Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Punctuation Soapbox

Since when has the *...* replaced the “...”? I’m seeing it a lot, so I suspect it’s some sort of trend, but it’s wrong! Not only is it wrong, but the context in which it is being used is often incorrect, also. I’m seeing statements such as, “What is *wrong* with people using stars instead of the real quote symbols?” It isn’t cute, so please stop doing it. If you see someone using such abominable punctuation, forward them a copy of this request. Maybe we can stamp out this bad practice before it gets too out of hand.

Now, on to the apostrophe. It’s really easy: possessive is not the same as plural. They have nothing to do with each other. They are not even in the same family. They never get together for dinner, they do not exchange gifts at the holidays, in fact, they don’t really even like each other, and would never agree to be substituted for one another. So, why do we see them taking each other’s places so often? Think about it!!!! Seen recently at a Bed and Bath Store: All Linen’s 25% Off. I really wanted to go in the store and ask the manager what is was that Linens owned that was on sale.

Unless you are e.e. cummings, use capital letters at the beginning of a sentence. Use them when you are supposed to use them. You know when and how, I just know you do. If it's some sort of trademark you think you’ve discovered, you haven't. You’re several years behind, so give it up and get with the program. It makes me want to scream when I see "i" instead of "I." In fact, when I was typing this on my WordPerfect program, it automatically corrected me when I left an "i" alone. You see? This is what I’m talking about.

I am not the only person who is irritated by this careless punctuation. There has recently been a bestseller about this very issue. There are other bloggers who complain about this, too. Of course, we all make mistakes when writing, and we don’t always have time to read for typos, but we can ALL pay a little more attention to what makes effective communication and what makes us look like big dummies.

That's all I'll say about this topic for now. Once in a while I simply have to get this off my chest. Do any of you feel this way about punctuation? Or anything? Is there one thing in particular that really sets your teeth on edge? Tell me!

Sunday, February 26, 2006


She was trying not to laugh.
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
You, my precious niece, are an amazing girl. From the first moment I held you, I knew you were something really, really special. Your eyes seemed to be taking it all in, as calmly as you could, and you had an expression on your face that said, “Hey, world! I’m here and I’m not going to get in any hurry about anything. I’m just going to look around for a while, and when I’m able to talk, I’ll tell you what I think about everything I’ve learned, so far.” From that moment, Emily, you’ve been a sponge soaking up every drop of information your brain could hold. I am amazed at our conversations. You can discuss history, literature, and technology better than most adults, then you can get so excited about lipgloss and earrings, that I remember you’re a preteen. You can also catch a zooming softball better than anyone and throw it to second as smoothly and accurately as any coach could hope for and then step up to the plate and knock that ball into the grass. I love it when you’ve made it to home plate and you start running back to the dugout and look over at your family and give us a little grin and a wave. Yeah, you rock, Emily. Happy Birthday. Mmmmwwwwwaaaaah!


Friday, February 24, 2006

There Is No Mention Of Figure Skating In This Post

I’ve now been sick for almost an entire week. Laryngitis and snot and the worst rattling chest sounds make me think this is not just a little sinusitis. I coughed ALL NIGHT last night. I tried to sleep sitting up, since that (I thought) would keep the coughing to a minimum, but it didn’t work. I woke up every hour hacking up part of a lung. I should own stock in Puffs Tissues. I went to work on Monday feeling quite rotten and was given an antibiotic and some sinus/cough meds which have not done any good at all. I don’t like taking antibiotics, so I should have declined them, but I didn’t. I still had hope, then.

Now for the good news! Yesterday morning at 10:16 I received a phone call from my lovely boss in which she informed me that she was firing me. She couldn’t be a real woman and just tell me that she was firing me because she didn’t like me. No. She said she was firing me because I was taking too many days off. DAYS OFF because I am sick. Guess where I was infected? Is that irony? I get fired because I got sick. I got sick because I work in a medical clinic that is full of sick people all day and I have direct contact with them for eight solid hours. Well, bless her heart, the witch, she said she needed someone in my job whom she could depend on to be at work. If I’d gone to work sick, I guess I’d still have that sorry-ass job. This isn’t irony, this is a blessing. Truly a blessing. I could fight back, I know, but it would mean that I’d have to hire an attorney, eventually, because this is the largest medical clinic in this area and the Powerful People stick together. No way would they tell me they have a sorry manager who was wrong to fire someone because she missed work due to illness. It’s just not worth it to me to try to fight a battle I’d definitely lose. I think I will, however, apply for unemployment. I’ll have to fight for that, too, but that won’t be difficult. My coworker, the one who sits next to me, was out for an entire week with a migraine and no one said one word to her. Do you detect a little favoritism going on there? That type of treatment is frowned upon by the Employment Security Division and they will hear all about it if I have to use that to get what I deserve. It’s been this way ever since I started the job, and now I can forget about it and move on to something else. I feel better getting this off my rattling, fluid-filled chest.

