The Friday Five! (posted on Thursday night, sorry!)

1. I think I’ve written here before about how I was raised by two professors in a household where spelling and grammar was VERY important. If I left a note for my mom or dad and spelled a word wrong, I’d often come back to find that word circled with instructions to correct it. (“Go look it up!” they’d say, which NEVER made sense to me, because if I can’t spell it, how can I look it up? Parents, so confusing.) Now, though, I am grateful for all this training, if only because I am reasonably confident about my spelling skills if I don’t have spellcheck around. Take for instance yesterday, when I was at the nail salon. I was sitting at the drying station when the woman behind the counter, whose first language was not English, asked me how to spell “supplies.” I spelled it for her, and we sank back into quiet. A few minutes later, she asked me how you spell “carpet,” and I gave her that one as well. I ended up spelling several more words for her, and she was very grateful. It’s nice to feel useful, I guess, once in a while. Although I did tell her that if she needed me to spell “separate” or “embarrass” or “conscious” she was out of luck, as those are my spelling kryptonite. (I just misspelled two of them as I wrote this. Thank you, spellcheck!)

2. Speaking of words, here’s something else I’ve noticed lately: “whatnot” is the new “yadda yadda.” People are using it SO much, to encompass just about anything. I have one babysitter who uses it regularly, and then I heard two people at the grocery store say it during the same visit. It’s just one of those words, I guess, that spares you having to give more detail. Kind of like “whatever” was for us back in the eighties. “Whatnot,” though, is just one of those words that bugs me. It just sounds weird. Maybe I’ll try to bring back “whatever,” which I was so fond of that it made my mom INSANE. “Be specific!” she’d say. See what I mean about my parents?

3. In other news, I’m beginning to think I am the only person on the planet not watching The Bachelor. I just don’t get this show. I have never watched it, but only recently am I aware of how popular it is. I mean, my last two US Weeklys have featured Bachelor stories on their covers, and it’s like reading about another country. I just don’t get it, but have several friends who are totally addicted. Plus, Jennifer Weiner, who I kind of admire to the point of almost stalking, Tweets about it regularly. So maybe I should revisit the issue. Because reality TV CAN be useful: if it wasn’t for the Real Housewives, I would never be able to do more than five minutes on the elliptical. They are the whole reason I’m getting in better shape. Owing gratitude to the Housewives=weird. Seriously.

4. Okay, I’m just going to say it: I hate the new Facebook. Like, to the point that I am ready to abandon it entirely. What I love about Facebook, what makes it special to me and better than other things, is the status updates. I love seeing what people are doing, whether I know them or not. It’s like being part of the world, in real time. It used to be easy to set up your page so that all you saw was the updates, but now it’s more complicated. At least, it is for me. I have to do it every single time, instead of it being set that way for good. I know I sound—again—like a cranky old woman, but why do they keep changing things that are fine as they are? I’m sure there is a technical or developmental reason that I’m missing. But is it worth whatever they’re hoping to gain if it means people like me just delete their accounts and, oh, I don’t know, spend that time meditating or doing downward dogs instead? Oh, please. Who am I kidding. I’d probably take that time and watch the Bachelor. Don’t judge, please. I guess all I’m saying is that if I vanish from Facebook, you’ll know why.

5. Finally, I will admit that I check out my and Amazon pages every once in awhile, to read reviews and see what people are saying. I noticed recently that there’s a new addition to the page for Along for the Ride: it’s a rating system for parents from Common Sense Media. Basically, it catalogs all the things that might be offensive for readers in your books, and explains what they are and what age the book is actually appropriate for. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I mean, I’m sure it’s useful for parents. But I worry it’s breaking a book down into these pieces that don’t do justice to the whole. What do you think? Go here and scroll down until you see the rating and let me know. Especially if you are a librarian and have some experience with such things. I need some input!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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