KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Learning on the Job

I learn some odd things while editing.

Today's surprise: some hyperosmotic laxatives aren't used for colonoscopy prep because fermentation in the bowel means that they carry a small risk of explosion!

Makes me really eager to schedule a colonoscopy for myself. I'll let you go first, okay?



Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring in My Flower Bed

Grape hyacinths

The grape hyacinths in my flower bed always make me smile. They look delicate, but they're hardy, and they're such a rich bluish purple.



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sad Juxtaposition

beautiful treeIt's Earth Day today. Professional tree trimmers are cutting down a huge, lovely old maple tree in the front yard to the right of my house (wa-a-a-a-ah!), while in the yard to the left of my house, installers are putting up solar panels to heat the neighbors' swimming pool.



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Get-Ready-for-School Fun

This morning during get-ready-for-school time, Ed and I were teasing Jared about how giggly and silly he was being rather than focusing on the task at hand. I started calling him made-up names such as verteneschniggler ("Stop being a verteneschniggler and get moving!") and eventually threw in a real word, bandicoot, which he thought was both hilarious and made up. So I came up with a photo of a bandicoot to show him.

For your viewing pleasure, and with Jared's permission, here is a photo of the extremely rare Jared subspecies of the rabbit-eared bandicoot (Macrotis lagotis):

The Jared subspecies of the rabbit-eared bandicoot













He was so pleased with it that he asked me to print a copy of it to share with his teacher. Updated: Jared reports that his teacher laughed hysterically and was happy to be allowed to keep the picture.



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Self-Advocacy in Teens with ADHD

This bodes well for the future:

Whichever of us, my husband Ed or me, is up at the god-awful hour of 6:30 a.m. when Neil, our ninth-grader, is getting ready for school reminds him to take his AD/HD and antidepressant–antianxiety meds. At about 7:30 this morning, when Neil was already on the long bus ride to school, Ed realized that after he'd reminded Neil to take his pills, the two of them had gotten distracted with chatting and our son never got around to taking his meds. Ed thought of driving all the way over to the school, in rush-hour traffic, to give Neil his meds there, but he couldn't because (1) I'd then have to be the one to walk Jared, our second-grader, down to his bus stop instead of getting busy working to meet a deadline and (2) Ed would then miss a good chunk of today's half-day continuing-education seminar on formulating special paint colors for spraying cabinetry. So we just let the pill issue go.

Neil arrived home from school about an hour ago, saying yes, he realized that he'd forgotten to take his meds, and he hated the superspacy feeling that he had had to deal with all day.

Here's the cool part: He had the wherewithal to advocate for himself in dealing with the problem! He talked to each teacher as he moved through the day's schedule and let him or her know about the missed medication dose and that he was feeling overwhelmed trying to both concentrate and get his assignments done quickly and completely. Because he is by now such a well-mannered, easy-to-deal-with kid who works very hard in school, all of the teachers cut him slack today, letting him complete just as much as he could in the time allotted and no more, without penalty.

This is astounding because until just about a year ago, Neil wouldn't advocate for himself even if his life depended on it. His social anxiety level was so up there that he never asked for help, for fear of calling attention to himself. I could see how pleased with himself he was at how he handled things today. "And I was even social!" he said, grinning hugely. Yes, his meds help a great deal. But while he's been taking them, he's been focused and calm enough to learn some very handy new interpersonal skills.

Geez, I love that boy. And I know that he'll do just fine when he's on his own one day.



How Do You Spell "Relief"?

Pinch me, please—I think I'm dreaming.

