Tag Archives: money

Tips on Tuesday: Countable or Indeterminate?

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

OK. Time for a dose of grammar! I know, I know, you all learned the “rules” when you were “kids.” But the truth is, learning all the rules always seemed hard. I’d like to take a crack at a few of them, just to tell you some easier ways to tell which is correct and you won’t have to remember the old rules.

Let’s take the case of “amount” and “number”:

Use “amount” if you are referring to an unmeasurable load of “something,” like money. You may have a large amount of money, or a large amount of snow. Some grammar books will liken this to being used when describing a “singular” noun. The term “money” is singular, even if there is a lot of it. So use “amount.” Same with snow.

On the other hand, if it can be counted, you would have a measurable load of something, like a large number of coins, or large number of debts, even a large number of “snowflakes”. These (coins, debts, and flakes) could all be counted ‑‑‑though don’t sign me up to count snowflakes. Theoretically, they could be counted. I just don’t want to have to do it.

If you are talking about a little bit of something, you have the same problems as above, but you’ll be using the terms “less” and “fewer”.

You may have “less snow” this year than last (If you’re lucky ‑ most places in the U.S. probably had more in 2014). You wouldn’t say “fewer snow” because it can’t be counted. You could have “fewer snow storms”—countable. And you may have “less money” this year, but “fewer dollars” because you can count dollars. The word “money” is singular, and can’t be counted: “I have 27 monies”? Or “27 moneys”? Dollars can be counted, but not its singular counterpart: “money.”

Countable? Or some indeterminate amount? That’s all you need to decide.

See you next for Thinkin’ on Thursday!


1 Comment

Filed under Tips for Tuesday

Tips on Tuesday: Distractions and Writing

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

Last April 21, AnnDeeCandee wrote a blog for Throwing Up Words (if you don’t follow this blog, and you’re a writer, you should). She’d been on vacation and was trying to recuperate from . . . the vacation. Of course. You know the drill. She was finding all kinds of reasons not to write — don’t we all? But she suggested three things to do:

  1. List five things that distract you from writing.
  2. List what you are going to do when these things try to distract you from writing.
  3. List all the things you are going to work on with your WIP. Make a plan.

I did all three. As suggested. I even went back to her blog and made a comment thanking her for the suggestions.

Below, I’ll list the five suggestions with my answers which I wrote on April 22 (when I first saw her blog), and a follow up as to where I stand now on all points. Thanks for reading, while I try to be accountable:

  1. Money worries: I should pay what I can online or with checks, stop thinking about the rest, and turn on to my story file. Current: paid all current bills, paid extra on the one that was bugging me the most and which would help the most to pay down in the long run: A+
  2. Internet: stop checking the Internet first every day. Did work first, for about 2 days. Current: back to checking the Internet often — and first too many days: C‑ to D+
  3. Trapped/ Confused/At a Standstill in my story: Read story aloud (R.A.) to myself and talk to myself (fingers on keyboard) until something comes to me. Current: Did not R.A., or talk to myself, but did begin writing whatever came to mind while holding off my “inner editor.” B‑
  4. Clutter: desk & house: Clear desk nightly; get sufficient writing done to devote 30‑60 min to the house per day. Wrote daily, though mostly blogs and answers to emails. Current: probably giving the house the 30‑60 min. most days (though not my desk ! ! !) — but still spending more time writing blogs, journals and email answers than my books. Never fear: I have a deadline coming up and it starts now: WIFYR (Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers), and we already have assignments to do before the June 16‑20 workshop. C-
  5. Appointments/interruptions to “schedule”: Get to appointments on time, keep phone, family & meals from interrupting writing flow and plans. Current: appointments have been kept (or deleted, which also needed to happen). Right about the time I read the Throwing Up Words blog referenced above, the IRS threw us a curve (which had to be dealt with), two separate family crises happened which took up a long week‑end and more, plus a long‑distance family event, with which we could only commiserate on by phone and email, caused some angst for a couple of days . . . but hey, it’s family: A‑

In all my years of public school, getting a B.A. degree, an M.A. degree, another academic endorsement and two more certifications, would I have been happy with the “GPA” displayed above (approximately a 2.5 or B-)? Not At All!!! But I am happy about some of the progress: I worked on each item to some degree. I can see where to spend my next major efforts. And I let family come before personal Plans and Goals. And that’s as it should be!

