buttonholes.

Put your wishes in one hand and spit in the other and see which one fills the fastest.

I brought you into this world and I can take you out!

There are children starving in Europe (Asia, Africa) that would love to have that liver and onions. Now eat it!

Don’t swallow those watermelon seeds! Do you want a vine growing out your navel?!

Don’t touch that, you don’t know where it’s been.

Grinning like a billy goat eating briars. (Usually refers to someone who has a "smirky" grin on their face.) .

Don’t make me come in there and slap you into next year!”

It’s better to be a happy old maid than a miserable wife.

Get in here. You are slow as molasses.

Land sakes, that car was big as all get out.

If your bed isn’t made by noon, you will have bad luck the rest of the day.

Why, he doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain.

Clean up this room. It looks like a pig sty.

And just where do you think you’re going dressed like that?

It’s for your own good.

I don’t care what your friends do, you are not going. If they all jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?

The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.

They are just alike. They must be cut from the same cloth.

Don't just hop into bed with every man who comes along!

You eat so many sweets you're going to be diabetic. You always have drunk too much fluid (a sure sign).

Just because you want to do it doesn't make it right!

Women who ride in taxis are obviously going to meet their "Johns."

If you wash your hair too much, it's going to fall out.

Save the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.

And the best for last: Just you wait. Someday you are going to have children, then you will understand!

P.S. We’ve already thought up a few more, so there may be a Part II. Can’t wait to hear what YOUR family had to say! Just click on “Comments” below and scroll down to “Leave your comment.” You can preview your comment, then publish or just “log in and publish.”

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hair-Raising Question

Ladies: have you noticed that as your eyesight wanes, the hairs on your chin begin to sprout more vigorously? What is it about face hair on men that is okay, but on women is totally unacceptable? Maybe we women have become the pawns of the fashion police and lured to spend zillions of dollars on hair-removal products.

I saw an ad the other day for a horrifying battery-propelled, hand-held gizmo that “gently removes hair at the root.” Yeah, right. That’s ad-speak for yanks those little stragglers from your flesh before you can faint. Okay, so now you have ripped the hair from your upper lip. What muffles the scream so your neighbors won’t think you have just discovered vermin lurking in your closet? If this gadget is all that great, why don’t men use it so they only have remove their face hair once a week?

To further promote the separation of our cash from our checkbooks, the ad even promised, “gentle enough to use in the bikini area.” Well, whoop-de-do. That’s an important consideration for we older ladies as we apply Ben Gay to our aching shoulder muscles or wipe the sweat from our brows at three a.m.

As for chin hair, I say if it was good enough for my grandmothers and my mother, it’s good enough for me. Well, maybe. Vanity still reigns. Okay, revise that. If I can see it, I’ll find a way to remove it. If someone else sees it and tells me (and they had better tell me), I’ll rush out and stock up on bleaching creams, waxes, chemical removers, and tweezers with an extra-wide gripping span to pluck several stragglers at once (scream follows).

Or maybe, as a way to avoid pain, not to mention the expense, I’ll just hang out with people whose eyesight is as bad or worse than mine. There, problem solved. Okay, everyone – glasses off ... now!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Too Thin

Aahh, the magic words, “Well, if you ask me, she’s way too thin!”

I’ve never heard those words. It seems from the time I was born, I’ve been on a diet. Nowadays, I just blame these hips on heredity. As if I don’t already have enough to think about (calories, carbs, good fats, bad fats), now I have to keep an eye on my cell phone.

I just watched a commercial about the latest THIN cell phone! Super thin. All but fits in your wallet. Oh, just great. Not only am I walking around with fashion-unacceptable hips, my cell phone is too fat! Now what do I do? Get it a new cover in slimming black? Or should I go for vertical stripes? Do I have to give up making calls from the mall because it will be embarrassed and feel unattractive if others are using “slim” phones?

Is there a weight-watchers program for cell phones or is it just doomed to obsolescence, only to be cast aside for the tiny little skinny model? And what if the battery has to be replaced? If it, too, is super slim and accidentally slips out of the package and lands sideways, will it become invisible? Is it safe to plop a super-slim phone on an outdoor table during a windy day?

One manufacturer has a flip phone that not only is “slim,” but includes voice, data, multimedia and Bluetooth, and is about the width of a credit card. Okay. I understand “voice” and credit card (“Yes, put that on my credit card.”), but I have no clue what the other features are. I like it that way. I don’t want to know what the other stuff is or what it does; my life is complicated enough already.

I’m keeping my fat phone (I hope I haven’t offended any phones out there.) until some company comes out with a wrist model. Then I’ll change my name to Dixie Tracy and go in pursuit of dastardly villains. If you don’t understand that last line, then you are way too young to be reading this. Until then, I’ll just forego all the snappy features of the new phones and continue to try to figure out how to retrieve voice messages on good ol’ chubby.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Elevator Mania

If you want to have some fun, just stand back and watch people trying to get on and off crowded elevators. There is something about elevator doors opening on the ground floor that sucks those waiting directly to the entrance so that those trying to get off have to bob and weave their way through the eager beavers.

There must be some sort of electronic connection between the elevator and the human brain – doors open, brain disconnects. Normal men and women suddenly go numb to the fact that the people inside must first come OUT before they can get IN.

Have you ever seen someone actually swept backwards and imprisoned by the eager beavers in their zest to be the first on? Some of those “first ons” are only riding up one floor and then have to squeeze their way past the fifth and eleventh floor folks.

Could it be that every time an elevator reaches the ground floor and doors open, a new prize of some sort appears on the back wall and the first one in wins? It must be a great prize from the way people lunge through the doors. Or maybe the rule is first one on gets to push all the buttons for everyone else. It’s a control thing.

