Five (or More) Things On My Desk, 2022

It’s been three years since I’ve done a Five Things On My Desk post. Clearly, they did not become the staple of the blog that I thought they might be. Also, long periods of time pass without having five interesting things on my desk at a time–or, more likely, things from previous posts linger on my desk for years.

The state of the desk has fluctuated; I’d been on a part-time contract for a year, which meant I spent about half time working and half time applying for jobs and interviewing and whatnot. So I was at the desk often enough that I kind of kept it sort of clean. That is, I had some weird stuff on it, but the papers were generally in stacks for filing. Not like the old days, when I was primarily a child care provider and only got to my desk sparingly, which meant the stuff piled up quite a bit indeed.

But, still, some half completed projects and various things brought down to sort or otherwise dispense end up on the desk for a while. Including:

  • 3 Bird Calls

    I have mentioned that my mother-in-law recently downsized to a an apartment, and we’ve still got boxes of things in the garage to sort whether we want to keep them or donate them. These were her father’s waterfowl calls, a couple of duck calls and a goose call, I think. I have them on the desk because I’m hoping to put them into a shadow box. I have a shadow box, but I’d like to put some sort of camouflage background, so I’ve been waiting until I get to a garage sale and can maybe pick up a t-shirt or something for a quarter. Given how infrequently I get to garage sales these days, it might be a long time until I get that shadow box made.
     

  • Patriotic Face Paint

    Every summer, my dojo has a series of “spirit weeks,” where you get to wear things other than a gi during class. Sports team week, street clothes week, and so on. One week was patriotic week, where you could wear red, white, and blue. I thought about painting my face, and the kyoshi also joked about me painting my face, and I am just crazy enough to try it. So I ordered these face paints. As I sweat a bunch during workouts, I wanted to test the paints, so I painted my face red while I did some yard work. I noticed I was sweating pink the whole time, and by the time I got inside, I was completely clean. So I didn’t paint my face for the dojo (but you can see other times my face was painted here–it has been a while).
     

  • A Holly Hobbie mug

    I guess you have seen this cup on my desk eighteen years ago.

    I have a shelf on my desk’s hutch where I have some coffee cups of note–a clay one, unfired, that I made in elementary school; two signed Weber and Dolan mugs my brother picked up from WISN for me right before their show ended 16 years ago; A cup shaped like blue jeans with my name on the label that my grandmother gave me when I was in elementary school; a plastic cup customized with a middle school picture in it that my mother got me when I was in middle school; and a Boy Scouts Scoutmaster cup that had been my grandfather’s. Other stuff has gathered up there, mostly presents from my mother-in-law that require display.

    I have been toying with the idea of getting a booth at an antique mall and putting things out there and maybe unloading some of my old technologies while my generation is at its earning peak and can waste money on Commodore 64s and TI-99s. I’d also put some of the various crafts that have been boxed in the garage for a decade and things like this, where I don’t even know where I got it. Was it my beautiful wife’s? Or something I picked up in my eBay days?

    However, I have not yet gotten the booth, and I might not. But the cup has been removed from the crowded shelf for now. Until I clean off my desk by putting it back.
     

  • A Time magazine from November 14, 1977

    I might have mentioned that my high school made an appearance in a national news weekly in the late 1970s as an example of how bad schools were. My history teacher shared a photocopy of the story, then less than ten years old, in my freshman year. I thought it was Newsweek, and I’ve kind of looked for it, buying inexpensive 70s copies when I could, generally around the time that one of the teachers from the school that would become my high school testified before Congress. I did another quick search for it on the Internet, and saw this magazine with the cover story “High Schools In Trouble: A Tale of Three Cities”. None of them is my high school, so this wasn’t it. In the old days, I would have gone to the library and looked at the microfilm copies of the magazines. But, c’mon, man, when is the last time you saw a microfilm reader at the library?
     

  • A Marine Corps Pillow Cover From Parris Island

    I started my new job at the end of June, and my health insurance started on July 1. When I went to fill out the online forms for it, I discovered that the parent company requires a copy of a marriage certificate to enroll a spouse. I had never seen that before. As such, I did not know where our marriage certificate might be. So we tore the house apart for it, including the old mementos boxes. I was not able to find our marriage certificate, but I found several belonging to my ancestors.

