Monthly Archives: January 2010

Top 20 Songs Played On My iPod – Or, I Got Nothin’ For Tunes For Tuesday

I’m exhausted. And a little behind in Blog World (sorry, friends! I promise to play catch up this week). For all my “I’m going to nurture my blog relationships” post yesterday and then I go MIA? I know, I’m lame.  But I’ve been listening to my iPod a ton lately (even though I haven’t added a song since August because my computer crashed and I’m too scared to sync it up, afraid I’m going to lose all my songs even though my teenager tells me there’s a way to do it) and I was curious what my top songs were. Some surprises, some not so much. You decide.

20. The Way I Am – Ingrid Michaelson – Such a sweet, happy song. And my husband does. Love me the way I am, that is.

19. Honey, I’m Home – Shania Twain – I think this song is hilarious. It is the song I want to sing after an especially long day.

18. Life Is Beautiful – Six:A.M. – No surprise here. If you remember, I used this video for a “Tunes For Tuesday” post. But then, Big Brother snuck onto my site and pulled it from my blog and slapped on a neon sign (ok, it wasn’t neon but it felt neon) claiming I was in violation of Blog Music Video posting laws. Even though I credited the group. Even though the YouTube logo was emblazoned in the corner. Even though I don’t make a dime from putting it up on my blog. I was so embarrassed (see here for my plagiarism rant – awww, I just noticed it was my very first post. Ahhhh, memories.) I not only deleted the video, I deleted the entire post. Miss Rule Follower not following the rules? I don’t think so.

17. Shut Up and Let Me Go – The Ting Tings. Love, love, love the catchy beat. The sentiment. I could have sung this song at various times in my life. Many times.

16. Old – Paul Simon – I listen to this song about 100 times right around my birthday. It puts the day in perspective for me.

15. Elevatin – Wired All Wrong – Turn this up and blast it while I’m driving. One of my favorite driving songs.

14. Breathe Me – Sia – Hauntingly beautiful. I had a heart scare a few years ago and was hospitalized. My daughter told me she put on my robe and listened to this song over and over curled up on the floor of my closet. I hope I never scare her like that again.

13. Father and Daughter – Paul Simon – I adore this song. It wraps up the feeling I have for my children. I just wish I had the kind of dad who would want to sing this for me.

12. Walking On Air – Kerli – Weird. I didn’t think I listened to this that much but it’s that quirky, off-beat, alternative stuff I like – so I guess I’m not that surprised.

11. Be OK – Ingrid Michaelson – This song gets me out of any bad mood. Any. A simple request for the day, “I just want to be OK today.” Love it!

10. Seasons of Love – Rent Soundtrack – 525,600 minutes in a year. Really. The OCD math teacher in me actually double checked. This song helps me to slow down and savor the moment.

9. Dela (I Know Why The Dog Howls At The Moon) – Johnny Clegg – More quirky fun music that puts me in my happy place.

8. As – Stevie Wonder – One of my absolute, favorite Stevie songs. Hands down. Fills me with such joy. I send it out to all those that I love.

7. Psycho – Puddle of Mudd – Dedicated to my mother. ‘Nuff said.

6. Coming Undone – Korn – My angry song. Played only when I’m alone in the car and can blast it as loud as I want.

5. America – Simon & Garfunkel/ At Seventeen – Janis Ian – It’s a tie. And both songs are  from my childhood. Cool. Two more hauntingly beautiful songs.

4. Home – Marc Broussard – I love his throaty, deep bluesy voice. And the “mostly” a cappella section always gives me a chill. I heard it first on The Sopranos. Loved it. Downloaded it. And listen to it. All. The. Time.

3. Without You – Rent Soundtrack – Just a song that touches me in a special way regarding the losses in my life (read here). It’s like they took my exact thoughts and put it to song.

2. Keep Breathing – Ingrid Michaelson – Can you tell I’ve been on an Ingrid kick lately? Love her!

And the number one song on my iPod – no matter how hard I try not to keep it there? Seriously. I’m embarrassed that this continues to be number 1. Are you ready?

