will not leave my pencils alone

The Bad Dog keeps getting on my desk anytime I forget to pull my desk chair far away from it. He steals my pencils. First he eats the polymer eraser covers, then he eats whatever is left of the old erasers, then he destroys the pencils. Sometimes he enlists the Middle Dog to join him in this destruction. My Two Thugs.

These two were recovered post-eraser/pre-wood damage.

It’s the little things

I love pencils. Mechanical pencils are okay, but I like old-fashioned wood pencils best. The problem is that I always run out of eraser before I run out of lead, and also, old pencils have old erasers that kind of suck.

So these babies are the BEST THING EVER for a pencil lover like me. This package will last a long time, and the erasers will still be just as clean and useful.

do with this what you will

I was a terrible liar as a child. I don’t mean I was terrible at it. I was in fact really good at it. By my failed lies and by observing others’ successful lies, I learned many of the things that betray and expose a liar and knew to avoid them.

At only a slightly older age, I gave up lying, and I can’t say it was any great moral choice. I think it had more to do with my love of words. The older I grew, and the more enlightened I became with the power of words, the less inclined I was to misuse them. Words can be cruel, they can be manipulative, they can get us power. But if those are what I get out of this rich system of communication that humans have developed, then I am impoverished.

There is one advantage of having been an excellent liar (other than turning it into the fun of writing fiction). I recognize lies and I recognize a liar. I might resist that recognition, but the visceral response to a lie remains and no matter how deeply buried, sooner or later, as Shakespeare wrote, “The truth will out.”

I found an article online about these characteristics of lifelong liars:

1. Frequent Lying

Compulsive or pathological liars don’t just lie now and then, but consistently about both small and large things. Pathological liars are also known for studying people, to ascertain what kind of lies they can tell that will be believed.

2. Inability to Confront Truth

Compulsive liars refuse to confront the truth, even when presented with overwhelming evidence that they are lying. They will continue trying to convince you that your evidence is wrong and they are right. In some cases, they may lie about things they’ve done or their past in order to make themselves more interesting.

3. Changing Stories

Liars tend to change their stories as they go and may change it for different audiences as well. The listener can look for this by asking questions to establish a sequence of events. The liar may also add in events that stretch belief.

4. Insecurity

Liars also tend to be insecure with low self-esteem. They may exhibit compulsive, selfish and obsessive behaviors. Lying might be a way for them to avoid uncomfortable realities or to change perceptions about themselves. Lying might also be a way for them to boost their ego. Pathological liars can exhibit a range of narcissistic behaviors such as manipulation, jealousy, impulsiveness, aggression and anger.

5. No Eye Contact or Aggressive Eye Contact

One of the most commonly known things about liars is that they seek to avoid eye contact while telling a lie. This is true in some cases, but not all cases. Pathological and lifelong liars become very experienced in not exhibiting the standard signs of liars. They may do the opposite of avoiding eye contact and instead give aggressive eye contact to convince you that they’re telling the truth. Piercing eye contact can be a sign that a person is lying just as easily as avoiding eye contact. Some liars also inject humor or sociability into their lying to throw you off.

6. Lack of Emotion

One distinctive characteristic of a pathological liar is a lack of empathy, which may also translate to a lack of emotion. Because pathological liars have no understanding or caring of how their lying makes others feel, they lack empathy. This may show up in other areas of their lives as well. If you are both questioning a person’s truthfulness and noticing their lack of empathy in general, you might be dealing with a pathological liar.

7. Anger When Accused of Lying

Pathological liars do not show discomfort when lying because of the aforementioned lack of empathy, however, they may show anger or aggression if they appear to be caught in the lie. A compulsive liar may simply be on the defensive quickly and try to turn it on you for accusing them.

In both of these cases, it may not matter if you tell them you know they are lying. Since both types of liars are generally unwilling to confront the truth.

