Tuesday, June 22, 2004

On a copy editing high

Wuzzup, peeps!!??!!?? I'm a little hyper this afternoon. Not sure why.

Not a lot going on in the Polka-dotted world, except a lot of looking things up in the dictionary. For example, that zigzag, flat, matte trimming you see on little girls' dresses from the 80s is "rickrack"---notice: no hyphen. Yep, that's the kind of thing I do all day. Well, not the only thing, but one of the tasks.

I'm reading the supposedly widely popular Eats, Shoots & Leaves, in which the author rants (with good reason) about the misused apostrophe. I saw it today: "it's" was being used when the writer should have used "its" to show possession. Argh, argh, argh, argh, ARGH!!!

I admit it...I'm a stickler! And I'll shoot our motto: Sticklers unite!!!!!

You have noticed that I do use ellipses with fearless abandon and often write in sentence fragments and use alternative spellings. That's just me online, folks. And it's how I talk, as well. I think. Call it "stream of consciousness but with punctuation."

I like being a copy editor. We copy editors are champions for what so many in society have abandoned: good grammar, punctuation, and spelling and consistent style.

Now...how to make more money at this??? Hrm...

No, I'm kidding! I don't care so much about rakin' in the bling. I would like to buy a couch, a new desk, and a new computer para mi casita. But I don't need a Benz. I would like to help people with their writing: teach them how to improve their grammar, spelling, and punctuation; show them how to improve the clarity of their writing so that their messages are communicated without so many glitches; and encourage them to write creative pieces. I believe writing-art-communication is great therapy and necessary to healing. I don't think I would have emotionally survived high school without writing all that really bad poetry. (Heehee...my junior year English teacher teased me that I was Emily Dickinson reincarnated.)

Well, that's it for now. Gotta go level the colorful mountain range of laundry that's redefining the geography of my living room.

Tah-tah for now!

Saturday, June 19, 2004

More great date ideas

[Note: Not all of these would work for a first date. Some are better for second, third, or subsequent dates.]

* While chatting with your lady, take note of her interests. Then find things to do in your area that connect with her interests. And if it's something she's never been to, seen, or done, what an adventure!

---Paint pottery together (we have four or five places here in my city)
---Take your camera (or borrow one) and go on a photo scavenger hunt (thank you to our graphic designer LittleBit for this one)
---Stroll through a historic neighborhood
---Make a snowman (how's that for cheap but fun!) [You can do this year-round with Styrofoam® balls and other craft supplies.]
---Visit people in nursing homes and retirement communities. Share your skills and talents. Bake and take cookies.
---Pet sit together
---Babysit together (this may require a "chaperon," depending on how you are at maintaining boundaries)
---Go to an art gallery
---Attend a lecture
---Rock climbing, rappelling, sky diving, bungee jumping, and so forth
---Laser tag (oh, yeah!)
---Grocery shop and then make dinner together
---Host a dinner party together...everyone pitches in with ingredients and with the cooking duties
---Chaperon a youth function with your church
---Dinner and ballroom dancing
---Country line dancing
---Do yard work for others
---Go around adding change to the parking meters
---Give your own outdoor, on-the-corner concert; put out a hat and see how much change you collect in an hour
---Stand on a sidewalk corner and quote monologues from Shakespearean plays
---Read to each other...do weird voices
---Play card or board games
---Make your own drink mixes for hot beverages; take them to the local police station, fire station, or post office
---Volunteer with your local PBS station or with your local listener-supported Christian radio station
---Give out free water bottles on a hot day
---Decorate small fake Christmas trees with stuff about yourselves
---Make a Birthday-in-a-Box for a friend (the box is a kit for a birthday celebration: hats, noisemakers, confetti, birthday button to wear, snacks...whatever you want to put in there) [thanks to Cactus for this one]
---Write letters to your political representatives on your favorite issues
---Write letters of encouragement to our troops
---Send thank-you notes to people who have influenced your lives; tell each other the stories that include those people
---Visit the VA hospital in your area
---Attend a parade; see who can scream the louder or who can keep waving a flag the longer
---Try a foreign food restaurant
---Get a map of your area and plan a day trip to a part you've never seen
---Shop for steaks and show her your grillmaster skills; challenge her to make mashed potatoes from scratch! (note: don't challenge her on the first date, unless you know she can and will take you up on the challenge)
---Troll the used CD store for the oddest album you can find
---Make a collage together about stuff you like...could be 3D even

