My Royal Court

30 December 2011

Cease and Desist

With less than 48 hours until 2012 arrives, here is a request.  Not having to hear these hackneyed expressions will produce much jubilation for this Queen. 

Just sayin’ – really?
LOL – Instead of texting or saying it, do it as boisterously and as frequently as possible.
Epic fail – A failure is a failure no matter how large, and in the truer sense, epic should not modify fail.  Check the meaning.
Viral – please! 
It is what it is – is not that apparent?
Sleep in – in what?  A tent?  Simply saying one is sleeping late will suffice and is correct.
Dead Presidents – a misnomer actually since not all gentleman featured on U.S. currency were presidents!
When it rains, it pours – not always.  (My students should recognize this one and be able to explain it!)

27 December 2011

Bedazzled (The Tuesday Haiku)

Now that the holiday season is once again here, this was my experience on Sunday.  Enjoy.

Gifts in abundance.
Paper ripped; boxes opened.
Smiles light the room.  

21 December 2011

9125 days

I couldn't resist posting this error, which I found on an Internet news site.  Technology truly is exciting when women can carry and give birth to inanimate objects for this long!
A 76-year-old British woman recently had a pen removed from her stomach, and doctors were shocked to discover that after 25 years of gestation the pen still works.

20 December 2011


The Tuesday Haiku is taking a detour this week to make way for this lovely limerick to adorn the page.  Let me preface this post by saying that it is fictional (hmm...), and the rhyme scheme is indeed correct.  There are two pronunciations for the final word.  In this case, place the stress on the second syllable.  Shame on you for thinking I'd use lexemes incorrectly.

There is a young woman named Lola.
Who often imbibes rum and cola.
She started her blog
After she was deep-sixed by a frog.
Now she writes while traveling by gondola.

13 December 2011


In the hubbub that characterizes the end of a college semester, I am witness to many occurrences, some of which are the sources for this Tuesday Haiku.  Enjoy!
Books sold or traded.
Exams prepped for and taken.
Belongings are packed. 

07 December 2011

Did not seek, but this Grammar Gal did find

I was not looking for these blunders.  They found their way to me.  The members of my royal court know that it would be remiss of me if I did not report them as such.  

From a composition-book publishing company:  Our title reflects the reality that today everyone with a computer can publish what they write.  

From my local newspaper:  Dorothy Askew-Sawyer, director of the St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore's Beans and Bread Center, behind her at left, stands where the center plans to expand, if neighbors concerned about its drawing more needy people from all over the city can't stop it. 

From a news Web site:  Amanda Knox hires a US lawyer searching for a book deal.

A simple edit could have avoided these glitches.  It seems my work will never be completed.  *sigh*

06 December 2011

20,000 Leagues under...the Tuesday Haiku

Black ink; white paper.
I swim in a lettered sea.
Aiming for low tide.

03 December 2011


My mind is a bit loopy of late since I'm buried waist-deep in student essays.  However, that hasn't stopped me from this confusion.  

Why are bologna, salami, and provolone cheese round but bread is square?   The final product is rather odd and not at all visually appealing.

Why is it called trimming the tree?  The object should be to decorate not cut.

Why is something called a drive-through when one has to stop at the window?   Brakes need not be applied.

29 November 2011

Shoppers Beware.

This Tuesday haiku is dedicated to my fine followers brave enough to venture out on that fateful Friday after Thanksgiving.  While my excursion was a rather pleasant one, others experienced the antics now ingrained in the American culture.

Cars steal prime parking.
Carts swiftly pushed through aisles.
Humans shove and snatch.  

22 November 2011

Tuesday Haiku

Nearly naked trees.
Leaves crackle under my shoes.
Autumn has arrived.

17 November 2011

Hey, it's okay...

Here’s to a companion blogger who airs her dirty laundry one sock at a time (AKA the whispering writer on blogspot) and the feature she found in Glamour magazine.

