Friday, March 21, 2014


I had to think about this whole theme thing, long and hard. You see, last year, I jumped into this challenge at the last minute, kind of like the way I jumped into NaNoWriMo in 2012. A-to-Z, 2013 turned out spectacularly for me, in that I actually finished the damned thing! I did not finish NaNoWriMo in 2012, but quit a mere 1637 words into it, because at the time I was trying to cope with severe and untreated symptoms of Parkinsonism, or essential tremor, – another movement disorder that is closely related to Parkinson's Disease – which was making my life an unmitigated hell. I was still sans treatment at the time of the A-to-Z challenge, but was undergoing testing, after finding this neat-o neurologist at the Parkinson's Center of Excellence on the campus of USF. It's been an arduous journey and is not yet done, but I'm digressing, and I want to remain on point. Suffice it to say, I am being treated and it helps; it's not a cure, but I'm feeling much better and the tremors and pain and all the other assorted psychological aspects of the disease have abated. I'm still crazier than hell, but I know what to do about it.

I finished last year, by dint of keeping my posts short and snappy and just having fun with reading others' posts and commenting. When the most awesome Damyanti announced that she was co-hosting again this year and looking for assistants, I jumped on board. Damyanti has been a magnificent presence at the A-to-Z challenge that was started by our own Arlee Bird, several years ago. As I have become a larger presence in the blogging world, I find myself becoming part of a larger community that spans the globe and that, all by itself, is pretty terrific!

It also didn't hurt that I actually finished NaNoWriMo 2013 this year and have a manuscript, albeit, an unpolished one to show for my efforts. But that's a story for another day. This is not about the other blogging communities (shout out to IWSG, ROW80 and Blog Blitz!) but our A-to-Z Challenge; 26 letters of the alphabet in 26 days! A post for each letter, every day, with the exceptions of Sundays, during the month of April.

So, without further ado, and since I am on the team that is responsible for the assistance and creation of “themes” for people who are having issues with letters (“Q”, “X”, and “Z” are the usual culprits) I will reveal my theme: HUMOR AND HUMORISTS.

Yep, it came to me yesterday, while I was sitting in the ER waiting room for about the eleventy-billionth time – please name your next wing after me, TGH – with another stupid eye problem, that HUMOR AND HUMORISTS is the perfect theme for me!

I've got to be the only person in the world (well, maybe not the only one) that is legally blind, and has Parkinsonism so severe, that at times, when I make a taco salad, it looks like a piñata exploded in the kitchen. I have no depth perception, so everything is the same size. A mouse the size of a canoe ran through my bedroom, recently, where my computers are, and I almost jumped into the closet. When JC wanted to know what in Sam Hill was going on, I told him I was practicing the dance steps for “What Does the Fox Say?” So he bought me a Leopard Hat and Shirt at the Dollar Store and now I'm gonna have to learn the damned thing. “Ring-ding-ding-ding-a-ding-ding-ding!”

But at least I'm not the only person in this house that does stupid stuff. During the Olympics, we were looking at the news, and the sports announcer in Sochi, Russia for no discernible reason, helpfully mentioned that there was snow in every state of the United States, except Florida. We were watching some Olympics; ice-skating, where every routine was skated to Tchaikovsky, blaringly and hollowly, with echoes that lasted for eons, so that the music became just a huge A-minor smear. The only way I knew the piece was over, was when the people on the ice were no longer twirling, or falling down.

Then, we watched some more Olympics. Curling, with the Norwegians and their pants; all looking like someone was on one hell of a bad acid trip during the designing, or else the athletes raided their grandmothers' quilting bins and did a one-off. They were sporting colors that don't exist in nature, or at least on this planet. Ten minutes of this and I'm thinking that cleaning the house isn't such a bad idea.

Cut to the local news. The sports comes on; thank God the Norwegians and their Dayglo pants aren't part of this broadcast. JC pipes up, “I hear that there's snow in every state except Florida.” I look over at Alex, and we both just lose it. JC listens to us howl and yawp like hyenas for a few minutes and then asks what is so funny. We tell him, “We were here when the guy said there is snow in every state except Florida!” And off we went again. JC makes it worse when he says, “I didn't hear that!” Oh. Jesus. Stop. Now. Now. Because, I'm in the Red Zone of Laughter; the kind of laughing where you may have apoplexy and get a hernia. JC is hard of hearing and he finally catches on and gets into the moment and he has that sort of hearty laughter that makes you laugh, even if you don't know what in the hell is going on.

