January 20, 2014 § 8 Comments
What I’m reading this week, including the latest Modern Love column, a story concerning rising sea levels along the East Coast, a piece on V.C. Andrews (whose books I admittedly devoured in my youth), an essay on writing backstory, a recent Neil Gaiman novel, a story (and video) on visiting the Apostle Islands caves during the frozen months, an argument for doing ultra-marathons, and an alternative reading list for high-school English students:
- “Adrift Too Long, Searching for a Navigator” by Leah Vincent (The New York Times, January 16, 2014)
- “The Flood Next Time” by Justin Gillis (The New York Times, January 13, 2014)
- “The Ghost of V.C. Andrews: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Mysterious ‘Flowers in the Attic’ Author” by Kate Aurthur (BuzzFeed, January 15, 2014)
- “I Wasn’t Born Yesterday: The Beauty of Backstory” by Eleanor Henderson (Poets & Writers, September/October 2013)
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (2013)
- “Risk, Reward in Visiting the Frozen Apostle Islands Sea Caves” by Andrew Krueger (Duluth News Tribune, January 18, 2014)
- “What Ultra-Marathons Do to Our Bodies” by Gretchen Reynolds (“Well” blog, The New York Times, January 15, 2014)
- “Why We Should Stop Teaching Novels to High School Students” by Natasha Vargas-Cooper (Bookforum, January 14, 2014)
Finally, my friend Matt has an ultra-cool business designing postcards that can be cut and assembled into miniature skyscrapers and points of interest, as well as making View-Master reels and other treasures. He also has a fantastic Tumblr site featuring modern and nostalgic architecture, Americana, and whatever he finds fascinating:
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In non-reading news, I spent some time today thinking I wanted this Oscar de la Renta gown until I saw the price tag ($6,500):
August 20, 2013 § 21 Comments
Grammar and spelling errors make me cringe, yet I’m not perfect and always try to brush up on my skills.
If you’re like me and strive to improve your writing, below are a few basic rules I consistently see broken. I’ve also thrown in a few recommendations on how to improve clarity and conciseness.
I pray you don’t find any typos.
- One space after a period. Never two. Forget what you learned in high school typing class. And if you’ve never taken a typing class, well, you must be younger than me, and that kind of makes me sad.
- A lot. If you spell it as “alot,” I will hunt you down.
- Its vs it’s. If it doesn’t make sense when you replace “it’s” with “it is” in a sentence, use “its.” Easy, no?
- Very. Eliminate it from your vocabulary whenever possible. It’s a junk word, and there’s always a better way to convey extremes. For example, instead of “very loud,” use “deafening.” In place of “very sad,” use “devastated.” Instead of “very devastated,” just use “devastated.” Both are equally powerful, but one is more concise.
- Are vs. our. The first one’s a verb, the other’s a pronoun.
- Despite. It sounds so much better than “in spite of.”
- Preventive. Not “preventative.”
- Noon/midnight. “12 noon” is redundant, as is “12 midnight.”
- Less vs. fewer. Use “less” with things that can’t be counted and “fewer” with things that can. For example, “I have less patience with her because she completes fewer chores around the house.”
- OMG, RUS? AWGTHTGTTA? IDC anymore. What? Stop it! You’re not Prince. Spell it out. It takes me longer to decipher what your shortcuts/acronyms mean than it saves you time to type it.
If inspired, please share a favorite grammar/style pet peeve.
June 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
November 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving. Starting with September and through the holidays, I’m in love with the world. The cooler weather, the changing leaves, the food, the friends and family, making holiday cards and baking, wrapping gifts, running in the snow (when/if it arrives), increased busyness. It’s all so fleeting, and I never take it for granted.
While I always like the opportunity to say what makes my heart sing, giggle, and burst, I believe this moment is just as good as any to share what I am thankful for. And nothing beats a top-ten list. So here goes.
Happy Thanksgiving, possums!
I’m thankful for:
- My family. They send me into I’m-laughing-so-hard-I-can’t-breathe fits. And they love me unconditionally and let me sob when I need to. I’d be lost without them and am grateful for their presence and support.
- My health. I know everyone says it, but I am eternally thankful for the ability to run, walk, leap, lunge, bend, kick, pedal, lift, climb, roll, dance, and tumble and spring back up.
- My friends. They get me. They say they like me. They make me feel talented and lovely and funny.
- Dogs. They’re the Mary Tyler Moores of the animal kingdom.
- Books and film. I live a rich inner life that is fed by literature and movies. Both fill my soul and my imagination, and I’m a better writer because I escape through each. I’m the girl who can’t wait to come home from parties, crawl into bed, and read whatever it was I bookmarked the night before. An introvert, yes, but a well-read one.
- New York and St. Paul. Both light me up. And I know my way around each. Which makes me super cool and awesome to hang out with.
- Jeff Tweedy, Mason Jennings, Wes Anderson, Peter Hessler. I’d marry any of those boys if they’d have me.
- A sweet tooth. I can’t imagine hating cake. Life would be pointless.
- The Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
- You, my dear readers. My blog landed 5,000 hits earlier this week. I think in the big-picture blog-o-sphere, that’s the equivalent to, what do they say in academia? Peanuts? A drop of water in the ocean? And I’m pretty sure 4,587 of those hits are from my family (see #1), but I never would have guessed I’d have friends and strangers interested in what I have to say and post. I’m happy when I read the daily stats and see how many have viewed my ramblings and photographs. Unfortunately, I don’t know who visits, otherwise, I would have awarded the 5,000th visitor a gift basket or sage advice or a hug. But in my humble eyes you’re all my 5,000th visitor, so I send you warm embraces across the ether.
Addendum: Number 11 would be cute clothes.