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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Twenty-Two Facts About the Number 22

Dear Kid,

Surprises are nice, but sometimes it’s good to know what’s coming.

22 and Happy Birthday! DearKidLoveMom.comSo in the spirit of sneak previews, here are 22 Interesting Facts about the Number 22.

  1. 22 is a palindromic number, meaning it’s the same coming and going.
  2. 22 divided by 7 is Pi, which makes you related to your sister seven times over. There are of course other things that make you related, but I’m not talking about that today.
  3. 22 is (and I quote) “an even composite number composed of two prime numbers multiplied together.” Uh-huh. Twenty-two is a bunch of other arithmetic things I don’t understand and will therefore not subject you to (or twenty-to).
  4. The number 22 is double 11 (which symbolizes disorder and chaos) and is therefore representative of double disorganization and quantum chaos. This explains the big number 22 someone put over my desk at work.
  5. The length of a cricket pitch is 22 yards. No one cares.
  6. The Titanic was traveling at a speed of 22 knots before it crashed into the iceberg. The iceberg was not knotting at all and still won.
  7. There are 22 yards in a chain. No one knows what that kind of chain is, so the phrase is never used. Except by cricket players.
  8. The atomic number of titanium is 22.
  9. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew aleph-bet (alphabet). You know all of them.
  10. The Paramount Pictures logo has 22 stars. This has led to lots of idle speculation and faux facts over the years.
  11. When you see squwanky letters and symbols in a URL, look for %22 (which represents quote markets). Then you can nod knowingly and say, “Ah…%22. A Quotation Mark.”
  12. In American football, there are 22 players on the field at any one time. At least there should be.
  13. Ditto the other kind of futbol.
  14. In the Kabbalah, there are 22 paths between the Sephirot. I don’t know what that means. But there are definitely 22 of them.
  15. In Bingo, 22 is referred to as “two little ducks.” Quacking optional.
  16. Twenty-two is considered a significant “master builder” number in numerology. Remind me to find out what a “minor builder” number is.
  17. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel) gave rise to the expression “catch-22” which means a dilemma or quandary. Like whether to look up “minor builder” numbers or live in ignorance.
  18. In Jay-Z’s song “22 Twos”, he rhymes the words “too”, “to”, and “two” 22 times in the first verse. The rhyming is not so impressive. The 22 times is kind of cool.
  19. The USAF stealth fighter is the F-22 Raptor. (Its friends just call it 22 Rap).
  20. F/22 is the largest f-stop (therefore smallest aperture) on most single lens reflex cameras. This will not be on the test.
  21. A traditional Tarot deck has 22 cards. I’m sure people who Know These Things understand the significance. I am not one of those people.
  22. In French jargon, “22” is a warning that the police are on the way (translation: Yark! The po-po!).

There are more facts about the number 22, but why mess with a good thing?

Happy Birthday, baby,

Love, Mom

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Puppy Mills and Frat Houses

Dear Kid,

It was too early to go to a party at a frat house (“too early” being defined as anything before midnight), so Pi and I were deciding what to do. We decided to go to the mall.

It turns out that there is a pet store in the mall. With puppies and other live cuddly things.

Including a hedgehog who was sound asleep and did NOT want to wake up to play with me.

The hedgehog had absolutely no interest in waking up to meet me.

Back to the puppies.

Let’s be clear: Pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Puppy mills are terrible, horrible places that treat animals in a terrible, horrible way.

PSA: Do not buy animals from pet stores. Do not buy animal supplies from pet stores that sell puppies. Don’t encourage them. Don’t create a reason for them to purchase more puppy mill inventory.

I feel strongly about the horrors of puppy mills. I also feel incredibly drawn to these poor little dudes in the store.

Pi and I went in and asked to see a little bulldog puppy. He was fast asleep but woke up enough to blink at us. Then he cuddled himself in our arms and (mostly) went back to sleep.

He was the definition of adorable. Or should I say adorabull.

