Throwing Orange Flags

Yesterday was the Day of Misplacing Everything.

Duck!2I would go in the sorter room to find a book on a shelving cart and go out on the public floor with the item in hand, and somewhere between the door and the patron, the item disappeared.  I backtracked and found the things—except for the time the patron reached out and took it from her table as I stared at my empty hand—but I’m sure I never put them down.

My travel mug was never where I thought it should be, even when I finished its caffeinated contents.  Twice.

PencilsI never had a pencil when I consciously needed one, even though there were penciled hash-marks on my stats sheet, which implies the existence of at least one.  This mystery was solved, sort of, when our page appeared at the desk near the end of the day with a handful of pencils.  “These are scattered all over the place,” she said.  “Did a little kid grab some or something?”  “No clue,” I said, nonchalantly shoving one behind my ear.  Two minutes later, a coworker handed it to me.  “You dropped this.”  I could see how she came to that conclusion, but I knew the truth—it had dropped itself.

My phone also drifted around in this manner all evening. If I was in the bedroom, it was in the living room.  If I was in the living room, it magically relocated to the kitchen.  If I was in the kitchen, it promptly moved itself behind the breadmaker.

And then there’s the stack of Sunny’s clean underwear, which evaporated somewhere between the clean laundry hamper and her dresser.*  You could argue that this one isn’t my fault, but Sunny’s talents at making things disappear had to come from somewhere.Dear Me

My copy of Peter Ustinov’s autobiography kept relocating to the bathroom, but that was convenient, so I told it to carry on.

But it was obvious to me that something was going on.  Either small, localized portals are opening up and things are falling through them; inanimate objects have decided to mess with me more than usual; or my short-term memory is finally coming unmoored.

I’m pretty sure it’s at least two out of three, and since I’m more of a self-aware magical realist than a scientist, we’re going to go with anthropomorphics and that last thing I said, whatever it was.

Since the need to lecture, apologize, and apparently amuse lifeless items is deeply ingrained in my core belief system and ginkgo biloba sound like something that clogs up the filters in your aquarium—for all I know, that’s where it comes from—I need some other method of pinning down the things I need and remembering where—and what—they are if they momentarily leave my direct line of sight**

I know there are little lo-jacking systems for your stuff, along the lines of the keyfob that lets you know where your silver Honda is in a large parking lot full of Silver Hondas by making it beep loudly, thus scaring hell out of the elderly lady innocently walking by, which also helps identify the spot.***

But a system like that depends on being able to put one’s hands on their fob (Oh, hush.) whenever they feel the need (Hush, I said.), and if my keyring wasn’t in desperate love with the lanyard of my work ID, I wouldn’t have a chance of locating either.  I’d have to stalk elderly ladies in the parking lot, hoping one would have a Pavlovian reaction to my car from a previous encounter, and people tend to misconstrue behavior like that, or so I’ve heard.

What was I saying?  Oh, right.

So as amusing as a beeping remote or coffee mug might be, I’ve decided on a more subtle method:

Warning Cone Flag

I’ve decided to plant orange flags on anything I set down, even for a second.  I’ll need seven for the average work day and maybe a set of ten or fifteen for home use.  And one for the roof of my car, which I hope will keep the AARP from sending me strongly worded letters.

The flags will be collapsible and carried around in a quiver.  I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with the cones, which are necessary for stability . . . which I assume upon re-reading this post, is also something I should be working on.

I’ll just go put a flag on that.


*You could argue that this one isn’t my fault, but Sunny’s talents at making things disappear had to come from somewhere.

**Hey, blinking is semi-involuntary.  Just out of curiosity, how many of you consciously stopped blinking when you read that?  Weird, right?

***I think it also locks and unlocks the car doors, but that’s clearly a secondary function.

^Because my purse is a Bag of All Holding, not a Bag of All Finding.



Waiting for the Click



I’ve been restless lately. Antsy. Impatient.

If I were a dog, I’d be running in my sleep, chasing something just up ahead. If I were a toddler, I’d be fussing over something shiny I can’t quite reach and can’t ask for.  If I was a summer storm, I’d be building.

Part of me—possibly a part I should either pay attention to more often or keep better medicated—seems to believe that a change is coming.

Maybe good, maybe bad.