1. White and Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovich – My daughter introduced us to this song because it reminds her of my husband/ her step dad. I remember the day we all sat around the computer, watching the video and cracking up. I almost peed my pants. We are a family with lots of laughter and teasing – so no one out there should feel sorry for my husband. He can dish it, too, believe me. And his is, well, white and nerdy. #1son requests this song all the time and knows the words by heart. It’s hilarious watching him be-bop and lip sync this song. Absolutely hilarious.

There you have it.

My top 20.

For now, anyway.

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Filed under Music

I’m Dumping The Labels And Embracing ALL Of My Friends

My grandmother knew how to have friends. She had many. Some were closer than others but she really knew how to nurture the important ones. I loved how she handled the balance.

When I was growing up I wanted to be like her but I couldn’t. I wasn’t the life of the party. I didn’t like being the center of attention. I was picky, I told myself. That’s why I have just a few close friends. I had varied interests in high school that kept me from connecting with just one group. I was an athlete – I had a few close friends there. I sang and was involved in theater – I had about 2 close friends in that group. And I was in some accelerated classes – a bit of a nerd, if you will. Since I was involved in athletics and theater the other “nerds” thought I was cool. Many of them really wanted to be my friend but they were “nerds” and I was an idiot high school student. I stayed on the fringes in my nerd classes.

My daughter is my opposite. She has about 10 best friends at age 17. And then about 50 “close” friends. Her Facebook friends number over 1000. Everyone she meets she considers a friend. I’m not sure this is a good thing.

And now, in my adult life, I have about 5 good, close friends I could call on with any problem, any joy. I’m happy with that. It’s a good number. Not as many as my grandmother and certainly not as many as my daughter – but I’m hoping she’ll become a little more discriminate as she gets older.

What I didn’t count on when I started my blog were the friends I’d meet here. Submom from The Absence of Alternatives, in one of her recent comments here,  pointed us in the direction of a very interesting blog post about internet friends and distinguishing them from “real friends.” Melissa Ford  believes there is no distinction. Friends are friends. Whether you met them in a class, at a party, in the mall or online.

As I revealed in a previous post, I met my husband online. This isn’t anything I was ready to shout from the rooftops. When people would ask how we’d met I’d often say, “At a health seminar” which was partly true. But not the whole truth. And I was ashamed of the whole truth. Meeting online, back then anyway, seemed desperate, unseemly.

When I talk about any of you to my “real-time” friends I preface it with “online friends,” as if, somehow, you are all less than or “un-real.” My real-time friends (who don’t blog or converse online with people they’ve never met in real-time) don’t get the level of intimacy we bloggers are able to achieve with one another. They don’t understand how I feel like I can truly “know” any of you. But reading Melissa’s article has me thinking – and I’m thinking that I know some of you better than I know my real-time friends.

And the more I write about this the more I am ready to abandon these labels of “real-time” and “online” when it comes to my friends. Quite honestly, there are days when I spend more time with you here than I do with my other friends.

The beauty of the internet is that it strips away pretension. Here we are basically the same. Sure, we can decorate our blogs to reveal certain things about ourselves. We can pick and choose what we want others to see. But for the most part, the ability to make judgements about others based on income level and appearances is more difficult.

Our writing reveals our true selves. Good, honest writing is what I’m drawn to. And good, honest friends are what I’ve made here. Real friends. In real-time. Oh, we haven’t met face to face but the time I spend with them – reading their posts or emails, commenting back – is very real and takes a good bit of my time.

So, like my grandmother I am nurturing the relationships that are important to me. And I want all of you to know, every minute spent here in Blog World has been worth it.

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But Pee Is Sterile. Right?

First off – I have two little boys, ages 5 and 6. Potty training boys was an adventure. It was interesting. It kept me hopping. Took longer than with my daughter, but that’s ok. They potty trained back to back. I got it over with. It’s done.

