Tag Archives: problems

What Grammar Problems Do You Have When Writing?

English has some of the most difficult grammar of any language. There are so many rules, yet many exceptions to those rules. English breaks the rules often. Although it may not be the most difficult language, it is one of the most unusual languages. Why? Because it’s had influences from several languages and is more like the Frankenstein’s monster of languages.

Writers have to deal with English grammar when writing. Some are not experts at grammar, while others seem to have a wonderful way with the language. But what do you have difficulty with in writing?

In my case, I find that I use the passive voice too much. I use it correctly, but it’s not effective when writing fiction. It doesn’t have the feeling of action. The narrative must be active so the reader feels like they’re in the story along with the characters. I don’t have this problem as much now, but sometimes it creeps in.

What about you? When you write, what kind of grammar issues do you have? Let me know in the comments below.

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Living With a Threenager

What’s a threenager? You know the terrible twos, right? Well, a threenager is someone who acts like a teenager, but is only three years old. That basically describes a three-year-old. They have attitude, but no control over their emotions. They are either happy or it’s the end of the world.

Here’s some of my three-year-old’s attitude.

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And she’s already demanding a driver’s license, while talking on a cell phone. Okay, so it’s a radio, not a cell phone.

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These pictures were taken on Sunday, and she had a lot of fun in the indoor playground. But after four hours, it was time to go. The world ended. Scream, cry, and run away. That’s what she did. When I picked her up, she kicked, struggled, and tried to get away. She did not want to leave at all. She still say she wants to go, and she wants to go now.

Earlier this year, BuzzFeed posted a list of 23 Things All Parents Of Threenagers Understand. Let’s go through them and see how my daughter’s doing.

1. They’ve suddenly got OPINIONS…lots of them.

This is true. It’s mostly her telling us she doesn’t like something, though sometimes telling us what she likes. She knows what she likes, that’s for sure.

2. All hell breaks loose if you serve their food in a slightly different way.

Not so much, really. She’s actually pretty flexible with a lot of these things, but she often requests a certain number of breadsticks. They come in bags of six, and she says she wants three. I give her one. She gets upset. But you see, she usually eats parts of the three, takes the chocolate chips, and leaves chunks of bread from all three sticks.

3. Handling disappointment isn’t their thing.

Disappointment is too mild of a feeling. She doesn’t get disappointed. She goes ballistic.

4. Not even Jack Bauer could get them to tell you what happened at preschool.

This we don’t have much of a problem with. She offers the information without us asking. Just the other day, it was raining, so they couldn’t use the pool outside. She told me so. And she told me that she was playing with her friends, including their names.

5. “Why?” “Why?” “Why, Mama?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why, Dada?” “Why?”

She asks us why, definitely. She’s in that phase, but it isn’t so bad. I tell her why, and much of the time she takes the answer and doesn’t bombard me with “Why?”

6. They’ve probably wiped off one of your kisses.

Yup. She does that.

7. They often lose toys that they MUST. HAVE. RIGHT. NOW.

Not just toys. Clothes, too. Recently, we had to wash one of her favourite dresses, and she wanted to wear it as it was drying. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. She needed to wear it now.

8. They’ve started to say sassy things like, “Are you kidding me?”

Not really. At least not in English.

9. They’re too small to walk at a decent pace, but too big to be carried.

Yes! She tends to take a long time to walk anywhere, and when she gets tired, she wants to be carried. She’s 15.5 kg now, and while it’s fine for a little while, she starts to feel too heavy.

10. They have no filter.

She says what she wants. If she gets punished, she tells everyone she got punished. She also walks up to complete strangers and introduces herself and my wife and I. She often tells us to be quiet, too.

11. They’re either recently potty trained or are potty training, which is awesome for you! (sarcasm)

Sigh. Just as I was starting this section, she took her diaper off and handed it to me. It was filled with pee. We have a deal with her. She stops peeing in her diaper or training pants, she can go to a swimming pool, waterslides, and Canada. She wants to go to them all very much. She knows how to use the toilet, she knows when to use the toilet, but she just gets lazy.

12. This little phrase can trigger a tantrum/meltdown: “It’s time to go.”

Yup. Happened on Sunday. It was a major meltdown. It happens every time we’re at a playground, too.

13. Bedtime is drama, and they’ll do anything to avoid it.

If we force her to go to bed, she won’t stay. She will only go to bed on her own terms, which is only when she is sleepy. She usually falls asleep around 9 or 10 pm, but any earlier, and she won’t do it.