    And I found this. I thought it was a wallhanging, but I see now that you can slide it over a pillow. Parris Island–that would not have been my brother, who went to boot camp at Pendleton. My mother most likely bought this for her mother, and we have it still. I left it out of the box because I am thinking about offering it to my brother, for whom it might have slightly more meaning. I did not leave it out of the box to put in an antique mall booth. (I have already related the notion rankles me.)

All right, maybe that’s not interesting to you, gentle reader, but I will be tickled when I look back at it in a couple of years and think about what my desk must have been like today.

While I’m at it, let’s recap some of the things from Five Things on My Desk in years past.

  • In 2011, I had a broken necklace on my desk that my wife wanted me to repair. The more things change…. I have a different necklace, one that I’ve had on my desk for a while now, because it looks to be a partial bib necklace or something. It has several strands, and I an not sure what is disconnected nor what it’s disconnected from. I get the sense that sometime soon (within the next couple of years), I will just take a guess and put it in her jewelry box. At the bottom.
     
  • In 2012, I had a gallon-sized bag of spoons, my sainted mother’s spoon collection. Well, I’d moved them from my desk to the storeroom for a couple of years, but since I found a spoon collection display cabinet while Christmas shopping last year, I got them out and out of the bag to polish them. As I was not impressed ultimately with the cabinet–the places where you hang the spoons are too short for most of the spoons, and it has does not have enough room for all of the spoons. So the tarnished steel spoons remain on the desk, a bit out of the way. Probably until I bag them again.

    On the other hand, I have learned who Mickey Owen was. A baseball player who opened a baseball academy in the western reaches of the county, and he was several times elected Greene County sheriff (I have a promotional notebook from one such campaign, which was on my desk then and probably still resides in the hutch cubby for notebooks).
     

  • In 2016 and 2019, I mentioned a couple of things that I’ve since hung on the wall, namely, the Paperboy hand-held game, the handprint from kindergarten, and my great-grandmother’s paintings. I don’t have anything so easily disposed of on my desk now unless one frames the aforementioned pillow cover, the old Navy class picture which I suspect my mother’s Uncle Henry was in, or the customized novelty poster that has my mother’s name in it. Although, to be honest, that might be why I have left them on my desk instead of putting them back in the mementoes box.

Will this spur me to clean my desk? The magic 8-ball, if I had one (and it would be on my desk) would say “Unlikely.”

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Five Things On My Desk (VII)

Apparently, I haven’t done one of these posts in three years. I’d like you to believe, gentle reader, that my desk has been impeccably clutter-free in that interim, so I will not dispel your notion should you have it. Although, I am pleased to say, none of these items has been on the desk for three years, some have certainly been on my desk for too long.

The Thank You Card

My oldest son had his birthday at the beginning of the summer, and my beloved aunt sends him a gift card every year. Every year (well, and at Christmas, too, so it’s more than once a year, but only once for the birthday) I have him write a thank you card to her. Sometimes it’s delayed a little while so he can say what he spent the money on, but this year, he spent it quickly on a Nerf gun. But it took a couple weeks (a month’s worth) to get him to write the card. And then he gave it to me to mail, and I generally include a little card of my own with it. But as I have not yet written that note, the thank you card languishes.

The Christmas Ornament

Gentle reader, this is not a true Christmas straggler (that is, a Christmas decoration in some nook or cranny that is not boxed when the Christmas decorations come down). The school my children attend has an annual fundraiser with ornaments depicting the theme of the school year, and I buy extras to give as Christmas gifts. This one was an extra.

I don’t remember exactly to whom I gave them last year, so I’m not sure what to do with this one. Perhaps, as we’re now a two tree family, we can put one from 2018 on each.

My Great Grandmother’s Paintings

My great-grandmother executed these paintings maybe, what, fifty years ago? They were on the wall of our house in the projects–so after the divorce, apparently my sainted mother got custody of them as well.

Here at Nogglestead, we had them on the wall in the dining room until a woodburned chicken keyhanger replaced them because suddenly my beautiful wife likes chicken decorations in the kitchen and dining room. They went unboxed into the garage, on my workbenches (which have more than five things on them, I kid you not). When cleaning the garage, I brought them into the office here until I can determine a good place to hang them. They’re not big pictures, but the walls here are very full already and getting fullerer.

