You Can Write, But You Can’t Edit*

The lovely and intelligent RA asks: “I know we’re both the typo police, but what are your grammar/punctuation pet peeves? Like how I hate it when people misuse apostrophes. HATE.”

Here, in no particular order, are some of the things that make the editor in me absolutely crazy:

  • Misplaced apostrophe’s. I’m with RA on this one. It’s not that hard, folks. Plurals don’t get apostrophes, possessives (and contractions) do.
  • Redundancy. Especially “3am in the morning” and “5pm in the afternoon.” It’s repetitive. It’s redundant. It’s unnecessary. Please stop it.
  • Subject-verb disagreement. It don’t make you look too smart if you talk like that. In fact, it makes you look like a total moron.
  • Similarly, double negatives. You ain’t looking no smarter this way, either. Please, for the love of the English language, refrain from speaking this way.
  • Asterisks that refer to nothing.**
  • The inability to know the meaning of certain words. Their’s no reason not too know how to use some of the most basic words in you’re own language. This, for example, baffles and irritates me to no end.
  • Comma splices. I know commas are tricky. I have a hard time, with them sometimes too. But there are some places in sentences that commas absolutely do not belong, no matter what. Places that you wouldn’t even pause if you were speaking. So why put a comma there?
  • Inconsistent style. For example, if a publisher, writer, or editor decides to employ a serial comma in some places but omits the serial comma in other places — such as the cover, back cover and title page — within the same publication. Choose a style and stick to it. Simple as that.
  • Any and all typos and grammatical errors I find in published material. If something has been professionally published, printed, and distributed, I expect it to have been edited and proofread with a fine-toothed comb. Anything less is simply unprofessional.

I know there are more things that make my fingers itch for a red pen when I see them, but these are the worst offenders. I also know that I am far from perfect when it comes to using proper grammar and punctuation, especially here in the casual forum of blogland. These are simply my pet peeves, and I think it’s possible — probable, even — that some of my common mistakes are pet peeves of yours. So, tell me — I’m dying to know. What drives the editor in you crazy?

*Regina Spektor

Wednesday-Bensday! Special Streeeetch Edition

Here, Ben demonstrates proper stretching procedure.

First stretch the front legs.

Then stretch the back legs.

It’s very important that you follow this procedure every. single. time. you stretch. I mean, if you’re only going to stretch one half of your body, then why even bother?

Happy Wednesday-Bensday! (And Roosday-Tuesday and Dogarazzi Thursday!)


Have you ever wondered why very strong chemical cleaners like, say, mildew remover, warn you against using them on painted surfaces? Well, wonder no more.

It’s not like I blatantly ignored the warning. It’s just that I had to clean the mildew off the ceiling, and it’s apparently impossible to get cleaner on the ceiling without it dripping down your purple walls. Oops!

The way I see it, I have 3 possible courses of action. Do I …

a) Repaint?
b) Spray mildew cleaner around the rest of the ceiling so all of my bathroom walls are purple with cool green streaks ?
c) Ignore it completely for now and don’t worry about repainting it until we eventually sell the house?

Oh! I Almost Forgot!

Exactly one year ago today, I made the leap from livejournal into the “real world” of blogging and published my very first post here at And I was elated to receive my very first comment on my very first SangriaLover post from the one and only Isabel of Hola, Isabel.

My second comment was from Jessie of Mrs. Ca, which prompted my outside-of-the-computer friend Jessie to be all, “Who’s this Jessie person commenting on your blog?” And then “real-life” Jessie started leaving comments as “The Real Jessie,” and then Kat*, being the hilarious person that she is, decided it would be funny to leave comments as “The Real Real Jessie But Secretly Kat,” and so, to this day, you will see comments from Jessie, The Real Jessie, and The Real Real Jessie But Secretly Kat. And now you know the story behind that.

It was definitely a good start to a good year of blogging.

*Kat has a new painting of a terrier on her website! All lovers of Ted (and dogs like Ted) should go have a look see!

The State of the Yard

As you may or may not remember, at the beginning of the summer we laid out some plans for fixing up our yard. I’ve been asked a couple of times for an update, and I’ve mostly just ignored those queries, plugging my ears and humming because that’s easier than admitting that the yard work, it is not going as well as we had hoped.

Oh, how ambitious we were in those early days of summer! Those were the days when the 95-degree sun didn’t beat down on our backs and suck the life out of us. Those were the days when our plans to work in the yard on our days off weren’t thwarted with sheets of rain pouring from the sky for weeks at a time. Those were the days when we didn’t have to spend half our yard work budget on a new refrigerator.

So, we’ve had our setbacks. Tim had two weeks off between spring and summer classes, and during those two weeks he had planned to get much of the carport and fence reconstructing finished. It rained every single day of those two weeks. Setback numero uno.

We got one tree from our friends in the forest, but then life intervened and neither we nor they have had the opportunity to transplant the other 7 trees we planned on getting. Setback numero dos.

Our sprinkler timer system faltered and had to be completely re-done. Setback numero tres.

Our refrigerator died and, because we’d rather eat fresh food than have a nice looking yard, we spent half our yard work budget on a new fridge. Setback numero cuatro.

I do not want to discuss the Planting Bed from Hell, so don’t ask. (On a completely unrelated note, can anybody recommend a perennial that will crowd out lots of really stubborn weeds?) Setback numero cinco.

However, all is not lost. We have actually achieved some of the goals we set at the beginning of the summer, and we still have at least a month and a half before we have to start worrying about pesky things like snow keeping us from working in the yard.

Let’s take a look at the goals we have achieved, shall we?

  • We have grass growing in the back yard. It’s established enough at this point that we can put down some Weed ‘n Feed and get those weeds out of there once and for all. This is a major accomplishment.
  • We planted our three ornamental trees along the street. 2 of them are still alive and thriving. The 3rd one? Well, it was on the portion of the street that already has 2 full-grown trees, and who needs a 3rd living tree there anyway?
  • I planted ground cover and shrubs (we went with burning bush instead of azaleas) in the two designated planting areas in front of the house, lined the planting beds with bricks, and put down weed barrier. All of those plants are doing well.
  • We planted our maple tree and our one forest tree in the back yard, and they, too, are thriving.

That’s not bad for one summer in which 90% of our non-work, non-school hours have been consumed with homework, freelance work, and/or rain, right?

My main goal at this point is to get the river rock delivered and in place before the summer’s over. Because I’m tired of looking at planting beds of weed fabric held in place with little piles of rock along the edges. However, getting the rock in place requires clearing out weeds, leveling ground, and laying weed barrier in the carport and in the back corner of the yard around our forest tree, which is quite the daunting task. But if the weather stops being such an asshole and cooperates with our schedule for once, it is a definite possibility.

As for the rest of the to-do list? Well … the yard’s not going anywhere, is it? It’ll still be there next summer, and we can deal with it then.

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