Thursday, March 22, 2018

Does Grammar Matter?

Grammar rules are changing, always have. But how far is too far? I was taught never to start a sentence with “and” or “but.” I just did that. Today it’s acceptable. However, we need to know the rules so we know how and when to break them. Here are a few of my pet peeves:

I’ve heard young authors say that commas just get in the way, so they don’t use them at all. Is that really wise? Unless he/she only wants to self-publish, they won’t get anywhere with a traditional publisher. It also leads to confusing sentences. The baby has a bottle rubber ducky rattle and shoes. Is that a “bottle rubber ducky rattle and shoes,” a “bottle, rubber ducky rattle, and shoes” or a “bottle, rubber ducky, rattle and shoes?” All three conjure up different items. The only item the reader knows for sure is the shoes.

When I’m reading in past tense and come across words like: ago, tomorrow, yesterday, and such, it pulls me out of the story. Those terms convey speaking in present tense. I use: before or earlier, the next day, the day before, and such. Dialogue is different. The author is quoting what was said.

I was taught all foreign words are italicized, even the ones we use every day. (Okay I’ll admit we underlined them in the days before computers, but the same rule applies.) Words like via, and others I can’t think of right now.

Then there are the words that have similar meanings that are not interchangeable. The one I hear the most often is the misuse of “less.” It’s often used when it should be “fewer.” Less cannot be counted, fewer can. Examples: less money—fewer dollars, fewer calories—less fattening, I could go on, but hopefully I have made my point. If it can be counted, it should be fewer—if not, it should be less.

Grammar changes, and always will, but let’s not come off as less educated than we are.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Potato Chip Rock

Re-starting my blog once more:

I had a grand adventure a couple of weeks ago with my son that I’ll start with. Next week my post will focus on writing.

Have you ever heard of Potato Chip Rock? Didn’t think so unless you live near Poway, CA. One more bucket list item checked off. I hadn’t even heard of it until I moved away from that city. The hike is a 2 mile trek up Mt. Woodson.

My son Brian was my guide. It’s the toughest 4 mile hike I’ve ever gone on. 

We hiked through beautiful terrain.

I made myself notice the beauty every few minutes when I stopped and gasped for breath.

We climbed 1,300 feet in elevation in the 2 miles up.

Potato Chip Rock deserves its name, and I wish I could have had my picture taken on top, but I couldn’t climb up the crack in the rock necessary to reach it.

I waited my turn in line, but when I needed to raise my knee to about waist height especially in that small space, my back said, “Don’t do it.” I didn’t. Still worth the hike.

The descent was easier, but by then my body was telling me “enough!” Brian made sure I drank enough water all along the way, and gave me a granola bar for calories before starting down.

I was surprised I didn’t have sore muscles the next day. My calves were burning on the way up, and the top of my thighs on the way down.

Was I disappointed that I couldn’t go to the top of Potato Chip Rock? Yes! But not devastated. At my age I’m thankful I could take the journey with my son. 

One on one time with any of my children is always special. 

It’s an adventure I’ll always remember.

I can do hard things, but I still have to be smart, and know when to let it go.