Saturday, October 08, 2005

My desk, my psyche

Okay, I'll jump on the bandwagon.

Yellow Snapdragons (hey, Lisa, I finally added her to the list of blogs I visit regularly! So do you Boing Boing??) is spreading a meme she attributes to Apartment Carpet, but which I actually did a while back myself (link) - clearly, an idea whose time has come.

At the time, my point was about technology - at that particular moment most of mine was sitting on my desk, and my general idea (which I may not have expressed explicitly enough) was along the lines of "we don't feel like we're living in those futuristic times that ficition loves to predict, but OMG how impressed would our 10-year-old selves be if they could see this?"

Anyway, here is today's, which is more detailed and has turned out super-long, and is intended to serve more as a snapshot, well, of something. I guess.

The surface of my desk currently holds:

  • This computer (thanks Scott! No hammers have been taken to it yet. But I won't say the temptation isn't there, on occasion...)
  • A mouse pad (The Fifth Age of Myst)
  • A laptop (Last turned on...hmmm. Maybe six? nine? months ago...Maybe more.)
  • A scanner, once disused for years at a time, but look! Used just this week! For you, my beloved readership, for you!
  • An open ream of printer paper
  • A touch-tone phone with an extra-long cord that reaches all over the office, but which has to be draped gently over my lap instead because it makes loud staticky noises whenever it moves.*
  • A phone/address book only marginally more functional than the Costa Rican phone directory (don't get me started.)
  • My coffee cup (the blue NC Zoo one, thanks L&S!), empty but still warm .
  • A pad of receipts. Costa Rica's fiscal year ends September 30, so they need to go to Alex's accountant soon.
  • Part of a pad of post-it notes, the top one peeled off & a strip cut off to identify one of the receipts, then removed when I found a better way to organize them. (Which may or may not have involved Excel...)
  • A green highlighter for marking the receipts when payment is received: I have to provide my client with documented proof that I have received payment before they will even begin PROCESSING payment, which then takes one to four months to be issued. They only accept new receipts on Mondays and Fridays (although my license plate isn't allowed to circulate in San Jose on Fridays, so really just Mondays), and payments are made exclusively on Wednesdays. They currently owe me about $700. Many (most?) businesses operate this way in Costa Rica. It doesn't make me want to tear my hair out and quit. Not at all.
  • A black Bic pen (no top)
  • A 2005 calendar I got with purchase at a thrift store last year (and from which I trimmed the store's logo and message of Christian salvation, ending up with a 7x10-inch card that I prop up against the scanner.)
  • A "primitive" (folk art?) black iron rocking horse I got at Pier One as a gift from Mom (the shopping trip itself was part of the gift).
  • My Spanish-English, English-Spanish dictionary, open to ferretero because in the context of my translation I thought it would mean something other than ironmonger/hardware dealer. It doesn't.
  • Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher, which I borrowed from the shelf of books that Rita keeps for guests in her cottages. I was pretty sure I'd read it before, but I'm down to the dregs of her selection (unless I work on cultivating a taste for Harlequins). Then when I started it, I was pretty sure I had read a different book about the same character. Now (p 72) I'm almost sure I've read this very book before.
  • A metal hair clip I bought for myself from Mom on a Thursday the Third last year, which I still like but which seems to slip out of my hair. Robin found and wore it to school this week. So why is it on my desk?
  • Most of last Sunday's La Nación. I need to buy the paper occasionally because I have pets. I like to get the Sunday one because it comes with the Teleguía. It doesn't include listings for non-cable channels (WTF??), but it is just the right size to roll up and slide between the bars across a corner of the parrot's cage. She likes to shred it. Also (getting back to the paper as a whole), when Alex flew home two weeks ago he bought a paper to read on the plane and saw (Take note, significant item) some classifieds that interested him for survey positions in Costa Rica. He had since loaned his paper to a friend, but I had a copy, so I scanned the ads and sent them to him. Then I checked last week's paper (the one on my desk), but there weren't any listings in his field. But still, a worthy reason to buy the Sunday paper, no? BTW, the paper would normally be on the kitchen counter. It's on my desk because I made notes on it about the amount & due date of car insurance payment, info on Robin's upcoming swimming event, and supplies requested by the kindergarten class.
  • A stack of quilt patterns & a newsletter sent to me from the owner of Sew-Biz quilt shop in Florida. (On the desk to remind me to contact & thank her).
  • My cell phone, charging. Also slowly dying. It didn't take too well to being dropped when I was bringing things in from the car the day Alex got here. Although to be accurate, it wasn't so much the dropping that was a problem. It was the being left outside overnight and chewed on by dogs. The "leather" case was 20 feet away and completely destroyed, and the (stubby 1-inch) antenna is split open and its guts are showing. The phone spontaneously turns itself off almost too often to be functional anymore. But I use it so infrequently that I haven't given that much thought to dealing with it. Alex uses it a lot more when he's here. We bought the phone when I was pregnant with Robin. She'll be seven soon.
  • A recycled folder with some quilt-related papers inside.
  • A box from a Barbie-knockoff toy set that the girls were given for Christmas last year. It is too hilarious and I plan to scan it and share it with you someday. (Actually, it's really not that funny. You know, so don't get your hopes up.)
  • Five partial "quilt blocks" made by Robin (and one by Julia) by choosing two scraps from my box, which I pin together and mark with a sewing line. Then she sews them together and I press them.
  • And a stack of 97 drawings by the girls. I just counted them.
  • (New arrival while I was making this list: My Barnes & Noble gift card (thanks Grandma!), which I hid in the drawer while Alex was here so it wouldn't get scooped up with other papers and lost. I just found it while getting out the masking tape for Julia, and moved it back to the surface of the desk so I remember to use it soon.)
  • (Another new arrival: a "bookmark" made by Julia by coloring in, cutting out & gluing 12 small pictures of Clifford they printed out from the computer game yesterday. It's in the place of honor: propped up behind the F-keys on my keyboard.)
  • (And something I missed when making the main list: A cute little stuffed coral snake that sits on top of my monitor.)
That's what's on my desk. I cleaned both it and my sewing table up on Wednesday when Rita brought a visiting quilter to my house, so it is actually in fine shape. Comparatively speaking, you know.