Laughing is good for the soul and is certainly good for the body; it helps to release endorphins and they are good for nerve endings. I make it a rule to laugh as much as possible, but kindly. Never cruelly, or at the expense of someone else. God has given us the capacity to do many things and there is no injunction against humor and laughter in any religion or faith, culture or nationality that I know of.

Some of my posts will be on funny topics; some will be on funny writers, present and past. Last year, I started out this challenge with an honest-to-God spreadsheet with all of the letters A, B, C, and so on, with the topics listed. I think I had this half-assed notion that I was going to fill it out and hand it in to Arlee Bird for a grade at the end of the challenge, or something. I had a topic picked for each letter, but that went out the window the second day of the challenge, when I wrote about Beethoven and his 3rd Symphony, instead of Bravery. I'm glad I did so. I may have a theme picked out, but I have no earthly clue what I'm going to do for the letter “A”, but I've got a few days to think about it. It'll come to me.


Anonymous said...

Humour and Humourists is sounding a lot promising.

It's really sad to read all that you have gone through and infact going through. Hope you get strength to bear and get through it all.

Well I too have revealed my theme. Do check, will you?

Love Kripali
(AJ's wHooligans)
Sumptuous Living

M. J. Joachim said...

Chronic illness must be hard to deal with. I'm so sorry you have to go through it each day, and will keep you in my prayers. As to your theme - sounds like a fun time to me, and I'm really looking forward to your posts.

MJ, A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Writing Tips
Effectively Human
Lots of Crochet Stitches

Shawn Yankey said...

Being a comedian your humor and humorists theme will be one that I will be very interested in. Great theme! Good luck with this years A to Z! Laughing at Life 2

Anna Tan said...

Haha sounds like a great theme! Looking forward to it! :D

anna @ Deeply Shallow

Beverly Fox said...

The world would literally stop turning without laughter- great choice!

Rebekah Loper said...

Good job on doing your first A-Z and finishing a NaNoWriMo dealing with those health issues! It sounds like you definitely need to keep some humor in your life, and it's great that you're sharing it with everyone!

Samantha Geary Jones said...

YES! I'm thrilled you're embracing your humorous side! I'll be along for the laughs:) "Laughing is good for the soul and is certainly good for the body." Amen to that!
resident bartender for A to Z Theme Reveal Party!

Mary Hill said...

Hi, we could all use a little humor. Congrats on coming up with your theme. Good luck with the challenge.

SD Neeve said...

Laughter is the best medicine, and it looks as though you'll be swimming in it!
All the best for the April A to Z challenge. :)

Nicole said...

As they say...laughter is the best medicine. With that in mind, I'm glad you're distributing such medicine long and wide during April. I can only imagine what your experiences are like being in the ER and going through challenges but I am sure grateful that you will be blessing us with such a much needed A-to-Z theme this year.

~Nicole Ayers
#atozchallenge Co-Host
The Madlab Post

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for stopping by! It's really not sad; it's life. We're all fully abled (for the most part) through a portion of it, and these things I have are more annoyances and chronic, than anything that will kill me! I am so glad you are participating in the theme reveal and I will definitely be by! Thanks again. Mary

Viola Fury said...

@M.J. Thanks for stopping by! It's hard in that there are times I am not the most compliant of patients! I am so, so grateful that I do NOT have ALS or Myasthenia Gravis. I still have the ability to play my viola; whether through will and perseverance, pig-headedness, or good drugs, who can say?

Humor is something that has been a thread throughout my life; adopt it and a sunny attitude and hang in there, like the kitten from the tree branch! Usually something pretty funny comes out of just existing; it's what we make of it. I'm looking forward to this, too! Thanks again for stopping by! Mary

Viola Fury said...