Hey, it’s okay if sometimes you want to watch a low-budget Lifetime movie.  Not having to think too intently about a plot so thin that it’s pliable is actually good therapy for the brain. 
Hey, it’s okay if you abhor advertising that takes personification to the maximum:  Talking food products geared toward adults.  Really?
Hey, it’s okay if you were an avid fan of Sex and the City on HBO but hated the movies and wished that Carrie didn’t marry Big but stayed with Aidan Shaw.  They were, after all, so much better together.
Hey, it’s okay if you look at yourself in the mirror, find three new gray hairs and a new wrinkle that you know were not there the day before and then proceed to smile and tell yourself that you are naturally beautiful.

15 November 2011

Tuesday Haiku

Darkness falls; stars dance.
Your loving caress wakes me.
Tender lips touch mine. 

13 November 2011

Express Yourself

Ah, ambiguity.  It is indisputably one of the most frequent language gaffes I stumble upon on a daily basis.  Oftentimes, one’s mouth works faster than one’s brain, and what spews from within can be considered sheer  foolishness.   Here a few recent finds (overheard and read) I thought I’d share.

She was unable to tolerate liquids or solids by mouth.  Hmm, so was she tolerating them in some other way?  Is that even possible? 
People are gettin’ all kinds of reactions to birth control pills.  Okay.  First, I didn’t know animals took birth control, so is it necessary to reference people?  Second, are men taking BCPs now?

These next two are headlines from the local newspaper, the first of which one of my esteemed colleagues found.   Once we read it, hilarity ensued. 
    Mayor grilling agency heads  (Will she enjoy the taste?)
    Governor to give talk on the bay (Will he be on a boat, jet skis?)

As always, more to come...

09 November 2011

This Just In....

It's that time of the week -- the sale circular for one of our local supermarkets was tucked in our daily newspaper.  The store, which shall remain nameless to protect the not-so-innocent (at least when it comes to context), had this to say in regard to the Thanksgiving holiday coming up in a mere two weeks.

For your convenience, we will be open on Thanksgiving day from 6am until 6pm.  This will allow our associates to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families.


08 November 2011

Tuesday Haiku

A gentle breeze swirls,
Wrapping me in its softness
Ever so lightly.

04 November 2011

The Tranquility of Dawn

Daylight-saving time has arrived yet again.   Aside from the obvious extra 60 minutes (and much needed) of sleep I will get this coming Sunday, the darkened mornings when I venture out offer a grand view of the skyline as the sun begins to wake for the day.  I have been awarded the genuine radiance of this display on the past two mornings, and I wasted not a minute grumbling about the traffic since the crawl afforded me the ability to marvel at its simplicity.  The cerulean sky was juxtaposed against the soft light-orange clouds.  Some were wispy strips that stretched well beyond lengths I could see, while others were wider, shaped like the overlapping ridges on a washboard.  The cloud swirls covered so much of the sky that there was only the faintest hint of blue beyond them. 
I question whether my fellow travelers saw what I did.  I am pessimistic enough to say I doubt it since the backdrop to this wonder was horns honking steadily, tires screeching loudly, and hand gestures flying.  So much for serenity.

02 November 2011


If hand and foot are singular nouns, and in American English we add ‘s’ (most of the time) to create plural words, should not it then be hands and foots? 
Why is it that Donald and Daisy Duck have no pants, Mickey Mouse wears no shirt, and Goofy wears a turtleneck and long pants?  Trying to accommodate all seasons perhaps?
Does not the word permanent mean something that lasts forever?  If that is so, what’s the point of a permanent press setting on the iron, and why is a product called permanent hair color?  I can ardently say that I press the wrinkles on the same clothes week after week and color my  wretched grays nearly once a month. 
When the elevator is slow arriving to the floor after one has pushed the button, pushing the button 3 times in a row is not going to bring the elevator any faster than if one had simply waited for it to arrive.  The same logic applies to the remote control.  If the channel is not changing when one pushes the buttons, shaking the remote control will not correct the situation.
The word ajar means partly open or half closed (think optimistic and pessimistic) and one usually leaves a window or a door as such.  So if one refers to a jar should one then use the word ‘adoor' or 'awindow'?