Early this morning, I got a call from the case handler at the offices of the bank that holds Ed's and my mortgage saying that after they'd perused the seeming hundreds of pages of financial info that I'd faxed them at their request, they will be granting us a 3-month moratorium on making any mortgage payments at all! (Yes, we will have to pay back that money down the line when our finances are better, so we will be putting money aside for that eventuality.) I felt like leaping through the phone line to hug the guy. He said, "You and Edward are making so little right now in comparison with your monthly [personal and business] expenses that I can't charge you anything at all on your mortgage." Hell, yeah! That's what I've been saying for months—that the economic collapse has mostly wiped out Ed's cabinetmaking business. (And yes, this arrangement with our mortgage-holder will be put into writing very shortly.)

This week I will compose and fax a letter of gratitude to saintly U.S. Representative Tim Bishop for lighting a fire under the mortgage-holder's collective butts. I had also contacted U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, but one of his staff members told me that Schumer couldn't do anything about our situation because the entity involved was a bank, not a federal agency. Obviously, either that staff member or Schumer himself didn't know what he was talking about.

But Bishop contacted the Customer Assistance Group of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Administrator of National Banks (yes, our mortgage-holder took bailout money and [snark]amazingly[/snark] was very recently able to report a highly profitable quarter), and opened a case on our behalf. He even sent us a copy of the letter from the comptroller's office, showing our case number.

Should you need mortgage help—and your mortgage-holder took bailout money, making it a national bank—check out the web site of the Customer Assistance Group.

In our household, I'm the one who does all of the bookkeeping—for the family, for my business, and for Ed's business. Today's phone call means that I can now breathe and focus solely on work when I'm working. (What a rare pleasure!)

And in other good news: Ed has three potential cabinetmaking projects. But we can't count on them yet. He's met with the customers, taken measurements, and gotten drawings from the architect for one of the jobs (drawings that Ed will have to modify because it appears that the architect used specs that won't fly in real space and time), but he must now work up bids for all projects and then wait for the customers to haggle over and then approve the bids.

I share these kinds of things with you because I know that I'm not the only one going through such problems, so I'm providing info that I hope you or someone you care about can use to relieve stress.

And now ... it's a deadline day! Yikes!



Monday, April 13, 2009

The Credit Crisis, Explained for the Average Person

This video (a bit more than 11 minutes long) makes it very easy to understand how the current credit crisis came to be:




I think that it's very well done. It's part of a graduate student's thesis in media design.



How a Book Is Bound

Here's a cool video—a serious one, not a jokey one—about one method by which a hardcover book can be bound. (It's from C-SPAN, which won't allow the video to be embedded in anyone's blog posts, so all I can do here is provide the link at YouTube.) This is the part of the publishing process that happens after authors, agents, freelance copyeditors like me, book designers, typesetters/page layout professionals, freelance proofreaders, freelance indexers, in-house editors, cover artists, in-house production editors, and printers have done their jobs. Note: The video is 11 minutes long.



Thursday, April 09, 2009

Talking About a Taboo

I am very grateful for a discussion currently going on on an e-mail list that I subscribe to. It's about suicide—who has ever contemplated it and who has ever helped a friend not go through with it.

I momentarily thought of suicide, to stop the emotional pain and upheaval, when my first marriage was ending years ago. My therapist shocked me out of thinking too long about it by telling me that if I were serious, she would be forced to start a procedure to remove my daughter from my custody, for my daughter's protection. The thought that my ex might have total custody of my sweet child (who turns 26 tomorrow) and that I might not be allowed to see her if I survived snapped me right back into the moment.

It's immensely reassuring to hear from listmates whom I perceive as mostly having everything together that they've been to the abyss too—and survived.

We are all human and vulnerable. I wish for us all a strong inner parent to advise and comfort us. And may more of us learn to act as a sort of foster parent when friends' inner parents temporarily fail them.



Thursday, April 02, 2009

Medical Writing and Editing: Conflicts of Interest

Those of you who write or edit manuscripts intended for medical journals may be interested in the new policy statement, from the World Association of Medical Editors, regarding financial, relational, political, and ethical conflicts of interest that can exist for authors, reviewers, and editors regarding materials prepared for peer-reviewed medical journals.



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