@Shawn, a comedian! How awesome! My supermarket boasts a stand-up comedian who has a very interesting take on humor! I spend more time talking to him than doing any actual shopping! I look forward to participating in this year's A-to-Z challenge with you! Mary

Viola Fury said...


Thanks! I still owe Guilie and Vidya my "interpretive dance" videos of our #AZchat as they were unable to attend. They thought that was pretty funny. In school, that would have earned me a "time out"!

Can't wait to see your theme! Mary

Viola Fury said...


You are so right; "the world would literally stop turning" without laughter just as "life without music would be a mistake" which Beethoven said. This is a change-up for me, as I usually write about computers or music, but I can laugh really well. . . Thanks for stopping by! Mary

Viola Fury said...

@Rebekah, Thank you for the kind words. We Wallaces are stubborn; don't tell us we can't do something, or put obstacles in our paths. We get ornery. Just kidding, but there's a grain of truth.

NaNoWriMo seemed a breeze this year, I feel that much better, with such a simple drug. Not having Parkinson's Disease, but essential tremor, or "Parkinson's Lite" which exhibits all the same symptoms, but is more genetic than a lack of Levadopa, is much easier to treat. It's a journey and one day at a time and all that good stuff, but I'll take it.

Life isn't guaranteed anyway. We don't come with warranties and the best we can hope for is the ability to live with grace, humor and forgiveness (for those who deserve it) every day.

Most days are great and the ones that aren't, are not as bad as others have it. Lest I start preaching or soap-boxing, I'll stop now. So good to have you along on the A-to-Z Theme Reveal and Challenge! Mary

Viola Fury said...

@Samantha! Girl, you crack me up! I'm so glad you're along for this ride! It promises to be a crazy bunch o' fun! Between the music and the humor, it doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Of course, all we need is that ACME Pool Boy Service... Pass me the Margaritas! Mary

Viola Fury said...


I'm glad you're coming along for the A-to-Z Challenge and Blogfest! Laughter is the best medicine and I practice that advice frequently! It says much that I was sitting in the ER when I had this brilliant idea. But, then, I have great hospital stories! Glad you're coming along for the laughter and fun! Mary

Viola Fury said...


Thank you so much for coming by! Won't you join me for the swim? You can never have too many folks laughing at silly situations and dumb jokes! I look forward to having you along on this A-to-Z Challenge Blogfest and Challenge! Mary

Viola Fury said...


I am so glad you stopped by. I must tell you, hospital workers are a tough crowd! I had to have a DaTScan for my head to see if I was producing Levadopa (I am and that is why I have Parkinsonism, or essential tremor or "Parkinson's Lite" -- all the symptoms, only 1/2 the drugs) and you lay on this table for 45 minutes while this camera goes around and takes pictures of your substantia nigra.

After the test was done, the clinician let me up and said, "How was it?" and I said "Worst Carnival Ride. Ever." She looked at me for a moment and then started to laugh. I had done my job for the day.

To be fair, I worked in a teaching hospital for close to 4 years during school, so I'm not as freaked out by hospitals as most people would be. This is also a teaching hospital and I should be ashamed to say this, but they know me here.

That being said, I find humor in just about EVERYTHING. Public transportation is another font of inspiration; I haven't figured out if the riders are commuting from Neptune, or are just weirder than I am.

Anyway, it's a joy and an honor to be among this group of highly talented folks and I'm really looking forward to the A-to-Z Challenge 2014! Thanks again, Nicole, for stopping by! Mary

Tina said...

OMG you had me laughing SO HARD at this I had to stop drinking my wine! I'm really thinking this will work for you. My Dad has Parkinson's and I have so many medical bills they exceed my mortgage, so hello fellow health-challenged human, it's very nice to meet you, especially after chatting with you and twitter not really knowing who you were...
Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

Viola Fury said...


Welcome to the Asylum! I became "retired" -- a polite term for "fully disabled" in 2010, after an arduous 6 years that saw a cheating spouse (yeah, that's YOU Bill Nunnally), whilst hospitalized, an acrimonious divorce, the loss of two houses, eventual homelessness, some hospitalization and a trip to the mental ward. None of these were good career moves!

