Tag Archives: Christmas

Two Things

The Chicago Manual of Style Online Q&A made me smile today:

Q. Hello, I saw Barack Obama speak and he seemed to make a grammar error. I was wondering if I was missing something. He said, “President and Mrs. Bush invited Michelle and I to come to the White House.” Another time he said, “It was for Michelle and I.” Shouldn’t it be “Michelle and me”? My husband thinks I’m crazy to spend my time thinking about things like this, but it bothers me.

A. You’re right—I’ve heard Obama say that myself. But you have to feel for the guy. I’d wager my job that he knows the correct grammar. But he knows that hardly anyone uses it and that if he does, he’ll sound either incorrect or “elitist.” What’s a pol to do?

Q. Consider the following situation. A woman is wearing a sweater which has black-and-white stripes, and the underlying color is blue (base color), and a short skirt with a tartan plaid pattern involving the following colors: red, black, white. Is the correct way to describe this person as follows: “She is wearing a black-and-white-striped blue sweater and a short plaid skirt (red, black, and white tartan)”? Or “She is wearing a black-and-white-striped, blue sweater and a short, red-black-and-white-plaid skirt (tartan)”?

A. At last—a serious style question. I would go with version 1, but change the sweater to black cashmere.

Q. I am writing a novel. How do I write a title of a song in the body of the work (caps, bold, underline, italics, etc.)? Example: The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” looped in his head.

A. Noooo! Now that song is looping in my head (“but it’s too late to say you’re sorry . . .”). Use quotation marks. Thanks a lot.

Q. We are editing a scientific book. We have to follow UK spelling. Per the dictionary, sulfur is the US spelling and sulphur is the UK spelling. But in one chapter the author has used sulfur and in another chapter sulphur. Since we are following UK spelling, can we change sulfur to sulphur? Or, per CMOS, since the IUPAC recommended spelling is sulfur irrespective of UK or US spelling, can we change sulphur to sulfur?

A. Good grief. You can’t lose—just pick one.

It’s nice to read that other crazy people grammar police folks out there notice and care about this stuff. And that editing can sort of be funny.

❖❖❖❖❖❖

Is there anything so melancholy as taking down the Christmas tree? After feeling somewhat revived this morning from yesterday’s horrible stomach virus/purgatorial day in bed, I finally got around to packing up all the holiday decorations. What was once festive and sparkling now seemed frowzy. But I still felt a pang of sadness putting everything away.

On the bright side, we can now reclaim our living room, and in place of the nativity, our nature table now features a serene setting of crystals and pine cones. Despite the warmth and joy of the holidays, there something equally nice about clearing it all away and starting afresh with Less Stuff.

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Filed under editing, holidays, Nature tables, Silliness and Mayhem

Whirling, Twirling

This time of year, it seems like no matter how much I intend to plan ahead and not procrastinate, I am always in a full dither by the week of Christmas. I think I’m getting a bit better each year, but still — three days to Christmas (and Hannukah starting now) and I’m still making presents! Sheesh.

My thoughts have been like whirling, twirling snowflakes lately too. In no particular order:

  • Snow is charming. The giant clumps of icy mud adhering to everyone’s wheel wells are not. Though, when they fall off in big clumps in the middle of the road, I can amuse myself by imagining what sort of snow horse left those kind of road apples.
  • I just finished reading Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth for the first time. I was shocked by the ending. What an amazing moralist and social observer. Now I’m in the middle of The Custom of the Country.
  • God moves in mysterious ways. I’ve been stressing out lately over the unpredictability of my freelance income. Then I got an email a few days ago from a long-time client of mine, offering me essentially constant work for the next few months and — get this — a weekly paycheck. I’m so grateful.
  • I had the pleasure of hearing Anthropapa sing with the ISU Camerata Singers on Friday, performing Puccini’s Messa as well as a variety of shorter pieces and carols, in the beautiful Stephens Performing Art Center’s Grand Concert Hall. The Puccini was a bit uneven, but not because of the performers — it’s all Puccini’s fault.The Kyrie was oddly light-hearted, considering the text is a plea for mercy, and the Gloria seemed like a choral Gilbert and Sullivan piece. But the Credo and Agnus Dei were amazing. Now I get to plan for April’s performance of one of my favorites, Orff’s Carmina Burana.
  • I made several holiday gifts this year, with crochet, knitting, embroidery, felting, and clay sculpture! The kids helped with the sculpture too. I think I’ll plan to do the same for next year, only I’ll plan a bit farther ahead. Really, I will.
  • I also tried to make a stable for the nativity scene on our nature table. Since I didn’t plan ahead for this either, I had to use what was at hand: cardboard from the recycle bin! It teetered over some time yesterday, and I have not had time to fix it. So we missed this Advent Sunday’s addition of the shepherds, because the whole thing is in such disarray. I’ll fix it in time for Christmas, I swear! Sigh. So much for the wonder and awe of the season.
  • We finally got our Christmas tree yesterday. The kids helped me decorate it, and it looks sweet. We have such a mishmash of ornaments, but most of them have sentimental value. I like that the tree doesn’t look “Decorated” with a capital D.
  • The night I went to Anthropapa’s concert, his co-worker had our kids over for her son’s birthday party. When we arrived to pick the kids up at a late and cold hour, she plied us with hot buttered rum and rum balls. Now that was yummy. And we slept well.

OK, off to bed now. We’re supposed to be getting more snow with wind tomorrow, which should make it oh-so-fun to get groceries and mail gifts like I’d planned. At least I got to get all this random useless crap stuff out of my head!

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Filed under Crafting, Family, holidays, Nature tables, papa, Silliness and Mayhem