Mom Thoughts

More About the Ohio River Than You Really Need to Know

Dear Kid,

You’ve heard of the Ohio River. But do you know about it?

It is illegal to fish for whales on Sunday in Ohio. DearKidLoveMom.comWell, of course you do, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway.

The Ohio River springs into existence in Pittsburgh where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers collide. The Ohio is 981 miles long, ending in Cairo, Illinois, after passing through (or being the border of) six states.

I’ll wait while you try to remember what they are.

Its largest tributary is the Tennessee River, but there are plenty of other tributaries along the way.

The Ohio River is the source of drinking water for more than 3 million people. Most of them prefer that it passes through a water treatment facility before being poured into their drinking cups.

There are currently 20 dams on the Ohio River watched over and managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The first locks on the river (the Louisville and Portland Canal) were built between 1825 and 1830 at the only major natural navigational barrier on the river, the Falls of the Ohio near Louisville. The Falls (it sounds so grand, doesn’t it?) were a series of rapids where the river dropped 26 feet in about 2 miles.

Everybody knows fish blow bubbles. Just ask any kid to draw a fish. There will be bubbles. DearKidLoveMom.comApproximately 164 species of fish have been found in the Ohio River (not all of them at the same time). In the early 19th century, many pirates were also found on the river (they weren’t nearly as nice as the fish).

80 species of mussels once lived in the Ohio River. Currently only 50 species occur and 5 of those are in danger of extinction.

There are fish consumption advisories in place for the entire length of the river. Basically, don’t fish in the river if you’re looking for lunch.

Love, Mom

The Ohio River flows through or borders six states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Want to know more about the Ohio River? Read more here.

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Interesting Facts About December That (Mostly) Aren’t About Christmas

Dear Kid,

Happy December. Interesting Facts About December That Are (Mostly) Not About Christmas. DearKidLoveMom.comIt’s December (you probably knew that, but it’s possible you weren’t paying attention). There’s a lot of focus on The Holiday Season at this time of year, but there are other reasons that December is interesting. Being the kind of mom I am, I decided to ferret some of those Lesser Known Factoids for you.

A group of ferrets is called a “business.” I don’t know why, but I promise I’m not giving you the business by telling you that.

December is the twelfth last month of the year (which you know). But “deci” means “ten”, so what’s up with that nonsense? Turns out that December was the 10th month of the year when the Romans started naming things. Apparently January and February didn’t count as months back then (which you would have known if you’d been alive then. But you weren’t.).

The song “Jingle Bells” was written in 1857 and was meant to be a song for Thanksgiving rather than Christmas. (Imho, it should have stayed with Turkey Day because there aren’t many good Thanksgiving songs.)

December is best known for the holiday season (by which of course I mean National Fruitcake Month, National Eggnog Month, National Tie Month, and National Pear Month). No one cares about National Tie Month. Not all that many people care about National Fruitcake Month either.

Not only do we celebrate the inedibility of fruitcake in December, we also celebrate Light (as in all the festivals of), lack of light (as in the shortest days of the year), and shopping. Therefore, it should be no surprise to you that December is the month when couples argue the most. No light, no cash, no idea what to do with the fruitcake = fighting.

In the UK, more people are given breathalyzer tests in December than in any other month. This also leads to arguing. But with cooler accents that we have.

Saint Nickolas (who later became the jolly old elf know as Santa Claus) was the patron saint of children, thieves, and pawnbrokers. I’ll wait while you think about that for a minute.

According to a study done in 2011, more dentists have birthdays in December than in any other month. I have no idea what that means.

The stock market tends to do well in December (a phenomena affectionately called the Santa Rally). This is not a recommended way to plan an investing strategy.

December throws the biggest party any month ends with—New Year’s Eve.

Hope December is a good month for you.

Love, Mom

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Puppy, Mutts, and National Mutt Day

Puppy, Mutts, and National Mutt Day

Dear Kid,

Just in case you weren’t paying attention, this past Saturday was National Mutt Day, a holiday to “raise awareness of the plight of mixed breed dogs in shelters.”

Puppy: What’s a “mutt”?
Me: It’s when something is not all the same.
Puppy: Like our silverware.
Pi: He’s right. There are a lot of mis-matches in there.
Me: I prefer to think of it as getting away from being too matchy-matchy.
Puppy: Like a mutt.

In general, mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier, more flexible, and better behaved than purebreds.

Pi: Right up to the point they encounter another dog who is very sweet and just wants to take a nap rather than playing. Looking at you, short stuff.
Puppy: I am a good boy.
Pi: Keep telling yourself that.

Mixed breeds are often trained for performances and working (bomb and drug sniffing, search and rescue, guide dog, etc.). Those jobs used to be for purebred animals but the roles are now often filled by mixed breed.

Puppy: I work.
Me: You do not work.
Puppy: I work very hard!
Me: And I repeat. You do not work.
Puppy: Well, I could work if I wanted to.
Pi: Keep telling yourself that.

About 80% of the dogs in shelters are mixed breeds.