The weird part about this elevator mania is that the same people who go up will also later come down and have to dodge and weave their way through forward-pressing bodies to escape. Apparently that experience has no effect on their next "up" elevator ride as they leap forward to gain their favorite spot – back wall, left or right wall, right in front.

Maybe the mad dash is because no one likes to stand in the middle; there is no where to lean or a rail to grasp. “Middle” people also have to bump right or left letting the wall people out. Have you also noticed that when an elevator is comfortably filled, there’s always at least one more person who has to push and wedge their way in to create the sardine effect?

Personally, I’ll just stand back and wait for the next elevator, or the next, or take the stairs. I’m just not in that much of a hurry to rub elbows and other body parts with strangers. Some of those riders I’ve seen leaping forward to be “first in” are really strange!

The next time you go to a building with busy elevators, arrive a little early and enjoy the show. If you are an eager beaver and just miss one as you dash up to the doors, take a deep breath and slow down and remember that old saying, “What goes up …,” well, you know the rest.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Good Feelings

Down Memory Lane

Feelings. No, not emotional feelings like angry or sad. I ‘m talking about those warm fuzzy feelings when something unexpected triggers a pleasant memory from childhood.

There is a line or two in Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees” when the heroine walks through dew dampened grass, then past a crepe myrtle tree. She has to brush away the fallen crepe myrtle flowers sticking to her feet before entering the house. The scene stuck with me and I thought, who has grown up in the South and not walked barefoot through crepe myrtle blossoms?

Then I began to think of other things that were parts of our childhood. For my Southern friends – did you ever pull honey suckle blooms and taste the nectar or pop a just-plucked wild blackberry in your mouth while trying to avoid the thorny bush entangled around your sandal-clad feet?

What about sticking your face in a pile of sun-dried linens to enjoy the clean out-door smell? No matter how they try, detergent manufacturers can never replicate that fragrance. Did you ever catch lightening bugs in a mayonnaise jar or have your mom tell you to wash off the “toe jam” before going to bed?

During childhood, a summer day outside seldom ended without the tell-tale rings of sweat-enhanced dirt around our necks or anything from twigs to Bazooka bubble gum stuck in our hair. A really good day ended with at least one of us sporting a new bruise or cut from having left part of an elbow on the street from roller skating or being the target of a green pinecone.

We cooled off with ice-cold Cokes from greenish glass bottles, then carefully placed the empties back in the wooden crates so they could be returned for the deposit or replaced with full bottles. As teens, we baked and ate brownies (ahh, that fresh-from-the-oven smell!) by the thousands and never gained a pound.

The weekly meeting of every kid under the age of 13 took place on Saturday mornings at the local movie house to watch Roy Rogers or Hopalong Cassidy triumph over the bad guys (they wore the black hats), then catch up on the latest serial of Buck Rogers.

Ah, memories. Too bad the kids of today have to miss out on the fun we had. But, who knows, perhaps in sixty years one of them will be transmitting their memories in holographic images.

Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, June 12, 2006

Happy Birthday

This is a notable birthday week in my diary. (Okay, I don’t actually keep a diary, I just thought that would make a good opening line.)

First of all, one of my best friends and I are celebrating our birthdays. It takes a Gemini to know a Gemini and even though there are several years between us, we struck up an immediate friendship upon meeting several years ago.

Not only are our birthdays two days apart, we share the same first name. We have also been in corporate public relations and honed our writing skills while keeping our senses of humor. Through the years, we have come up with all sorts of ideas to express our creativity and my friend has now found a way to not only stretch her web design wings, but also express her patriotism and love for our beautiful United States of America.

My friend’s website, American Travel Sampler, is officially “born” on Flag Day, June 14, 2006.

Please take a minute to visit
and wish them both a red, white and blue “Happy Birthday!”

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Saturday, June 03, 2006


If it weren’t for weekends, working people would go crazy. They also would not have any clean clothes and their cars would never get washed. God invented weekends so working people could catch up on real life.

God also invented retirement because after only having a real life two out of seven days for years and years, working people can then sleep in as much as they want. Retirement is the reward for spending most of your life doing what someone else wants.

Retired people pretty much do what they want, when they want, and in their pajamas if they want. Most of the retired people I know get everything done by Friday so they can spend the next two days watching the working people zip around like crazy trying to get done what we retired folks have spread out over the past five.

Hey, there, you working people, haven’t you noticed those older folks on the benches and in the food court at the malls on Saturdays and Sundays? They are the ones savoring a cup of specialty coffee or lingering over a giant pretzel. They are also not surrounded by shopping bags or small children demanding to “go potty.”

They are thoroughly enjoying the weekend, made even sweeter by watching you zing in and out of all the stores in their view. If they frequently glance at their watches, it’s a good bet (yes, it was a pun intended) they have a buck or two riding on how fast you can buy Junior a complete outfit, including shoes, in less time than the lady in the blue blouse just outfitted her princess for a day at the beach.

And here’s some insider info. Some stores give discounts to retired people who shop during the week. That’s because we can shop at two in the afternoon without having to fake illness to get off work. Uh, huh. Makes you working people jealous, doesn’t it?

Before we retired, we once worried that we wouldn’t have anything to do on the weekends. Now we wonder how we got it all done and still had time to play on the weekends. Well, it's not all fun and games. This retirement is hard work, but (sigh) someone has to do it. I don’t mind helping out whenever I can with the sleeping in, shopping in the middle of the week and catching the Friday matinee at the new multi-plex.

Oh, and for all you working people who are slaves to the alarm clock, “Have a nice week!”

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Friday, May 26, 2006

Having Fun -- Again

Sittin' on the bank (of the street) carfishin'.

There are no age restrictions on having fun. You don’t have to be over, oh, say, eleven, or under sixty. And you should never, ever turn down the opportunity to have fun, even if you have to think up fun stuff to do all by yourself.