As always, more to come.

30 October 2011

No Tricks; Only Treats

Halloween has arrived.   Since those reading my posts are much too far away to give candy to, I’d like to share a few of my favorite stories and movies that befit this self-proclaimed ‘American holiday.’  As you wait for wicked witches, fanciful fairy princesses,  ghastly ghouls, and truculent trolls to land on your stoop and utter that famous phrase, either peruse these stories or observe these movies.  It will most assuredly help you stay in the spirit of the season.

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson (makes me never want to participate in any form of gambling)
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (a haunted house and children?  That’s telling enough.)
“The Eyes” by Edith Wharton (not the typical description of a ghost, for sure)
“The Withered Arm” by Thomas Hardy (a jilted lover usually leads to a deluge of catastrophe)
“The Tell-Tale Heart” (anything from Poe is worthy of a read, but this one is my favorite)

The Shining (Jack Nicholson at his most memorable)
Fallen (To this day I shiver when people ‘accidentally’ bump into me)
The Sixth Sense (I had to watch this a second time to figure out how I didn’t figure it out the first time)
Jennifer 8 (what the film industry calls a sleeper)
Night of the Living Dead (A classic B&W film made in 1968 that frightens me each time I watch it)

28 October 2011

My Homage to Teddy G.

This blog post is dedicated to my students who were quite convinced that I was “going to go all Dr. Seuss” on them during class the other day.  Thanks for giving me the inspiration to create this one.

The world of writing is full of one too many a cliché.
I do not know how it became this way. 
If you cannot think of anything new and fresh to say,
Perhaps you should start over and throw your first idea away.

I made part of that rhyme in class, but I did not know it.
My students told me I should try to become a poet.
Not really…but I found it difficult not to show it.
I hope that I did not blow it.

As I always will say, keep your writing from sounding trite.
If you do not, your readers will be left with such a fright. 
Since you should strive to convey writing that is forthright,
Take a shot and give your readers a true delight. 

27 October 2011

Man Down; Woman Up

I've been conducting beaucoup research of late as it seems that some of my male student population believe that women are the so-called weaker sex.  Hmm.  I found this rather absurd quote:

"These women just need a man in the house.  That's all they need.  Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home."

Really?  Not only are many of the women I know able to read the numbers on their own watch, they also know how to get around town.  If not, I'm sure there's an 'app' for that.

18 October 2011

The Battle for Handedness

The gloves are on and an epic war plays out.  I've come to the conclusion that the world favors righties -- right-handed people, that is.  While I've been a rightie all of my life, I've watched lefties struggle for many moons trying to adapt to a 'right' environment.  That said, here's how the battle plays out. 

Scissors – No secret here.  Mass produced during my generation (I have a pair from the 1970s), these scissor handles are molded to fit a right-hander.  Sure, a left-hander could put fingers and thumb in the holes, but you try it.  Scissors held in this direction do not have the ability to cut even the most delicate scrap of paper; they only bend it. 

Spiral notebooks – The coils are conveniently placed on the left side of a book so that the rightie writer never touches them while putting pen to paper.  Lefties spend their time fending off curly-Q impressions and ink stains on the wrist. 

Mail boxes --  Yes, I am well aware that many of you have little to no use for those tiny dome-shaped flat-bottomed houses that hold snail mail; however, for those who do, ever stop to think what side the flag is on?  Yes, that’s correct.  It’s on the right side, which means lefties have to reach across their bodies to raise it.

