Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Work Videos

At work, because of my great bosses, who support trying new things, I have been able to participate in a lot of really fun and creative projects. I have learned how to direct, film, and edit video. It's not Golden Globe quality, but I'm still pretty proud of my work!

Feast your eyes.
Can these videos really make you laugh? Are those Geico commercials with that question guy funny? 

My friends are good sports. We filmed this during their day off from school.

This parody is my favorite. Diane did such a fabulous job, and I cracked myself up every time I worked on it.

Here is a video that isn't a parody. I filmed a visit from Texas A&M's own revered Reveille. When I watched the footage, I noticed that her mouth was moving when we had the podcast equipment around her. I thought, "Why, we could make a video podcast from Reveille about the UWC, by golly!" So we made one. I really liked how it turned out. Does her voice sound familiar or is it just me? Yes.

Reveille's Video Podcast

[Sorry that I couldn't imbed the video here, but I hope you still enjoy it.]

I'll let you know if I get nominated for any awards or what not. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Not Yet!!!

Starting a couple of weeks ago, I have woken up to my annoying, beeping alarm clock as usual. I blinked, debating whether to fall back asleep for a few more minutes, but finally gave in and stretched before sitting up. Then my next thoughts have shocked me every time: "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose..."

No, not yet! It's way too early--it's not even Halloween!! Crap.

Let there be no doubt that I love Christmas songs and I love Christmas. I almost tear up every year hearing songs I've heard ever since I was a child. I love walking around to see twinkling Christmas lights on a cold night and then enjoying a warm cup of hot chocolate. But those who know me well know that I groan when I see Christmas decorations and hear Christmas music in October or November.

What about Thanksgiving? Why is Thanksgiving overshadowed? Being grateful seems to become an afterthought more and more these days anyway. Even the day devoted to giving thanks receives poor attention. Plus, some versions of Christmas songs should never have been recorded. (Just saying.) It's not that I don't like Christmas stuff, but it's hard to see the past the commercial selfishness with early products

So why the sudden change in my behavior that obviously opposes my usual holiday philosophy? I can only think of one explanation. My subconscious knows that Tracy will graduate in December, and it associates December automatically with Christmas. So because I want him to graduate, I subconsciously also want Christmas to come faster. Someone please explain to my subconscious that singing Christmas songs in October is not going to speed up time!

I will continue to look forward to December and Christmas, but with a little more appropriate anticipation, I hope. If not, I suppose I'll just have to face the music.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Goodness Gracious Great Balls of . . .

I have never boasted of being a good cook. I hate deciding what to eat, and I'm not very experienced in different modes of cooking. I feed myself and my husband tolerably well--I try to use some variety, but I also play it safe and use my go-to recipes and dishes. Being married to an older man has enabled me to learn from him and expand my cooking skills a bit, and he has exposed me to a couple of foods I didn't eat growing up. The kitchen is probably my least favorite room in the house--it's saving grace is that my ice cream lives in the kitchen. But I still do not enjoy cooking and don't ever see that changing.

As pessimistic as that sounds, yesterday was proof.  On Saturday night, I was brave. I attempted to make monkey bread, but being not so brave, I used a recipe that involved those biscuits from a can. Bunt-less, I used a normal casserole dish and underestimated how much the bread would rise. Spillage everywhere. It being Saturday night, I decided to wait to clean the bottom of my oven until Monday.

Yesterday, I was making cookies (easy, right?) for our church choir, and smoke emerged from the stove burners. My oven had caught on fire. Although the flame was not big at all (probably the circumference of a cantaloupe), I yelled for Tracy to help me put out the fire and get rid of the smoke before the smoke alarms went off. As we rushed about to fetch fans and open windows, the timer for the cookies (which by the way sounds a lot like the smoke alarm) went off, and Tracy looked at me and said, "The cookies are done!" with his child-like happy grin on his face. I laughed, but I also secretly cursed the kitchen in my head.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Playing Shakespeare: Making Up Words

I think by now that many people understand or know the tremendous effect Shakespeare has had on the English language. He created many of the common phrases and words we use now. In composition, we say that beginning writers should follow models of strong writing, so why not follow Shakespeare’s example and create new phrases and words? (Just make sure you use them in the appropriate context, e.g. not in a formal cover letter, etc.)

