The Great Mosquito Invasion of 2015

Dear Kid,

The mosquitoes are out. Really out. They are the size of wombats. Large wombats. Very large wombats.

Not only are they large, they are hungry. Swarms of mosquitoes buzzed my car on the way home yesterday.

Not only are they large and hungry, they have multiplied excessively.

A brown bat can eat about 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour. After several intense minutes with my calculator, I established that our backyard has enough mosquitoes this year to feed the entire US bat population for the next three years.

Mosquitoes turning to Mom for dinner. Or rather, AS dinner. DearKidLoveMom.comOn the other hand, the mosquito menu here is limited. They tried to chomp on the car but it didn’t provide a lot of nutrition. So they turned to Menu of Mom. Home cooked Mommy. Mama a la mode. Parental Popsicle.

I’ll give you three guesses as to how I felt about being the dinner entree for billions of bugs.

Not nearly as unhappy as I’ll be if they think I’m breakfast when I take the puppy out for his walk.

I’m considering starting a bat breeding program. And a purple martin farm. And a rescue program for anyone else who eats large numbers of annoying bugs.

How do you feel about mosquito pie for dinner?

Love, Mom


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Blog Belize, Lion Fish, Taxis, and Mrs. J Neanderthal

Dear Kid,

More or less what it would have looked like if I'd been in a helicopter over Belize. But I would have been snorkling, not riding in a helicopter. DearKidLoveMom.comPi is back from Belize. Which means it is time for Blog Belize. (I meant to write Blog Belize before she went, but that somehow never happened.)

Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language although many people speak Belizean Creole and/or Spanish. Some people speak all three at once.

The country was originally part of the British Empire (not surprising, since pretty much everywhere was part of the British Empire [except for the parts that weren’t]). For a while (while some of us were learning geography) it was called British Honduras.

Belize packs a lot of fabulous in a small area. The mainland is only 180 miles by 68 miles wide. I have it on great authority that none of the streets are driven by the rules of the road we adhere to. Which is to say “We’re going to die!!” is the song of the passengers more often than not. Fortunately, no one on Pi’s trip died by taxi (or any other way).

Belize is the birthplace of chewing gum. I’m not exactly sure how chewing gum is born, but someone there figured it out.

There are lots of fish in the waters around Belize. Also dolphins, manatees, turtles (three cheers for jellyfish eating turtles), rays, eels, coral, and all sorts of other ocean inhabitants.

Lion fish are an invasive species in the area. The oceanic people there are trying to teach the eels to eat lion fish to reduce the population. Open wide, here comes the lion fish!

Lots of people have speculated about the name “Belize.” Most of the explanations given are pure hoo-ha based on far-fetched ideas or imagination.

In point of fact, the first reference to the area came from Mrs. Joe Neanderthal who, after a particularly nasty winter, decided she had Just Had It and yelled, “That’s enough. You figure out how to feed this family on leftover mastodon. I’m going to Belize.”

Of course, she never made it there because airplanes hadn’t been invented yet.

Love, Mom

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Puppy Conversations | Walking in Sharon Woods Park

Dear Kid,

We (Pi, the Puppy, and moi) had a lovely 2 mile walk in Sharon Woods Park yesterday. Parts of our time there were less walk-like than others.

Me: Keep moving, Puppy
Pi: He found something very interesting to sniff
Puppy: Busy
Me: Walking
Pi: Mom, it’s a very interesting blade of grass
Puppy: Busy
Me: This is supposed to be a walk, not a sniff
Puppy: Still busy

Pi: Let’s take him into the field and play
Me: Sure
Puppy: We’re leaving the path, this is exciting!
Pi: Look Puppy, I have a ball
Puppy: Hey, there’s an interesting blade of grass here!
Pi: Fetch (throws the ball)
Puppy: Look, there are people over there (runs toward the people)
Pi: No, you nut case, fetch the ball!
Puppy: Why?
Pi: I have treats
Puppy: I love treats! Coming!!
Pi: Bring the ball, you silly thing
Puppy: Want treats!!
Pi: The ball, go fetch
Me: (walking over to the ball) Look Puppy, here’s the ball!
Puppy: Huh? Just want treats!!
Me: Come here
Puppy: Do you have treats?
Pi: Bring me the ball
Puppy: This is a stupid way to get treats

