Talking to Kids About the Holocaust.

I didn’t plan to launch into a discussion about Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Last month I read an article about the actress who plays the role of Liesel Meminger, Sophie Nelisse. Her performance in the film belies her age (13 years). According to our local newspaper,  Nelisse turned down some serious gymnastics dreams in order to pursue this part. My daughters saw that I was engrossed in something and asked me what I was reading. So I told them about Nelisse, and explained that the book was so good I couldn’t wait to see the movie.

I was too impatient to put off seeing The Book Thief any longer, so I suggested they play in the basement for awhile. When they asked why, I told them there might be some scary parts. When they asked what those scary parts would be, I suddenly found myself in unfamiliar territory.

I knew I should keep it simple. I mentioned a mean man named Adolf Hitler. They remembered hearing a bit about him from one of their favorite movies, The Sound of Music. I told them Hitler didn’t like Jewish people and he wanted to separate them from everyone else. Apparently that fact alone wasn’t intimidating enough; I gently told them that he managed to kill many Jews during World War II. I didn’t talk about Auschwitz, Dachau or Bergen-Belsen. I didn’t tell them about the tattoos, the gas chambers, the labor camps or starvation. I didn’t tell them about the six million. But I did tell them about Sophie Nelisse’s character, Liesel, and how her family hides a Jewish man, Max, in their home during the war. Their hearts warmed and grew lighter upon hearing that non-Jews were willing to put their own lives in danger in order to do the right thing and help others. These are the lessons I want to teach my daughters.

I don’t believe in hiding everything from my kids, and I don’t like lying or sugar-coating reality. They’re old enough to know and understand plenty of things; and while they don’t need to hear the gritty, gory details, I’m doing them any favors by shielding them from something like this. They’re mature enough to handle the basics. After all, the Westboro Baptist Church is very much alive in Kansas City, and, well…history is doomed to repeat itself unless we educate our youth. They need to know that the world isn’t always such a pretty place. They need to know that even in 2014, people don’t respect differences.

My mother-in-law found an age-appropriate book for them, but it’s long and they’ve already peeked inside and decided they aren’t ready for it. And so we’ll wait until they bring it up again.

My friend Holly Rosen Fink interviewed Nelisse and Emily Watson, who plays her adopted mother, Rosa, in the film. Watson says something profound and critically important:

“And that’s why you have to keep making films like this– because there’s a whole generation of kids who think that Adolph Hitler is a football coach.”

And that’s just it. My kids may not be learning about the Holocaust in school yet, but eventually they will. In the meantime, conversations can and should start in the home when children are ready. This is only the first of several such discussions we’ll have with our daughters.

 Have you talked about the Holocaust with your kids? Have you brought up other difficult topics? I’d love to hear what you said and how it went!

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Just Write: Delays and Doctors

linking up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write

yesterday I took Piper in for an appointment with a pediatrician who specializes in child development. she’s had some delays and issues and we’ve been working with a wonderful team of therapists since early last summer. i can’t say enough about her speech therapist, physical therapist, and nutritionist. they’re all phenomenal women and we’re so lucky to have benefitted from their knowledge and expertise.

but still. it’s very slow going. communication is tough — for everyone– because she can’t convey what she wants, or when she tries, we can’t understand her garbled speech and attempts.

it escalates. she becomes frustrated. i become frustrated. and upset. she starts fussing and crying. tantrums follow.

and i sit there, throw my hands up. i don’t yell much since the new year began. but inside i’m knotted up, cinched tight. i realize my fists are clenching and unclenching involuntarily. i get irritated. i don’t know what to do. i don’t know how to handle her.

i know she doesn’t often throw these fits at preschool. i don’t know if it’s because she’s surrounded by her peers and she’s so busy emulating them and interacting… or if it’s just because she knows there are firm(er) limits there and no one’s going to put up with any bullshit.

consequently, things at home have been, well, less than pleasant. i need Nanny 911. i’m trying to be firm and not let her steamroll me (because i think without even realizing it, we’ve been catering to her, indulging her…after all, she is the “baby” and she has delays).

it’s often hard to tell if she’s just testing me. is she being a typical two-year-old in some regards? i’ve been down this road before, but i’ve forgotten just how difficult this stage can be. and couple this with my own struggles lately–with depression and weaning off the benzos– and yeah, it’s not always very fun around here.