In speech, we can get away with a lot of sayings that aren’t necessarily acceptable in formal writing. So I take the opportunity in my informal speech to introduce words that people probably don’t hear frequently, or ever for that matter. Admittedly, these words aren’t as sophisticated as Shakespeare’s, but I have to start somewhere. For your ease, I have provided definitions, the International Phonetic Alphabet pronunciations (I think my word font changed some of them so bear with me on them), other words I commonly use in place of said made-up words, and usage examples of my most common or my recent favorite made up phrases and words. Take that Shakespeare!

Doink (/dɔink/): n. a person who demonstrates a lack of common sense, See also ding-a-ling or ding-dong; v. to do something incorrectly or mess it up; to lose control of a ball or sports object, see also shank; adj. to be out of place or contorted. "That driver crossed five lanes in one motion. What a doink!" (My mom created this word, and we use it in almost any part of speech in my family frequently, but people outside our family give me funny looks when I do use it. I can’t imagine why . . .)

-esque and -ish. Obviously these suffixes are already in common usage, but I apply it to almost any noun or adjective. For example, officialesque or officialish (I know that these don’t make sense at first glance--how can something have qualities of being official and not be--but if you have ever played church sports, they start to make perfect sense). 

Loquidiot (/lokwIdiǝt/): n. a person who talks incessantly about nonsensical rubbish, a combination of loquacious and idiot. “The loquidiot’s complaining prevented his co-workers from explaining that the door opens by pushing, not pulling it.” (Tracy invented this one with a former roommate.)

Whomp (/wamp/): v. to create an unfortunate or undesirable effect or situation, see also suck. “I have five loads of laundry to do by myself. This whomps!” (I actually remember hearing this on a cartoon called Recess when I was a child. So although I did not create it, I have kept using it and therefore claim it.)

Yoink (/jɔink/): v. to grab; to steal, although not maliciously, see also commonly used pilfer or filch; to borrow. “Mind if I yoink your pen for a second?”

I know I have more, but these are the ones I can think of at the moment. If we talk soon, I’m sure you’ll hear others. 

Have you made up words? I’d love for you to share them!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cheerleader Time! DEFENSE!!!

Tracy is so darn close to being done! He has one more revision of his thesis, and he plans to defend on October 7. (Sidenote: I hate that it is a called a defense. Are they attacking him? Are they shooting arrows at him? I suppose they could shoot figurative arrows of academic skepticism at him, but to my understanding, a defense entails more of a discussion between academic peers. If ever a word would evoke terror in graduate students' minds and hearts, it is defense. Sidenote over.)

Because Tracy already has a job waiting for him after graduation, he feels pretty motivated already to finish his thesis as soon as he can. But I wanted to give him some sugary energy and a fun message from me to cheer him on.

In case you can't read the sign or the labels on the candy, the message says, "Hey Tracy, It's CRUNCH time!! Pull out all your TWIX and push to PAYDAY. Our joyful SNICKERS later will make your 100 GRAND effort worth it!" The Reese's honestly doesn't fit into a sentence. I just stuck in on there at the end because it is his favorite candy. I suppose I could have done something with the "King Size" part, but oh well.

Some have asked whether he has taken advantage of my editing skills, and the answer is NO. I only looked over one grant proposal a little over a year ago. Otherwise, I have not read one page of his text. I have helped PhD candidates in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, marketing, animal science, etc. with improving journal articles and their theses or dissertations. So why have I not helped Tracy with his thesis, you ask? In geology, every other word is jargon and almost every sentence appears in the passive voice. In the past, Tracy took 10 minutes to explain one paragraph to me without using field-specific terminology so I could understand the concept. That fact alone makes that process pretty painful. So he has opted to revise it a million times on his own with his adviser. He hasn't asked me to look at it, so I'll just cheer him on and be there however I can if and when he needs me.

Cheer with me: DEFENSE!! (clap, clap) DEFENSE!! (clap, clap)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

If you have not read Thomas S. Monson's amazing statement to the Washington Post about 9/11, you can read it here. I feel like I'm just elaborating on my specific examples of what he said.

