Thursday, April 30, 2015

Food Helps

This week is still pretty wonky. Lots of things are up in the air (literally and figuratively), and my spring allergies are having a field day in my sinuses (from the things that are literally up in the air).

Tonight was "Dining Out For Life" in the Twin Cities, though. So I was out to dinner at Le Town Talk Diner in Minneapolis with a bunch of good friends, and we all ate really good food and talked for an hour or so. And - as an added bonus - donated money to a good cause.

I just might make it to the weekend, yet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Things That Suck - A Grumpy Tiz List

Tonight's topic, as you might have guessed, is "things that suck." I was trying to think of something fun and cool to write about, but I only got about two hours of sleep last night (I should have gone to bed an hour ago, I'm sure), and the only things that came to mind were the sucky ones. So here we go:

1) Having a dog who had a small lump removed from her hip, yesterday, and so she's on pain meds and has to be watched to make sure she doesn't chew on her stitches sucks.

2) I would also imagine that being the dog and having to deal with stitches and a protective collar (we're trying this instead of "the cone") probably also sucks.

3) Being a grown-up and having to tell someone that you can't fly halfway across the country for a really fun weekend because you'd miss too much work sucks.

4) Expecting the contractor to come on Tuesday and doing all of the prep work for it, and then finding out halfway through the day that they had to postpone until Wednesday but didn't bother to tell you sucks.

5) Being excited because your officemate is gone for the week and you've got the office to yourself, but then having to deal with a crapload of extra work that really probably shouldn't have landed on either desk in the first place sucks.

Okay. Okay. I hear you. Half of you are thinking that I'm whining. Half of you think I shouldn't be using the word "sucks." And half of you (not necessarily a third half, just a mix of people from the other two groups) expected me to either talk about vacuums or innuendo. I get that. So let me toss in one more thing and then I'll move on.

6) Spring allergies that make your nose run and your eyes water - especially when you're an editor by trade - really suck.

But it's a sunny week. The house is ready whenever the contractor shows up. The dog is adjusting to her soft collar. I get to sing along with my Pandora stations and no one hears me. And one of the reasons I can't justify that weekend trip is because I just got back from two weeks in France with Christopher.

So life isn't really so bad. I still think some of that stuff really sucks, though.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Showers...

My morning started at about six, today. I woke up early with the pup, and then decided to get to work on the basement prep for the bathroom reno.

It seem innocuous enough. Shuffle some things around. Hang some plastic sheeting in the hopes of minimizing the spread of drywall dust. Then run a quick errand to a hardware store to buy the shower we need and bring it back.

I had even remembered, on Friday, to call the store and make sure they had the shower in stock. I was all ready to be done with the entire morning process by around ten.

I was wrong.

When I got to the store at about 9, I took one look at the box the shower was in - with tape holding it together and an obvious side bulge - and knew that I did not want whatever was in the box. The very nice woman working in plumbing found the same shower in another store, and I was off on the quest.

30 minutes later (after a call to Christopher to confirm that I knew where the store was), I was at the next store, in the plumbing department. Shower? In stock. Box? Pristine. I put it on my card and walked to the service desk to rent a truck.

Driver's license in hand, I was good to go. But my insurance card was in the car. Out to the car, grab the card, back in the store. The card had an expiration of 4/1/15. My new card? At home. My insurance company? Closed on Sunday mornings. No card, no truck.

Half a mile down the road, realize my driver's license is still at the store. Turn around and go back.

Realize that, at this rate, I'm going to run out of gas soon. Stop to fill. Then on my way.

25 minutes later, at home. Ripped the new card out of my insurance packet (which arrived about a week before we went on vacation, and simply got filed for "after we get back"). Quick hello to Christopher and the pup. Back out the door.

55 minutes later, back home. Shower delivered into the garage, with Christopher's help. Quick shower in the exciting shower. Back out the door.

12:15 (I realize those times don't all add up. But I do know that 12:15 is correct for this), back at the store to drop off the truck. I will say that the service folks were all really friendly and helpful - just not exactly speedy. Out of the store about 12:35, on my way to being about 15 minutes late for picking someone up for a trip to a museum.

Easy, quick morning? >sigh< I should have realized that that had gone out the window about 9:30, just after I went out the second door...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Renovation Apprehension

We're about to have our bathrooms worked on. The main (upstairs) bathroom - which we frequently refer to as "Christopher's" bathroom - is just getting some tweaking. But the basement bathroom - "my bathroom" - is getting a full-on remodel.