14. Once bedtime starts, it is — how should we put this — a process.

The process has changed many times over her short life. When she was still using a crib, she would only fall asleep if she was holding our hand. Now, she will only go to sleep if she’s sleepy, and that’s the only time she’ll brush her teeth, as well. At least she knows how to do that now. Any deviation from this makes it impossible to get her to sleep.

15. Getting a threenager out the door takes forever.

Actually, we don’t have this problem. She likes going out, and she’s the first to the door with her shoes on.

Short intermission.

Back to number 7. She wants to blow bubbles outside right now. It’s raining. She’s upset that it’s raining, but still demands to go out to blow bubbles.

End intermission.

16. Despite their epic slowness, they’re also epically impatient.

Absolutely. It takes forever to get her to do many things, but then when she wants something, she wants it now. She wants to go to Canada right now, actually. Every day, she demands to go to Canada.

17. They will say, “I’m tired!” when you ask them to do anything.

Not really. She’ll do things if we ask her to do them, but when she doesn’t want to do it, she just flat out refuses. “No.” She only uses the “I’m tired!” excuse when she doesn’t want to walk.

18. They’re guaranteed to frustrate you when eating at a restaurant.

Worst place for us to go! I love eating food in restaurants, but when we have our daughter there, she usually makes a mess. Last time we went with her, she poured a full cup of orange juice over her clothes. And she had to go home like that. Sticky. Ugh. And she’ll often ask for something from the menu, then refuse to eat half of it, wanting whatever we have.

19. They’re maddeningly stubborn and insist, “I do it myself!”

Absolutely. This is what she wants to do by herself now: put on her shoes, put on her clothes, dry herself after a bath/shower, use the toilet, wash her hands, put toothpaste on her toothbrush, and so on. The toothpaste thing would turn into a disaster. She doesn’t get to do that.

20. That is, when they’re not begging you to do it for them.

She often comes to me to get me to do her puzzles for her, as well as draw something instead of her. Sometimes, she hands me her spoon or fork and wants me to feed her. I guess she’s still a baby at times.

21. They’re scared of a lot of things.

She’s scared of bugs (sometimes) and heights (if she can’t hold on to me). Not much does scare her.

22. They have very specific ideas on how they want to look.

She likes to choose her clothes, but she often chooses clothes that are too hot for summer. She also likes to have her hair done in a certain way. It’s either Anna, Elsa, Ika Musume (it’s an anime, English title is Squid Girl), or Precure (another anime, Pretty Cure).

23. They’ve become firmly anti-nap.

She rarely has a nap now. When she falls asleep at 5pm, she sleeps all night. She doesn’t wake up from that nap. And just as I was typing this, she fell asleep. It’s almost 6pm. I’ll see if I can get her to wake up later.

I’d like to add one more to this list.

24. The only way to get them to do anything is through bribery.

Want her to sit down on the bus? Candy. Want her to sit down in her stroller to be a counterweight for all the shopping we did? Toy. Want her to use the toilet? Pool, waterslides, and Canada. No matter what we try, we can’t get her to cooperate unless we bribe her.

Anyone with kids have similar experiences?

Life Isn’t Always Fair

Some things aren’t fair. Everyone goes through things like these. You know, you just stare at yourself in the mirror and nitpick at every little thing you see that’s out of the ordinary. Or you stand there debating about what to do next, and none of the options seem particularly appealing. Here are some things I’ve gone through lately.

Why is there more hair around my right nipple than my left? Why do I always get itchy the moment I start washing dishes? Why is it that when I take my phone out of my pocket, it’s upside-down about once a week? Why do birds fly away the very moment I want to take a picture? Why does it rain when I don’t have an umbrella and it doesn’t rain when I bring one?

One time, while I was walking, my phone recorded a video in my pocket. But I couldn’t see anything. My pocket deserves its 15 minutes of fame. Why did there have to be no light? So unfair! I mean, just look!

My pen is being totally unfair. I get refills, then they stop working after a couple weeks. I use my phone, and as I’m using it, a wi-fi signal is detected and used, but on the lowest level, so what I was viewing suddenly stops, and I have to turn off wi-fi and reload the page. And just the other day, Windows moved one of the files on my desktop from the right side to the left.

Life is so unfair.

Some Things I Hate

I don’t like the word hate, but it describes a feeling I have toward a few things pretty well. This post was inspired by Godless Cranium, who was in turn inspired by HarsH ReaLiTy.