I was thirteen, almost fourteen, on September 11, 2001. I admit my age to state that I am of the generation that was old enough to realize what happened ten years ago but not understand how truly horrific it was, much less why. Why would someone attack the United States? Why would someone use a plane as a weapon? Why would anyone want to kill so many people?

Ten years later, I still can't answer many of these why questions. The thought of justifying murder and attack boggles my mind and conscience. However, I have found some other answers to the real questions that I didn't expect.

-Life is precious and sacred. We never know when it will shift on us. Everyone realized what matters most after 9/11. We can't forget that lesson, even when times are good.

-A personal lesson I have learned is that violence for violence's sake should not be cool or entertaining. Too many people said, "It looked like a movie" on 9/11. A disconnect between reality and fantasy has clouded the horror of violence. I admit to liking some action movies, which seems like the contradiction of the century next to my previous statement. However, I think there is a difference between violence for violence's sake and violence that has an appropriate, meaningful, reasonable purpose. We have to be careful that we do not become desensitized and glorify mutilation of the human body, lest we cheapen the horror of what some people have endured.

-We should never let fear or ignorance prevent us from discovering truth or meeting good people. While we were in Pullman, Washington, we met a Muslim couple who invited us to come to their mosque for a visitor's day. We enthusiastically accepted the invitation and found that while we did not understand the rituals in Arabic, we did not feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or pressured by the people worshiping there. Afterward, they answered our questions and shared their views on modesty (while mine are not as "radical" in appearance, the general premise is exactly the same), health and diet (again, very similar to my beliefs), and other things that amazingly seemed similar to the Judeo-Christian traditions. Most of all, they clarified common myths about their faith--sound familiar? When we moved to College Station, two men from Iraq lived across from us. They wanted to practice their English, so they invited us over for dinner. They were happy to be in the United States, despite the beyond extensive background checks, interviews, and searches they endured. They showed us pictures of their children, told jokes in broken English, and became our friends. Good people come from all walks of life and beliefs. We need to try to treat others with respect and kindness and live the best way we know how.

-Every religion has had people who misuse their faith to justify horrible things. I don't understand how someone can misinterpret religious texts and put words in God's mouth. I will do my personal best to honor my beliefs (God is merciful, yet just. He loves everyone, and so should we) in my interaction with everyone--either in or out of my faith.

The greatest homage we can pay to those who have paid the ultimate price is to rebuild, to change, to live differently--live happier, smarter, more selflessly, braver, better.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Can Life Get Any Better? I Submit That It Cannot!

 On Friday, we got to see one of our favorite comedians--Brian Regan! When we found out that he was coming to Texas A&M for their First Yell (a long-running tradition to practice their yells before the first football game--yes, this really is a tradition), we knew we had to get tickets.

I don't like too many comedians. I mean I have moments when I appreciate a certain joke, but I don't necessarily like a specific comedian because most comedians use horrible language or aren't clever or mature enough not to refer inappropriately to sex or bodily functions in their acts. I can't think of anything that Brian Regan has said that made me feel uncomfortable.

However, one of Brian's jokes this past Friday started out with his suggestion that we should all get one free kill. At first that seemed very . . . uh . . . disturbing, but just hear how he says it.

Love it!!

In the university's newspaper, one of the yell leaders referred to a time when Brian Regan said he would not tell a joke he wouldn't say to his kids. Awesome! He even tells jokes his son suggests for his act: "Why aren't there anymore dinosaurs? Because they're all dead." ha.

We loved it. If you ask me real nice, I can share some of his other jokes (about dancing, the College Station airport, etc.).

For those of you who do not know Brian Regan's genius, watch these and enjoy!

An entertained, happy couple!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

English Insanity!

My job puts in the same room with many people from all over the world:  Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, India, Iraq, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, France, etc. One of the most enjoyable, yet challenging, things about my job is that I explain to these global scholars the difference between “write it down” and “write it up.” Idiomatic phrasal verbs (a verb+ a preposition) are among the hardest to explain. Often, I provide reasons for phrases and usages that I have never thought about before because I am a native speaker.

Think about the phrasal verb turn.

Turn on can used for lights (or a machine) or attraction. The difference? The latter includes a noun or pronoun referring to a person. Then, we can also use turn on with streets and directions (“Turn on Kensington Drive”). Most of the uses of turn off provide convenient opposite uses of turn on, which believe me is rather rare.

