Tag Archives: monday

My 2012 Goals

It’s said that if you put your goals into writing, you actually manage to accomplish them. I am taking a page of blog-speration from Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy (and if you aren’t reading her blog, you should be!) and here are my 2012 goals:

Financial

Spend less, bring in more– I am still working my Thirty-One business and I am hoping to expand more. I have a pretty good sized display kit, so I am really going to try to stop the excess shopping. I have kicked my previous retail demons, and since we are living in such a great climate, I can play outside with my kids rather than head to the den of temptation (aka the Mall.)

Get that emergency fund established. Enough Said.

Writing

Determine and Perfect my Blog Niche– Right now I write about a whole gamut of ideas and I have been thinking of trying to streamline it a bit more, to focus.

Begin actually writing my YA novel– instead of just planning and re-planning and re-planning

Write an ebook– I talked to a friend a few years back about writing a book and this might be the right platform for it!

Become Self-Hosted– It might run me about $10/ month for blog hosting, but it might earn me a bit more cred.

Health and Wellness

Kick Sugar– for good this time

Start Jogging again– There is this pin on Pinterest that really reflects my feeling towards running. But a second hand double jogging stroller is less expensive that a gym membership, and the loop around the Rose Bowl Stadium is about 3 miles (just about 5K.) Spend less.

Work on my flexibility– there is a Bikram Yoga place near us, but I might just get a few Yoga DVDs instead. Again, spend less.

Personal Mental Wellness

Get my budding friendships established– Make some “momma-only” dates with the ladies that I have met here

Meet other Spiritually focused At-Home Moms at our Church– there is not a mother’s type ministry at our Parish, so I think the Holy Spirit has been kind of pushing me to start something… Maybe Mass Readings at the Park or something.

Get out once a month for some alone time– Just a date with me and a coffee cup

Re-establish Friday Night Date Night– for a bit, DH and I were having Friday Night Dates at home and they need to come back. Maybe even take some Tango lessons…

Reading

Actually finish reading Anna Karenina and The Lord of the Rings.

Work Crossword puzzles again.

Craft

I have decided to let my Etsy Shop go to the wayside. I started listing my baby hats, longies/soakers and fascinators at the peak of their popularity and I don’t like the extra pressure of having the shop stocked.

I will continue to work of my lace knitting techniques. There are some BEAUTIFUL patterns for lace shawls out there and I’d love to try them out. Plus I have some new blocking wires that I can’t wait to use.

 

Let’s see how far I can get on that list this year! What are your goals for 2012?

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Filed under books, challenge, family, finance, ladies, meatless, monday, New Year Goals

Manners Monday: Reclaiming the fine art of the Thank You note

Ah. The day after Christmas. Boxing Day if you are in a Boxing Day country. Personally I think Boxing Day is a great idea… why don’t we have Boxing Day? Or just celebrate St. Stephen’s Day? I know, it’s just an excuse to go out and shop, but the extra bank holiday might be appreciated by some. Anyway…

Gifts have been unwrapped and put away. Paper and packaging has been cleared away. New play-doh that came out of the can in such vibrant colors are now a sad shade of beige. What’s next to do? Thank You Notes. Time to write the Thank You notes.

What?! You may think that Thank You notes are antiquated and a throwback to the dark ages before we had stuff like email and unlimited minutes and instant gratification but that is what makes Thank You notes (or letter writing and manners in general) is fine art that transcends all social and class lines. It really can be the great equalizer!

Writing a note by hand allows you to put to paper human emotions: joy, sorrow, gratitude, love, nostalgia. And if you think about it, those (and anger) are among the first emotions we learn to articulate verbally.

Before sitting down to write your notes, gather your supplies:

Pen

Paper

Envelopes

Address Book

List of gifts and their givers (if needed)

According to Margaret Shepherd, author of The Art of the Handwritten Note,  your Thank You Note should have five characteristics. It should be: generous, specific, prompt, succinct and personal.