On the bright side, this is going to be a fun weekend, in between naps. Emily’s birthday is Sunday and we’re celebrating all weekend. She’s having her friends over at her house tonight for a sleep over, so Reece is spending the night with me. He’s sick, too, so we’ll cough and snort together while we snuggle and eat pizza and cookies and watch movies. (Cute digression: Reece called me Wednesday night to tell me I needed to get better soon, and he said he wasn’t feeling so hot, either, and then he said, “This is funny that we’re sitting here talking about our illnesses.” I replied, “Yeah, Reece, we sound like a couple of old people.” He agreed. He’s eight years old and reminds me so much of his dad.) I’m looking forward to getting to spend some time with him.

Saturday night, Emily and I are going to see The Diary of Anne Frank at our local playhouse. We’re both looking forward to that.

Finally, on Sunday, Emily’s actual birthday, the whole extended family is going to dinner and we will shower our darling girl with gifts and have a good time watching her face light up until it is so bright we have to take out our sunglasses to cut the glare. Pictures will be posted.

So, in summary: sick...fired...Reece staying over...seeing a play with Emily...celebrating a birthday. Things are looking up!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Three Hundred Sixty-Five Days Later...

Much to my coworkers’ delight, I called in sick today. The sinus infection that refuses to die has migrated to my chest and I’m coughing and snorting and hacking and all that fun stuff. I got a whopping dose of antibiotics yesterday that is supposed to kick butt within a day or two, so in the meantime I’m wasting time doing very little. Daytime TV is the worst and I don’t feel like reading (except blogs) so I’m very, very bored. Tonight is the Ladies’ Short Program, so we finally get to see if Sasha can beat Irina. If I were to bet money, it would be on Sasha simply out of patriotism. Although she is grace personified, she tends to let us down when the competition is this great, and that’s when Irina swoops in and takes first place. I hope this doesn’t happen. We’ll see for sure after tonight and Thursday night.

This is, however, a Special Day:

One year ago today I launched this blogsite. My threshold for boredom is very low, so I’m extremely surprised that I have been able to stick with this blogging for an entire year. About two weeks before I began “Aunt Vanessa,” I read my first blog. Before that, I wasn’t sure what a blog actually was. I was finishing my master’s degree and had no free time to read for fun. I read a couple of well-known blogs and thought, “Hey, I can do that!” Mine, however, was simply intended to keep my family informed of each other’s activities. Much to my surprise and delight, however, I have readers who are not family and I’ve become extremely fond of these wonderful women. To you, my blogging friends, I thank you for letting me become part of your blogging family. My Daily Reads are the ones I read without fail. I have others I read, too, although with less frequency, but I love them, too. Some of them have won awards and some are quite obscure, which suits my eclectic tastes. Mine is not a blog that will win any awards, nor will it ever receive thousands of hits per day. I’m way too lazy to try to reach such lofty goals. I also don’t feel the need to please. Never cared if I was popular, and I still don’t. That being said, I do enjoy reading the comments left on my blog. One day you will walk into your favorite bookstore and find my novel on the shelf. Look under Adams, Vanessa. There it will be. And it will make you cry. And laugh. Especially if you love reading about crazy southern families. In this pursuit I’m not lazy, just very careful and believe that revision is the key to its success. That’s the only hint you’ll receive for now.

My wish for you all today is that you are happy and feeling better than I am. I wouldn’t wish this crap on anyone, except maybe my boss. Oh, what am I saying? OF COURSE I’d wish this on her. This is my blog and I’ll say what I want.

One more thing before I crawl back into bed: I love how indulgent you are of my constant bragging about Emily and Reece. I could go on and on about them, but I’ll save that for future entries, so get ready.

Monday, February 20, 2006

This Day Really Blows

You know how you feel when you've got one of those chest colds that make you cough so hard you think you might just have cracked a rib? And you know how calm you finally feel when the cough has subsided, even for fifteen minutes, and you can feel your brain settling back into place after being rattled for an hour? And, you know how you're not supposed to laugh when you have that cough just waiting to errupt and choke you to death? If so, and you share this affliction with me right now, then DO NOT read THIS post by Amanda, 'cause it's too funny for a sick person right now.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Quiet Weekend Ahead

Well, if THIS isn't the funniest thing ever, then I don't know what is. I especially hope my Auntie Linda sees this. Auntie, I don't know why, but I thought of you the second I saw the photos.

