Fun with quizzes

A friend of mine just posted the results of the first quiz below on her weblog, and as soon as I saw it I had to take it. (Of course.) I scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 100% Expert. GO ME!!!

(So, those of you who are considering becoming my clients, rest assured that I do know what I’m talking about – as long as the subject is related to the English language, its spelling, or its grammar. No other subjects come with anything even remotely resembling  a guarantee.  Especially if they involve mathematics.)

Your result for The Commonly Confused Words Test…

English Genius

You did so extremely well, even I can’t find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don’t. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you’re not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

Take The Commonly Confused Words Test at HelloQuizzy

So right after that I found another test and took that one too:

Your result for The Absolute Language Test…

You are a master of the art of language! You probably speak more than one language and are very well cultured because of it. You also get annoyed with people who don’t use proper grammar and constantly correct them. Give yourself a pat on the back! You’re ready for the Embassy Ball!

Take The Absolute Language Test at HelloQuizzy

I don’t trust this one as much, and not just because the name of the test is “The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in the Plane [sic].” But it was fun to take it anyway.

(Yes, I should be doing something else. Somethings else, as a matter of fact – there are many, many tasks from which to choose. And I hope my future posts aren’t as self-aggrandizing as the last few have been. Sometimes a girl just needs to feel special… Especially if she’s had a way challenging couple of weeks.)

I wouldn’t call it a diamond…

… but it’s definitely in the rough. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve been writing up the talk I gave on faith (I was speaking extemporaneously), and as I haven’t mentioned, it’s taking a while. But because I’ve had so many requests for the notes or for a written version (wow, that sounds arrogant, doesn’t it?) I’ve posted the latest version here. The writing is choppy and awkward in a lot of places and I’m not sure I’ve communicated exactly what I meant to in others, but I’ll be working on this and posting new versions (on the same page) as I get them done. It’s actually really embarrassing for me to be posting something so badly written, but if I waited until it was perfect I’d never post it, so please have mercy on me!

Movin’ on

So I haven’t posted much this week and would like to at least partially explain the absence: I moved last Saturday and have spent the past week in a chaos of boxes and un-put-away paraphernalia and Target assemble-at-home shelving and temporary containers of sundry descriptions. I’ve been carrying heavy things (including cinder blocks) up lots of stairs, acquiring more than a few really impressive bruises, sleeping little, and in general learning once again that I don’t adjust very quickly to new situations, even good ones. But I love our beautiful built-in-1751 (it even has a plaque, which is way cool) apartment and exploited its fantastic location last night; ’tis truly a miracle to find beautiful, affordable, conveniently located housing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s just the adjusting that takes a while – figuring out where things are going to go, learning to load a new dishwasher, finding light switches in the dark, looking for useful and attractive furnishings because you have to have a place to put things before you can figure out where they’re going to go. At the grocery store one night this week I was so tired that all I wanted to do was lay down on the floor and sleep, using one of the stock boxes full of cans as a pillow – I’d overdosed on Target and Home Depot that day, methinks.

But we’re getting moved in, slowly but surely. The big things are mostly in place and decorations are starting to appear. A trip to IKEA will take care of much of the remainder. To that I look forward with great expectation.

Talk talk talking

So I gave a talk in church yesterday about faith and some of the common fears that prevent people from having it – or rather, from feeling like they have it. I studied and thought and prepared for hours and hours, praying really hard that God would help me say something that would help someone, even if it was just one person.

Did He ever.

I can’t believe the feedback I’ve received – all of which has included words like “amazing” and “fantastic” and “brilliant” and “exactly what I needed to hear” and “I took notes.” Multiple people have asked me for copies of the talk* and apparently I was quoted more than a few times in Relief Society yesterday (I had to leave right at the beginning so I missed the lesson). I’m thrilled and elated to have been able to bring relief and joy to so many people. I wasn’t even all that nervous and I enjoyed giving the talk; it was incredible to see that everyone really was paying attention instead of staring off into glazed-eyed space.

I’m trying not to let it go to my head. I know I had precious little to do with the event – I’d had less than three hours of sleep (every time I was about to fall asleep a car alarm would go off or something similar would happen) and I don’t function well when I’m tired. (God was giving me an object lesson. Instead of freaking out that I couldn’t sleep, I was instructed to have faith that things would work out.) But wow. It’s amazing to see a new talent begin to develop, especially for someone who as a kid was painfully (PAINFULLY) shy and remains a die-hard introvert.

Turns out God has been in charge all along. Who knew?