Generous. Send the note even if you’ve already thanked the giver in another way.

Specific. Mention the gift but thank them for the THOUGHT behind it.

Prompt. Send the note right away, but don’t let lateness stop you from writing at all.

Succinct. Keep it short by writing about any unrelated matters in a separate note.

Personal. Write it by hand. No form letters, printouts or greeting cards.

Things to say:

Thank you so much.

It’s just what I’ve wanted

How did you guess I wanted a [the gift]

I am enjoying wearing, playing with, looking at, eating, listening to, reading [the gift]

You were so thoughtful, kind, generous

Things to avoid:

Thank you for the gift [this may imply to the giver that you have forgotten what they gave you or that you lost the gift. EXCEPTION: when the gift is money in some form. In that case, thank them for the “gift” but then be sure to tell them what you are planning to do with the gift.]

You shouldn’t have 

Thank you for dinner. [Was the rest of the evening just awful?]

I’m exchanging it. [Wow.]

IT’S THE BEST GIFT EVER!! [makes you sound a bit insincere.]

Now some of you, like me, are parents. And since you are a parent, that means you have children. If you have taught your kids to say “thank you,” you can teach them to write thank you notes! When it comes to kids, you have a new options. For the first five years, or so, you can write on your child’s behalf. I, personally, write in the child’s voice. For an older preschooler, they could dictate to you what to write or copy a few lines down that you have written for them (if they can write their letters) or they can write their name at the end of the note.

For older children, help them enjoy writing notes by employing some of the following tactics:

Schedule time together to write. We all know how kids fare better when they know what to expect and when, so set aside, in advance, a set an hour or so on a specific day to write notes

Support your child. Give your child their very own stationery and special pen. Make sure your child has all of the needed addresses or address the envelopes for them as they write the note.

Personalize it. If you child likes glitter, stickers, stamps, or the like, let them add the embellishments to their note.

Model. Your child will not want to write thank you notes if they do not see you writing notes. Just as your child sees you saying “Thank You” in person, let them see how that gratitude is translated into a thank you note. Make sure your child sees how enjoyable RECEIVING thank-you notes is by reading the notes you receive aloud and posting them.

Join them. Sit down with your child and write something as well: your own thank-you notes, journal, a letter, etc. If nothing else, it’s helpful for your child for you to be there, to offer support with spelling, advice and phrasing.

Have the gift at the ready. Kids are concrete. They remember the here and now, so it might be helpful for to have the gift in front of your child when they write. Ask your child how they felt when they received the gift. If they were not too keen on the gift, ask them to imagine how happy Auntie was picking out the gift for them.

Reciprocity. Help your child understand the pleasure people get from being thanked by making sure they know what it feels like to give a gift and then receive a thank-you note. If you write a thank-you note to your child, it is a concrete example of how thank-you notes make people feel. And how cool is it, as a child, to receive a thank-you note from a grown-up?!

I hope this takes some of the scare out of writing thank-you notes and encourages you to start a new tradition of your own!

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Filed under christmas, etiquette, family, gifts, holidays, manners, monday, mothering, toddler

It’s that time again! Advent!!

I was looking at some Halloween pictures on-line this past week and I noticed a “different” costume on the daughter of my friend. Her little girl was dressed as a Jack-O-Lantern, but she had little Elf Shoes and a Santa Hat on. The caption of the picture said that she was dressed as… The Christmas Creep. Not only was this a cute costume, but it was also very applicable. Think about, September was barely in the books when stores started putting out their Christmas Displays.

I understand that The Christmas Shopping Season is when most retailers make enough money to get into the black, but how are we as parents to handle this creep within our families? How do we keep Christmas as special as it is while we are reminded of it’s presence starting in the Fall? How are we supposed to help our families remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and not getting new stuff? One way that our family does is pretty easy and fun: We celebrate Advent.

