Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday's Child

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good, and gay.

It first appeared in 1838 in a book about the Traditions of Devonshire, by A. E. Bray.

My mom taught me this poem when I was a child. I liked that I was born on the day that had the most attributes, it made me feel special. I guess that your birthday falls on the same day of the week when it's fifty years later.

Stop on over and celebrate with me between 3-7 p.m. Bonfire in the backyard.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Great Shuffle: An Unnecessarily Long Description of One Aspect of Resettling

I packed up my house all into my attic in the fall of 2007. But I was around for a few months before I left for Kenya so I was in and out of my attic a few times. Then I was home starting in the fall of 2008 for another 8 months and I was up there again often enough to know exactly where certain things I wanted to get at were. Just before I left in 2009 I had a small influx of items from my sister’s house in Washington because she had passed away and we had shipped several boxes of photos to her when Mom had passed away in 2005. Plus my attic gained some of her artwork and eventually some pottery. I was here again briefly in the fall of 2010 and grabbed a couple of items from the attic. For the most part, my carefully packed attic was only lightly touched and mostly memorized until this point.

But when I finally landed in the Twin Cities at the start of last winter -- I was in my attic often enough to start shuffling items around. I needed some things for living. I was moving in with some dear friends who provided a bed and dresser, but I needed a winter coat and some wall decor -- you get the picture. This is when the shuffle really started.

At the beginning of June I moved back into my own home! I was elated and didn’t waste a moment of unpacking all my furniture from the attic. I nearly filled up the house. How had I managed to contain all that is my little attic? I then arranged one corner of the attic with a bed and night stand. It’s very cosy there. But I left the attic for sleeping only and set about on a million little details around the house. The details are so minute I can’t even think now -- but they managed to drain my time over the last two months. I wanted to get everything just so for sharing the house with strangers.

All this is to say I have neglected my attic until now. As I was unpacking in June I noticed that I kept some things that were very odd -- telephones and cassette tapes -- I dubbed my attic a time capsule. Finally I have to deal with the time capsule because I need a place that doesn’t take up the dining table to work. I have school to do. I looked around the other day and I couldn’t see a single surface in the attic. I have two small work tables, a large wooden desk and a laptop table but nowhere I could safely set my little Mac.

This won't be easy. I call it the great shuffle because I will likely spend the entire winter shuffling piles around trying to figure out what to keep, what to chuck, where to store things and so on. There’s a whole wall of footlockers and boxes; more in the closet and crawl space that all need to be dealt with. There are 2 boxes under the desk and several works of art under one of the tables. Maybe in the spring I can have a big sale. Eventually I will have a room back, but in the meantime, I’ll just shuffle.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Back in School

Being back in the school is a good and right thing to be doing at this point. But at the same time feels funny. I have or I should say, had the potential to be one of those English nerds -- someone who went around correcting people’s grammar. If, at a young age, I had been at all pushed in that direction I would have been into reading and writing. It all comes fairly second nature to me. With my tendency towards perfectionism, I would have been a natural. Of course, I don’t have the personality of a librarian, so I’m sure it has all turned out for the best.

Regardless, I am thankful for a natural ability to “hear” the correct way to write a sentence under usual circumstances. I do a have bit of trouble in a few area but I’m learning tricks for remember grammatical rules.

So far, songs have been my best help. When I was studying for the grammar entrance exam for Northwestern I wrote out a little card with a chart for “lay” and “lie” and at the bottom I wrote, “Bob Dylan was wrong.” I had one of the real grammar nerds in the school’s learning center ask me what that meant. I explained,

“When Bob Dylan sings, ‘Lay, lady, lay. Lay upon a smoky brass bed.’ he was wrong, it should have been ‘lie’. In this way, I can remember what people do and the difference in  what we do to objects.”

The other day I was struggling in the school library over “I was” and “I were”. (I was working on the grammar rules for a class.) I asked a librarian for help. In her effort to explain it to me she went to the Grammar Girl website (which I highly recommend) to help explain the time when you use were. As she showed me the page I realized I’d read and maybe even listened to this topic from Grammar Girl before. That was disconcerting since I just discovered Grammar Girl within the last 6 months -- why can’t a remember this rule! But then someone said, “Think of Tevye.” I immediately thought of the line, “If I were a rich man...” The trick for “were” is if it’s a wish or impossibility. I feel confident I will remember now.

If I run into any more issues I have trouble remembering I will look for a song that illustrates it. Unfortunately, it’s a little late in the game for me to become a proper grammar police officer. However, with a bit of effort I hope to get to the point where I can catch myself and avoid being lazy in the area of writing. It turns out that Business Communications class is almost all about grammar, so here’s my chance to practice.