so the doctor we saw yesterday made some recommendations for further testing– to see if there could be a reason behind her delays. it’s entirely possible there is no underlying explanation; some kids just have delays. there are easier and quicker ways to get some answers, i.e. blood draws and chromosome studies. then there’s the flip side, an MRI of her brain. invasive and would require putting her to sleep. i don’t think we’ll be doing the latter. it was a lot to take in, but i’m grateful to have the input and to know that…we can investigate further if we choose to, or if she doesn’t progress, or if she (G-d forbid) regresses.

and then there’s this blog, this space. MY space. i’ve been stifled in some ways, feeling as if i shouldn’t publish anything that’s not useful or good or interesting. in blogging there’s something to be said for not publishing a post every time you feel like it just for the sake of putting something up that day, or on a regular basis. but i’ve gone the opposite direction. i’ve stopped putting much of anything out there because it doesn’t seem to measure up to the other blogs i read regularly. where do people get all their ideas from?

i spend too much time reading and sharing others’ posts and not enough time on my own work. maybe if i put more effort in here…there’d be more worth posting.

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Reverse Bucket List

I’ve seen a lot of people sharing their reverse bucket lists lately. Which is a nice idea since it helps you realize how much you’ve accomplished instead of emphasizing how many things remain on your to-do list. Frankly, I could use a little encouragement, so here is my very own REVERSE BUCKET LIST:

  • spent a month living in France during the summer I was 14
  • got inducted into the National Honor Society when I was a junior in high school
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Why didn’t anyone tell me not to wear matching tights for National Honor Society induction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • left my beloved hometown of New Orleans & went away to college
  • joined a sorority and served on its executive board
  • got published (anonymously) in the Millsaps College campus literary magazine, The Stylus
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yes, this is a real photo of an actual copy I still have (hoard)

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The night before I graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.

 

  • majored in English, minored in French; graduated on time in four years despite a leave of absence during junior year
  • applied to grad school, got accepted
  • completed my Master’s program on time in 18 months
  • earned my Master’s degree
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The hood was awesome. Master’s degree, CHECK.

 

Saturday, December 1, 2001

Saturday, December 1, 2001

 

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The surprise/miracle baby

The surprise/miracle baby

Want to read some other fun reverse bucket lists? Check out post by my friends Jennifer Williams, Alison Lee, Andrea Mowery, Katie Sluiter & Poppy Marler.

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Top 10 Things Every Parent Should Keep in the Car

Last week reminded me that it was time to (re)stock my car with some essential items. One of the girls came down with a stomach bug and nearly got sick in the car. Fortunately  I had a few things to help until the inevitable happened, and by that time we were coincidentally at the pediatrician’s office, where they gave me the best thing ever. Which brings me to number one on my list:

1. Plastic bags  (and preferably some hospital-grade barf bags like this!)

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The nice thing about these is that they’re molded to fit right around the mouth and they can hold A LOT. So older kids can use these pretty efficiently should the need arise. But if you have a toddler, you may have to wing it with regular old plastic bags. And you’ll want a few of those anyway for your regular kiddie trash, i.e. wrappers, gum, dirty wads of Kleenex, and fallen french fries. And also to put the used barf bags in.

2. Antibacterial wipes

My minivan does have a built-in DVD player, but until the day they start making them with a sink in which to wash hands, we’ll have to make do with some antibacterial wipes. For tough jobs involving any sort of bodily fluids I prefer Clorox wipes (go ahead & call me a germaphobe), but otherwise Wet Ones or something similar will do.

3. Hand sanitizer

After you finish cleaning up car barf on the go, you’ll want to get those pesky microbes off your hands, and everyone else’s, too. So get thee some Purell!

4. Baby wipes and Kleenex

For less worrisome or minor yucky things (“Mommy, I have a booger!”), I always keep a pack of baby wipes or Kleenex handy. I vote for baby wipes because sticky hands are quite common.

5. Bottles of water

I don’t love plastic, so I don’t buy bottled water on a regular basis. Don’t get me started on how we can “just recycle” (that’s another post). But I will buy a few bottles to store in the car. I often hand them out to homeless people I encounter while we’re out and about. And the rest stay in the trunk or center console for times I hope we’ll never need them, i.e. if we get a flat tire, have an accident and need to wait for a tow truck, or there’s a traffic jam. Because inevitably that’s when at least one of your kids will decide to throw a tantrum because of thirst.

6. Snacks

See # 5. Kids are always whining about being hungry or needing something to munch on.  Also, I keep a bag of high-protein snacks in the car year round for handing out to the homeless. For my own brood, I stock potable applesauce (it’s more fun to drink it and less mess for me), Goldfish crackers, and granola bars in my ride.