Some people are “full of fun,” some are funny, and others are fun to be around because they are so interesting. A few really, really lucky people have all three characteristics and may be classified as “weird,” but that only adds to their funness.

Then there are those who are not only fun, but every now and then do the unexpected and make everyone around them smile or laugh out loud. Such were the antics of my retired neighbors on a recent afternoon when they decided to “catch” everyone who drove past their houses.

In the midst of a subdivision, with nary even a small body of water in sight, Bill and Milt set up their comfy lawn chairs, situated the cooler and TACKLE BOX curbside on the driveway and cast their lines – are you ready for this? – into the street! They even “caught” a few big ones: one or two Hondas, a Ford pickup, a Toyota!

They had fun. The neighbors had fun. Passers-by waved or honked and had fun. How could you not be amused by two guys street fishing for carfish. What a great sense of humor and what a great gift to give those tired working people on the way home!

Thanks, guys.

Oh, and by the way, just how do you clean and prepare one of those big ol’ carfish?
© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Folk Singers

Suzz’s Serious Side

There’s something about folk music that touches our hearts with truth and purity. In the late ‘50s and early ’60, the Kingston Trio, one of the most famous of the folk singing groups, made a huge and lasting impact on popular music.

Today, while slipping into wonderful memories when hearing their music again, we are also jolted into reality as some of the words are not only reminiscent, but as true today as they were almost 50 years ago.

One of those "oldies" songs is particularly poignant.

Here are the words to The Kingston Trio’s view of the world situation – then. Not much has changed since this “minuet” was introduced except perhaps a few locations. For all the strides we've made in science and technology, how sad the nations of the world are still at war with one another.

The Merry Little Minuet

They're rioting in Africa.
They're starving in Spain.
There's hurricanes in Florida,
And Texas needs rain.
The whole world is festering
With unhappy souls,
The French hate the Germans,
The Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs,
South Africans hate the Dutch,
And I don't like anybody very much!

But we can be tranquil
And thankful and proud
For man's been endowed
With a mushroom shaped cloud.

And we know for certain that some lovely day,
Someone will set the spark off
And we will all be blown away!

They're rioting in Africa.
There's strife in Iran.
What nature doesn't do to us
Will be done by our fellow man!

Perhaps in fifty more years, with a little luck, our grandchildren will have straightened things out and live in harmony, both with each other and this beautiful planet called “Earth.”

P. S. Visit The Kingston Trio home page and click on the jukebox to hear some of their hits including “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” and “This Land Is Your Land.”

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Socks and Shoes

Which one do you say, “socks and shoes” or “shoes and socks?” How we describe the simple act of covering our feet must go back to childhood.

“Billy, go put on your shoes and socks right now.” Think about that; if you put on your shoes and then your socks, socks would not last very long. It would also look silly, unless of course, a pop diva wore her socks and shoes that way. On the other hand, “socks and shoes” just doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily. Here's the catch, if you grew up hearing the phrase a certain way, you probably say the same thing to your kids.

Some people put on both socks, then their shoes. Some people put on a sock and a shoe and then the other sock and shoe. Is there a right way and wrong way? Which foot do you start with? It’s a good bet that no matter how you put on your shoes and socks, you do it the same way every time.

Years ago, an “All in the Family” scene had Meathead and Archie arguing about how to put on foot covering. Archie insisted the proper way was to put on both socks and then both shoes. Meathead preferred to “take care of one foot,” then move on to the other.*

Maybe this subject should not be discussed in mixed company. Is it too personal? Since everything else is discussed on every form of media, maybe we should reserve at least one subject for private company. No, no. That wouldn’t work. Then someone would form support groups, people would take sides and the next thing you know people would march in the streets and we would have federally-funded studies on why people put on their shoes and socks like they do. We would have to “declare” or “confess” our preferences and local governments would put an additional tax on both shoes and socks because of the wear and tear on sidewalks.

Okay, forget I brought up this whole thing and just go barefoot for the rest of the day. By the way, when you refill the TP holder, do you go over the top to the front or down the back?

*The transcript of CNN Larry King Live that aired June 22, 2001, "Remembering Carroll O'Conner," includes a text version of the now famous sock and shoe routine.

*When this post was written in May 2006, an audio version of this classic scene, along with an interview with Norman Lear and Rob Reiner, was available on the Internet. As of June 2009, it can no longer be found.
© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, April 24, 2006

“THE” Big Event

Funny how our lives revolve around “THE” events.

“Mommy , don’t wanna go THE docta.”

“Momma, can I keep THE dog?”

“Mom, guess what! I have a date for THE dance!”

“Tell me you will on time for THE graduation tonight.”

“I’m so excited! I got THE job!”

“Oh, sorry, can’t make lunch, THE wedding is in just a week.”

“Can't start any new projects until after THE move.”

“Did you hear? THE baby came a week early.”

“Are you going to THE big party?”

“THE transfer came in and I have to be in Atlanta in two weeks!”

“We got THE loan and move into the new house next month!”

“I got THE promotion!”

"THE memorial service was lovely."

"I hear THE anniversary dinner is at one of the best restaurants in town!"

“Are you going to wear that to THE retirement party?”

We have THE greatest memories.

THE end.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Morning People

Is there some kind of contest going on among people who get up early in the morning? Do they compete to see who can get up the earliest, then have bragging rights to their night people friends for the rest of the day?

Is there a cut-off time for early rising, say three-thirty? Any earlier, and it is considered the middle of the night? “Yep, got up at three-forty this morning and feel great. Why I get more done before sunrise than most folks do all day! Hohohoho.” And just what the hell is there to do before dawn, go out and kick chickens awake if you can find them? Is it also a requirement that morning people are cheerful? Is there a law against smacking morning people to shut them up?

