Comma Too? You?

Whenever I have a grammar or punctuation question, my first stop in the search is a visit to Grammar Girl.

Her answers always make sense, and when I’m still confused, she responds to messages on Twitter. How I love a true grammarista!

Yesterday I sent a question regarding what seemed to be a new push toward removing the comma from before the word “too”. My writer friends and I have been up in arms over the change.

Her response was that she didn’t get the impression it was a recent thing, but guided me to her post on the subject for some clarification.

Sometimes in grammar and punctuation, issues come up that can be discussed. In professional editing, when questionable changes are made, the best editors are able to justify their choices, making the act of editing much like writing; creative within boundaries of proper form.

It has been much to my dismay, since my continuous testing failures at CloudCrowd, that 3.16 of their style guide says this:

“Do not use comma before the words “too”, “also”, “as well” and any similar terms.”

Such a definitive rule with no grey areas for discussion. No wonder I failed.

Grammar Girl’s post in regard to “comma too” gives a writer the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not the comma should to be used.

Apparently, many children’s book-publishers agree with Grammar Girl and not with CloudCrowd. In four recently published children’s books (checked out this week at our local library), the comma is being used freely in front of “too” restoring my faith in publishers everywhere.

I like commas an awful lot (it borders on an addiction), so I appreciate the freedom to decide if and when they should be used (in this case, specifically).

How about you? You, too?

M.

Are you with Grammar Girl and me, or do you take the side of CloudCrowd?

An example of the comma being used in front of the "too". This came fromt eh adorable book Crafty Chloe by
An example of my point from the adorable book Crafty Chloe by Kelli DiPucchio and illustrated by Heather Ross. Moms … go and find this book. It’s sweet and crafty! We love it!

Intentions, Sophie and the Sea

It’s common at the start of a yoga class to set an intention for the day’s practice.

Different from a goal, which is something you work toward with a focus for the future, an intention is meant to give you a focus in the present.

Bruce Black, from Writing Yoga with Bruce Black, explained it far better than I ever could …

“… setting your intention is like drawing an arrow from the quiver of your heart.

You aim the arrow at a distant target, a reflection of your heart’s desire, and with care and mindfulness release the bowstring.

And as the arrow flies toward the target, it draws your heart toward its destiny.”

My intention was set; my arrow aimed at first-born (Sophie) who becomes troubled when I leave for my Friday night trips away (an unhappy agreement made during mediation to give her father more time to parent without my ever-presence).

She cries as I leave, and as I jump into my car and drive away, I can’t help but wonder for how long she feels the pain of my departure.

There is nothing I can do to ease her pain when I’m gone.

At the end of yesterday’s class, prior to a deeply personal moving meditation and an awfully good time spent upside down in playful inversions, the class returned to our backs for quiet savasana.

As proof that I’d set the right intention, the prettiest song came through the speakers above my head; a version of Sea of Love I hadn’t ever heard.

For Sophie I’d set my intention. Now and forever, Cat Power’s Sea of Love will be our song.

M.

Do you set intentions off of the mat? Does a particular song remind you of someone you love?

For the Love of Haiku – A Poetry Game

I am stealing and copying in abundance this weekend; additional imitation and flattery.

All About Lemon has started a blogging game called, “For the Love of Haiku.” Using the Japanese poetic form (17 moraes; syllables of  5, 7, and 5), poets add meaning to Ms. Lemon’s art collages that are updated and changed weekly.

Once you link up, you’re added to the list of haiku contributors. At the end of the month, votes are calculated to find the winner with the most likes.

Blogging good fun!

Here is my contribution …

Princesses beware

Bored extraterrestrials

Roll like bullet trains

————————

Wear your bunny ears

Smile wide as the train rolls by

Rats can’t dim your shine

M.

Too deep? Think you might give it a try? Not a blogger? Leave your contribution in my comments!

Technology Fail

Apparently WordPress is being fussy, posting a terribly boring beginning of a poem I’d written (ages ago) without my consent.

If you received the erroneous email, please disregard.

I’m now off to delete every other ancient draft (out of pure fear that it could happen again), while wallowing in the embarrassment that anyone believed I thought the content in the piece entitled, “Lemonade,” was good enough to publish.

The horror!

M.

Has this ever happened to you? Could it have published from my phone? I haven’t even visited the WordPress App today!

Since we’re discussing lemonade, how about this yummy-looking concoction? Pink Lemonade Maragritas from Barefott Contessa.

A Birthday on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming, but instead of being enthusiastic about the holiday itself, I’m excited about celebrating my daughters’ birthday; born five years ago on Thanksgiving day, 2007.

It was a wild ride – pregnancy with twins; months of bed rest, nervous ultrasounds, undetermined blood tests. Especially after several losses.

The fact that my turkeys arrived on Thanksgiving day was like a gift from the stars.

It came with a message that said …

“Here you go. Here is what you wished for. Here is the meaning of your life. These two 4-pounders are your daughters and they’ve been born on Thanksgiving day so that you never forget how grateful you must be for the gift of their lives on this Earth.”

And I was grateful. More grateful than for anything I’d ever received.

And while I was swimming in gratefulness, recovering from a nasty c-section, pulling my IV drip back and forth to the nursery despite pleas from nurses to rest, I was also arguing with my husband and begging nurses to make him leave. We had fought throughout the pregnancy. I never felt loved and I always felt alone when he came around.

We couldn’t get along, even at this most blessed time. Our paths were divergent despite the impending arrival of two growing babies with our DNA.

My divorce has been a long time coming. It is painful and ugly, and strips me of my will to smile whenever I’m in his presence.

But tomorrow I’m determined to (just) be thankful for my girls. They gave me what I always wanted. I wanted to be a mom.

My errands today will revolve around preparations for the celebration. A cake with mermaids will be picked up and their LeapFrog Tablet will be wrapped.

It’s a pretty neat present for a couple of five year olds; easy to get, picked out from Target.

I only wish I was able to give them the best gift of all; the gift of a happy family. Children with happy, intact families are the luckiest of all.

For this, I am ungrateful. Ungrateful, without thanks, and hoping that they never suffer from the knowledge of their unluckiness; the failure of their parents stripping them of what should have been their right.

M.

When your child/children were born, did you feel like it brought you and your spouse closer or did it put more stress on an already strained relationship? What will you be giving thanks for tomorrow around your dinner table?

People often ask how I managed to care for two babies at once. Look at those faces; pure joy, all the time. Their first year was the best time of my life.

RunningSkirts(dot)Com Sub-Zero Review

After months of waiting to wear my RunningSkirts(dot)com Sub-Zero skirt, the weather finally turned cold enough to pull it from its packaging.

I have raved about Running Skirts compression socks (here) since testing them out a year ago, but unsure about proper sizing in the company’s skirts made me hesitant about ordering one (see sizing below). After receiving an email alert from Schwaggle with a link to the RS website giving an additional percentage off of a special list of merchandise, I took the plunge ordering the heartstooth patterned skirt attached to the full length brushed and wicking pant.

Sizing:

As I usually do before making online purchases, I read the reviews and pondered the size chart. Pant sizing is funny for me (skinny legs and not so skinny hips). According to the measurements listed, I would wear a size 3 (10-12), but since I am so rarely a 12, I wasn’t sure this was the best choice.

It turned out that the size 3 is perfect. I would recommend, actually, that if you are a larger size 12, going up to a size 4 might be better. Size eights would definitely want to buy the size 2.

Confused? I was, though it’s not their fault rather the nature of online shopping.

Fit:

With a flat waistband and continuous drawcord (like Lululemon’s), there was no rubbing at the belly. Also interesting, and possibly a fit characteristic for my body type (apple-ish), the front waist fit a tad higher than the back. I loved this; always prefer a pant this sits a bit higher at the waist (it’s a different story for me when it comes to shorts).

Temp:

The Sub-Zero is sold as a cold weather running skirt and performs as such. My legs didn’t feel a moment of wind or freeze after five miles in 37 degree temperatures. During my second run in much warmer weather (about 50 degrees), they still felt great; no overheating. When I run long, even in the coldest temperatures, I always (always) burn hot at my wrists and ankles. During my second run, I folded up the bottom portion of the leg and continued on, grateful that they weren’t super tight at the hem; they folded up easily.

More shopping?

Unhappy with the current quality on the newest LLL running tights (I swear the luxtreme is thinner) and more and more feeling the need to cover my rear (I am a 41-year-old grown woman after all), I am interested in trying some of the other skirts in the line.

Next on my list is the Capri Skirt. If it performs even close to the Sub-Zero, it could (quite possibly) be the perfect running bottom made.

M.

Do you run in skirts? How about RunningSkirts.com skirts? Do you shop there?

The skirts come in different patterns. I like the black and white ones as they can go with more colored tops.
The continuous drawcord. When pulled tighter the skirt stayed put. If you’ve ever gotten chafe from a tie at the wast then you know; ow.
The wide, flat waistband.
The logo on the side of the skirt. Barely noticeable.

Men!

I was recently accused of being a man-hater. The ill-informed accuser had confused my independence and comfort in being alone with a more sinister point of view.

The truth, however, is so far from the allegation that in my defense I thought a written piece regarding the absurdity was warranted.

I love men. I’m not saying I understand them completely. They are as complicated as complicated gets.

But women are complicated, too, and so putting aside (for a moment) the complicated things that often leave us feeling as far apart as Venus and Mars, let’s focus on the reasons that men are wonderful.

