Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ABC Wednesday Challenge -- X

It's ABC Wednesday again, and this week, the letter is

The letter X is the third least common letter in the English language.
In words that start with the "eks" sound, the English language most often places a vowel, such as the letter ‘e’, before the X, as in the word “example” for example.

Words that actually begin with the letter X frequently sound as if they start with the letter Z. Even in some compound words, especially those found in scientific terminology, the letter X at the beginning of the word is most often pronounced like the letter Z.

The letter X is also used a symbolic representation of a kiss.

Legend has it that in ancient times, illiterate people signed their names with a cross or an X, and then kissed the signature to indicate that they approve and blessed their signature. So perhaps SWAK, should actually be SWAX

The list of words that start with X is somewhat limited and being a wordy person myself, I struggled with a X post.

A sentence comprised mainly of X words would be enough to drive a person to XANAX.

I thought about going the "ex" route, with lots of words like eXuberant, and eXciting. But is just didnt feel right. So I thought I'd stick with an X word that I know.

Way back in the 80s when I lived out west, there was a big craze known as XERISCAPING. Xeriscaping is landscaping, using native plants, that require less care, and less water. In addition, landscape elements are added to help prevent water runoff, and save the water that is present. The term was coined by a group working within Denver Water back in 1978. They even have their own XERISCAPING logo:

I tried really hard to find XERISCAPING attractive. After all it was environmentally friendly, and responsible. But no matter how I looked at it, it just looked like rocks and weeds to me.

As a matter of fact, when I first heard the term, I thought it was "Zero-scaping" and I thought it was appropriately named.

Next I thought maybe I could show off my XRAYS, it's kind of cool in a creepy way, to see all the screws and pieces of metal, but I don't have any digital copies, all I have is the XRAY films and I'm not sure how to post them.

I tried googling XXX, to see what X words I could come up with.

Oh My!

Nothing there I cared to post!

Following the discovery of the planet Neptune in 1846, there was considerable speculation that another planet might exist beyond its orbit. The search began in the mid-19th century but culminated at the start of the 20th with Percival Lowell's quest for Planet X.
Today, the astronomical community widely agrees that Planet X, as originally envisioned, does not exist.

Much like the lost city of Atlantis, Planet X has become largely a topic for science fiction writers and for those with an imagination.

When I was a kid, my best friend's dad was a surveyor. Often, during the summer, as a fun activity, as well as an educational adventure, he would lay out a course in a big empty field, giving us a hand drawn map, with directions on it.
Start at the yellow post on the corner,
take 50 steps 110 degrees,
then 75 steps 40 degrees,
then 60 steps 180 degrees,
it would go on and on like this.

There would be an X on the map, and another X, usually a small one painted on a rock, or scratched in the ground at our destination.

Sometimes the prize at the X was something we could use.
Sometimes it was a treat.
Sometimes it was coupons for milkshakes or ice cream cones.

It would take us all day, and usually many attempts to find the treasure. Kenneth's dad would watch and give us encouragement, but never gave us any extra hints.

Looking back, I'm not sure if he did it more to teach us, or to keep us occupied for a day, but it was a lot of fun, and we were always excited to find the X.

So, I guess X represents fond memories, fun and excitement, and imagination to me. That's much better than broken bones and rocks and weeds.

Thanks for reading, see you next time.


Please take some time to check out what others were INSPIRED to blog about this week, at

ABC Wednesday,

and feel free to add your own blog to the list as we work our way through the alphabet.

Be sure and join me each Tuesday for Tuesday Trivia Tie-in, where readers are invited to share trivia and show off their treasures.
Read all about it here


  1. Really interesting post for the X day, Troy. Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!


  2. Fun post Troy. I like your first thought about "zero-scaping". I kind of feel that way too.

  3. How interesting indeed. You were able to get me thoughts away, thinking again, people rarely are able to do that. Thank you. Please have a great Wednesday.

    daily athens

  4. Troy this is a fabulous X post! I am struggling with mine. Got out my dictionary, not much help! I am sure you have lots of X-rays! Glad you decided on X marks the spot and also kisses

    XO to you!!

  5. yes, i agree about zero-scaping
    x does mark the spot!

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  6. I'd forgotten all about xeriscaping! Thankfully here we get plenty of water naturally. I love the childhood memory and am glad you didn't post your x-rays or x-rated images.

  7. Very interesting X post. So - if a word like exuberant didn't have the e before the x, would we say zuberant?

  8. Ooh, a xeriscape garden sounds like my kind of garden. I might give it a go sometime!

  9. I think I have xeriscape. Whatever grows, wins. :) Good X post!

  10. that was very interesting
    thank you

  11. You should be a teacher - you have a knack for making learning (all about X's) fun and interesting. Thanks for so much info.

  12. Very interesting. I agree with Gayle, you should be a teacher. In French the initial X is most of the time pronounced kz or ks (not z).

    Xénophobie (kz)
    Xylophage (ks)

    Voilà la petite leçon du jour de professeur Marie :-)))

  13. Xeriscaping... sort of a drier version of Japanese Zen gardens ;-P

  14. Wow what an X post ! even my cat's Xanax is in there

  15. Interesting post! I liked the sound of the the treasure hunt - what a fabulous way to spend time and learn in the easiest way possible. Lovely memories :-)

  16. You can find it attractive in a way, xeriscaping is not just about rocks and weeds, now a days there are many plant who are capable for xeriscaping which are really attractive and gorgeous, It doen'st mean that it is the xeriscaping who makes it beautiful it is us who can make it.

    Castlerock Xeriscape