Have a great weekend, everyone. We're expecting more snow down here in these parts, so I'm looking forward to a weekend snuggled up with Abby and a book and a couple of movies. Oh, and eight boxes of Girl Scout cookies, thanks to Emily!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Somewhere in my wicked childhood...I must have done something good

I went to Emily's and Reece's on Valentine's Day to give them their gifts. We were able to spend a little time together, and as I was leaving, Emily gave me an adorable Teddy Bear and Reece gave me a rose. I was touched, to say the least. Then, Emily gave me their card. She and Reece usually make their own cards, which are so much better than Hallmark's, especially the one I received on Tuesday. It stated: "You don't need a man to have a happy Valentine's Day! We'll be your Valentines! Love, Emily and Reece" What did I ever do to deserve such an awesome niece and nephew???

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Young Love

A first for Emily. A big first. As of last Friday, she has a boyfriend. Or, as the kids say it now, she and Matt are “going out,” although they don’t actually go anywhere. She rolled her eyes and hit me on the arm when I asked her where they go. My reaction was the same when my mom once asked me that very question. That means I’m old. I’m not too old not to be excited for her, however. She’s all giddy and dreamy now. My straight-A, beautiful, athletic niece is having trouble concentrating on anything since Matt came along.

This is really cute, and shows just how smart this girl is: when one of her classmates, who is a friend of the new boyfriend, told her that Matt liked her, she said, “Well, I don’t really know you well enough to know if you’re telling me the truth. I’m going to need some proof.” “Okay,” the boy said, “I’ll get you some proof.” Later that day he produced a note to Emily from Matt stating that what the boy said was true, he did indeed like her! Don’t you just love it? She showed me the note yesterday. All of this occurred just as my brother was leaving for a three-week business trip, so I haven’t been able to ask him how he feels, but Emily said he almost had a heart attack when she told him. Emily will be twelve next week. This is only the beginning, my dear brother and sis-in-law.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday Tidbits

Check out my darling niece! She's a great basketball player and gorgeous, too. I love the red fingernail polish. She's the perfect combination of athlete and girly girl. I just love her!!

Our snow didn't last very long. Tomorrow it's supposed to be back up to sixty degrees.

I worked on graduate school applications all weekend. I'm still not finished. Tomorrow, I have to go by and pick up one of my letters of recommendation, then get to FedEx and overnight the letter and application in order for it to get to Texas Woman's University by the 15th. Oh, and I have to do this on my lunch hour. That'll be one application down and five more to go. I'm sick of this already. I just want to call these schools and say, "Just accept me and let me get on with it!" More on this subject as it unfolds.

I've been trying to go see "Brokeback Mountain" for weeks, now, and something always comes up. Is it worth the worry?

Michelle Kwan resigned from the Olympic team. I'm so sad for her. I'm now putting my money on Sasha Cohen. She's really the only one of the three U.S. skaters who is Olympic-quality. The other two are okay, but not good enough to win. If Sasha performs at her absolute best, she'll beat Irina Slutskya. Anyone else watch ice skating? I don't know a single soul who cares about it, so I only have Abby to talk with about it, and she only listens and never comments.

I talked to my grandmother Bera today and she talked for ten minutes about Roxy. Roxy and Auntie Linda have been staying with Bera while my mom's been in Mexico, and Bera's gotten attached to Roxy. I've always thought she needed a little lapdog, but she never has wanted one of her own. I'm glad she's gotten to know Roxy and understand how sweet she is. I really miss Roxy, even though I love Abby and it's better not having the two dogs together.

What's this about Dr. Phil working for Match.com now? What does he know? He is such a blowhard. I only like Oprah a teeny bit more than I do old Phil. And that's not much.

I read an interesting book last week, The Historian, and I'm surprised I liked it as much as I did. I hesitate to say that it was about a search for Dracula's tomb, because it wasn't a horror novel. It was full of Medieval history and often read like a travelogue of Eastern Europe, so read it if you like those two subjects. The "Vlad the Impaler" stuff isn't spooky, I promise. I'm starting The Glass Castle tonight. According to Mary it's a good one.

Now it's time to find something for dinner. Think I'll go make some pasta.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Abby wants in from the snow

Abby wants in from the snow
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
Look at her! She's only seen snow a few times in her life, and she's eight years old. It didn't accumulate much, but she still hated it. She especially hated the fact that I wouldn't let her onto the covered front porch until I'd grabbed my camera and took a photo of her getting covered with the strange stuff.

View from my front porch

View from my front porch
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa.
This was lunchtime yesterday. It's been sixy degrees almost every day this winter and then we get this! It's a huge deal when we get snow in Arkansas.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

If I Were More Awake, I'd Call This Stream of Consciousness

It is now 6:14 am and I’m on my second cup of coffee. There are only two things that can get me out of bed this early (5:30 am.)

