Grammar, Manners, and Other Behavior

Raptors, Little Miami River, Fiona the Hippo, and Puking Up Lunch

Raptors, Little Miami River, Fiona the Hippo, and Puking Up Lunch

Dear Kid,

Your Dad is generally a smart man.

For example, he could have said, “Want to go to a dinner event with me?” at which point I would have had to think up 4,862 creative ways to say, “No.

Instead, he said, “Do you want to go to the Little Miami Conservancy’s dinner where Raptor Inc will have birds and Thane Maynard will be the keynote speaker?”

Um, yes. Raptors and Thane Maynard? Of freakin’ course!


So last night we went to the event.

I got there first (I’ll wait while you roll your eyes and say “Of COURSE you got there first.”). There weren’t many people around the raptors which was weird because LIVE RAPTORS. I immediately snagged the spot closest to the raptor people (and by “closest” I mean about 6 atoms away from the birds and by “raptor people” I mean the people that the raptors brought with them because birds don’t know how to drive).

First I met Lucy the Peregrine Falcon. She’s gorgeous. I was close enough to see her nares. Get your mind out of the gutter. “Nares” means nostrils. And Peregrine Falcons have a boney tubercle in each nare which directs airflow so that their brains don’t explode when they dive. The nares are such an exceptional design that jet engines are modeled after them. So pretty much when you’re in an airplane you’re there courtesy of a peregrine’s shnoz.

Lucy the Peregrine Falcon

Then I met Sylvester the Great Horned Owl (have I told you how much I love those Raptor Inc people?). I’ve never been that close to a GHO and Sylvester is beautiful. His eyes are stunning. And enormous. Golden. He was beautifully behaved. (Sometimes he casts a pellet in public. And we say “casts a pellet” because he is a classy guy and “pukes up lunch remnants” is not classy.)

Sylvester the Great Horned Owl does not need to suffer succotash since he's served mice, quail, and other delicacies.

If you’re in the area, go see the raptors the last Sunday of each month (March – November) from 1pm to 4pm. Well worth it.

Fred Shaw, the Shawnee storyteller, gave the blessing which was beautiful. (When was the last time you heard me say that?) Then food, then Thane.

Our very own 90 Second Naturalist told stories about the Little Miami River and then he talked about Fiona, the Zoo’s preemie hippo. Hard to know which is sweeter—Fiona or the cake they served for dessert.

Thane Maynard talking about Fiona the baby hippo.

Love, Mom

Know someone who likes Raptors? or hippos? or who just might enjoy Share the love.

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Rain, Traffic, and It’s Not Worth It

Dear Kid,

It was raining (hard) as I headed for home last night. It was about 9:30pm as I existed the Norwood Lateral and turned north on I-71. For anyone who is not familiar with the area, the Lateral runs east/west [I was heading east] and 71 runs north/south on the east side of Cincinnati.

Usually it runs. Last night it was a parking lot.

I’m a girl who likes information, so I called Dad.

“I just turned off the Lateral onto 71 and it’s a complete standstill. Can you see if you can figure out what’s going on?”

: Actually, I don’t know what his understanding was—I just know it didn’t match mine. DearKidLoveMom.comMy understanding of the situation: I wanted to know A) what the problem was, B) where—exactly—the problem was, C) whether I should be considering an alternate route, and D) how long it would take me to get home.

Dad’s understanding of the situation: Actually, I don’t know what his understanding was—I just know it didn’t match mine. I know this because he said, “Was 75 backed up?”

“What? I have no idea. I’m on 71. Can you see if you can figure out what the issue is here?”

“Did you see if 75 was backed up and then decide to take 71?”

“75 is on the west side. I’m now on the east side. I just want to know what’s causing the problem.”

“Why did you go that way?”

(In my head, “Why does that matter? Just see if you can figure out what the situation is!”)

What I actually said, “I always go this way. I think maybe I see flashing lights, but I’m not sure.”

“So you’re moving, just slowly.”

“No, at this moment, I am l literally not moving at all.”

“I’m listening to NPR and they haven’t said anything about a problem on 71.”

(In my head, “No, I wouldn’t think this would hit the national news headlines.”)

What I actually said, “…”

Dad hung up to research the issue.

