Zing and Zang Return

NOTE:  Zing and Zang are two aliens I created and wrote many stories about for Friday Fictioneers.  It’s been a while since I last visited them, and today’s prompt was perfect for bringing them back to life.  You can read all the stories, if you wish, by clicking on Zing and Zang Stories in my Categories.



  1. (especially in science fiction) transport or be transported across space and distance instantly.
     Image result for teleport
“You know, Zang, I was wondering if Linda had finished with us.  It’s been a long time since she reported on our activities.”
“Yes, I was wondering the same thing.  Thought maybe we’d done something to irritate her. Or maybe Earth People just lost interest. Feels good to be dusted off and useful again.”
“Right.  But do you think Earth People understand about teleportation?  After all, they look at it as nothing more than science fiction. They have no idea that we’ve been home to Zekon with Zinnia.”
“No, you’re right.  I don’t think they get it at all.  They’d probably be terrified if they knew how we travel. Odd that they haven’t wondered before now how we manage to be in so many places in such a short period of time.
“And by the way, is there any news from Zinnia?”
“She has a new assignment on the other edge of the galaxy.  She always gets stuck shepherding the newbies  like us.  That has to get old after a while.  But she does a good job. She sure helped us!”
“For sure.   Hmmmm.  Do you remember what she looked like?”
“Are you serious?  I can hardly remember what WE look like.  We have to change into something else so often that it’s hard to keep up.  I was glad to go back home for a while, just so I could stay in my own body while we were there.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean.  Human bodies aren’t very comfortable for me.  Having only two legs?  Awkward! and NO  antennae!  Honestly, I don’t know how they stay alive as long as they do, with their limited sensory capabilities.”
“Hey, we’d better get busy  before Linda decides to call it a day.  She won’t have anything to report if we don’t get moving.  Where are we headed today?”
“Some place cooler than here, I hope.  I don’t know how Earth People survive these infernal temperatures!”

Just Junk

PHOTO PROMPT © Nathan Sowers

The oval mirror had  hung in the entry, presiding over a table set there for purses and gentlemen’s hats.  A lady could touch up her Gibson Girl hairdo, and a gentleman could straighten his collar.

Today, the mirror would be sold or trashed.  There had been a coup, and the house was no longer stately. Tired and sagging, it stood like an elderly woman whose stockings were sagging at her ankles. Tired, wind-worn, unattractive.

Auctions were funerals, really. A 50-year lifetime of stuff, set out in the yard for human scavenger birds to pick over and reject.

I Am What I Am

RDP# Tuesday prompt: Fair

Too many definitions to mention 🙂


We had some rather strange ideas about skin tone when I was a kid.  I happened to tan quite easily, so everyone said, “Oh, she’s dark-complected.”  Complected?  Yes, it’s a word.  It means “having a certain complexion.”

Those who burned easily and didn’t get the much-coveted tan (we didn’t use sunscreen because we didn’t make a cancer connection with the sun yet) were considered “light-complected.”

Image result for suntanned v. sunburned

Those who were “light-complected” were thought to have fair skin.  If  you tanned easily, you had darker skin.

Then I started buying makeup, looking for a foundation shade that matched my so-called dark-complected skin. There wasn’t as much of a range to choose from then as there is now.   Ivory, natural, beige, tan.  That was about it.  Today, I would fall into the ivory nude or ecru range. Definitely not dark-complected, but actually very fair-skinned.  Not pure white, but very light, very fair.

Image result for range of makeup foundation from ivory to beige

The truth is that it’s the melanin in the skin that determines how tan a person becomes.  Darker skin tends to have more melanin than lighter skin, but  in fact what we used to consider a beautiful tan is actually just skin damage.

There was a time when very fair skin was considered a mark of gentility, and no lady would expose her delicate skin to the sun.  Hence, hats with very broad brims, and parasols to protect the skin from the sun.  Only girls who had to work in the fields had dark skin, and freckles were definitely not “in.”

Image result for Victorian broad-brimmed hats and parasols

Women actually used to consume tiny amounts of arsenic to whiten their skin. They often died young, but boy, their skin was white!

Ideals of beauty come and go.  Used to be, the only truly beautiful girl had golden locks, limpid blue eyes, rosy cheeks and lips, and pure white skin.  Everyone else could just go fish, I guess, because brunettes and redheads were simply de trop. Unattractive, unwanted, and unloved, poor things.