But different.

The first time I felt like this, I’d been working in a bookstore in my hometown for about a year.  Something clicked, and within two weeks, I’d taken the GRE, applied to the nearest university that offered the degree I wanted in the shortest amount of time, and dragged my husband across state lines and a hundred miles south, so I could get my MLS.

The second time, I was working a perfectly good library job five minutes from our house—decent hours, decent money. I was reading through a professional listserv and clicked through to an ad for an open library position three towns and a river-width away. Within a month, I’d applied for and accepted the job, which offered better hours and great money.

The third time, I was seeing an endocrinologist because of some problems, including a two-year spate of amenorrhea that was interfering with my hopes for a second kid.  One day, in a panic, I made an emergency appointment with him, because I was suddenly showing most of the symptoms on his Call Us If sheet . . . and discovered that I was pregnant with Sunny. “First egg out of the chute,” the doctor told me.  “You beat the house odds.”


This time . . . I don’t know. Yet.

There are several possibilities.

My new boss arrives next month. I have several queries still out for Pigeons and submitted a few poetry articles to a local magazine. My kids start school in less than a month.

Work, writing, family . . . could be any of the three. Or none.

Could be indigestion, for all I know. That gastrointestinal thing that’s going around. A spike in my metabolism. A caffeine overdose. Mental exhaustion.

Or maybe I’ve slipped into an Alice Hoffman novel.

Hard to say.

But I’m not just standing still.  I’m preparing.

Rest assured, I’m not stockpiling firearms or boom clay or petitions or placards on sticks.

It’s worse.

I’m cleaning.

I spent several hours last Thursday spontaneously mucking out fifteen years of accumulated stuff from my cubicle. I’ve spent this week finishing up the little things I’ve been putting off and arranging my current projects in neat, logical order.  There’s an opening in another department and I’ve sent a letter to HR.

I sent out a new batch of queries on Sunday, and also offered warnings to my go-to Gun Expert  and Locksmith Friend that I was amassing long lists of of questions for them on my new project.

I ordered my kids’ schoolbooks—whose idea was it to have 6th graders take Latin at $115 a pop for textbooks?—and plan to go through their closets tonight to see what we need to fix/buy/borrow/steal to comply with the school dress code.

I balanced my checkbook and paid my bills early.  I ran a box of stuff through the shredder.

It’s like reverse nesting: I’m clearing my buffers and freeing myself to follow—or dodge—whatever comes my way

You could argue that all this prep work is going to make something happen and that I’ve been busy fulfilling my own prophecy.  You’d probably be right.

At this point, I don’t care why it happens or even what happens, just that it does.


Because on Friday, I found out after the fact that I’d painted my nails in “Walk Away” rose.

If this is a clue from my subconscious/brain chemistry/the Deity of my choice/the Universe/Ms. Hoffman/Fate, it’s stopped trying to be subtle.

Bring it.


Monday State of (so-called) Mind


I’m back!  Sort of!

I’d planned to discuss my week off and my re-prioritization efforts and the cool stuff I was given for my birthday and my dentist appointment, and also the shopping trip I took with both kids yesterday—solo.

But what with the chapter attack and shopping and laundry and three levels of The Beardless Warrior (ironically, a time management game), I only managed to get about half the post done by the time I had to wake up the kids this morning.

I figured I’d finish up the blogcation/prioritization/birthday present/dental/shopping/parental post at work before I clocked in, but I might save the dental/shopping/parental part for Tuesday.

But Jane couldn’t find her day camp field trip shirt and Sunny decided to  take twenty minute to eat a peanut butter tortilla and fell back asleep while putting on her shoes,  and when we finally all made it to the car and hit the road, we was halfway to the kids’ school (twenty miles away) before I suddenly recalled that it was summer and I was supposed to be taking them  to the YMCA Camp (two mileaway).  So I ended up making myself late for work—although I partially blame all the delivery trucks, construction equipment, and cautious drivers that I was forced to follow all the way to work.

I figured I’d finish the  blogcation/prioritization/birthday present/dental/shopping/parental post over lunch, though I thought I’d save the dental/shopping/parental parts for later . . . and also the birthday present part, because I hadn’t downloaded the photos, &#!% it.

