The Puppy Has the Hiccups

Dear Kid,

The Puppy has the hiccups.

Hiccups. (The puppy has the hiccups.)Like most unexpected bodily functions, this one has him confused, affronted, surprised, and insulted.

I don’t know if all puppy hiccups are like his but his are irregular. No set rhythm. Hic. Hic. Hic-hic. Hic. Hic-hic-hic.

First he tried ignoring them. They persisted.

Then he tried moving from his pillow to the dining room.

No change in hiccup-ness.

He tried running away from them. They followed.

I called him into the kitchen and suggested he have a drink of water. He hic-ed and stared at me. I caved and gave him a treat. After which he drank and drowned the hiccups.

Now he’s napping in order to recover from the trauma.

It can be very hard being a puppy.

Love, Mom

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Five Surprising Facts About Coffee

Dear Kid,

The thing about mornings is that they have a nasty tendency to start before coffee. I’m waiting for someone to figure out how I can drink a cup before I wake up so that by the time I hit my snooze button (for the third time) I’m actually awake and alive.

It's possible to talk before coffee? Not in my world... DearKidLoveMom.comOn the plus side, if I start the coffee before I walk the puppy, it (the coffee) is ready by the time I get back. Not everyone during History had the same luxury. I’m not referring to the lack of Keurig (although that’s sad too).

Surprising fact: Four times in Known History (count them, 4) coffee was banned. Which isn’t to say that there weren’t rogue brewers, but it seems wrong to research them.

Surprising fact 2: Dark roast coffees have a stronger flavor but less caffeine than light roasts. (Roasting burns off some of the caffeine.) Who knew?

Surprising fact 3: In the ancient Arab culture there was only one way a woman could legally divorce: If her husband didn’t provide enough coffee. This seems perfectly reasonable. Divorcing for insufficient coffee, I mean. Not that that was the only reason.

Surprising fact 4: J.S. Bach wrote an opera about coffee. Note to self: Consult favorite opera expert for info.

Surprising fact 5: The first webcam was invented at The University of Cambridge to let people know if the coffee pot was full or not. This seems entirely reasonable.

I need a refill.

Love, Mom

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Three Cheers for Medical Innovations and Stars

Dear Kid,

The medical profession has a breakthrough! That was the big Ta-Da you heard recently.

Now, it’s nothing really important like fat-burning ice cream or hair color that self-colors roots as they grow in.

Medical innovation is written in the stars. dearKidLoveMom.comThis little innovation just keeps people healthy longer and cures things that used to kill people.

The problem has been that people are often not able to take medication for extended periods of time—and many medications have to be taken for (you guessed it) extended periods of time.


More than 200 million people contract Malaria each year and treatment has to be taken daily for weeks. The problem is that most of the people who have malaria forgot to take up residences in near modern hospitals. So they don’t take their medication on time. Or every day. Or at all. Which means the Malaria sticks around.

Enter the innovation.

It looks like a capsule. But once it’s swallowed and lands in the patient’s tummy, it expands into a star or snowflake type shape. The star dispenses medication on schedule and sticks around until the joints that hold the arms to the center dissolves, and the snowflake melts into pieces which are then pooped out. Along with dead Malaria cells.

So this is pretty cool. Doctors can give a patient just one dose and the pill does the rest of the work—for a long time.

There are lots of applications for this technology. Like improving drug studies because so many “patients in clinical trials have serious medication adherence problems that mislead the clinical studies.” I’d never thought about that. We always assume that drug testing is problem-free (apparently not so much).

As I said, this is pretty cool.

Three cheers for great innovation.

Love, Mom

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The 9 Most Important Valentine’s Trends of 2017

Dear Kid,

You may have heard the rumor. It’s not exactly a secret.

It’s Valentine’s Day!

The 9 Most Important Valentine's Trends of 2017

The VDay trends for 2017 are wide ranging and interesting, except really they aren’t. I checked. And most of the sites talking about 2017 Valentine’s Trends are either talking about the obvious (candy, flowers, cards) or trying to create a trend by getting people to buy what they say the trend is. (Good luck unraveling that.)

So instead of relying on tried and boring or new and questionable, I decided that the best way to identify useful trends was to make them up completely and hope they become trendworthy.

Mom’s 9 Most Important 2017 Valentine’s Trends

  1. Hugs. Hugs are the number one best sort of gift you can give anyone. They are the perfect gift for friend, significant other, and Moms. They are always the right size. And they’re priced right.
  2. Smiles. Not everyone enjoys Valentine’s Day. There are a lot of hopes and expectations (most of which don’t really work out). Everyone appreciates a smile. And you don’t have to shop in advance.
  3. Courtesy. Never out of fashion. Always appreciated. Hold a door. Carry someone’s books. Say please and thank you.
  4. Hand written notes. You don’t have to spend a fortune at the card store (and you haven’t purchased a card yet, it may be too late). Write (it’s like texting except on paper) something yourself. Draw a picture. (Take a photo and send it electronically if you have to.)
  5. Call. Seriously. Talk out loud. Your phone knows how to make that happen.
  6. Take care of yourself. Work out. Go for a run. Meditate.
  7. Spoil yourself. Buy yourself a piece of really good chocolate. Or two pieces of so-so chocolate. Treat yourself to a specialty coffee.
  8. Get together with friends. Valentine’s Day is about happy and healthy hearts. Celebrate (or uncelebrate) with friends.
  9. Know you are loved. Take a look in the mirror. That’s a pretty amazing person. A pretty amazing person who is loved by many people.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017 <3

Love, Mom

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Mondays, Coffee, and What Others Say About Coffee

Dear Kid,

It is Monday.

