Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Several readers have asked me to explain how to use the verbs lie and lay--and no wonder, because this can get tricky. Here's the scoop.
Obviously the word lie can mean "to tell an untruth." When this word is used, the conjugation is simple: present tense lie; past tense lied; past participle lied. No problems.
**Stop right there for a minute. Did you feel a little sick when I used the word "conjugation"? It's not a big deal, really. Conjugation is simply the word used in grammar for the listing of the different forms of a verb. A verb's conjugation is the list of the forms of the verb for present tense, past tense, and past participle. The past participle is the form of the verb that you would use in conjunction with an auxiliary or helping verb. Sometimes it's the same as the simple past tense; sometimes it is different. For example, the verb eat: Conjugation is eat, ate, eaten. I eat breakfast every day (present tense); I ate three cookies yesterday (past tense); I have eaten a whole bag of chips (past participle).**
More confusing is when the word lie means "to recline." That's what we'll tackle here.
Here's a simple but important rule: to lie means "to recline"; to lay means "to put in place." In the present tense, the word lie never requires a direct object and the word lay always requires a direct object.
- I'm tired; I think I'll go lie down.
- Lay the book on the desk, please.
Got it? In the present tense, lay requires a direct object. You have to lay something down. Remember those hippie phrases "Sock it to me" and "Lay it on me"? Well, they may have sounded stupid, but they were grammatically correct.
I think we get confused with lie and lay because there is some weird overlap in the conjugations of the two words. Obviously the present tense of lay is lay, but that word is also the past tense of lie. Eeek!
- Go lie down right now. (present tense)
- She looked tired earlier, but she lay down for awhile and is now feeling fine. (past tense)
The past tense of lay is laid. The word laid always requires a direct object.
- She laid the pile of clothes on the bed.
Most people use laid as the past tense of lie, don't they? But the word they really need is lay.
Just for reference, here's the conjugation of both words:
Present tense Past tense Past participle
lie lay lain
lay laid laid
When was the last time you heard someone say, "If she had lain down when she first started feeling sick, she might not have been so ill"? It just doesn't happen very often. Most of us don't ever use the word "lain," even if it is correct. And you know what? It probably doesn't matter very much. I love to use words correctly, of course, but once again I come back to my philosophy that the purpose of language is communication--and our communication is probably not hampered too much by failing to use the correct past participle of the verb lie. So here's my advice: learn to use the present and past tenses correctly, and don't worry too much about the past participle unless you really have a strong desire to be precise or you're speaking or writing in a situation that demands perfect usage.
Here's a little quiz:
- Go __________ (lie/lay) down.
- __________ (lie/lay) down your burden.
- He was very sleepy, so he __________ (lay/laid) down and rested.
- She __________ (lay/laid) those things on the bed and left the room.
If you filled in the blanks with 1. lie, 2. lay, 3. lay, and 4. laid, you're doing great!
Now I think I'll go lie down for awhile.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
When I was growing up, the only kind of tassel I knew about was this kind:
(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Love me some Silver Queen!
Here's one of my creations:
Isn't she cute? She's made with trim left over from another project and a topper from Dollar Tree. So she cost me $1 to make. She's a lot of fun for a buck, don't you think? She hangs proudly from the lamp in my laundry room. She's currently occupied in hounding me to put away the clothes stacked on her counter, which is supposed to remain clean. Ahem.
By the way, in case you're wondering: Nester has been crowned Tassel Queen. Heathahlee was named 1st Runner Up. I'm shooting for Miss Congeniality, myself. Visit Nester to see all the other contestants!
****And please come back here tomorrow for a very special announcement!****
- Place commas and periods (full stops) INSIDE quotation marks.
- Place colons and semi-colons OUTSIDE quotation marks.
- Question marks and exclamation points should be placed inside the quotation marks only if they are part of the quotation (that is, if the actual quotation is a question or an exclamation). If the whole sentence, not the quotation, is the question or exclamation, simply enclose the quotation with no ending punctuation and place the question mark or exclamation point outside the quotation marks.
