Rules for Life

Not Being Able to Fall Asleep and Sidetracking into Synonyms

Not Being Able to Fall Asleep and Sidetracking into Synonyms

Dear Kid,

There is nothing worse than wanting to go to sleep and not being able to.

You can count me as much as you want, but I'm not jumping over a fence. DearKidLoveMom.comOf course, that’s not at all true. There are plenty of things that are worse than not being able to fall asleep. Like root canal and kale. But wanting to go to sleep and remaining steadfastly awake is bad.

Frustrating. Annoying. Vexing. Exasperating.

A veritable celebration among thesaurus enthusiasts who probably lie awake counting synonyms the way the rest of us (pretend to) count sheep. Lambs. Fluffy white ewes.

Personally, I don’t care what we label it, I just want the zzzs to arrive. On time. Now. When called to do their restorative two-step.

There’s a crack in the ceiling. A small one. It would be great (by which I mean distracting) if it looked like something interesting.

It just looks like a crack.

I am exactly as awake as I was an hour ago. More importantly, I am exactly not as asleep as I was an hour ago.

Sleep. Slumber. Snooze. Siesta. Nap. Shut-eye.

356, 357, 358, 359.

When you see me, be sure to compliment me on the gorgeous bags I’ll be wearing under my eyes. They’re from the Lack of Sleep collection by WHY AREN’T THESE DARN SHEEP DOING THEIR JOB? I’m sure they will look fabulous (and by “fabulous” I mean there is not enough makeup in the world to fix this).

Makeup. Cosmetics. Powder. Greasepaint. Cover-up. Concealer.

I have counted a lot of sheep. Do you know how many sweaters their wool would make? Enough to stock an entire sweater department. (OK, a virtual sweater department since they are virtual sheep. See how badly I need sleep?)

Love, Mom

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It’s October! And It’s Time to Celebrate!

It’s October! And It’s Time to Celebrate!

Dear Kid,

Happy October! And what a wonderful month October is.

October Holidays. Who thinks of these things? DearKidLoveMom.comOctober is (often) a month of perfect weather. Not too hot, not too cold. Chilly without being frozen—just right to warm up with a cup of coffee.

October is the month of little ghosties, and pink ribbons.

It’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and National Diabetes Month (perfect for the month with Halloween).

It’s Cookie Month (sugar free for the diabetics?), National Pizza Month, American Cheese Month (but not necessarily on the pizza), and National Vegetarian Month (skip the pepperoni).

It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, American Pharmacist Month, and Clergy Appreciation Month (thank you, clergy people).

It’s Sarcastic Month (but please don’t be sarcastic about domestic violence, pharmacists, or clergy).

It’s Bat Appreciation Month, and Caffeine Addiction Recovery (HA!) Month.

October is Spinach Lovers Month, Squirrel Awareness Month (we need a month to be aware of squirrels? What?), Raptor Month (can we combine them to be aware of Raptors eating squirrels? Because for sure the raptors aren’t eating spinach or vegetarian pizza).

It’s Toilet Tank Repair Month (I wish I were joking) and National Liver Awareness Month (are you ever really aware of your internal organs?), and National Dental Hygiene Month.

Whichever holidays you choose to celebrate (or be sarcastic about), have a wonderful October.

Love, Mom

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National Coffee Day | 9 Facts You Don’t Know (This Is Awesome)

National Coffee Day | 9 Facts You Don’t Know (This Is Awesome)

Dear Kid,

It’s National Coffee Day.

By all rights, the banks should be closed, all offices and schools should be off, and tickertape parades should be held in celebration.

Wait. Cancel the tickertape and confetti. That might get in the coffee. Eww.

Birds are singing. Lattes are being poured. And all over the world, people are gradually becoming sufficiently caffeinated.

Happy sigh.

You already know my most important thoughts about coffee: Make good coffee. Drink it. Be human.

National Coffee Day DearKidLoveMom.comAnd you know that the Cincinnati Coffee Festival is coming to Cincinnati November 11 and 12, 2017 (shameless plug).

But did you know:

Coffee was the first food to be freeze dried. And yes, it’s a food.

The largest “cup” of coffee ever brewed was 3,700 gallons. That’s a lot of coffee.

You know the wonderful scent of a freshly opened bag of coffee? It might be fake scent. Some companies (include Dunkin and Stbx) use faux coffee smells to convince you to come in, stay longer, spend more. And that same technology is often injected into bags of coffee to, um, “enhance” your bag opening experience. (And I don’t care. I love the smell of a freshly opened bag of coffee.)

In England in the 17th century, women were forbidden to drink coffee in public. Who’s sipping now, huh?

A tall Starbucks coffee has about 7.6 times the caffeine of a can of Coke and more caffeine than a 12-ounce can of Red Bull. Go easy, young grasshopper.

Coffee grounds are environmentally friendly slug repellant.

A third of the tap water Americans drink is consumed after it makes a trip through the coffee pot and becomes liquid gold (by which I mean coffee). But the liquid gold euphemism works, because coffee is second only to oil in being the top traded commodity.