Accept the challenge to write your own worst five distractions to writing, and what you can do about them. Make your plan. Try it for a week or two, and report in — let me know how you’re doing!

See you next for Thinkin’ on Thursday!

Leave a comment

Filed under Tips for Tuesday

Tips on Tuesday: Food for Thought . . . AND Sustenance

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

One of the really thought‑provoking things which was brought to my attention at the LTUE (Life, the Universe and Everything) conference this month was that “Everybody must make a living.” So said the panel on “Why Economics Matter,” made up of Robison Wells, David Ferro, Eric Swedin, L. E. Modesitt, and Sandra Taylor.

I think I usually just write blithely along without thinking about the “expense” of just living. Now, I usually write fantasy, but does that make a difference? No. A character may live out in the woods, but how does he make that “living”? He may eat a thin gruel with a chunk of hefty bread‑like something . . .

But who supplied the grains and/or plant matter that went into the pot? And whence came the pot? Who brought in water, and from where? Was there any protein in the gruel? Who robbed the butcher, or butchered the squirrel, or skinned the snake? And how did that person have the knowledge of what could and should not be consumed?

Then there’s the “bread” or bread substitute: where did the ingredients come from? How good are the pickings if your MC has to depend on begging? How does he fuel his body enough to get close enough to habitations to find someone to beg from?

So many things need to be considered when creating your “world.” If your characters don’t live in the backwoods on “their own,” where is the village or city or country?  Why is a city in that specific place? Someone — perhaps years and years ago found a way to make money by setting up the village or city. What was it? What drew other people into that place? Job opportunities? Availability of food? Compatible “others”? Natural resources? Beauty?

If it’s a ghost town now, why? What killed it off? Why is it no longer extant?

No matter where people live, congregate, or whatever, there must be a flow of resources into and out of that specific place. Families need to be fed and nurtured. Even “magic” must have to follow some economic rules.

Many YA novels today seem to exist in isolation — nothing goes in, nothing comes out. How, then, do they sustain themselves? At the very least, some kind of agricultural surplus is necessary to create a societal economic system.

As you build your world, whether real or fanciful ask yourself three questions:

What does it cost?

Where did the money (or other type of sustenance) come from?

Why is the supplying entity willing to pay for it?

See you next for Thinkin’ on Thursday!

Leave a comment

Filed under Tips for Tuesday

Saturday’s Softcover: My Mother was an “Elizabeth” Too!

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

My mother was named Margaret Elizabeth, but I never knew her to go by Margaret, or any of its wonderful permutations: Maggie, Meg, etc. In fact, she didn’t go by any of the changes to Elizabeth either—it was always full throttle: Elizabeth. And she loved movies. She felt very connected to two famous Elizabeths: Queen Elizabeth, who named her son Charles—my brother, almost exactly the same age, is named Charles. And she loved Elizabeth Taylor. So, when I saw Lu Ann Brobst Staheli’s book entitled Just Like Elizabeth Taylor, I knew I “just” had to read it.

The book is tender, frightening, angst-filled in part, funny, and ultimately— mostly—very happy,81N-fns-EuL__SL1500_ though I was in tears at the end.

Liz, named Elizabeth for the movie star, becomes Beth when she runs away from home. How will this young girl, not yet a teen, make her way on her own?  Actually, a lot better than she can do at home where her mother is too weak to give up the boyfriend who beats her, and Liz cannot fend off the boyfriend’s loathsome son.

Plucky girl that she is, she steals some money from the “boyfriend,” and runs away—but only as far as a fairly nearby town. She finds an abandoned shack at a winter-deserted K.O.A. place, where she manages to have bathroom/water/ electric amenities, ekes out her meager “savings” with school lunch and occasional lunch leavings from other students.

