Monday, November 28, 2011

Scrooge no more

It's officially the start of the holiday season, and I'm not happy. I frickin' HATE the holidays.

It may be partly because I work part-time at a church, and other than Easter it's the busiest time of the year. Extra work, but of course, no extra pay.

Not to mention all my own shopping, Christmas letter, cards, parties, the six-hour drive to visit my mom and the five-hour drive to mother-in-law, yadda yadda yadda.

As a Christian, I should love the season, looking forward with great anticipation to the birth of Christ. But we've turned the holiday into such a bastion of commercialism and family duty that it's lost its meaning.

I've considered just abandoning all the secular trappings, but I don't think I can do it. My family expects gifts and I don't want to disappoint them. My friends and relatives actually look forward to my annual letter and card, or at least they say they do. The church people need the Christmas events. And my mother and mother-in-law really want the visits and would be sad without them.

This year I'm going to try really hard to improve my attitude. Yeah, I know, I'm a curmudgeon and everyone expects me to bitch and moan all the time. But I really mean it. I'm going to do my best to find the joy this year.

How do you feel about Christmas? Do you love to shop? (Grrr, I hate it... oops, sorry, backsliding already.) Do you love the decorations? The insane holiday music everywhere you go?

And do you think I'll really manage to change my attitude? Does it count if I just hate it inside and don't bitch and moan?

2011, the year of Scrooge-no-more. Hey, it could happen...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A question about questions

What's up with authors not using question marks anymore?

I noticed it particularly in J.R. Ward's last couple of books. Now don't get me wrong, I think she's an awesome writer. I adore her books, every one. But in places where I learned to always use a question mark, she doesn't.

I already returned her two latest to the library, so I don't have exact quotes in front of me, but here's an example made up by me:

"But things don't always go according to plan, do they."

My seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Williams, taught me to use a question mark there. So why doesn't J.R. Ward?

And here's another example, from the Foreword to "SEAL of My Dreams," an anthology of stories about Navy SEALS: "Who is better equipped to honor the image of our greatest warrior heroes than the gifted pens of some of the romance industry's finest authors of romantic fiction."

Does it have something to do with the inflection? Generally when asking a question, the voice rises. "Are you going to the store?"

But not always. "Where are you going?"

So really, have the rules of punctuation gone out the window? Is it a lack of knowledge on the part of authors and editors?

I admit to being a nitpicker of epic proportions, and Mrs. Williams's lessons have stayed with me for more years than I'd care to enumerate. Changes in the rules drive me crazy, whether they're universally accepted or just some author's convention.

It shouldn't bother me, should it?

It shouldn't bother me, should it.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

The refilled nest

According to the New York Times, since 2000, more people in the 25-to-39 age group live in their parents’ homes. By 2008, before the full effect of the recession was being felt, their ranks had increased by 32 percent nationwide, and we can assume it's even higher now.

We've got one of those "boomerang kids." Molly, on the left in the picture, moved home this past April. For the past six years she's lived two hours away, making use of her degree in chemical and biomedical engineering and earning a substantial salary.

But she wasn't happy.

After much discussion and consideration, at age 29 she sold her townhouse and moved home to pursue a dream to become a veterinarian. She spent the summer volunteering full time to get the requisite number of volunteer hours to apply to veterinary school, and is now studying veterinary science at Drexel School of Medicine in Philly. Her applications are in and we're all waiting to hear.

So how are we managing with a 29-year-old "child" at home? I have to say, just fine. But it really depends on the kid.

There's a quiz: Are You Ready for Your Grown Children to Move Home? on, and it's a good one. I think the most important factor is that Molly has specific plans, a real goal, and she's constantly working toward it. She goes to classes and studies pretty much all the time.

The other important thing for us is that she fits in with our lifestyle. She helps around the house, doesn't expect us to do things for her the way we did when she was younger, and even encourages us to live healthier lives. She goes to the gym with me and walks around the neighborhood with Dave, helps with the shopping, and even helps Dave with yardwork and the pond. It's especially nice that Dave and I can go away for a week or two and not worry about the house.

Lucky us.

What do you think about grown children moving back in with parents? Did it ever happen to you, either as a parent or a child? How did it work out?

Inquiring minds want to know. :)