Thursday, September 28, 2006


I’m an editor who used to teach grammar to college freshman. At least three years of my life have been dedicated to helping people speak and write more accurately and with greater clarity.

But every time I see this Dilbert cartoon (and that’s pretty often since it hangs right next to the monitor in my cubicle), I feel a little grin spread across my lips.

Oh, who would I choose . . .the IT guy in the cube next to me? . . . heh, heh, heh . . .

Now that’s job security.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Carnival of the insects

I just got some pictures from our Michigan trip thanks to my photography-oriented friend Liz. In light of the last item on my Gratitude List, I’ve decided to post this picture of my husband at the Detroit Zoo Butterfly House.

When he saw the picture, he said, “Whoa. That’s a pretty intense look that butterfly is getting . . . I'm surprised it doesn’t start crying.”

He thought he looked angry, but I know better. I can see the beginning of a smile on the corner of his mouth. It’s the look he gets when he’s fascinated by something.

And I love that he’s fascinated by a little blue butterfly.

I’m also a bit of a would-be entomologist. Here’s another picture that Liz took. It’s this amazing little white spider. You can’t tell from the picture, but his legs are extremely short on one side. Not sure if it’s an aberration or one of his special features, but it’s what made him picture worthy. Yes, that’s my thumb in the background. I made sure not to get too close. Looking is one thing. Touching is an entirely different matter!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A good way to start the week

Mondays are usually rough—and this morning was no exception. After dragging myself out of bed, getting ready for work, and riding in a car through the dark 6:30 morning, I got to work and headed straight for the coffee maker.

The sermon my pastor preached yesterday was playing in the back of my mind. I could hear him say, “The frustration we experience now in this life is there to make us look expectantly toward heaven. God doesn’t intend for us to be fully satisfied here.” And then he gave some great advice for overcoming those depressing Monday-morning-type moments: be thankful for what God has given you and hope—not the wishful kind of hope that we often talk about but a confident expectation of the future God has promised us.

Well, here (in no particular order) are the things that I’m thankful for on a Monday afternoon.

1. Friends: We had company over two diffent evenings this weekend and enjoyed talking, eating, and playing games (including what my husband now refers to as “the Risk game to end all Risk games”). Other friends, some very far away, were also an encouragement to me this week through e-mails, phone conversations, and blogs.

2. Food: I’m not a great cook, but I’m starting to enjoy cooking as I gain more experience. Yesterday we made Thai curry chicken. I love the variety of tastes and smells available. And I’m thankful for a modern world where I can easily try food from cultures all over the globe.

3. Coffee: Specifically, coffee with coconut creamer, like the kind I had this morning. Yum.

4. Prayer: This past week I was reminded again (through friends) of the power and privilege of prayer. I thank the Lord that He has made a way for us to communicate to Him, that He listens to us, and that He wants to give us good things.

5. Work: Yes, I’m thankful for work, especially the job that God has given me. Even on a day like today where most of my work involves e-mailing and writing news releases, I enjoy what I do and I’m thankful for how God has chosen to provide for us.

6. My husband: Any list like this has to include the man who has decided to spend the rest of his days with me. I love his inquisitive mind, his sense of humor, and his ability to encourage and lead.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I spend one hour every day surfing the net and reading blogs. Because this one hour also happens to be my lunch hour, sometimes things come up, forcing me to go internetless for an entire day. (Ouch!)

This week has been full of days like that, and I’ve really missed blogging. Once again I have some things that need to be taken care of during lunch, but I wanted to at least post this cool new find.

Zazzle is an online store where you can create clothing, mugs, and cards (among other things) with unique designs. I found it through The Litabug Phlog. Litabug has her own designs that you can use, and you can customize them for your own items—like I did for this shirt. How cool is that?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wanted: women to blog

Well, I’ve been wanting post, really I have. But the last few days I’ve spent my lunch breaks (the only time I normally have to post due to a sever lack of internetage at home) making a few improvements to a group blog that I’m part of. We created it to help women connect to each other and ask questions about life—ranging from issues about laundry to whether or not mothers should work outside the home.

It’s still in its infancy, but I’m adding it to my sidebar links. (Liz, aren't you happy? :) Check it out.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My new favorite word

When I was a child, I always thought we were singing When the roll is called a pyonder (instead of When the roll is called up yonder) at church. By the end of the service, I would always forget to ask my mom what a “pyonder” was and why rolls would gain a new title when we got to heaven. I finally figured it out when I learned to read the line for myself.