1. A plane to catch to some fabulous place: London.
2. Being so angry I want to hit something.

It’s the latter this time. Usually, when I awake at 5:30, I can stumble (literally, stumble, banging into walls and furniture) into the bathroom, take care of my immediate needs and go straight back to bed and fall asleep without a thought. But not when I’m furious, which I am right now. And guess why: job, again. I was treated so unfairly yesterday that I am actually going to write a letter to Human Resources and complain, which will then label me a Troublemaker, I’m sure, but I am still going to do it. (Yes, I’ve learned that if you complain about anything, ANYTHING, in the work world, you are forever deemed a Troublemaker.) Although I’m not going to go into detail, I’ll tell you that I am right to be so pissed off that I want to hit something. Last night while stuffing sushi into my mouth as fast as I could possibly chew, I told my brother, Don the Professor Who Has It Made With His University Teaching Job, that I hate working. Not entirely true. I just hate this dumb job. That’s the last I’ll say about it. For now. I told Don that I was going to devote the next few months to trying to find a way to support myself without having the displeasure of looking, every day, at a very ugly Nazi-freaking-boss who is an idiot without a college degree. Hello, Internet? I need you to help me find work. Anything that involves writing or editing in some capacity. And speaking of degrees, you’d think that an MA in English would get me someplace, wouldn’tcha? Well, y'all, it ain't helpin' me none. I guess I just haven’t looked into the subject extensively enough yet, but now I’m going to do just that.

Other things that are popping into my head right now:

It’s a crying shame when your imagination far exceeds your budget.

I want to learn how to sew and make pretty throw pillows to go with the bedspread for which I’m still searching.

My grandmother has a sewing machine she’s wanting to give me.

I need to get all of my photos into scrapbooks before August.

I am going to learn to refinish furniture this year.

Remind me to tell you what I did to my dog. That's a post unto its own.

That stack of books beside my bed only gets taller. The only way I’ll ever read every book I want to read is to live five hundred more years. Oh, and no more books will be written. Ever. And no new New Yorkers will ever be printed. Love those short stories, too.

I’m leaving for school in August. I just don’t know where I’m going, yet.

I could use some feedback on these cities, since they are the cities with schools to which I’m applying for Fall of this year:

Denton, TX
Knoxville, TN
Norman, OK
Columbia, MO
Lexington, KY

I think Amanda knows a little something about Denton. Tell me about it, Amanda, please! The rest of you guys, give me some input if you know anything about these places that I can’t find by Googling them. Pretty please with M&Ms on top.

A bag of M&Ms would be good with my coffee right now.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

No Way Men Could Do This - NO Way

I started to e-mail this to some of my blogging buddies, but then I decided it was so funny I'd post it here so that everyone could read it. I love it:


Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.

There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of "pretend" bills with not enough money.

In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment . He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care (weekend, evening, on a holiday or right when they're about to leave for vacation). He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

There is only one TV between them, and a remote with dead batteries.

Each father will be required to know all of the words to every stupid song that comes on TV and the name of each and every character on cartoons.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, which they will apply to themselves either while driving or making three lunches.

Each man will have to make an Indian hut model with six toothpicks, a tortilla and one marker; and get a 4 year old to eat a serving of peas.

Each man must adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep their nails polished and eyebrows groomed. The men must try to get through each day without snot, spit-up or barf on their clothing.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties. They must try to explain what a tampon is for when the 6-yr old boy finds it in the purse.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

He will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night without falling asleep, and then feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair each morning by 7:00. They must leave the home with no food on their face or clothes.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they
grow up.

They must clean up after their sick children at 2:00 a.m. and then spend the remainder of the day tending to that child and waiting on them hand and foot until they are better.

They must have a loving, age appropriate reply to, "You're not the boss of me".

The kids vote them off the island based on performance.
The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years...eventually earning the right to be called Mother!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Yikes, I can't believe it's been a week since last I posted my thoughts! I've been busy with grad school applications and other junk, and kept procrastinating the week away. So, how is everyone? I've not even read all of my usual favorite blogsites in days. Ever feel as if you don't have enough time to do all you want to do? Of course you do. I'm not even a mom and I'm busy. Can't imagine how you super wonderful moms get everything done you need to do.

Back in July, I wrote about an old friend, CK, who now lives in Ohio, who I've avoided for the past couple of years. I said that she needed to move on and that I really didn't care to ever see her again. Well, danged if she didn't find me last week, and it was purely by accident. She'd been in town to help her mother sell her house and pack her things, in order to move her to Ohio, and she brought her mom to her doctor's appointment. Guess who the woman's doctor is? Yes, one of my doctors. When my old friend walked in, I nearly died. She nagged me and nagged me and then her mother nagged me about never returning her daughter's phone calls and I just looked at them adn didn't say anything. CK then made me "promise" to call her by the end of the week so we could get together because she's missed me so much! (Add a whiney tune to it and you now have the complete picture.) Arrrrgggggghhhh!!! Add this little experience to the list of the many, many, many reasons I hate my job.