I Survived Christmas and All the Naughty Traditions

So, I have survived Christmas 1 and 2 in the house, and it was basically super cool amazing and I should really post about it, but instead I am going to post about holiday traditions.

So here it goes…

TRADITION NUMBER ONE:


First we get a tree. See earlier post by my dog, Tala, to understand this process. Then we put up tree. It is a crooked kind of perfect  and it somehow manages to stay up.

Cloud is really into the tree.
Sparty? Not so much.




TRADITION NUMBER TWO:



I
n this tree we put elves. These elves are secret Santa spies. They move around. They report back about the whole naughty/nice thing.


The Emster (my daughter)? She hates these elves.


She wants the elves to die.

 Please do not kill me, Emster. I will tell Santa that you are an angel! I swear. That is if I can ever get myself out of the fetal position.



Emster’s ELF DEATH WISH is why we put them high in the tree.

They wisely stay high when they move around.
The Emster is a formidable opponent. Elf Number Two does not understand this. Check out his fighting pose.

 Dude, I may be fabric and wire, but I can totally take her. C’mon over here, Emster. You wanna piece of elf? I’m gonna give you a taste of elf you ain’t never gonna forget.



TRADITION NUMBER THREE:


For some strange reason we have a swaying snow couple that sings the whole controversial BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE song.

Did you know Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton have a version of this song?

Not Dolly and Rod.


And as much as I love Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton and respect them for the zombie people that they are, I can’t stand this song any more because … okay, are you ready?…. because it makes me think of Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart FORNICATING!!!
 

And, well, the final aspect of this tradition is that Mr. Snowman always seems to end up in a position where he seems to be feeling up Mrs. Snowman. This seems wrong.

I know snow people need a little joy in their lives, but look at the smiles on their faces. Do they not seem like they are getting a little too much pleasure out of the situation.

And here’s a hint snow couple: WE ALL CAN SEE YOU!!! I’m sure Rod and Dolly don’t do it in public. I mean there are not Parton/Stewart sex tapes are there?

Please, for the love of all things Twitter, let there not be any of those out there.


Tradition Number Four



An advent calendar. Nice and easy there, folks. I thought you might need a little break after the love fest.

Tradition Numbers 5, 6, Etc, because I’m getting tired.

We also chalk the initials of the three wise men above our front door.


We also burn a yule log we make.


We also hide a pickle on the tree. Find the pickle = get a present.

Jesus has a little parade and goes into the manger on Christmas Eve.

We sometimes open one present on Christmas Eve and it is a book.

We smash a peppermint pig when we remember to.

We have seven fishes at dinner the night before.

If there are any fortune cookies anywhere, we read the fortunes and add “IN BED” because that’s the way this family has always rolled.

Speaking of rolls, we have cinnamon rolls and fruit salad for Christmas Breakfast with Em and southern Christmas food for Christmas morning when Em’s at her dad’s.


Santa Mouse also always hides a yellow ribboned present on the tree. GO TEAM SANTA MOUSE!

And we always make a birthday cake for Jesus.


Yeah, it says, Grandma. But it’s kind of the same thing:

1.They both want what’s best for you.


2. They both tell a lot of stories about things that happened centuries ago.


3. They both think that THEY KNOW EVERYTHING, and if you’re a Christian, they kind of do. At least Jesus does. You’ve got to forgive Grandma for loving gross stuff like Moxie and saying that it’ll grow hairs on your chest though, because, quite frankly, she is old. And she does not ACTUALLY know everything, because she is grandma and not God.


4. They both say JESUS CHRIST a lot. Jesus does because it’s his name. Grandma does because… well, her dentures give her some trouble and Don Vicente Fernández died this year.

But enough with the nice stuff… let’s move on to:


Tradition Number Too High For Me To Count

A love fest!
We always put out the Playmobile Santa House.

It looks so innocent!

Isn’t it cute?


Doesn’t the elf at the door look like he’s saying, C’mon inside. It’s warm. There are cookies. Hold on let me go get Santa and the Little Mrs.

And yet…
And yet…
This is what we ALWAYS find in there.

Why hello! Grandma does not approve.



Seriously, why else do you think there’s so many darn elves?


You have to love tradition.

Do you have any cool traditions in your house for any holidays? Let me know if you have a chance!