The very fact that I am still walking around and able to laugh about it is testament to either, a) insanity (see above) or b) a highly developed sense of self-preservation, that includes HUGE doses of humor! I am sooo glad to have met you and have really enjoyed our #AZchat time! Looking forward to your Theme Reveal and the A-to-Z Challenge! Mary

D Biswas said...

You're an inspiration, the way you handle your challenges with good humour, Mary!

Thanks for joining the team, and helping with everything with such good cheer :)

All the best for the challenge-- you're going to rock your theme!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Viola .. great to meet you and your troubles - it sounds like a few books worth of life skills are there for you.

To start though with a humourous month will be totally engaging .. going to enjoy coming past for my pick up laugh for the day ..

Cheers and I sure hope the many ailments will keep at bay during the A- Z .. enjoy it - Hilary

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome! I'll totally take it! Sometimes I get so heavy between responsibilities and insomnia. You can never have too much cheese. Here's to an epic (and hilarious) challenge!

Carolyn Brown said...

Laughter certainly is the best medicine. Your theme sounds wonderful!

Kristen Dyrr said...

I can't wait to see your posts! I absolutely love humor, especially if it's dry humor or sarcastic, so I hope you have some of that as well. :)

And you're so right: laughter and happiness is the best medicine of all. My mother will be starting a health and wellness charity for those who can't afford to buy the vitamins, nutrition, and healthy food they need to stay healthy. One of my ideas was to have a section of the charity based solely on positive thinking, and research into things that make people healthy with just the mind... of course, laughter is part of that!

Andrea said...

What a great idea for a theme! Glad you know what to "do" about yourself these days...your sense of humor certainly must help!

Viola Fury said...


Thank you for your kind words; I am not sure if I am an inspiration, at times, as just tying to be "a one-liner, lookin' for a stage."

My parents were truly funny people and I was the Straight Man to the world. I tend to see and take things very literally, so what makes me laugh, will have other people saying "huh?"

But that is the beauty of humor; what is funny to me, may not be funny to you. A few years ago, a bunch of scientists got together and tried to find the funniest joke in the world. I forgot what it was, but it couldn't have been anything to write home about, since the whole enterprise has been largely forgotten.

Anyway, I look forward to this and I am so honored and thrilled to be a part of your team, Damyanti. Your, always and ever! Mary

Viola Fury said...


Thanks so much from coming by! Life is challenging enough, and as a wise friend once told me, we really only spend a certain portion of our lives "abled" before we start to fall apart. Everyone's falling apart is a bit different and may happen at different times; it's how we deal with it that is importtant.

When I went blind, over 10 years ago, now, I was completely freaked out and I was married to a man who did everything in his power and within the law to make me miserable. It turned out the underlying cause was heart failure and he just ratcheted up the cruelty; got himself a girlfriend while I was hospitalized and was a complete and utter shit. I left for the sake of my health.

It took me a long time to get over that and I still have moments of PTSD-like symptoms. That does not deter me one whit in believing that the human race is good and decent in the main. I am just more careful about my selection of men!

Same thing with laughter; I laugh at myself and the inanities I see around me. It's a healthy thing to do and it amuses your friends and co-workers. So glad to be doing this challenge with you, Hillary and thanks again for stopping by! Mary

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for coming by! As a member of the locally-famous (in Tampa) "La Corde Fromage" string quartet or trio, or occasionally duo, I can relate to "cheese" and the love of it, both metaphorically and literally. I love to eat cheese as well.

We would have "rehearsal" session at USF and throw around Skittles and String Cheese and licorice. We cracked jokes more than we played, but then we'd get serious and rip through one of the Shostakovich or Debussy String Quartets. Our bread and butter was probably Beethoven.

However, we made money playing weddings and political-fundraisers and the music is just god-awful. Serious cheese, like "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" and all pizzicato. Just horrible stuff.

Anyway, looking forward to doing this challenge with you Crystal, and thanks for stopping by! Mary

Viola Fury said...


Beethoven once said, "life without music, would be a mistake." One can certainly say the same about laughter. Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to doing the A-to-Z Challenge with you! Mary

Viola Fury said...


I am so glad you are doing the challenge again this year! Yes, on the sarcasm, dry and irony. I enjoy reading snarky comments on "The Following" on the A.V Club blog. The comments are way better than the show!

