What You Don’t Know About Bronze

Dear Kid,

Just in case you didn’t get enough info about bronze yesterday (don’t see how that could be possible, but one never knows), I consulted My Friend the Internet and found out a bit more.

The best way to get bronze is to buy it, but if you find yourself in The Wilderness with nothing but some copper and tin, you can make it yourself. If you have the skill, time, heat, and various implements. The recipe is generally 12% tin to 88% copper, but other alloys are often added to make the bronze harder, machinable (yes, that’s a word), and bronzier (that isn’t but should be).

Bronze is used for all sorts of things like statues, third place medals, Age (as in the Bronze Age if you’re too sleepy to figure that one out), and 8th anniversary gifts (no clue why, but the Etiquette Police say so therefore it must be true).

Bronze has also been used for armor (probably not the finest, but one makes due with what one has), coinage (probably not the most valuable, but one pays dues with what one has), mirrors (whether it’s the finest often depends on who’s reflecting), and bells (because one really can’t sing “Ding, dong the witch is dead” when all one has is a plastic bucket).

Bronze is often used for guitar and piano strings (not at the same time).

Bronze is non-magnetic, but many people are attracted to it anyway.

Love, Mom

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The True and Accurate History of Bronze

Dear Kid,

Turns out that copper and tin make bronze.

You probably knew that, but I didn’t.

There are many documented histories of bronze, but the least commonly known may be the most accurate.

One day, Mrs. Joe Neanderthal was the Parent Representative (and by “representative” I mean enforcer) at the local high school rock throwing competition. Her job was to make sure the rocks were aimed away from other parents (participants had signed a waiver and this was before concussions were invented so no one worried about them) and hand out the prizes.

By the time the meet was over, there were three competitors still standing. Mrs. J. N. dutifully handed out first place (mammoth tusk award), second place (mammoth fur award), but when it came to third place she just couldn’t bring herself to give her own offspring the mammoth dung award and so she invented bronze.

Actually, it was still mammoth dung, but bronze sounded better.

This is the true and accurate reason that third place finishers in the Olympics get bronze medals rather than dung medals.

Love, Mom

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Put That Phone Down!

Put That Phone Down!

Dear Kid,

Turn off your phone! (Well, turn it off after you read this.)

I love my cell phone DearKidLoveMom.comWe know people have become highly addicted to their phones and other electronic devices. (Tip o’ the hat to your parents who insisted that dinner was an electronic-device-free zone.)

Apparently, it has gotten so bad that there are now studies about how often people check their phones (conclusion: too often) and apps that can help you avoid using apps. I just read about one where you can set a timer and if you avoid using your phone for that amount of time, you grow a virtual tree (and I think they plant one IRL).

I haven’t decided if I’m more amused or disturbed.

I can remember a time (back in the age of dinosaurs) when meals were a book-free zone. The message was the same (although the data usage a bit different): interacting face-to-face, voice-to-voice with other humans is important.

I am not downplaying the addictive power of The Phone (Word Cookies anyone? I just made it to Cassis level if you’re interested.) Nor am I poo-poo-ing the value of electronic communication, instant photos, or keeping up on Instagram (although I have to admit I’m a little stumped by SnapChat).

However, I sincerely (a word I learned to spell in 4th grade—grandma and grandpa will appreciate that fact even if no one else will) believe that There Is a Time and Place. And I worry about people who are unable to disconnect even for the shortest of times.

So put down your phone and go turn on the TV for a while.


Love, Mom

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Sleep Thief

Dear Kid,

There is a Sleep Thief in the house.

I don’t mean there is a thief sleeping in the house (that’s a scary idea). I mean someone or something is stealing the sleep.

When you're so tired you fall asleep wherever you just happen to be... DearKidLoveMom.comI know this because I was awake all night. I documented every minute of every hour.

Have you any idea how boring an entirely dark house is? Extremely boring. It should be boring enough to lull one to sleep.

Apparently it was dull enough to lull one to sleep, but that “one” was Dad.

I watched ridiculous hours turn into even more ridiculous hours. Finally at You’re Getting Up at WHAT Time? I got up and walked a very confused Puppy.

Now I’m going to finish my coffee, search for the Thief, and hope I don’t start napping at 10am.

