Thursday, April 4, 2013

Five Things That Never Have I Ever


I'm not going to lie: when I started to notice the Five Things posts going round the blogosphere, my first thought was, "Hey, that looks like fun - I wonder what I'll write for mine!"  My second thought was, "What if no one tags me?  Can I still do it, or would that be lame?"  Happily, Eliza did pass the torch on, and then Nadine announced that she was co-hosting a Never Have I Ever link-up, and I knew that I had to combine the two into one big post called...



1. I have signed leases on apartments in Paris and London, but never have I ever rented property in the United States. When I lived in New York, I was either in the dorms - I spent all four years of college in campus housing - or at my grandparents' apartments on the Upper East Side and in Chelsea, and I've always been based at my parents' house when I've lived in Washington, DC. For some reason, researching apartments in my hometown was more nerve-wracking than trying to find housing anywhere else I've lived! I'm thrilled with my new place and I can't wait to move in at the end of April, but the whole process inspired quite a bit of self-reflection not just about what makes a house a home but also about how a daughter can be someone's child and someone's wife at the same time in the same place. Of course you'll read more about this as my thoughts flesh out, dear readers.

2. Never have I ever seriously considered becoming a vegetarian... again.  In sixth grade, I had a huge crush on a boy who lived in my neighborhood and was two years older. (I'm not sure what that meant when I was 11, but it clearly didn't have anything to do with romance or sexuality because, even at 13, Gabe was flamboyantly gay.) He was a vegetarian, and I marched home and told my mom that I was going to stop eating meat after we watched a few PETA videos together after school one day. (See? Nothing untoward there!)  I stuck it out for three years in theory, but I gradually exploited every loophole until, in the end, I was just avoiding red meat and pork, and even then I had trouble staying strong around a hamburger or a sausage.  Now bacon is a constant in my fridge and I love a good medium-rare steak every once in a while!

3. Even though I'm Jewish, never have I ever immediately felt at home in a synagogue.  I do eventually sense the community around me when I go to shul, usually once the prayers and chanting have begun and the space fills with the familiar rituals, but it's not an instinctive thing. However, I almost always feel a sense of belonging as soon as I step into mainstream Protestant churches. As a chorister at Washington National Cathedral, I was unconditionally welcomed into the Episcopalian family even though I didn't believe, and I think the fact that I chose to be part of that community (rather than being born into it, as I was with Judaism) means that its spaces feel more immediately like a spiritual if not religious home.

4. Never have I ever meant it when I've apologized for being a grammar snob.  Look, typos happen and sometime we make mistakes - of course we do; we all do.  I'm mortified when I catch errors in my own blog and I will love you forever if you find them for me (and let me know about them, obviously).  And I know that not all bloggers focus on text and I know that some bloggers consciously make stylistic choices that don't follow Strunk & White, which is fine.  But when a blogger claims to be a writer and yet makes the same grammatical mistakes over and over again, I will unfollow her faster than you can say "this is a photo of my husband and I."  Sometimes I feel guilty about that, as if having high standards for what I read makes me elitist or exclusionary, which is why I apologize on Twitter, but I'm not actually sorry. There's too much good writing on the internet to waste time on bloggers who are comfortable using bad grammar out of apathy.

5. When I rescued Charlie, I promised Jon that we could one day get a cat together, too, but never have I ever wanted a cat.  I don't mind cats - my landlords in London had the sweetest kitten named Coco and I loved playing with her - but I'm not a cat person and I never dreamed I'd have my own one day. I'm hoping that whatever cat we get will be one of the ones who thinks she's a dog, like Gesci's Mia and Topsy, the youngest of Jon's parents' two cats, and I'm sure I'll like her no matter what, but we're only going to get her because Jon insists on it.  I'm also sure that Charlie will be totally bossed around by said cat...

So there you have it, dear readers: my five things that never have I ever.  Head over to Back East Blonde to meet the other blogs who have linked up, and I'm going to pass this on to five of my newest followers according to GFC and Bloglovin'...

Stacey Beth from Likes to Smile
Jess from Some Snapshots
Amanda from Rhyme and Ribbons
Jen from Glitterary Girl
Meg from Everyday Meg

Let me know if you linked up or have done your own Five Things post - I'd love to read!

37 comments:

  1. On your point about grammar, I'm curious, what are your thoughts on capitalizing 'Internet?' It's something I notice a lot of discrepancies on around the 'net, but I tend to go with AP Style and capitalize.

    I'm certainly no grammar expert (I'll blame the awful Canadian public education system, and a certain lack of impatience for learning rules). However, I am trying to make a commitment to being more grammar conscious. Although I wonder what the future of grammar on the Internet will be? And if future generations will even care?