Traffic crept forward 3 car lengths.

“Well, Sweetie, I can’t find anything.”

“I’m pretty sure I can see lights.”

“You can always get off at the next exit and take Ridge.”

“Well, I’m going to be delayed.”

“Just turn on the news, take a deep breath, and enjoy the time.”

(In my head, “’News’ and ‘enjoy’ are generally not words I put together.”)

What I actually said, “See you in a while.”

I feel sorry for the officers who were standing out in the rain making sure the cars didn’t exceed the speed limit while they inched along. DearKidLoveMom.com6 hours and a quarter mile later, I reached the next exit. There had been a terrible crash—at least three cars totaled—which blocked the entire highway. We had to take the exit whether we wanted to or not.

The highway just north of the exit was fine. So we could get right back on. Except at that particular exist, there is no such thing as “right back on.” You have to go aaaaalllllll the way around the exit ramp, up two blocks this way, over a couple of blocks that way, across the overpass, and then take the long entrance ramp back to the highway. Lots of red lights. It took a while.

Still it was better than taking unfamiliar back roads.

My twenty minute drive home took about 45 minutes.

I hope no one was badly hurt in the crash.

I feel sorry for the officers who were standing out in the rain making sure the cars didn’t exceed the speed limit while they inched along.

I don’t know what caused the crash or what the circumstances leading up to it were. I do know that far too many accidents are caused by people texting, or rushing, or rushing and texting.

It’s not worth it.

Neither is trying to explain some things to the HusbandPerson.

Love, Mom

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There Are So Many Things Wrong With This I Don’t Know Where to Begin | Also International Women’s Day

Dear Kid,

In case you haven’t been paying attention (for your entire life), I feel I should mention that women have not always been treated fairly.

"Sure he was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, ...backwards and in high heels." DearKidLoveMom.comIt wasn’t too long ago that women in these here United States were considered property under the law. And women still don’t earn as much as men—even when they’re doing the Exact Same Job (only backwards and in high heels).

NOTE: You’re heard of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? They were very famous (seriously famous) movie stars Back In The Day. They sang and danced (think long gowns, top hats, ballroom, tap, and gorgeous). There is a famous quote: “Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, …backwards and in high heels.”

You may be aware that I believe women should be paid as much as men. Or more. You may be aware that I believe fabulous shoes are one of the little luxuries of life. You may even be aware that I color my hair and wear makeup. But you must know that while I think equal pay is mandatory, I do not think shoes or hair dye or mascara are requisite nor that they have any bearing on how a person does his or her job.

Not everyone agrees with me.

That in and of itself should be a clue.

As reported in USA Today (so it must be true), British receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home from work in December 2015 because her shoes were unacceptable—because they weren’t high heels. Excuse me, what?

She worked for an employment agency which had a dress code specifying that female workers “must wear non-opaque tights, have hair with no visible roots, and wear regularly reapplied makeup.”

Excuse me again, WHAT??!

No visible roots and regularly reapplied makeup? I wouldn’t last a week.

Non-opaque tights? Have you looked in a fashion magazine lately? Most people in the workforce aren’t even old enough to remember “Our L’eggs fit your legs”.

Sent home for wearing flats? She was a receptionist! Who was going to comment on her shoes?

The client she was sent home from? PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the giants in the world of accounting and auditing. PwC—a company that absolutely Should Know Better.

I can’t even cope with how wrong this is.

I get that dress codes can be appropriate (no one needs to wear short-shorts to a professional workplace). I get that super strict dress codes are appropriate in some places (like operating rooms). And I’ve heard of some dumb dress codes (really, really dumb). But never (repeat, NEVER) have I heard anything this ridiculously stupid.

So now (again, according to USA Today), Members of the British Parliament are debating a ban on mandatory workplace high heels.

There is so much wrong with that sentence I don’t even know where to start.

There has to be a debate? What’s to discuss? And in today’s world, doesn’t Parliament have better things to talk about?

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. It won’t be soon, but someday I hope we’ll celebrate International Women’s Day as a tribute to the past rather than a statement of the present.

Love, Mom

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I Had A Lovely Weekend. I Think. (and verb problems)

Dear Kid,

I have been kidnapped. I will be kidnapped. I was kidnapped.

