Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hospital Holidays

My Christmas plans were a bit unusual this week. Instead of baking and cooking, I hung out with my daughter in the cardiac wing of the hospital. She had cardiothoracic surgery on December 22 and was in the hospital through December 28.

But we had fun. One dear friend brought a Christmas tree. Other friends brought cookies. And our church brought a box of wrapped presents.

One of the gifts was five minute origami. Ariel and I made dragonflies. Though mine looks more like a grasshopper. (I may have bribed people to say mine looked better than hers--mine is the green one.)


Another friend came and played card games.

We're hoping to go home (staying at her apartment until the final chest tube is removed) and have a belated Christmas dinner and open presents on New Year's Day.

N.B. Doesn't she look great for someone who's had her chest cut open and broken? Yep, I know my kids are going to be taking care of me when I'm old, so I only post the good photos. :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Muggle Mailing Labels

File:Magic wand.gif
Cool gif courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Given that Christmas is only a week plus change from now, I decided it was do-or-die time to get out the Christmas cards. I’d done all the prep work—bought stamps, printed photo cards, and written the Christmas letter. (No small feat since I’ve got to get approval from three out of four adult kids. Fourth kid doesn’t care what I write. Bless his heart.)

With all that done, you’d think that most of the horrors were over. You’d be wrong. Because I have about fifty cards to send, it doesn’t make sense to address them by hand. I wanted to print them on labels. (Yeah, you see where this is going, don’t you?)

After a fortifying, over-large mug of coffee, I pulled up Excel and Word on my computer. Before I start, let me just say that I view all Word/Excel interactions with suspicion—they’re kind of like a get-together with obscure relatives who have borderline personality disorders and drink too much. You never quite know what they are going to say or do. So you steel your spine, put on your glasses, and say, “Give me your worst.” And they do.

I Googled the directions on label-making. And discovered, eventually, that I was using the directions for the wrong versions of Word and Excel. Crisis One resolved. Then I followed step-by-step directions for a Mail Merge using the Wizard. (What they don’t tell you is that this wizard is NOT Hogwarts educated. This wizard is educated by Muggles who don’t know that you have to say “LeviOsa,” not “LevioSa.”) I clicked the “Finish Labels” button, and my pages of labels were blank. Right. So unless they were written in disappearing/reappearing ink, this was useless to me.

Needless-to-say, I spent considerable time and emotional energy cajoling Excel and Word to be friends and make nice. Neither paid me heed. Thankfully, I haven’t pursued a career in diplomacy.

About the time I was ready to curse them with “Avada Kadavra,” my tech wizard appeared with his wand in hand. He clicked the screen, which no joke, told him what a Muggle I was and included words like “general default error.” Then he muttered an incantation and my labels appeared on the screen. I tell you the truth, a good Hogwarts’ education is worth its weight in gold.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Easy Holiday Grammar with Zombies

It’s holiday time and the Christmas/New Year’s cards are coming—some ripe with grammar errors, which mystified me since the grammar is straight forward. But then, a younger person (who will remain nameless) asked me a question about grammar on envelopes. I thought, “How do you not know this?” And I remembered that most young people rarely use the mail system. They text with their friends and pay bills online. So here’s a primer on envelopes. And I’ve enlisted my friends, the Zombies as helpers. Here you go.

You want to send a Christmas card to the Zombies, here are your options:

Zeno and Zenobia Zombie
1212 Dripping Blood Drive
Bloodthirsty, TN  37411


The Zombies
1212 Dripping Blood Drive
Bloodthirsty, TN  37411


The Zombie Family
1212 Dripping Blood Drive
Bloodthirsty, TN  37411

Under NO circumstance may you ever write:

Zombie’s (or Zombies’)
1212 Dripping Blood Drive
Bloodthirsty, TN  37411

Apostrophes are only used for contractions and to show ownership. Apostrophes are used correctly like this:

Next Saturday, Blood Suckers Anonymous will be holding a weekly meeting at the Zombies’ house. (Also note, it’s plural possessive because more than one person lives at the home of the Zombies.)

You can always double check whether you need an apostrophe by switching the sentence around. If you can use “of,” then you use an apostrophe.

Next Saturday, Blood Suckers Anonymous will be holding a weekly meeting at the house of the Zombies. 

Now go enjoy your holidays grammar-error free!