*I just have notes at the moment; I’m planning to flesh them out a little bit and maybe then I’ll post them on this site. Maybe. It feels a bit self-aggrandizing to even think about doing that…

Fire and Ice(land)

So… A friend and I just booked our Labor Day weekend tickets to…


Hello to Reykjavik, geysers, geothermal swimming pools, waterfalls, fjords, elves, the Blue Lagoon, and corrugated tin houses. Hello to the only living language that still uses the runic letter thorn (Þ) and that in 1974 abolished the letter z (thanks, Wikipedia!). Hello to high hygiene standards that keep the Blue Lagoon blue and wandering sheep for which you have to pay the owner should you inadvertently run over one. Hello to caves and volcanoes and summertime midnight sun and roast puffin.

And this world of wonders isn’t as far away as one might think – the flight is just five hours and the time is only four hours ahead.

I’m so excited.

Mikä minun ongelmani on?

Finnish for “What’s my problem?”

Or, more literally, “What my problem-my is?” (yes, with the redundant “my”s).

I don’t know how to add “today,” or I would.

It started with reading this article, which posits that instead of teaching people how to spell the 20 most common misspelled words in British English, professors and other pedagogues should just accept these unorthodox forms as variant (yes, variant – and therefore valid) spellings.  The horror!

A few other things of small but cumulatively significant annoyance occurred, from my doing something dumb at work to my new yoga video being insufficiently arduous (so I had to do another workout after the 45 minutes I’d already spent on the ineffective one) to Simon Bennett smelling like someone left his sunroof and windows open during rainstorms (sigh) to a couple of Simon Bennett’s warning lights coming on (and later turning themselves off, so I’m hoping there was just a temporary electrical problem because of excess moisture [see previous item about leaving sunroof/windows open]) to my cell phone battery dying even though the phone had been plugged in all the live-long day (I was starting to feel electrically conspired against) to wondering what it is I’m supposed to do with my life here in Boston (I’ve been here for six years, for pity’s sake – shouldn’t I be doing something dramatic?) to feeling like I wasn’t really accomplishing anything today to lots of people being around and requiring interaction to looking around in not-quite-despair at the piles and boxes of stuff scattered through the apartment and in my room (this is moving/transition week and five girls’ semi-packed possessions currently jam our four-person living space) to feeling frustrated because I couldn’t stay awake during the afternoon and thus took a two-hour nap to the constant, perpetual, continuous, uninterrupted, neverending RAIN (begone, curséd drop-laden clouds!). Oh, and my skin is a total mess at the moment, my shoulder reeeeeally hurts when I move it, I haven’t been eating right for the past few days, I haven’t been putting enough time into developing my essay editing business or into some writing exercises I’ve been working on, and I used the wrong cocoa in the cup of hot chocolate that I made this evening and didn’t have enough milk to make another.


(Yes, I’m fully aware that many of these things are my own fault/within my control. I’m just venting at the moment.)

On the positive side of things, a friend gave me some delicious French biscuits today, I found the chicken I thought someone had already eaten (another thing I learned from J_H is how to make PERFECT chicken), and – most importantly – TTJ was, as always, immediately responsive when I called him and wailed “I need to look cute and go somewhere!” Delicious hummus and carrots and mangoes alongside the Charles River in view of the gorgeous nighttime Boston skyline were followed by a self-guided mini-tour of the Stata Center, the structure that I always think of as the Dr. Seuss building. It. Is. Awesome – and even cooler on the inside than it is on the outside. TTJ took a picture of me next to the flying tricycle outside the children’s center; I’ll post it when he sends it to me.

So the day hasn’t been entirely wretchéd – just kind of dumb. And really, these days are very, very infrequent – once every few months at most. Things in general are going well and I know I’m where God wants me to be, physically and spiritually and emotionally. Some days suck; the vast majority don’t.

Of course, on the days that suck (or the days after the days that suck), it’s always nice to get a little love, particularly in written format (like, maybe, comments)…


I was just going through some old text messages because I needed to clear some memory on my phone, and found this one:

I saw a man with a mullet today and thought of you. – SDY

I’m still not sure what, exactly, about mullets makes her think of me. Somewhat disturbing, that.

In other disconcerting (or at least somewhat humbling) news, I was all set to write a post about the difficulties involved with having lost the remote control to the TV*, since I just assumed there wasn’t a way to adjust the volume without it. Examinations of the television set seemed to support that assumption, and I was a little bugged at Magnavox for making and foisting on the unsuspecting public an appliance that lacked such basic functionality. However, a call to C-t-P led to the discovery that “of course you can adjust the volume and the channel without using the remote,” the further discovery (after C-t-P’s detailed explanation) of buttons in plain view on the top of the TV set, and a sheepish FF needing to go find something she was good at.

