Memorial Day | For Many, the Scars Run Deep

Dear Kid,

Memorial Day To those who serve...thank you.

Memorial Day | To those who serve…thank you.

Today is Memorial Day.

Ostensibly, it is a day to honor those who died while serving our country in the military. I think it needs to be much more than that.

Yes, we need to remember and thank those who died in service to our country. We also need to thank those who served and did not die. Very few return from war the way they left. For many, the scars run deep.

We need to remember and thank those who sent family to serve in the military. The loneliness, the uncertainty, the fear. For many, the scars run deep.

We need to remember and thank those who support our military. The medical professionals, the journalists, the counselors. For many, the scars run deep.

We need to remember and thank those in our country who value the freedoms our military fights for. Those who argue and persuade and celebrate the diversity and differences of opinion that make us a great country. Those who work to help heal the scars of divisiveness and horror. Those who work to bring us closer to the world that We, The People, know can be created.

In remembering, we look forward. In honoring the past, we make room for the future.

Let us never forget so that we will never repeat.

Love, Mom

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You’re Not Going to Believe This: National Paper Clip Day

Dear Kid,

Some things are too ridiculous to ignore.

Allow me to be the first to wish you Happy Paper Clip Day!

For it is, in fact, National Paper Clip Day.

I decided to celebrate by pulling out one lucky paper clip and wearing it around my finger. Only it turns out that some at some point a child (who shall remain nameless) was sufficiently creative to occupy the time by stringing all my paperclips together.

Extra points for self-entertainment. Zero points for office supply management. DearKidLoveMom.comExtra points for self-entertainment. Zero points for office supply management.

There are many well-known facts about paper clips that you don’t know.

For example, the paper clip was a Norwegian invention. Unless it wasn’t. Don’t get into an argument with a Norwegian about it because they will beat you bloody. With a paper clip.

During World War II, Norwegians were prohibited from wearing any buttons with the likeness or initials of their king on them. In protest they started wearing paperclips, because paperclips were a Norwegian invention whose original function was to bind together. This was a protest against the Nazi occupation and wearing a paperclip could have gotten you arrested.

It is a well-known fact that paper clips are highly social creatures and live in herds. DearKidLoveMom.comThe real invention of the paper clip came when Stanley (last name lost in history) was standing in his office one day holding a stack of sloppy papers. His “secretary” (and by secretary I mean the lady that ran the office while Stanley stood around being useless) took the papers and realized that she needed a paper clip to hold them together so she invented one. In Stanley’s version of the story, he yelled, “A clip! A clip! My stack of papers for a paper clip!” and one fell from the ceiling.

Back in the olden days (and by “olden days” in this case I mean Microsoft Office 97), there was an animated paper clip (cleverly named “Clippy”) who would pop up to help you write letters and things.

Even earlier (and by “even earlier” I mean after WWII) Project Paper Clip was an American operation to fly German scientists including Wernher von Braun (who became famous as a rocket scientist in Tom Lehrer’s tribute) out of Germany and over to the US (the better to keep the scientists away from the Germans and the Russians).

Rare sighting of a solitary paperclip. DearKidLoveMom.comPerhaps the best use of a paper clip was Kyle MacDonald who managed (over a series of only 14 trades) to trade one red paper clip for a house. Yep, a house. A two-story farmhouse in Saskatchewan. You can read about it here.

I have never managed to trade a paper clip for anything of value, although in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never tried.

Maybe I’d better go lock up the paper clips.

Love, Mom

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Memories and the Importance of Bear Repellant

Dear Kid,

It’s Memorial Day weekend (more about that on Monday). On Memorial Day we focus on parades, hot dogs, those who have and do serve our country, and sleeping in (again, more about that on Monday).

But it seems to me that this is a good time to think about other memories as well.

For example, when you were a wee tot, you were convinced there were bears in your room (do you remember this?). No matter how hard we looked together (and found not a trace of bear), you were absolutely convinced.