What isn’t finished is the sprinkling.

And the lids left up.

And the competitions.

And the unflushed toilets.

Pee. Poop. It doesn’t matter. They do their business and walk away. And it drives me batty. I never leave the house for vacation without first checking the two toilets they use most. And every morning after I drop them off at school I come home and flush the toilets. Every. Single. Morning.

Now, I wouldn’t call myself a germ-o-phobe but I am a bit squeamish about anything nasty. I wear gloves when I clean the bathrooms. If I accidently touch pee drippings with my bare hands I remind myself that pee is sterile. That people stranded without clean water can drink their pee and it won’t kill them. Of course, then I immediately go and scrub my hands under hot water with plenty of soap and a nail brush.

But today the unthinkable happened. I was here, reading your wonderful posts and I had to use the ladies room. But since the “boys room” was just steps away from the computer I popped in there.

Oops.

I had forgotten this particular toilet in my daily flushing routine. I reached over to flush (I like a fresh bowl) and uh-oh!  My reading glasses, so artfully perched atop my head, fell into the toilet. Into the pee. Swimming in the pee. Bathing it in.

Ewwwwwwwwww.

My cute, expensive, adorable reading glasses. The one thing I have bucked about getting old was the need for reading glasses. And dammit, if I need reading glasses they’re going to be fun, adorable and cute. And this pair was/is/was/is/was….I can’t decide.

Do I toss them as I would any other thing that falls into a contaminated toilet? Do I sterilize the dickens out of them – even though pee is already sterile? But can I, even if I scrub them really, really, well, wear them on my face, next to my nose?

Sigh.

I think this pair is a goner.

But pee is sterile, right?

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Filed under All In A Day's Work

Trading Spaces With One Of My Neighbors

Today I’m trading spaces with one of my neighbors! As a part of a new meme that Amy over at The Never-True Tales is starting, neighbors in Blog World are trading spaces, sprucing up each other’s blogs with some fresh material (in the eyes of the new neighbors, anyway). We’re slapping up a fresh coat of paint, moving the furniture around – just shaking things up a bit. I decided to give it a try since it falls in line with the posts (here and here) I started a few months ago about moving into my neighborhood. Sounds like fun – so on with the show!

The Kitchen Witch is a blog I read regularly. Here’s a secret….lean in…closer….closer….good…..she’s not really as witchy as she pretends she is. But don’t tell her I told you. Bookmark her, read her posts and then you decide. I love, love, love her posts. She’s funny. She’s thoughtful. She’s real. She’s the friend you can count on when you’re feeling crabby and you need a lift (thanks, TKW!) She’s the friend you can count on for amazing recipes for every occasion. You can also count on her to bravely tell of failed recipes, rough moments in parenting, or tough life experiences. She doesn’t judge. She doesn’t preach. And she’s amazingly supportive of her family and friends. She’s shared a post with us today that I know you’ll enjoy. So sit back, enjoy the fresh coat of paint. And welcome, TKW, to my home!

Orange Potato Salad and Other Family Oddities

Admit it, you have some strange food skeletons clanking in your closet. Every family does. Maybe it’s white trash food, or scrapple, or liverwurst on toast at midnight. But somewhere in your past, guarantee ya, you’ve got some embarrassing food lurking in the corner.
 
I do, too. And for some reason I’m not just embarrassed about the weird food I’ve eaten–I’m embarrassed about the weird food my family’s eaten as well. There’s some strange guilt-by-association thing going on there. If I see my dad eating slices of raw salted potato for a snack (which he does) shame just seeps outta me. Which makes zero sense–it’s not my freakshow snack, it’s my father’s.
 
