Searching For A Reasonable Copy May Be As Elusive As Searching For Bobby Fischer

My youngest son is a big chess fan. He’s just turned 10 and can beat all of us at a game of chess.

All of us.

He has this uncanny knack for seeing moves 10 moves ahead. None of us enjoy getting beat by him all the time so we bought him an electronic chess board. He’s challenged by the computer’s moves. He leaves us alone now. (His choice.)

It’s a win-win.

I remember seeing a movie, a long time ago, called “Searching For Bobby Fischer.” I knew he would like it so I reserved it on Netflix. “A very long wait” is what it says under expected availability. We’re tired of waiting.

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So I looked on Amazon.

There are quite a few purchasing options, ranging anywhere from $11.97 to ……..

$1,979.99.

Plus $3.99 in shipping.

Really?

You’re selling a DVD for two thousand dollars and you can’t throw in shipping?

Gotta love free enterprise!

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If Grey (With Pink Polka Dots) Was A Spring Color

Today always brings a wistful melancholy.

Forty years later. I still remember.

I was in kindergarten. My friend Jeannie was in one class. I was in the other. We walked to and from school together every day. But once we reached the building, we took off our coats and hats and gloves and boots and put on our school shoes. She went to her class and I went to mine. We saw each other at recess and at “Morning Time.”

At Morning Time, the two classes sat together in the  common area between the two classrooms. We sang a song. We talked about which day of the week it was. And if the date was significant in some way.

First Day of Spring.

Jeannie and I were sitting next to each other. Like we always did during Morning Time. It was cold outside. Still snow on the ground. I was wearing my favorite dress. A soft, grey wool sweater dress with a pink polka dot border at the bottom. It twirled. A little. And I had on tights. And little grey boots. The boots click-clacked when I walked. I felt grown-up. Pretty.

It was the first day of spring. And it was still very cold. But Jeannie was wearing a short sleeved white dress with little blue and yellow flowers all over. Her dress really twirled. It had a ruffle at the bottom and at the sleeves. She was wearing white tights and shiny patent leather shoes. She felt grown-up and pretty.

Mrs. Kay, Jeannie’s teacher, was leading the group. She asked us about spring. And the new life and colors it brings. She asked everyone who was wearing pretty spring colors to stand up.

I looked down at my pretty, pink polka dots and smiled. Jeannie and I clasped hands and stood up together.

Mrs. Kay talked about each of the colors she saw and when she got to me she said, “Jane, sit down, please. You’re not wearing spring colors today.”

“But Mrs. Kay….I’m wearing pink polka dots.”

“No, Sweetie. Your dress is grey.”

All she could see was the grey. All I knew was that my favorite soft, grey wool dress with pink polka dots was now ugly and itchy.

I plopped down as I heard Mrs. Kay say, “Now everyone look at Jeannie’s dress. White with those pretty blue and yellow flowers! What a wonderful celebration of spring!”

I didn’t hear much after that. My grey dress was no longer my favorite. One sentence took that all away.

………..

To recognize the First Day of Spring today, I wore my favorite grey cardigan. With a pale, pink blouse underneath.

In honor of Mrs. Kay.

I do that quite often now. For the past 20 years, or so, I wear a combination of grey and pink on the First Day of Spring. My adult self, showing my 5-year-old self that grey and pink can feel like spring. It’s an attitude. It’s from within.

And words will not diminish me anymore.

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The Zen Of Daylight Saving Time

(An oldie, but a goodie. Enjoy!)

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Here I sit. Bleary-eyed. Unmotivated. Exhausted.

And it’s almost 11am. Gosh, I could swear it was only 10 o’clock. Where did the time go? (Bear with me. These jokes are going to continue for the next couple of days.)

I loathe Daylight Saving Time in the spring. Loathe it. I start dreading it. I try to prepare for it by getting to bed earlier and waking up earlier. It never works. (Although, I will say that since having kids I notice the effects less and less. Chalk it up to being perpetually sleep deprived.)

So imagine my surprise when the priest at mass Saturday night says, “I know you are all here this evening, but I invite you to join us again tomorrow morning for my favorite day of the year!”

Favorite? Did I hear wrong? My ears perk up. Because tomorrow is my least favorite day of the year.

“Trust me,” he goes on to share, “It’s a blast! Because at about 40 minutes into the mass, people start trickling in thinking they’re arriving early when actually they’re 40 minutes late. The expressions on their faces?  Priceless!”