*No, we’re not TV watchers – we don’t have cable so we don’t get any channels. I was exercising. (To a very loud DVD.)


I’m back in Boston! Despite an hour delay in Denver – the plane we were going to fly on was having rudder problems (my thoughts immediately turned to TWA flight 800) so United had to find us a new one – we made it to Boston without incident. I have to say I’m perfectly fine with waiting an extra hour to get home if it means we’ll have a mechanically sound plane – and boy did we need one for the flight. Holy cow. I’ve been through turbulence before, but tonight’s three separate incidents were all wicked rough. I told the captain when I got off that I felt like a martini. He laughed.

Aaaaand: I finally finished Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy despite all the bone-rattling aeronautical epilepsy. It was really fascinating. I still think Sowell is way heavy-handed rhetorically, but what he says makes a lot of sense and has made me question a lot of my assumptions. My goal now is to find reviews of the book and of Thomas Sowell’s work in general.

And to find another book to read. I’m really interested in economics and want to find more stuff comprehensible to people like me.

Two weddings and a reunion (and a hike)

I mentioned a few posts ago that life has been quite busy for the past month, what with famdambily gatherings of sundry flavors and various other excursions. Well, here’s a little bit about each one, with a gallery at the end (the WordPress picture-adding functionality leaves something to be desired so I can’t just insert the pictures and add text around them; no, I have no idea why the caption text is so enormous).

The first weekend in July I flew out to Utah for a family reunion, for which I have no photographs because my camera battery died during a Bryce Canyon hike the day before and I had forgotten to bring my charger. The first three pictures below are some that I took with a prehumous battery.

The second weekend in July I celebrated a friend’s birthday with her by hiking 8.8 miles to the top of Mount Washington and back.  ‘Twas a rigorous endeavor, and methinks that next time I haven’t been hiking in a couple of years I maybe shouldn’t start with an eight-hour hike up and down a steep mountain with several people who hike regularly and are much faster than I am. But I enjoyed it (or at least I enjoy being able to say I did it), and camping out Friday night was way fun, even if I still wasn’t eating sweets at the time and thus consumed no roasted marshmallows.

The third weekend in July I flew to Dallas for my sister’s wedding, one picture from which has already been posted and more pictures from which are included below. Behold the trailer trash bridesmaid dress! Behold the trailer trash bride!

The fourth weekend in July we prepared for the departure of J_H, dearly belovéd and now dearly departéd roommate, and TDS, dearly belovéd and now dearly departéd friend, by having a couple of parties and redistributing a veritable truckload of possessions in our apartment (C-t-P moved up to my room and I temporarily moved down to J_H’s old room, where my stuff is crammed in with some of the furniture belonging to the very nice girl who will inhabit the room when I move in two weeks).  Our house is semi-organized chaos (operative word being “semi”) at the moment. Bleah.

And finally (finally!), this weekend, another wedding. But this time all I had to do was show up – no making dresses, no decorating, no serving, no putting up and taking down, no nothing except standing around taking pictures with my favorite rugrats. I was these kids’ nanny 12 years ago, when the bride was just a little girl and the other kids were babies or toddlers. It was great to see them all together again, for the first time in five years. They’re all so growed up!

(Relatively speaking, that is. The bride really IS that small.)

(Please to ignore the partial head and shoulder of the real photographer in one of these.)

Apart from KMWG’s wedding, this weekend I’ve just been living it up – and by “living it up” I mean “spending lots of blissful quiet quality time with myself and a close friend.” For introverts, it just doesn’t get much better than this. (Yee-haw!)

Even more trav’lin’

I’ve been kind of vaguely distressed that I haven’t taken or made plans for an international trip in the year 2008, which breaks the pattern established over the last four years. But I just found that there are some really great international airfares for this holiday season – Boston to Madrid for $238, Boston to Prague for $314, Boston to Rome for $277 – and I’m thinking that Thanksgiving is a fun time to travel (in 2004 I went to Paris; in 2005 I went to Kenya). I don’t have a specific place in mind yet; I just want to go somewhere I haven’t visited before.* And with someone(s) fun. Any takers?

*My preference would be South America, but tickets there apparently aren’t included in the sale. I would love to visit Asia too, but when I go there I don’t want to stay less than two weeks so I don’t suffer death by jet lag. So it looks like Europe…