This is what it all looks like:

When Julia saw me with the camera she asked me to take this:

* Stickers on the phone, all of which are irrelevant in Costa Rica, but which provide a surprisingly comprehensive retrospective of Tucker residence patterns:

  • "Onondaga County / In an emergency DIAL 911 / Fire - Police - Ambulance" (Color: Emergency orange)
  • "*71 3-Way Calling, *69 Call Return, *66 Repeat Dialing, 411 Nationwide Directory Assistance" (I think from Sprint in High Point)
  • "This telephone BLOCKS the delivery of its number to the called party. To allow delivery of your number, dial *82 prior to dialing the called number." (I'd bet money it does no such thing...)
  • The white card in the little window says (in Dad's writing) "M-1 VoiceNet, M-2 Our code, 869-3979" (Actually the area code's there too, but let's not publish that on the Internet. It's somebody's number now...
  • The back of the little card is actually the front of a numbered, pre-printed tag for filling in your numbers, with (again, Dad's) writing: "(1) Fleet Answer Ctr (2) 1 + M2 our acc't (3) Newsline (4) Record (5) 1 + M5 LBT's acc't." (All crossed off with a single vertical line. Apparently made with the same pen that wrote them in the first place.)
  • Behind THAT, another little card, on which "Loretta" is written, then crossed off (different pen?) in the number one space.

    ** Congratulations, you have earned bonus content for this entry! **
Words I looked up in my CD version of Webster's while writing this post:
  • Harlequin (spelling of plural)
  • Staticky (spelling)
  • Ream (making sure it means 500 sheets. Actually, it's "a quantity of paper varying from 480 sheets (20 quires) to 516 sheets." Who knew?
  • Readership (correct use)

Other words I have looked up recently:

  • aid-de-camp (thesaurus)
  • fund-raising (one word or two?)
  • seat belt (one word or two?)
  • Brazil nut (capitalization)
  • didactic (thesaurus)
  • educational (thesaurus)
  • pedagogic (thesaurus)
  • pedagogical (thesaurus)


Lisa October 11, 2005 1:23 PM  

Okay, if you will Yellow Snapdragons, I will Boing Boing. I had checked it maybe twice and it didn't have anything interesting and I didn't really get it. But I have added it to my favorites so I will check it when I've read all the blogs and am just sitting there staring at the computer wishing there was something, just something, left to check. I mean, if I turned off the computer at that point, I might actually have time for all the things I complain about not having time for. And where's the fun in that?

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