Thursday, July 22, 2010

This might be a bad sign

I found out last night that I've been misspelling broccoli my entire life.  I woke up yesterday sure of the letters in my favorite fruits and vegetables, and went to sleep in world where broccoli has but one lone L.  I am humbled.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to resume my panic attack.  Six days until the bar exam.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Error Message

My name is Laura, and I'm a big nerd.  Now, you all say, "Hi Laura" and we'll all share, have some cookies, and hug on the way out.  Sigh.  If it only it were possible to be a nerd anonymously.  I'm a happy nerd, though.  These are some common mistakes that make me giggle.  I should say, before you read them, that I think there is a time and place for rules and a time and place for suspending them.  The key is knowing what the rules are, so the choice is yours to make.  It's like setting a proper table.  If you choose not to, that's your business, but if you don't know how you'll always be self-conscious in front of company.  Blogs, Facebook statuses, casual conversation, and the like are fine places, in my opinion, to relax the rules of grammar and pronunciation.  For example, in this blog I end sentences in prepositions all the time because that is the way we speak.  I want my writing to be informal/funny so I disregard the general rule against it.  You'll also frequently see sentence fragments.  For emphasis.  See what I did there? That being said, the following list is all in good fun:

1.  There is no such thing as chester drawers.  No, there really isn't.  It's a chest of drawers.
2.  It's height and width, not heighTH and width.
3. You didn't "literally" die when such and such happened.  You also didn't "literally" throw up all over the place.  Literally means, well, literally.
4.  The words libel and liable mean very, very different things.  You can be liable for libel, but not the other way around.
5. Especially, not expecially.  That makes my skin crawl, literally.
6.  Here's one:  It's not a huge deal to say, "A whole nother" in a conversation, as long as you know that nother is not a word.
7.  Similarly, orientate isn't a word.  It's orient.  That's just making more work than necessary.
8.  Technically, spitting image is incorrect.  It doesn't matter much.  Most people never write that phrase.  For the record, though, it's spit and image.
9.  Crayon has two, distinct syllables and doesn't rhyme with crown. 
10.  This one is from Craig and was news to me.  Nauseous means provoking nausea, as in, "The smell of cabbage is nauseous."  The feeling that we get of an upset stomach is properly stated as, "I am nauseated."  So, they aren't synonyms.  Next time that you say you feel nauseous, think about what you're saying. 
11.  Periods are important.  It's better to have short, choppy sentences that make sense than flowing prose if you don't where to end it.  I'll demonstrate.  The following sentence is entirely fictitious (trust me), but is  inspired by sentences that I've seen.  Imagine this is the caption to a photo posted online:  "This is my baby Doodad she love me an shes' so cute we love her can't believe she is so big."  This is so very sweet.  It's just that I have to read it like a robot to make sense of it.  Try it this way.  "This is my baby, Doodad.  She loves me and she's so cute.  We love her, and can't believe she is so big."  The periods and commas tell me how I should process the words that are written.
12.  These are two syllable words that are often pronounced with three: realtor, ticklish, athlete. 
13.  Here's a tip I used when I was teaching phonics.  'There' has the word 'here' in it, which tells you it refers to location.  The dog is over there.  'They're' is a contraction of the words 'they' and 'are.'  If you can say, "They are going to the store," then you can also write, "They're going to the store."  Lastly, as a helpful hint for the grammatically challenged (we all have our weaknesses), 'their' has an 'I' in it, which can be a hint that it refers to a person.  Check it: "Their dog is over there." "They're going to walk him."
14.  This is one of my personal favorites.  Intensive purposes is a mispronunciation of the phrase, intents and purposes, e.g. For all intents and purposes, this blog is nonsense.  
15. Once, at a Rhodes writing camp (of all places), I saw a girl write "eye ronic" in her paper.  That just goes to show that bad habits plague all of us.  She scored like an eleventy trabillion on her SATs and actually knew the proper use of the word ironic, which is rare, and still couldn't spell it. 

Whew! That was fun.  I can only get who/whom correct in writing and I definitely get comma-happy, so I'm not the grammar police.  I know I've sent emails with errors and have not thoroughly proofed everything I've ever written.  I definitely get carried away when I type too fast and slaughter the correct usage of 'its' and 'it's' as a result.  Again, though, I think you can only break the rules when you know them.  Otherwise, it's just wrong.   Thank god there is never any reason to solve a math problem in an email, or my own weak spots would be horrifyingly obvious.  I was the last kid in my class to learn my multiplication tables and usually have to make the portion size called for in a recipe if I need to make less than half.  My geography knowledge is weak and I passed chemistry in high school by making the periodic elements into nonsense words in the order they appear on the table.  H He Libe BC  Nofne namg alsipsclar.  That is no lie.