Man does not live by coffee alone. Have a danish. ~Author Unknown

Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee. ~Stephanie Piro DearKidLoveMom.comAnd somehow (as you probably know) Monday mornings arrive earlier than mornings any other day of the week.

Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee. ~Stephanie Piro

I don’t know why Mondays insist on being early.

In Seattle you haven’t had enough coffee until you can thread a sewing machine while it’s running. ~Jeff Bezos

I practically leap out of bed at the same time on weekends and feel like I’ve wasted half the day. Some weekend days it’s the same time.

And occasionally I leap. But not very often.

Herbal tea tastes so much better when it’s coffee. ~Author Unknown

The point is Mondays arrive on their own slightly sadistic schedule. Without the possibility of turning over and going back to sleep for a few hours.

Déjà Brew: The feeling that you’ve had this coffee before. ~Author Unknown

I really must teach the Dust Dragons to brew coffee. At least the first cup of the day. If they’re going to live here, they really should earn their keep. Mostly it seems they’re lazier than I am.

Forever: Time it takes to brew the first pot of coffee in the morning. ~Author Unknown

Meanwhile, I have a date with a K-cup.

Happy Monday.

Love, Mom


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I Am Deeply Troubled By the Women’s Movement But Not For the Reasons You Think

Dear Kid,

There was a phrase back in the 1960s, that women’s rights activists (called women’s lib) burned their bras. As far as I can tell, no bras were actually put to the torch (what a ridiculous waste of fabric!). But the phrase stuck around.

I am deeply troubled by the current women’s movement. I’m troubled by the need for it and I’m troubled by the number of women who don’t see the need for it. DearKidLoveMom.comI am deeply troubled by the current women’s movement. I’m troubled by the need for it and I’m troubled by the number of women who don’t see the need for it.

Yesterday I read this article by Sharon Weeks about the history of women’s rights in the US. You should take a moment and read the article. You should take another moment and share the article. But in case you’re late for class, the bottom line on women’s rights is there aren’t any.

Back when I was a tot, there was constitutional amendment being ratified. It was the Equal Rights Amendment and was to be the 27th Amendment to the Constitution (full text below). Terrifying, right?

  • Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
  • Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
  • Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Remember our discussion the other day about the 20th Amendment? The Amendment was passed by Congress on March 2, 1932 and ratified on January 23, 1933. If you get out all your fingers and toes, you’ll notice that this whole process took less than a year. The 18th Amendment (the one that banned liquor sales) was ratified in just over a year. You would have thought that one would have taken longer…

The ERA was passed by Congress in 1972 and sent to the states for ratification. There was a 7 year time limit for getting it ratified which was then extended to 10 years. If you’ll get out all your fingers and toes, you’ll figure out that 10 years is much longer than less than a year.

If you look at the current Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, you’ll see that the Equal Rights Amendment is not among them, despite having been introduced in every Congress since the deadline. Every. Single. One.

We’ve made some progress. There is no question about that. But if you look at the statistics, women still make less than men. Women are promoted less than men.

Many women are against the idea of equality. I think it’s because they confuse the right to be treated equality with the requirement to be the same.

It’s 2017 and I’m very troubled that we are still fighting some of the same battles that were being fought in 1970 and 1917. What kind of a world are we going to hand to our sisters and our daughters and our nieces? And our brothers and sons and nephews for that matter.

Love, Mom

P.S. Yes, you still have to hold the door and take out the garbage. That’s called common courtesy and house rules.

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Hedgehogs and Note to Self

Dear Kid,

Dad’s in “no”-mode again. But it’s ok—I have a plan.

The latest reason for him being in “no” mode is that I want a hedgehog. I saw the reason for not having a river otter in the house (what with not having a river in the house). So I’ve decided we need a hedgehog.

Have you SEEN these adorable little things?

See what I mean? How could you not want one of your own?

A group of hedgehogs is called an array. No one cares. Because they are pretty solitary creatures.

I’ve decided we need a hedgehog. DearKidLoveMom.comA hedgehog carries around between 5,000 and 7,000 quills. Quills? Wait, what? Note to self: find out if quills are very painful.

Their spikes are mostly hollow (which makes them light but strong—which is good because hedgehogs are tiny) and they are not barbed. They shed quills each of which lasts about a year. Note to self: Find out if it hurts to step on a quill.

Hedgehogs, being ideal candidates for glasses which they almost never get, rely on hearing and smelling to figure out what’s going on. When a hedgehog is exposed to a strong smell or taste, he will “self-anoint” which means cover his quills in foamy saliva. Ick.

Hedgehogs are mostly immune to snake venom. Why would I need to know that? I don’t want snakes in the house. Especially poisonous ones.

Hedgehogs (which used to be called urchins before urchins took the name) eat small creatures such as insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes. Um, centipedes? Not in my house, they don’t.

Hedgehogs are mostly nocturnal. Which is a fancy word for saying they don’t want to play when people want them to.

Note to self: More investigation is warranted.

Love, Mom

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