Food and family are so closely intertwined it’s scary. Take Thanksgiving, for example. The food that ends up on your holiday table says a lot about you and yours. Illustration: cornbread stuffing. If you eat cornbread stuffing on a certain day in November, I’m betting there’s Southern knocking around somewhere in your family tree. Creamed pearl onions? Yankee. Green jello mold with shredded carrots and pineapple in it? Hello, Midwest.
Now some of those family foods are stamps of pride; my Grandmother’s fried chicken was legendary. It was so crisp, so perfectly Grandma-seasoned, so juicy…the day she died, fried chicken died too. I’ve never eaten it since, because she owned fried chicken. I can’t look at a chicken without mourning her loss and knowing that never, not ever, will I eat fried chicken that perfect again. Ditto for Aunt Lee’s Chocolate Cake. Maybe in your case it’s your Nonna’s Marinara or your mother’s stuffed cabbage. Those are the family gems, the heirlooms you guard passionately because they are your history.
 
But just like that one cousin you had with the buck teeth and the donkey laugh and the ears that didn’t match, some food appeared on your family’s guest list that made you squirm. And darned if you aren’t as ashamed of that as you are proud of Dad’s bbq sauce. Because those oddities say something about your family too, and they’re not always fun to examine.
 
I recall dying of embarrassment in 6th grade when a playmate and I walked into the kitchen just as my father was whipping up his favorite little afternoon refresher, a tall glass of saurkraut juice mixed with V-8. “YARGH,” was all the horrified kid could sputter, eyes a-buggin. I wanted to vaporize into thin air.
 
In fact, my German father had plenty of little doozies in his arsenal. The strips of raw turnip, salted to death, which he snacked on during football games. The wedges of watermelon he salted, peppered, then ate. The hideous Braunschweiger roll he smeared on crackers. The bologna he sneaked from the package, rolled up and popped in his mouth. The peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Embarrassments, all of them.
 
My mother’s diet was pretty plebian in comparison, but she did make her famous potato salad, which she toted to every potluck and party of my youth. The Orange Potato Salad. I remember one 4th of July when a kid next to me in the buffet line said, “Who the hell brought orange potato salad?” And I replied, “No idea.”
 
Orange Potato Salad was one of my mother’s “experiments.” Experiments happened when my mother, missing an ingredient or two from a recipe (in the middle of a North Dakota winter), decided to improvise rather than drag two young children to the supermarket in 8-inch drifts of white misery.
 
In the case of the potato salad, my mother was out of vinegar and had a scant cup only of mayonnaise. Normally, she tossed the cooked potatoes with a drizzle of vinegar and let them cool before dressing. The hot potatoes absorbed the tang and salt of the vinegar and resulted in some spunky salad, let me tell you.
 
But she didn’t have any vinegar, so she went shopping in the refrigerator and came up with Kraft French Dressing (yeah, the neon orange kind). She had about 3 tablespoons of it left in the bottle, so she tossed the hot potatoes with that, let them cool, and then tossed in some celery, onion, seasonings and that scant cup of mayonnaise. Orange Potato Salad was born.
 
Crazy thing is, as unsightly as that crayola-hued salad looks, people love it. It’s different and un-boring (and admit it, most potato salad is boring). People started asking my mother to bring Orange Potato Salad to parties and she was happy to oblige. “Ah! You brought the Orange Potato Salad!” neighbors would announce, and she would beam.
I guess it could be worse–at least Orange Potato Salad was a crowd pleaser. Mrs. Mondry always brought oyster stew and nobody wanted that, so I shouldn’t complain.
 
This Father’s Day, I had my parents and the K family over for a barbecue. Mom called earlier in the week to ask what she could bring. “Orange Potato Salad,” I said. Of course. Orange Potato Salad may be an embarrassment, but it’s our embarrassment and what’s a family without a few quirks?

Mom’s Orange Potato Salad
serves 6-8
2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled
3 tablespoons Kraft French Dressing
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 scant cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes about 15 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Drain potatoes and cool until warm enough to handle. Peel potatoes, chunk them and toss with French dressing while still warm. Cool.
Whisk mayonnaise, pickle relish, mustard seed, salt and pepper. Add celery and onion to potatoes, then toss with mayonnaise mixture. Make a few hours in advance to allow flavors to blend, and re-taste for salt/pepper before serving. If salad seems dry, add more mayonnaise.
Serve to non-judgemental people who love you.