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7. Cell phone charger

If you have my kind of luck (which is to say no luck at all), you’ll find yourself stranded with screaming kids, no gas in your car, and your cell phone will be dead so you won’t be able to call AAA for reinforcements. I keep my charger in my  minivan all the time, and whenever I head out I usually plug it in just to be safe.

8. Medication for you & kids

You never know when two Advil could save your sanity. Or some Benadryl could convince your toddler to nap instead of scream in her carseat. In all seriousness, I keep Children’s Advil with me, too. Just be sure to check the label because sometimes extreme temperatures can affect the medication. I stash it in my purse or baby bag just to be safe.

9. Towels (or an old blanket or two)

You might have to make friends with the cold, wet, or dirty pavement so you can change a tire or dislodge a giant tree limb stuck to your vehicle’s underbelly. Or you might need to drape it on the lap of a sick kiddo in transit.

10. Hand warmers

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My husband introduced me to these when we moved to KC and went to a Chiefs game when it was snowing. I’m sure I’m a worrywart, but I do have some of these in my car as well. It would suck to get stranded with a dead battery and kids with chattering teeth. You can find these at most drugstores or on Amazon.

 

 

 

Do you keep some (or all) of these in your car? What would you add to the list? 

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#AskAwayFriday With Katie Sluiter

I’m joining Katie of Sluiter Nation today for #AskAwayFriday! Below are the questions Katie gave me, and I’m answering them for all of you today. Be sure to head over to her place to read her answers to MY (burning) questions! If you’re new to #AskAwayFriday, check out the hostesses’ blogs: The Bold Fab Mom & The Real Housewife of Caroline County. And read more about #AskAwayFriday here.

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1. Your “About Me” section on your blog says you’re writing a book. Fiction or non and what’s it about? Okay, so here’s the thing: there is no book. Yet. But there will be  one someday. Our miracle baby sorta threw a wrench in the writing gears. And the blogging gears. The now miracle toddler also has some delays that can make life a little more, erm, difficult sometimes. The book will likely be memoir/non-fiction, which means no one will bother reading it.

2. You are very open about your religious beliefs. Do you have any traditions with your family that were passed down and that you hope your children will continue when they are grown? I didn’t grow up with much religion at all, really. I’m Jewish by birth, but I’ve sought out my own Jewish life and heritage by choice. The traditions we have are pretty loose now, especially with the girls still being so young; I hope that as they get older we can plant more seeds and create special memories. I love lighting the menorah with them at Hanukkah and saying the prayers. We haven’t been great about Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath, which starts every Friday at sundown and ends on Saturday at sundown), but I’d like to get back to baking my own challah on Fridays. And then using it for French toast on Saturday mornings! Now that’s a tradition I can get behind!

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3. You write fiction that feels SO real…how do you find inspiration for your characters? It’s funny that you say that since I dabble in fiction so rarely. I’ve only ever written flash fiction, and it’s usually inspired by a prompt. My characters typically have bits and pieces of all sorts of people I’ve encountered, and some I haven’t yet. The idea of trying to write a longer piece of fiction scares the crap out of me. I just…don’t know what the characters would do. But I suppose they can’t DO anything if I don’t…write that far.

4. As a mom of all daughters, what do you hope to teach them about becoming women someday? I am still learning as I go, but for right now, my goal is to teach them to love themselves and their bodies. I don’t want them to grow up with self loathing. I don’t want them to pick and choose parts of themselves to hate or obsess over. I want them to feel and know that they’re beautiful and smart and funny and kind and creative. I make sure that, as their mother, they don’t hear or see me putting myself down. They learn from watching me, so I keep negative things to myself. It’s my hope that they’ll never know about my self esteem issues; or perhaps I’ll conquer my demons before they’re old enough to handle a frank conversation about all of it.

5. Which of your personality traits do you see the most in each daughter? My oldest is instinctively a good speller, it just comes very naturally to her as it did and does to me. My middle girl is on the shy side, quiet, introspective. That’s also me. And the jury’s still out on my youngest, but… she’s averse to loud noises, she loves anything crunchy, and she  appreciates a good long afternoon nap. Those are all pretty much me (I never nap, but I often wish I could!).

6. Which of your husband’s traits do you see the most in each girl? I’m so grateful that my husband has instilled in our girls an appreciation of and a love for athletics (I’m not a sports fan and I haven’t got a clue about the rules). He teaches them spontaneity when I’m one who prefers (and thrives upon) a routine.  They are more laid back and relaxed because they’re his daughters, and I’m so happy about that.