So I went into my Big Virtual Bag of Mom Tricks and created a spray bottle full of bear repellant. For a few nights, we ritually sprayed bear repellant all over your room. It must have worked because you were never attacked by a bear in your room (and we all got to sleep).

Memories and the Importance of Bear Repellant.

Happy memory weekend.

Love, Mom

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Learning About Project Blue Collar & Pet Adoption

Dear Kid,

You remember when the Puppy learned he was adopted? And couldn’t understand why he was adopted and you and Pi weren’t? Read about it here and here if you’ve forgotten.

I’m typing very quietly because it’s still a sensitive subject for him.

At Pet Wants, learning about Project Blue Collar. DearKidLoveMom.comYesterday at Pet Wants, I was fortunate enough to meet the ladies who founded and run Project Blue Collar. PBC (as they like to say) is (and I’m quoting here) a global MOVEMENT to celebrate rescue dogs and unite the people who care about them.

Project Blue Collar sells a number of items promoting rescue babies, including (wait for it) a blue collar designed to spark conversation.

“Oh, what an interesting blue collar your dog has. What is it?”

“Thank you for noticing. It means this little guy is a rescue animal. We adopted him.”

Hopefully, the conversation is more interesting than that.

The Lecture:

While there are over 10,000 different rescue groups in the U.S., there are millions of animals in shelters, many, many of whom are adoptable. Over 3 million animals are euthanized in shelters annually (yes—each year) and over 80% would have made wonderful pets.


Not you. You’re in college. You, study.

But for anyone even considering a new pet, please adopt one of these wonderful animals.

And maybe think about investing in a blue collar to help tell the story.

Love, Mom

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Puppy Conversations | Shedding and Purple Fur

Dear Kid,

Puppy: What’s a shed?
Me: It’s a small building usually for storing things.
Puppy: Things like toys?
Me: I suppose you could store toys in a shed. Usually people put things like tools or cars there.
Puppy: Oh Good!
Me: Why?
Puppy: I’m not a shed.
Me: What do you mean?
Puppy: Daddy said I was a shed.
Daddy: I said you were shed-ding.
Puppy: There’s a bell in the shed?
Me: There’s no bell.
Puppy: Let’s go on a walk to the shed.
Me: There’s no shed.
Puppy: But Daddy said there’s a shed.
Me: Shed can also mean that your fur is falling out.
Puppy: My WHAT?! I LOVE my fur.
Me: Yes, of course you love your fur.
Puppy: Get the GLUE! I have to hold on to my fur! Call the medics!!
Me: Some shedding is normal, honey.
Puppy: But if I lose my fur, I’ll be naked!
Me: What do you think is under your fur right now?
Puppy: This is so embarrassing.
Me: When you lose fur, it makes room for new fur to grow.
Puppy: I get new fur?
Me: All the time.
Puppy: I think I’ll grow purple fur this time.
Me: That will be interesting.
Puppy: After my nap.
Me: Of course.

Love, Mom

Be sure to LIKE our Puppy Conversations page on Facebook.

Who do you know who would enjoy Puppy Conversations? Share the love
See more puppy conversations

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7 Steps to Drinking Wine Properly

Dear Kid,

It’s National Wine Day.

Happy National Wine Day! DearKidLoveMom.comI can’t believe it’s taken this long to get here, and I – What? Not National Whine Day? Oh. Dang.

National Wine Day is (duh) a great way to celebrate the grape. Preferably fermented.

One day, if these grapes behave, they might grow up to be wine! Happy National Wine Day!

So a Wine Drinking Lesson seems in order.


The first step is acquiring wine. Sometimes this is as easy as going to your parents’ refrigerator and borrowing a bottle. Sometimes it involves asking a waiter to kindly bring you a glass. Occasionally it involves going to a store and making a purchase. In the best of all possible cases, it means several friends each brought some wine to your place.


