Department Of It Didn’t Happen
Dateline: yesterday, September 1. For as long as I have lived in Oregon,  something has happened on September 1. Whether or not I’ve been aware of the date, on the first day of September when I go out for a morning walk (or just to pick up the newspaper, back when we subscribed to four “dead tree” news sources), the air is…different. Not only the temperature, but the air *feel,* and the smell.
After the first eight or so years of this happening, I’d think to moiself, Oh yeah – today must be September 1.
On September 1 we still have three weeks left of (technical) summer. But, even if the next day we go back to August air temps and “feels;” and even if this going-back continues for another two days or two weeks…something about September 1 is a gateway to autumn.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday morning felt like the previous morning, and the morning before that: a warmer than usual August day. Is this a September 1 an outlier? Or another global warming harbinger? 
I was 30 minutes into my walk before my phone buzzed and I looked at it, saw the date, and realized it was September 1…and something was missing.
Autumn on Sweet Creek Trail, Oregon Coast Range 
* * *
Department Of Random Acts Of Oddness
Dateline: last Friday afternoon; a local grocery store. I’m slowly pushing my mini-cart down an aisle. I stop for about thirty seconds, no doubt sporting the Scanning The Shelves For The Item I Cannot Find,® blank look on my face. Then I hear a voice:
“The slip – it just keeps slipping up.”
I turn to look behind me and to the right, from whence the voice, and behold the woman who just uttered those nonsensical profound words, apparently, to moiself (there is no other human in this particular aisle). Her left arm is resting on one of the store’s standard-sized grocery carts, which is about 25% filled with various items. She flashes me an ample, somewhat sheepish smile as she points to her hips and tugs at…something below her waistband, with her right hand.
“My slip; it just keeps slipping up.
It’s supposed to be down, but it keeps coming…up.”
Slip Woman is clad in a white blouse, a navy-blue shirt, some clog-like shoes, and her wavy brown-going-gray-hair is pulled back in a ponytail. Although she looks a little frazzled,  she doesn’t have that street person vibe about her. Nor do I recognize in her the kind of eyes that stare at you but don’t really see you – eyes that stare *through* you, as in, when a Certain Kind Of Person approaches you (and by you I mean, moiself ) and starts in with the non-sequiturs…which has happened to me quite often in my time on this planet, particularly in my after-college years, when I was automobile-less and rode public transit.
It happened to me so often that I once asked a friend, as I was preparing to take a bus to a job interview, to check the back of my jacket to make sure there wasn’t a neon sign affixed there which flashed some version of the following message:
“Are you angry? Lonely? Irrationally exuberant? Confused? Tired?
Frustrated with politics or sex or irresponsible chihuahua owners?
You *really* should tell this woman all about it, RIGHT NOW.”
At one point I thought that, unbeknownst to me, moiself must have ridden a bus wherein Weird Al Yankovic was a passenger, and as Weird Al observed what happened to me he was thus inspired to write Another One Rides The Bus – his parody of the Queen song, Another One Bites The Dust.
Once again, I digress.
Okay: Slip Woman keeps tugging at the waistband of her skirt and repeats her line about how troublesome it is that her slip won’t stay…wherever it is supposed to stay. Since I deem her *not* to be a Crazy Person Who Talks To Strangers ®, I think that perhaps her slip was indeed riding up and she was trying to fix it as she turned her cart into this aisle of the grocery store, where she saw me and suddenly became self-conscious about adjusting her undergarments in a public place… As in, she is assuming – incorrectly – that I’d noticed her doing so…and now she has to explain herself so that I don’t think she’s just randomly tugging at her hindquarters.
Still, no matter what “sense” is behind her statement, it strikes me as an odd thing to say to a stranger. So, I decide to not be a stranger, for a moment. I make what I hope is a knowing, reassuring, Ahhhhh noise, followed with a comment about how “these things” always happen in public places, don’t they?
And I smile and push my cart up the aisle, on to another part of the store…when what I really want to say to her is, “You’re wearing a slip…really? Why?”
As I walked to my car in the store’s parking lot, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Who wears slips anymore, anyway? Is that still a thing? 
I can’t remember the last time I wore a slip; I can only remember the last time I *didn’t* wear a slip…and someone thought I should have.
Thank you for asking.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,  moiself was attending the wedding of my older sister’s eldest daughter. The wedding was held in a chapel in the Irvine hills, on a brilliantly sunny, So Cal afternoon. After the ceremony, as I was standing by the pew where I’d been seated and had begun chatting with a family member, a Well-Meaning Church Lady Friend ® of my sister’s sidled up to me. WMCLF® leaned her mouth close to my ear and, with a deadly serious sotto voce,– as if she were warning me that I should not panic but please be advised that a tsunami is headed this way and we’ve all five minutes to live – earnestly informed me that, standing as I was (with my back to the blinding sun which streamed in through the chapel’s floor-to-ceiling glass walls),
“…you can see your legs through your skirt!”
I’m not sure which of the following three things disappointed WMCLF® the most: 
(1) My somewhat laconic reply (“Uh…yeah…I do have legs underneath my skirt.”);
(2) My somewhat not-hiding-the-fact-that-I-didn’t-consider-her-telling-me-that-to-be-the-equivalent-of-sharing-our-nation’s-nuclear-launch-codes, lack of enthusiasm as to the importance of her observation, which she thought was so urgent to share; 
(3) There was no third thing, somewhat or otherwise;
(4) No fourth thing either. However, if WMCLF® had known the least bit about me, she would have realized what a big deal it was for me to actually be wearing a skirt.
* * *
Department of Causes To Fight For
How can moiself be so petty as to devote almost an entire blog to stories about a superficial piece of a women’s undergarment, when there are so many pressing social, political, and cultural issues to be addressed? Such as, my beef with the NY Times word game, Spelling Bee.
Along with Wordle and Quordle and a couple other NY Times games, Spelling Bee is a game I enjoy playing in the early morning. Spelling Bee is a word game “…that challenges players to construct as many (minimum 4 letters) words as they can using pre-selected letters. Each word must include the center letter provided in the puzzle.” The game’s creator uses a “curated list” of words, as I discovered over a year ago when, although among that day’s SB‘s seven letters were C A L R, I constructed “caracal,” only to be told that that the name for that magnificent African wildcat was not acceptable.
I was so cheesed off about it that I wrote to the editor/curator, who replied with the lame excuse reasonable explanation about curating a list so as to reach a wide audience. I’ve noticed that many words I try to use in SB which have a biological or scientific meaning are rejected with SB’s “not in word list” message,  which makes me think that the editor/curator has rather low expectations re his target audience’s educational and curiosity levels.
Apparently I’m not the only person who takes issue with the curated list policy. Under the Spelling Bee site’s FAQ is this exchange, between a player and the game’s curator:
Occasionally I spell a legitimate word, but the Bee rejects it.
What deems a word unacceptable?
(Sam Ezersky, journalist and NYT Puzzles Editor):
Two dictionaries I use are the built-in Apple dictionary, which is based on New Oxford American, and Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. I like using Google’s News tab, so if there is a technical word, I’ll see if it’s being used in articles without much explanation.
Ultimately, the decisions can seem arbitrary because every solver has a different background and vocabulary….
I can understand the frustration, but my mission is not to be a dictionary. I want to do my best to reflect the Bee’s broad audience and the language we speak.
What kind of broad audience doesn’t know – or would benefit from knowing – about the magnificent caracal?
And earlier this week, I reached my next-to-last straw with SB: included in the seven letters were U T R and D, so naturally one of the words I entered was turd, only to receive SB’s negating response, “not in word list.”
Oh, come on. What kind of humorless turd will not allow that word on his list? Thus, my blog’s coveted, rarely bestowed  Golden Turd Award ® goes to you, Mr. Ezersky.
* * *
Punz For The Day
Dressing Up Edition
I was about to go to a fancy party dressed as a can of anti-perspirant.
My husband stopped me and said, “Are you Sure?”
So, I reconsidered and put on this real slinky dress…
I looked great going down the stairs.
Which music star is known for her rapid onstage wardrobe changes?
Not all fashion designers are conservative,
but I think most of them are clothes-minded.
What do you call a nudist who will angrily don clothing when it’s required?
My friend arrived at my Halloween costume party dressed like a bank vault.
”Wait,” I said, “I thought you were coming dressed as an apology?”
She said: ‘Well, I thought I’d better be safe than sorry.”
* * *
May your acceptable word lists always include “turd’
(with or without the modifier, “festering”);
May you, sans shame or explanation, freely (and discreetly) adjust any undergarment
of yours that needs adjusting;
May we all have such untroubled lives that stories like those I have shared here are the worst of our worries;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Some 32 plus years.
 Ha! Harbinger, as in “omen or indication”? Too late for that.
 Photo credit: Hasegawa Takashi via Flickr, The Fall Foliage At These 10 Places in Oregon Is Incredible.
 But then, what did I look like to her, I wonder, in my needs-laundering yoga pants and wrinkled t-shirt?
 Asks the woman perennially clad in a tie-dyed t-shirt and off-white capris.
 Or maybe 18 years ago.
 And from the look on her face, she was disappointed.
 In other words, I didn’t give a flying fuck that anyone could or would be able to see my legs through my skirt. Now, had I just exited the bathroom with my blouse tucked into my underpants or with toilet paper trailing from my shoe, then by all means, sidle up and whisper to me.
 As well as other words that might have more than one meaning, with one of the meanings being a derogatory slang word, such as coon.
 I think it’s been several *years* since moiself has seen fit to give out this dubious honor.