As a little girl I fell in love with a beautiful neighborhood boy. What did I know of love? Not much. But the way he tossed his bike to the ground after effortlessly jumping away from its spinning wheels, hop-skipping himself toward me with a testosterone laced smile? What else did I need to know? The fact that he liked me was icing on the proverbial cupcake. It tasted as sweet.

Swoon worthy looks are nice, but without substance, a pretty face can only take a girl so far!

I have met many a man, who though lacking the chiseled chest of, say, “A David Beckham,” or the rugged handsomeness of, say, “A Jake Gyllenhall,” did have that je ne sais quoi that made this girl swoon as if a Beckham-Gyllenhall combination had just entered the room.

What is that?

That thing?

That spark of magic, which creates butterflies in the belly.

How could you not love that?

I used to joke that I would only date a man who was smarter than me. A pre-requisite, so to speak.

Men with brains, or with knowledge on subjects I haven’t a clue, are fascinating. Before you try to hang me for what sounds like a pre-feminist viewpoint, let me just say, “No one loves a brilliant woman more than I.” But introduce me to a cardiac doctor or an international human rights lawyer or an up and coming film maker (any of whom are) of the male persuasion, and listening and learning about things I don’t quite understand creates a different dynamic of intrigue. Intrigue in unfamiliar packaging.

Mens’ brains are great, but brawn is not bad, either. Science has proven that men have lots of qualities that separate them from women; one of the most obvious being their muscular build which provides them considerably more upper body strength. I do appreciate a strong upper body (as my own is the least strong part of me). Having a man appear to assist, as I try to lift that heavy thing from that high place up there … I love that!

At pre-school pick-up today I was reminded of two more reasons to love men; fathers and grandfathers. I watched as a grey-haired man held the hand of his granddaughter, and sweetly challenged her to see if she could recognize his car. I watched a much younger man trailing behind his little boy who was busily pushing a truck along the sidewalk. I listened as patient dad and curious son has a conversation about the truck, and I kept on, feeling grateful for the additional blog-worthy material.

There are men in the world who love women, and as an extension, love their kids and the idea of the family. I know a man personally who actually said to me, “Not have my wife and kids? What would be the meaning of my life?”

Men who really love women do not just sexualize them. Real appreciation for women as mothers and sisters allow some men into the inner circle. These men, with such respect for the richness that women being to a life, are rewarded by the women they love.

Man-hater? Not me. Not even close.

M.

Are you one of those girls that has found the man who makes you swoon, whose brain you love, who has that thing?

The Run Happy Formula

With my yogic river guide out of town (no Saturday yoga for me), I took the opportunity to hit the open road after a month of being sidelined by too much stress and a nagging quadracept injury. Luckily for me, the formula for a happy run was in place.

Here are the components, for which (even hours later) I find myself grateful:

1. Running in the cold (this morning’s thermometer hovered around 37 degrees) allows the lungs to fill with crisp fresh air. To say I felt more alive than I have since March isn’t dramatics. It’s the truth.

2. The right gear is essential for cold-weather running, because freezing is never any fun. I left the house wearing my thick, lined running pants, a long-sleeve shirt and jacket, and a headband to cover and protect my ears from the wind.

3. Going slowly, though not walking, there is no hurry and no pressure. As I amp up the winter running, I’m sure I’ll hop back over to the Galloway method, but my favorite way to run is at an easy pace, for as long as I like. Today’s four miles felt right; authentic, focused, strong.

3. Wearing ear pods is controversial. Galloway doesn’t allow it. People say it is dangerous. But the beauty of having music in your ears is that you not only hear, but feel. Choosing the iPod shuffle-option is like an extra step toward total surrender. The last song as I rounded home was James Blunt’s, Best Laid Plans. The man is a poet, and his words made my heart grow wider.

4. A familiar loop doesn’t hurt when you’re busy following your nose. There’s no chance in getting lost and you’re close enough to home if you need to call it quits (earlier than anticipated).

5. A good run always prompts thoughts of the next race. Maybe it’s the endorphins at work, but I’m thinking that the timing is right to train for March’s Tobacco Road Marathon (or at least the half).

A happy run is the foundation for my happy life.

What’s your formula for a happy run?

M.

P.S. I questioned whether to publish this ‘happy post” as it’s a disappointing time for many running friends unable to race New York; monumentally more difficult for the people trying to recover from Sandy’s destruction. New York and it’s people have lived in my heart since I left almost twelve years ago. I wish I was closer to physically help …

Judging Youth

When you judge a person for the mistakes of their youth,
You are not highlighting their ill-fated decisions.

What you are doing,
Which is far worse,
Is highlighting your own inhumanity.

Ever felt like this – whether you are the one judging or like you are busily fighting off the inhumanity; wielding off judgement with your mightiest sword? How do find your own humanity in either case? How do you find peace amidst the fray?

M.

CC Skye Pearl Peace Ring $230.00. I’ve been looking for a “divorce” ring. My left hand misses adornment.