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  2. Hi Hi! First of all, thank you so much for tagging me, that was amazing of you! I love that you are snobby about bad writing, I'm a snob about sets like: "to, two and too" and "your and you're" and the "their, they're, and there!" A typo or mistake is one thing, we all do it. But when it's consistently wrong, I think to myself, "C'mon. We learned this in second grade!" Also, just learned that you lived in NYC!! And you've probably written this elsewhere but as a new reader, I think I missed it: will you and Jon live in DC or London? And thank you again, for tagging me. That was really exciting to see.

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  3. Hahaha, I'm the cat person in our marriage. I had to leave my two old cats (one of whom does think he's a dog and his name is Beagle) back in the UK with my parents, and I've been promised that one day I can get a cat. For now I have our lovely bulldog, but she's just not quite as judgmental as a good cat should be.

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  4. I'm far from perfect with grammar... in fact English never was my best subject, but even I get annoyed when people blatantly misuse words. Your/you're and peek/peak are probably the biggest ones I see in the blogging world. Granted, I've been known to use the wrong your/you're, but that's the fault of my typing skills... not my grammar skills haha.


    As for cats, I bet once you get one your heart will melt and you'll forget you never wanted one in the first place. And if not, well they sleep a lot so they're easy to ignore!

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  5. I worked as an editor at a magazine for a few years, and it always drove me crazy to have to follow the AP style rule of capitalizing "internet" (see also: "web site"). I personally think that sometimes tone is more important than following all the grammar rules (especially the more obscure ones), and capitalizing "internet" just feels a little too formal to me — blogging is more of an informal, personal platform.

    According to Grammar Girl, most experts say we should capitalize it, but she also says when major style guides disagree, just make up your own mind and stay consistent. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/Capitalizing-Proper-Nouns.aspx



    There. Now everyone knows just how much of a grammar nerd I really am.

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  6. Brilliant! Thanks Lisa.


    I consulted Grammar Girl too (major girl crush!)

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  7. I'm so glad I have you as a fellow grammar snob. If I see one more major blog try to teach people grammar, then consistently misuse its/it's and peek/peak, I will scream. (I've seen one in particular get upset when people correct them — granted, some of them aren't very nice about it, but still. My thought is if you can afford to pay people to write for your blog, you can afford to pay someone to edit for grammar.)

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  8. A totally unrelated question.. what's GFC?

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  9. it IS - I took a psych class in college on Human Communication and a few weeks were devoted to the evolution of languages in in their written as well as spoken forms. thank you for the lovely words :)

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  10. well, it's kind of like kleenex and xerox - technically they're proper nouns, not normal nouns, and should therefore be capitalized, but the words have come to mean so much more than just to brands!


    I definitely need to work on my consistency.... eeek :/

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  11. Jon works in marketing at a publishing company and one of his interns once gave him copy for a new book that said it would "wet" the reader's appetite for the topic. From their conversation afterwards, it became clear that the kid had NO idea where the phrase "to whet one's appetite" actually came from and so had no idea that there was a difference between wet/whet! oops.


    He'll move to DC after the wedding! I can't wait :) and I look forward to your 5 things post!

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  12. GFC stands for Google Friend Connect - it's a way to follow blogs if you're on Blogger. It sounds like people are afraid it will go the way of Google Reader though...

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  13. do you remember the first DM I ever sent you on Twitter? haha :)

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  14. Love this. I was a vegetarian for 6 years. And now I love a medium rare steak as much as the next girl but I think I could easily stop eating meat again. Who knows.

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  15. We definitely can blame autocorrect for a lot of these mistakes! And no one is perfect, so I probably should ease up a bit. But let me tell you a story:


    I started following a BIG blogger after entering a giveaway. She made an infographic a few weeks later (can't remember what it was for) and she totally misspelled a prominent word in it. It was a complicated word that everyone misspells, and it was so wrong that spell check probably wouldn't have caught it to correct it, so I emailed her privately to let her know. I got a lovely "oh, thanks for letting me know - how embarrassing " email back... and then nothing. She didn't edit the infographic which, when I looked later that day, had been pinned more than two hundred times. That's goes WAY beyond the boundaries of a mistake! It's just laziness. I'd be ashamed to have something circulating with my name on it next to that. I feel like we should be proud of having mastered a language, you know?

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  16. Oh! I had no idea. I feel like I learn something new about the how-to's of blogging every day, in a technical way. It's fairly amazing to reflect on.