Unlike turn on and turn off pair, turn out and turn in are completely unrelated to each other. Turn out can refer to a crowd’s presence (“We’ll see how many people turn out [Note: turn up also works here] for the party”) or the outcome of a situation: “I hope things turn out okay.” Turn out could mean that someone or something has been evicted: “The poor family was turned out yet again.” Like turn off, turn out can refer to lighting “Who turned out the lights?” Turn in means to go to sleep or to give something. “I turned in my resume.”

Turn into and turn in to are a fun couple to talk about. One little space changes meaning here. Turn into means to change or transform (e.g. “She turned me into a newt”). Turn in to means to give something to someone or change direction (e.g. “He turned his paper in to his professor late” and “I turned in to the parking lot”). But what about the statement, “I turned (into/in to) a pole”? I assume that I did not transform into a pole, so I also assume that it should be in to. However, one little space says that by a magical spell I changed into a pole. I once enthusiastically pointed this funny and fun difference out to a native-speaking student, and he slowly said, “Okay.” Just saying!

Turn up, as stated before, can refer to attendance, but it can also refer to positive results: “Things are turning up!” Turn up can be used for measurable controls: “Turn up the AC!” Turn down means to deny a request: “He turned me down.”

I have to get pretty creative in explaining why certain prepositions go with certain usages. For example, I might come up with a pneumonic device to help them remember that turn in means to sleep inside the covers in bed. But how do I explain that we say that a house can burn up and burn down at the same time? Is it logical to say that we fill in a form by filling it out? At some point, I shrug and apologize for the insanity.

So just one verb, turn, with just some of its prepositions has many different meanings. How many verbs are there? Don’t use the wrong preposition in the wrong context or you’ll be saying something you don’t mean to say. Good luck, English learners!

More than anything in this discussion, I just wish to show how insane and how similar to Frankenstein’s monster English is. I love my language’s complexities and oddities, but I think we native English speakers could have a little more patience, understanding, and respect for those who are learning it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hold Your Horses!!

Okay, so I dropped off the face of the blogging planet for a couple of months. Sorry, I'm back.

I don't know if anyone would remember when I posted my "Before I Die" list, but I stated that one of things I would like to do before I die is learn how to ride a horse comfortably.

I got a chance to practice a couple of months ago! My awesome boss has horses and invited all of us to come out to her place for a work party. She had a couple of her horses saddled up and ready to ride.

I didn't get up to a trot or gallop because the horse I rode is still being trained. They just wanted to make sure she didn't buck me off or try to run away with me on her back. I guess I can appreciate that. She said we can come back and ride whenever we want. I'm totally taking her up on that!

 Doc loves doing his favorite trick. Too bad we didn't have any treats to give him.

 This is Sunny, the horse I rode. She's still pretty young, but she's pretty sweet.
 Tracy enjoyed being around the horses too!

 This is Bug. He's the largest and the leader of the group.

I love horses!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Quick Friday Thought: Princesses

If I had time, I'd post pictures of the Royal Wedding and comment on how much I would have loved to be there (or live there really), how beautiful Kate's dress was, how amazing it would be to live in a palace. However, I'll just post this little thought.

"I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty, or smart, or young. They're still princesses. All of us. Didn't your father ever tell you that?" --The Little Princess.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How Is NASCAR Still Around?

Shhhhh . . . Don't let my hardcore Southern acquaintances know I said this. I just might get lynched for saying this.

NASCAR is definitely on my list of the top ten dumbest, most wasteful forms of entertainment in America today. 

I don't see why NASCAR has fans or how it is fun or enjoyable. Honestly, after watching Olympic runners turn about four laps around the track, I start to get bored, and with runners I can see their inspiring perseverance in their faces. There is human drama and personal determination in those races. How can people sit and watch 35+ cars drive 500 laps around a track? We can't see the drivers. We just see crashes, cars getting lapped and never getting even close to the top ten spots, and wasted gas and tires. Maybe driving around the track is more fun than watching it, but even then after probably 10 laps, I would get tired of the repetitive scenery.

As in other sports, if NASCAR should even be considered a sport, the 'athletes' are overpaid. Having no power steering certainly can be challenging, but when they have crew chiefs to give them strategies, do we really need to pay the talented drivers roughly $3.5 million annually to steer a car in one direction? I'd like to see if or how uneven the drivers' arm sizes and strength are.