I grew up in a black Baptist church and when I was a Junior in college, I converted to Catholicism. Growing up, the only thing that I knew about Advent is that there was a cute little calendar that had chocolates, one for every day leading up to Christmas (My father’s side of the family is German and I attended a German Language Elementary School.) Once I became Catholic, however, I learned there was whole season in the liturgical calendar for Advent. Advent gives us the gift of four week of preparation: preparing our hearts and our homes for the coming of the Christ Child. It is four weeks for us to re-focus on what is most important, getting ready for the bridegroom to come to his bride.

Having two little ones, my husband and I know that we have to keep our Advent activities simple but still educational. It is important to us, as well, to make Advent just as meaningful as Easter, Lent, or Christmas. Some of our favorite Advent activities are:

– The Advent Wreath: This wreath of evergreen branches sits on our dining table and has 4 or 5 candles (1 candle for every Sunday of Advent with an optional candle for Christmas Eve) Three candles are purple, one is pink and the optional candle is usually white. I don’t have to tell you that kids and candles are always a hit. Before sitting down for the Sunday meal, we say one of the “O Antiphons” and light a purple candle. On week 2, we light 2 purple candles, etc. Week 3 brings the two purple candles and the pink (Gaudate Sunday: Time to Rejoice! The Christ Child is near!) and week 4 we light all four candles. On Christmas Eve, we light the white candle in the center, along with the other four and turn off the rest of the lights in the house and dine by candlelight. The candles stay lit though the evening meal and we let the girls take turns blowing the candle out after the meal.

– Advent Garland: This activity is great for preschoolers. First prep a series of purple and pink strips of construction paper along with some tape (you will need 3 purple strips for every 1 pink strip) to make chain garland. The garland follows the pattern: Purple, Purple, Pink, Purple (just like the Advent Candles on your wreath.) Not only does this make a cute Advent decoration, but it also helps to teach pattern recognition in your child!

– Jesse Tree: This activity does take a little more prep on the part of the parents, but you can make it as simple of as elaborate as you would like. The Jesse Tree tradition comes from the passage in the Bible where it talks about Christ coming from the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1.) The tree can be just about anything: a bare branch from outside, a tree painted on your window, a hand-drawn tree on a large piece of paper. There are 24 Jesse Tree Ornaments (one for every day of Advent- not counting Sundays, or you can start your tree on December 1 and hang an ornament daily.) We usually hang our ornaments after dinner: we read the bible passage that matches the ornament or tell the bible story and the girls get to hang the ornament. You can either print off Jesse Tree ornaments or you can make them. Google “Jesse Tree” for some additional ideas or images.

This year, Advent begins on November 27 and ends on December 24 and I hope that these suggestions help you to start a few new traditions within your family and to stave off that “Christmas Creep” a little longer!
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Have a blessed Advent!


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Filed under Advent, Catholic, family, holidays, monday

What does your uniform look like?

About a year ago, I made the decision (after reading it in a book) that I need to figure out what my daily uniform looks like. Uniform, you may ask… what in blue blazes do you need a uniform for?

But think about it… a uniform at its core is just something that you “usually” wear. Now militaries and governments and private schools may require uniforms to erase all forms of individuality from the person and help them to think more as a collective, but you have to admit that is does make dressing that much easier in the morning when you only have a few items to choose from.

Looking around, you can see uniforms on all sorts of people… not just those you expect to be in uniform. DH works in an office, so every morning he wears:

1. Starched button down or Collared Polo shirt

2. Trousers

3. Tie, if needed

 

When I was in college, I worked as a cocktail waitress during the summer and I noticed that there was a corollary between the amount of leg exposed and the tips one received, and so the uniform was adjusted as needed. 🙂

So, after reading a few manifestos (and hearing many a stylist) rail against the wearing of comfy pants and gym wear to places OTHER than the gym, I decided to jump on board. Essentially, my uniform can be broken into five pieces:

1. Wide-Leg Jeans or Trousers, with a higher rise than these pictured. After all, my tummy looks nothing like this and crack is whack. (in Dark Wash, Gray or black)

2. Cotton Jersey shirt with a bit of spandex, so the shirt doesn’t just hang on me, long or short-sleeved. (in white, black, gray or neutral stripe)

3. Cardigan (in black, gray or brown)

4. Dress, usually a wrap style, or maxi and I tend to avoid synthetic fabrics… can’t stand them since during my first pregnancy.(here I do have more colors… not by much though!)