The Light Bars

I bought these LED light bars out of a catalog over 10 years ago before they became common enough to find in department stores. I wanted them for indirect light atop bookshelves, and they did that at our house in Old Trees and here at Nogglestead for a while. Well, they sort of did. I set them atop the bookshelves but never actually turned them on.

So a year or so back, I had to clear some space atop the main den’s bookshelves for audio courses. I brought these into my office, and they’ve sat on the far edge of my desk where I put things that I should put away somewhere other than my desk. They’ve been there except for the times when I have moved things I should pick up and put elsewhere to the floor. This last strategy does not work, as I then might put some of the things away but generally pick up the floor by putting them on my desk.

I’m not entirely sure where I would put them, which probably means I should just put them into the donation box in the garage.

The Pen I Thought Was Cool When I Was Ten

Man, when I was in elementary school, the four-color ballpoint pen was the greatest thing. You could write in one of four different colors. All the cool kids had them.

So, of course, I did not. I got my first Trapper Keeper from a trash can in the projects (and my first bike came from a dumpster), so technology this advanced was way out of my experience.

Now, some forty years later, The Heritage Foundation has sent me one along with a fundraising pitch, and I cannot think of a single thing I want to write in green.

This shall probably be the first thing to leave my desk as I give it to one of my boys who will likely find it as cool as I would have.

Now that I have mentioned these things, perhaps I will be inspired enough to remove them from my desk.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Five Things On My Desk (VI)

I’ve cut my office hours, so my desk is starting to clutter again. Back when I was handling the children full time, I didn’t have a lot of time in my office(s), so I’d drop things onto the wings of the big corner desk I have, and the piles would get several inches high. When I had a full time contract a couple years back, the desk was pretty tidy. But the desk is starting to accumulate things on the margins, out of peripheral vision when I’m looking at my peripherals. So to shame myself I am pointing out some of them.

I could go with a list of five (or more) things I’ve already blogged about, including tickets and the playbill for Black Comedy, an Ideals, a couple copies of Battlestar Galactica and a drawing I got in Saint Charles, and even an Afghani currency I previously posted about in a Five Things on My Desk post from 2012 (although instead of a Trinidad and Tobago dollar, it’s partnered with a Somali bill that I don’t know where I got).

But, no, I won’t take the easy way out.

So here are five things currently on my desk:

  • A plaque with my hand print that I made in kindergarten.

    I kept it out while digging through a box of mementos because I thought about hanging it up, and I’ve yet to put a little loop of something to do so. As it’s been sitting on my desk, my children like to come put their hands in it, either to marvel at how much smaller than their hands their father’s hands once were or to free Mars.
     

  • A flier with support information for Windows 3.11.

    This has probably been carried along in a box for twenty some years; my mother had a Windows 3.11 machine that probably came to me when she upgraded, and I have a refurb laptop with Windows 3.11 on it even today. I think I have the installer somewhere around here if I ever get a crazy itch to install it again.
     

  • A Toys for Tots Foundation coin.

    It’s the strangest thing. This came in the mail with a fundraising appeal, and although I didn’t give them any money, I kept the coin. I dunno what I was thinking. The boys would play with it? Regardless, the boys are aging out of the part of their youth where they’ll happily play with some metal coin. Yet, I can’t throw it out. So it sits on my desk until the next cleaning frenzy, where I’ll put it in a box with other assorted tchotchkes.
     

  • A Paperboy handheld game.

    You hardly ever see hand held games at garage sales any more; certainly none of the electronic blip games from the 1980s. If any, you’ll find a little LCD screen game like this. I did, and I have yet to mount it on the wall. Sometime when I have a spare moment that I’m not wasting writing an inconsequential blog post, I’ll do just that.
     

  • Two Wii controllers.

    The children have brought these to my office because the battery terminals are corroded. “They have battery acid,” is how they put it. One of these days, I’ll get to it when I Set My Mind To It. Until then, they’ll rest easily underneath a pile of other junk.