*** Giveaway alert!*** If you post a comment/confession below, you will be eligible to win a 1-year subscrption to Everyday Food Magazine, courtesy of TKW! I really like this magazine because the recipes are simple, fresh and delicious. And maybe, just maybe, you might not be stuck eating cereal for dinner again!

You can find me, Jane, over at The Kitchen Witch’s site today! Pop on over for one of my favorite (and TKW’s, as I found out) blog posts!

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China’s Sex Selection And One Child Policy Bites – Seriously

I knew it would bite them in the butt sooner or later. I read this headline on Yahoo News, “Skewed Birthrate To Leave 24 Million Men Single” and smiled wryly. No, I’m not happy that Chinese men will find difficulty marrying and insuring that their name will live on. But what do you expect? Especially where sex-specific abortions are condoned. Now I’m not going to turn this into an abortion rights debate. And please, you don’t either. Let’s look at the bigger picture here.

My sister, a more active feminist than I, will often bring up injustices that women suffer around the world. I’d listen politely. I’d nod and smile (or frown if the conversation warranted it.) But as soon as the conversation was over I’d go make dinner, tie a shoe, read a story to my kids or watch my favorite show. I don’t get involved or even educate myself. How could lil’ ol’ me make a difference?

The only time sex specific births made an impact on me was when I was in the throes of adoption. Oooooo, I’d think, chances are we’ll get a girl, or another girl, as the case may be. Someone to get girly with! What fun! And then a flash of concern would enter my mind and I’d think, for a few minutes or two, how horrible it must be to be unwanted in your own country, your own family. How terrible little girls are treated in countries that favor little boys. I might even stop to think where those countries might be: China, Korea, India, Iran. But those are sad thoughts and Pollyanna Jane doesn’t tolerate sad thoughts for very long.

But maybe I should have tolerated them. Maybe I should have nurtured them and seen where they may have taken me.

The article further states that men in poorer areas will probably have the most difficulty finding mates. That this difficulty has already led to abductions, trafficking, illegal marriages and prostitution. That  a wider age gap between couples will be common. (I’m thinking forced marriages – similar to those in polygamist cults) How will this affect the young women of this country? What will be the fall-out?

China implemented its “one child” policy back in 1979. When ultrasound technology became more widely available in the 80’s, sex selection became more prevalent. A recent Chinese study determined that this ” policy has averted 400 million births.” Averted. Interesting word. To prevent. Turn away. Avoid.

Avoiding having 400 million sweet, adorable little daughters. I understand the population problem over there. I do. I don’t have another answer. I’m just greatly saddened that this policy, technology, and family choices have created such a problem.

A problem that only makes it worse for the women already there.

All over again.

Check in tomorrow, for the inaugural guest post during Won’t You Be My Neighbor Fridays!


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Filed under Be-Causes

My Daughter And Locks Of Love

Before our team made it to State Championships my daughter and her friend made a bet. If they made it to finals my daughter would cut her hair “short.” My daughter has gorgeous, thick hair. That she loved wearing long.

They made it to finals. So, she made good on her promise.

This is before:

And this is after:

And because she cut off at least 10 inches she donated her hair to Locks of Love, an amazing organization that provides hairpieces for children suffering from any medical hair-loss. I love the sentence they have in their opening statement on the website: “The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.” 

I’m so proud of my daughter that she, during her self-esteem and confidence building years, gave this precious gift to another child. I won’t lie. She was anxious, nervous and then took a few days to grow into her new look. But now she loves it and her self-esteem is a little pumped knowing what she helped to give someone who is struggling with their appearance.

They don’t just accept hair. They accept financial contributions, too! You can write a check (like I did.) Or make an online contribution. Or you can become a volunteer. Or you can support other companies that donate part of your purchase back to Locks of Love. There are many ways to help. Please take a few minutes to check out this amazing organization.

