In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

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In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

Joanne Palmer: The most romantic of flies

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Joanne Palmer

Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at jpalmer@springsips.com

Find more columns by Palmer here.

— Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink.

I'd really like to write this column, but I'm kind of engrossed in what can only be described as "strange backyard behavior."

Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink.

I'm busy with a flashlight trying to attract fireflies into my life.

Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink.

It all started when I bought a copy of "The Old Farmer's 2009 Almanac," a publication I'm embarrassed to admit I'd never read. I bought it thinking I'd see what kind of winter we had in store and that it could be basis for a column. But, before I got to the weather predictions, right there on page 60 was an article about fireflies - the most romantic of insects.

Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink.

I love fireflies. Growing up in the Midwest, fireflies were a big part of my childhood. I have fond memories of hot summer nights in the backyard with big mayonnaise jars, practicing catch and release. The Farmer's Almanac is quick to point out that few fireflies live west of Kansas, but there could be some that have my sense of direction and are lost. And so I must function as a port in the storm, a firefly lighthouse blinking away.

Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink.

The Almanac advises to mimic the firefly's flash pattern with a small flashlight. I will not bore you with the details of how long it took me to find a working flashlight in my house. But once found, I could only do my best to guess what pattern they might be interested in.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

I know most people are convinced summer is over. That, and the fact Colorado is not a geographic Mecca for fireflies makes my chance of attracting one pretty limited. But still, I have to try. Fireflies are nature's romance novels.

According to the Almanac, their lifespan is so short they don't even bother to eat. With only a few short weeks to live, they are single-minded in their pursuit of love. Isn't that just so romantic? Isn't that more compelling than watching the convention? Isn't it sometimes easier to just forget about all of the seemingly incomprehensible things happening in the world and focus on small facts like male fireflies flashing and flying?

Interestingly, the females are not multitaskers. They stay put, forgoing flying to focus on flashing to let the males know where they are. I must do the same.

Blink. Blink, blink. Blink.

If I were more scientifically inclined, I could probably get out of piece of graph paper and plot the patterns I used. If I were at all mathematically inclined, I could figure out how many possible combinations of patterns there were and go from there. But, that's the beauty of the Almanac. It does all of that for you. Not the lightning bug patterns, of course. But you can organize a lot of your life by things it recommends. It will tell you the optimal dates to cut hay, cut your hair and even go camping. On the very day you are reading this column, the Almanac advises it is a great day to begin a diet to gain weight or cut hair to encourage growth.

Based on the cycle of the moon, the Almanac gives readers the best date for 28 very diverse activities from camping, entertaining and potty training your children. The 256 pages of the Almanac can keep a person busy for days.

Most likely, I have missed the lightning bug season. But if you happen to see one in your backyard, let me know, and I'll be right over.

Blink, blink, blink. BLINK.

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