5. Pashmina or lace shawl as a Scarf (my color pop! I have pashminas and shawls in every color)

I do have a few “trendy” pieces (tunics, leggings) but for the most part I try to stick to these tried and true (and classic!) pieces. Now, when I go out with the kid-lets I feel less schleppy and sloppy and more pulled together.

Tomorrow, let’s chat makeup, shall we?
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Do you have a uniform… some style that you wear day to day? Think about it… you might have one and not realize it!


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Filed under fashion, monday, style

Maybe that wasn’t the best tactic, after all?

Have you ever entered into a conversation with a loved one, only to have it turn into something very negative?

A while ago, DH and I were talking about Christmas traditions that each of our respective families celebrated when we were growing up. If I had to characterize the differences, it would be best to say that the celebrations in my family where more Christ-centered, while DH’s family was more family-centered. That’s not to say that my family ignored the family aspect of Christmas and it’s not to say that DH’s family ignored the Christ aspect of Christmas, but it is to say that the emphasis was placed differently and we both have pleasant memories of Christmas and want to bring both of our traditions to the plate and meld them seamlessly.

So that’s how the conversation started. It finished not so civilly.

It’s no secret that DH and I are in different places on our spiritual journey, couple that with our personalities and you get a hot mess. According Myers-Briggs typology, I am an ESTJ. If you know me personally, that should not be a surprise. For those of you not well acquainted with me here are some ESTJ characteristics:

ESTJs are practical, realistic, and matter-of-fact, with a natural head for business or mechanics. Though they are not interested in subjects they see no use for, they can apply themselves when necessary. They like to organize and run activities. ESTJs make good administrators, especially if they remember to consider others’ feelings and points of view, which they often miss. (Myers-Biggs description, emphasis mine.)

ESTJs are civic-minded individuals who dedicate themselves to maintaining the institutions behind a smooth-running society. They are defenders of the status quo and strong believers in rules and procedures. ESTJs are outgoing and do not hesitate to communicate their opinions and expectations to others. (Keirsey description, emphasis mine.)

ESTJs thrive on order and continuity. Being extraverted, their focus involves organization of people, which translates into supervision. While ENTJs enjoy organizing and mobilizing people according to their own theories and tactically based agendas, ESTJs are content to enforce “the rules,” often dictated by tradition or handed down from a higher authority.

ESTJs are joiners. They seek out like-minded companions in clubs, civic groups, churches and other service organizations. The need for belonging is woven into the fiber of SJs. The family likewise is a central focus for ESTJs, and attendance at such events as weddings, funerals and family reunions is obligatory.

Service, the tangible expression of responsibility, is another key focus for ESTJs. They love to provide and to receive good service. The ESTJ merchant who provides dependable service has done much to enhance her self image.

ESTJs have an acute sense for orthodoxy. Much of their evaluation of persons and activities reflects their strong sense of what is “normal” and what isn’t. ESTJ humor is frequently centered around something or someone being off center or behaving abnormally. (from typologic.com, emphasis mine)

Also, according to typelogic… Simon Peter was a type ESTJ.

So where does this lead us? Well, DH is not an ESTJ and in fact it would be great if he would find out his typology! But he won’t because he’s not a big fan of that “mumbo-jumbo.” 🙂

But what did I learn?