Then he cuddled himself in our arms and (mostly) went back to sleep.

He was also not in great shape.

I am not a vet, but it was obvious that there were several health issues screaming through his fur. Still not a vet, but I suspect some of it was nutrition, some of it was genetic, and some of it was environmental and behavioral. (Yep, pretty sure I covered everything possible there.)

As we sat there cuddling this lump of fur, Pi said she felt really sorry for him. I did too. But—as I said to her—at least we could make him feel safe and loved for a few minutes of his life. It’s all we can do.

He was the definition of adorable. Or should I say adorabull.

I love that there are puppies for college kids to snuggle. Sometimes college students need to be reminded that there are puppies in the world, to have the opportunity to hold something small and precious and warm, to look into a pair of eyes that hold nothing but trust and acceptance no matter what happened on the calc exam.

As long as the store is there I hope students go in and snuggle the puppies.

As long as they don’t buy them.

Love, Mom

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5 Important Things to Know When You’re Sick

Dear Kid,

It is not easy being a mom when your kid is sick and you’re not near your kid.

Of course, it’s not easy being a sick kid, especially when your mom is nowhere around.

Fortunately, you (the sick kid) carry your immune system wherever you go. And fortunately it works pretty well most of the time.

Five important things every college kid (and every college kid's mom) should know about being sick when you're not home. DearKidLoveMom.comOccasionally something slips by and you get sick. This usually causes your immune system to kick itself in the butt and get working. Because chances are you have a virus and there’s not much in the way of treatment for viruses except letting the aforementioned immune system do its job.

Here are 5 Important Things to Know When You’re Sick and Mom Isn’t Around:

  1. Stay hydrated. Sometimes easier said than done. Water, apple juice, chicken soup, and tea are all good options.
  2. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen. It will help ease the aches and pains and help you fight whatever fever you’ve got. (On the other hand, plenty of people say that a fever is your body’s way of creating an inhospitable environment for the virus.)
  3. Sleep. Again, easier said than done. But try. Napping is good.
  4. Toast. Take a few nibbles of toast if you can. Don’t overburden your system with a lot of food.
  5. Know you will survive. You may not feel like it is possible, but I promise you will live through this. It just has to run its course. And that can take a while.

We love you, kiddo. Feel better.

Love, Mom

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You Will Not Believe What We Ate In Bloomington Indiana (Go Hoosiers)

Dear Kid,

Continuing my attempt to eat enough calories to feed a small country in a single meal. Yesterday, Pi and I had lunch with one of her friends at a vegan/vegetarian restaurant.

It was absolutely delicious. But vegan does not mean low calorie. Nothing that starts with a mountain of sweet potato fries (with two dipping sauces) is low calorie. Even if it’s for the table to share (because tables don’t eat very much – ha).

Then, because why not, we went to a little coffee café for dessert.

Saying “dessert” in this case is like saying the Atlantic Ocean is a puddle.

We had a sundae that started with two kinds of ice cream (we chose honey and a chocolate loaded with all kinds of stuff), then added chocolate syrup, salted caramel, and whipped cream. And because there is no way that could be considered excessive, it was topped with a piece of to-die-for cheesecake, more whipped topping, more syrup and caramel and nuts. And two spoons.

Saying “dessert” in this case is like saying the Atlantic Ocean is a puddle.

Again, stopping there seemed too conventional. So we added a piece of cinnamon pecan bread pudding with brandy sauce. And coffee. What’s dessert without French press brewed coffee? Black because A) that’s how I like coffee and B) I’m watching my calories. Watching them go right to my hips, anyway.

So we added a piece of cinnamon pecan bread pudding with brandy sauce. And coffee. What’s dessert without French press brewed coffee? Black because A) that’s how I like coffee and B) I’m watching my calories. Watching them go right to my hips, anyway.