- Sometimes you'll want to include a quotation inside a larger quotation. For instance, you may be writing out what a person said, and part of what she said is an item that should be in quotation marks. In that case, you use single quotation marks (same keyboard stroke as the apostrophe) to enclose the inside quotation and regular quotation marks to enclose the entire quotation.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Coconut Cream Pie1 cup sugar1/2 cup flour1/4 teaspoon salt2 1/2 cups milk4 eggs3 tablespoons butter1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla1 1/2 cups flaked coconut1 baked pastry shellBake a pie shell according to your favorite recipe (or do as I do and use a Pillsbury All-Ready pie crust).Separate the four eggs. Place whites in mixer bowl; place yolks in a heat-proof bowl.For filling, combine sugar, flour, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; continue to cook and stir two minutes more (use a timer!). Remove from heat.Beat egg yolks slightly, then gradually mix about one cup of the hot pudding mixture into the yolks to temper them. Stir egg mixture back into saucepan. Bring pudding to a gentle boil. Cook and stir two minutes more, then remove from heat. Stir in butter, vanilla extract and 1 cup of the coconut; stir 'til well-combined. Set pan of pudding aside.Make meringue by mixing egg whites with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. Beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form (about 1 minute). Gradually (about one spoonful at a time) add 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Beat at high speed until stiff peaks form (about 4 minutes).Spread pudding mixture into pie shell. Pudding will be very thick. Spread meringue over pudding mixture. Be sure to spread the meringue all the way to the edge of the crust to prevent shrinkage. Sprinkle remaining coconut over the meringue.Bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes or until golden brown.Since the pudding in this pie is very thick, it can be served while still fairly warm, which is the way my hubby likes it.
****Special Announcement: I'll be hosting my VERY FIRST linky party on Friday, May 7. Please come back on Friday to read all about it!!*****
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
My friend Amanda from Serenity Now is quite a party-giver! And she's at it again, hosting one of her wonderful "Decorating Dilemmas and Solutions" parties. This one should be especially fun, since it's taking place on Amanda's birthday.
I want to share a few inexpensive decorating solutions I've found recently. Now that it's spring, I'll be hosting some fun gatherings at my house very soon. One is a bridal shower for a beautiful bride. I really wanted a plain white tablecloth for the shower, and I've struggled to find an affordable one that's big enough for my table. But one day I was in a local thrift store, and look what I found:
White linen drapery panels. Beautiful fabric, yards and yards of it. And just $5.00 per panel. I brought it home, washed it, cut off the drapery pleats, and hemmed the edges with hemming tape.
My new tablecloth has already been pressed into service, covering the altar table at church for Easter. (Unfortunately, it didn't get pressed before it got pressed into service, but that's life.)
Another upcoming party will be a casual dinner for lots of friends, with paper plates and plastic utensils. And look at this fun solution for holding the utensils:
Did you know that you can use chalk to write on terra cotta pots? I can just see these used for an herb garden. . . maybe four of them labeled "Parsley," "Sage," "Rosemary," and "Thyme." I saw this in a magazine--I'm pretty sure it was Country Living--and tried it for myself. It works!
The centerpiece for my porch table will include these hydrangeas. They're dried hydrangeas from last year. They had lost their color, so I spray-painted them!
Not a bad pick-me-up for free!
Amanda's party is a great place to share any decorating dilemmas you might have and get feedback from other bloggers. . . or to share any fun decorating solutions you've recently discovered. Visit Amanda to join the fun (or just to say "happy birthday")!
****Special announcement: I'll be hosting my VERY FIRST linky party on Wednesday, May 5! Please come back on Friday to read all about it!!****
I guess all open-heart surgery is major, now that I think of it. But this was really big. My son needed to have his ascending aorta removed and replaced with a cloth graft and his aortic valve replaced with a stainless steel valve. That's a lot of work to do on one boy's heart. And there was a lot of fear in the heart of the boy's mom.
Monday, April 19, 2010
When I was a girl, I loved nothing better than to lose myself in words. I would read anything--magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes. I'd like to say that I kept myself busy reading Shakespeare and Jane Austen. But the truth is that my favorite things to read were girls' mystery books.
Oh! Nancy Drew! That titian-haired 16-year-old, with her loyal friends Bess and George, and her blue convertible! I would go anywhere with Nancy. And Trixie Belden! I loved Trixie. I pictured myself as a member of the Bob-Whites of the Glen. I wanted to hang out with Honey and Jim and the others. And Cherry Ames! Oh, my goodness--a beautiful girl who trains to be a nurse and solves mysteries along the way? Does it get any better than that? I could see myself in my white uniform and cap, chumming with Ann and Gwen, solving mysteries left and right. I positively reveled in the stories of friendship and mystery-solving.
I'm guessing that these early heroines of mine are the reason that I spring into action immediately any time there's a mystery in my house.
Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I picked up our 16-year-old son from school. He'd been away for several days on a trip to a robotics tournament. We helped him carry in his bags and stood in the kitchen, listening to his stories and imagining the fun of his adventures. But then my ears picked up a strange sound. "Do you hear that?" I queried my husband.
At first no one else caught the mysterious noise, but I was certain I was hearing something. It sounded like an electric motor, straining and about to die. "Listen," I said. "Be quiet. Listen. Do you hear it?" The guys were now on board. The sound was faint, but distinct.
The others said, "What could that be?" I, on the other hand, began my quest to solve the mystery. Into the laundry room: nothing amiss there. Outside to the air conditioning unit: no. Upstairs to the bonus room: nothing. Down to the basement: no problems. Into the crawl space: nope. Up, up, up to the attic: nada.
Finally, back to the kitchen, where I could still hear the noise. The problem was in the kitchen; I was sure of it. I had ruled out all other possibilities. But what on earth? I stood in various places throughout the room and discovered that it was definitely more audible in one corner. The corner close to the refrigerator. Oh, no. I groaned inwardly at the prospect of emptying the refrigerator and paying a steep bill from the appliance repairman. But it wasn't the refrigerator, either.
At this point my heart had begun to beat faster and my mind was racing. Something was wrong somewhere, but I couldn't figure it out. What could it be?
And then my 16-year -old grabbed his suitcase, unzipped it hurriedly, and yanked out his shaving kit. "My electric toothbrush!" he announced triumphantly.
Sure enough, the toothbrush had been knocked into the "On" position and was whirling like crazy. My son pushed the power button and all was quiet. Mystery solved.
Well. Every girl detective gets help from her assistants, you know.
Now I'm curious (of course): did anyone else live vicariously through these books? Were you a girl detective in your dreams? Please tell me!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Do y'all hate English teachers? When you think of your own English teachers, do you just cringe at the thought? My friend Bonita Lillie recently pointed out that many would-be writers become paralyzed when they hear "the voice of their inner English teachers." Ugh! She's right! That image is one of a teacher who is always prodding students to perfection, rapping their knuckles when they make mistakes.
- (Who/whom) do you want to invite to the party?
- You do want to invite __________ to the party.
- (Who/whom) was your choice in the election?
- Your choice in the election was __________.
- (Who/whom) is going to clean up this mess?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
To get the ball rolling, Amanda is asking us to answer some questions about our blogs.
Q: How long have you been blogging? Why did you start blogging?
A: I started blogging in May 2007, mostly out of a desire to connect with people I already knew. I wrote six posts, I think, before I quit. I had no idea that there was a whole world of blogging to be discovered. Then in late 2008 a friend told me about a couple of her favorite blogs (Kimba's and Nester's). I started reading those, and I was hooked on reading blogs. After several months of being blessed by reading other people's blogs, I realized that I wanted to join the conversation myself.
Q: Tell me about your blog's title. Why did you choose it?
A: I've always been very verbal, and in recent years I've realized that many times in my life I've used words in ways that I'm now ashamed of. I've spoken with harshness, with judgment, with meanness. I wanted to change that, and I was inspired by a verse from the Bible: "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good. . . that it may impart grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:29). I liked the idea of trying to impart grace with my words, so I took Imparting Grace as my title--and my goal.
Q: What do you blog about?
A: I blog about things I'm interested in and have some experience with, mostly all the various aspects of homemaking: marriage, parenting, housekeeping, decorating, cooking, hospitality--you know! I have a husband and three sons, and I write about making a home for them. My college degree is in teaching English grammar, so I've recently started a once-a-week post about grammar. (Really! Grammar can be fun; I promise!) And I love to write about my faith and its impact on my life.
Q: What is your favorite thing about blogging?
A: Bloggers. I love the kind and generous people I've met through blogging. I like having the chance to interact with people I never would have met if not for blogging.
Q: If you had to choose one famous person to becomes your blog's next devoted reader, who would you pick?
A: Many of the people I most admire have gone on to heaven, where I suspect there's no internet access. So I'll choose a living person: Jan Karon, the author of the Mitford books. She's a heroine of mine. (If you've never read these books, then believe me: you have a treat in store. Run, don't walk, to your local library or bookstore and get started on a journey you'll love. Start with At Home in Mitford. I promise you won't be disappointed!)
Okay, that's a little bit about me. Now it's your turn: tell me about yourself, please! And visit Amanda to dish it with her!