I didn’t know there was a word for that experience. It’s called a mondegreen. How cool!

mon‧de‧green  [mon’-di-green] noun
A series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric.

Origin: 1954; coined by American author S. Wright from the line laid him on the green, interpreted as Lady Mondegreen, in a Scottish ballad.

Another example is I led the pigeons to the flag for I pledge allegiance to the flag. For more, go to Wikipedia.

I’d love to hear of examples from your experience. Please share!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Multiple-personality mood swings

Who needs to be a famous leader when she can be a fictional character instead?

So Chris might be really cool.
And John might be perfect.
And Will might be just all-around wonderful.

But I’m an elfin queen.

Need I say more? I didn’t think so. But just in case you’re wondering, here’s their description of me:

You are most like Galadriel. There’s just something about you that people like. A sort of aura. You’re very kind to people, and you like to help others succeed. You’re not as candid as most people would like. You’re more mature than most people your age, so don't worry!

Ok, I feel better about myself now. Less Hitleresque.

What LoTR Character Are You?

Know thyself

It’s so true! Those were the words that came out of my and my husband’s mouths when we read our MBTI personality profiles. Like a good friend of ours, I enjoy taking the occasional personality test, but I’ve never felt like any of them actually pegged me accurately.

For example, the most recent one I took told me that the famous leader I’m most like is Hitler. Um, not cool. I’ll try again later when I’m in a better mood.

I first learned of the Meyer’s-Briggs Type Indicator through my company, which tests all of its employees to help them understand how they communicate and work with others. I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But the results of the test really did help me understand my strengths and weaknesses and gave me a greater appreciation for how other people are different. (And when you learn a little about my personality, you’ll see that I definitely needed that.)

First, here’s a rundown of the preferences MBTI evaluates.

Introvert and Extrovert: How do I prefer to receive and direct my energy? Extroverts prefer outward energy flow, focused on other people and things. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer inward energy flow, focused on one’s own thoughts and ideas. For example, while introverts often make good writers, extroverts are more likely to enjoy debate and are able to think more quickly on their feet

Sensing and Intuition: How do I best receive data? Sensing people prefer to receive data primarily from the five senses, and intuitive people prefer receiving data from the subconscious, or seeing relationships via insights. This also accounts for a person’s eye for detail. Intuitive people see the big picture, and sensing people are more likely to remember specific facts or details.

Thinking and Feeling: What do I take into account when making decisions? Both strive to make rational judgments and decisions using the data received, but thinking uses logical “true or false, if-then” connections while feeling uses “more or less, better-worse” evaluations. Feeling judgments also rely more on how specific people might be affected by a decision.

Judging and Perceiving: How do I organize my life and make decisions? Judging types tend to prefer a step-by-step approach to life and prefer quick closure. Perceiving types often rely on more subjective judgments and desire to leave all options open. (Don’t misunderstand—Judging does not imply judgmental, and Perceiving does not imply perceptive.)

I’m an ENTJ: Extroverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging.

Here’s one brief description:
ENTJs are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts of challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them. They have a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are “take charge” people.

That’s great, right? Well, there is a downside:
ENTJs are very forceful, decisive individuals. They make decisions quickly, and are quick to verbalize their opinions and decisions to the rest of the world. When challenged, the ENTJ may by reflex become argumentative. Alternatively she may unleash an icy gaze that serves notice: the ENTJ is not one to be trifled with.

After taking this test, I started to notice major flaws in my character. For example, when I’m part of a group trying to solve a problem (or debating an argument), I tend to come across the solution (my solution) very quickly. I announce it to others in the group, often aghast when they do not also quickly come to the same conclusion. I promptly tell others when I perceive flaws in their logic. And when I make a decision, I might not take into account how it might affect “the little guy.”

The funny thing? According to some estimates, ENTJs make up about 5% of the population. But somehow, I managed to marry one.

So I’m working on this. I’m trying to better take into account others’ perspectives and not be so rigidly demanding. And I’m relying on the grace of God to help me through it. I love that he promises to do that.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

That’s amore

From Thursday until this past Sunday, I wore orange toe nail polish. Now, this isn’t something I usually do. In fact, I don’t even own the dreadful color. But you do odd things when you’re in a play.

This summer, my husband and I acted in a small production of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost.

The plot is simple. Four guys swear to study and not speak to women (among other prohibitions) for three years. Only moments later, four beautiful and witty ladies show up, and the men all fall desperately (and inconveniently) in love.