Love, Mom

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Re-Reading and Re-Thinking

Dear Kid,

I love re-reading books. I particularly like stories that I haven’t read in a while, so even though I don’t really remember the plot, they are like well-worn slippers that I slide into, comfortable in the surety that they will still fit.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Groucho DearKidLoveMom.comI’m a fan of fiction. I have more than enough reality IRL and I (generally) choose to read fiction that is light and fun and will in no way whatsoever change the course of the world.

Right now I’m rereading the Divergent series. I remember that when I read it the series the first time, I liked it progressively less as I worked my way through the books. But I often find that with a series (do you?) and didn’t think much about it.

This time I’m reading with a slightly different eye.

Actually, I don’t know that it’s my eye that has changed so much as our national landscape has changed. It’s a scarier book this time.

I can’t help thinking about which Faction I would be in, or that you and Pi and Dad would be in different ones. I can’t help thinking that we’re living in a world where hatred within our country is running so high that the idea of a war against People Not Like Us is not as ridiculous as it should be. Nor is the idea that leaders inevitably become tyrannical out of fear and a lust for power.

On a more frivolous note, in a self-sufficient post-massive-war Chicago, they still have coffee. And guns.

Not all the factions have soda or cake. But they couldn’t get rid of the coffee.

Or guns.

Maybe it’s not really a frivolous note….

Love, Mom

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Rock Around the Boulder

Dear Kid,

Today is Old Rock Day.

Happy Old Rock Day! Be boulder! Rock on! DearKidLoveMom.comI don’t know why, but it is.

I’m fascinated by the idea that there might be rocks that aren’t old. Who’s ever heard of a new rock?

For that matter, who determines what “old” is when it comes to rocks?

Q: What happens when you look up geology jokes? A: You know you’ve hit rock bottom! (I didn’t make that up.)

The oldest rock on earth is 4.4 billion years old. They know this because of birth certificate records. Can you imagine the bonfire when that rock has birthday cake?

According to My Friend the Internet, the youngest rocks are on earth are whatever is being spewed out of an active volcano.

The biggest rock on the planet is the one that was in my shoe last night. It’s amazing how our perception of size correlates directly to the length of time a pebble stone boulder is in one’s shoe.

There are probably other interesting facts about rocks, but I couldn’t dig my way through the various sites to find any that I found entertaining. You can consider this a do-it-yourself letter if you’re interested in learning more about rocks.

Love, Mom

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Emails From My Fitbit

Dear Kid,

I’ve been getting a lot of emails from my Fitbit.

Fitbit: Your Charge HR battery level is low. Charge your battery as soon as possible. To charge: 

1. Plug the power cable into a USB port. 
2. Plug the other end of the power cable into the back of your Charge HR. A progress bar should appear on the screen. 
3. A full charge can take between 1-2 hours depending on the remaining battery level.

Thinking burns a lot of calories. For instance, how does the Fitbit tell the difference between sitting and watching bad reality TV (no effort) and sitting and contemplating bad reality TV (a great deal of effort)? Or gum chewing? How does the Fitbit account for the incredible number of calories I burn chomping on Trident? DearKidLoveMom.comFitbit: Your weekly progress report from Fitbit! Great job! You’re close to meeting your step goals! Just a little more and you’ll be there!

Fitbit: You spent 45 minutes on the Elliptical today! Congrats!

Fitbit: Your Charge HR battery level is low. Charge your battery as soon as possible. 

Fitbit: Your weekly progress report from Fitbit! You went to the gym four days this week. Fantastic!

Fitbit: You’re doing an excellent job sleeping. You’re hitting your goals!

Fitbit: Your weekly progress report from Fitbit! You walked a lot this week, but not as much as last week.

Fitbit: Seriously, Your Charge HR battery is really low. PLUG IT IN!

Fitbit: You’re starting to slack off a little. What’s going on?

Fitbit:  It’s great that you decided to go to the gym today! Next time you go, let’s do more than sit in the sauna!

Fitbit:  Sleeping is great, but it’s generally better if you work out at the gym.

Fitbit: PLUG. ME. IN!

Fitbit: I have no idea what you did yesterday, because you keep forgetting to charge me. But based on recent experience, I’m guessing I didn’t miss much…

Fitbit: Your weekly progress report from Fitbit! Are you really a slug or are you just too lazy to actually charge your Fitbit?

Fitbit: I know you like wearing me because I’m purple, but I can be much more than a fashion accessory. Let’s go walk somewhere!

Fitbit: Just so we’re clear, getting up from the couch to get ice cream is not considered a workout.

Fitbit: And no, typing is not an aerobic activity. Ever.

Love, Mom

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