The Case of the Missing Dongle

I love teaching at UW-Madison’s Writers’ Institute. This year was my third time, but my first time using a projector. Everything was taken care of in advance: conference rooms, projectors, screens. Nothing was left undone.

Imagine my surprise when I went into my first room, set my laptop on the podium and wondered, How on earth do I get what’s on my screen to “talk” to the projector so it can show the audience?

I ran to Laura Kahl. She’s like a kick-butt, young faerie godmother, and MacGyver combined; she’s the maestro that keeps everything and everyone in harmony! 

Way too polite to point out that I was supposed to have brought an adapter, she immediately pointed out one of the Madison Concourse Hotel IT guys. “He’s got a dongle,” she said. My eyebrows shot into my hairline. “He’ll get you set up.”

A dongle is an adapter that connects to another device to provide it with additional functionality.

I approached the handsome young IT guy and said, “Pardon me, do you have a dongle I can borrow?” He answered with a great big smile, “I’d be happy to loan you my dongle.” And we both burst out laughing!

That little piece of equipment is what kept my audience connected to what was happening on my laptop screen. At the end of the conference, I returned the adapter to the technician. The first thing I did when I got back to Boise was to purchase a dongle of my own at the Apple store. 

What keeps you connected?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Do Your Ears Hang Low?

The last time that my sister and I were together, I told her that my favorite physical feature is my ears. I like ‘em! It’s one of the reasons I keep my hair short. I’d love to be able to wiggle them, but I can’t. Anecdotal reports suggest that only fifteen percent of the population can wiggle their ears.

At camp we sang this song ALL of the time:

“Do your ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie ‘em in a knot? Can you tie ‘em in a bow? Can you throw them over your shoulder? Like a continental soldier? Do your ears hang low?”

I’d trade my ears in a heartbeat for long plush ones with green stripes inside. Imagine what you’d hear! You wouldn’t miss a thing.

Willa’s got great ears too. Her’s are pink inside, and she can twitch them at will. She can also hold them in a “flying nun” type pose for an extended period.

Can you wiggle your ears?

Oh, by the way, I am part of the sixty-five to eighty percent of the population who can roll their tongue.

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Wild and Woolly

While heading to the Greenbelt for a walk along the Boise River, Len, Willa, and I passed this wild and woolly, unbelievably curly plant growing in someone’s front yard.

It’s corkscrew curls brought to mind that as a child, I had a wild and woolly imagination, and a head of hair to match!

Remember the “Little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead?” That was true for me. So was the rest of the ditty: “When she was good, she was very good indeed, but when she was bad she was horrid!” But that’s a story for another time

Today I still have a wild and woolly imagination, but my hair (though silver now) has toned down a bit. Unless it’s humid outside, then I could be a poster child for Brillo pad.

What attribute have you retained from childhood?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Cow Pies – The Smell of Money

While visiting MazAmar Art Pottery in Pioneertown, California, I saw this adorable cow pie, snapped a photo, and wondered how on earth I could blog about it.

Aha! After a bit of online research, I learned that Bovine Bingo (aka Cow Pie Bingo) is a real thing that’s played with live, moooving pieces, usually as a fundraising event at a rodeo or county fair.

And while this may not rival the stakes in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, the CCV Rotary Club of Parker, Colorado and Smokin’ Brew BBQ have a fairly hefty pot. Here’s how they do it:

“A 50 X 40 grid is painted on the ground surrounded by a fence. A cow is led onto the grid to do it’s ‘business.’ The owner of the square with the majority of the Cow Pie wins half the amount raised in sold tickets, up to $10,000.”

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever bet on?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Going the Right Way?

When you’re barreling down the freeway, lickety-split, at 80 miles per hour (yes, that’s the speed limit on most of the interstates in Idaho) and you see this through your windshield…

… your first thought (after you change your underwear) is, Oh my gosh! Am I in the right lane? Am I headed in the right direction?

Then quickly switching to the left lane and speeding up to check it out, you see that the ginormous red truck is being towed, and your thankful that yes, you’re on track after all; you’re headed in the right direction.

Are you going the right way?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

A Dog’s Life

While walking through a parking lot, I saw two dogs trying really hard to look casual: one in the driver’s seat; the other, a backseat passenger. I imagined their whispered conversation:

Click to enlarge

Driver: You don’t think she sees us, do you?

Passenger: Nah.

Driver: It’s been a month. How ya doin’ with your New Year resolutions?

Passenger: Not good. You?

Driver: Me either, that’s why I fetched the truck keys.

Passenger: Where we goin’?

Driver: You know those drive-through windows our human gets bags of food from?

Passenger? Yeah.

Driver: I’m sick of the Dog Food Diet. No one will ever know we cheated. All our human does is pull up to the window, waits a minute, and then a bag of food gets handed out.

If you made them, how are you doing with your New Year resolutions?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Unabashedly Optimistic

My days feel much like this antelope that we passed while driving in Montana—On Top of the World! Unlike Pollyanna who was blindly optimistic, I’m unabashedly optimistic—not embarrassed to build a net before I leap.

And lest you ask… no, I don’t gargle with bong water, and yes, my balloon does land.

The difference between optimists and pessimists is not simple cheerfulness: it’s how we cope with stress. Psychology Professor Michael Scheier of Carnegie Mellon University explains that optimists consistently outlive pessimists because optimists cope better with adversity. Optimists deal with stress and take action to handle it, while pessimists often deny problems or disengage.

These coping mechanisms affect people on a cellular level. Optimists not only live longer, but they also live better, having better mobility, circulation, and cognitive faculties into old age.

Optimist or pessimist—which side of the coin do you fall on?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com