1. I am not the boss of others.

2. I cannot impose my will on others.

3. Jesus met people where they were. So should I.

4. God is sovereign and has an ultimate plan that I neither need to know nor am obliged to know the details of.

Now, I know all of this, but it does not make it any easier! I see husbands that are involved with their church and are Catholic/ Christian not just on Sunday and I can’t help but think how great that would be for our family if we were truly united in the faith… if only my husband was as on fire as I am for Christ and for His church. But he is not and no amount of talking, chiding, nagging, conversing, suggesting will change that.

Man does not have the ability to change the heart of another… only Christ can do that.

Do we attend Mass at least 98% of the time as a family? Yes.

Is my husband a good man? Yes.

Does my husband believe in the existence of Christ? I think so.

So, why isn’t that good enough?

I blame my personality.
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Filed under Catholic, challenge, family, fathers, holidays, husband, marriage, monday

Manners Monday: To email or not to email?

The CCM household is big on thank you notes. We may not be as prompt as we should be, especially during hectic times (i.e. The Dragonfly’s thank you notes from her birthday are still waiting to be written… pass me the Cone of Shame) but we still stick to handwriting thank you notes. It’s funny, some of my friends know how much we like to write thank you notes, that one of them actually forbade me from writing her a thank you note after she brought our family dinner after the birth of the Dragonfly. (Nina, that still makes me laugh!)

There is something about getting that special little note in the mail. After all, we tend to only get bills or junk mail in our mailboxes these days, thanks to electronic communication. You might get lucky and receive a card or two on your birthday, and of course Christmas brings with it loads of mail in the box, but what about the other times of the year?

A letter in the mail, for whatever reason, is personal and thoughtful. It makes the recipient feel special, that you took the time out to sit down and put pen to paper. But admittedly, we are all very busy people and that could lead to unwritten thank you notes and a giver wondering, “Did they receive my gift? Did they like it? Did they notice it?” In that case, you have to think that an email thank you note would really suffice. It takes less than 5 minutes to sit down, type out an email and hit send and you are done. There’s no walking to the post office or making sure you have stamps (speaking of which… another price increase? Really?) No worries about your note arriving mangled or damaged or even worse… lost! But is it the same?

There is debate out there about the merits of teaching cursive handwriting in schools. The thought is that people so seldom handwrite the written word and therefore, is learning how to write in cursive really needed or is it an antiquated throwback to the olden times? Sure, electronic copies last forever in the cloud, but is the romantic nature lost? Could you imagine your great-great grandchildren reading the emails that you and your honey shared and getting the same reaction as reading the handwritten love letters between your great-great grandparents?

There is a time and place for everything and in my humble opinion… heartfelt sentiments and thank you notes deserve ink, paper and a stamp. But that’s just me.

What do you think? To email or not to email? Is cursive a skill that kids should still learn or should it be let go?
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Manners Monday: Parenting with Grace under Pressure

A Facebook friend recently shared this on her Wall:

What would you do? Could you do anything? I’m curious what others do or think. I felt nothing I could do would help, and I was too overwhelmed caring for my babies. But I saw a scandalizing example of why many people develop a dislike for Christians. A mother w/ a 2ish year old and 4ish year old shared the “cry room” with us for a random church session. And proceeded to hiss, yell, slap, pinch and otherwise verbally attack her kids throughout the whole thing. It was very disturbing and I ended up leaving the room to stand in the back w/ my kids.

At the end, she literally physically dragged them into the main church and told them they had to do stations of the cross for being bad while on their tippy toes. She kept twisting the older child’s arm b/c he wouldn’t stop sobbing. I feel bad b/c my reaction was so strong I could not think clearly or think of any helpful way to intervene/redirect/de-escalate. My kids were freaking out and I didn’t want them to see what was happening, too. Mostly I was shocked that she had no filters whatsoever…she didn’t seem to care at all that others saw her and heard her. Ok so there’s my current stomach-turning issue.