Shopping carts – Going to market was never easier for a rightie.  Front of the cart?  Sure, you have to be in this position to push it through the aisles.  Inevitably, you have to roll up to the check-out line and that’s where the problem ensues.  For the leftie, the logical way to take items should be from the front of the cart – a nearly impossible feat since one might have handle impressions across the abdominals, and the smallest of items could be left behind in the very corner of the cart.  The ease of taking everything from said cart comes at the other end where righties position themselves and use the predominant hand to swiftly place the items on the moving belt. 

All is not lost...

QWERTY – Here is where lefties hold sway.  Did you ever notice that the most popular keys are on the left side of the keyboard?  Your left thumb gets much more exercise than your right when you text.  Makes you wonder if C.L. Sholes was a leftie.  I think not, though.  It’s merely a matter of logistics. 

Although not a TKO, righties rule.

06 October 2011


Yes, I've been at it again with my habit of perusing the posterior parts of moving (and parked) vehicles for their artwork.  Here is the latest collection.

Run like a girl (not sure what this means, but I hope it doesn't set us back one hundred years.)

89.7 WTMD (yes, this is a plug for our very own TU music station).

I haven't been the same since that house fell on my sister (I so love The Wizard of Oz.)

I brake for frogs (I suppose someday her prince will come.)

To write is to live (a personal favorite.)

23 September 2011

Bumper Art

Since I am so well traveled on the beautiful Baltimore beltway, and I spend most of that travel time in unrelenting traffic, I find myself perusing the back ends of vehicles for bumper art.  Some stickers I find are awesome; others not so much.  This one in particular deserves special props.
                Well-behaved women seldom make history.
I am inclined to agree. 
What-say we make a case for changing the word HIStory to HERstory.  Female empowerment rocks!

13 September 2011


These two I heard on radio ads.  Those of you thinking of advertising as a future career, do me a favor please and don't make these mistakes.  Careful attention to detail could have prevented this.

A weight loss company posed this question as its opening line:  Are you a man or a woman who needs to lose 20 pounds or more?  Who else does this company think is listening to the radio?  Bears?  Tigers?  Space Aliens?

An ad for a local hospital ran this one, again as an opening line:  Pregnant moms expecting a bundle of joy...  Repetition in an ad does not a good ad make (neither does this comment I added, so you should get my point!)

03 September 2011

Change is a'coming

"When it's time to change, you have to rearrange."  I believe that is from a song way back in the day.  The 2011 spring and summer seasons are a few days shy of ending, so my blog must keep up.  Thus, a new color scheme is in order.  For the autumn season, orange is an exceptional choice.

30 August 2011

My favorite season

Fall has always been my favorite time of year.  I love those back to school days, especially when the mornings turn crisp and chilly, and the leaves begin to change color and fall from the trees. 

Like a warm sweater
You keep me cozy, comfy,
Draped in your softness.

23 August 2011

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

Yes, even in the midst of the rumbling that forayed its way into Baltimore, I found this.  I can't help myself.  This grammar gal is always on the look-out.

In downtown Baltimore, the quake sent office workers into the streets, where lamp posts swayed slightly as they called family and friends to check in.

How did lamp posts acquire such special powers?

22 August 2011

More Ludicrous Observations

Here is yet another round of ludicrous language.

I heard a radio ad for some weight loss product, and the opening line went like this:  If you are a man or woman who needs to lose weight...  Who does this company think is listening - bears, aliens?

How is it possible that we have such a thing as a debt ceiling?  Correct if I'm wrong, but doesn't a ceiling denote the very top and is stationary.  How can one "raise the roof?"

If one listens to something with half an ear, does this mean one only hears half of what is being said?

How did the professional title of 'bank teller' come to pass?  These people don't tell you anything, do they?

Maryland has a new program that replaces the former welfare program.  If one enrolls in this program, an Independence Card is issued.  Who thought up this name?  If one is obtaining help from the government, doesn't that make one dependent?

More to come...

12 August 2011

Opposites Attract

One of my favorite rhetorical devices is the oxymoron.  There's something magical yet intimidating about placing two words side by side that mean the exact opposite.  That said, here are a few of my favorites.  Try to incorporate them in a conversation.  It'll make your listener think twice.