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Yo, Jane’s Riffin’ On Twilight, She Be All Emo And Dat

I needed a laugh. So I hopped on over to YouTube. I suppose I’m missing my high school students. Or maybe I’m still struggling to appreciate the Twilight series. Maybe I am still stuck in yesterday’s post. But I stumbled upon this and I couldn’t stop giggling.  A good sign.

Now I have to warn you. It uses “complex” words like: angst (the blues), immolate (sacrifice), and transform (change). Oh, and it also uses slang like: Yo (an informal name given to one whose name is not known), emo (a genre of melancholy punk music that appeals to teens), and riffin’ (overreact). So be prepared. There’ll be a quiz afterwards.

(Just kidding about the quiz, y’all. Peace out!)

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Beware The Attack Of The Joy Suckers

My husband taught me the phrase “psychic vampire.” (I thought it was his own but I just Googled it and apparently it garners a spot in the Urban Dictionary) It refers to the people in your life who need constant reassurance and validation. They’re never satisfied. They feed on your self-confidence and security. It wears you down. You’re exhausted after an encounter with them. You know the type. I see you nodding your heads out there.

Well, I have been slowly eliminating psychic vampires from my life. And I’ve been pretty successful.

The ones I will never be able to eliminate from my life, because they’re less sinister and less predictable, are the “joy suckers.” (Now, I thought I had created that phrase. But upon Googling it I discovered there are quite a few people using it. Either I acquired it so long ago, from an unknown source, that I don’t remember first hearing it OR, trend setter that I am, I did create it and the world has embraced my phrase. I’d like to think it’s the latter definition and not the former.)

My definition of a joy sucker is quite simple. They simply suck the joy right out of life. Not all the time. That would be a psychic vampire. And because they’re so unpredictable you don’t see them coming. No, a joy sucker comes along when you least expect it.

You’re bouncing along one day, you smile and say, “What a beautiful, sunny day!” and they say, “Sure, if you like skin cancer.” Or, while enjoying a delicious icy cold Coca-Cola and someone reminds you, “You do know sugar is like rocket fuel for that cold you’re struggling with?” Or, you’re having a wonderful holiday treat, one that you made from scratch and the joy sucker says, “If I ate that (wink, wink) it would go straight to my ass.”

Joy suckers.

Sucking the joy right out of the moment one sentence at a time.

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Tag! You’re It!

My goodness, I haven’t played this game since I was in grade school – back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. But Faemom tagged me and (rule follower that I am) I just have to play. Plus, it seemed like a fun game to play for a Saturday post. So c’mon! Let’s play tag!

First, I have to name seven things you don’t already know about me.

Second, I have to tag seven other blogs to play along (and that you should all visit, of course!)

First things first….

7. If I was a boy my dad wanted to name me Robert John so that he could call me Bo-Jo. I wish I were kidding. But I’m not.

6. I developed a food aversion to spinach when I was pregnant. It was one of my absolute favorite vegetables and 6 years later I STILL can’t eat it. I can barely type the word without getting all queasy.

5. I was terrible at tag as a kid. I was so afraid of “failing” (you know, never being able to actually catch someone) that I’d pretend I was just not interested, that the blades of grass and clovers were calling me to observe them. I like this game, however, because you don’t even know I’m sneaking up on you and tagging you. Plus, I get to sit down while doing it.

4. I bought my first car for $400. The passenger side had little half-dollar size holes on the floor so if you lifted up the floor mats you could see the asphalt racing by. I named it The Flintstone Mobile.

3. I didn’t have boobs until I got pregnant. I was a mildly flat chested teen/adult. I’m not kidding. My sister and I used to joke about what to fill our bras with each morning when we got dressed. Then I got pregnant. And nursed. Yep, God gave me boobs and then He let me keep ’em. Just a little present for suffering through 15 years of infertility, I like to think. Of course, he let me keep an extra 15 pounds of baby weight, too.

