Boring words

Bunny staring at me through the window. He has a hole in one ear. I wonder how that happened?

I use boring words in my writing. I’m talking about “interesting,” “great,” “amazing,” and “important.” There are many more. If you google “overused words” you can find article after article of overused words and phrases.

I need better words.

When I write one of these words, I stop and think, what word can I use instead?

I managed to get rid of “very” and “just” — most of the time. Those words are unnecessary.

When I write, I have a choice to include overused words or ones more specific. General words don’t add flavor but make writing flat. Rewriting a sentence to avoid a boring word may improve writing rather than using a thesaurus to find a replacement.

It’s a challenge to avoid overused words. It makes my brain hurt!

What are your thoughts of overused words? What words do you use too often?

Have you heard of “Quiet Quit?”

beach view from Overlook Park Summerland.
View of the beach from the park below our Vrbo.

With more and more employees being called back to the office, jealousy is bubbling up in the workforce.

Companies are pleading with employees to come back to the office and are plying them with goodies like gift cards, swag and cash bonuses. I read that this is not sitting well with the employees who worked in the office throughout the pandemic.

If they are truly upset, they may “quiet quit.” I’ve seen the term before, but didn’t know what it meant. Today I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that explained it called “These Workers Were the Bosses’ Favorites. Now They Feel Jilted by Callum Borchers.

What’s waiting for people heading back to the office after Labor Day? Jealous looks from the underappreciated colleagues who returned long ago

“Tension is a real risk with this group,” says Kristie Rogers, an associate professor of management at Marquette University. “If we’re not paying attention to those who have been around a while, making sure that their efforts were valued and continue to be valued, there could be some division that undermines the purpose of bringing people back in the first place.”

She adds workers who believe their in-person contributions are not sufficiently rewarded may quit or “quiet quit,” staying in a job but doing only the bare minimum. 

Keeping everyone satisfied is especially difficult since many workers feel empowered to resist office callbacks and expect new perks in exchange for showing up. Those who’ve long been working in person can hardly be blamed for resenting the incentives—why weren’t they offered sooner?—even though the benefits are available to all.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/these-workers-were-the-bosses-favorites-now-they-feel-jilted-11661977719?mod=life_work_lead_story

It sounds like a mess to me. Jealousy in the workplace is awful. I should know. I was jealous in my 20s. I found out that a new hire was making much more than what I was paid. Yet, I had experience, a college degree and more responsibility. I didn’t “quiet quit.” I QUIT!

Then, I was on the other side. When I worked with my husband in financial services, I would leave earlier than others to pick up our kids from school and get them to swim practice. I was on the receiving end of dirty looks. But it was the deal we had.

Have you ever experienced jealousy at work?

What are your thoughts about quiet quitting? Have you ever worked with someone who did the bare minimum?

What do you think about working remotely versus showing up in the office?

When Bloggers Disappear

Waffles the pug at the ER
This is Waffles, my daughter’s pug, at the vet. He doesn’t look happy.

I was looking at my posts from a year ago, wondering what I was up to. It turns out that we had just gotten back from the beach — after staying in the same spot we are today.

But what caught my eye were comments from a year ago.Several bloggers left comments that I follow and I enjoyed reading their posts. But I haven’t seen them pop up lately in my WordPress Reader. I clicked on their blogs and discovered one hasn’t posted anything since October 2021.

What happened? I wonder if these bloggers are okay? Did they get COVID? Did they get bored with blogging? Did something happen in their personal life that took away their time to blog?

I’d like a conclusion, an ending, an explanation. Perhaps a note that they are taking a break or they are done. If I decide to stop with this blog, I believe I owe it to my readers and friends to give a note of thanks and heads up.

Have you experienced the loss of a blogger? What are your thoughts?

Where did it go?

Mule deer
A mule deer I saw on my morning walk.

When I sat down at my laptop yesterday morning something didn’t look right. The folder on my desktop called “All My Files” wasn’t there. It was there before I went to sleep. Gone 10 hours later.

I googled how to restore files. How to find files. Apparently the OS I’m using can hide documents from view. I went through five ways to find my files. I went to icloud. My missing files are still missing.

Finally. I went to the Apple website to book an appointment at the local “genius bar.” Instead I clicked on “call.” They called within seconds. I spent more than three hours on the phone yesterday with two techs. They searched near and far and in the cloud for my files. They both asked me if I had backed up my files on a thumb drive or external hard drive.

“No.”

What was I thinking about? Why didn’t I? I realized it had to do with our move. My two external hard drives that used to sit by my computer at home….didn’t make it back to that handy place where I used them. Out of sight. Out of mind.

I found my bright orange La Cie external hard drive and it’s now sitting next to my computer. I won’t make the mistake thinking my computer automatically stores all my files on icloud. Some files are there. But the ones most important to me are not. My entire NaNoWriMo 50,000-word manuscript is gone. My newsletter files are gone. There’s a gap of a few days in May when I finished the newsletter that are missing. There’s a month when I wrote the manuscript that is gone.

I had both of these files open on my laptop. Where did they go?

I’ve learned my lesson to make copies and backups.

My case with Apple has been escalated to engineering. They “may” be able to restore my hard drive with all my files. Or they may not.