Once you have acquired said vino, store it properly. Most of the time that means in a wine glass. Occasionally it means white wine in the frig, red wine on the counter.


Remember the importance of glasses? Of course you do. The most important thing for college students to know about the right wine glass is to find one that isn’t chipped. For the rest of the world, red wine glasses are generally larger than white wine glasses (the better to allow the red wine to oxidize).


Sniff the wine to enjoy the aroma and prepare the palate. Do not sniff like you’re trying to find a dead rat. Especially if no one else in your crowd is a sophisticated wine drinker.


Take a sip. Take a swallow. Nod sagely. Do not smack your lips. Do not chug your mug. Take another sip. Try a delicate bite of cheese. Sip. Nod. Nibble. Sip. Sip. Aw, heck, drink.


Refill. Try another kind of wine because no one brought the same kind to the party.


It is important to store any leftover wine properly. Leftover wine. That’s funny, right?

Happy National Wine Day!

Happy National Wine Day.

Love, Mom

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The Story of Tantalus, DearKidLoveMom Style

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, there was a blank page in the book of Greek mythology, so a story was written to fill it. This is that story.

As you probably guessed, it’s not a happy story because it’s Greek mythology and we have all that pathos to deal with. Also, the Greeks didn’t see a lot of benefit in telling happily-ever-after stories.

And the Greeks were human, so they messed up.

Most of them messed up on a human scale and we don’t know anything about them. Occasionally, someone would mess up on a colossal scale, and BAM! myth.

Here’s one of those stories.

Tantalus was a King. His dad was Zeus, and which made him half-deity, but it turns out that when you’re a twit being half a god is insufficient. (Remember, Zeus had about half a gazillion half-mortal children.)

The gods liked Tantalus (no clue why, except possibly because he could hold his liquor) so he was frequently invited up to Olympus for dinner.

If you had been invited into the Olympus kitchens, and if you’d happened to look in the pantry, you’d know that pretty much all the god ate and drank was ambrosia and nectar. Repetitive, yes, but on the plus side, it’s the food of the gods and therefore pretty dang yummy. Not available at your local McDonald’s.

Being something of an idiot, Tantalus stole some ambrosia so that he could impress his mortal friends.

The gods did not like that, but they didn’t really punish Tantalus. Instead, Zeus had A Serious Talk with his son who promised to behave himself.

He lied.

Adding to his rap sheet, Tantalus branched out from theft and told some Very Important Secrets that Zeus had confided in him.

Think that’s OK? Er, no.

Within a short amount of time, Tantalus had proven that he wasn’t really the Best of All Possible Personages. The gods (for reasons no one can fathom) continued not punishing him thinking he’d learn and start acting his age.

Apparently stealing ambrosia is a gateway crime because then Tantalus went overboard. And when he went overboard, he went big time.

Tantalus invited all the god of Olympus over to his palace for dinner. Either he ran out of food (unlikely—he was King) or he decided to test his guests.

He killed his youngest son, Pelops, roasted him, and served him. Ewww.

Demeter (you remember her) wasn’t paying attention and nibbled some shoulder. The rest of the gods didn’t eat. And when you combine hungry with disgusted with divine anger, you go way beyond hangry.

Zeus immediately went from “Awww, kids will be kids” to ranging fury. He restored Pelops’ life (Demeter made him a nice arm of ivory since she’d eaten his original appendage).

Then Zeus decided to punish Tantalus. First he crushed Tantalus and his kingdom (presumably not Pelops, but I’m not sure). Then he got serious about punishing.

Zeus took Tantalus to the lowest level of Hades and put him in a lake. A lovely lake full of sweet water with a fruit tree branching over the lake right to where Tantalus was imprisoned. Then Zeus cursed Tantalus with hunger and thirst. Yet whenever Tantalus bent to drink from the lake, the water moved away from him. And when he reached for some of the fruit, the tree moved the branch just out of his reach.

Tantalizing story, no?

Love, Mom

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