Guess what? Spelling matters!

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In high school I tried out for the spelling team, but only because I really wanted a letter jacket.”
― Jarod Kintz

English:
ten·ter
/ˈtentər/Noun
Definition: A framework on which fabric can be held taut for drying or other treatment during manufacture.
Synonyms
stretcher

French:
[ta(n) tay]
Definition: to tempt, attempt, try

So…who’s up for some “tenter” flat iron steak?

Wow. I have seen some whoppers in my day, but that one (see my photo above) was a big error. And if you look close, you will see another glaring mistake.

Words spelled incorrectly, phrases used in the wrong context – one can see these in newspapers, magazines, ads and so forth. They are nothing new. In fact, Jay Leno made a name for himself by airing some of these awful mistakes during his “Headlines” segment.

In an editing class I took about 10 years ago, our professor would give us extra credit for errors found on the front page of the paper where he was employed. Suffice to say, I received extra credit every week.

And that was a decade ago. Since that time, the errors seem to be getting worse.

Trust me, I will admit that I bend almost every grammatical rule in the English language. Yes, I end sentences with prepositions – I even start sentences that way! I make errors, letting my participles dangle for all to see. But no matter what I am working on, I always have someone read my work before I submit it. From newsletters to articles, they will be looked at before I send them off to an editor. Bless his heart, no matter where my husband is in the world, I send him my work and ask him to proofread. After he looks it over with fresh eyes, I am confident enough to send my work to an editor, and let a professional polish my words, making them presentable in print.

Errors will happen, but I think the reason they are so prevalent these days is that we are taking humans out of the equation. Print publishing has taken a huge smack in the finance department. Professional writers, like me, have seen pink slips and pay cuts. Many have changed careers, so the field of qualified proofreaders is shrinking. In the meantime, editors have become over-worked and underpaid. Therefore, mistakes are made.

My assumption is that corporations seeking to save a dollar have found it cheaper to use spelling and grammar software than to pay a professional who has a firm grasp of the English language. The cheaper-than-an-editor forms of copy editing and proofing ensure that the errors, which used to happen on occasion, now happen on a regular basis.

In my humble opinion, I find that this is a huge mistake.

Standards for our language have been edged out by electronic communications. Shortened words and phrases due to texts and Tweets make for an abbreviated form of the written language. And, may I add, this is spilling over into our verbal communication skills as well. But I digress.

So, excuse me while I jump up high here on my soapbox, as I want to share a few pointers with those who feel writers and editors are expendable:

– Spelling skills matter.
– Good writing is an art.
– Fact check before printing. One “Googled” source doesn’t count.
– Let a human proofread.
– Using slang? Don’t rely on reality television. Double check the term with Urban Dictionary for context.
– Using foreign terms? Look up spelling for those words and phrases, too.

If you are a business owner, pay for a professional writer to either write or proofread your company’s communications, to include email blasts, newsletters, Web content, Tweets and blogs.

Never underestimate the power of an English major. For, at the end of the day, we have a tenter tender heart for those who appreciate us.

Do spelling errors drive you crazy? Share in the comments section.
© Lynne Cobb -2013

Exercise and New Year’s resolutions…

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“Exercise is a dirty word.  Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.”  ~Author Unknown

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Not because I am afraid of commitment (well, that all depends on the commitment – ha ha!). My personal feeling is that I have all year to resolve to better myself, and that was exactly what I did last year.

Deciding to become healthier, I started buying more organic foods, used less cleaning chemicals, tried gardening, made my own natural toiletries, and I quit smoking (okay, I will admit one or two puffs on an organic cigarette in the course of a year, but hey, not bad considering the almost pack-a-day habit of last year.)

Well, what happens when one quits smoking? Metabolism changes, and sometimes snacking becomes the new smoking. Someone told me to expect a 25-pound weight gain.

Well, call me stupid, but I am thinking that putting on that much weight in one year isn’t much healthier than smoking.

But I persevered, didn’t smoke, put on enough weight to make me cry and want to throw things and even blog about being blue over not finding jeans that fit! (Remember this? httpssss://lynnecobb.com/2012/08/18/dressing-rooms-blue-jeans-and-a-midlife-crisis/ )

Of course, my dear husband (and any of my children who were in earshot) listened to my rants.

Now, over the course of almost 30 years, my husband, who is also a soldier, told me that the cure for all ills is exercise. For example, I might say, “I’m freezing.” His response will always be, “Do push-ups.” Or, me, “I’m tired,” and he’d say, “exercise.” And me, someone who thinks sweating is gross, rolled my eyes. Every. Single. Time.

So, as I saw I was getting a little pudgy and flipping out over it, I decided that maybe my soldier is correct.

So, I started walking. Success.

Then, I started biking. Success.

My bike is a retro-looking one speed. I call it a “me speed.” It goes as fast as I can go. It goes up hills, dependent upon – me. And the first few hills this I tried, well, let’s just say I walked my bike. Then one day, I made it up the hill.

I was hooked. On exercise. The thing I detested most.

Well, not hooked enough to ride my bike in the winter in Michigan. So, in the fall, I started floor exercises. I can now do over 35 crunches, and lots of tilts and even three Army regulation push-ups.

Success!

I am a machine!

So when my 15-year-old daughter, who is on the cheer team, told me she did side planks, I was curious.

And I Googled “side plank.” Good for strengthening the abdominal muscles.

Well, looking at that photo, I knew I could do that. Lay on my side, feet together. Elbow bent. Support my body weight. Feel the burn. Yeah, not the good “no pain, no gain” burn. Ow.

Success – no.

There are somethings a personal trainer should show you. Exercises are one of them.

Needless to say, I have been pampering my strained arm for four days. Writers type, and at the moment, typing can be very painful. Lucky for me, essential oil of peppermint is awesome at alleviating pain 🙂 And it is organic!

And dark chocolate is a great antioxidant, and releases good endorphins, which help manage pain.

I just hope this arm heals soon, because I want to exercise again. Yikes, did I say that? I did say that! I want to exercise again. Because you know that average 25 pound weight gain? Not only did I avoid that, I am down to my “smoking days” weight. And I feel better when I exercise.

So, needless to say, in this New Year, I have resolved to rethink my adversity to resolutions. And I resolve to consult with a certified trainer for exercises that are unfamiliar. Or at least consult with one when those exercises look “easy” on Google images

PS – laughter is a good pain medicine, too 🙂

Do you have any exercise “fail” stories you are willing to share?

© Lynne Cobb – 2013