13 Things That Begin With “O”


13 things from my world that begin with “O” in no particular order:

office-supplies1) Office Supplies: Like many writers, I have a thing for office supplies. I love them. They spark my imagination. I love the feel of a good pen in my hand, but my love of all things office supply extends beyond that. Over the years I’ve accumulated many treasures, like colorful paper clips and butterfly clips with flower designs instead of the traditional black. There’s no way to estimate the value of a huge stack of sticky notes in various colors, shapes and sizes, and, yes, I have been known to swoon a little over colored divider tabs.

2) Operations: I’ve had a few in my lifetime, beginning with having my tonsils out when I was a very young girl and, most recently, having my gall bladder removed along with my appendix, which the doctor found lurking about on the wrong side of my body. That was, perhaps, my favorite operation–if one can have such a thing. It was scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving, which may sound like poor planning on my part, since it kept me from participating in the annual family feast.Actually, it was great timing because I was unable to have laser surgery and so needed 6 weeks off work–which allowed me to stay home from work from Thanksgiving until after the New Year, and which allowed me to see that I would be very happy, indeed, being a full-time writer.

Arm Wrestling3) Opinions: Like most people, I have them. I try not to share my opinions about politics and religion with the world unless I’m asked. Nothing anyone has ever said or posted on those subjects has swayed me or made me think differently, and I find myself more annoyed than impressed by the opinions of others when splattered vigorously over social media. Unless I run for public office or someone nominates me to become Pope, I’m likely to continue keeping those opinions to myself. I’m not so judicious in my sharing of other opinions, such as aggressive drivers or annoying commercials on TV.

4) Oatmeal: I hate it.Just thinking about it makes me gag a little. I think it’s the texture. The only  thing worse than oatmeal, in my opinion, is Cream of Wheat, which my mother tried for years to convince me was delicious.

5) Outhouse: When I was a young girl, we drove from Montana to Utah every year to visit family. I had two sets of grandparents living in Utah. One had a nice, modern house with all the amenities. The other had a very small rural house without the amenities. One of the amenities Outhouse smallthe house lacked was a bathroom. We took baths in a big metal tub in the kitchen with water heated on the wood-burning stove, and when nature called, the facilities were found outdoors. It was bad enough to potty in the daylight, but walking out to that dark, old outhouse at night with only a flashlight always made me nervous. The path took us past the old coal shed, so the thought of an outhouse is forever connected to the smell of coal in my mind–which might actually be a good thing, considering the alternative.

6) Observations: As a writer, observing what goes on in the world around me is anecessary tool of the trade. I love to people-watch, love to nature-watch, love to…well, what else is there? I’m not sure. I only know that I send a great deal of time in the course of my day observing.

7) Orange: Not the color. Not even the fruit, really. But… Well…  When I was a kid of just 5 or so, before I started school officially in Montana where (at the time, anyway) there was no kindergarten, my mother enrolled me in a preschool. I remember very little about it except (a) there was a boy who always tried to kiss me in my class, and (b) I was transported to preschool in some sort of carpool that involved a couple of other kids my age. I hate no idea now who they were, but we played a game every day in which we would give clues about the snack out mothers had packed for us and the others would try to guess what was in our brown paper sacks. My mother insisted on Pumpkin Cookie.jpghealthy snacks, which meant I always had predictable snacks. The other girls had more interesting snacks, which meant their clues always stumped me. I could never guess what they had, and they always guessed what I had, which led to a great deal of five-year-old frustration. And then one day, shortly before Halloween, my motehr packed for me a big, round orange sugar cookie shaped like a Jack O’Lantern. I was ecstatic. Finally, I had a snack the others would never guess. I was careful to describe it exactly as I had described previous fruity snacks: Round and Orange. I awaited their guesses with glee. And you know what those obnoxious girls did? They guessed a pumpkin cookie. I’m still traumatized by the experience.

8) Original: I like to think of myself as one. I’m not sure how accurate the description is, but since I rarely feel as if I fit in my surroundigs, and since the alternative is to acknowledge that I’m weird, I’ll stick with “original.”

osmond9) Osmond: Can you stand another story from my childhood? Let’s play a version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, only this one is Two Degrees of Donny Osmond. See, back in Montana when I was a kid who couldn’t figure out how to stump my classmates in Guess the Treat, I went to church with Donny Osmond’s (now) wife, Debbie. We were the same age, so in the same Sunday School class. I remember her vaguely. I remember her dad, Avery, slightly better but only because he was a friend of my parents, so they often talked about Avery Glenn. I doubt she remembers me at all, but I needed 13 “O” words with some meaning (no matter how small) to my life, and they’re not easy to find, so Osmond it is.

10) Oxygen: Yes, I am stretching here. I breathe this in. But, of course, so do you. Seven years ago, I relocated from the desert mountains of Utah to the Gulf Coast of Florida. I went from an altitude of 4,226 above sea=level to level with the sea. If I’m at 1′ above sea level here, I’d be amazed. The thing I’ve found about living at sea level is that there’s just way too much oxygen in the air. Even after seven years, it sits on my chest like an elephant and makes it difficult to breathe. My high-altitude loving desert-air lungs are not happy with the high-humidity drenched-in-oxygen air here.

11) Obedient: May be my least favorite word in the dictionary. May also be my least favorite concept. And that’s all I have to say about that.

12) Oyster Stew: Those who have read my Fred Vickery Mystery series might remember that one of Fred’s favorite treats was a bowl of oyster stew topped with a dob of butter and blackened with pepper. Although this is not one of my own favorite treats, it was one of my dad’s, so it naturally became one of Fred’s.

Girls 0113) Ooma:  I saved the best word for last. It’s my favorite “O” word, bar none. It’s what my grandkids call me, botn not from the German “Oma” but from my sweet first granddaughter’s inability to say “Grandmom” when she was learning to talk. Ooma is a much better name than Grandmom, and over the years it has become imbued with all sorts of special meaning. As an Ooma, I have all sorts of super powers I didn’t have as a mom. It’s not only my favorite “O” word, but it just might be my favorite word of all.


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