Night people not only sleep in when they can, they don’t want to hear about a morning person’s routine. In fact, night people don’t even want to talk until late morning. A retired morning person should never call a retired night person at eight-thirty in the morning and sneer, “Oh, did I wake you? I’ve been up since quarter past six! Get up you lazy thing, you!”

I’ve discovered the reason morning people get up so early is that they not only secretly nap during the day, they go to bed in the afternoon, say around seven. Have you ever called a morning person at just after eight at night and listened to the fumbling and mumbling before they get the phone to their face? It’s great retaliation if they called you that morning. After a muffled hello, they usually ask what time it is. Feel free to play with their head and tell them it’s only seven-forty, but don’t tell them if it’s morning or night.

Morning people and night people should never get married. Morning people get up at some stupid hour, then bang and clang around in the kitchen trying to wake up their partner while filling the house with the smell of coffee. Night people get even by banging and clanging around in the kitchen late at night tearing out a wall or rearranging all the pots and pans. They fill the house with the sound of the really late show and whistle along with the commercials. Nobody gets any sleep, Both are grumpy and, well, you know the ugly results.

It’s time call a truce. You morning people, go find other morning people to tell how early you got up. Let us night people sleep in. The world will be a happier place. At least it will be in my little corner.

P.S. If you noticed what time this was posted, don’t label me a morning person. Now that Fido is settled down again, I’m going back to bed.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, April 17, 2006

New Year’s Resolution

I just made my New Year’s resolution. Okay, okay, so it’s a little late; I’ve been busy. Here it is: I am never, ever going to forward any more emails that contain not only instructions to forward them, but the number of friends to whom they have to be forwarded. Despite threats, I will risk losing friends, true love and the lottery.

If the emails have pictures of cute fuzzy animals or gurgling babies or Maxine-type characters wiggling and jiggling, I will hit the “Delete” button immediately and put the sender’s email address on every flashing, blinking and beckoning popup or popunder that appears on my monitor. If they contain cartoons of Maxine (one of my favorites), I will copy the carton to my hard drive, then delete the email.

Further, if the sender persists in sending me emails that require forwarding to 2,896 “friends,” I will subscribe them to newsletters from every major retailer and television channel. Repeat offenses will result in enrollment for newsletters from makers or vendors of personal products.

Now immediately forward the address of this blog (do not copy and paste into yet another email) to twelve friends who have freckles, nine who have at least one cat, and twenty-six who have gone outside in the last week. If you fail to send this in the next six seconds, your toenails will fall off, your car will leak oil and your kids will take up skydiving – naked.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Steak Knives

Now that I watch my cholesterol, as well as my budget, I don’t see much steak on the grill anymore. The good news is that I’ve discovered a dozen other uses for that eight-piece set of serrated-blade steak knives in the back of the kitchen drawer. (Or maybe that set has dwindled to only three.)

1. By carefully manipulating the tip, they are great for untangling shoelaces that have become knotted. If the knot won’t let go, just saw the laces apart.

2. Depending on the style, steak knives can be used to pry up blobs of paint from the last craft project off the concrete floor of the garage.

3. Can’t find the scissors to nip off the bottoms of the zinnias for a flower arrangement? Steak knife to the rescue. Use a cutting board to stabilize the stem, not your thumb. (Or just pre-apply several adhesive bandages to save time.)

4. Steak knives can be quite handy when tightening a cabinet knob. Some steak knives tend to snap, so discard those with broken blades. (I think that’s where number eight went.)

5. When things get stuck in things, you may be able to pry them out with a steak knife.

6. Steak knives can be used to mix things, like small amounts of concrete patch in plastic cups. Just don’t leave to answer the phone, do a load of laundry, then read the mail. Concrete patch hardens rather quickly. (Buebye number seven.)

7. When the bottom of your fry pan gets burned-on black stuff, give it a scrape with your trusty steak knife. If the black stuff won’t come off, hide the fry pan.

8. Sometimes you can poke loose yucky stuff that gets stuck in the drain. Just don’t let go of the steak knife. (Bye bye number six, hello plumber.)

9. Steak knives are great to dig around in flower pots and cut loose soft roots. Caution: don’t use a lot of pressure to loosen plants from those flimsy six-pack containers. Remember, steak knives are sharp, skin is soft, and emergency room visits are very expensive.

10. You can use the tip of the knife to slowly let the air out of some inflatable mattresses. There’s a much faster way, but you don’t want to know it – it’s not worth patching the mattress.

11. Some steak knives can be used for bookmarks. If you have a lot of books, remember where you lay the book down. (That could explain the disappearance of number five – and that mystery from the library.)

12. Slender steak knives can be used to pry apart things that are stuck together, like uncancelled stamps from envelopes, transparent tape from gift wrap and siblings in a bubble-gum blowing contest.

And, yes, be sure to remember all that safety stuff about knives in general. Geeze, we’re all adults here and know the dangers. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go change an electrical outlet. Humm, I wonder where I left my steak knife?

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, April 10, 2006

Panic in the Toothpaste Aisle

While browsing through dental products in a major store the other day, I overheard a woman mutter, “What the …, all I want is a tube of toothpaste.”

I could not resist the urge to offer understanding sympathy and came out with a brilliant, “I hear you and I know what you mean,” a left-over phrase from the corporate employment days.

She looked at me like she had just run up face-to-face with the village idiot. What I should have said was, “Oh, heck, yes, I understand one-hundred per cent. There are just too many choices and all I, too, want is a tube of good old-fashioned toothpaste!”

If manufacturers were smart, they would simplify the ingredients – and cost – for people like us and label their product as “Good Old-Fashioned” toothpaste. I really don’t want “whitening,” “super whitening,” “extra superduper whitening,” “smokers’ and coffee drinkers’ whitening,” “mint flavored whitening,” or “baking soda and peroxide and mint flavored and striped and mouthwash and cavity prevention and handy standup-tube whitening.” Just plain ol’ toothpaste will do, thank you.