  1. People who turn without using their turn signal. This applies to both when I’m driving behind them and when I’m walking across a crosswalk and I think they’re not turning.
  2. Old men who pick at their teeth and make loud smacking noises with their mouths while riding the train. It’s disgusting.  Stop it.
  3. No rain in the forecast, I don’t bring an umbrella, it rains. Also, rain in the forecast, I bring an umbrella, it doesn’t rain.
  4. Being told I’m doing something the wrong way, when I’d been taught to do it that way, and had seen many people do it the same way. More specifically, I was told I wrote the number 7 wrong by an HR manager a few years ago. She said I must cross the 7, but I told her that every teacher I’ve had in my life did not cross the 7. She said they were all wrong. I continued writing my 7s without crossing them.
  5. Having someone explain a scientific theory to me. A scientific theory that I studied in university and did plenty of research and laboratory work on. A scientific theory that person didn’t actually understand. They got so much wrong, and when I tried to correct them, they’d still claim they were right.
  6. Anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, anti-GMO activists, climate change deniers, and religious fundamentalists who are so adamant about their position that they will not listen to any kind of reason while expecting reasonable people to accept their version of the world as truth without any questioning. Not going to happen!
  7. Stubbing my toe. In fact, I stubbed both little toes and dislocated them several years apart (1996 and 2012).
  8. Some of my favourite games being incompatible with Windows 8.1.
  9. World leaders who refuse to stop acting like little children, which is most of them.
  10. Being questioned about why I’m so quiet at a party. There must be something wrong. No, as an INTJ, that’s just my natural state at a party. My problem is being asked that over and over again.

I’ll stick with ten. There’s more. But this isn’t so bad for an optimistic person is it?

Going to the Embassy Is Always an Adventure

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Someone is asleep. She wasn’t always like this today. We went to the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. It’s in a nice neighbourhood called Akasaka, which is known for its embassies. It’s near the high class Omotesando shopping area and the popular Roppongi, which has many bars that cater to foreigners, especially Americans.

But our day was at the embassy. It was definitely an adventure in parenting. This is what I had to deal with.

First, she kept singing. In the train, in the post office, in the embassy. Not quietly, but loudly. Second, she demanded to stand up on the train. And then loudly complained when I put her back on the seat. And she did this many times. Third, she played with the cover of her stroller, the one to block out sun and rain. She pulled on it so hard while I was talking with the embassy staff that it broke. It’s not possible to fix it. That’s when I had it with her behaviour. The problem is, she didn’t listen. She was very stubborn today. When she saw I was angry, she finally said sorry. I then told her that she broke the stroller, and she started crying. The staff offered her a toy to play with and she just threw it on the floor.

On our way out, she told me she pooped. We went to the bathroom to change her, but she hadn’t pooped at all. We left the embassy and as we walked to the station, she told me she pooped. Another check and nope. No poop.

She fell asleep on the train, so the rest of our trip home should be uneventful.

There were some positives, though. A high school boy waved at her on the train and she waved back. Some high school girls kept looking at her and saying she was soooooo cute. And at Aoyama-itchome Station, we had to get up to street level through what is a maze-like station. Many stairs up and down. She can walk up and down stairs very naturally now. No more carrying her up or down!

At least we should look at the positives even if it was a trying day.

In the Zone, but Starting Writing Is the Problem

The A to Z Challenge has been a wonderful thing. In fact, I’ve gotten more writing done with this than I did with NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo. Actually, in the three Nanos and two Camp Nanos, I wrote less in all of those combined than I have in the A to Z Challenge.  I’d say it’s been a huge success, and it’s not finished.

You see, I’ve been able to write between 250 and 500 words in only fifteen minutes.  My latest ones have been over 400 words and take me a mere fifteen minutes to write. If I wrote for an hour, I could easily surpass the NaNoWriMo daily targets.

I’ve been finding that once I start writing, I just keep going and going without a pause.  I get in the zone.  The dialogue flows easily it appears. Maybe that’s my strong suit. It looks like I’ll have to write as much as I can of dialogue and whatever I can of narrative, then go back to edit more action in.

My big problem is getting started.  Before I start writing each part of the challenge, I sit there for fifteen or thirty minutes trying to just get the first word out.  I know what I want to write, but the procrastinator in me won’t let me start. But once I do, I have no problems finishing it.  I just need to get around that delayed start.