You see, when the house was built in the '50s, there's an odds-on chance that the house only had one bathroom, with a "rough-in" for the second one. This means that the basics were there (big drain for the toilet, drain in the floor for a possible shower), but that's about it. Somewhere along the way, though, someone added the second bathroom.

It's pretty basic, with a toilet, sink, wall-mounted medicine cabinet, and a shower which was built into one corner, with a wall built out between it and the sink. It's a nice wall, but it houses all of the shower pipes. When the shower stopped working about a month ago, there was no way to get to anything without totally ripping the wall apart. So I've been showering upstairs, then running up and down to finish getting ready every morning.

Also, we've learned, over the years, that the drain in the shower - the one in the actual floor of the shower cabinet - may not be connected to the actual drain in the floor. Which, according to our contractor, is fairly common. Gross, when it backs up and floods out under the floor tiles, but common.

I'm not sure how common having a shower light that is, in essence, a bare bulb floodlight in the ceiling is, though. I'm also guessing that most showers have the hot and cold going the right directions when you turn the dial. (Once or twice I've forgotten to warn guests about that... oops...)

Hopefully, sometime in the next couple of weeks, my bathroom will be both much more common in some ways and much less common in others. They'll be tearing out the whole  thing and putting in a new shower, sink, and toilet, and possibly even a vent fan. And - thankfully - they'll be working on the drains, too.

The catch is that we have to get through it all before we can enjoy it. So, in the next couple of days, I'll be buying plastic sheeting to kind of "wall off" the bathroom from the rest of the basement - in the hopes of not getting absolutely everything covered in drywall and concrete dust.

And Christopher and I will be sharing a single bathroom for a while. We do this all the time when we travel, but not usually while we're at home. It's going to be an adventure.

Hopefully, when we come out the other side, neither of us will be wrapping anything gruesome in that plastic sheeting and trying to hide it in the dumpster...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Almost Back

Apparently my blog is dealing with a bit of jetlag. Okay... okay... I admit that it's me that has the jetlag. You see, for two weeks beginning on Easter weekend, Christopher and I were in France. We spent a week in Paris having a reunion with some friends, then spent a week in Nice (and all around that area) playing tourist. We got back a few days ago.

While I was gone, you were reading all of the things I'd been storing up for a while. I hope you liked some of the quotes - even though it did kind of combine into a bit of navel-gazing when you looked at it with the "Why I Edit" piece.

I had every intention of getting back to my regular postings earlier this week, but then... well... I had forgotten how bad jetlag is when you're flying from east to west. The first day or two in Paris I adjusted really easily, and so I thought "on the way home, it should be just as easy..." and then we got home and I spent the first full day on adrenaline, and then two days at work in a total fog.

I was all excited that I stayed up until 11 last night watching last week's episode of "The Amazing Race." But then I woke up in the middle of the night having weird Amazing Race-related dreams, which continued after I fell back to sleep and resulted in me waking up tired. Again.

So tonight it's barely 9:30 and I'm going to call it a day. I promise to be back to the regular posting schedule as soon as I can keep my eyes open. I hope to even download my pictures from my camera this weekend, so I'll get you some of those, too. Hopefully they'll be less foggy than my brain.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Response to the "Why I Edit" post

I was sent this link in response to my "Why I Edit" post (from April 5th - I can't get the link to work right now, so you'll just have to scroll back through my posts, for now).

I'm sorry that I couldn't just drop it directly into the blog, but I think you'll enjoy it enough that clicking on it will seem worthwhile:

Luckily, I don't have to dress that nicely for my office - which might also be why I'd never get to outright say something like that...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Bad Quote Quotient - The Bonus Round

I decided that this had to have its own post. And a font or two.

When I first read this, I fully admit that I read "buffet" not as "to knock around" but as "to dine with many options as, for instance, on a cruise."

Either way, I see Stan as probably looking a lot like Willie Loman.

And, yes, I promise we'll be back to normal blog posts in the next few days. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bad Quote Quotient - Part 5 of 5

Okay... I'm sure you've all just been dying to know what I was going to put up for the final installment of this round. We've already had the bad grammar, the life lessons, the blue humor, what more could there be?

Well, what we have left are a few kind of strange ones, that either go without explanation or need way too much explanation, so I'm leaving you on your own. (If you read them as a kind of poem, it almost works.)

  • Mull always over these words of knowledge
  • You are not ordinary, you are a peculiar human being
  • ... in present human being life 
  • So question!