Thirty minutes later I had eliminated all the toothpastes with fancy ingredients while muttering, “What the …, all I want is plain old-fashioned toothpaste!” I finally grabbed the least expensive brand and turned around to pick a mouthwash.

Aaarrrrgggh! Too many choices! Should I pick a brand by price or one that color-coordinates with the bathroom color scheme!?

Maybe the solution is just to stock up on good old-fashioned baking soda and keep my mouth shut!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings time begins Sunday, April 2 at 2 a.m. It’s time for most Americans to set their clocks ahead – spring forward – one hour.

As a retiree, I’ve decided I’m not participating this year. Just too much trouble. I would just have to reverse the whole clock-setting thing again in the Fall and besides, I’m not going to bed or getting up any earlier anyway. If you want to talk to me at 10 a.m. daylight savings time, wait an hour or call in the afternoon. If you want to have lunch with me, have a mid-morning snack and I’ll meet you at noon my time.

I have never understood this whole “time saving” business anyway. There are times when I would like to go to this mysterious “time bank” and withdraw a few hours. There must be hours and hours just piled sky-high that no one has thought to use. Do you know anyone who has ever successfully made a withdrawal?

You know how busy people are always saying, “Oh, I wish I had one more hour in the day,” or “I sure could use an extra day this week.” If we could find this time bank, think how handy that extra hour or day could be. Bad thing is, in no time politicians would figure out a way to tax our time withdrawals and our tax dollars would be funding a study on why kids fall off tricycles. (Oops, hasn’t that one already been funded?)

And don’t give me that old “you get it back in the Fall” routine. Maybe one hour, sure, but where are all the summer hours? I bet it’s all those stored summer hours that are causing global warming. All those banked summer hours of 80 and 90 degrees are heating up the planet.

I think it’s time we retirees all stood up and started a campaign to end this foolishness. You go ahead and get it started and I’ll be along sometime after noon – my time!

P.S. You might enjoy later comments made Monday, October 2, 2006, when it was time to "Fall Back."

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Friday, March 31, 2006

Belly Buttons

Belly buttons.

We all have them. Most of us keep them hidden. Some people have them pierced. Ouch! Some celebrities flaunt them. Some are “outies.” Some are “innies.” Small children are fascinated with them – especially their own.

I once knew a kid who thought that if his belly button fell off, his guts would fall out. He knew it was true because his big brother (age six) told him. His older brother also told the kid he was adopted – and came from Mars. The kid got even, though, as he was the first to figure out the relationship between parents and St. Nick and wasted no time exploding his older brother’s firm belief.

Now the question is, which came first, the pierced and revealed belly button or low-rise jeans? Did manufacturers respond to a “need” to show off belly button jewelry or did manufacturers of belly button jewelry exploit an area of anatomy to boost sales?

Ankles were hot in the 1920s, the braless look took over the 60’s and miniskirts and hot pants showed off thighs plus in the ‘70s. By the ‘80s, women were wearing power suits with big shoulder pads. By the 1990s, we were all wearing plaid shirts, cowboy boots and hats, and line dancing the night away.

Now, along with rings, rods, and plugs, the young teen and twenty somethings are covering their bodies with symbols, pictures and words.

What’s next? It will be interesting to see what the next generation does to rebel against their parents. Will nudity become the norm or will teen angst be expressed in extreme modesty and conservatism.

I hope I’m here to see it, what ever it is. Maybe the kids will bring back rock and roll and disco so we older folks can bop and boogie again until the wee hours of 9:30. Whooo, hooo.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Moving Day

Okay, everyone, show of hands, please.

Everyone who has moved at least twice, please raise your hand.

Ah, ha! Every one of you!

Then you remember what it’s like. Or maybe you would rather forget.

Depending on your personal organization skills, how much stuff you had, and the length of time you had to round up boxes and toss out junk, probably reflects your feelings about your moves. Have you noticed that after five or six relocations, sentiment gives way to practicality, but no matter how many times you move, part of your heart is still in your first real “home.”

Have you also noticed how stuff accumulates in proportion to the space you are leaving? You always have one more room full of stuff than you have rooms. When I moved from my parents’ house, it was a couple of suitcases, three or four boxes of shoes (I was big into shoes), and a few dresses in dry cleaning bags. In no time, boom, I filled a one-bedroom apartment. Eventually I worked up to a three-bedroom house with closets to spare. Five years later, a long-distance move from that house now bulging at the seams delighted the movers. A few houses later, I came back to an apartment with half the stuff and shortly worked up to another house with over-flowing closets.

Now I’m thinking of down-sizing (again) and have been cleaning out closets. I’ve been cleaning out closets for almost three years and I’m convinced they refill on their own. I’ve discovered weird things on top shelves and things I don’t even remember buying. There must be someone living here that I don’t know about who slips out, brings in things and crams them in the closets.

My ideal closet would be poised over a bottomless pit with a spring-activated door in the floor. When the weight on the floor door reached a certain weight, the door would silently swing downward, permanently “storing” the contents of the closet in the pit below. There would always be plenty of room in that closet to pile, stack and heap more stuff, and when asked where something was, the answer would be, “I put it in the closet!”

I have a friend who has a small place that is always neat and tidy. If she brings something in, something goes out. She can pack up and move with two days notice – and has done it. My neighbors just moved. Took them four days, three friends and a huge rented van to move the furniture and yard equipment. That’s after a week of several pickup truck loads of boxes every evening. They should finish up by tomorrow!

I’m not looking forward to moving again. My perfect move would be to pick up my purse, have a lovely drive and then walk in the front door of my completely furnished and stocked new place. Since that’s not about to happen, I guess I’m back to cleaning closets. You wouldn’t happen to want twelve pairs of sandals, fifteen pairs of sneakers and athletic shoes, eighteen pairs of casuals, and nine pairs of pumps, would you?