I can see the entertainment in racing in the old days when cars were new or started to become more classy and chic in addition to more powerful. I admit I liked watching the Love Bug when I was a kid (but even Herbie raced on roads, not a bland track). These days, we all know how to drive, and I don't know anyone who wants to have Wonderbread stickers plastered all over their car. Let's face it--racing has become trashy and is logically outdated. I don't see why people keep wasting their money to see it.

I realize that in a year NASCAR doesn't use even one-tenth of the gas consumed by the nation every day. However, aren't we encouraged to carpool, to ride our bikes, to walk, to use public transportation more often to conserve energy resources and reduce cost? Aren't we told that we each should do our part to protect our planet? Well, I wonder what NASCAR is contributing to social responsibility. They supply 500 laps around an oval in 40 races a year. And don't even get me started on the fans who travel hundreds of miles to get to these races. Brilliant.

I understand that NASCAR is a profitable industry (although I'll never understand why). I understand that as long as people are willing to pay for tickets, NASCAR will continue to provide races. But couldn't we push drivers to use more urgent strategic methods in 250 laps or, heaven forbid, 100 laps? Couldn't we save some X number of tires and gallons of gas per race if we reduce the number of laps? Couldn't we limit the number of cars in each race to ensure that those in the race will actually have a chance to possibly win the race?

I'll let you know if I find the word "Yankee" graffiti-ed on the outside of my apartment. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Favorite Kind of Weather

Most people love the summer sun. I'm a fair-skinned redhead. The sun and I have a delicate relationship.

Don't get me wrong; I like the bright, warm sun, but I like a partly or mostly cloudy day just as much as I like a sunny day. Plus, I'm more of a temperate weather girl. I can't seem to escape hellish hot summers, much to my dismay. What makes it a good day weatherwise? Wind! (Maybe I like italics because they look like they are being blown . . .)

Most people don't like wind. If you have about two minutes, watch this. It makes me so sorry for him and yet giggle shamelessly at the same time.

I love wind. I love a cool breeze on a toasty summer day. I love a crisp fall wind that spins leaves in the air.

Besides, that messy hairstyle is what people are going for these days anyway, right?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My First Repurposing Project

I love websites like Etsy, Make It and Love It, and my cousin's blog, where they give ideas to repurpose old clothes into new ones.

I probably will copy their ideas eventually, and might have already with this one unknowingly, but I came up with this idea all by myself. I'm so big!

Please excuse the crudity of this project. My sewing skills are pretty elementary. I gotta start somewhere!
I started out with this shirt with really long, obnoxious sleeves. So I cut them off!
They have this fun striped pattern on them, and I thought of making a baby girl skirt.

I cut a strip out of the sleeve to make the belt loops. I have only one button at the top to allow the baby to still move around her little legs and show off the striped pattern on the inside.

A ribbon or an actual belt completes this skirt. Not bad, eh? (Note: there is a reason I haven't shown the back. But the front looks pretty cute!!) Like I said, I've got to start somewhere!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Buffet of Laughter

Tracy got back from his exhausting ten-day trip in Washington state on Tuesday. For the last five days he was there, he got a total of eleven hours of sleep.

Eleven hours of sleep for five days . . .

Basically: two-hour time change+tedious thesis work=one tired Tracy

He slept for sixteen hours on Wednesday and twelve hours on Thursday. Even today, Monday, he is still adjusting to our normal schedule.

We wanted to go out to eat to celebrate another milestone in his thesis work (and to avoid cooking). Tracy sometimes likes going to buffet places like Golden Corral because he can have all the kinds of meat he wants. (Plus, the Golden Corral here has Bluebell ice cream--Yum!!) They are not our favorite places to eat, but every once in a great while it's not bad. Tracy chose Golden Corral this time.

So we're there eating and chatting when we hear what sounds like the product of a moan, a scream, and a cry. Somewhere in the restaurant, a man obviously was experiencing something very difficult, indeed. Initially, Tracy and I looked around us, wondering if he was anywhere close by or if others heard what we did. Nope and nope.

