My list of bad words

Words and phrases that make me feel sick, that make my eyes roll up into my head with contempt:

  • Alright
  • Authored
  • Effortlessly chic
  • Fab
  • Foodie
  • Go green
  • Home decor
  • Hubby
  • I don’t do [noun]…
  • Impacted
  • Impactful
  • Masterful
  • Penned
  • Pregnancy brain
  • Queried
  • Read [as a noun, “it’s a great read”]
  • Slut
  • Tablescape
  • Vintage [noun, junk you’re trying to sell]

I think “impactful” is the absolute worst. I want to choke people who use that word. I can barely type it without wanting to scream.

How about you? Any commonly used phrases that get your blood boiling? Oh, and happy Independence Day weekend! Use your freedom as an American to respect the English language.

Monday Snax

What a busy and full weekend! I got to see my parents twice, take the train to D.C., spend a weekend laughing and making dumplings with Angela, brunch with Eric and Cristina, and see Kelsey all in a matter of two days. Whew! More photos on Flickr.

Dinner with GrandTeats and Juju
Dinner with Mom and Dad in Pantops.
Angela
Grabbed a laidback lunch at Eastern Market with the ever-beautiful Angela.
Eric and Cristina!
And got to lunch with Eric and Cristina at Meridian Pint before going to see their lovely house and my sister.

Brief reflections on D.C.: The city as a whole seemed a lot more neighborly than I thought it would be. Everyone was out on their front stoops hollering at each other. It was great. I loved how everybody so carefully and meticulously cultivates their tiny squares of grass in their front “lawns.” Free museums = totally awesome. Most stressful part of D.C.? DRIVING. I got really anxious every time we had to get in a car. I don’t know how anyone drives in that city. Those roads were not made for cars.¬† Or people. But the Metro was fun and you can walk just about everywhere, so that makes up for those barbaric streets.

Snax with dumplings made from scratch, which are clearly the best:

So! You Want to Get Married! Ladies, please enjoy this 1947 book for young Catholic women, advising them on how to snare a man and be a perfect wife. My favorite bit of advice? “But if you whine and complain, if you get your ‘feelings hurt,’ you can make him a nervous wreck: when that happens, you will have your hands full. You might have to go out to work to pay for his hospital expenses.” Take this to heart, wives! If you complain, your husbands might get committed to an asylum and then, heaven forbid, you might have to go WORK. (The Hairpin)

On the Desire to Be Well-Read: A Review of The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. I empathize with the author’s ceaseless inner competition to read more, always be reading more and more and more… (The Millions)

In Which We Take Notes on the Important Parts. I resonated deeply with this author’s childhood self, because it was my childhood self. I was also an obsessive list-maker and I still am. I enjoyed her guesses as to why this might be, why girls like us loved Harriet the Spy. (This Recording)

George Steinmetz Lands in the Lower East Side. Charlottesville’s photo festival gets a shout-out in the New Yorker! These giant, aerial-view photos were so mesmerizing and beautiful–especially when hanging in treetops on the Downtown Mall. (Photo Booth, The New Yorker)

“Between the Folds”: An Origami Documentary. A film about folding paper? Sign me up! No, seriously. I want to watch this. (The Fox Is Black)

The Quiet Film. A thoughtful review of “Meek’s Cutoff,” which Jonathan and I have been reading about from the film critics. (The Curator)

Adult Child, What the Hell Are You Doing at Work? This is exactly what my parents should be asking me. (Postcards from Yo Momma)

Everybody Loves a Baby Dolphin. But nobody loves them as much as I do. (ZooBorns)

Wait for Meeeee. My new favorite Tumblr. (Animals Being Dicks)

Where Every Day Is Caturday. Tashirojima is an island in Japan also known as “Cat Island.” It is entirely overrun with feral cats. As one can expect, it is also unbearably cute. (Cute Overload)

Love/hate with the blogosphere

I read a lot of blogs. I’m very devoted to my Google Reader. It’s very organized. I have it set up in lots of folders, which are arranged in order of how much I care about the blogs in a particular folder (for example, “Friends” are at the top and “Food blogs” are at the bottom).

I do most of my reading out of a folder I labeled Cool Lady Bloggers. These are the queens of the fashionable Internet. You know who they are: Joanna Goddard, Naomi Davis, Heather Armstrong, James Kicinski, Alice Bradley, Maggie Mason, the women at Design*Sponge, and nearly every cute wedding blog, and so forth. I love them all. I feel like we’re friends because I’ve been reading their blogs for years and looking at pictures of their babies. But today I was musing about the 300+ Cool Lady Bloggers I read and came to a few conclusions. I am going to share them because I have no self-awareness.