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, March 20, 2006

When Daughters Turn Into Their Mothers

I made an astute observation the other day about mothers and daughters. Daughters turn into their mothers when they start hooking their back-hook bras in the front. The speed of the spin to get everything in the right position depends on the age of the daughter-turned-into-her-mother. The older the daughter/mother, the slower the spin.

Daughters who wear the newer front-hook bras have the ability to defy aging because they probably also go to yoga classes or have personal workout equipment that folds flat for easy storage under the bed. They may also carry PDAs, have a large collection of CDs, DVDs, and video games, and burn their own disks with their 8X CD/DVD (DVD+/-RW) drives.

Daughter/mothers also dye their hair red to disguise the resemblance to their mothers who have dyed their hair blue. (This is particularly patriotic if another relative has snow-white hair and stands in the middle.)

It’s a very strange process, this business of getting older. Looking at the annual reports from companies that manufacture age-defying products, business is flourishing.

It can also be a lot of fun. Just today in the grocery store, I watched from the sidelines as a young mother tried to catch her toddler as he sprinted down the cereal aisle. And I just love it when a teen in his new graduation car zips past and rushes to be first to stop at the light. We older, wiser folks estimate the light change and roll past the youngster who is still at a dead stop.

For those of us too old to be young and way too young to be old, it’s an adventurous time of life. Right now, since I can’t decide if my hair should be red or blue, I think I’ll just get a little of each. Yeah, that’s it, with a white streak in the middle just in case a parade comes along!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Rhyme Time

For the past several days, a silly rhyme from my childhood has been drifting in and out of my thoughts. It’s also morphed into other little ditties, mainly the sing-song stuff we used when jumping rope.

I had the evil thought that if I passed these rhymes along, they would stick in someone else’s brain and I would be free to ponder more important issues.

Okay, here goes.

Hi, Ho
Hi, ho, silverware.
Tonto lost his underwear.
Tonto say, “Me don’t care,”
Lone Ranger buy me ‘nuther pair!”

Found a Peanut
Found a peanut, found a peanut,
Found a peanut just now.
I just now found a peanut,
Found a peanut just now.

It was rotten, it was rotten,
It was rotten just now.
Just now it was rotten,
It was rotten just now.

Ate it anyway, ate it anyway,
Ate it anyway just now.
Just now ate it anyway,
Ate it anyway just now.

Got a belly ache, got a belly ache,
Got a belly ache just now.
Just now got a belly ache,
Got a belly ache just now.

Called the doctor, called the doctor,
Called the doctor just now.
Just now called the doctor,
Called the doctor just now.

Died anyway, died anyway.
Died anyway just now.
Just now died anyway,
Died anyway just now.

Down in the Valley
Down in the valley where the green grass grows,
There sits Betty pretty as a rose.
Up came Jimmy and kissed her on the cheek,
How many kisses did she get this week?
1, 2, 3 ...

One Potato
One potato, two potato,
Three potato, four.
Five potato, six potato,
Seven potato, more.

How do you spell Mississippi?
Crooked letter!
Crooked letter!
Crooked letter!
Crooked letter!
Hunch back!
Hunch back!
That’s how you spell Mississippi.

Love and Marriage
Betty and Jimmy sittin' in a tree.
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes Betty with a baby carriage!
How many children will they have?
1, 2, 3 …

Now that I'm free of silly songs, I have begun to wonder just what was it that Meat Loaf would not do for love. It’s much easier than trying to understand what it is that Medicare Part D covers.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, March 06, 2006

License to Email

I think there should be a test and then licensing for people to use their email! Maybe even pre-mailrital counseling with an instructor. Why? How many emails have you gotten with a least ten forwards and not one of those emailers knew how to use the delete key. My motto is if you have to scroll through more than four previous senders or a hundred-fifty names, it’s not worth reading!

There should also be a ban on those gushy emails that promise happiness at the end. You know the kind: Send this to five people and you will get your wish in twenty-six years, ten people and it’s only twelve years, and four-hundred and ninety-two and your wish instantly comes true.

I fell for that one, not once, but twice. It doesn’t work. My boobs are still not up where they once were and I’m not driving a shiny new Cadillac STS-V.

Has it been “Friendship Week” every week for the past three years? Who invented the custom of sending pictures of sunsets and babies to celebrate the event? Here’s the part that mystifies me. At the end, the email gives specific instructions to “pass this to your friends and send one back to me.” Is that like having to wear a porkchop around your neck to get the dog to play with you? I love my friends – couldn’t make it without them, so I try to let them know in ways other than threatening emails.

Well, that’s my rant for today. I just got an email that promises 1,526 bars of chocolate in only three weeks if I forward it to everyone in Siberia and I have to get busy.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, February 27, 2006

Does It Matter?

Some people have waaaaay too much time to think about things that don’t matter. I read an article in this morning’s paper about what ever happened to colored toilet paper that was so popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It seems it’s demise was mainly economical. Translation: It was too expensive for manufacturers to produce and customers were turned off by the possibility of a dye rash or pollution of the environment. There, now you know.

Really, now, was it important to have colored toilet paper? Not only was some of it in pastel shares of pink, blue and green, “designer” floral prints were also available. Think of all the other non-essential things that came across grocery and department store shelves that we didn’t need. Things like the electric potato peeler and still available glow-in-the-dark shoes. (Honey, put you shoes in the closet; they’re keeping me awake!)

What ever happened to the electric hot dog cooker? When it’s too cold to grill out, have we all gone back to a pot of boiling water? Duh.

Oh, and remember that magic hair restorer? Just choose your color and spray it on your bald spot. I think with a different label, it was called PAINT!