7. Your work with The Gay Dad Project has given you opportunities to meet lots of people. What has been your favorite experience so far? It’s so hard to choose just one! I really enjoyed our time at the inaugural Salon LGBTQ conference Deb Rox put on in Atlanta last fall. And then we spent a week in San Francisco during Pride. We  interviewed and talked with other “kids” who have had a parent come out of the closet. It was eye opening and amazing and overwhelming all at once.

8. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be your own best advocate. Do your homework. Sleep on it. Drink your milk. Write.

9. What books have impacted your life? Too many to name, but I’ll try: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith; She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb; The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak; The Awakening by Kate Chopin; The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger; Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume; Deenie by Judy Blume; Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl; The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini; and most recently, Heidi Cave’s Fancy Feet and  A Lady in France by Jennie Goutet.

10. What do you like best about yourself? I like my hair. I love experimenting with length and styles and color (pink and red of late). And I have pretty good nails.

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The Blame Game

 
Today I’m linking up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write.

I went roller skating last week for the first time in 20-25 years. Saying that makes me feel old. Someone commented about how the carpet never changes at skating rinks. So true. Skate City’s carpet was no exception.

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The carpet was indeed awful. And yes, these are really my legs. The skates are just rentals.

I helped the girls get their skates on, then I did my own. And I was off. Shaky at first, shin splints, wobbling and unsure.

Before long a Katy Perry song came on and I slithered into the middle of the rink, which smelled like sweaty teenage boys and feet. The air was damp and musty, making me feel trapped and gross. I skated behind groups of teenage girls, next to boys goofing off, and sometimes with my daughters, holding their small hands.

I felt my right ankle cross over my left to turn, my weight shifting slowly. I didn’t remember that I knew how to do it until I just..did it. Isn’t it funny, the way things drift back to you sometimes without intention or thought? Something from decades ago that sat dusty, like a forgotten photo in a plastic frame. Something you forgot or unlearned just pops up again out of nowhere, like the random zits I get now, even though puberty has long since passed.

I didn’t remember other things, either — until the skates were on, carrying me around and around the rink. Things from long ago, things I had buried alive.

Like another time I’d been skating (potentially the last time I’d done so before this writing) with a girlfriend and we met some boys. They liked us. We exchanged phone numbers and they called. My mom said we could invite them over and have pizza, so we did. It was awkward. I felt self conscious. The boy who had seemed to like me in dimly lit Skate Country now appeared to like my friend instead. Which made sense, because that’s the way it always worked. This boy didn’t go to my school, so he didn’t know.

This boy didn’t know that at school? I spent a lot of time hiding. People called me Witch Nose. Some of the guys used to goad me, saying, “Why don’t you just crawl back into your little Erin shell?” and my face would get hot and lo and behold, I did. I crawled away.

I’ve been talking to my new therapist about the way these childhood events can…shape you. And while this particular incident didn’t come up, others did. My shrink asked me why I thought they picked on me, why they said and did these things. Some of my responses were:

“Because I was ugly.”

“They did it because I didn’t stand up for myself.”

“They did it because I let them.”

When I’d finished the laundry list of reasons, he pointed out to me that every single last one of them began with “I.” With me. Which translates to…I blamed myself. All these years, all this time, flatlining out before me, wasted, gallons of water down the drain while brushing teeth.

My therapist said kids are egocentric. They don’t see much outside of themselves… and so…it makes sense in a way that it all came back to me.

I blamed myself.

And so began a trend in my life. Finding fault with myself for things that truly had nothing to do with me.

I still do it. It’s a trap. I’m stuck in the net.

But now, I’m seeing it more clearly. I’m seeing me, Erin, from outside myself. I’m caught, but I’m fighting my way out. It’s like I have a tiny pair of scissors and I’m cutting the twine in spots here and there and things are loosening.

I may not free myself overnight.

But I’m working on it. And it starts with the negative self talk, the blame game, and things that I have no control over. Sometimes I don’t know how I’ve carried this shame, this weight for so fucking long.

So yeah, you might see me with a weird to-do list now. With things on it like:

“Let yourself feel relief. This is not your fault.”

“Recognize the many layers of blame you put on yourself, day in, day out. All of that weighs a person down.” 

So yeah, I’m starting. And I’m trying to tell that little me inside…that she isn’t responsible for all the STUFF.

Thank you, Heather.

