Plotting for Punxsutawney

Dear Kid,

I have a notion. A stray little thought that wandered into my cranium about a year ago and took up residence. I thought maybe it had been a temporary boarder, but it recently popped up again.

Punxsutawney Phil. Mom plots to get to Gobbler's Knob for Groundhog Day. DearKidLoveMom.comI want to go to Gobbler’s Knob on Groundhog Day.

There are only about a thousand problems with this notion starting with

  1.  I don’t think Dad will be interested in going,
  2.  They open the gate to Gobbler’s Knob at 3am which is a ridiculous hour,
  3.  That ridiculous hour is made even more ridiculous because it’s the middle of freakin’ winter and therefore cold (which I hate), and
  4.  Groundhog Day 2015 is on a Monday—and it’s not recognized as one of the holidays we get to skip work for.

On the plus side, it’s Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney!

I looked up Punxsutawney, PA on Google maps. It turns out that Gobbler’s Knob is on the outskirts of Punxsutawney and Punxsutawney is in exactly nowhere PA.

And there doesn’t seem to be much else to do in the area. Aside from the hand crafted groundhog souvenirs and the Punxsutawney Phil museum. Or something like that.

There’s always the possibility of getting caught in the same day over and over again, but they don’t advertise that.

Love, Mom

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Yawn Yourself Awake (Maybe)

Dear Kid,

Do NOT read this right before a test!!!! If a test, class, or other Important Event is coming up in the next hour, wait until later to peruse today’s DearKidLoveMom post.

I’m tired. Which started me thinking about yawning. Which started me yawning. Which of course seems sort of backward.

I consulted my good friend the internet to see if I could find out anything interesting about yawning.

While we were consulting, I discovered that while it is possible to type and yawn at the same time, it’s not always easy if you’re yawning a HUGE yawn.

A yawn so wide you can see down his neck. (Extra points if you get the reference.)

Bet you're going to yawn now. DearKidLoveMom.comAccording to MFTI, no one really knows why we yawn.

One idea is that we’re bored or tired we don’t breathe as deeply as usual. Our shallower, slower breathing means we take in less oxygen. The theory is that yawning brings in more oxygen.

The only problem is that breathing oxygen doesn’t decrease yawning. The second “only problem with that theory” is that yawning doesn’t actually put more blood in our bloodstreams.

I can say with certainty that writing about yawning leads to an increase in yawning. A big increase in yawning.

Theory number two is that yawning stretches your lungs, which increases heart rate, which makes you feel more awake.

Fact: I have never felt more awake after yawning. And I’m pretty sure my lungs don’t pick bed-time as a good time to exercise (especially since none of my other organs or appendages are interested in exercise when sleep is a viable option).

Theory Number Next holds that yawning helps redistribute the surfactant that keeps lungs lubricated and prevents lungs from collapsing.

This is (imho) ridiculous. Because why would we only want to redistribute surfactant when we’re tired? And why can we sometimes go for long stretches without a yawn? Wouldn’t a lot of people have collapsed lungs?

Yet another theory holds that we yawn to cool down our brains. The theory basically says that we yawn to bring in cooler air and increasing blood flow of newly cooled blood to the brain.

AAAAnd, it turns out that when we’re bored and/or tired, our brain temperature goes up. Hot brain =more yawning. So it’s not that we yawn to get more oxygen and wake up, it’s that we yawn to cool down our brain so smarticles don’t leak out our ears. The challenge I have with this theory (which seems to be the one experts are going with at the moment) is that I rarely yawn at the gym. Perhaps it’s because they keep it nice and cool so regular breathing is sufficient to cool my grey matter. I still can’t explain why I don’t yawn when I drink hot coffee or soup.

I still have no idea why my eyes tear when I yawn a couple of times. Yawning=mascara challenges.

As I have mentioned (and as you doubtless know), yawning is even more contagious than Ebola. (Oh, hush. It’s the first Ebola reference I’ve made which I think shows great restraint on my part.)

Here’s where it gets really interesting. Yawns are not contagious in infants or children with autism. Kids begin to “catch” yawns when they’re about 4 years old.

Puppy yawns are adorable. Especially the part where they curl their tongue. How do they DO that?

Hope I’ve kept you awake. But I bet you’re yawning.