Puppy: What’s a “mixed breed”?
Pi: A mutt.
Puppy: Synonyms are hard.

Love, Mom

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What You Never Knew About Wine Bottles

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, Mrs. Joe Neanderthal decided to throw a Fancy Dinner Party. While she cooked a large Rump of Mammoth, she sent Joe down to the corner to buy a couple of bottles of a nice wine.

The Complete and Total History of Wine Bottles...More or Less. DearKidLoveMom.comUnfortunately, Joe couldn’t count up to “a couple” and returned home with only one bottle. Mrs. J. N. immediately sent him out for more. Joe immediately decided that getting ready for a Fancy Dinner Party was not his idea of Fun and he spent the rest of the day at the pub, drinking beer with the guys. When he finally staggered home, Mrs. Joe clonked him on the head with the wine bottle to express her concern for his misspent afternoon.

After that, the history of wine bottles is a little murky owing to the bodily risks of preparing for a party involving alcohol.

Eventually (and by “eventually” I mean a really, really long time ago), glass was invented (primarily so that people could throw stones, but also to make bottles). At first glass bottles were très brittle, but then people discovered that they could make thicker bottles by super-heating the glass.

Glass bottles were blown round (because that was easiest) and were blown to exactly one lungful of the glassblower’s air. Which meant every bottle was its own size. (In England, it was illegal to sell wine by the bottle because of the inconsistencies in size. Wine had to be sold by the barrel, after which it could be decanted into bottles. It wasn’t until 1860 that the law was changed.)

Not only weren’t bottles standard, they were round. (NOTE: Round bottles roll. Generally off the table.) Since most wine makers preferred to keep their wine inside its container rather than having it decorate the floor, round bottles were not used for wine. So longer (non-standard) bottles were invented and people started aging wines.

In 1979, the US of A set the standard size for a glass wine bottle at 750 ml. It seems like it would have been longer ago than that. But it wasn’t.

Love, Mom

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Puppy Discusses Thanksgiving Trip | Part III

Puppy Discusses Thanksgiving Trip | Part III

Dear Kid,

The conversation continued…

Puppy Conversations: What Your Pet Wants You to Know (Conversations with the Dog) by Judi Cogen is here! Details coming soon. DearKidLoveMom.comPuppy: And then we had to drive all the way home.
Me: It was a long drive, wasn’t it?
Puppy: It lasted my whole entire life.
Me: It lasted the better part of a day.
Puppy: That’s what I said. The entire universe of time.
Me: You stayed awake for the entire trip. That’s a long time to go without a nap.
Puppy: Well, someone had to monitor our progress.
Me: I thought we were doing that…
Puppy: Not as well as I was.
Me: I see.
Puppy: We stopped at lots of places, but we didn’t stay long enough to make friends.
Me: That’s called a rest stop.
Puppy: What? We didn’t rest at all. We got out of the car.
Me: We rested from driving.
Puppy: You’re weird. There’s nothing to rest from! You were sitting the entire time.
Me: Um…
Puppy: Then we were home.
Me: Yes.
Puppy: I like home.
Me: Home is where the heart is.
Puppy: Home is where my pillow is.
Me: “Home is where the heart is” means that wherever the people you love are is your home.
Puppy: No.
Me: Excuse me?
Puppy: The people I love were on the trip with me and we definitely weren’t Home. We were Away.
Me: Yes, but…
Pi: He’s got a good point.
Puppy: It is very tiring being on a Trip. You have to meet people, and stay awake, and sniff things.
Me: It can be very tiring.
Puppy: I believe I will stay home for a while.
Me: I believe I will too.
Puppy: I believe I will have a snack.
Me: I believe you will not.
Puppy: I would have gotten a snack on the trip.
Me: Sometimes trip rules and home rules are a little different.
Puppy: Very confusing.
Me: Yes.
Puppy: Very tiring.
Me: Yes.
Puppy: zzzzzz…snort…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Love, Mom

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Puppy Discusses Thanksgiving Trip | Part II

Puppy Discusses Thanksgiving Trip | Part II

Dear Kid,

Puppy: Did I tell you about my trip?
Me: I’m pretty sure I was there with you.
Puppy: But it’s better when I tell it.
Me: I’m sure it is. What would you like to tell me?
Puppy: It’s a secret.
Me: Ah, I see. Who are we not telling?
Puppy: You.
Me: Me?
Puppy: You.
Me: What are we not telling me?
Puppy: I slept on a people bed.
Me: I can see why that would be a secret.*
Puppy: So I think I should sleep on a people bed at home too.
Me: No.
Puppy: Good, so I …wait, what?
Me: No.
Puppy: But that was what I learned!
Me: Uh-huh.
Puppy: And we’re supposed to practice what we learn!
Me: There are different rules in different houses. Our rules haven’t changed.
Puppy: But I LIKED sleeping on a people bed at Auntie M’s.
Me: I’m sure you did.
Puppy: And I’m sure I would like sleeping on a people bed in our house.
Me: You are doomed to disappointment.

Love, Mom

*In our house, Puppies do not go upstairs and they do not sleep on people beds.

 

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