You Made it Weird: History’s Halloweens II

As it turns out, there’s enough weird in history for a second look at History’s Halloween. Missed the first? Check it out here.

When people ask about my Friday night plans…


Image: Sandra Dee, ca. 1960. Getty Images

Making a Pumpkin-House a Pumpkin-Home

Image: Myrna Dell, ca. 1940. Public domain.

“You know, I feel like you just reach a point in your life where you have to buy investment pieces when you’re furnishing your pumpkin.”

My Five Year Plan

Photo: June Marlowe, ca. 1930. Public Domain

Next step: Figure out why my car is making that one noise, then take over the world.
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Championing the Ragamuffins



Photographer unknown.

I’m not built for corporate culture.

Before you all start rolling your eyes, I recognize most people don’t say, “ooh la la! management seminars!” But people do pay for management seminars. And people do buy the books about management techniques they learn at the management seminars. People do like that stuff. And some people do thrive in corporate environments.

I’m not one of those people. Number one: I don’t like break rooms. They’re where you have to figure out how to circumvent the guy standing in front of the microwave waiting for his toasted bagel so you can microwave your breakfast burrito. And let’s establish one thing: he won’t move until you ask him to. Despite standing one foot from him, breakfast burrito in hand. Despite making eye contact and smiling as if to say, “I’m going to pretend you didn’t notice me, but now you’ve noticed me, so I’ll wait here while you get out my way, for you see I have breakfast burrito in hand.” He’ll probably just think you’re flirting.

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But If You Fry Sometimes, You Get What You Need: Fried Okra

I wasn’t much of a gardener till recently, and even now, I think I’m better described as “woman making increasingly aggressive plant choices.” Or “woman with watering can, and everlasting hope for strawberries.”

But this year, has felt very much like gardening and less like being pleasantly surprised when it rains and things grow. Regardless of this improvement, for the four years I’ve had the space for a container garden, I’ve always felt like there was a distinct point in the summer where the plants revolt. The tomatoes get sick. The dahlias stop blooming. The strawberries start invading nearby pots because that’s a thing that strawberries do, evidently!

It’s like they know that all I’ve got going for me is my comfy pants collection and killer singing voice. Gardener schmardener.

Truth be told, It’s almost September. Which means it’s almost Fall. Which means it’s almost the season we don’t talk about. Which means my patio garden is probably starting to wind down.

Which means I was all the more surprised when I noticed my lone okra plant starting to do something.

Also note the invasive strawberry, which happens to be my street name.

I planted the okra months ago in a pot shared by my snap pea “crops.” And due to some faulty netting and some chipmunks who need a chipmunk tailor because they are too big for their chipmunk britches (this sentence was worth it), the pot was gutted. I thought nothing was coming back, so I let the marigolds take over.

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Ice Breaker Questions: Work-Appropriate Whimsy



Woman in the workplace. We all break the ice in our own way. She uses an ax.

My little cohort at work does something in it’s weekly check-in. We end each meeting reviewing everyone’s answers to the question of that particular week. The questions vary from simple (“what do you like about Spring?”), to pointed (“Do you love or hate the dentist? Here’s why I love the dentist…”), to far-fetched (“Where do you go in your time machine that you won in a contest, the natural way to acquire time machines?”), but it’s a brief moment of levity each week to catch a glimpse of people’s lives. And it is shockingly contentious.

You may be more familiar with QotW’s more well-known cousin, the ice breaker, a question you use to open up a meeting or conversation to get people talking. To break the ice.

We used to call them ice breaker questions too, until people complained about how much time we were spending on them, or flat out, not liking them very much, and we moved them to the end of the meeting. People could leave if they didn’t want to participate, or if we had other topics to get through and we ran out of time, we would be comfortable walking away without discovering our coworkers’ outlook on baby animals, and which one was their favorite.

Correct answer: Elephants.

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The Cutting Room Floor


I go through periods with this blog where, for the life of me, I can’t think of something to write. Or I can, but the ideas never quite grow legs.

Leg-growing is hard. Just ask a starfish.

I usually blame work for my writing ills. As a matter of fact, I blame work for all my ills, as well as everyone else’s ills. And ills that haven’t happened yet. It probably has a hand in those ills too. It’s like, “Work! Cool it with the ills!” And it’s not listening because it’s out creating more ills.

In these periods, where ideas can’t quite build the steam needed to make it to prime time, the cutting room floor gets pretty cluttered. And it’s a problem because that’s also where I keep my scarves. And my shoes. And my celebrity biographies.

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“This Will Fix Everything”: Things You Can Buy That Will Definitely Fix Everything Forever

This week I went to Target to grab garbage bags. As is Target’s habit, I left with more than garbage bags.

For one, I bought a 2017-2018 daily planner.

I thought to myself, “this will fix everything.” And I chucked it in my cart next to a new scented candle and a pack of pens. I’d later grab a pair of loafers too.

And just to clarify, all these things are not garbage bags.

As someone who is flirting with 30, I’ve realized that there’s no magic moment where “adult” happens. Where you remember to get your oil changed and you don’t forget to load the dishwasher and your desk is a clean desk and no coffee spills on your shirt because coffee is for drinking! Where you don’t worry about fruit flies because you took the garbage out and you like drinking water and you only say cool and normal things because you’re just someone who is both normal and also cool!

You don’t yell, “SAMPLES!” at the grocery store when you see there are cheese samples up for grabs. To my credit, it is cheese.

I know that there won’t be a magic moment where all those pieces suddenly click into place, but some days I have to wonder….can’t one of those things click? Preferably the coffee one? I’m ruining shirts.

I’m also old enough to know that these things don’t matter and everything is fine, but they sure could be finer. And sometimes you need tools that facilitate the fixing of everything. To not make you a type A personality per say, but someone who can fake type A. Someone who cheats on the personality test.

My new planner is going to do the job. It’s going to help me remember errands and bills and tire-rotating and writing and research and probably just general world-saving.

This isn’t like those other things I bought thinking they would fix everything, or at least some things. This planner is going to fix it all.

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