The men try crazy tricks like dressing up like “Muscovites” to woo the women and still keep their integrity. Don’t they just embody integrity here?

But the women are too smart for that and end up playing even better tricks on the men—like disguising themselves in scarves and sunglasses to make the guys woo the wrong girls. Ooh, aren’t we so clever.

Ok, so Shakespeare’s expecting a healthy dosage of willing suspension of disbelief. But when you add a crazy Spaniard and a group of goofballs into the mix, the play’s a lot of fun.

We played Katherine and Dumain, one of the four couples who fall in love (Fortunately, these were both minor roles that gave us plenty of stage time but not very many lines to memorize).

My favorite part about being involved in any play is meeting new people and spending time with friends. An added bonus of being in a Shakespeare production is that you have lots of the Bard’s lines constantly running through your head. All summer my husband and I have been bantering lines back and forth. Things like I will, Madam, if suddenly I may. / You will the sooner that I were away for you’ll prove perjured if you make me stay! end up popping into our normal conversations. It’s great fun.

Some of my favorite lines from the play:

We shall have, if this fadge not, a firework!
(This line we misunderstood through more than half of the performances—we all wondered why we didn’t get to see any fireworks....)

Pardon, error! (Spoken with a heavy Spanish accent)

But in this changing, what is your intent? (Spoken with a valley girl accent when offstage)

For he hath wit to make an ill shape good,
And shape to win grace though he had no wit.
(Katherine would say of Dumain)

O most divine Kate! As fair as day. (Dumain would say of Katherine :) Unfortunately, Berowne would follow with Ay, as some days; but then no sun must shine.)

The thickest and the tallest! it is so; truth is truth.
Are not you the chief woman? you are the thickest here.

(The reaction of the audience toward this line of Costard’s—directed at the princess—got more violent as the performances went on. I thought about selling tomatoes at the door so they could really let him have it.)

Maybe you’d have to have been there to find these funny, but a lot of you were. Glad you could come see us! Oh, and if you know my husband, ask him about the “rip, roaring good time” he had on stage when his pants decided to...well, I won’t ruin the surprise.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Beautiful and bubbly

California has a chain of stores dedicated to it.
Chicago’s addicted.
And some are wondering if it will topple the Starbucks monopoly on cool beverages.

It’s Bubble Tea.

This may not be the best thing for Discovery Tuesday since everyone’s already talking about it. But maybe you haven’t tried it yet.

Like a cappuccino, you can order it a variety of ways: hot, over ice, with milk, without milk, with pearls (the yummy tapioca balls), or without (shame on you for not at least trying it). My favorite is the milkshake variety.

But don’t be deceived by the name. Most flavors taste powerfully fruity and not like tea at all. I love mango and honeydew, but I’m trying to branch out a little and try more flavors. (If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment!)

You can even buy it online (or at your local Asian market) and make it at home. It begins as a powder that you can mix with milk or water. You can also add ice and mix it up in a blender. Don’t forget the pearls! They need to be boiled in water over the stove for about five minutes. Absolutely scrumptious!

Life is amazing

I post this picture* as a tribute to two of my friends (a one and a two) who are expecting, both due in February.

Congratulations, ladies.

*If you're wondering if this photo is real, you're not the first. But even Snopes is still undetermined, so I'm posting it!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where were you?

I’ve heard people talk about remembering the moment they heard that JFK was assassinated or that John Lennon died. Before September 11, 2001, I had never had that kind of experience.

Because of the confusion and gradual unfolding of the story, learning about 9/11 wasn’t a moment—it was an entire day. For me, it began with whispers in the hallway between college classes. When I heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, I imagined a small prop plane and thought, How stupid. After I learned that a second plane had done the same, I was completely confused. Later, the entire student body learned the truth at a university-wide meeting. That afternoon, I listened to the radio during work and then left early to watch the news the rest of the afternoon. My memories are vague, clouded in the confusion and jumbled with information that I know came later but seems to mix with what I learned that day.

Never forget

Bloggers throughout the United States are posting tributes to the victims of 9/11. One of them has also posted portions of the 9/11 Commission report. I watched one documentary about Flight 93 several months ago, and I ended up crying through most of it. Although I might watch another film about 9/11 in the future, I don’t think I will this year. But it was good to read through some of the report. It is good to remember.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

So you wanna be a writer?

I’m not a freelancer, and I don’t really consider myself a writer. (Although I spend about a third of the time at my job writing articles, I prefer the title hack.)

