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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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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Monday: When you’re doing the best you can, and it’s not very good.

My afternoon meeting.

My afternoon meeting.

Friday: I tune out the world and eat my weight in steak quesadillas and guacamole and blue raspberry sour straws. If you interrupt me, I’ll throw my shoe at you.

Saturday: I run around and play! The world is my oyster! I love everyone! Let’s all high five and go to the movies!

Sunday: I get down to business. I read. I cook. I write. I do all the laundry! Don’t be intimidated. I’m just very good.

Sundays are when I am an adult.

Mondays are when I remember that I am not a real adult. Just a pretend one.

Things that have happened today:

  1. After hours of wondering why my skirt was sitting strangely and if “something was wrong with my stomach”, I realized my skirt was on backwards.
  2. I realized I was loudly singing Scottish folk songs as I walked around my building, waiting for my office to defrost after having left the window open on Friday.
  3. I made an openly confused face at a stranger who politely smiled at me. At the time, I was not singing Scottish folk songs.
  4. I got emotional watching reruns of the Great British Baking Show. (“They just love baking so much!”)
  5. Almost died after thinking “I’ll just wait to use the restroom after this meeting.” Mistake.
  6. I tucked my pajama shirt into my pajama pants to try and feel dignified. Surprisingly, it did not work.
  7. I struggled for a few minutes to eat my dinner salad before I realized I was eating with a spoon.

Monday is very good at reminding me that Sunday is a faker, but Monday is also really good at setting the bar really low for the rest of the week. Bring it on, Tuesday.*

*Tuesday, please do not bring it on. Tuesday is really good at making Monday look like a cakewalk. Your take away: Just close your eyes and wish for Wednesday! **

**Option B: fake your death. I’ll bring the ketchup.

The Origin Story

The seed for this blog was sewn when I was living in New York, attending grad school to get my M.A. I would write Facebook posts about the people I encountered: the guy in the library who sounded like he was beating up his computer, only to discover he was playing what could have only been the Tetris game that determined the fate of humanity; the neighbors in the building behind me who would blast the Les Miserables soundtrack for hours as they chased their cats around their patio; the teenagers I would pass on my way to my internship at the Met, taking pictures of their friends pointing at the statues’ genetalia in the Greek and Roman wing. You would not believe the giggling.

But through these chronicles, it appeared that I wasn’t half bad at eliciting a misguided chuckle or two. I would hear time and time again (commence rolling your eyes), that I “should start a blog”! So I started a blog to tell my stories of whimsy and hijinks, but there was a problem. I moved to Wisconsin. Now, don’t get me wrong. Wisconsin isn’t bad. There is just a distinct lack of homeless men yelling, “well, hey Strawberry Shortcake!” at me every time I walk in the library. There is no group of teenagers on public transportation dramatically yelling at people trying to get on, “SAVE YOURSELVES!” when the AC isn’t working in the summer. And the neighbors in the building behind me do not use their patio for cat-chases, but…reading.


my flowers live in fear

So yes, my self-indulgent Facebook statuses have given way to a self-indulgent blog, but there isn’t quite as much fodder for story telling. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try! I give you…

Meredith’s 2015 Hijinks:

Last night for dinner, I had a bowl full of radishes! Based on the food I had in my kitchen, it was either that, or two creamsicles and a pickle.

A racoon knocked over my tomato plant in the middle of the night on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it pulled up one of my strawberry plants. War has officially been declared, and I plan on standing guard with the only thing I have heavy enough to act as a raccoon-fighting implement: my snow boots.

A sign you may be old: It’s the weekend and you’ve never been more excited to go home and read a history book about cholera.

Not refilling the coffee in the break room is grounds for an Inigo Montoya-style revenge story.

…Exciting, right?

Reasons I should not work at a tech company

  Reasons I should not work at a tech company:

– The focus of my graduate degree was textile history. I studied old things.

– I don’t have a remote for my television because I lost the old one, and I’m too lazy to program a new one.

– When I’m forced to download a new operating system on my phone, I have to reexamine my world view.

– My computer crashing repeatedly is mostly fine. (Said in school: “That paper is so much easier to write the second time around!”)

– I could clean my kitchen with the amount of water that has ended up in my laptop’s keyboard. (I should clean my kitchen.)

– My ipad is my plantlife/zombie warfare machine. Nothing more.

Reasons I do:

– The focus of my graduate degree was textile history. I studied old things.

– They hired me.

I’m pretty sure this is adult-ing


When you get a “disaster is happening! Computers are exploding!!” phone call after hours from work, and you think, “I’m eating dinner dumb-dumb!” but then you realize other people like dinner too, so you should probably help, and you do help! Especially because you realize this could have been avoided if you were slightly better at your job, but they don’t need to know that! You’re the problem solver! You’re the hero! You solved the disaster! And for that you deserve a strawberry cake, but don’t forget the bag of baby carrots so the cashier won’t judge you. That’s an important piece of this puzzle, folks. Don’t ever forget the baby carrots.