“If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?” ― Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, DearKidLoveMom.comAll of the above are equally true and equally false.

Let’s start with the timeline. I’m writing this last week (It is last week as I’m writing. Except it isn’t. It’s now. But by the time you read this, it will have been last week). Explaining the timeline is not as easy as I’d hoped.

Timeline Take 2. I’m writing this letter on Friday because I am going to be deprived of my computer for the weekend. Later today (or last Friday, as it were), Dad is kidnapping me.

Perhaps kidnapping is too strong a word. Since I am going willingly. Happily. And I expect to be returned, no worse for wear, in a few days (by today, in fact).

We’re celebrating our anniversary and Daddy is surprising me with a trip. Here’s what I know so far: We’re leaving Friday evening (Pi is coming home to Puppy sit and study). Saturday evening is dressy. The rest of the time I need to look casual but nice. There will be coffee. I’m not allowed to bring a computer.

Which means the trip is not a surprise but the destination is. Except that by the time you read this the destination won’t be a surprise—at least not to me because the weekend will be over.

I’m sure I had a lovely weekend. Will have had.

My verb tense usage and I need a nap.

Love, Mom

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Great Customer Service | It’s Rare, But It Exists

Dear Kid,

Unfortunately, stories about rotten customer service abound. “I can’t believe I had to stand in line for half an hour and then they got my order wrong.” “You would not believe how rude that salesperson was!” “If I’d wanted bruised tomatoes, I’d have picked out bruised tomatoes! There was no reason for the clerk to throw my produce down the belt like that!”

Veterans and More | Thank You to All Who Keep Us Safe DearKidLoveMom.comWhat’s even more unfortunate is that we’ve come to expect terrible service. “Allow an extra half hour.” “Oh, look. They only messed up half my order—things are improving.”

Every now and then, we find great customer service. Not just good (which is surprising in and of itself) but great.

Such is the case with the support team at SKT Themes.

SKT Themes creates designs (themes) for WordPress websites, and I recently had the opportunity to contact their support team because I sort of, um, messed up the code (not on—on another site).

Not only did Shri respond promptly (I know, crazy, right?), he was helpful. When I still couldn’t fix the problem, he had one of the programmers sign into the site and – shazam! problem solved. Pretty wonderful.

Then when I had another question, he sent me a video explaining the solution. He didn’t say “go find a video” he kindly sent me the link. Happy me.

I’m hoping not to break the website again, but if I do help is only an email away.

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful experience today.

Love, Mom

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How Many Texts Is Too Many?

Dear Kid,

I woke up to 60 text messages this morning.

You know you haven’t had enough coffee when numbers look like little people dancing. DearKidLoveMom.comYep. 6-0. As in one more than 59. (See how I do that math thing even this early in the morning?)

My first thought was (predictably) “You have GOT to be kidding me.”

My second thought was (even more predictably) “Coffee.”

Since that seemed to use up my ability to think for a while, I didn’t bother with a third thought.

Turned out (quite happily) that the 60 messages were a running dialog you, Pi, and Dad had last night about the various football games in progress, the ability to sum up most football games with the single word “kickers” (with or without exclamation points), and nailbiter emojis. It made me smile before the coffee kicked in (not an easy trick).

I was thinking about those texts when Grandma showed me an article about the importance of grammar. It will not be news to you to know that I think grammar is important. (Pi—if you’re reading this, the correct usage is “Sophia and I are dying” not “Me and Sophia are dying.”)

It will also not surprise you to know that I am perfectly comfortable with different “proper” usage for different types of communication.

For example, “’Kickers!’ nailbiter emojis” is perfectly fine text communication. Especially when the conversation preceding it has been about a football field goal attempt. It is lousy writing for a news column.

“See ya’” is a perfectly fine communication between friends agreeing to meet for pizza. It is anything except acceptable for closing a business communication.

As the article pointed out, one of the benefits of grammar (besides not worrying about your mother correcting you) is that when you use correct grammar you increase the odds that the person you’re communicating with will understand you. Using poor grammar often leads to “Huh? Explain.”

And while “Me and Sophia are dying” may completely and clearly convey the stress of not knowing the all-important outcome of the football game, I sincerely hope my voice is in her head saying “Sophia and I”.

Love, Mom

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