Love, Mom

P.S. Cover your mouth when you yawn.

P.P.S. The reference is to Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book

The news just came in
from the County of Keck
That a very small bug
by the name of Van Vleck
is yawning so wide
you can look down his neck.
This may not seem
very important, I know.
But it IS. So I’m bothering
telling you so.
A yawn is quite catching, you see. Like a cough.
It just takes one yawn to start other yawns off.
NOW the news has come in that some friends of Van Vleck’s
are yawning so wide you can look down their necks.

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Puppy Conversations | Discussing Halloween

Dear Kid,

It’s almost Halloween. Actually, I’m pretty sure you’ve already had one Halloween weekend but maybe not. Or maybe you get a second one.

Halloween Trick or Treat DearKidLoveMom.comI decided I’d better have a conversation with the Puppy about the approaching festivities.

Me: Friday is Halloween
Puppy: And I will howl
Me: You will not howl
Puppy: You said it was Howloween! And I’m very good at howling
Me: No howling
Puppy: This is going to be confusing, isn’t it?
Me: Lots of children will knock on our door
Puppy: And I will bark
Me: That’s what I wanted to talk to you about
Puppy: You finally want to learn how to bark?
Me: Not exactly. I don’t want you to bark
Puppy: Do you see anyone else around here who is going to do the barking? I will bark
Me: I don’t think barking is necessary
Puppy: Barking is ALWAYS necessary!!!
Me: But these are friendly children
Puppy: They will come inside and play?
Me: No. They will say Trick or Treat
Puppy: That doesn’t sound friendly. I will bark
Me: No barking. When they say Trick or Treat we will give them candy
Puppy: And then they will come in and play?
Me: No, then they will leave
Puppy: Let me get this straight. No howling, no barking, no playing, but they get treats?
Me: Right
Puppy: And then they just leave?
Me: Right
Puppy: That is ridiculous
Me: That is Halloween
Puppy: Mom?
Me: Yes, pumpkin?
Puppy: Trick or treat
Me: You need a treat?
Puppy: I think I do
Me: Come on, good boy, let’s get you a treat
Puppy: A Treat!! A Treat!!! I love Treats!!!
Me: Here you go, sweetie
Puppy: Mom?
Me: Yes, baby?
Puppy: I’m still going to bark
Me: I was pretty sure you would
Puppy: And you love me anyway
Me: I absolutely love you anyway
Puppy: Enough for another treat?
Me: No more treats
Puppy: Sigh

Love, Mom

For more puppy conversations see

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Interfaith Hospitality Network | Doing Good in Cincinnati

Dear Kid,

Last week I went to a fundraising event for the Interfaith Hospitality Network (because I’ve bonded with them, we can call it IHN).

The IHN is a coalition of 90 congregations throughout Cincinnati that help homeless families stay together and escape homelessness. IHN is one of only two shelters in the area that keeps the entire family together (most organizations separate fathers and teenage boys from the women and children).

Twenty seven of the congregations open their doors during the year to feed the families, play with their children, and give them a place to spend the night.

Instead of an invocation, Rabbi Wise gave a very nice d’var Torah (only he didn’t call it that) on the theme of “The best way to give thanks is to share what we have with those in need.”

Over 350 use IHN each year and 250 of those are children. That’s 28,000 meals.

Dr. Santa Ono, President of the University of Cincinnati speaking at the breakfast for the Interfaith Hospitality Network DearKidLoveMom.comDr. Santa J. Ono was the guest speaker. (In case you don’t remember, he’s the Very Impressive President of the University of Cincinnati.)

In serving others, you learn how to model yourself. –Ono

The fact is, being homeless is not a disease. It is not contagious. No one deserves to be homeless or poor and homelessness can happen to the best of us. Every person you know, every person you have ever known, every person you will ever meet has the potential to face difficult times, to find themselves unable to pay their rent, unable to buy food for their family, unable to find a job.

At UC, they work to educate students not just in academics but in being good people. “We want them—wherever they go—to serve others as a part of their lives.”

Dr. Ono believes that when we help others, we help ourselves. He’s not alone in that belief—and that is a wonderful thing.

After Dr. Ono, Beatrice, a former IHN client, spoke. Wow. Just Wow. She had been homeless but with IHN’s help within 35 days she and her son were in an apartment and she had a job. “Homelessness does not mean helplessness.”