Seriously joking
Dressy casual
Regular diabetic diet
Fairly accurate
Pretty ugly
Long-sleeve T-shirt
Oven fried
All day happy hour
Single pair
Uninvited guest
White chocolate

01 August 2011

Alma Mater

I have need to take an issue to task -- those metal frames that drivers display around their license plates.  You know to what I refer.  They most often sport the college said person has attended.  Let's clarify the word that generally appears at the bottom (and sometimes the top) of this rectangle. 

Alumnus is the traditional singular spelling.  The word refers to a graduate of a particular college.  At one time way back in the day, it referred to a male graduate.  Females need not apply.  

Alumni is the plural spelling.  This means more than one graduate, and grammar dictates that this can refer to both male and female.  Women's Equality rocks! (To note, alumna (singular) and alumnae (plural) refer to the ladies).

Well, what does all of this mean?  When you see those frames, they have the word alumni.  The only way this declaration works is if more than one person in that vehicle is a graduate of said college.  I would say that most oftentimes this is not the case.  The plate is a reflection of the driver's accomplishment.

I'll emphatically state that I always will support and display my alma mater whenever possible.  Go tigers!  For all future grads, remember this error and try to find a more grammatically correct way to support your school. 

20 July 2011

Modify This!

During my day-to-day travels all around the distinctive city affectionately known as Bmore, I'm always on the hunt for road literature.  I am able to assure you that I find a plethora.  The line I found  just yesterday was too good not to share, especially given the timing (my summer grammar class is learning the pitfalls of unreasonable modifiers). 

On a subtle, dull yellow placard prominently positioned in front of a much-frequented gas station was this: 
I will stop smoking with hypnosis. 

Wow.  Talk about your bad influence!

11 July 2011


Having spent too many hours yesterday in the intense yellow-orange sunshine, this has left my fair Irish (half) complexion a bit on the crimson side.  While marveling at the billowy white clouds and enjoying this most perfect day, whimsy ensued causing me to wish for a new blog background.  So, I changed it.  The other was beginning to seem rather drab to me, especially on these scenic summer days.  I'm still tinkering with it; however, so far I am keen on this change.  It befits me.
In case you’re curious (and you should be), the word whimsy dates to the 1600s.  As a noun, it means a fanciful  concept, especially in writing.  Not such a common word by today's standards, but you can find it in The Scarlet Letter.  Hmm.  I see a recurring theme with colors today!

08 July 2011


To those pinstripe fans, don't gloat just yet.  Try to show some compassion.  It is not quite mid-season.  Will the orange and black ever prevail?

Spring ushers in hope.
Another season flies by
Minus a pennant.

06 July 2011

Mindless Misuage of Language

Here is another collection of inane phrasology.  These involve idioms one should try to avoid when writing. 

I detest when someone jumps out at me in an effort to scare me.  Yes, most of the time it is a successful feat as I scare easily, and I never know whether to giggle, weep, or yell. I do have a hearty laugh about it, though.  The words spoken by individuals when this occurs:  You scared me half to death!  Well, if one is scared half to death, does that mean the second time this happens, you’re scared whole and you pass on?!

It would be pleasing to sleep during the nighttime without interruption; however, this never seems to happen.  What awakens me is a writing inspiration that I need to jot down.  If not, then I will, without doubt, forget.  The expression many use you ask when a person does slumber in perfect harmony?  I slept like a baby.  What?!  Why is this the go-to?  A baby wakes up every 2 hours. 

Have you ever been so distraught over something that you utter the words lost my head?  I highly doubt this happened.  If so, you’d rival Ichabod Crane. 

Why do I hear the phrase drew a blank when one is trying to answer a question but can’t?  Draw can be either a transitive or intransitive verb and has many meanings, the most common of which would more than likely have something to do with art.  That said, how does one depict blankness? 