Good ol’ Ron Popeil became a zillionaire selling us such can’t-live-without products like the Inside-The-Shell Egg Scrambler. Really. You can still buy them online. Really. Twenty bucks.

You can even find these egg scramblers on Ebay. I’ll sell you a fork (sealed in plastic wrap for your protection but it might have “Wendys” stamped on the handle) and a plastic bowl for only ten bucks, but you have to crack your own egg.

While “researching” this important literary contribution to the world, I Goggled the words “stupid inventions.” Jump back – I came up with 1,310,000 hits. I would Google “stupid blogs” but I’m afraid this one may come up.

Oh, what the heck; does it really matter?

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Monday, February 20, 2006

Springtime at Home Depot

More accurate than robins, the arrival of the Homeowners to the garden supply section of Home Depot announces the arrival of Spring. Both males and females may still be in their winter plumage of jackets or sweaters and blue denim jeans if temperatures are still on the chilly side. If spring plumage has already been adopted, especially during warm sunny days, Homeowners appear in colorful tee shirts and shorts. They arrive just before the last killing frost of Winter and tend to hover around the petunias, seed displays and hand tools.

You can easily discern Homeowners from browsers by their glazed eyes and relentless pursuit of grass greening products and lawn care equipment. Many Homeowners shop in pairs, with the female of the species carrying a long list and the male trailing behind pushing a cart and chirping, “Yes, dear,” or grunting, “Gotta have a new mower/edger/hedge trimmer/seed spreader/chain saw this year.”

Keen observers often hear the distinctive call of “Honey, I found the aphid spray,” or “Oh, my god, the tomatoes are already in!” over the tops to the towering display racks. Several Homeowners may often be seen fluttering around sales displays using their shopping carts to manipulate closer to the items. Males seem mostly attracted to large, gasoline-powered items, while females flock towards any scented flowering plant.

Once fully-equipped to eliminate all non-grass plants from the green areas and fully-encapsulate selected plants with mulch, Homeowners streak to the checkout counters where bickering may occur between the pairs or other Homeowners. Here, observers have recorded such cries of, “I thought YOU brought the damn credit card,” or “Hey, bud, you’re poking me in the ribs with that shovel.”

Aaaaah, Spring. My favorite time of year. Let me share with you a little poem I learned years ago to celebrate the season.

Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz.
I wonder where
The flowers is.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Friday, February 17, 2006

Missing the Flying Toasters

Ah, the good ol’ days when Macintosh ruled the personal PC world with their logical and simple operating system. Although pricey, they were affordable, too. Those trusty Macs ran powerful, but simple, software that opened whole new avenues of creativity.

When color monitors replaced the one-piece Macs with the nine-inch screens, some of the coolest screen savers in the world could be selected to dance across the desktop. My favorites were the Flying Toasters, clacking away as they flew from one corner of the screen to the other, and Get Barney that required a bit of interactivity to do away the annoying purple dinosaur.

Maybe it’s not so much the screensavers I miss. Maybe it’s the simplicity of the computer operation. Or just maybe the world situation, although not perfect, was less complicated than today. I wonder if my parents, and the parents of all the others my age, felt the same way about the Model-T growing up to be the Ford Thunderbird!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cold Enuff Fer Ya!

When I was a kid, I would hear my relatives ask each other, “Well, cold enuff fer ya?” It was later while living in Oklahoma that I realized there were different degrees of cold, and what is “cold enuff” for one may not be too cold for another.

Where I grew up in North Florida, when the winter temperature plummets to forty-five degrees we all complain about how cold it is and that we are freezing. We pile an extra log in the fireplace (if we are lucky enough to have one) and push the thermostat up higher than we have it for cooling in the summer. (Some of us still wear shorts and tee shirts inside, this is Florida after all.)

Sweaters and coats come out of closets just so we can at least get one or two wearings out of our Christmas gifts. Every now and then we see a few flakes of snow and all hell breaks loose. Every child in the area is rushed outside to see real snow and hospitals are flooded with kids with stiff necks whose tongues won’t recoil inside their lips.

Even more rarely, like every fifteen or twenty years or so, we waken to a white wonderland of accumulated snow. Sometimes it even lasts until sundown. We all but declare a holiday snow day and the electric company issues pleas to conserve power to prevent rolling blackouts. The reason for the high energy consumption is that we have all run outside (some in shorts and tee shirts), leaving doors wide open, to frolic in the phenomenon. Even adults flop backwards trying to make snow angels and kids scrape up the snow for pitiful snowmen. If there is not enough snow or it begins to melt in the sun, refrigerators are raided for frost and shady places are harvested.

The first winter I lived in Oklahoma, I discovered that not only was the weather cold enough, but too damn cold for me. It snowed and snowed and snow piled up – and up – and up. The wind blew drifts against the houses and cars and I saw exactly what purpose those “snow” fences served. I also discovered that cords on electric blankets do not reach all the way around the kitchen and extension cords are required. I also discovered that it is not wise to fry bacon while wearing an electric blanket turned to “high.” I measured my misery in how many pairs of socks I had on. A three-sock snow day turned me into a homesick lunatic.

My next door neighbors, however, thought this mild winter weather was just wonderful and no where near what they had back home in upstate New York. Ah ha! It was not cold enough for them. My native Oklahoman friends waltzed outside to get the mail and newspapers without layering on sweaters and coats. I decided there was nothing in the mail box I really want to see until spring and canceled my paper subscription.

Finally back home in Florida, I now welcome each “cold snap” with open arms. When the Weather Channel predicts blizzard conditions sweeping across the Plains or dropping great volumes of snow on the Northeast, I run outside (in shorts and tee shirt) and kiss my unfrozen ground.

Nope, not too cold fer me. Hit be juss fine, juss fine.