***Last but not least– I’ve been busy with Listen To Your Mother: Kansas City. Submissions are OPEN through February 15! We were on Fox 4 this morning, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to get the word out about it. You can watch that clip here: http://bit.ly/LPCaod  Please help us spread the word about the show! Thank you.***

 

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Mean Girls Already?

Bullying has been on my mind. It’s all over the news, in the media, in the Diary of a Wimpy kid book someone checked out from the library last week. I’ve dealt with it myself, and had my first experience being bullied when I was six years old. In fact, it came up in my first session with my new therapist. He’d asked me in very broad terms about my social life and school, how things were for me growing up. I felt that familiar lump in my throat as the word “awful” bubbled up. I didn’t go into anything specific. He latched onto that fact, though, and said, “You were a kid. Little kids don’t know. They can’t take things apart and realize it’s not their fault. They didn’t DO anything, they were just picked. And things like that can follow you the rest of your life (…if you let them — which apparently will be something I’m going to be working on in the months to come).”

The tears came hard and fast then, and of course there was a box of tissues right there. Every decent therapist out there buys stock in Kleenex.

And then there’s my daughter.

She tells me things. There are already “clubs” in second grade. Clubs she’s not allowed to join. Some girls are already quite fashion forward and have voiced opinions about the cool or uncool items others are wearing. Some girls turn up their noses and act rude when my daughter musters up the courage to ask to play with them. Yes, we’ve spoken with her teacher. Yes, the teacher has told the class that clubs aren’t allowed; but I’ve been there, done that. There are easy ways to get around the rules, and just as I was bullied right under the teachers’ noses, so it continues.

A doctor in our pediatrician’s group (Pediatric Associates on the Plaza) recommended the American Girl Company’s line of books, including this journal below. It’s great because although the twins are eight now, they still need prompts to help them figure out what they’re feeling. These didn’t disappoint, and both girls love reading and writing in them. Friendship Troubles is another good one we’re finding helpful.

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We love this book. Buy The Feelings Book Journal on Amazon.

So using the doctor’s tips and the books, plus my own instincts, I’m trying to help her. But it’s difficult because when I look at her I see a mini-me.

Important things for me (the mom) to remember:

1.) She is NOT me and I shouldn’t think of her as a small version of me;
2.) She will not have the exact same experiences as I did; and
3.) She will not filter things through the same lenses.

Important things for us to do to help her through this:

1.) On the way home from school or at the end of (most) days, we talk about or write down three things that made us happy. They can be big things or small things — no restrictions or limitations!
2.) We focus on finding friends that make her feel happy.
3.) We encourage her to stand up for herself. It’s okay for her to walk away from a situation or from classmates that are making her sad or uncomfortable, but before she does so, she needs to let them know how they’ve made her feel.
4.) Focus on the positive.
5.) At a certain point she must take these tools and work the rest out herself, mull it over in her journal, etc. She is only eight, but that’s old enough to know the difference between mean girls and nice girls. **I keep saying girls only because most of her friends at this age are girls, and because we haven’t had any issues with boys in her class.**


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6.) Empower her so that she knows her own self worth. For a wonderful post about how to teach your children self worth, visit Jennifer Williams’ blog. And for more advice about our kids and their friends, read this post she wrote.

 

What about you? Have you ever been bullied? What about your children? If so, what do you do to comfort your kids and to teach them how to cope? 

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Top Eight Grammar Mistakes

Sad but true fact: people judge you when you use poor grammar. I am one of them. Your writing is often one of the first things people see, whether it’s in an email, cover letter, resume, or even just a Facebook status. We all learned these rules in school, and if you didn’t get them then, or if you’re rusty, there’s still time.

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Let’s clear up the confusion, shall we?

1.) Should of, would of, could of

NO SUCH ANIMAL! You are hearing the sound “of” made by should’ve (should have), would’ve (would have), or could’ve (could have).

Examples: I would’ve brought you some Talenti gelato if I’d known you wanted some.

She should’ve told me she wasn’t coming.

2.) To, too, and two

To is a preposition, too means  “also,” or “in addition to,” and two is a number.

Examples: Let’s take the kids to the park this afternoon.

I have brown eyes, too.

He ate two pieces of pepperoni pizza.

3.) His, hers, its, theirs 

Possessive pronouns! No apostrophe required. Have you ever seen “her’s” used? I know, it’s shocking and disturbing.

Examples: His hat was green.

I think that scarf is hers.

The owl’s wing broke, so it lost its ability to fly (assuming you cannot determine the owl’s gender — I cannot!).

That’s not our car, it’s theirs.  <– bonus: it’s = it is!