Well, fair skin or not, today I have the dreaded age spots on my hands and arms.  Not so much on my face, although I’m not sure why.  But  you know what?  It just doesn’t matter. As Popeye would say, “Iyam whut Iyam, an’ dat’s all whut Iyam.”




No Purpose :)

Monday Prompt: Coddiwomple

 To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.


Lily lolligagged along the pleasant path, stopping to stare at the life that littered the lane.  Birds, bees, and bugs coddiwompled curiously  through the high hedges.  Snakes slithered, rabbits  rambled,  and hedgehogs humpitty-humped between the spiky splits in the green growth. Image result for A walk through the hedges

Lily lingered over every eensy-weensy thing, having no  particular place to go.

And neither does this prompted post.

The End.

RDP:  Coddiwomple

Play on Words


“light, feathery stuff,” 1790, apparently a variant of floow “wooly substance, down, nap” (1580s), perhaps from Flemish vluwe, from French velu “shaggy, hairy,” from Latin vellus “fleece,” or Latin villus “tuft of hair” (see velvet). OED suggests fluff as “an imitative modification” of floow, “imitating the action of puffing away some light substance.” Slang bit of fluff “young woman” is from 1903. The marshmallow confection Fluff dates to c. 1920 in Massachusetts, U.S.


Here’s one you’ve all seen, but it still makes me smile:

Image result for Ewe's not fat, ewe's fluffy

Of course, human fatness is not comparable to the fluffy fleece of a sheep, but still.  It makes me smile.  Maybe you have to BE “fluffy” to appreciate the sentiment here.

And that’s all for today, folks.

RDP: Fluffy


RDP # 84 – ELDER

Old English ellærn ; related to Middle Low German ellernelderne .


This is an American Box Elder Tree:

Image result for box elder tree pictures

And these are Box Elder Bugs:

Image result for box elder bugs

Cute little boogers, huh?

We’re coming into the season of the Bug.  I work in a very old PA farmhouse, dirt basement, probably well over 100 years old.  Apparently, we have box elder trees nearby, fairly close to the house.  Every year, we get an infestation of these dumb bugs.  They particularly love my office, I think because it’s the closest to the tree.  Every year, the owner of the practice has to get the exterminators to clean up these bugs, and every year they come back.  Like clockwork.

Along with the box elder bugs, we also get stink bugs.

Image result for stink bugs

This one looks prehistoric to me.  Like little itty bitty shields with legs.  Harmless, but annoying when they swoop down from behind the window blinds and land on your client’s head.  They’re really dumb, and easy to capture and flush.  I suppose, though, that maybe they reproduce in the sewer pipes.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. The building has been renovated, recently repainted. It’s charming, and has a colonial look about it inside. People comment all the time on how nice it looks.

It’s just that we’re surrounded by woods that produce these irritating bugs.  Just part of life in my little corner of Pennsylvania 🙂

RDP: Elder

I’ll Never Forget?


Middle English: from Old French remembrer, from late Latin rememorari ‘call to mind,’ from re- (expressing intensive force) + Latin memor ‘mindful.’


Memory is elastic.  You will remember the same incident that I do, but we will remember it differently.  Why is that?

I think it’s based on what is more important to each individual. The reason a person cannot be found guilty based on the testimony of just one witness is that there is always more than one side to a story.  If you are in an accident, the police officers will take each driver outside of hearing range of the other, and then they will look for anyone else who may have witnessed the accident.

If you ask a man to describe the gown his wife wore on their wedding day, he’d probably say,  “Well, it was white.  Uh,  no sleeves?  Wait, yeah, I think sleeves.  Man, I can’t remember that, but I’ll never forget how she smiled at me when she walked down the aisle.”  Note to brides:  The dress is not for him.  It’s for you, and your mother, and your closest friends; but mostly, it’s for you. Don’t let anyone talk you out of the one you love. That person won’t be wearing it.  You will, and you want to feel beautiful on your wedding day. Go for the one YOU like, because he won’t remember anyway 🙂

Image result for forgetful man

To remember is to reinforce mindfully what you saw, heard, read, or learned.  When I was a kid, we got drilled on the multiplication tables A LOT in third grade. And I can still remember them, even the nines that gave me so much trouble.

When I was even younger, we memorized the books of the Bible in order, using music to help us.  I can still recite all 66, but sometimes I have to pull up the melody to help me 🙂

We remember traumatic things that may have happened to us years ago. They are still vivid in our minds, and can often lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  There are some people who think PTSD is a bunch of baloney.  Don’t listen to them.  They are self-styled experts on something about which they are sadly ignorant and prejudiced. If those folks could sit in my office with me for just one hour while I work with a veteran who has PTSD, I think it would help them to understand the reality of it.