And then I realized that while I’d remembered to pack a bag lunch for Jane and give her field trip money, I’d forgotten to pack my own lunch or save enough cash to go out.

I figured I’d grab a bag of chips to eat at my desk and at least take a stab at writing up the decisions I’d made during my blogcation concerning my priorities and the changes I needed to make to stay productive, sane, and healthy. Or best two out of three, ’cause I gotta be me.

And then I thought about those priorities, showing vs. telling, and the definition of insanity.  And about not slapping myself on the hairpinned side of my forehead.



So at the time this post goes live, I’ll be sitting in my favorite nearby restaurant and having a nice salad and about a gallon of iced tea, because Rome was not decaffeinated in a day—unless that’s why it fell—and planning out a series of posts featuring a single topic each in the efforts to boost coherency.

Hey, it could happen.

Stay tuned.  Please.

So . . . How’s your Monday treating YOU?

Boxing Glove

Poetry Wednesday: Building More Sidewalk

National Poetry Month is Still with Us!

So give yourself a gift and whimsical up a poem.  Make it silly, make it stupid, make it about meatballs on spaghetti and ninjas on Mars.  About ants and queens and cabbages and Prime Ministers and digging wells with runcible spoons.

Steal rhythms, fake rhymes, have pirates dance the rhombus on paper plates with protractors, write a doggerel saga about a noble corgi’s Quest for the Golden Fleas, dance down the page with a three-legged gerbil who plays a mean sax in that rat hole of a speakeasy on the west side of Ferretburg on Saturday nights.

Forget form, forget reason, forget dignity.  Have a giggle, have a laugh, have fun.

Hoist the flag of Aunt Bertha’s bloomers and scar your psyche with who salutes. Scare those horses—make puns, not war.

Wrap your hair around your bare and build more sidewalk.

Revel in your own ridiculousness and throw the scansion out the window.

Here—I’ll go first:

I pledge allegianceCoffee
To the bean
That produces my daily coffee
And to the caffeine
Which helps me stand.
Large Americano
Under a lid
With fat-free creamer
and a double hazelnut shot.

Clearly, even poetry-loving non-poets can have fun with this stuff.

It obviously doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be fun to write.

Lied the Raven, “Nevermore,”
As he tossed pancakes
On my kitchen floor.
It’s only his way of keeping score
With the graymalkin who lives next door.

Dragons live across the street.
The friendliest creatures
You’ll ever meet.
Block parties with them? Always a treat—
Barbecuing with neighbors can’t be beat!

There’s a paddock down the roadMysterious Face
Who was warned twice
To keep his lawn mowed.
It’s right there in the Neighborhood Code:
“Violators will be toad.”

That pond’s home to a cute merman—
At home in water,
Not so much on land.
When the city pushed that piranha ban?
I gave him legs, so he could take a stand.

This neighborhood’s nice, that’s a fact
Close to good schools
And parks for your pack.
And if there’s trouble, I’ve got your back—
‘Cause I’m the Witch of the Cul-de-sac.

Showed you mine.  Where’s yours?

Quiz Me, Baby, One More Time

You know those personality quizzes that invite you to discover what color/tv actor/superhero/Disney princess/Supreme Court Justice you are by asking you whether you’d pay for your pizza with cash or write a check?

They’re everywhere.  You can’t go on Facebook these days without finding out that your friends are channeling Mae West, Charizard, and/or Benjamin Disraeli.

And I’m not immune, even if the questions ar either completely obvious (“Would you tell the cute person at the bar to ‘Come up sometime and see me‘ or ‘Action my not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action‘?”) or weird as snake shoes—though that might be the Charizard coming through.

Because who among us wouldn’t want to know more about their fundamental, core personality, as exemplified by the  Muppet who would also thrash to Martin Garrix at the club and spend the weekend reading Proust to his or her avocado plant?

So, according to the finest free psychological analysis methods currently available online, here’s me in a couple of nutshells—pecan, apparently, if you’re wondering:


Color Quiz

**So far so good, except for the calm, the peaceful and the outdoors part.  But my favorite color is green.**


 Wendy Darling

(Literary Character)

Literary Quiz

“You are basically good. Overcoming selfish desires or cruel ways, you focus on doing the right thing, when possible, and acting in a way to benefit everyone. You recognize your human weaknesses and imperfections, and are able to respond to them in well-balanced ways. You are clever and analytical. You think about various angles of something, and you calculate the best way to achieve goals.