I’ll let you know tomorrow. In any case they were very helpful and didn’t chastise me for not backing up. But I learned my lesson. What’s left is backed up.

A mule deer catching afternoon shade against our fence. The mulies have nothing to do with my post today — except keep me calm with their beauty.

How often do you backup your computer? Have you experienced a computer snafu that stressed you out? What was it?

Tips to catch typos

typos meme

Some of my most embarrassing moments have happened with typos. I’ve been writing professionally since college graduation. I won’t mention exactly how many years that is. But, it’s plenty. Plenty of time to make a few mistakes.

Here’s a rundown of three embarrassing typos:

ONE

SwimSwam parent tips. I left out a number on my tips and boy did I hear about it!

My process began with a small idea. Then I’d write a rough sloppy draft and hone it down into something tight and simple.  Along the way I cut out one tip that didn’t seem to fit. But, the story didn’t automatically renumber itself. Making a mistake like that on a busy forum like SwimSwam is decidedly embarrassing.

You can read that story here. 12 Parent Tips on How to Behave at Practice.

On the bright side, I got a RT by Natalie Coughlin. I was super excited about that, so the story still worked even if it was not perfect.

Natalie Coughlin
Natalie Coughlin

TWO

My second worst typo was in the 80s. I worked for a PR and advertising firm and I wrote eight newsletters a month, plus three or four press releases daily. It was a busy, intense job. I was in charge of a fundraiser for abused women which was held at a local country club. In my press release that ran just about everywhere — I mistakenly put in my own phone number instead of the club’s to RSVP! There was no taking that one back. I lived through it by hooking up an answering machine.

oops key on computer

I felt humiliated though, when my co-workers relentlessly teased me.

THREE

My all-time worst typo was when I had my own PR and advertising business. I had some super-duper clients including the hospital’s cancer center and a local branch of a major Wall Street firm. When the boss at the Wall Street branch was promoted to NYC to corporate headquarters, he still used me for all of his work. I was SO excited! Then I made a typo on a Power Point presentation. It was on the new logo he had me create for the Western Region of the United States of America. Ugh.

He was so angry with me, because I made him look bad. I’ll never forgive myself for that one.

street sign painted typo

The thing with typos is your brain can trick you into seeing what you intended to be there.

My tips to catch typos:

1. Read the piece from the bottom, sentence by sentence.

2. Read it out loud.

3. Put it away for a few days to get a fresh view.

4. Have other people proofread for you.

5. Don’t forget to proofread the title and headers. Numbers, too.

Do you have any tips to catch typos to add to my list? What typos have you made that you wish you could take back?

Motivated by bloggers

cat on SwimSwam magazines
Olive hanging out on top of magazines with my stories inside. She doesn’t want anyone to read them.

I literally dusted off two picture book manuscripts that I wrote 20 years ago — thanks to my blogging community.

I was motivated again by blogger LA for her leap entering a writing competition. In her comments section, I lamented that I had not fulfilled my dream of having a book published. Another blogger along with LA encouraged me to keep going.

Although I’ve won contests, been published by magazines, websites and newspapers — that elusive book deal hasn’t happened.

I realized that it won’t happen — because I quit submitting to agents and publishers two years ago.

When I said I dusted off two picture book manuscripts, it’s because I discovered they aren’t on my laptop, nor are they on icloud. They’re on backup devices that no longer work with my current system. It has been 20 years since they were on my computer or backed up. That’s a lifetime in nano years.

I wondered if I had thrown out all my manuscripts when we moved? If so, my work would be lost. After searching the house and garage, I found two notebooks that I used to keep copies of my manuscripts, a spread sheet of submissions and a bevy of rejection letters. It wasn’t sad to look at the rejection letters, some had personal handwritten notes and were encouraging.

Long gone are the days of the snail mail submission with an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope). I won’t receive hand written notes or form letters in the mail. Everything is done online and many publishers and agents don’t send rejections. If they aren’t interested, they don’t respond. Fortunately, some do reject via email, so I’ll know from those agents and publishers if my submission got lost in the ethers — or not.

I quickly typed the two manuscripts into my laptop and I’ll be off pursing my dream once again.

What are your goals or dreams? Have you stuck with it or did it go by the wayside?

Freedom of speech?

Tweet from Elon Musk yesterday.

The big news on Thursday was Elon Musk offering to buy Twitter at a 38% premium. What will happen?

Twitter employees were given a day off to rest last week because of the stress of learning Musk bought 9.2% of their company and was offered a seat on the board. Imagine how they felt Thursday!

During the brief time the world thought Musk was going to be on the board of Twitter, he tweeted some funny stuff including this:

Musk said in a Ted Talk yesterday that he doesn’t have an economic motive but believes in free speech. I read that people at Babylon Bee, a satirical site, were contacted by Musk before he purchased shares. He asked if they had been banned and why.

Personally I’m against censorship and banning people unless they are breaking the law. I’m all for free speech.

I think Musk is one of those polarizing figures who people love or love to hate. I have taken the temperature of my immediate family to attest to this fact.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Twitter should be owned by Musk? What are your thoughts about censorship and free speech? Do you use social media? If so, which ones?

Another funny tweet during Elon’s one or two days of being named to the BOD.