Sadly, that only scratches the surface. But you can’t write much about a clean desk.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

I Can Bring Home the Sizzlean

So the older child announces fifteen minutes before we leave for school that he has show and tell, and he needs something that begins with M. Although only six, the boy immediately comes up with “Money!” because he hopes that either I’ll give him some American money, and he will get to keep it, or that I’ll let him take some out of his piggy bank, and he’ll get to spend it.

Oh, but no.

Fortunately, my desk is a veritable Hammerspace (the term I discovered when trying to remember the source of the phrase Trenchcoat Schtick which I remembered from a single gaming session at Gencon in the late 1990s–apparently, I was playing a demo session of Tales from the Floating Vagabond).

As such, I was able to immediately lay my hands on a couple pieces of money for him to show and tell:

Foreign money for show and tell

The top is a 500 Afghanis note, and the bottom is a single Trinidad and Tobago dollar.

Where did I get these? They were on my desk.

Seriously, though, I don’t know where I got them. I used to have a little sack of foreign money that I’d acquired from traveling relatives and whatnot, but I sold that sometime in college or immediately post-college to raise some capital to invest in driving my little car to the Central West End for some coffee or some such. These new bills I have acquired sometime in the last two decades then.

They got onto my desk because they’d resided in the drawer of my office’s second desk, and I had recently (within the last six months) scoured those drawers for something else and came up with the bills, which I’d hoped to put into a more displayable form or something.

But now they’ve been to school and back to save the day, and they’re back on the desk in the sea of rubble which includes a single card from The Worst Case Scenario Game, an extraneous copy of Robert B. Parker’s Rough Weather (which I find a lot at yard sales and think I’ll fill out my collection with the books I’ve read from the library, only to discover it’s always Rough Weather for sale at garage sales), empty coin folders for Lincoln Cents 1959 to Present and Jefferson Nickels from 1962 to Present, and a copy of Dallas: The Television Role Playing Game.

My desk is, indeed, a wonderland.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Five Things on My Desk (IV)

I’ve been cleaning my office again, which means I’ve been dumping things on my desk. Actually, I don’t know what I’ve emptied onto my desk. Apparently, some bin of mementos, because I cleaned some old files off of my desk and found a number of things in the strata below, which includes:

  • A Commodore 128 function key.
     
    A Commodore 128 Function key
     
    When Triticale gave me his old Commodore 128 those many years ago, before he passed away, it was not in pristine condition. Its power supply needed a new fuse, and one of the function keys was detached. It’s still detached, obviously, but for some reason I tucked it into a catch-all box or bin sometime instead of packing it with the Commodore 128. Now that I’ve shamed myself on the Internet, I’ll see about that. Maybe.
     
  • A commemorative name plate recognizing my aunt’s 25 years of service with Ralston Purina / RalCorp.
     
    My Aunt Dale's 25th Anniversary plaque
     
    25 years with the same employer? Who does that any more except government employees? Of course, she didn’t do it now, she did it back then.
     
  • Some Logitech thing.
     
    Something
     
    I don’t know what that is. I’ve got so much Logitech junk around here that’s not plugged in. This has probably come out of a junk box where I threw miscellaneous cords when moving or something. It’s not vital to normal daily computer operations, obviously.
     
  • A DVD of the PBS series Gardens of the World.
     
    Gardens of the World on DVD
     
    I’d used this to test the DVD player of the media station here in the office. It works. I didn’t watch a complete episode, though. I have started the episode on roses, though, since I have that on videocassette, too. In the series, Audrey Hepburn wanders around spouting poetry and quotes about plants, and then they cut to slow moving video of gardens with the type of plants highlighted in the episode. PBS sure does these things slowly, doesn’t it? The pace of the episodes are far slower than similar programs on commercial stations.
     
  • The word CAR in Scrabble tiles and transparent tape.
     