Really what more needs to be said?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bad Quote Quotient - Part 4 of 5

If you've seen Parts 1 through 3, you know that these have all had a bit of a theme. Today we look at some of the relationship- and life-based quotes.

  • Never divorce and if you are not married yet, pray God to give you a wise wife
  • No matter the situation you are in, never worry and you will find the way out, at the end the angels and people in your neighborhood will celebrate you. 
And, of course, being a child of the 70s (or 80s, depending on how you look at it), while the first one made me kind of cringe/shrug, the second one made me go to a much happier place.

Join me there, won't you? (Then tune in on Wednesday for my favorite BQQs from this round.)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bad Quote Quotient - Part 3 of 5

Okay... If you've read Parts 1 and 2, you've been forewarned that today's post might be a bit beyond the realm of things you'd say in polite company. But, really, it's all in how you read the turn of phrase that the author used.

Even so, if you're easily offended by suggestive material, please don't read this. Come back on Monday, when there will be a Sesame Street video included. (Yes, really.)

And, yes, I know that this is only funny because it is based in idiomatic language and probably isn't funny to a lot of people, but here it is, anyway:

  • Then he came with them on the earth.

That probably wasn't worth all of the build-up, was it? Oh well... It's just... I dunno... it's funny to me.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bad Quote Quotient - Part 2 of 5

Assuming you saw Tuesday's post, you know what's going on, here.

Today, we have the start of what seems to have been a Biblical workout regimen. Or something.

I mean... If you see the paintings and sculptures of that era, most of the people are represented as being pretty ripped, so maybe this was the start of that?

  • The way to get this excellence level is to exercise you in it. 
  • [Psalms] gives believers the power to work out in Jesus' name.

Reminder - I've got a kind of racy one for tomorrow, so feel free to skip over Part 3 of 5 and come back for Part 4 of 5 - complete with a vintage Sesame Street video - if you're worried about it. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bad Quote Quotient - Part 1 of 5

I have been working on the same manuscript for the past four months. Yes, four. Usually, I work on one - or four - manuscripts per month. But I've been working on this one manuscript (okay, with other tasks along the way) for the past four months.

As you might imagine, a manuscript of that length lent itself to some doozies of bad quotes. After some serious consideration, I've decided to post a few of the best over the next few days.

You'll definitely want to tune in for the final one in the list (and, you know, all the rest, obviously).

Oh. I should mention that the book has a Biblical background. In part 3 of 5, I'll be posting a couple of things which are a tad off-color, if you read them as written. (I'll remind you of that warning at the start of that post.)

Let's start with some of the ones that are just weirdly written:

  • How comes that the dead body which has no faith got healing?
  • Whether you have made the good choice by choosin3g this, or have choose the other... (yes, the 3 is from the original)
  • ... as it is wtitten...
 And the final one for today is a particularly Christmas-y typo:

  • "Lord, who may dwell in your holly hill?"

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Why I Edit

People occasionally ask me why I work as an editor. It's obviously not a glamorous job. It's not an "in the spotlight" job. In fact, if I do my job right, no one will ever know I was there - kind of like a fine art restorer, or a make-up artist.

They want to know if it means that I actually want to be a writer (I guess it's like all those actors who say what they really want to do is direct). They want to know how I can sit in front of a computer for eight hours every day (as if every other office worker doesn't do the same thing). And they want to know what I get out of it.

Over time, I've come up with the three top reasons why I edit, and so I thought I'd share them in case you were wondering, too. 
  1. I have always enjoyed helping people to bring out the best in themselves and - by extension - their writing. Think of it as coaching a gymnast to a perfect score, or coaxing the perfect aria out of a singer. The excitement of watching the potential bloom is intoxicating.
  2. I'm not exactly a frustrated writer - and I don't really want to be a ghost writer - but I do enjoy getting my hands dirty from time to time. And, while working with authors' manuscripts, I am studying style, form, mood, grammar, rhetoric, and all of those elements that create a manuscript. Not only am I studying them, but I'm practicing them. My job is to make the author sound more like the author, not less. Yes, I'm working to make every manuscript "correct" but even more I'm trying to make it match the author's style. That's a fine line, and I love walking it. 
  3. I'm a bit of a grammar geek. I love words. I like the way they sound and the way they look on the page. I enjoy following a well-constructed sentence as it leads you exactly where it wants you to go. I am not, however, a grammar stickler. As I mentioned in #2, although I believe every editor wants to make every manuscript "correct," I also see a need to make sure that the author's style comes through. Sometimes that means rules get... bent... just a bit. I usually won't break any major rules of grammar without a fight (or at least a hearty discussion), though.*
Overall, I think it's a pretty cool job. I get to help authors achieve the goals they've been working toward - sometimes for their whole lives. And, okay, I get to read books for a living. How great is that? 