We then proceeded to have several imaginary conversations with this guy. "You all right there, buddy?" "It's a buffet, but you don't have to eat all of it, you know." "I told you to stop at that last plate." "Put the roll down, and step away." "This potato salad is so good--I can't stop eating it!!!" "I have eaten too much, woe is me!!!" "Curse you, buffet food!!"

Good times at Golden Corral.

Overall morals of this story:
1. Eating at a buffet doesn't have to mean eating so much that you let out painful, exasperated cries.
2. True, when you go to a buffet, you want to eat your money's worth, but remember, you have to drive home afterward. Friends don't let friends drive stuffed. You don't want to get a DWS (driving while stuffed).
3. Marry someone you can laugh and do silly things with. :)

Double the Fun

My sister finally had her twins!!! She and the babies are doing fine. They are healthy and beautiful. Yay!!!

Meet Jace Bryan, 5 lbs 4 oz, and Allie, 5 lbs 1 oz.

So cute! Great! Now I have two more reasons to visit family!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

National Grammar Day: A Day of Communication and Knowledge

Happy National Grammar Day!!!!

So what if it's an arbitrarily created holiday? Grammar is worth celebrating!

Usually, I don't promote web sites that claim to know "correct" grammar with a cartoon as their mascot, and although some of the things on this website are pretty darn silly (such as their "Grammar Song"--yikes), it seems like this website seeks to educate people about appropriate grammar.

I studied literature, language, and editing in college. I am a trained editor. I see misspellings in menus, on signs, in books, on Facebook, and in papers and manuscripts all the time. It astounds me that some people can't catch missing letters or rearranged letters before sending their work to the press and sharing it with everyone.

Marital and martial are different adjectives--although I suppose in some unfortunate cases, they could both be true.

Public and pubic shouldn't ever appear in the other's context.

Your and you're are different. So are two, to, and too. And they're, their, and there. And its and it's. By the way, Word most often won't catch the wrong usages of these words.

People just don't seem to realize that their computers can't catch all the complexities and nuances of the English language. People, you still need to know English grammar in order to communicate clearly and effectively.


I sometimes wince when people jump to criticize or "correct" others' grammar, mostly because they are typically what everyone calls the scary "Grammar Nazis." Ironically, the grammar these Grammar Nazis so passionately enforce comes from another language and has been outdated for about fifty years. For some reason people keep clinging to old grammar. Catch up, people! The language train moves fast!!

The word e-mail has undergone changes within the last ten years from electronic mail to E-mail to e-mail, and some dictionaries have switched to email. Small change? Yes, but it's still represents a language change.

One thing I like about this Grammar Girl web site is that they have a Grammar Myths Exposed section. Here are just a few. (Bold denotes the myths from the web site.The italics are for my comments on the myths.)
  1. You shouldn't start a sentence with the word "however." BULL!! And you can start a sentence with "and." Go and tell your seventh grade English teacher that for me, will you?
  2. "Irregardless" is not a word. I am still learning to accept that grating sound, but it's true. Merriam-Webster has added "irregardless" to the dictionary. If you don't like it, don't use it. To be on the safe side, you might want to avoid using it in writing and formal conversations, but otherwise, you can feel guiltless in using this word.
  3. There is only one way to write the possessive form of a word that ends in "s." Consistency is a huge concept in deciding this. Just make sure that whether you choose 's (Gus's pineapple) or s' (Gus' pineapple) that you are being consistent throughout the piece of writing.
  4. Passive voice is always wrong. For those who don't know what passive voice is, go here. If you want to emphasize the actor (thing/person doing the action) then use active voice. If the direct object (thing/person receiving the action) needs to be emphasized, then use passive voice.
  5. "I.e." and "e.g." mean the same thing. i.e.= that is (meaning a renaming or clarifying statement will follow); e.g.= for example (used for . . . well . . . examples of a concept)
  6. You shouldn't split infinitives. This is an old, old, old rule from . . . wait for it . . . Latin. Yep, a completely different language with different rules and constraints. An infinitive is the basic form of a verb (in English with "to" in front of it: to abscond, to flounce, to canoodle). Latin is the origin of romance languages (not languages of love, although they can be romantic, I guess). In Latin, verbs are one word. It is impossible to split an infinitive in Latin. But this is English. They are two separate words. My personal policy for my own writing is that I write what sounds good. If it sounds better to split it, then I split it. Does it sound better to say, "to boldly go where no man has gone before" or "to go boldly where no man has gone before"? You decide.
  7. You shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition. Again, a odd borrowing from Latin. I personally don't like hearing, "Where are you at?" Where already implies location, so "at" is superfluous. But people will use it anyway. Most of the time though, I'm fine with prepositions at the end of sentences. Winston Churchill (it's questionable if it was actually him or not) is often attributed as saying this about prepositions at the end of a sentence: "This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put." Again, go by clarity of communication.