4.) Their, there, they’re

Three completely different words with different meanings. Their is possessive, there is a place, and they’re means “they are.”

Examples: We went to their house for dinner.

I think he saw your book over there.

They’re going to the football game tomorrow.

5.) Effect & affect

Effect is a noun. Affect is a verb. It’s that simple (99% of the time).

Examples: Nausea is one of the side effects of that medication.

The documentary Food, Inc.” really affected me.

6.) Loose vs. lose (kudos to my friend Travis Sloat for this one!)

Two completely different words with entirely different meanings. If you can’t remember them, memorize them!

Examples: Your pants become loose when you go on a diet.

If you lose your wallet, you’re in big trouble.

7.) Fewer and less

If you can quantify (count) it, use fewer. If you can’t, use less.

Examples: I ate fewer cookies today than I did yesterday.

I used less sugar in my coffee today.

8.) Who and Whom

If it refers to the subject of the sentence or phrase, use who. If it refers to the object, use whom. An easy way to remember it is that both him and whom end in “m.” So if the answer to your question is him, use whom. If it’s he? Go with who. Or ask yourself “Who did what to whom?”

Examples: Who fed the dog a candy bar? (you’re looking for the subject here)

(everyone should know this one) To whom it may concern:

 

What would you add to this list? What are your grammar pet peeves? Leave them in the comments!

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Out of Time

**I’m too late to link up, but I’m using the prompt from Yeah Write.  Since it’s time for a new me & time to stretch myself, I’m shucking my fear & returning to writing.**

Tina’s face shines with sweat. I dab it with a cool cloth and catch a drip of snot before it hits her chest. Her chin is tucked tightly, like a penguin nudging her young into her perfect hiding place. I push the damp hair out of her eyes and gently secure it with a bobby pin.

She reaches for my Sprite.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I say.

She ignores me and gulps it down like a drunk who’s been off the sauce for weeks. Not a minute later she retches, missing the flimsy emesis basin next to her.

I press the call button and move what’s left of my drink out of her reach. The sweat-snot rag is useless as a makeshift mop.

A nurse knocks and enters, her eyes and nose questioning from behind the curtain. I wave her in and say, “Sorry, we had a little accident.” Tina glowers at me, her vomit now a pool on the blanket that’s dripping onto the floor.

The monitor beeps and I watch the spike take over the screen. Meanwhile my best friend moves into another realm of consciousness, one I can’t comprehend. Over the last 20 hours I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut; I’ve learned not to touch her anywhere below the neck; and I’ve learned to hide my drinks. Her breathing is measured, deep, punctuated with low murmurs that seem to come directly from the basketball in her belly.

The nurse stops changing the linens to switch off the volume on the machine. She glances at the last few pages of printouts, then at Tina. She washes her hands, snaps on a pair of rubber gloves, and grabs the lube from the warmer.

“Hon, we’re running out of time. I’m going to check you again, but…”

“I know, I know, alright?” Tina cuts her off. I start to say something and then bite my lip instead.

The nurse leans in from the foot of the bed and I watch my friend’s face contort. Suddenly Tina’s hand shoots out to grab mine. Tears burn my eyes and for a split second we’re nine-year-0lds again who have just patched things up after a fight about something stupid.

“You’re still at a four, and minus two station,” the nurse says, pulling her gloves off over the trash can. I’m going to page Dr. Lewis now.” The curtain swishes and we’re alone again.

“You okay?” I ask Tina, not wanting to set her off. I feel like I’m in the circus, walking the tightrope. One wrong move will upset the balance.

My oldest friend looks at me then as if she’s seeing me for the first time. Her eyes widen.

“You,” she says. “I need you to take this baby. You’re the only one who can.”

 

 

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A New Year, a New Me.

I see posts flying everywhere about resolutions, words for the year, new mantras.

And I don’t have all that. I’ve written before about how I don’t “do” resolutions.

That hasn’t changed.

But I am changing. Growing. Learning. Evolving.

2014 is going to be the year of growth. Changes. Starting over, a fresh outlook. No regrets, no looking back, no stagnation. No grandiose plans, no promises I won’t keep. Just forward motion. Upward. Onward. No backpedaling.


image credit

So much is coming up, and I can’t wait: TribeFest in New Orleans, Listen To Your Mother: Kansas City, BlogHer’s 10th anniversary conference, and of course the ongoing work on The Gay Dad Project documentary.

I haven’t reached my potential. I haven’t been stretching myself.

But that’s changing, too.

Hope you’ll stick around to watch me grow.

xo

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