That's awesome about what your mother is doing! Preventive health is absolutely the way to go, but unfortunately, the cost of the vitamins and supplements is out of reach for most people at or below the poverty level. Even though I have prescribed vitamins and B-12 (the injectable kind, which is the only way my body will absorb it) my supplemental insurance doesn't cover it. I am one of the luckier ones; I'm on full SSDI, and get a fairly decent check, thus have money for those things, but many, many more don't. I'm glad she is doing this.

I particularly love your idea about having part of the charity based on positive thinking and looking forward. There are days, when I am down and depressed, but I am mentally ill and bipolar, and I treat my illness very strictly according to what I've been prescribed and what makes me happy. I also subscribe to the theory of "Don't tell me I can't do something." As in, during my worst days with my heart, I couldn't walk, and there was discussion by the doctors that I would not walk again.

Well, now I'm running around the neighborhood as healthy as a thoroughbred. I drop in at TGH occasionally to remind them of this. Now, we're looking at stem-cell therapy for my COPD. They told me that would worsen. On strict therapy and walking, my lung capacity has already increased. Positive thinking, or just plain orneriness goes a long way in healing the body! I am so very glad you're playing along again this year, Kristen! See you at the A-to-Z Challenge! Mary

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for stopping by! I seldom get down or feel depressed much anymore. Part of this may be due to "I ain't got time for all that," and partly it's because I know the disease will eventually life, like a cloud. Stephen Frye, an English Comedian talks about this.

This quickest way to kick-start that is to find something to laugh about; some cherished idiocy from my own past, usually does it. Like the time I tried to answer a reader's comment and ended up following myself. That takes a certain kind of special to do something that lame.

Mind you, it's all the more richer and ironic when one finds out that I worked for IBM and Verizon as a software engineer, so you would think I could find my way around the stupid Blogger page!

As far as what to "do" I have to make sure that I have my meds in order, because, being depressed and dealing with the "down" part of bipolar (which is different than depression) is so painful; I try to keep that to a minimum. As I'm 58, I really would like to have more happy than sad days.

I am so glad your are doing this challenge and I look forward to seeing your Theme Reveal and reading your posts! Mary

Jamie Dement (LadyJai) said...

Humor is the only way to get through the bad things. My husband always says that when he loses his humor, that'll be the death of him.
Glad you are receiving treatment for parkinsons.
My A to Z Challenge
Caring for my Veteran

Jemima Pett said...

I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job, Mary - get the A post done and it's all downhill from there!

Blogging from Alpha to Zulu in April

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for visiting! It's not Parkinson's. It is a similar neuromuscular disorder called essential tremor, or Parkinsonism and is more likely inherited, which in fact this is; my mother had it, although hers remained untreated. Statistics say that there is a 25% chance of developing full-blown PD, but that's just a buncha numbers. I call it "Parkinson's Lite" -- all the symptoms, only 1/2 the meds -- and go one with my life. The meds are much, much milder for e. t. (another appropriate term as I am not from this planet) than they are for PD as well.

Your husband is absolutely right! Losing one's sense of humor, will be the death of one, or at least will seem so. I'm not sure there's any quantifiable data to back that up, but it sounds about right to me! I'm so glad you stopped by and I'm looking forward to the A to Z challenge with you! Mary aka Viola Fury

Viola Fury said...


Thanks, I already have an "A" post planned and a "B" and so on. My problem is sticking on task; I'm likely to change up in mid-stream and write about "Merriment" rather than "Mirth" on a whim! I look forward to reading your posts for the A to Z challenge! Mary

Holly Jahangiri said...

Bookmarked. ;)

I could get into this theme!

Andi-Roo TheWorldForRealz said...

Mary, you typically have me in stitches. And not the bad kind, either! You tried to poopoo someone who said you're an inspiration, but I want to second that notion. You truly are someone we should all aspire to emulate. Such a good spirit, and now you want to give even more back to the world by sharing your laughter. Gawd, I love you, woman! Can't wait to read all your funnies. Even your so-called straight commentary cracks me up. You're just good people, my friend. And I'm so lucky to have you in my life.