Me: Come here, baby. Good boy, pick up the ball
Puppy: Really?
Me: Pick up the ball
Puppy: This is totally ridiculous
Me: Take
Puppy: Want a treat!
Pi: I don’t really think he wants to play
Me: You think?
Puppy: Treat!
Pi: Here you go
Puppy: Love treats!!! More!!
Pi: Ok, here’s another one
Puppy: Yummy!
Pi: I don’t think he’s very smart
Me: I think he taught you to give him treats for no reason. Seems pretty smart to me

Puppy: I love walks
Me: I’m really glad
Puppy: Gotta poop
Me: This is the third time you’ve pooped just on this walk
Puppy: It’s important

Puppy: Gotta pee
Me: You have nothing left inside your body to come out. There is nothing in there. You’ve pooped three times and peed fifty times
Lady Walking By: He’s not really here if he doesn’t leave a reminder (She is laughing her head off while she says this)
Me: Walk!
Pi: It’s hard to squeeze nothing out
Me: Walk!
Puppy: Busy
Pi: Oh look, there are ducks! Look Puppy, ducks!
Puppy: So?
Pi: Play with the ducks
Me: Keep him away from the geese
Geese: Hissssssssss
Pi: I don’t think geese like dogs
Me: What on earth made you think that?
Pi: I want him to play with the ducks
Me: You can want that all you like, but neither the Puppy nor the ducks seem interested
Puppy: Look how nicely I’m walking
Me: Now you walk nicely
Puppy: Yes, very nicely. Would you like to give me a treat?
Me: No, but thank you for offering
Pi: Look Puppy, ducks
Puppy: Yep, those are ducks. Not really interested
Pi: How can you not be interested? They are ducks!
Me: Look at the baby ducks! They are so cute
Puppy: I’m cute!
Me: The baby ducks are soooo cute
Puppy: You should probably give me a treat

Wish you’d been here to enjoy the walk with us.

Love, Mom

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We Stood to Witness Officer Sonny Kim’s Funeral Procession

Dear Kid,

Yesterday was the funeral of Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim.

Officer Kim was shot and killed in a violent episode last week.

There’s been a lot written about the shooting and about Officer Kim’s life as a community builder, husband, father, and karate instructor. Clearly he had a huge impact on those whose lives he touched.

Officer Sonny Kim's funeral procession stretched for 14 miles along Montgomery Road in Cincinnati. DearKidLoveMom.comYesterday, after the service, the funeral procession drove up Montgomery Road to the Gates of Heaven cemetery.

Most of the people in my office took a break from the day to go outside and watch the processional.

For 45 minutes we stood in silence as police cars from different municipalities—and different states—drove by. We just stood in tribute.

And all along the 14 mile route, people stopped what they were doing, came outside, and witnessed the day.

There was something profoundly moving about the tribute to the fallen officer.

Nothing can make up for the loss to his family, to the police force, to the community. And yesterday’s events probably didn’t touch the lives of those who live in violence or mental illness.

But I like to believe that – for a short time at least – we, the Cincinnati community, were joined together hoping and praying for a better world.

Love, Mom

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The Airport Has a Welcome Center?

Dear Kid,

I was at the airport last night, and while I waited for Pi’s plane to land I thought, “We have a really nice airport.”

This is not a thing one generally thinks at an airport.

Generally, when one is at an airport, one is thinking about where one can find a bank to loan one enough money to buy a small bottle of water. Or one is thinking about how one is going to find a way to get from where one is to where one wishes to go without using the airplane one had originally planned to ride. Or one is thinking about why one is using the word “one” so often.

Whatever one is thinking, it is generally not “Wow, this is a great place.”

But that’s exactly what I was thinking last night.

I think part of the reason was that I wasn’t trying to go anywhere. I was just there to retrieve a child, and I was pretty happy to have her back home. Also the drive to the airport had been easy breezy beautiful (no, Cover Girl did not pay me for that). In the garage, I parked in the Ultimate Parking Spot. And I learned that CVG has a Welcome Center.