A liar succeeds when the lie is what we want to hear, to believe, to rest our behavior on. But no matter how beguilingly we dress it and take it out and present it to the world, a lie can never become the one thing liars, and sometimes their hearers, want it to be: the truth.

the next gross task

I’d thought all my magnetic poetry was safe in the bottom of one of the guest room closets because it was in a plastic bag. Most of the magnetic words are in a metal Magnetic Poetry lunchbox or in plastic containers. But some are in their original cardboard containers, and those were damp, so I guess I’m going to have to clean them all, and clean them in such a way that the words don’t disappear from the magnets.

I REALLY need a house elf for this job, dammit. You’ll know I’ve actually done it when a magnetic poem shows up on the blog. Something to look forward to. [commence eyeroll]

Time time time

If you’ve ever googled the number of songs related to time (and I have) you can find more than a thousand. Preoccupation with time seems pretty standard, and it’s certainly true of me. For a long time (ha!), I’ve tried to develop some means of time management that will work for me. One of the phrases I’ve hoped to eliminate from my vocabulary is “I don’t have time to…” because it makes me flinch inwardly every time I hear myself say it.

There are probably as many books written about time as there are songs, but I don’t have time to…


Here, loosely, are my current time management guidelines to try to meet my own and other people’s expectations.

  • The joy of saying no. Just no. Not “no I don’t have time,” “no I wish I could, but,” or any other qualifiers. Just NO. This saves mountains of time and frustration to everyone, even though people don’t like being told no. It’s an honest response and it’s better than stringing people along while they wait for something I’m never going to do.
  • The hope inherent in saying “we’ll see.” This means I’m inclined to want to do what is being asked, but I genuinely don’t know if I can. It’s the only answer I can offer. It’s not the same as the parental “we’ll see” which means “when hell freezes over, kid.”
  • “I’ll try” means just that. I will try, but I can’t make any promises. If it’s something you need a definite commitment to, you’ll probably want to ask someone else.
  • “I can try to do this by” is stronger because I’m providing a self-imposed deadline. If you need it sooner, you’ll probably want to ask someone else.
  • “I will do this when I can” is a definite yes, but I have to balance my work life and my personal life with what you’re asking. I work pretty insane hours, and I feel like when I’m not working, my family, friends, and dogs are high priority and then there’s my own need for down time. Whether it’s thirty minutes of Netflix or the joy of reading, I need to lose myself in these sometimes to thrive and recharge. However, what you’re asking is not a burden and that’s why I’m saying yes even though I can’t commit to a due date.
  • “I will do this by” is an answer basically given to those who pay me. I’m careful about what I commit to because I do have an employer with definite expectations of me, and that employer comes first with regard to paid work. My volunteer job turned into a part time job, and that part time job turned into a full time job, and that full time job can require work from me in increments anywhere from six AM to after midnight, and while working an 18 hour day is rare now, in between those two and three hour increments, I have commitments to my family and my household.

Also, sometimes I just do nothing but stare at the sky and try not to think that the world has lost its damn mind.

Button Sunday

I don’t know why this button makes me laugh so hard, but so be it.

Early afternoon one day, Jim and I were sitting in the office drinking coffee and talking when I spotted a female cardinal under one of our trees. Jim turned around to watch for her and was rewarded by the sight of her mate in his gorgeous redness. He’d never seen a cardinal “in person,” so hey, Houndstooth Hall is like a nature preserve. (We won’t talk about the sighting of the palmetto bug about the size of the cardinal…)

The day we went to Body Mind & Soul, I was studying the shelves of Tarot and other cards to see if anything caught my eye–and the animal spirit guide deck did. There was an open box for interested shoppers, and when I turned the deck over, the card on top was the Cardinal. Jim and I locked surprised eyes; Debby spotted an unopened deck; and Jim made a gift of it to me. Now I need to learn how to read and lay out this deck in my leisure time. (ha ha, leisure time, so funny)