27 June 2011

The Ludicrousness of Linguistics (part 1)

It’s quite well known that I am referred to as a bit of a word nerd.  Yes, I do devote myself to all things related to language.  Yes, I've made peace with that moniker.  On an everyday basis I try to comprehend how it is that certain phrases, words, et al. become ingrained in our culture.  That said, this is the first in a series (understand this may be a considerably vast amount of posts) of questions for you to ponder.  I know I do. 

First up, and I’m certain you’ve heard this one.  Why is that we drive on something called a parkway, but we park in a driveway?  Does this make sense?  Not in the least.  

I posed my lack of understanding for this cliche to many of you during the spring semester.  How did the verb phrase boils down to come into existence?  The word boil is a verb and when something boils, such as water, don’t the bubbles rise as does the temperature? 

Do retail establishments really believe you’ll stop in and buy something if you‘re given a free gift?  Isn’t this a bit redundant?!  A gift is always free.  

Here’s a word I use often during the course of a semester – discombobulated.    Discombobulate is a transitive verb that means to confuse.  Dis is typically used as a prefix and, while it has various uses, one meaning it has is as the opposite of something.  So, if I’m not confused in any way, does this mean I’m combobulated?!

16 June 2011

Leaves a Sour Taste

While listening to one of those 24-hour, late-breaking, cable news channels this morning, I heard the newscaster convey the story of a young woman on trial for murder.  As I was not fully vested in the story, I listened with one ear, but this proved enough to detect a slight faux pas.   He noted that the perpetrator of this alleged crime had a “dour expression” on her face as she was being led into the courtroom.  This was not an incorrect word choice here as this fits.  It was his elocution.    

The word dour can function as an adjective, adverb, or noun.  The first use dates to the 14th century and became widespread in 16th and 17th century New England oftentimes describing the Puritan advocates.   An exultant bunch?  I would presume not.  Life must have been demanding then for such a dismal word often used to describe them. 

In the above-noted phrase, dour is functioning as an adjective meaning gloomy, grim, or stern.  True, one certainly could display this when on trial.  However, in the traditional sense, the word when pronounced does not rhyme with sour.  We are not talking lemons here.  Rather, the pronunciation is closer in rhyme with the word tour. 

If you’re going to use a word this archaic, take it old school and express it in original form.  Your listener may cheer you for it. 

27 May 2011


It has been an exhilarating academic year for me.  It began in August of last year when I had to add a class to my repertoire with a mere week to prepare and somehow managed to do so, and ended in mid-May with the frenzy of packing one cardboard box after another full of books and paperwork, along with dismantling my computer.  I swear there were many days I found myself channeling my inner Tasmanian Devil.  The one mainstay  for me during this time – my office mate, Gina Crace.  She has been the end-all, be-all to the craziness that defines me.

To backtrack for a moment, as those last days of summer edged closer to ending, my apprehension increased with thoughts of meeting the person I was to share an office with on a daily basis.   Would she cringe each day when she heard the click clack of my shoes as I made my way down the hallway?  Would she find my boisterous personality  and vociferous voice too much to handle? 

None of my eccentricities fazed this big-eyed, curly haired, fair-skinned, young lady.  For all of my hyper-energy, she was slow-paced.  For all of my scattered paperwork, hers was stacked and organized.  For my passion of all things Johnny Depp, she matched it with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. The many conversations we had -- from ramen noodle expertise (she was the Queen of her college dorm) to the stress of grappling with the everyday kinks of life -- filled our shared domain.  Competition would take over on Mondays as we revealed which one of us discovered the best bargain during weekend shopping excursions.  At times, we would both have a student nestled in our respective comfy chairs while other students waited patiently on the other side of the wooden door. 

For these things and many others G.C., I thank you.  As you embark on your new adventure, know that I will never be able to listen to a Cypress Hill track again without smiling, nor will I forget how you told me you despised onions only after eating them in my homemade pasta salad!  TU is losing a wondergirl in the classroom, but her students are better for having had her as their professor.  I am losing a friend at the office, but I am better for having known her as more than a colleague. 