* We're blessed to have in my city a lot to do. Of course, there's country music, but there's more than that as well. If you're in Music City ever or live in the area, here are some ideas:

---Predators game
---Titans game
---Pool halls (downtown has at least two)
---Jillians at Opry Mills---games (including skeeball---win her lots of tickets and let her spend them), bowling, dance floor, billiards, Japanese restaurant, regular sports bar & grill
---Opry Mills---more than just Jillian's---themed restaurants, IMAX theater, a Build-a-Bear place (build a stuffed animal together...then take it to a kid in the hospital)
---Grand Old Golf---putt-putt in the Opryland area
---Centennial Park---it gets a little "shady" at night---movies in the park in the summertime and Shakespeare in the Park in August
---Renaissance Festival every May in Triune (budget $35 per person for entrance plus food, more if you want to buy souvenirs)
---Las Paletas---homemade Mexican-style gourmet popsicles---made year-round

Well, I've got to move on to some copy editing. But this gives you lots of ideas to spur your creativity. Some activities are more appropriate for on into the relationship when you know each other better, of course. And some of you may not want to foray into the world of crafts. But if you're willing to try, it's a lot of fun, and you can discover inexpensive, thoughtful gift ideas for her birthday, your dating (or wedding!) anniversary, Christmas, and so on.

Again, you got questions? I got ideas. Perhaps not the absolute answers. But I got opinions and ideas.


Prayer request update

If you prayed for me about the volunteering opportunity, thank you!!! I signed up and am now a volunteer overnight host, spending the night at our women's ministry center twice a month.

Our residents are coming from local prisons, and these ladies are thrilled to be out from behind bars. They are so excited about starting their lives again, this time with better choices, and about reuniting with their families. The three ladies all have kids.

It's so much fun to ooh and aah over their new clothes. After spending months or years wearing the same outfit, complete with identification number painted on in white or black, these gals are getting to pick out dresses for church.

And to think...this ministry has been in the heart of God all along. Two years ago some women in my church started praying about how to use the building the church owned. They felt it should be used for ministry again. Now two different ministries for women and their families are in the building. People from all over the city and surrounding areas are getting involved with this vital work. It's bringing churches from different denominations together. We may not agree on the right age for baptism, but we know when people need help and love to jump in and do it!

Please pray for the two new gals. They will be job searching for the next several days, and one had trouble getting her state ID yesterday.

Pray for this ministry. God will use this to touch the lives of entire families...effecting change that will continue through generations. He wants to break the cycle of addiction and incarceration...and to help people find true freedom...in Him!


Ah, access to a computer...all Saturday long. Life is good.

So have you noticed that I am not the only gal who's gone ga-ga over polka dots? I've seen them EVERYWHERE!!! Target has some great stationery and office organizational supplies that are covered in polka dots. And I found the most darling plastic tumblers at Wally World...clear with blue and green polka dots, what else? ;)

What a girl wants; what a man needs to know

Well, Erik (not StarGazer...note the "k") reminded me that I had promised the Vox Volk that I would post some advice for the mens. (That would be the ghetto spelling!)

Here goes...

1. Do not assume that gaggle of girlfriends surrounding your lady of interest is the conglomeration of her best pals. One Volkmensch dubbed the dreaded gaggle "Circle of Doom."

The man's method of approach should fit his personality (the better side of his personality) but he should feel that he is allowed to approach the group. A wingman is optional.

If this is a group of people you know on some level, a "Hey, ladies!" is a good start. If one acts as if you've interrupted their important assessment of the merits or lackthereof of Hugh Grant, ignore her irritation, but still treat her with respect...tho' undeserving she may be.