Kind, generous, and even motherly, Wendy serves as the only mother the Lost Boys have ever known. Strong willed, still, but ready for adventure, Wendy is both child and woman, and slowly bridging the gap in her own life. She is quick-witted and can come up with new ways of helping the situation along, often in ways that had never be thought of before.”

**You forgot “questionable taste in  boyfriends”.  But the rest is flattering, so I’ll take it.**


Anna Smith

(Downton Abbey character)

Downton Quiz

“You are Anna Smith, head housemaid of Downton. You are basically the best employee ever. Competent, practical and tough, you can handle anything life throws at you — whether it’s rude colleagues, secretive romantic partners or surprise dead bodies in the workplace. Your kindness and loyalty are to be admired, and that Bates fellow should really recognize what a catch you are.”

**I don’t watch the show (gasp!) but I do know that if I didn’t turn up as Lady Violet, I’m ahead of the game.**


Captain America

(Avenger , take one)

Avenger Quiz

“Defender of liberty and fair play! Drinker of milk! You like to live by the rules and are a straight up person.”

**Um . . . maybe we should try another version of this quiz.  ‘Cause I love archery waaay more than Frisbee golf, and I’m mildly lactose intolerant.**


“Young and filled with energy and excitement you are always the one sent out to explore or do the hard work.”

**Hard work which I’ll try to trick a hobbit into doing, thus getting my whole party captured by trolls and then—wait.
“Young” you said?  Okay.**

Captain America
(Avenger, take two—and please note that I could be taking five)

Avenger Quiz take 2“You are a natural-born leader, even though you carry a heavy heart. Due to your authority, you can be viewed as uptight and a goody-two-shoes, but regardless of what others think, you always do what you believe is right. When things heat up, you’re the voice of reason. And you’re always willing to take one for the team.”

 **Look, if I’m going to be accused of having authority over anything—much speaking the voice of reason, and y’all can stop laughing right now—I wanna be Coulson.**



(Classical Character — female)

“A strong woman, you can achieve almost anything if you put your mind to it. You inspire loyalty and confidence in others and are generous to those in need. However, you can be overly sensitive and find rejection difficult to handle.”

**Not sure I’d be so loyal to my dead husband that I’d kill myself rather than marry again . . . but that rejection thing is spot on.**
Greek Coin

(Classical Character — male)

“You’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders but sometimes you just need to focus on the task at hand and stop moaning! Sometimes your relentless drive can make you seem cold-hearted but you are compassionate and a selfless leader.”

**Hmmm . . . Not bad.**


George Bailey

(Movie Character)

“Your selflessness may keep you from ever realizing your dreams, but you’ll find your life is quite rewarding nonetheless.”

George Bailey

**It doesn’t really worry me that I’m 79% compatible with George Bailey. But it’s slightly disturbing that I’m 75% compatible with Charles Foster “Citizen” Kane.**

Ctizen Kane



(Sci Fi/Fantasy Character)

“A stern yet benevolent organizer who often knows best, your wits are keenly fixed on aiding efforts you deem worthy.”

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

**Oh, sheesh, you mean I’m going to almost ruin my daughter’s happiness by lying to her about the man she loves?
This . . . isn’t good.

But I guess if I didn’t score a Denethor on the parental scale, there’s still hope.**


Pooh Quiz

**Feeling MUCH better now.**



(Shakespeare Character)

Shakespeare Quiz

**Are you kidding me?  No.  Just . . . No.**

Neville Longbottom

“You’re awkward and clumsy and hate being the center of attention. But you’re brave and big-hearted and people can always trust you to help them out in a bad situation.”

Potter Quiz

**NOW, we’re talking.**


Well . . . there are certainly no patterns of self-sacrifice and poor relationship decisions here.


If you’ll excuse me, I have to go talk my avocado into skipping chapter seven of Sodom and Gomorrah . . .

Fozzie Bear



 Wanna play?
Let Me know who you are in the comments!


Images belong to the respective quiz websites, or were located via Wikimedia Commons and are either under public domain or GNU Free Documentation License.