20 May 2011


Of all the things I read on a daily basis, one particular theme recurs -- many students wish to increase their vocabulary.  After much deliberation on my part, I've decided to use my blog for teaching moments. In order for me to do this, though, I have to reverse something I've always embraced during class times.  Yes, I still want you to use Plain English when you write.  Yes, I want your writing to be clear, concise, and coherent.  Yes, I want you to have perfect grammar.  Those things will never change.  What will be different is this.  If you find a way to incorporate new words you learn, whether from this blog or somewhere in your travels, I say just do it (actually Nike says that, but I'm borrowing here and giving the illustrious corporation its props)!  Impress your friends, family, professors, and foes!  Twitter it, Facebook status it, YouTube a video about it. 

Let's utilize the traffic light analogy.   If you think a word is not an appropriate choice, i.e. one that just does not fit the theme or appears odd in the sentence, slam on the brakes for the red light.  Proceed with caution through the yellow light (or perhaps speed up to get through it) if the word has the power to perhaps excite your reader.  And, of course, if the word is spot-on perfect, give it some gas and go.

24 April 2011


The drought has ended.  The ban has been lifted.  Those 46 days (1104 hours) are now behind me (until next year).  I've already downed a large iced mocha latte with sugar and whipped cream along with too many Reese's PB cups.  Now I'm eyeing the ears of a solid chocolate bunny and cannot wait to indulge.

That's all I can write for now as I have an addiction to feed.

22 April 2011

I'll Show You Mine...

Over my semesters teaching at TU, I have asked many of you to create a bucket list.  One problem that this generates is that most of you are young (Yes, I’m still young, too – holding at 29 always!) and you have difficulty identifying with things to do before your demise.  So I say look at a bucket list in terms of what you’ll achieve in life. 
Here’s mine and these are not in any particular order. This list is short but I’m leaving some room to add to it over the years.    

Learn how to play the drums.  As a child, I played the flute.  What fun is this?!  I wanted to rock out and still have that chance.  Maybe I’ll form a band with other moms.  Yeah!
Own an Audi R8.  I must own this sweet ride one day.  How I don’t know since it’s well beyond my means.  I would have to win the lottery, but that won’t be possible because I seldom play.  I could sell a kidney as one of students suggested.   That’s plausible. 
Travel to Ireland.  This has been a dream of mine for a long time; however, I don’t know if it’s possible since I hate to fly.  I’m over my fear of it now, but I still abhor this mode of travel.
Take up ballroom dancing.  Yes, I find this very exciting.  Sorry. 
Put a smile on someone’s face every day.  I’m happy when others are. 
Never judge anyone and see the good in all people.  This one I’ve already achieved and continue to do on a daily basis.   
Sell one of my screenplays and procure a bit part in the movie.  It would, of course, have to be a part that is totally out of character for me.
Live long enough to see my grandchildren.   I’m on earth for the long haul.  I want to reach 100 years!
Learn to play golf.   I already play putt-putt golf.  Does that count for something?
Make a difference to my students.  I realize I’m a bit of a hard-nose when it comes to grading, but this is because I want to see all of you achieve what I know you can.  You may not like to write, but after you leave my class, my hope is that you’ll have a better appreciation for this craft I know so well and love so much. 

01 April 2011

Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead

After having conferenced with each of you this semester, I had several decisions to make.  Listening to all you had to say, it is now painfully obvious to me that my classroom policies are much too harsh.   I do thank all of you for your feedback and value it more than you may be aware. 
You’ll be happy to know that The Queen has been dethroned, overthrown, ousted, usurped and must now go into exile unless I implement a new doctrine.  In order to meet the demands of my students, both current and future, I present the following. 