Following Beatrice, the executive director of IHN spoke. In a morning of powerful statements, she made one of the most impactful. She said, “Children should not have to shoulder the burden of a family. They should run and play and screech with joy.” No child should know the fear of sleeping in a car.

Given what I learned at the YWCA event, I know that there are often times when children don’t have the luxury to be children. We all need work to let kids be kids.

85% of the families that use IHN services never return to homelessness. That is an amazing statistic.

Thank you, Stacey, for inviting me to the breakfast and introducing me to the Interfaith Hospitality network and all the good it does in our community.

Love, Mom

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Cincinnati Bengals Win in a Nail Biter (Don’t Bite Your Nails)

Dear Kid,

In case you were studying (yeah, I’m laughing too) and missed the Bengals game (or in case you were watching in Spanish of which I happen to know you speak not a word [did you know they simulcast in Spanish?]), I thought I would bring you my own special brand of Broad-casting.

Love Watching the Bengals Win! Who Dey! DearKidLoveMom.comKickoff through the endzone which is a touchback. Amazingly, even though it got to the endzone differently than Pi’s did, it has the same effect and Our Boys take the field on the 20. Striped dudes quickly get a first down. Sanu catches an uncatchable throw from Dalton by extending his arm three inches beyond his reach. Timeout Cincinnati (What? Why?) which turns out to be a bad idea, because they got sacked immediately afterword.

I think commentators need to change their perspective. They keep talking about “settling for a field goal.” How silly. The correct phraseology is “have the wonderful luck of scoring with a beautiful field goal” or possibly “being rescued by the kicker who managed to get points on the board when the rest of the time couldn’t.”

TD Bengals. Woot! PAT is solid. 7:0.

Kickoff, runback, penalty, bunch of plays, we almost intercept but dude was bobbling as he went out of bounds (still a good try), fourth and inches to the goal (what to do, what to do), they go for it, pass incomplete (should have let your kicker rescue you, boys), and the Bengals take over.

Your father, and several other Sycamore dads have pointed out on more than one occasion that Sir Madden says “Get the points.” Which we interpret to mean “let Pi kick the FG rather than blowing it on a fourth down attempt.” Baltimore should pay more attention to Dads and Sir Madden.

Bengals start on the not-very-many yard line. And the first quarter comes to an end.

Bengals, Ravens, commentary, commentary. Excellent D, and the Bengals get the ball back. Well, it was about to go that way. Instead, we oopsed, got a penalty, they oopsed, got a penalty. And the Ravens pay attention and allow their kicker to rescue them. 7:3.

Allergy medicine commercial makes me want to get a new puppy. Not sure that’s what they intended.

Commentator: And a new set of downs for Andy Dalton and the Bengals.

Makes me wonder if they ever recycle downs. “And a gently used set of downs for Dalton and the Bengals.”

Killer bunch of penalties (coaches will not be happy) and we punt. Bye-bye ball. Play, play.

Whistle was blown erroneously. Commentators are having a field day with that phrase. Not sure if they don’t really know what it means or if they just like the word “erroneously.” Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. Extra points if you get the reference.

Ravens try a 50 yard FG. 7:6. See what happens when you listen to Papa Madden?

A few plays later, the half ends.

I’m sure interesting things were said during halftime, but I was in the kitchen dealing with the chaos there, so I didn’t hear any of it firsthand. I suspect it had something to do with the number of penalties the Bengals enjoyed.

Ravens get the ball. No biggie, because we intercept it. Woot! And promptly turn it into a touchdown. PAT is perfect. Of course. 14:6.

Kickoff. Play. Play. We intercept. BENGALS ROCK!!!

And we promptly allow Nugent to show how wonderful he is. 17:6.

Sorry. Got distracted for a minute. Turns out the Ravens decided to play football and scored a touchdown. With the two-point conversion, the score is now 17:14.

All is fine. Our boys take the ball. Nugent kicks a FG. 20:14.

This is the commercial point in our show. As in 1 minute of football, 17 hours of commercials. Rinse and repeat. Yawn.

Ravens have the ball. Hail Mary full of incomplete. More commercials. Punt. AND WE HAVE THE BALL BACK!

