About Me

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Woodbridge, VA, United States
Politically Opinionated, Christian, Writer, Mom of 2 adult children, 3 dogs and a cat who sometimes thinks she's one of the dogs.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In Memorium

                    Frederic A. Morris
                   November 13, 1933
                      March 15 2011


Weep if weeping comforts you, dissolves
 The aching knot or soothes and palliates
   What anguished void may gape at my
    departure;  Make tears your healing
               balm as I would have

Had you first taken leave, shed for myself
To salve my pain; so let yours fall to heal
  Your heart, as heal it will, and I again
   Will fill the void imagined to be real;

  Shed none for me...I've lived delicious
  spring  And hearty Summer, Autumn's
redolence,  Then peaceful Winter's gentle
     quietude  All softly sweetened by
                our sharing of them

I shall miss you my dear Unca Fred...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Peepers Are Out

Last week I woke up in the middle of the night to an unexpected sound outside.  Was that...?  No it couldn't be...it's too early.  It's not warm enough out yet...  But sure enough, it was a chorus of spring peepers in the night.  It does seem rather early for them to be out - we did have a frost just the night before, but they were not yet out in full force.  Their peeping was intermittent, and I had to listen for awhile to be sure I heard them.  But it was definitely spring peepers.  I have been hearing them every night since, more and more of them.

Crocus, which can bloom in the snow, Bright yellow forsythia and spring peepers are all the signs that spring has arrived even if everything else has not yet sprung. 

When I was a kid, our next-door neighbors, the Andersons had a marshy side yard with two huge weeping willows.  The yard was about a half an acre and that was where the spring peepers lived.  The whole neighborhood played at their house at night until it was time to go home.  (Our yard was the daytime yard - we had an acre and it was the pick-up baseball and football yard.)  Andersons had woods, a stream, the marshy side yard, gardens, an apple tree for climbing and a playhouse - plus a playroom in the house.  Their yard wasn't good for baseball or football - too many obstacles. 

In the spring, we would all go out with flashlights and catch the little frogs.  They are about the size of a quarter.  We would see how many we could catch before curfew and then we let them go when it was time to go home.  One night we caught over a hundred of them.

Their peeps are so loud when you're standing next to them.  (Probably why I could hear them through my closed windows at night.)

They start peeping at dusk and they really get going when it's full dark.  I have seen pictures of some peepers that are darker or more reddish than the ones I remember.  The ones we had in upstate New York were tan like toads with a dark "X" in their backs.  I don't know what the spring peepers in Virginia look like, but they sound exactly like their New york cousins.

When you hear them peeping, you know that spring is well on its way. The other signs are sure to follow, and not far behind.

Enjoy them while you can - they only peep in the spring and early summer.   

Monday, October 4, 2010

Writing Pet Peeves: Waxing Loquatious

May I just say that this is embarrassing? 

It would appear that I have been walking around with the proverbial spinach stuck in my literary teeth and not a single one of my several writer friends who read this blog have told me about it!  Friends don't let friends walk around with spinach in their teeth!  And they have let me walk around like this for months.  At least since the beginning of my foray into blogging and figured out a name for the blog.

Which makes me wonder: do they misspell the same words I misspell?  I think maybe they do because surely someone would have told me by now!  Or at least they should have.

V?  Allene?  Katie?  Gina?  Kurt?

Even the folks here who are not my friends who are waiting for me to say something that they can use to poke fun at my expense have not mentioned it on this or my other blog.  But that may be because they have declared a moratorium among themselves for commenting on my blog.  They have not mentioned it in their usual writing forum so I suspect that it has escaped their notice as well.

The embarrassing part is that I am my own writing pet peeve.  Yup I am fallible and I misspell words.  I can't blame this one on a typo.  I jumped right in with both feet! 

Have you figured it out yet?

I fixed it last week.  Did any of you notice?

Let me know when you do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Writing Pet Peeves: "To Hone in"

This is one used by the well educated and the undereducated alike.  I have seen it commonly used on social networks, in common everyday conversation, in many online forums, but it is most disheartening when I find it in professionally edited and published books, unless the author indended for a character to misuse the term in dialog.  And even in that case it's a lame excuse.