No longer will I assign homework.  I now recognize that this is such a burden on all of you.  Asking you to read short essays and respond to them does take more time than you have to dedicate to this task as Facebook stalking and Twitter talk takes precedence over what I require.
No longer will I worry about punctuation problems in your formal essays.  Who really does care that there are 17 uses for the comma?!  Surely I shouldn’t expect you to know that fact or where the proper placement is of this dreaded feature within your sentences.  This will no longer be corrected in my trademark green or purple ink.
No longer will I require MLA formatting.   A student once asked me why there can’t be one uniform style across the board for every college department.  I wished I could answer that question, but alas I could not.  Papers turned in with 2-inch margins, no name or date, and a 25-point font are A-okay with me. 
No longer will I give you a mere week to write a first draft and then a another week to complete the revision.  I understand that this simply isn’t enough time for you to rearrange your schedule.   Although for the life of me, I can’t fathom why this is the case.  I beg and plead of you not to wait until the 11th hour and tell you that my assignments must be put before all else.  So, whatever fits your schedule will work perfectly.   
No longer will I ask you not to text while in class.  I always catch it, but that doesn’t seem to stop anyone.  When I see you smile, chuckle, or grin while looking at your lap I assume that is what you’re doing.  Unless…
No longer will I require you to do a presentation in class.  You’d rather come to class, sit in the chair, listen to my voice, take notes, and leave.  This is so much more exciting than hearing the interesting facts your classmates are showing you.
No longer will I take attendance.  If you wish to come in, do so.  If not, so be it. 
No longer will I worry if your argument is sound.  You can commit every writing fallacy known, but it will no longer matter.  If you have words on the paper that make some sense, it’s all good. 

I hope this appeases all of you as it is my aim to please those who live in my Queendom.  I have made my peace with the issue.  Once you approve this list, I am cognizant that it must be adhered to each and every day. 
You must be fully aware that today is dedicated to tomfoolery, AKA The Day for Fools – something you shouldn’t take me for. 


30 March 2011


While talking to my colleague and good friend, I felt something hit my hair, drop down onto the rim of the glasses and then disappear from sight.  Now the fact that anything was near my hair was distressing enough, but when I looked on the floor in front, to the side, and back of me, and didn’t see anything other than the faded-tile floor, the situation I found myself in became more alarming.  I shook my head, picked at my hair, and even had my colleague take a look-see for me, all to no avail. Whatever it was that entered my peripheral vision was no longer trying to hitch a ride with me through the hallowed halls of Linthicum. 
Something told me to continue looking, and when I raised the stack of papers I had in my arms, lo and behold, there it was – a gray stink bug clinging to my sweater.  Oh the drama that ensued.  I shouted and flicked the offending creature to the floor with a swift motion.  It landed belly up, legs flailing, spinning helplessly around in tiny half-circles in an out of control motion.  I’m certain this bug must have known what was coming next.  Surely this is why it was desperately trying to right itself.  I raised my right leg about 6 inches and came down hard, and then just for good measure, I dragged my foot across the floor for a bit.  I had to make certain this sucker was down for good. 
It was.  A squished speck of bug guts and broken legs was all that remained.  Not wanting to leave it there, I decided to give it a proper burial.   From a black desktop tape holder, I ripped a long piece of Scotch tape and pressed this onto its now mutilated body cavity.  I then proceeded to close the tape around the nasty mass and with not a smidgen of guilt, threw it in the trash can. 
This rather illustrious stink bug made a mistake trying to invade my space.  It had a lot of nerve; I’ll grant credit for that.  But in the end, that nerve was wasted on this savvy quick thinker with a fast foot. 

28 March 2011

Hello and welcome!

I’m delighted you’ve decided to check out my blog and join me in the art of casual conversation about writing and coffee.  While I have many favorite things in life, I am partial to those two topics. 
I have a lot to say on matters of writing and all that it entails, so this is the perfect venue.   All I ask is that you get comfortable, grab a mug of your favorite coffee brand (or tea if that is your vice), and enjoy the trip.  You may learn a thing or two. 
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