Comments ranged from total compassion for the mother (‘you don’t know what kind of day she was having’) to complete and total derision toward her (‘you should have called CPS right away.’) Parenting is full of Monday Morning Quarterbacking moments and this is for sure one of them.

I think that we have all been in that sort of situation to some degree. We have been the mom at our wits’ end with our children and we have been the passive bystander asking herself “What should I do? Should I ask her if I can help? Oh, those poor children!” None of us are parenting experts, even those with a whole alphabet’s worth of letters after their name. We all have great parenting days and we all have craptastic parenting days, but the mark of a Parent with Grace is how you handle those craptastic moments.

I will say that I take issue with how this mother handled her craptastic moment in general and specifically at Mass. Pinching, Twisting, and Bopping your kid only teaches this that it’s acceptable to pinch, twist and bop those weaker than you if they don’t do as you say. Mass is supposed to be a celebration and Church should a happy place to be… not a punishment for anyone. If nothing else, this mother has planted the seeds for extreme religious hatred for her children. Instead of seeing the Stations of the Cross as a monument of Christ’s love for us, they will see it as a punishment, something that they had to to when they pissed mom off at church.

Discipline is proactive. Punishment is reactive. There are days that I would love to get to daily Mass, but it doesn’t happen if I know that my children are not prepared for the Mass. That means: well-rested, fed, dressed and briefed as far as my expectations go for them. If I am choosing to take them to Mass and I know they are hungry and tired, I have no one to blame but myself for setting THEM up for failure. We, as parents, need to also drop this facade of perfection that we carry around. We all have bad days and accepting help from a stranger, or asking for help is not a sign of weakness. If someone offers you a hand, do not take it as a personal affront to your parenting skills, as it is only when we accept help from others that we allow them to become Christ to us.

So what would I have done if faced with this dilemma? Honestly, I have no clue. I’d like to think that I would have said something to her but I really don’t know…

What would you do? Should you do anything?
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Filed under Catholic, etiquette, family, manners, monday, mothering

Manners Monday: Broadcasting your good deeds… yay or nay?

For the most part, we all like to do good deeds. It’s more fun to be on the receiving end of that good deed, but doing something nice for someone else does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But you know and I know that another part about doing good deeds is that feeling of wanting to tell someone- ANYONE- about that good deed. But is that the right thing to do?

On the one hand, your telling another about your good deed could inspire them to do some good deeds on their own. They could then go out and perform more good deeds and the world ends up a better place because you took the time to do something nice… altruistic for another human being.

On the other hand, your telling about your good deeds could make you into a braggart and you could come across as making yourself out better than others. After all, Jesus does tell us “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” (Matthew 6:3) After all, the only true judge knows what you are doing at all times.

Maybe the answer is a mix of the two. If someone is looking for a way to help out others, give them some options of works that you have done or that you do. But you don’t have to tell them how often you have done that deed or the last time you did it. I can tell you, one of my favorite good deeds to do is… and don’t laugh… pay for the car behind me at Starbucks.

OK, I know that is not earth shattering or much in the realm of other good deeds… after all, the cynic in me realizes that those who are frequenting Starbucks probably have no problem affording Starbucks. But for me, the action is not one as an act of charity but rather an act of goodwill toward my fellow man. I guess the way I look at it is this: I don’t know what kind of day the other driver in that car is having. They could be having the best day of their life… they could be having the worst day of their life… and the simple gesture of buying them a cup of coffee could make a small difference in their life.

Maybe I am being overly dramatic, but it works well in my head.

So what are your thoughts?
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UPDATE: One CCM reader, Missy, took the MM post about mobile ‘phone etiquette to heart. Before reaching the sales counter at a well-loved St. Louis institution (which happens to be known by another name in other states) she wrapped up the phone call that she was on. The employee was so surprised by her action that she told her how infrequently that happens and happy it makes them, as employees, not to be ignored for the ‘phone. Missy was pleased by that news and even more pleased by the extra little treat she was gifted. Now does that mean that treats will always follow good manners? No, but it’s extra nice when it does!