Hone can be used as a noun or a verb, but is most often misused as a verb.  I'm guessing that the misuse of this word is because it is only one letter off the correct word, and therefore can be easily confused when heard in in speech.

Hone: Noun:

1.  A whetstone with a fine abrasive texture used for sharpening razors, knives and other sharp tools.
2.  A precisoin tool used to bore or enlarge holes to exact dimensions.

Hone: Verb:

1.  To sharpen on a hone (whetstone):  He honed his knife.
2.  To bore, enlarge or finish a hole with a hone. 
3.  To make more effective or acute, to sharpen, improve or perfect one's skills.  The lawyer honed her argument.

And definitions that have fallen out of usage:

1.  Followed by for or after: To yearn or pine: He honed after the life on the farm he left behind; She honed after a piece of homemade pecan pie.
(This usage is found more in the Southern United States.)

2.  To moan or grieve: She honed for her stilborn child.

Used incorrectly where the word home is meant: This device makes it easier to home in (not hone in) on the target. 

The Correct Usage:

Home: Noun:  This context only:

1.  Target, goal.

Home: Verb:

1. (Of guided missiles, aircraft, etc.): To proceed, especially under the control of an automatic aiming mechanism toward a specific target; usually followed by in on:  The missile homed in on the target. 

Homing: Adjective: 

1.  Capable of returning home, usually over a great distance, as a homing pigeon.
2.  Guiding or directing homeward or to a specific location, as a homing instinct, or homing device.

It grates to hear or read about a person "honing in on" a particular place or thing, especially when there are no sharp objects in sight.  Not even a wit.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Lesser Known US Holiday

Today is a lesser known US holiday.  But I believe it's just as important as the Independence Day we celebrate every 4th of July.  Today is Constitution Day.  Just as important as gaining our independence from England, is the Constitution by which our country is governed.

Our Founding Fathers spent a lot of time and putting a lot of thought into that document.  Thousands of soldiers have given the ultimate sacrifice defending the principles of governance laid out in therein.  Every soldier, sailor, marine and airman takes an oath to protect and defend our Constitution.  Our elected officials swear to govern by the Constitution, and our Supreme Court judges by it.

How did you observe the day?  Did you read your copy of the Constitution?  If you did read it you may be wondering how we've allowed our elected officials deviate so far from its straightforward simplicity and expanded it to mean things our Founding Fathers never intended. 

Maybe it's about time we started teaching our children and grandchildren the Constitution.  Public education is lacking in that department and we have no one to blame but ourselves for the deviations from the original intent by our lawmakers.

It's our civic responsibility.

Small government, fiscal responsibility and free markets.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Writing Pet Peeves - "Use to" And "Suppose to"

This is another one seen frequently on social network sites.  Again, it is a case of people writing the way they speak, and words are not often spelled the way they are said.  Enunciation tends to be a problem, but that is a small part of how some words are commonly misspelled.

"Supposed to" - commonly misspelled "suppose to"

This one is tricky because it is an idiom.  People mistakenly misspeak and misspell this one because the correct usage and the incorrect usage sound so much alike and many who say it and attempt to write it have not often read it in context.

The idiom refers to a supposition that has been made (hence the past tense) about someone or something.

Intended to -  This gift was supposed to (intended to) be for John.
Believed to - He is supposed to (believed to) be out of town.  What is he doing here?
Expected to - You are supposed to (expected to) be home by midnight.
Required to -  I'm supposed to (required to) call home to check in by eleven o'clock.

Not supposed to: not permitted - You're not supposed (not permitted) to be in there.

"Used to" is prone to same common misuse as "supposed to."  (Use to.)

This phrase is also an idiom, and is used in the past tense.

Accustomed to or habituated to - I'm not used to (accustomed to, habituated to) this cold weather
Formerly - That used to be (was formerly) a nice hotel before it fell into disrepair.

We are supposed to use grammar correctly in writing and speaking.  Although we used to write and spell these two idoms correctly in days gone by, social networking, texting and tweeting has all but put an end to their correct usage.  More's the pity.