If any of you had a loved one who is deep into Alzheimer’s, or is showing signs of other types of senility, you know that short-term memory is the first to go. They won’t remember whether or not they had breakfast on any given day, but they  can describe the Thanksgiving feasts they enjoyed when they were kids.

Something else that speaks so well to an Alzheimer’s patient is music.  The music they knew and loved when they were young adults  will “wake up” the brain to memories long forgotten.  It’s a wonderful thing to see.  If you’re interested, you should read Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks, or you can go to You Tube and watch some amazing videos.

Memory.  It’s a wonderful thing, sometimes a plague, sometimes surprising. Always unpredictable.

RDP: Remember

In Remembrance

PHOTO PROMPT © Carla Bicomong

The water was glassy calm, nothing like the tsunami that had boiled it into a wall of fury.

Hundreds of people were there.  Most had a candle to set afloat. Some were looky-loos, snapping photos of grief gleefully.

It had been a year to the day that the tsunami had come roaring into the bay, taking so many by surprise; swallowing people up like a whale swallows krill.  Many had tried to escape to the highest hills, but the water overtook them.

Houses disappeared. Cars and boats turned into  scrap metal and toothpicks.

The dead were not forgotten.


Rope to Baby Clothes


Old English gearn, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch garen .

Image result for spinning a yarn

Always curious about words, this one has me intrigued because  of what seems to be two totally unrelated usages. BUT. . . . . .

Maybe not so different after all. In the days of sailing ships, one of the ongoing jobs of sailors was to repair ropes, A yarn, for them, was one strand in a rope that was twisted together with other yarns to make whatever length was required.  In order to repair a frayed or broken yarn, they would take a new strand and, using  oakum, (a preparation of tarred fibre used to seal gaps) seal it to the broken yarn and then spin it out, twisting as they went, for the complete length of the repaired rope.  Sometimes they would spin a short yarn, other times a very long one.  It was a ceaseless task.

Somewhere along the way, as they worked at spinning the yarn into rope, they began passing the time by telling stories of their experiences at sea. And those stories became part of the process of spinning the yarn.  They also became more fantasy-like, and have become part of the legacy of that era.

So, that’s the connection between spinning a yarn  and knitting with yarn.  I love to knit, so I’m very familiar with the construction of, say four-ply yarn. If you separate it out, you will have four separate threads that have been twisted together.  Three-ply, or sport-weight yarn, is used for lighter-weight garments; and baby yarn, whose threads are very fine, is used for very soft blankets and garments.  Four-ply is more your standard yarn,  but yarn has evolved over the last 50 years so that there are more varieties than you can imagine.

We’ve come all the way from the great sailing ships to baby clothes in one post, all related by the word yarn. Gotta love language 🙂

RDP: Yarn

Old Chicken


late Middle English (in the sense ‘attendant, nurse’): from tend2 or shortening of attender (see attend).

The actual first meaning of the word, someone who takes care of someone else, did not occur to me at all. What did occur to me was chicken.

Chicken?  Yes.  You’d have to understand my husband.  He’s always on the lookout for a bargain. A friend of his told him where he could buy stewing hens for an amazingly low price.

He didn’t check with me.  He should have. And he’s not allowed to buy anything else from that so-called friend.

He brought the birds home, plucked and cleaned them and passed them on to me.  I thought they smelled kind of funny, but I knew they were freshly killed.  I cut up a chicken and fried it for supper that night, planning to freeze the rest the next day.Image result for eating old, tough chicken

I sure wish I’d had the internet back in 1976!

I have NEVER had chicken quite like that before.  Tough as shoe leather, tasted awful.  The kids were trying not to laugh; I was trying not to brain my husband with a war club (aka drumstick). And I had nine more in the refrigerator.  I was all for using them as fertilizer, but Terry talked me into canning them.

I had a big pressure canner, so that was my all-day project the next day, Cutting up chicken, stuffing the pieces into jars, and canning them. The hardest part was cutting up the tough old birds.   And we did discover that they were indeed elderly, which is why they were so cheap.

I used up the canned meat in a variety of ways, and it tasted surprisingly good.  Casseroles and soups  hid the strange taste quite well, and canning it also tenderized it.

So all’s well that ends well.

Right? 🙂

RDP: Tender