This gaggle of gals may be mere acquaintances...whether you're at the office, in the hallway of a church building, somewhere on campus, or whatever. Or it could be her closest friends. Don't be intimidated. We women don't like guys who let others intimidate them too often. Vulnerability is great. Wimpiness is not.

Now if this girl is one you're meeting for the first time and you know no one in the group, of course you don't want to just jump in. You could still introduce yourself to the group...without interrupting rudely...by saying something like "Good evening, ladies, I hope you're enjoying the concert. My friends and I were wondering if we could buy you some nachos." Good line for an outdoor concert with food and a picnicky sort of area. Of course, before you make the offer to the gals, be sure to OK it with your guy pals that you're all going to chip in and buy the girls the nachos.

2. Ask women on dates. If she's a "courting only" type, she'll let you know. When asking a girl out, the signal that it's a true DATE is a combo of info. given to the lady in question: (a) I want to take YOU out, (b) picking you up, (c) on a specific day, (d) at a specific time, and (e) to do a specific activity. The generic meal and a movie will work just fine if you don't know much about the girl. A movie only doesn't provide much opportunity to talk, unless you both like to commentate on the flick to the other person. Other great date ideas to be posted later.

3. Good grooming and hygiene improves any guy. Don't overdo the cologne. But a good man's cologne...*sigh* My gal pals and I sprayed men's cologne on the sample cards at Dillard's one day and then put the cards over the vents in the car. The vehicle "smelled like a man" for hours.

The same advice goes to both sexes...wear your hair in ways that complement your features and your personality. If you don't like your hairdo and that dissatisfaction makes you grumpy, your attractiveness goes way down.

4. Your car. A great guy who smells good, brings me flowers, listens to what I have to say, and cares about my dreams...also will straighten up the interior of his car before taking me out. I shouldn't have to remove something from the front seat, avoid stepping on yesterday's Chinese, or delint myself of Bruno's fur.

If you have to get in the car, reach over the passenger seat, and fling open the door to let me in, this is a problem! Get it fixed! It is worth the investment to be able to open the door to the car and let your lady in, treating her as the lady she is (or has the potential to be).

Notice I didn't say that the kind of car mattered. Or the condition of the outside. If you're a poor grad student barely getting by on Ramen, I'm impressed that you're buying my dinner and movie ticket!

5. Be able to ask her about herself and follow the conversation. Ask her specific questions...even those goofy ones like "If you could only take 5 CDs with you to a remote island (with a battery operated CD player), which albums would you choose?" And if she asks about you, great! She should be asking you about you and your family, your job or current school situation, your church and ministry involvement, your hopes and dreams. All in good time...not wise to dump all your info. on the table at once.

Follow-up questions like "So what did you do next?" "What did you learn from that situation?" "What would you differently if you could have a do-over?" get to the ways she thinks. Good listening comments and non-verbal movement help, for example, "That's great!" "I'm sorry you had to go through that." "Wow, that must have been a lot of fun!" "Bummer..." (OK, choose your favorite current lingo...keep it clean!), nodding the head, "Um-hmm," "Oh, really?" "I didn't know that," and "Don't that beat all!" (Southerner speak). I could go on, but you get the picture.

6. A woman wants sincere compliments. Don't tell her you like her outfit, unless you do like it.

7. Does a guy have to have a high-profile job to get a woman? No. For some women, it's important for their man to have a job that carries status in society. Other women don't care. I think it's most important that you feel called to what you are doing. And if you aren't called to it and your situation is transitional, that's OK. Be doing something toward your calling or toward the career that interests you. Researching, asking questions of folks in those jobs, filling out grad school apps, going to interviews...etc. Really be doing something about it, and not just for show. A woman can tell when a man is really doing something with his life, or when he is at least trying.

8. Well, I've run out of ideas, and the things I thought of yesterday when reading the Vox posts have flown outta my head. So put your questions and ideas in the comments field, and I'll get back to ya.