Rosie Red inviting you to the Welcome Center at CVG. And to the 2015 All Star Game.“Meeting someone?” asks a sign held by Rosie Red (yes, the airport is mildly decked out for the All Star Game). “Follow the signs to the Welcome Center”

Welcome Center? We have a Welcome Center?

I went inside the terminal. “This way to the Welcome Center” I took the escalator down. “Welcome Center” said another sign with an arrow indicating a U-turn. (I want you to know I executed the U-turn flawlessly.) Then (after walking the length of two escalators) I was there: at the Welcome Center.

The Welcome Center consist of two lovely areas with café tables and chairs where one can wait for whoever it is you feel like waiting for. The walls are glass so you can see who’s coming and decide whether or not to greet them. The food and beverage options consist of several vending machines which is less than chic, but since you don’t have to go through security you can bring as much of your own beverage as you want so it’s not a big deal.

Pi landed and in short order (that is not a height joke) came through to the Welcome Center, where I (being the kind of mother I am) welcomed her.

In a serious breach of union contracts, her luggage arrived quickly and (after hugging everyone six or seven times) we climbed into the car, left the Ultimate Parking Spot, and headed home.

Really, it’s a lovely airport.

Love, Mom

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Understanding Happiness and Rodney the Bird

Dear Kid,

You remember Rodney the Bird, don’t you? If not, here’s where you can read about him.

Happy is a Choice. Be HappyRodney sounds happier today. Maybe he’s just a late bloomer. Maybe the weather is better. Maybe his mother was less annoying today. Whatever the reason, I’m not one to let facts get in the way of a good story, so please rewind to Unhappy Rodney.

If you’re insufficiently awake to click to the backstory and then get back here to today’s post, I shall remind you. (I’m just that kind of Mom.)

Rodney is a bird who tends to hang out in front of our house singing in a halfhearted attempt to attract a mate. Rodney does not have his heart in his song. Or a song in his heart, for that matter.

Maybe Rodney really just wants to hang out wherever bachelor birds hang out doing whatever bachelor birds do. Or maybe Rodney is more of a night owl and is only singing in the morning because of peer pressure (for the record, Rodney does not sound like an owl of any variety). Or maybe Rodney is the avian equivalent of a black-clad, pierced teenager, drooping around quoting obscure poetry and always sounding pathetic. I don’t know. Rodney isn’t really one to confide in humans.

What I do know is that there is a flow in doing things we love and “chunkiness” in doing things we don’t. When we’re doing something we love, time flies by. When we’re doing something we love, our heart and our heads are involved—we look for ways to learn more, do more, be more. When we’re doing something we don’t want to do, time slogs by at a snail’s pace. We know because we check the clock watch computer phone every 42 seconds. We find thousands of excuses to not do the work.

We resort to all kinds of stalling tactics (including cleaning). We do the minimum viable amount and flop back, exhausted from all that effort.

At times, we all have to do things we’d rather not do (including cleaning). But the trick to happiness is finding a way to spend more time do the things we love and less time doing the things we don’t.

It’s how you know you’ve found the right major in college. It’s how you know you’ve found the right topic for a blog. And it’s how you know you should stop singing and go find a nice worm for breakfast.

Good luck, Rodney

Love, Mom

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Finding the Stuff, Heavy Sigh, and People-Eating Laundry

Dear Kid,

If you were more of a neatness-oriented child <stop>. Let’s be honest. If you were more of a neatness-oriented child you’d probably have chosen more neatness-oriented parents.


Yesterday you asked me to send you some Stuff from your room. Being the kind of mom I am, I agreed to undertake the challenge.

I ventured into the accumulation of chaos we call your room. Don’t worry, I had on a full hazmat suit and a helmet.

The thing about agreeing to send you Stuff is that I forgot about the finding the Stuff first.

I looked high (periscope up) and low (periscope down).

I did not find the Stuff.


So I did the Smartest Thing Possible.

I sent Dad up to your room to search.

After a few minutes, he didn’t reappear.

A few minutes later, he still hadn’t emerged and I began to wonder if the closet had eaten him.

Fortunately, it turned out that he was being thorough and had not been dissolved in a pile of laundry.

But he didn’t find the Stuff either.


And sorry.

Love, Mom

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