2. My blood pressure always rises whenever I hear a baby or child crying in public. I look around worried. I follow the sound to make sure someone is taking care of the situation. I absolutely cannot rest until the crying ends. It drives my husband crazy.

1. I spent the summer in Germany when I was 15. My friend and I went to a store to buy the German “Playgirl” magazine equivalent. When we went to pay for it the clerk asked us if we were sure this was the magazine we wanted to buy. Of course it was, my friend said, and we rolled our eyes at her prudishness. When we got back home we started pouring through the magazine, agog at all the naked men. But something was a little off. We couldn’t quite figure it out. Then we turned the page and one picture said it all. This wasn’t a “Playgirl” equivalent. It was a …..well, I don’t even know what the equivalent is…..it was more like a “Playguy.” You know, for homosexuals. Oops.

Ok. Now it’s your turn to play. Either tag someone else or peek in on the tagged! Have fun! And happy Saturday!

7. AC’s Scrapbook

6. Peripheral Perceptions

5. Momisodes

4. Nathan Rising

3. The Water Witch’s Daughter

2. A Nut in a Nutshell

1. Bibliomama

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Flummoxed Doesn’t Even Begin To Describe – And Neither Does Eliminate, Apparently

A dear friend of mine was inspired to call in to a nationally syndicated talk radio show. The topic of the program that day hit a nerve and she had something to share. She waited on hold while entertaining her toddler in the background. She finally got through. Live. On the air. She said her piece and used the word, “flummoxed.” She was flummoxed. A beautiful synonym for the words confused and perplexed. But the radio personality interrupted her, as he’s known to do, and accused her of not knowing what the word meant.

Now, I will admit, I do not use the word “flummoxed” every day. Or very often, for that matter. So I wouldn’t fault you for not being familiar. But he accused her, on the national airwaves, and asked her to define the word even though she had just used it correctly in a sentence.

(snicker, snicker – I’ll bet he didn’t know what it meant!)

So she defined it. Correctly. And of course she did. She’s a well-educated-former-attorney-turned-stay-at-home-mom-and-it’s-driving-her-crazy-because-she-loved-her-work-but-she’s-doing-it-anyway-because-she-feels-that’s-what’s-best-for-her-kids and that’s what I love about her. And he treated her, for all the world to hear, like just another “dumb housewife.”

Creep.

While proofing a post I created recently (ok, proofing is not really the correct term – more like pressing the spell check button) I came across a blue line underneath the word “eliminate.” I slowly checked my spelling. E-l-i-m-i-n-a-t-e. Nope. It’s spelled right. I re-read the sentence. “I will never be able to eliminate them from my life.” Nope. Used correctly. Hmmmmm. Please explain, I asked the spell/grammar check program.

This is what it said:

Try a simpler word for eliminate

Where possible you should use a simple word over a complex word. Simple words are easier to read and let your readers focus on your ideas.

Replace eliminate with

  • cut
  • drop
  • end

Are you kidding me? Eliminate is a complex word? Not where I come from. I’m talking to other moms out there (and a few enlightened dads – thanks guys!). Moms (and cool dads) who are well versed in the world of elimination, if you get my drift.

I remember reading a while back that the average newspaper article should reflect a 5th grade reading level. A 5th grader should be able to read an article, understand all of the words and the point being made. I remember having the words “analyze” and “system” on a 2nd grade spelling test and thinking I was a big shot. Surely a 5th grader understands the meaning of the word “eliminate.”

So, WordPress thinks that the word “eliminate” is too difficult for my blog readers to understand? Apparently my writing has too many run-on and incomplete sentences, too. No surprise there – and I was just beginning to embrace that quirky nuance of my style. I also use passive voice on occasion. How else would you say “she was flummoxed” or “should be able to?”

Creeps.

I think I will just have to eliminate the WordPress spell check feature from my pre-posting routine. You are all just going to have to put up with my mis-spellings, run-ons, incomplete sentences and passive writing. I’m hard enough on myself. I don’t need WordPress rubbing it in.

And because, well, frankly?

I’m flummoxed.

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