August 2010

Visit to (one of) the Thousand Islands

File under: weekend update

This weekend we went to visit Pat's parents at their camp in Cape Vincent. Greta had a blast staying up late roasting marshmallows, riding on her Grandpa Dick's boat, and visiting a real deal castle. Okay, so she thought the castle was sort of boring (thanks to her being completely brainwashed by the horrible, evil Disney Princess empire), but it had its moments.

Here we are on the ferry going over to Boldt Island. Greta asked what princess would be at the castle. I told her there aren't a lot of princesses in this area so she would be the only princess at the castle. Greta was...skeptical.

Pat took this picture about a second after a very loud horn sounded on the boat. I like how the picture turned out.

At this point she was in awe.

The wow factor went downhill pretty quickly, though.

Boldt Castle is super cool, aside from all of the annoying people around. Most of the castle has been renovated and is very lovely. Of course I liked the dilapidated areas of the castle.

Princess Sassafras refused to pose for pictures at this point. I like how creepy this looks.

Speaking of creepy, we stopped for a dinner of champions at McDonald's on the way to camp. I was VERY excited when I found out the Happy Meal toys for girls right now are Madame Alexander dolls. This is one of the odd things about me: I love Madame Alexander dolls! My grandma gave me three of the regular full-size MA dolls when I was little, and I just love them. I find it very strange that McDonalds has mini Madame Alexander dolls, but whatever; mini Madame Alexander dolls that smell faintly of burger are pretty awesome in my book. The dolls they have are from famous fairy tales, and there were some cool ones, like Hansel, Gretel, Cinderella, Prince Charming, Alice in Wonderland, and the Mad Hatter. And then there is the one I got: "Wendy Dressed as the Big Bad Wolf." Wha?? I have never heard of this I don't think? I love it, though. Look how creepy!


Letting my nerd flag fly

File under: work

By far my least-favorite part about being an editor is when a writer or another reviewer decides to fight me throughout the process. It is really unpleasant. It usually stems from one of the following:

  • The writer/reviewer is insecure and can't admit he/she is wrong.
  • The writer/reviewer has enough knowledge of grammar and style that he/she is dangerous.
  • The editor is wrongmistaken.


There are many other scenarios, I'm sure, but those are the three main issues I face. Also, I don't know what it is, but people seem to get great satisfaction from pointing out when editors make an error and really rub it in their faces.

In my reviews, I always try to be thoughtful, thorough, and kind. Although Pat probably won't back me on this, I will fully admit that I make mistakes and that I don't know everything. (I'm still learning!) But 99% of the time I have a rationale for the changes I make during a review and can almost always support each change with documentation. For the most part, I think I am really good at what I do.

I seem to go through phases where things are hunky-dory. I think I've got this whole editor-writer relationship down pat and that I've truly earned the respect of my associates. And then everything will go to shit, and I'm slogging through the day dodging bullets and hoping for the best. All I can do is try to stay thoughtful, thorough, and kind and give myself a pat on the back after a day's work. (That's the other downside of being an editor: When I do a good job, all is well so my work goes unnoticed. When I make a mistake, that's when people notice. Oh, hai! I was in an interview once where the hiring manager said something like, "If you do this job, you're going to have to be okay with yourself at the end of the day. Editors don't get praise." It's so true.) Also, I read blogs like this one. It's like therapy. This latest post definitely struck a chord with me, as they often do, and I thought I would share.


Goodest Editor

File under: announcement

My father is not the only one in the family who wins awards. Last night I went to a work event, and I was not surprised that the baseball game got rained out, and I was not surprised that the catering at Frontier Field was mediocre at best, but I was quite surprised that there was an awards ceremony and that I won the award for "Goodest Editor."

Sadly, I will not win any awards based on the quality of this photo, but it was the best I could do at the moment.

I was really quite honored. Although the awards all had a humorous twist, it is nice to know I work—as a work-from-home contract employee, mind you—with a boss who knows us all well enough that he could come up with something funny and personal to say about all of us. I don't think many self-employed people get that (or a free night at a ball game) from the companies they contract for, so I am thankful. I am going to cherish the award always and will be throwing it in people's faces (the title, not the award itself, silly) for years to come.

How dare you question me? I won the Goodest Editor award in 2010!


You Can

File under: blah | update

The last couple weeks I've felt a little like I'm in an emotional rabbit hole. Nothing seems to be going right. It happens. I have a really hard time updating this site when I get into a mood like this because I can't think of anything to say that isn't either overly personal or might be potentially hurtful to someone else. So that's why there has been the big lag between updates. I'm just super grumpy and I've been biting my tongue.

A handful of years ago, I was working at a company where morale was particularly low and people were leaving left and right. They didn't have money to give raises, and there wasn't a whole lot they could do to improve things. One morning, when we arrived at work, we each found an empty can at our desks along with a letter from one of the likeable bigwigs at the company. On the can, there was a label that said "You Can." The letter explained the concept of "You Can," which, in a nutshell, is just that you can make things how you want them. We can't necessarily expect outside factors to all be easy and great, so when the going gets tough, you get a can full of nothin' on your desk so you can panhandling after work to be able to afford diapers...or something like that. Anyway, everyone thought it was ridiculous, and the likeable bigwig and yours truly both jumped ship not long after the "You Can" surfaced. The fact of the matter, though, is that sometimes you gotta just suck it up and stop feeling sorry for yourself.

In the spirit of the You Can, here are some things that I've done or seen in the last few weeks that haven't completely sucked:

Our old college friend Sarah came into town for a night with her boyfriend Dennis. Sarah is one of the nicest people I know, and it was great to see her. (It was the first time we'd seen her since our wedding.) She showered us with gifts, which was completely unnecessary but really nice. My favorite is a Pez dispenser she got for Pat from the Norman Rockwell Museum. How cool is this?

Days after, a different old college friend named Sara came into town for a night. I met up with her at LUX and got to meet her husband, Brian, who is one of those people you immediately like and feel comfortable with, like you feel like you could tell him about the time the gang of senior girl bullies picked on you in the ninth grade and how you still fear wearing hats because of it, and how he would actually care and be able to say something to make you think maybe you could wear a hat again someday. (I resisted spilling my guts to him, though.) They're good people, and I only wish I had gotten to see them more. Plus, there was free popcorn at LUX that night. Yeah, that was a good night.

This week, another old college friend named Amanda came into town for a night. I met up with her and our friend Sue and we went to Flight, which is a pretty cool wine bar. We laughed A LOT. Those people you can go without seeing for 12 years and then laugh with as hard as you used to laugh when you lived next door to them are GOOD people.

And as if that weren't enough...

I heard about this. I love that peer pressure even works on people who are old and filthy rich. Whatever works.

I also heard about this. Who knew mannequin arms could be so hilarious?

I also heard about this. I love that even NPR thought it was newsworthy.

Finally, I am very proud to report that my dad won a prestigious award in his field. My dad is one of those people who consistently works hard and is smart and humble and is good for the sake of being good. If I needed to write an essay for a college application about the person I admire most, I would write about my dad (with Ira Glass as a back-up subject). He is great, and I'm really glad when other people notice. Hopefully he won't be too embarrassed by my posting this video about it.

So there you go. Fran CAN get out of a funk.