To Tweet or Not to Tweet… That is the Question (with apologies to Shakespeare)

April 21, 2009

Okay, I’m about to expose my online naïveté. I admit it: I don’t know the first thing about Twitter.

But in the interest of striding boldly into the 21st century (and only nine years behind schedule; how d’you like that?!), I’m thinking of taking the plunge — pushing myself out of the nest, as it were.

But before I do something I might end up deeply regretting (like my 58-year-old friend Stella’s hummingbird tattoo that she got when she was 18 and which now looks sort of like a vulture on Prozac), I want to hear from you: What should I know about Twitter before I go and get myself in over my head?

I caved in to the pressure from my pal John and got on Facebook about four weeks ago — and now I spend my free evenings looking for a good 12-step group to get myself unstuck (before I come unglued, that is).

Talk to me… and soon. I’m almost hoping one of you will talk me out of it.

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When to use “They’re,” “their” or “there”

April 12, 2009

Question: Which sentence is correct?

“There putting they’re stuff over their.”

– or –

“They’re putting their stuff over there.”

Answer: The second one is correct.

I was going to put “Obviously” at the front of that sentence, but it’s all too clear that the answer isn’t obvious.

It seems so simple, yet it’s an issue that continually plagues everyone from middle-school students to business executives. Let’s tackle this one with a few simple examples.

Basically, if you’re attempting to replace the words “they are,” you’d use “they’re,” which is a contraction of those two words.

If you’re giving directions, that one’s easy. Just think of it this way: “I just have to put a “t” on the beginning of ‘here’ to get to ‘there.'”

And “their” is a possessive pronoun. So “their stuff” means “the stuff that belongs to them.”

With that in mind, our second sentence could be reworded thus: “They are putting the stuff that belongs to them not here, but in that place.” Or something like that.

What are your spelling bugaboos? Have you got a word you chronically misspell? Talk to us… maybe we can help you come up with a simple solution to remember the correct spelling.


Italian Easter Bread

April 10, 2009

My godmother, Evelina Betterini, used to bake these elaborately decorated basket-shaped breads for each of her godchildren every year for Easter. It was a tradition for her (and my Uncle Larry) to deliver them to the kids the day before Easter.

The breads themselves were works of art: Perfectly golden brown edible Easter baskets cradling delicate cargoes of brightly hued eggs… with graceful basket handles overarching the colorful bounty. All in all, a little piece of heaven, a true treasure for the senses! Beneath that glistening golden crust lay this rich vanilla-scented bread, with its dense texture and slightly sweet taste… It was an Easter treat par excellence.

Twenty-five years ago, Aunt Ev gave me the recipe, which she’d received decades earlier from her mother. Each year, I’d plan to make it and, every year – no matter how certain I was where I had put it – I would invariably misplace my copy of the recipe. But I knew I could always call Aunt Ev and get it from her again.

In March of 1994, two weeks before Easter, I knew exactly where my copy of that recipe was… and I knew that didn’t bode well – because Aunt Evelina lay in a hospital bed ten miles away, battling cancer.

All along, throughout her lengthy stay in that hospital, my beloved 55-year-old godmother had insisted she wanted to go home for Easter. And early in the morning the Wednesday before Easter, Aunt Evelina went Home.

Now my husband and I have carried on Aunt Evelina’s legacy – and her tradition of delivering these delectable Easter breads to our godchildren at Easter. And now I’d like to share that tradition with you.

This is one tradition I’ve managed to hold firm to in the fifteen years since Aunt Evelina passed away. And, although this has been an insanely busy week for me (between almost-nightly choir rehearsals for Holy Week services and my having started a brand-new full-time job [yippie!]), I’m still going to be bustling about the kitchen tomorrow, baking Aunt Evelina’s Italian Easter Bread.

These breads were a glorious part of my childhood at Easter and I hope they’ll become a family favorite for you – and become a part of your Easter traditions, as well. If you attempt this recipe, I’d love it if you’d let me know how the bread turns out for you.

Just two words of caution:

1) This recipe makes a lot of bread! You might want to try a half recipe your first time around.

2) This bread is highly addictive. So maybe you’ll want to make that full batch after all.

I wish you a blessed and happy Easter, or a blessed and happy Passover, as the case may be.

Mangia!

Aunt Evelina’s Italian Easter Bread

12 eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening, melted and cooled
1 cup milk, room temperature
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons baking powder (if using large eggs. If, however, you are using medium eggs, 3 tablespoons baking powder; for jumbo eggs, use 5 tablespoons baking powder.)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract (more or less, to taste)
10½ to 12 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs ’til lemony colored. Add sugar a little at a time. Add cooled shortening while beating egg/sugar mixture. Add milk and vanilla. Add pinch of salt. Add baking powder and flour a little at a time. Mix ’til you can’t use a wooden spoon; then mix by hand. Dough should be of a medium-stiff consistency.

Form dough in to desired shapes. Raw eggs may be pressed (gently!) into the dough before baking, then criss-crossed with strips of dough to hold them in place. (You may use hard-cooked eggs, but they tend to get somewhat rubbery during baking.) Bake 25-30 minutes.

Notes: Go easy on the flour – use only enough to achieve the desired consistency. You may want to start with the breads on the bottom rack of your oven for the first 15 minutes, then put them on the top rack during the last 10-15 minutes.

If desired, brush breads with milk before baking, for a shiny, glazed top.


What Was Yesterday?

April 2, 2009

Surprised to still see this site up and running? You shouldn’t be. Need I remind you that yesterday was April Fools’ Day?

Not only have I not thrown in the proverbial towel (hmm… come to think of it, I don’t think there are any proverbs that actually mention towels — but if you know of any, please tell me), but I’ve got a whole slew of things muddling about in my mushy grey matter, just clamoring to come out. So, while there’s still time, duck and run! Or was that Duck, Duck, Goose?

In short: This chickie ain’t goin’ nowhere, my friends; you’re pretty well stuck with me. (Yes, I realize that was a whole lot of improper English… but even I’m allowed a day off once in a while, right?)

Now, if anyone successfully “got” you for April Fools’ Day, do feel free to share. I always love a good prank!


I’ve Had It!

April 1, 2009

I’m giving up.

I’m threw with this.

They’re doesn’t seem two be any point, too going on. People dont change there spelling, speeking and punctuation just because some crazy woman harps incessantly about it. I wish I would of considered that before I wasted my thyme; putting up this sight. Their are to many other things I could of focused my energies on.

Im going two look into being an an elevator operator… but I’ve herd even that has it’s ups and downs.

Good buy crewel whirled.