Maybe someday. Until then, I try to learn about the writing world, and there are blogs out there designed just for that purpose. Here are a few. (For the original, longer list, head on over to Inkthinker.)

The Artful Writer
I know some of you out there are really interested in film. Have you considered writing for it? This blog can help. It’s goal is to provide “information, theory and debate for the professional television and film writer.” Check it out.

Angela Booth
Want your writing to be more productive, more creative, and more lucrative? Go to Angela Booth to find helpful tips and tools for all kinds of writing.

Editors Weblog
Want to freelance for a newspaper? Curious about what’s happening in the newsroom? The Editors Weblog has information about the latest trends in journalism.

Pro Blogger
Maybe most of your writing exists on a blog. You want to make money with it, right? If so, this blog about lucrative blogging can help.

Written Road
So you like to travel. And you like to write. Maybe you should take a trip on over to the Written Road and learn about the travel publishing world. It offers information about available jobs, training, and resources for travel writers.

Again, I thank Inkthinker her guest author for this helpful information. Hope it can help some of you too.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A few of my favorite things

I think I will make Tuesdays favorite discovery day. At least this Tuesday. On Discovery Tuesday, I will share with you something that I love—something that makes my life easier or that is just plain cool.

Today’s discovery is Library Thing. I learned about it from a copyediting Listserve I’m on—and let me tell you, it’s worth all of the crazy “Who vs. Whom” rants I have to wade through every day. Wow. I can’t say enough good things about this program.

I was determined to spend part of my Labor Day (the time between checking google analytics to see if I’ve had any new visitors to my blog, that is) cataloging my husband’s books. He has a couple hundred theology and Bible study books that he inherited from one of his father’s friends. I’ve been meaning to catalogue them for some time, but I dreaded spending hours on end staring at an Excel file.

In steps Library Thing. [Cue music.] With Library Thing, all your cataloging cares drift away. With one little ISBN number or title and a simple push of a button, it completes the rest of the book information for you—title, publisher, date—you name it. It’s all of the information in and the Library of Congress right at your finger tips. [Music fades.]

Seriously, it’s great. And, no, I’m not being paid to promote their product.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Is that for here or to go?

So we all know that Americans are fat. Our kids are fat. We’re fat. Our animals are even fat. We can discuss the causes of obesity all day, but what we really need to do is get to the gym.

I’m talking to myself on this one. In college, I experienced the freshman fifteen. And after losing the freshman fifteen to look beautiful on my wedding day, I ran into the marriage twenty. (And not the kind that comes with a cute little bundle of joy, either.)

Well, I’ve recently found a little inspiration: Big Jon, the American Everyman. His struggle is our struggle. And he has an entire blog dedicated to tracking his quest to lose 100 pounds in 365 days. Best of luck, Jon. If you can lose 100, surely I can lose that pesky 20.

One in million

My wonderful husband reminded me the other day that I am a microscopic splat on the great windshield of blogdom. Here’s a snippet of our conversation.

WH: You can’t just expect people to stumble onto your blog. Do you know how many new blogs are created every day?

ME: No. How many?

WH: 1,000.

ME: Every day?

WH: Every

ME: Oh.

I wanted to check his math, and I found an article that disagrees with him. Well, sort of. It says that there are 175,000 blogs created every day. That’s 7,200 per hour (more then 2 per second).

And so I thank you, visitors, for choosing my blog. I’m glad you could stop by.

And I also thank Google Analytics for helping me to know when and where people are stopping by. So far I've had visitors from Florida; South Carolina; North Carolina; Illinois; Michigan; Colorado; Vermont; Seoul, South Korea; and Bogotá, Columbia.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Baby steps into blogdom

Well, a big thank you goes out to a friend who told me that I hadn't enabled people outside to comment. I think that I have now fixed the problem. Sorry guys! Don't give up on me yet!

Words, words, words

When you make a living as an editor, you sort of become a word nerd.
I love words.
I love that words can sound beautiful (vermillion) or terrible (holocaust) or downright strange (widdershins). I love finding just the right word. (As one of my English teachers told me in grad school: "There are no true synonyms.")
Now I have a question. Do you distinguish between words like lucky, fortunate, and blessed? I have a pretty strong view of Providence, and I've heard some people disdain the use of lucky and fortunate. I know those words imply the rule of chance (or worse). But I'm still partial to fortunate. And I can't imagine using blessed all of the time. (For some reason it pops out of my mouth with a bit of a Southern twang.)
What words do you use? And why?