*Oh - to answer the other question that everyone asks: No. I don't correct people's grammar when they're talking, in their emails, or on social media. (I might want to, but I figure if they didn't ask me - or pay me - for my input, they probably don't want it.)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Food - Lent

There's not a lot of Catholic ritual that I follow. I haven't gone to a mass in a really long time. And I'd be hard pressed to tell you what the Holy Days of Obligation are. But one thing I do pretty much every year to this day is avoid eating meat on Fridays during Lent.

I'm not overly strict about it. I mean... last Friday I was out to lunch with my financial advisor, and she ordered all these appetizers as our lunch (totally the kind of meal I love), and one of the appetizers was meatballs in marinara sauce. She offered me some - she knows I'm not vegetarian - so I said yes. Basically, I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable, so I ate one. But every other Friday of Lent this year I've avoided meat at lunchtime and had veggie pizzas and the like.

I think that, at some point, I started doing this just to see if I could make it. Could I figure out a way to avoid meat on Friday without causing problems with my place in the world around me? Could I find interesting things to eat that were meat-free?

I knew I could find meat-free things. Long before meatless meals were a big thing, my mom was cooking one or two meatless meals for dinner every week. So that was easy.

Finding ways to succeed at that when I wasn't at home - and without making anyone else feel uncomfortable - that was a bigger issue. After all (and I guess I have to thank the horrible edit for this viewpoint), when you fast you're supposed to do it so no one knows you're doing it. So grimacing your way through a meatless meal kinda misses the point.

So we're now at the end of Lent, and I've done... okay. I've eaten mostly meatless on most Fridays. And I think I managed it all without making anyone else uncomfortable.

Hmm... Something in that makes me think of my post from Wednesday. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone tried to deal with their religious choices without imposing them on those around them? Interesting idea...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How to Get Me Riled Up

There are very few things that I won't just let roll off my back. I can deal with pretty much any topic of conversation by simply ignoring it, chalking it up to the ignorance of the speaker, or figuring I should just take a breath and respond to it later.

In the past couple of days, though, I've found two things that have really gotten my goat.

The first happened at work. One of the contractors that works for our company sent a message to me - not really knowing it was to me, more just sending it to the company in general - which was so snarky and disrespectful it just made me seethe. I spent the next 20 minutes writing and rewriting my response until - eventually - it was nice and polite and only readers who know me very well would have realized how pissed I was.

Thinking about it, today, I'm still just massively annoyed by the lack of respect in the message I received. I've been at my company for years - years longer than the contractor - and I probably know her job better than she does. So to be completely dismissed as if I didn't know anything... not cool.

Which, I guess, leads me to the second instance. This one was courtesy of the blessing and curse which is social media. Yes, I know that you never know what people are going to say online, and you never know for sure whether it's being said sarcastically or not. But there are some things that you read and just think "WTF?"

With all of the news about states enacting "religious freedom" laws, lately, that's been showing up online a lot. And usually I ignore the rhetoric, because it's from people whom I may or may not know, and I don't want to get into a shouting match across the Internet - I'd rather have an in-person discussion. But tonight I was basically told that my concern for what is going on in this country - and my praise for companies standing up against it - was misplaced because things just aren't as bad as I'm making them out to be.

Apparently, the fact that in some states I could very soon be denied service pretty much anywhere, including hospitals, hotels, restaurants, emergency rooms, etc. - not to mention that in those same states Christopher and I could be denied access to each other if something happened and one of us went to a hospital where a nurse didn't want to see us together because it was against her religious beliefs - apparently that is just an exaggeration. The statistics about the number of people who are killed or beaten during hate crimes - which often have defense arguments along the lines of "he was flaunting his gayness, it was self-defense" - basically makes it seem in many states that gay men and lesbians are already second-class citizens. How much worse would it be if a policeman, or a judge, decided that there was nothing to do because the victim was gay - and that was against some religious belief, anyway?

So... Yeah... I commented back and made my case for the other side of the argument. I even took my time and made sure that my response was grammatically correct and fairly snark-free.

Twice in two days. I'm on a roll.