Subordinate My Clause, Santa

Subordinate Me, Santa Claus

Subordinate clauses are baby clauses that can’t stand all by themselves as complete thoughts and they demand a certain kind of punctuation – or lack of punctuation.

Here are examples:

If I can find Santa, then we can go party. 

We can go party if Santa ever freaking shows up. 

So, in both of those sentences there is a clause can’t stand alone as a complete thought: 

If I can find Santa

If Santa ever freaking shows up.

A subordinate clause or supporting clause is basically a clause that’s supporting the show-stopping regular clause, right? These clauses do not get a comma before them if they are at the end of the sentence. 

HOW TO DEAL

There are words that always lead off these clauses. What I do is go back and do a find/replace in my work (or client’s work) when I’m copyediting. 

Helpful hint for writers: If you include the comma in the find/replace search, it makes it so much easier. 

Those words are…

These conjunctions: 

After, although, as, because, before, even if, even though, if, in order that, once, provided that, rather than, since, so that, than, that, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, whether, while, why, for, therefore, hence, consequently, and due to.

And these relative pronouns that make the world of the clause even trickier. They are part of relative clauses but then these overachievers? Well, they are part of a subculture called restrictive or nonrestrictive clauses.

These are the relative pronouns

that, which, who, whom, whichever, whoever, whomever, and whose

Are you Restrictive or Nonrestrictive Mr. Clause? 

These pronouns start either restrictive clauses or nonrestrictive clauses. Restrictive clauses also like to be called essential clauses because they are alpha like that, but also because they are – you guessed it – essential to the sentence meaning and shouldn’t be separated by a comma 

Do you enjoy watching Santa Claus employ lots of elves that wear sexy sweaters?

No comma before that because the sentence needs to know the qualifier for its meaning.

But in a nonrestrictive clause? Well, you don’t have that happen. Here’s an example: 

Watching Santa, who employs a lot of elves wearing sexy sweaters, is pretty freaking awesome.  


WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Subordinate the proper things.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

It’s not about domination. It’s about understanding restrictions.

And there you go. Grammar Moment with Dogs are Smarter Than People. Happy Holidays!


SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Continue reading “Subordinate My Clause, Santa”

Santa, What are Your Eyebrows doing? Telling Details and Taco Bell Smells.

The Magic of The Eyebrow and Telling Details

What is this thing? This telling detail? 

It’s a phrase or an image or a word that illustrates something about a character. It’s pretty exact. It’s a magical moment of showing rather than telling. 

It’s usually pretty short. 

And it’s the opposite of a telling description. 

Here’s a bad description: 

He was nervous and scared and sad all at once. 

Here’s a telling-detail description: 

He soothed himself, rubbing the tips of his own ears over and over. 

Telling details make the characters and settings feel real. If we say, “Shaun lifted his eyebrows?” Well, that’s a cliché, but also it’s not quite enough to be a telling detail no matter how much people communicate with their eyebrows. 

Here’s a bad description: 

They walked into an almost empty bar. 

We don’t really see the bar, do we? 

Here’s something a bit better: 

The bar smelled of beer and lilac bushes somehow. The Sonos speaker tottering on the edge of the reclaimed wood bar blared “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story. A man leaning between ferns used a pencil to smash a hole into the bottom of a Bud Lite can and chugged it all down. He crushed the empty can between his hands and belched out the alphabet to cheers. 

“Wow. This place is weird,” I said and grabbed the door handle, ready to bolt. 

It’s all about detail and detail choice. Your reader and you don’t have the exact same image of what the inside of a bar is going to look like. It’s your job to show them your character’s world. You do that with a few telling details. This goes about setting, but it’s also true about people.

If I wrote,

Santa had straight eyebrows, far apart on his face, thin, red and with scars running through the center. They crept towards his receding hairline.

You’ll have a different image than,

Santa’s eyebrows raised.


Writing Tip of the Pod

When you’re revising think, “Can I make this shorter? Tighter? Quirkier? More authentic?” 

Dog Tip for Life


Notice the eyebrows. The difference. The details. And use them in your stories.


This week’s podcast

Last week’s podcast


SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


Where to Find Us

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.


WRITING NEWS

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Continue reading “Santa, What are Your Eyebrows doing? Telling Details and Taco Bell Smells.”
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