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  17. Wanted to let you know that I added a post script to my 'never have I ever' blog thanking you for the tag this morning. What an amazing surprise to wake up and find- thank you so much!

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  18. oh man, I think we all learn new things about this every day no matter how long we've been doing it - it changes SO fast!

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  19. Yeah, I was a vegetarian for 14 years. No longer. I love red meat! You will love a cat if you get one. Get a siamese. They are like dogs. We have one full siamese and one half siamese. Sweet things. They play fetch, too!

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  20. Haha! I am the same way! Now that I eat meat again I am all over those medium steaks!

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  21. Nadine BackEastBlondeApril 4, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Your section about being a grammar snob terrified me a little. I know my bf has pointed out errors for me and I'm instantly mortified and log in and fix it right away. Sometimes I wonder if I'm one of those people that people see all these mistakes that I just miss. And I'm not a cat person either, so I don't blame you. Thank you so much for linking up with us! Great list!

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  22. haha well first of all I doubt it, but second of all the fact that you worry about it means that you're conscious that it's important to keep an eye on grammar and spelling! I really don't expect perfection from anyone, but if your blog title is THE SMITH'S and the subheading is A BLOG ABOUT A FAMILY then you probably don't care about grammar and I will be turned off. Man, I'm sounding super harsh! Eep :/

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  23. oh girl - I had a typo in the title of a post in which I reviewed a book that I had been sent for free by a published author's publicist! I died when I noticed - like three days after I posted it :( It happens to all of us! I really don't mean to say that I'm perfect and I expect perfection; like I said below to Nadine, all I hope for from the blogs I read is that the bloggers try to use good grammar and spelling if they call themselves writers!

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  24. I don't have to unfollow blogs for bad grammar. I try to read at least three posts by a blogger, plus the "About" section, before I follow. A few typos I can ignore, but if all three posts have poor grammar, or if the "About" section has any major errors, I don't follow.

    That said, I usually only point out a blogger's error if it's a big one or if s/he is an English teacher. The latter has only happened once, but it was hilarious.

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  25. Lol I have nightmares about my grammar. I mean I minored in English but at the end of the day I was one of those people who stuck to their guns about things that aren't proper. Like using because to start a sentence. It's just ME. Hahaha I know I have typos sometimes which drives me nuts but if I have grammar problems, it's probably because I forgot they were improper to begin with. And mama loves her some bacon.

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  26. haha well it sounds like you nip it in the bud by having high standards for following in the first place! I'm working on that too... :)

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  27. girl, I do that too. And you're never supposed to start a sentence with a conjunction. But I do it anyway :P

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  28. We pretty much have all of these in common except the cat thing. I LOVE cats, we have 2 and they are like our children. Both of ours act like dogs sometimes, I swear it's because we play rough with them like a dog! Thank you for linking up with us today! : )

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  29. Whenever my mother phones me to point out a grammatical error on my blog I defend myself with the 'stylistic choices' excuse, which happens to be the truth about 75% of the time. The other 25%, I blame on the early hour that I post. I'm at my most creative first thing in the morning, unfortunately, while the creative side of my brain is awake and buzzing, the part that covers grammar and spelling is still snoozing.

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  30. WHY DO THE SIDES NOT TALK TO EACH OTHER? stupid brains :P

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  31. Jeff CrumpetsoftApril 6, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    As a longtime reader of your blog I thought that I too would share my five 'never ever have i ever's'

    I have never dressed up as a lobster and danced the quadrille, a friend of mine did and after six months in traction he was found boiled in a pot... a lesson to us all I feel.
    Secondly I have have never eaten a cat but my predilection for suspicious meat pies makes this more likely than I would think.
    Thirdly I have never frolicked naked with a Papua New Guinean tribe, although I have heard that if you do they make your don a pain glove filled with fire ants.
    Fourthly I have never had sex in front of the family pet, I don't whether this is wrong or right but it has never appealed.

    Finally and most importantly I have never in my entire adult life I have never been convicted of bigamy... catch me if you can I always say!!!!!

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  32. Georgia ChristakisApril 6, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Number 5...I can 110% relate. The only way that my English guy will go for a dog is if it comes with a cat... I just don't get it. Dogs are just so. much. better. No offense to your fiance ;)

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  33. cats...bah humbug.


    I too am a grammar snob, and I'm not sorry about it. I know I take liberties with my own writing style [I'm a big fan of the fragmented sentence], but I still believe in the principles of basic grammar. everyone learns it in school; no one really has an excuse for not knowing the difference between there and their.

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  34. LOL on the grammar. You know how I feel about that one! :)


    I am not a cat person, either, and I wouldn't blame you for holding out on that one!

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I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.