But wait! There’s more! Dalton loses the football (yark!), a Raven-type person picks it up and runs to the 8 before being tackled. (Officially: sack/fumble.) Next play is a Raven TD. The next play puts the Ravens in the lead. If you’re a Raven fan, you’re pretty happy right about now. I’m not. 20:21.

Come on, Bengals, time to get some more points.

Sigh. Ravens intercept. Booker is sighing too. But we have 5 minutes left (which is about 6 hours in football time), we have plenty of time left. Ravens kick a 53 yard FG (yay for kickers in general but not for this play specifically). 20:24. Some fans are leaving the stadium. Silly people.

Two incomplete passes (talk of doom and gloom by the commentators). Then Dalton rips one about 1,000 yards to Sanu! We’re on the 18. Small pass. Run goes nowhere. They want to run because there is so much time on the clock the commentators explain. So Dalton passes to inside the 10.

Two minute warning.

Did that commercial just show a guy leaving his dog alone, overnight, unplanned!!!? I hope I misunderstood because that’s just awful. Unplanned indeed.

Bengals to the 5.

Bengals to the 1 centimeter line. Ravens call time out.

Cinci to the 1 foot line. Ravens time out. Fourth and goal.

TOUCHDOWN!! THE CROWD GOES WILD. Booker sneezes. PAT perfecto.

57 seconds on the clock. 27:24. CanNOT believe people left this game early. Even those of us that might be napping are watching with mucho interest.

In case math isn’t your strong suit, the Bengals job is now to keep the Ravens out of field goal range. (See what I mean about kickers rescuing teams?)

Kick is bobbled in the endzone and the Ravens start on the 20. Two incomplete passes. Third and 10 with 47 seconds. This is so exciting! Holy @#$%@#$%. Pass complete, in for a TD, but brought back on a penalty. (It’s ok. I don’t need the couple of years that just took off my life.)

Thirty-two seconds.

Third and 20. Somebody tackle him!!! Flacco has to throw it away.

Fourth down.

Short pass. Dude runs a little but out of bounds short of the first down.

AND THE BENGALS WIN! THE BENGALS WIN! Who Dey!!! And don’t all those people who left early feel dumb now?

Nicely done, Striped Ones, nicely done.

Love, Mom

Real Bengals fans Like DearKidLoveMom.


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Sunday, Solitaire, Blogging, and Bengals

Dear Kid,

Since you are not a blogger, I don’t know if you’re aware of the Important Role solitaire (and Diet Coke) play in creating a blog.

As you may be aware, I forgot to get a psychology degree. Actually, I’m not sure I’d want a psychology degree (I don’t like people today and psych degrees seem to involve working with people). So I guess it’s less of having forgotten to get that particular degree as not having it. But the result is the same. I am not certified. (Certifiable, I know, but not certified.)

Degree or not, I think the reason solitaire is so important is it uses the solitaire part of the brain leaving the blogging part of the brain free to think about the next sentence of the blog.

Having tested this theory thoroughly, I can tell you it doesn’t make much difference which particular game of solitaire you play, although it’s easier (for me) to switch back and forth between solitaire and blogging when they are both electronic.

Some days, solitaire seems to inspire more than others.

Today is (duh) one of the others.

Although I’m also writing tomorrow’s blog about the Bengals. It is an absolutely accurate, unbiased, and thoroughly detailed account of the game. And by “absolutely accurate, unbiased, and thoroughly detailed” I mean “I’m reporting everything I choose to report in the manner in which I see them.” Doubt the NFL is going to offer me a job.

Love, Mom

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Newsilicious Day

Dear Kid,

What a day.

Pablo Picasso was born in 1881, John Adams married Abigail Smith in 1764, and the Charge of the Light Brigade happened in 1854.

Today your sister kicked her first touchback which kinda tops the whole list. To be clear, she kicked a really long kickoff that bounced into the endzone, but technically it’s a touchback, so she’s a pretty happy camper. Hard to believe there’s only one weekend of high school football left.

And it turns that Costco’s chocolate chips are dairy free and come in a bag so big there’s no way even Pi and I can make a dent in one sitting. Happy us.

It’s a gorgeous day here. Hope you’re enjoying it as well.

Love, Mom




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