As the school year draws closer to an end, “Beth” must find a way to make a friend, save a lunch lady, let her mother know she is still alive, find a more permanent home, and bring justice to her “real” family, while maintaining a decent GPA so she won’t be “found out.”

At every moment, I was aware that the author had taught junior high school for years: she knew the angst, the failures, the desperation of some, the heartlessness of others, and the pluck of the brave. Just before the ending I was in tears: not because it was sad, but because I was so angry at what happened to “Beth” next: pulling all the threads together, the horrific scene had me crying for the unfairness, the drive, the caring this young girl exhibited. It was a fitting triumph, finally.

I know Liz, the lost girl. I know Beth, the loner. I know Elizabeth, the winner. I’ve taught those high school, junior high school and middle school kids too. Read it, and you’ll know them as well!

 See you day after tomorrow for Monday Moans!

A1YSS+kQ4cL__SL1500_BTW, the prolific Staheli also has a book, A Note Worth Taking, about “best” friends, surviving lost friendships, making new friends—you know, all those things we suffered in junior high or middle school. I’m reading it next—you should too: it’s on sale at Amazon for $0.99 through the end of July.

Leave a comment

Filed under Softcover

Sunday Snippets: What Kind of Fool Am I?

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

Isn’t it interesting that the same people who laugh at science fiction listen to weather forecasts and economists? – Kelvin Throop

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. – Anonymous

Never argue with a fool. Someone watching may not be able to tell the difference. – Anonymous

With stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain. – Friedrich von Schiller

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to. – G. K. Chesterton, Dorothy Parker

See you day-after-tomorrow for Tuesday’s Tutor!


Filed under Snippets

Monday Moans: Getting Into Hot Water

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

I always hate to spend too much money if I go out to lunch “with the girls” . . . or with anybody, for that matter.  I decided a LONG time ago, that buying a soft drink added $$$ (and lbs ! ! !) I really didn’t need.  Yet I seldom order anything to drink beyond water.

I eat my meal and, at the end—many times, even as I rise to leave—I think “Oh, yeah!  I had water.”  I take 2 or 3 little sips, and I’m out the door.

Therein lies the problem.  I’m not much of a water drinker.  Like the proverbial camel, I can go days without drinking any.  So I came up with a new ploy: when I get up in the morning, if I let the water run until it’s hot, I will drink most of a cup of HOT water when I brush teeth, take pills, etc.  So . . . I should order HOT water at the restaurant.

Go ahead—try it.  I dare ya!

I say “I’d just like some hot water, please.”  They bring me luke-warm water in a (cold) glass.

I say “I’d just like some HOT water, please.”  They bring it with tea bags.

I say “I’d just like some HOT water, please—and I don’t need anything in it, on it, or with it.”  I get weird looks.  And a steaming WATER GLASS of HOT water.  Often hot enough that it can’t be picked up.

I say “I’d like a cup of HOT water, please—and I don’t need anything in it, on it, or with it.”  I sometimes get it in a cup.  A cold cup, long out of the dishwasher.

I say “I’d just like a regular COFFEE cup with plain, HOT water, please—and I don’t need anything in it, on it, or with it.”  Then, I usually get what I want.

And I drink it.  If something is HOT and/or flavored (think hot cocoa), I remember to drink it.  Not so with a glass of cold water.  Yes, even in the summer.  I’ll often ask for a second cup—if it came HOT.  But I DO have to ask, even though they’ll come refill my husband’s iced tea three times while I sit there with a cooling third-of-a-cup of water.

What I WANT to say—when they so frequently get it wrong—is “What’s WRONG with you people?  If someone orders hot tea, do you bring it in a WATER GLASS.”

Of course, I don’t ask this in a Russian restaurant.  They’d just say, “Da!”

But they’d have sense enough to place the glass in a podspakannik [the “thing under the glass,“ commonly known as a Russian Tea Glass Holder], one of those pretty little metallic holders—with a HANDLE!

See you day-after-tomorrow for Wednesday’s WIPs

Leave a comment

Filed under Moans