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wardrobe Makeover

I hope no one from one of those makeover shows or a tacky-dressed “fashion” critic ever offers me a wardrobe makeover. I would have to politely turn them down because I couldn’t stand to watch them faint at the sight of my “comfortable” clothes. My idea of fashion is cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and lots of elastic.

Shoes should also be comfortable: no spindly heels to accent my calves, no strappy things to accent my ankles and especially no platform stuff to accent my Blue Cross card.

Most of my friends are into the same fashion trend – “loose,” “baggy,” and “washable” often accents the descriptions of our latest wardrobe acquisitions. There comes a time in life when dry cleaning is no longer a necessity unless you are one of those high society grande dames. Since my status in life runs pretty much with the JC Penny and Walmart crowd, I don’t think I’ll ever have problems with ball gowns and silk suits.

And who appointed those self-proclaimed “fashion” critics to be the authorities anyway? Have we become so mushy-brained that we can no longer make judgments for ourselves? Can you imagine their job descriptions? “Must appear at film and award ceremonies and later make disparaging comments about all outfits other than their own.” This I say to “them,” “Toots, take a good look in the mirror before you start throwing those barbs.”

Personally, I still like denim bell-bottoms and flowered mumus (loose, comfortable and washable). I do draw my fashion line at stretch pants and hemlines above the knee. Let’s face us, most women over fifty-five should avoid anything that looks good on a teen-ager.

Speaking of teenagers, I don’t even want to mention my thoughts on “modern” undergarments other than to say if the garment is smaller than and weighs less than a dollar bill, it’s best left for the under-thirty somethings.

I guess I’ll never appear on the Oprah show (she always looks so great, even without makeup) as a famous writer simply because if anyone suggested “control pantyhose,” I’d head for the hills. Unless, of course, there was a chance I could bring back the “natural” look. Now wouldn’t THAT be fun! Oh, I can just hear Joan and Melissa now, “ Well, would you look at that! She doesn’t have one single crow’s foot or a freckle! How unfashionable. And what is with those Jimmy Chos! Does she not know Birkenstocks are back in style?”

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Got Parts?

I was watching one of those infomercials (you know the kind that comes on at two in the morning) for a “body sculpting” exercise machine when I realized I not only didn’t have, but apparently never got, the body parts the device was designed to “sculpt.”

This clever invention targeted the “abs,” “obliques” and “lats,” as well as several other parts. I don’t remember ever having those parts, so they must be only found on the thirty-something-and-under folks.

Those of us who arrived in the thirties and forties missed out. There were other parts that we got, but they were never all that big a deal and certainly didn’t need sculpting. We all pretty much accepted each other in the packages we came in. Even boobs, although important to us “girls,” didn’t necessarily have to be the silicone-assisted sizes they are today.

The only big deal part I can remember among the girls was waist size. We had all been brainwashed by Scarlet O’Hara into thinking we had to have tiny waists. Those of us who refused to wear elastic-torture undergarments, compensated with billowing skirts held up with layers of crinolines, nylon net underskirts designed to puff out those “circle” skirts with cutesy poodles near the hems. We topped off the mushroom look with “chinch” belts, three-inch wide, heavy-duty elastic devices designed to take at least two inches off our waists. Breathing was a bit of a problem, but at fifteen, fashion was more important than minor details like turning blue.

Nowadays, if those abs, obliques and lats are in there somewhere, they are now buried under new parts that are far more useful. I’ve noticed that as I’ve aged, I have gained a nice crumb tray just below my neck and further down an excellent addition that holds a book at just the right level. My lap is nice and soft and bouncy and makes me a hit among two-year olds. I have plenty of padding on the backside, too, so I don’t complain anymore about how hard the benches are.

I guess as we go through life, parts come and go, depending on your need. Having a “six-pack” would be okay (we used to think that refered to Miller), but I would settle for just seeing my ribs and hip bones again.

At least I’m saving a ton of money not buying all that body sculpting equipment. Now if I could just figure out what to do with all those antique crinolines in the attic!

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords

Friday, January 27, 2006

Intelligent Design

There’s a lot of controversy about how our solar system was created. I wish someone would apply some kind of explanation about what has happened to today’s television programs. Have the people who think up that stuff gone nuts? Or has greed and pandering overcome common sense? If there were two categories of TV programs – “Intelligent Design Programs Adding to the Value of Life” and “Crap,” most of the stuff pumped through the air would, unfortunately, fall into the “Crap” category.

Excluding PBS and the History channels, name 10 or more programs for both sides. Uh, duh, is there enough space on the “Crap” side? Be sure to include all the “reality” shows, “confess” all shows, shows using profanity and explicit and disgusting descriptions to substitute for humor, shows with graphic and senseless violence, shows extolling the excesses of rich, and shows that exploit women and make eight-year-old girls think they must have bust enhancement surgery. Add to the swarthy mess the commercials for products to cure, enhance or eliminate things that should only be discussed with your doctor!

Now plop your pre-teen kid down in front of the TV and wait five years. Does the little darling have a head full of swarming emotions and need "help" because of his or her addiction to drugs, porn or alcohol, and need counseling because the little sweetie just stabbed the gym teacher? Oh, so the darling graduated from high school? Congratulations. Can he read and write, add a column of numbers, and have enough sense not to stand in the path of an approaching pickup? Get a job? Who hires a dirty, pierced tattoed young adult in any job that pays over minimum wage? Can he process enough information to order a burger and fries and fill his shiny new graduation car with gas using daddy’s credit card? Does planning for the future mean figuring out where to move the CDs and electronic games in his room to make space for the new HDTV?

First it was not safe to send kids “outside” to play, now it’s not safe to keep them in! When are we “adults” going to take back our TVs, our yards, our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, our country, and “just say ‘NO’” to the filth that is eroding our very existence?

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords