Friday, August 22, 2008

Just One Late Book Away from the Hoosegow

Did you hear about the woman who was arrested for $30 in unpaid library fines?

Under a more unforgiving municipal regime, that certainly could have been me. I have this unfortunate tendency to a) check out a lot of books at one time (for the kids, but still) and b) forget when they're due.

I do get a receipt with all the due dates. And if I remember, I do check the status online and renew items if necessary.

But since my memory is a vessel that springs leaks with alarming alacrity, the fines accrue. Two days overdue isn't so bad. But if there are 20 books, at $.20 a day, lather, rinse, repeat every three weeks, well, it adds up.

I have found my savior: Library Elf! It's a service that sends you e-mail reminders of library items that are due. I've opted to receive my notices three days ahead of time. This allows me time to plan a trip to the library or renew if possible.

I haven't had a late fee since I signed up two months ago. If you are also an overdue-library-book recidivist, you might want to see if your library participates.

Now, about that borrowed Lyle Lyle Crocodile book that we lost six months ago...

Friday, August 15, 2008


I JUST found out the most remarkable news.

Did you know that there are actually other athletes besides Michael Phelps competing at the summer Olympics?

No, seriously. In fact, there could be, like, hundreds of them.

How about that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Grouchy Editor

I'd call this the first in a series of posts about grammar and punctuation and usage mistakes that annoy me, but I know better.

We'll be lucky if there's a part 2, let alone a series.

And with that disclaimer, let's rock and roll.

We could also say, although I wouldn't, let's rock 'n' roll.

What we should never say? Let's rock n' roll.

Or rock 'n roll.

We need a lovely matching set of apostrophes here or it makes no sense. The apostrophe indicates that letters are missing -- without two, it's like saying "rock nd roll" or "rock an roll".

I saw this type of apostrophe misuse in a company's name last week. It's even codified in the company's logo, so I couldn't chalk it up to a typo. My entire body twitched.

Today's takehome message: To prevent me from twitching, remember your bookend apostrophes.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Narrow Vocabulary

I've seen this very cool image on several blogs but only recently found out that my sister's colleague created the Wordle site. Hey, I thought, I have a nicely varied vocabulary. The Wordlet for my blog will surely reflect that.

Apparently not. See the prominence given to "Barbie" and "TV"? If you see me randomly tossing about words like "perambulate" and "quotidian" and "NPR" in future posts, you'll know why.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Project Runway, Here I Come

Such was my guilt over Allie's accident (she's all better now -- thanks for the kind words!) that I may actually have agreed to a trip to Target for a toy of her choice.

And I may actually have agreed to uphold this agreement when it became obvious that "her choice" was to be found residing in the *gulp* Barbie aisle.

Friends, I bought my daughter a Barbie.

And not just any Barbie. Wedding Day Barbie.

Whatever feminist credibility I had remaining is now in tatters.

Before Barbie could get married*, Allie insisted that she get changed into another outfit. A pants outfit. We have no Barbie clothes, and the suggestion that Barbie wear a princess dress instead (okay, I had no feminist credibility going into this after all) was met with derision.

When in a bind, improvise! I took two filmy scarves that I once wore to work and fashioned a halter top and odd-looking harem-type pants from them. Witness this haute couture:

Barbie wore this outfit for 15 seconds before donning her wedding dress again. Hmmph. Fashion diva.

*To Buzz Lightyear. I officiated in the civil ceremony.