Since we were still full from lunch we took our time deciding about dinner, and eventually decided to try a Tibetan restaurant. I’d never had Tibetan food before. We thought we’d have light a light meal. Except not so much.

Dinner came with soup (excellent even though we had no idea what it was) and salad.

Then we had an order of momo (Tibetan dumplings) filled with mashed potato and different kinds of onions, served with soy sauce and hot sauce (the hot sauce wasn’t), and Kham Amdo Thugpa “a hearty stew made with handmade Tibetan noodles, daikon radish, onion, tomato, green onions, and cilantro.” Your choice of chicken, beef, or tofu (we chose chicken) and spice level 1-5 (we chose 2).

It was awesome. The spice level (2) would have killed Dad, but Pi and I thought it was perfect. Spicy goodness, set off perfectly by the not so spicy momos.

Then we rolled home. Can’t wait to see what we’re doing for brunch today…

Love, Mom

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And You Thought I Only Liked Rings On My Fingers…

Dear Kid,

Continuing new experiences, I went to a boxing match last night.

And had a good time.

There's more to boxing than hitting. There's not getting hit, for instance. ~George Foreman

To be clear, it was Indiana University fraternity and sorority members fighting, the rounds fights were 3 one-minute rounds, and there was a lot of safety equipment. Even so, the medical team won most of the matches. Match called on account of excessive nose-bleeding and whatnot.

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other. ~Jack Handey

Coming in second was the charity the event was raising money for. We’re sure they talked about it because they had non-boxing people in the ring at one point, but it was far to noisy to tell what they were talking about.

Yes, girls can box.

IU Sorority and Fraternity boxing fundraiser.

The mobs (as mobs are wont to do) screamed for blood and victory (unclear in which order).

Lots and lots of people turned out for the boxing fundraiser at IU.

It was an extremely orderly mob. IU Boxing.

Pi decided she can represent her sorority in the fight next year. And before you ask, OF COURSE I’ll be here to watch her. I pointed out that perhaps trying to hit someone while they are trying to punch your face off might be a wee bit different than punching a heavy bag. She shrugged and said it was all about committing to the punch. 

Pi in the ring. Lord Love a Duck. Fortunately, I have a year to get used to the idea.

Love, Mom

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Guanaja Chocolate (You Need to Know About This)

Dear Kid,

Are you familiar with Guanaja (Gwa-na-ha) chocolate? Of course not. Because if you were, you would have undoubtedly shared such information with your mother and I only learned about Guanaja chocolate last weekend in Chicago.

Are you familiar with Guanaja (Gwa-na-ha) chocolate? Of course not.

This is clearly a giant hole in my education. And—being the kind of mother I am—decided it would be wrong of me to let you suffer from the same ignorance gap.

So—obviously—I consulted My Friend the Internet.

If you were to head into the Caribbean and stop approximately 43 miles north of Honduras, you might (if you’d planned things carefully) find yourself on the island of Guanaja.

This might surprise you since not many people aim for Guanaja, but there are several excellent reasons to go there.

The first is that the ocean around Guanaja is home to a gorgeous and enormous coral reef. There are also several beautiful waterfalls. Watch carefully for traffic. In 2006 there were only 3 cars on the island, but by 2011 there were 40. By now there is doubtless a traffic jam.

Apparently (pre-traffic jam), Chris Columbus landed on Guanaja. Here he discovered cacao for the first time and immediately dropped peanut butter in favor of chocolate.

All this according to My Friend the Internet.

The thing is, when you ask MFtI for more information about Guanaja chocolate, you are immediately offered opportunities to purchase Guanaja chocolate. When you protest and suggest history, amount of exports, or any other darn fact is what you’re looking for, the Internet giggles and wipes chocolate off its chin.

The point is Guanaja chocolate exists. One usually speaks of it as 70% Guanaja. If you pronounce it correctly you can look smug and superior, even if you have no idea what you’re talking about.

And even though I have no idea what I’m talking about, I can say with certainty: Yum.

Love, Mom

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