I can only imagine.

I hate to be late for anything. I had to learn to deal with that personality quirk after children, however. It seems they have their own agendas when it comes to being anywhere – Toddler Time, I used to call it. Now? It has no name. Other than late. But I digress…

Whose brilliant idea was it to move Daylight Saving Time smack dab in the middle of flu and cold season? Certainly not a mother of small children. And explaining bedtime while the sun is still blaring outside? How do the mothers of Alaska do it?

I asked a friend how she felt about this time of year. Didn’t she just hate it?

“No,” she replied.

Oh, you’re one of those who think the extra hour of sunshine is worth it?

“Not really,” she said, “I just don’t have an opinion about something I can’t change.”

Oh, how very Zen of you.

Pfffft. I wish I could be like her. I really do. But no matter how hard I try I can’t get over the fact that I’m losing one whole hour of sleep, one whole hour of my life every single spring. Sure, I get it back in the fall (Hence, my absolute favorite day of the year. Ok, not absolute – but certainly in the top 10!) but is really worth all this trouble?

Daylight Saving Time was established to save energy. The theory is that taking advantage of the daytime hours we will all use less electricity. Go ahead. Google it. There are conflicting studies out there with regards to the validity of this theory. And many claim that there is little to no effect in any energy savings during this time.

Little to no effect.

I choose to believe those studies.

So, again, I ask is it worth it?

(Silence.)

Oh, I suppose all of you out there are so very Zen, too.

Sigh.

Well, I’m stepping off this path of enlightenment…

and going back to bed.

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This Is My Feeble Attempt To Toot My Own Horn

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My daughter is a junior in college. A marketing major. And she’s chomping at the bit to test her chops. My self-employed husband has listened to her unsolicited advice. Employed some of her suggestions. Even “hired” her for future projects. She’s excited to be applying what she knows. An ambitious, energetic, bright, young woman, she’s been pushing her mother, too.

They say you write best when you about write what you know. I’ve found that here, on this blog. My best posts are the ones when I write about something I’m passionate about. And I know I’ve mentioned it a few times, but I’m really passionate about Walt Disney and visiting Disney World.

I’ve been a little scarce here but that’s because I’ve been cheating on you all. I’m writing somewhere else. I love helping others plan their trips to Disney World and my husband encouraged me to put myself out there, by way of a blog. Scary thought for an introvert like me. You see, this blog was a tester blog to eventually create a Disney blog. And that was 5 years ago. I just got too comfortable here. Afraid to branch out. Afraid to face all the competition out there. But my husband said, “You don’t have to be the best. You just have to do what you love.”

So a few months ago, I finally took the plunge. And while I’m writing about what I love and know, I’m not entirely happy with the writing. It’s different, putting out fact based material. Staying away from the silly and the uninformed opinion and the random inspirations. But it is what I’m passionate about. And it will improve. I just have to keep at it.

“But Mom, you haven’t told anyone about what you’re doing. Sneaking a link on your other blog doesn’t count!”

I know. But it’s not that great yet. It looks and feels like a rookie blog.

“You have to start somewhere. You know more about Disney World than anyone I know. It’ll come. But you have to tell people about it or no one will find you!”

So.

This is me.

Telling people about it.

(My stomach just jumped as I typed that last line. It actually jumped. Is there a support group out there for people like me?)

If you’re so inclined, if you’re even mildly interested in tips, tricks and info about Disney World – please visit. A comment if you’re so moved. A share if you know someone who may need some help planning a visit.

And because I value all of my readers here so very, very much, if you have any suggestions – please send it along. You all have such successful blogs of your own. I truly value your opinions.

So.

This is me. Tooting my horn. Shouting it from the blog-tops.

Thanks for listening.

Mouseter Planner: Walt Disney World – When to go. What to eat. Where to stay. What to do.

www.mouseterplanner.com

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More Writing Tips From Jane

I’m not quite sure to whom to attribute this little gem – Frank L. Visco, Grammerly.com, various bloggers across the net-waves. But, this list has been making the Facebook/Twitter/Blog rounds and I’ve only just discovered it.

It made me laugh out-loud.

On the off chance you haven’t seen it yet, or you need to be reminded of this funny list poking fun at our funny ways…

You’re welcome.

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How To Write Good

  1. Avoid Alliteration. Always.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than is necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
  6. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  7. Be more or less specific.
  8. One word sentences? Eliminate.
  9. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  10. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  11. The passive voice is to be avoided.
  12. Profanity sucks.
  13. It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
  14. Avoid archaeic spellings, too.
  15. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  16. One should never generalize.
  17. No sentence fragments.
  18. Eliminate quotations. As Emerson once said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  19. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  20. And always be sure to finish what

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Watch Out! It’s The -Ly Police!

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I am not a master grammarian. I’ve never claimed to be. I make mistakes just like the next guy. Incomplete sentences? I love ‘em. But I do have a pet peeve.

-Ly.

My husband calls me “The -Ly Police.” (Grammatically incorrect but his point is understood.)

When the weather man says, “Dress warm,” I shout, “-LY!”

When the Kashi ad says, “Eat positive,” I shout, “-LY!”

When the news anchor says, “traffic is moving smooth and steady,” I shout, “-LY and -ILY!”

It’s annoying. I know.

I mean it.

Really, really annoying. (Oh. You were agreeing with my husband and I was…..oh, never mind.)

Remember when we were kids? – “Ain’t ain’t in the dictionary so ain’t ain’t a word!”

Well, guess what? Ain’t is in the dictionary. As well as a plethora of other grammatical mishaps.

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The evolution of language is an interesting thing. And I’d love to think that there’s rhyme or reason to the decisions made. But after some cursory research, my humble opinion is, “No.” There is no rhyme or reason. None. Nada. There ain’t even  a  consensus.

What is it?

Laziness that becomes a pervasive bugaboo. Teens that twist us into thinking that their distinct vernacular is where it’s at. (Ending with a preposition. Yep. Now acceptable in some circles.) 

 And pretty soon, we’re all speaking that way. It’s impactful. It causes alot of controversy. It effects us all. And it makes me nauseous. But it’s a moot point. (Ahhh, I kill myself.) 

One thing I do know is that avoiding regrettable grammar is impossible.

So let this be a warning to all you media people out there. If the traffic reporter on the radio tells me to “Drive safe” or the weatherman wants me to “dress warm,” I’m going to be shouting “-LY!”

With every fiber of my being.

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Sometimes You Just Have To Stop And Look At The Ducks

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“Mommy! Look at the ducks!”

My 3-year-old was tugging on my hand. We were at Walt Disney World. My mom and dad were racing ahead to catch the boat to Hollywood Studios which was just pulling up to the dock. I was torn. I wanted to keep up with my parents but I wanted to honor my daughter’s thrill at seeing the ducks.

Waving wildly at my daughter and I, my parents won. I tugged gently on my daughter’s hand and said, “Honey, we can look later. The boat is here now. We have to catch up with Noni and Papa.”  I urged her forward.

She stopped. She let go of my hand. She stamped her little foot and said, “But I just wanted to show you the ducks!”

My daughter won. I waved at my parents to go ahead without us. (They begrudgingly waited.) And I stopped to look at the ducks.

It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of Disney World and the sense of urgency to see and do everything. The same is true for the grocery store. Or for writing that next blog post. Or the sense of urgency to get that mountain of laundry folded. (Okay. I admit. I’ve never felt that particular sense of urgency but I’ve heard that some of you out there have.)  When I can’t fall asleep at night I try to figure out how many days you would need to “see and do everything” at Disney World and I fall asleep before I can come up with a worthy number. Disney World is full of things to do and see. It’s the greatest marketing ploy around, creating so much to do you just have to come back. And real life is the same way. There will always be another load of laundry to fold.

And so, when everyone is in a rush to catch the next bus, someone in our family will invariably say, “Hey! Look at the ducks!” Or, while navigating through the Christmas crowds at the mall my husband will grab my hand and say, “Look! I see some ducks.” It’s our cue to slow down. Savor. Enjoy each moment.

It’s a lesson we’ve carried beyond Walt Disney World.

It’s a lesson that bears repeating.

Whether you are at Walt Disney World or the mall or buried in laundry, remember, you can’t possibly see and do everything. Take a moment or two. Slow down. Breath. People watch. Ask your child a silly question while she still wants to talk to you. Hold your child’s hand a little tighter before he’s a teenager and rushing off to the football game without you.

Time will fly by fast enough.

No need to hurry it along.

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