Photo from here:

**I was corrected (maybe) by an anonymous commenter who let me know that my claim about spit and image is incorrect.  Not one to ignore correction, I did a little further research.  Apparently, there are differing opinions as to the correct phrasing.  That being said, I suppose neither is incorrect.  However, I was thoroughly creeped out by the idea of an anonymous commenter and so have now changed the settings so that comments can't be made without a name attached.  Sorry Anonymous, if that is your real name.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Engagement Photos

Craig and I are approaching our first anniversary next month so I decided to post some of our long lost engagement pictures.  They got buried in the to dos and I dos of the wedding and I never shared them.  Here are a few!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It's Gone to the Dog, Maxwell Franklin Beanpotts

Sometimes I wonder if I have any business possibly being responsible for a little life one day in the future.  It's sort of irrelevant for the time being, but I do hope that my canine mothering isn't an indication of what the future could look like.  I don't neglect him and I try to be firm to keep him from hurting himself.  I play with him as regularly as I'm able to, so,  I'm not a terrible pet owner.  The issue is that he cracks. me. up.  Recently, he tore through the contents of a Tampax box that he pulled from the bathroom into the living room because, duh, where else would he do it? I got most of it away from him before he could do too much damage, but he got in a little.  I started to commit manslaughter, which at common law, is the unlawful killing of another without malice aforethought*.  Take that Bar exam.  I know one thing.  Booyah! Anyway, Mr. Beanpotts stood next to his little project and looked at me like, "Vut, joo no like? Eet ees performance aurt.  Joo are suppozed to be deesturbed!"  Seriously, that's what he sounds like.  I almost lost it.  Fortunately, I was able to maintain long enough to make sure that he got the dishes and the laundry done.

*To any law students/lawyers who feel the need to remind me that "another" only refers to human beings, remember this: people already don't like lawyers.  Let's not give them another reason, mkay?

Friday, July 2, 2010


When I was in kindergarten I had a recurring nightmare that I was with a group of people, not unlike Scooby Doo's Mystery Inc., and we were running from place to place and hiding from this witch.  We were all running, but she was really after me.  They were more like my protection, but what could they really do?  She was a witch. Of course it doesn't sound scary now, but it was terrifying at the time, and I got to the point that I dreaded going to sleep because of it. My Mamaw told me that if you tell someone about your nightmare, it'll stop being scary and you won't have it again.  I always admired her and thought of her as the perfect lady.  Not only did she have a multitude of fascinating products in her gray train case, she also said things like "over yonder" and had an enormous amount of scripture committed to memory.  She could dole it out like so much medicine at exactly the right time.  She wore coral lipstick and said my name in the most distinctive way, Lawra.  She was so special to me and I knew that she must also be right about this dream situation.  So I told her all about it, realizing for the first time that dreams don't sound scary on retelling, and that you really can take the sting out of frightening experiences by sharing them with someone else.  Maybe, that realization indirectly lead to this blog for me.  By inviting people along as I find my way, each hurdle seems less intimidating.  Anyway, I never had the dream again.  The small act of sharing my childish fear made it go away.

Confessing my shortcomings and sharing my weaknesses and fears is a common way that I deal with them now as an adult.  In my opinion, it's a bonus if you can find the humor in it.  For all of my openness, I still embarrass really easily (see my first post).  It doesn't happen in the moment, but in those quiet moments before sleep.  I'll start to wince at a comment made casually or at the fact that I get so excited and run off at the mouth.  I always want to be one of those girls that can sit there quietly and resist the urge, if they have it, to tell a dumb story.  That's just not me, though.  As Craig would say, "thems the brakes."   Or maybe he would say, "if you're gonna be a bear, be a grizzly," or "this ain't that."  He's a poet.  Instead, I'll just have to deal with my embarrassment as it comes and share the things that redden my cheeks too much.

And then to the point, because why say a little when you can say a lot?  Yesterday Craig and I had a meeting with a nun at our church for reasons that aren't important.  She is his choir director and we both like her a lot.  When the three of us were leaving the music office, I noticed a yellow and black tote bag on someone's desk.  It was the kind that drug reps give doctors with the name of their product written on it.  As we walked past, I casually said, "That's one of the drugs that my mom uses."

Let that soak in.  Nun. Mom. Drug user.

And then came the flood.  I started sputtering about how my mom isn't a drug user or addict.  She's an anesthetist.  No, Sister, she doesn't use them, I said.  She professionally administers them.  I don't say that to be funny for you.  I didn't say that to be funny for her.  I said professionally administers because I was drowning in my own, completely over blown, embarrassment.  Sheesh.

The second that I need to share so as to lighten the load for myself, also happened at church.  I'm a greeter, which basically means that I stand at the front door, say hello, and pass out bulletins.  I also tell a lot of people where the restroom is.  At the front with me are usually the deacons or their wives.  On this one morning there was a deacon's wife and one of my favorite people over seventy.  Seriously, I would invite him to my birthday party.  Anyway, this girl came up to me on that morning and asked where the confessional was.  FYI to non-Catholics, confession isn't really supposed to be optional.  You're 'posed to do it.   I don't.  I have many times, but I don't.  I never have at the church we go to.  Oh god, as I type this I feel my face burn.  Anyway, she asked me this in front of our church leaders who are always praising Craig and I for being so great for going to church every weekend and starting our family on the right foundation and being a good example for other young Catholics and I couldn't even tell her where to go!  I had to say that, no, I had no idea where she might go confess.  So, I guess in the end I was telling on myself anyway.  Oh, this one still hurts.  It's so much worse then the time we left the Presbyterian church and I accidentally dipped my hand in the trash can to cross myself, thinking it was the receptacle for holy water like at our church. 

What is this burning?  Is it my face, or is this what being smited feels like?