UPDATE 2: This was posted on FaceBook by a friend of mine: After yet another very frustrating day of dealing with car license renewal, I just felt deflated. When [DS] asked me to go to DQ, I was all over it. Somehow, pumpkin pie blizzards would be the cure. Unbeknownst to me, our treat was paid for by the young man ahead of us. The lady in the drive thru window just said “pay it forward.” I’m sure that gentle soul doesn’t know what it meant to this worn-out, tired old mom. God bless you, kind stranger. It’s the first time I’ve had tears in my eyes while leaving DQ!


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Manners Monday: Mobile ‘Phones. Oy Weh.

I know, I know, I said I was going to throw in the towel on the scheduling, but I think that is just how the creative mind works sometime. So, let’s talk mobile (cell) ‘phones.

Like them or not, mobiles have becomed engrained in our culture. I mean, there are children as young as 5 with their own ‘phones. (Not mine, mind you!) As with most inanimate objects, the mobiles themselves are not bad… But the behavior some people use whilst on their ‘phones is pretty horrendous.

Rude caller 1: People who continue their conversations on their mobiles while checking out at the market, boutique, mall, etc. Why is this rude? Because while jabbering away to your caller, you are basically ignoring the individual providing you a service! I have worked in customer service, and I know that some can be less than ideal, but does that give you a reason to flat out ignore them, fling your money at them or hold up the line behind you because you are trying to juggle your ‘phone, your possessions and whatever else you have. Do everyone a favor and just hang up.

Rude Caller 2: Those who insist on broadcasting their end of the conversation to the world, AKA, loud talkers. You tend to meet these types when confined on a bus, train, subway, plane or in line at the market. Either they really have no clue that they are talking so loudly, or they know how loud they are talking and don’t care because they really want you to know how important/cool/intellegent/well-connected they are. Really, your fellow travellors do not really care how ragin’ that party was last night, or how that ***** wore the same dress as your BFF to Ken’s house or how the Johnson merger is going. Really, we don’t care.

Rude Caller 3: The hands-free kings. Now I say kings, because nine times out of ten, the offender is a guy. These gentlemen insist on wearing their bluetooth, jawbone or other hands-free device EVERYWHERE they go, even if the aren’t on a call. You’ll see them walking though Home Depot, eating in a restaurant, playing with their kids at the park. It’s even worse when you combine rude callers numbers 1-3 and they are in line, yelling into their bluetooths.

Rude Caller 4: The “Unless you are a text message, I am ignoring you” offender. I am sad to say, usually this type of offender is a woman. Now, I am a text messenger. I love to text, in fact, I prefer texting over voice calls because you can get to the point with a text. But I discovered that I was losing skills in using the fine art of conversation because of my addiction to emails and text messaging. True story here: my husband took the girls to a “family-friendly” restaurant with an indoor play area. Also there was a 5 year old girl and her mom. Mom was glued to her phone. Little girl kept trying to get mom’s attention about something, and soon gave up and asked my 4 year old to play. The bear said yes, but she had to finish eating first. Little girl headed back to her mom and sat there. Soon, one of the employees of the restaurant walked up to mom and daughter and said something to mom. No answer from mom. He repeated his question, still no answer from her as she was texting away. (DH said he was pretty sure he was talking to mom because he was looking right at mom.) He then walked away. OK, here’s the kicker… mom then turned to her daughter and said loud enough for my husband to hear, “That was VERY RUDE of you to ignore that man!” DH said that Little girl just looked defeated.

