The Travelling Trio asked:
If I were to visit where you live, what is the one thing I must see? Sometimes I don't think we play tourists in our own town often enough.
Well, it might be cliche, but if you were to come to Athens and you did not go spend some time exploring the University of Georgia campus (on foot)...you wasted your trip. I could make a few exceptions: like, if you attended another large, ancient Southern university (Auburn, Alabama, etc.), then maybe you could skip out because there are probably a lot of similarities between our campuses. But even then-- really, you should at least drive by. I spent four years as a student on campus and have lived in (or near) Athens ever since (almost 10 years!) and I still love love love walking around campus. Matt and I walk around North Campus several times a week during our lunch break. It's just gorgeous. The architecture, the landscaping, the quintessential collegeyness (surely that's a word...)...it is perfection. So if you ever make it to Athens...a foot tour of UGA most definitely needs to be on your to-do list.
What ONE grammatical error offends you the most (you must pick ONE)?
Obviously it's really hard to narrow it down, but when FORCED like this, I think I'll have to go with the disgusting attempt to use apostrophes to do something that THEY NEVER DO: make things plural. This is a tiny sub-issue of the much larger Apostrophe Misuse Epidemic that I'm slowly raising up an army to fight...but I think this one irks me the most because of its blatant ALWAYS WRONGNESS. Remember in November how I even made a graphic to help spread the message? Some people still haven't gotten it. Ugh.
My November rant mostly focused on misusing the apostrophe to try and pluralize last names (for Christmas cards). Obviously that is a huge pet peeve of mine. But it's merely a symptom of a worse problem: WHY ARE YOU EVER EVER EVER USING AN APOSTROPHE TO MAKE SOMETHING PLURAL?!?!?! Why are you inviting your friend's over for lunch? Why are you planting seed's this weekend? Why would you get a new bookshelf for your book's?!?!! YOU ARE BURNING MY RETINAS AND I NEED YOU TO STOP.
It's still terrible to see apostrophes abused in other ways, but most of the 'other' ways they get misused are in good-faith attempts to show possession or contract words or something. So I can extend forgiveness because I can recognize that the person is TRYING to do the right thing...and just kind of failing. But that's much more forgivable than this. Because when you just toss an apostrophe into the middle of an innocent word thinking that it's gonna help it become plural...well, the only reason anyone would ever do that is to personally offend me. And it works. Every time.
Now I'm all worked up in a tizzy again. I need to go run laps or something, excuse me.
Liz K. asked:
How is the "best" way to break the news you are expecting to someone struggling with infertility (for going on 3 years)? A good friend of mine is having a really hard time, and I just want to be as sensitive as possible.
Good question! Luckily, I have over 5 years of experience with this very issue, so I feel like I am super qualified to answer...for myself. Ha.
My immediate answer would be not in person. DEFINITELY NOT IN PERSON. Basically, you want to give your friend the freedom to receive the news and digest it and react however she needs to react BEFORE she responds to you. If you're standing right there, then her only option is to either a) look like a crying jealous freak in public, or b) perform an Academy Award-winning act of pretending that it doesn't bother her at all and she's nothing but brimming with enthusiasm and excitement for you.
The thing is, she probably will be happy for you. It's just buried under a couple (dozen, maybe, depending on how long she's been waiting) layers of hurt and jealousy. Give her a chance to work through the yucky stuff before she has to respond. So. NOT IN PERSON. (Plus, you probably don't even want to tell her in person, so this works out better for everyone.)
I should probably put in a few caveats before I continue.
I'm assuming here that you are GOOD friends, the type that would be expecting to know about major life events before the rest of the general population. I mean, if she's just a 'fringe' friend/coworker/church member, don't feel like you need to give her a special news delivery just because of her infertile status. That'd be awkward for you both.
I'm also assuming that you are not ALSO an infertile. That would definitely change things. If you are ALSO experiencing long-term infertility and this has been something you've both bonded over for years and years, throw all this out the window. You might be one of the only people she could ever possibly be excited about getting a pregnancy announcement from, so do it however you want! We make bitterness exceptions for our comrades in the trenches. Also, there's a much higher likelihood that she's half-expecting the news already...like if you're doing IVF and she knows you're going for a beta that day...you're not really going to shock her if it ends up being good news. So share away!!
So, assuming 'in person' is now not even on the list of available options, here's the rest of your ways. I'll list them in backwards order, from worse options to best options.
-By phone (talking, not texting). This is better than in person, but not much.
-By private FB message. The only reason I list this separately from email is that FB will mark the message as 'read' (for the sender), which puts a little extra pressure on responding.
-By text. Texting also has the potential to mark as read, although that's more a personal setting preference...but is still a risk. Also, a text with the news will just BAM, APPEAR to your friend, and it may not be a good time/place for her to receive the news. So take that into account. Is it 9 a.m. on Tuesday? Don't ruin her whole work day. Is it Friday night at 6 and you know she's on a date with her husband? Have a heart. Don't send it just then.
-By email. At 9 p.m. on a weeknight when her favorite show comes on (so that if she reads it, at least she can pretend she didn't (because of the show!) and/or she can immediately distract herself with said show. And because I'm so nice, I'll even give you a little script that you should 100% be sure to include.
I know that this is not easy news to hear, so PLEASE don't feel like you have to respond. You absolutely don't need to reply and tell me congratulations.
That sentence is key. And mean it, while you're at it. Don't get offended if she takes you up on it. And then if you REALLY want to be awesome...the next time you see her in person, don't act weird. AND don't act like **OMGBABYBABY!!!** either. I mean, chances are you're only a few weeks along. Surely you can think about SOMETHING else besides nurseries and strollers and morning sickness. Don't wait for your friend to have to awkwardly either broach the topic or try to avoid it-- throw her a bone and talk about SOMETHING normal/non-baby. What you heard on NPR that morning. The weather. Whatever show you both like. Make it normal, which will pave the way for much smoother conversations (that will inevitably include your pregnancy) later.
(PS. If this all seems like too much, the obvious solution would be to not get pregnant. Then you never have to have this conversation! Everybody wins!)
In conclusion, tell her via email. :) Sorry, I write too much...
That's all I have time for for now!! Now...go forth and send grammatically correct and emotionally sensitive emails.