There are at least a thousand more where these came from.

Guess what, people? Language evolves. Get used to it!!! There are some changes I don't like, but as long as a language is living (or used by native speakers), it changes whether we like it or not. Therefore, grammar rules change too.

Give it a rest, Grammar Nazis. You're making grammar intimidating and dry when we should be celebrating our grammar's idiosyncrasies and abilities!

Yay for grammar!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Child's Wish Ten Years Too Late

When Tracy and I saw this bag of off-brand Marshmallow Mateys, which ironically is an off-brand itself, our inner children jumped at the chance to eat a bowl with tons of marshmallows. When Tracy poured the first bowl, we started to regret it.

Okay. This will be fun . . .

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl: A Family Event

Tracy and I will probably always struggle just a little with sports in our home. I like sports, but having SportsCenter and several games on every day is boring for me but relaxing and fun for him. But one thing we have agreed on is no sports on Sunday. We agree that Sunday should be a day of relaxation, peace, meditation, and family unity. But he really loves sports. So we have compromised that he cannot watch sports on Sunday except the Superbowl, but we will watch the Superbowl as a family--and the Wulfs will either go big or go home with it (even though we will be home when we watch it--sorry, bad joke).

In our second year of Superbowl Super Sunday, Tracy made his first round of jerky with his new dehydrator. His carnivorous eyes glowed with excitement all weekend.

In my family, we have an inside joke. Whenever my mom made roast on Sundays, her friends could always tell because the smell lingered in her hair and on her clothes for the rest of the day. I felt the same was going to happen to me. I wish the internet could communicate and transfer smells and their intensities. Usually after I've been in a room for awhile, I become accustomed to that smell. The jerky smell never went away! It was a good smell but a strong one. Interestingly, I went to a baby shower later that day with 6 or 7 pregnant women. I didn't know whether they would crave the smell and sniff my hair, try to lick me in hopes that the flavor also transferred, or just barf on me. Luckily, my "smell-pretties" (as Tracy calls perfumes and colognes in his child-like way) seemed to cover up the smell enough. No awkward moments or barfing.

Now to the main event.

Look at all this food. No we didn't eat all of it--we didn't even put a dent in it. There were only two of us! But we wanted options, and we had many!

Thank goodness the Packers won; otherwise there wouldn't be peace in the Wulf household for a long time. During the football game, however, I found that convenient times to go to the bathroom or do other things were mostly during the game itself, so I wouldn't miss commercials. :)

I'm excited that we are creating our family traditions. The Superbowl is a common one, but it still shows that we are consciously choosing and creating our own.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I read this fascinating article the other day about blogs--Mormon women's blogs to be more specific. I'll give you a few minutes to read it.

At first I felt an interesting mix of emotions.

I like this new-found respect for the thriftiness, happiness, and creativity of stay-at-home Mormon mommy bloggers, even if only for a momentary fantasy from a hectic work schedule. Even if some non-Mormon women only envy the happy family life portrayed in Mormon mommy blogs during what they consider stressful, "the grass is always greener" moments, at least others can recognize that family life can be happy. I believe that family is not the only way to feeling fulfillment, but I feel that it can be the most fulfilling endeavor in life through effort, love, communication, and compromise.

I also felt awkward that strangers would read the blogs of people they don't know and look at photos of kids they don't know. That's kinda . . . weird and creepy! I don't read strangers' blogs unless they have a legit business of some sort.

I'm sure that some of the Mormon mommies read this author's article and momentarily wished they had a career, a quiet and clean house, and no obligations once they got home, but then they, too, would realize that they just like daydreaming about it, that they love their lives, that they wouldn't trade what they have for anything.

To each her own.