Now, as you know, I am a mom and I now have my own business so therefore, I am on my mobile phone more often that I used to be. But at the same time, I have to make a conscious effort to be mindful of my mobile etiquette both with strangers and with my family. If my phone rings during meal time (breakfast, lunch, dinner,) the call goes to voice mail. If I get a text message or email during a meeting, or Mass, or when I am giving my girls undivided time (so in all of those cases, the ‘phone is on vibrate,) it’s going to wait. I will text and tweet while waiting in line, but the phone is put away when it is my turn to interact with another human being. I’m kind of spoiled in that The Swagger Wagon has Bluetooth integrated so you won’t see me sporting a handsfree device nor will you see me texting while driving!! (As an aside, I was listening to ‘Car Talk’ on NPR and Click and Clack said they saw a bumper sticker that read: Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving if you want to meet Him! I was rollin’ on that one.)

So that’s my take on mobile ‘phones. They are a fantastic invention and it’s funny to think that my kids will grow up only seeing corded ‘phones as play objects, but we mustn’t forget the real people that we are interacting with as well.
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What are some of your favorite mobile ‘phone faux pas? Oh, let me tell you this! I was so excited to find out that there is a new addition of Emily Post’s Etiquette coming out soon! Wheeeeee!! You know that could be an amazing gift for this CCM (hints to my family, LOL!)


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Manners Monday: ‘Buy Crap’ Parties and the all-important RSVP

Every Spring and every Fall, the Direct Selling companies come out with their new catalogs. That means, every Spring and every Fall there is a good chance that you will be invited to a plethora of what I like to lovingly call… “Buy Crap Parties.” And since I now represent one of those companies, I don’t feel entirely horrible saying that.

People tend to fall into two categories when it comes to B.C. parties: Love ’em or Hate ’em. I fall into the former category, if you couldn’t tell. I love to entertain and have people over and if it means that I have the chance to get some needed shopping done without taking the kids out, all the better. But I totally understand that, statistically, at least half of us HATE the B.C. parties. No matter if you love them or hate them, bottom line, you really have to RSVP to them.

RSVP (Respondez sil vous plait- French for “Please Reply) seems to be a dying bit of etiquitte and there is no good reason for that! You want to know how bad it could get? My BF had to call people to see if they were planning on attending her wedding because they hadn’t RSVP’d. How horrible is that?? The RSVP is not there to make your host feel good about themselves, it is there so your host knows how many guests to accommodate. As a host, there is nothing worse than having an event and not having enough for your guests. My personal rule for invitations is this: When I get an invite, I check the calendar. If there is nothing on the calendar, I will RSVP ‘YES!’ not ‘Maybe?’ In my opinion, the “maybe” option for an RSVP is horrible waste of time. ‘Maybe’ doesn’t tell your host anything… will I have 5 guests or 50 guests? I don’t know as 45 of the replies are ‘Maybe.’ And what does that mean exactly? I “maybe” there if nothing better comes up that day? That’s the way to treat your friends. If I have something going on, according to the family calendar, then I will RSVP ‘No.’ But the key to it all is, RSVP as soon as you get the invitation. If you wait a day or two, there is a good chance that your invite will get lost in the shuffle of the family mail and you will end up being one of those people who your host has to call.

That brings me to my next point. If you host does call to see if you are coming to their party, and you do not want to go, be honest with your host. Do not make false promises or make up a reason that you can’t attend that later on catches you in that lie. Let me tell you from personal experience, your host would rather feel the mild pinch of disappointment that you will not be attending than to feel the huge sting of rejection when she finds out that you lied to her. I have a dear friend, Miss N, who does not like to attend B.C. parties and we all know this fact. But I will still invite her because she’s my friend and 90% of the time she declines with grace. Doesn’t make up a reason, doesn’t blow smoke up my dupa, just says “Thank you for the invitation, but I am unable to attend.” Period.

Despite all of your misgivings, please know that your host thought to invite you to her party not because she wants you to spend money on crap, but because you are her friend and would like to hang out with you in an environment other than your norm. But if you really do not want to attend the parties, don’t forget to RSVP, with a graceful “Thank You for thinking of me, but I am unable to attend,” a la Miss N.
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