    Scrabble tiles spelling the word CAR
     
    For my 26th birthday, my then-girlfriend Heather got me two bookcases to help store my growing collection of books in my mother’s basement. They marked my second and third bookcases. As they were too small to fit into her Ford Tempo, she (my then-girlfriend Heather, not my mother) ordered them to be delivered the Monday after my birthday. She taped the words, built from Scrabble tiles (we played a lot of Scrabble, that young lady and I), TWO BOOKCASES TOO BIG FOR HEATHER’S CAR onto a piece of cardboard and wrapped it for me. I still have those bookcases and at least one of the words from the wrapped gift. The then-girlfriend I transmogrified into a wife.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Five Things On My Desk (III)

My desk is relatively clean these days, as I’m trying to keep ahead of things, but I do still have some strange things on my desk lingering from aeons past. To whit:

  • A 2 fluid ounce bottle of Plaid acrylic paint, Raspberry color. Back when I first started beading in 2009 or whatever it was, one of the first thoughts I had was to make a peppermint bracelet with red and white seed beads wrapped around each other but joined by peppermint disks. I bought white disk beads and a peppermint color paint (Raspberry, actually), but I never painted those disks. I keep meaning to take this bottle up to the garage and put it in with the other acrylic paints, but it falls behind another pile or something and remains on my desk.
     
  • A gallon-sized bag filled with spoons. These spoons were once my mother’s spoon collection. I’m not sure when they last graced her walls, but I inherited them when she passed away almost three years ago already. For a while, I’ve been moving around the display rack in which these spoons hung on the wall in our apartment in the projects, and I recently uncovered the spoons when I was cleaning my garage. So, of course, I can’t lay my hands on the display rack right now. When I find it, I’ll polish the spoons and hang them on my dining room wall.
     
  • A Monroe Monro-matic CAA-10 calculator from 1954. I bought this at a garage sale or estate sale some nine or ten years ago, and I’ve had it in my storeroom for some time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit in the narrow cabinets I have in there, so when I last reorganized my storeroom last autumn, I brought it into my office and it’s sat upon my desk or under my desk for a couple months while I try to decide what to do with it. Maybe I’ll learn how to use it. More likely, I’ll shuffle it around my office until I return it to the storeroom or the garage.
     
  • A re-elect Mickey Owen memo pad.
     
    Re-elect Mickey Owen Sheriff memo pad
     
    I don’t know who Mickey Owen was, nor how old this memo pad is, but I paid a dime for it at a church garage sale here in Springfield. I haven’t yet written any memos in it, and I’m not sure if I will. It will ruin the collectible value.
     
  • One Hohner Golden Note harmonica in C. I got a toy harmonica as a high school graduation present from Tim and Pixie. When I got to Milwaukee, I bought a Hohner C harmonica and tried to teach myself to play. I learned a couple short songs, but never became really adept at it. After graduating from college and after having not really practiced in a couple years, I bought two new Hohner Cs at Nottlemann Music and haven’t really practiced with them much at all. But this one is on my desk, reminding me of my failings.

By naming these things on the blog, I do tend to handle them in short order, which is why I’m bothering you with them.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Five Things On My Desk Right Now (That I Know Of)

This is a popular series, so why not continue it? I don’t mean popular because people read it; I mean popular because I like it because it spurs me to get the random enumerated things off of my desk.

Five things on my desk right now:

  • A child lock that I blogged about over two weeks ago.
  • A paper-printed bumper sticker that says “I’m On Spenser’s Case With Robert B. Parker and Dell” that I got for free when I won some Ebay auction for Parker material some years ago.
  • A map of Greater Kansas City, Missouri.
  • A broken necklace my wife expects I’ll repair.
  • A bag of rocks and minerals sent by my Nana for my children; I’m hoping to make a shadowbox out of them, but I have yet to do so. I’ll need a razorblade, and there’s not one on my desk right now. That I know of.

(Previously on my desk.)

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Five Things On My Desk Right Now

An unsorted list that describes, really, why I need to clean off my desk:

  • One green binder containing hundreds of rejection letters for my writing efforts over the last 20 years.
  • One silver butter tray, tarnished.
  • One 36 Caliber Navy Model pistol, an expensive Italian import, I think.
  • One Blip the Digital Game awaiting cleaning and mounting on the wall.
  • One cute little 6″ by 6″ decoration depicting a kitten painted on what looks like window blinds and adorned by a little pink bow not awaiting mounting on my wall.

These things were deposited by me onto this desk months ago because I need to take a couple minutes to clean them or whatnot. Instead of doing that, I’ve posted on my blog, and soon enough a blizzard of paper to file and act upon will cover them again until the springtime.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories