Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It’s In the Bag

by Becky Moore

Yesterday my son started high school and this morning my mother-in-law is having surgery, so I’ve been a little distracted over the past couple of days. Lots of planning and preparation to get these two events going, you know? And it got me thinking …

My undergraduate degree is in English, with a concentration in Writing and Editing. I had a great professor during my sophomore year who was fond of telling us to “unpack the details,” in terms of adding lush descriptions to our work. Unpacking the details served me well over a dozen years working as a writer and PR whiz in advertising, the arts, and as a journalist. And it still works today as a novelist. But a bad habit I developed as the senior writer and marketing project manager at Nortel Networks, and then perfected as the Marketing Director for our state’s largest non-profit performing arts theatre, is adult-onset ADD. I’m convinced that’s what it is.

I think everybody’s got a touch of it—hell, it makes me a really, really good multi-tasker. I can manage dozens of projects simultaneously, from a blank screen to a fully realized marketing campaign, and all the budgets and vendors in between. But it weighs on your shoulders, this ability to “extreme multi-task.” And it carries over to all aspects of your life.

When I’m on vacation and when we travel, I have to prepare an activity bag. Only, now that I’m 39, I just refer to it as “my bag.” I think it sounds a little more dignified, right? I don’t like down-time, and though I’m rarely ever bored, I do get distracted. My son, coincidentally, can also pack a mean activity bag. He learned from the best. J

So to sit with my husband while his mom has surgery this morning, I’ve prepared my bag. As you can see, I’ve got my iPad, a sketchpad and pencils, Quiddler, my latest library book, my phone, a bottle of water, and a granola bar. What you don’t see is a skein of yarn that I’m using to knit a scarf, stuffed in my purse. This is the perfect grouping for a day at the hospital. If I’m in a waiting room that allows technology or has wireless connectivity, I can keep up with my e-mail (which has sadly been abandoned in the last minute scrambling to get ready for school and surgery) and read the news; if I’m in an area of the hospital that requires no technology I’ve got a book and my sketchpad. Quiddler is good when me and the mister break for lunch … we’re big game players at our house, so Quiddler typically lives on the dining room table for post-meal quickies. Water and granola keep up the blood sugar to help keep up the good spirits. Yes, it’s the perfect bag.

When we vacationed along the Crystal Coast, in Emerald Isle, two weeks ago, my bag was an entirely different story. My basics are always the same: iPad, book/s, sketchpad and pencils, and Quiddler; but it also included my ZAGG iPad keyboard case (so I didn’t have to take my laptop, too), Nintendo DS and games, magazines, two knitting projects, and the newspaper swiped from the driveway on our way out.

Are you a bagger? Do you have an activity bag with you for all occasions, or do you prefer to just sit quietly and patiently?

Leave a comment for a chance to win The Great Outdoors or another book of your choice from Decadent Publishing. Don't forget to leave your email address in your comment.

Tallulah Murphy is a busy woman. As the newly appointed Director of Education for the Atlanta Art Museum, she has a thousand and one things to do on any given day. Dating is not high on that list; in fact, it’s not even on the radar.

Three hundred miles away in Charleston, South Carolina, Lieutenant Mitchell Weaver is gearing up for his promotion to be the youngest police chief in the city’s history. And unfortunately, as a prominent city official with all eyes watching his every move, a quality date seems untenable. But when good friends and good fortune set Tallulah and Mitch on a fateful adventure with Madame Evangeline’s high-end dating service, 1Night Stand, they may find a little matchmaking magic can reset their spirits of adventure and open their hearts and minds to the possibility of love.


  1. I am in awe. I'll just make sure I'm always sitting next to you!! I do carry a pencil and notebook but that's all!

  2. Barbara, I've got the goods to share, too. ;)

  3. I can't sit quietly. I do have a bag that contains water, snacks, crossword puzzle books, magazines, a couple of books, a notebook, some pens and pencils, my phone, and my Kindle. I'll always have something to do.


  4. I always have a book in my purse to read while waiting. Learned to do this while living in Atlanta (traffic hell) while on GA and from work. Not unheard of to take 2 hours to get home on a Friday evening :( I think Becky has me beaten though for the amount of thought and time she puts into her activity bag. Sounds like no matter what happens, she is prepared to wait it out!

  5. Hi Becky! I hope things are going well with the surgery. I am not a bagger, at all. I'm even allergic to purses! When I have to go somewhere to wait, I just take a bottle of water, my smartphone, and a book. Sometimes I take two books! These are my essentials.
    ehaney578 at aol dot com

  6. I'm a retired teacher, so I always have a bag with me of things to do. I always had a basket at school labeled... Things to do when you finish your classwork. My bag consist of my iPad, snacks, puzzle books, and my iPod. My son just started college. Time flies!

  7. @Joanne, I'm always happy to find a kindred spirit! @Rita, hopefully you were stopped for a LONG spell when you whipped out a book ont he GA-400 (isn't is nearly as congested as LA?). @Elizabeth, despite the lack of bag, you sound like a smart reader. @Shelly B, time DOES fly! Great idea for the basket; I would've loved my teachers to be so forward-thinking. Thanks for taking the time to comment, y'all!

  8. Hope your MIL's surgery went well. I'm definitely a bagger! Even just going to my own doctor appt. I've been know to take a book (now Kindle), crossword puzzle book, and crochet. You never know how long you're going to be there! I can't not go on a trip without taking stuff for any possibility. I've had to force myself to pare it down on occasion. LOL! My mom was a champion bagger when we were growing up so I learned from the best!


  9. Here's good thoughts for you MIL! I am do a bagger! I always have a bag of stuff to do with me.
    mawmom at gmail dot com

  10. I always have the current book the I'm reading with me. If for some reason I've forgotten my book (god forbid). I have s book stuck in a pocket , just in case. It's been in there for a year now. You never know when you might be stuck somewher. My family thinks I'm nuts. lol.