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a cantata inspired by coffee addiction. Ahhh, Bach. (Serious extra points if you get that one.)

The oldest cat ever was Creme Puff, who lived to be 38 years old and died in 2005. The owner fed her coffee, bacon, eggs, and broccoli every morning. This is not a recommended diet for cats. Or people. Or turtles. (Have you ever seen a turtle drink coffee?)

Happy National Coffee Day.

Love, Mom

For those extra-devout among us, Radar O’Reilly said, “Ahhh, Bach” on M*A*S*H. Great episode (weren’t they all).

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Thinking and Doing are NOT the Same

Dear Kid,

I saw a statistic recently that said 43% of college students consider dropping out of school.

Frankly, I don’t believe it.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I don’t believe it.

I think the number is probably closer to 90%. Maybe 98%.

I believe it’s human nature to consider options. I think that’s what college is all about—considering options. Changing majors. Meeting new people and having new experiences. Getting drunk on your 21st birthday.

The big issue in life isn’t what we think about. The important stuff isn’t what hops through our brains like a Mardi Gras dancer. The important part is what we do with those thoughts.

Taking my marbles and going home. DearKidLoveMom.comMost people who are alive and who have ever held a job have at some point or another wanted to march in to someone’s office and quit. (“I’ll show them!”) Most of us refrain from that knee-jerk reaction. It’s the refraining that’s the important part. Of course we think about it. If we didn’t think about it, all those movies where people kill their bosses wouldn’t exist.

Most people who are alive and have ever been in a relationship have considered ending it (or ending the person we’re in the relationship with). Of course we think about it. We’re human. It’s the refraining from murder that’s the important part.

There is nothing wrong with leaving college. There is nothing wrong with quitting a job. There is nothing wrong with ending a relationship. These can all (under the right circumstances) be healthy, positive things. But let’s admit that we all think about them even if we don’t act on those thoughts. Because it’s the “how” and the “why” we do those things that matters much more than the minute of frustration in which we think about taking our marbles and going home.

Love, Mom

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National Courtesy Month & Five Ways to Celebrate

Dear Kid,

September is National Courtesy Month.

Not that you’d know it from listening to the national discourse.

Seems to me we’ve reached a new low in the way we treat each other, and maybe we should pay a little more attention to etiquette.

We can’t change how our national leaders speak. We can’t change how people react to some of the current insanity stupidity events but we can choose to spread a little extra courtesy in our daily lives.

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. Epictetus DearKidLoveMom.comPlease and Thank You

Back when you were a tot, Barney sang about the magic words being please and thank you. He was right then and nothing has changed. Taking a minute to use the magic words can go a long way to making the world a better place.


Just smile. Grin. Like you mean it. Smiles are contagious.

Open the Door

Open a door for someone. Hold the door for someone else.


Ask how you can help. Try to make someone’s load easier.


Take a minute to listen to someone, really listen. Pay attention to what they’re saying rather than figuring out what you’re going to say next. Hear between the lines.

As we near the end of National Courtesy Month, take a moment to make your corner of the world a little nicer.

Love, Mom

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Spinach, Not Great Questions, and a Good Recovery

Dear Kid,

“None of these leaves are good?”

As far as helpful conversations went, that was right up there with “Hot enough for ya’?” and “Hey, you’re bleeding out of both ears! You OK?”

While Dad was out of town, I harvested and cooked some Malabar spinach. Note to burglars: He’s back and anyway I had the Vicious Attack Dog with me the entire time.

Yeah, it was a lot of spinach. DearKidLoveMom.comMalabar spinach harvesting is no easy matter.

First you have to convince this spinach. This involves a lengthy conversation with an uncooperative vine which has wrapped itself into the Gordian Knot (remember that one?) of complicated vine-ness. And it’s not just one vine—oh, no. It’s about a thousand on one plant.

Then you have work quickly because the leaves (the part you eat) get surly very quickly. You cut each and every leaf off the vine individually, inspecting for wear, tear, and wildlife as you go, and graciously cutting the remaining vine and unusable leaves into smallish pieces so they can be taken out to the compost pile.

After that, you wash and dry the remaining leaves and then, and only then, can you begin the process of cooking.

Since the ratio of compost to usable plant material is about 400 to 1, you can imagine the whole thing takes a while.

Spinach DearKidLoveMomAnd the last thing one wants at the end of the process is to have someone peer into the bag (did I mention how nicely cut up the compost was?) and insinuate that you might have overlooked some small portion of edible spinach.

Possible responses:

“Wait, I wasn’t supposed to keep the bad ones and toss the good ones?”

“I left them for you to go through.”

“Die now.”

…The Look…

Being in a nice mood (and by “nice” I mean not in the mood to be questioned about why I murdered my husband), I opted for The Look.

To his credit, Dad correctly interpreted The Look and immediately said, “How ‘bout I take out the compost? Right now.”

Good recovery, Dad.

Love, Mom

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