Reasons why I often loathe Cool Lady Bloggers:

  • Often pretending their life’s, like, perfect and stuff. We know it ain’t. We know you don’t just “whip up” cupcakes like that for every party. (The great bloggers–like most of the names I mentioned above–are the ones who actually share mishaps and trauma with grace. See Dooce; she’s the pro at this.)
  • NO ONE KNOWS the difference between “stationery” and “stationary.” NO ONE.
  • If you just keep re-posting content that someone else created, that’s not blogging. That’s just image dissemination. I will unsubscribe you so fast…
  • Heavy photo-editing of one’s life. (Just be like me, Lady Bloggers: Take terrible, noisy pictures instead!)
  • They don’t have real jobs. They get to sit on a couch and drink giant mugs of tea and read stacks of novels with their puppies and fresh babies all day. And then they go walk downtown in super-cute dresses and take pictures of themselves. And then they get up the next morning and do it all over again. OK. So maybe that’s not true and that’s just my jealousy talking, but if often appears that way. I know full-well that the mommy bloggers don’t have life that easy.
  • Everyone is usually just talking about the same stuff for one week.
  • Taste is universally shared. If you do not DROOL over letterpress “stationary” and GUSH about Anthropologie’s window displays and GASP over moody photographs of girls draped in rowboats, then you do not belong. You must leave the Blogosphere immediately, never to return; your entrance to the gates shall be barred by a pair of Zooey Deschanel doppelgangers with red lipstick and yellow dresses, fending you off with bouquets of flaming peonies.
  • Senses of humor are hard to find (again, see Dooce ‘n Friends for the considerable exception to this rule).
  • Senses of the English language are even harder to find.
  • Talking constantly about how much you addooooore vintage clothes, especially vintage dresses. Time is up. This is no longer going to make you cool. EVERYONE loves vintage clothes. Even your mom.
  • Product endorsement pieces just make my heart sad. Even though your credibility is bolstered by the fact that you are now legally required to disclose post sponsors, it is overwhelmingly weakened in my eyes that you took the deal in the first place. I know that some of the CLBs are literally supporting their families with their blogs, and so it’s understandable, but it severely compromises the respectability of one’s voice.
  • Their nail polish is never chipped.

Reasons why I la-la-la-love Cool Lady Bloggers:

  • There is a strong sense of familial loyalty amongst them. It’s a tight-knit Internet community and lots of the famous ones (like the Heather, Maggie, and Alice mentioned above) are actually friends in real life. I love that. Because the Interwebs are, like, huge, but you’d never know it if you hung out with these ladies. If you wrong one, you have WRONGED THEM ALL.
  • They give me a lot of good ideas for life improvement–Maggie Mason practically invented the Life List.
  • They give me pretty things to look at when I’m bored.
  • They share about their lives. Because, really, what’s more interesting than looking at pictures of strangers and pretending like you’re friends? (I sometimes wonder what I’d do if I saw Naomi Davis in D.C. I’d probably run up to her and ask for her autograph like a toooootal fangirl.)
  • They are predominantly dog people. I can’t actually think of any of my favorite CLBs who are cat people. This is the main reason why I love them all.

OK, so the “loathe” bullet points all just spring from envy, I know. But I had to get it out there. That’s all I have to say. Happy Friday, CLBs! Learn the difference between “your” and “you’re,” because I promise that there is one!

All is calm

… with the exception of Aoive, the Pratt’s beautiful and crazy English Springer Spaniel, who is whining because she can’t stick her paws in my face… We are in Southern Pines again for a few days and will be jumping back and forth from here to Durham for a wedding this weekend. Then we’re back in Davidson for our annual New Year’s Day party. It has been a long, perfect, and peaceful holiday break and I wish it could go on forever. Even Reuben has been having a great time.

I’m enjoying the time to sit, read, drink tea and talk with much-missed relatives. The time to reflect has also allowed me to collect my ideas for 2011 goals. The women in my family are all fanatic list-makers and goal-setters; Grace perhaps most of all. So, family women, here’s my preliminary list:

2011 Goals

  • Start running again.
  • Read 50 books. (No more slacking! I was disheartened when I realized I had read 65 books in 2009 and only 44 in 2010–unless I can finish this Italo Calvino by tomorrow!)
  • Attempt to finish Francine Prose’s Books to Be Read Immediately book list.
  • Practice yoga 3 times per week.
  • Volunteer.
  • Thanksgiving Project: Purely inspired by one of my favorite blogs, THXTHXTHX, I am going to write down something I am thankful for every day for the whole year.
  • Drastically reduce my consumption of sugar; give up sugar for Lent.
  • Memorize Scripture.
  • Finish my Women in the Bible study.
  • Write and edit more short stories.
  • Start studying for the GRE; begin investigating flexible grad programs nearby.

Talk to you soon. In the meantime, please enjoy Guion’s face upon opening The Greatest Christmas Present of All Time. Grace, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives.