Grammar, Manners, and Other Behavior

Manners and Colds

Dear Kid,

Sneeze Achoo! Facts you probably don't know about sneezesSpeaking of manners, what is with people?

It’s winter. People have colds.

Cover your mouths people.


Last night I went to the gym (stunner, I know).

After my workout, I went to the sauna. I watched a woman wash her hands with the vigor and concentration generally reserved for surgical residents before she too came to sit in the heat.

Where she sat for a few minutes and then proceeded to cough. Without covering her mouth.

No! I do not want your germies. I am illness-free and I plan to stay that way, and you, you coughing queen, are not helping.

I’m assuming the heat of the sauna killed anything she coughed around, but if I get sick I know who I’m blaming.

Dad, of course.

Love, Mom

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Manners and Martin Luther King Jr Day

Dear Kid,


Those things that Barney the Big Purple Dinosaur taught us about and that Lancelot reinforced ever so convincingly.

They go beyond Please and Thank You (those are still the magic words), beyond holding a door for someone, beyond using the proper fork and glass. Here is a wonderful article (one I didn’t even write) about manners (or lack thereof) in today’s world.

Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality. Alfred Painter. DearKidLoveMom.comManners are about respect. They are about acknowledging that other people have their own priorities and concerns. Manners allow us to ask people for favors and then thank them for the favor and/or appreciate that they are not able to deliver on the request.

Manners are about respect and generosity of spirit. They are about finding small ways to put others before ourselves. They are about having conversations on a respectful level rather than from an emotional, biased perspective.

While using an umbrella handle to fling a mug of beer is an excellent method for teaching manners in movie-land and comic books, most of us teach manners by modeling appropriate behavior and gently correcting those around us who forget to behave appropriately.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr DearKidLoveMom.comManners, kindness, open hearts, and generosity of spirit are excellent things to be reminded about on Martin Luther King Jr Day.

Love, Mom

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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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