Thursday, March 12, 2015

Petitetiquette: Runny Nose at the Table? by Yvonne
Last night, in a restaurant, I saw a man blowing his nose with his dinner napkin. Ewww!  It happens, all of a sudden you have a runny nose and you're not at home. You can discreetly pat your nose and then go to the restroom.

When the meal is over, don't leave your napkin so that the side you patted your nose with is on the outside. Don't ball it up and throw in on the plate. Don't fold it up as if you're folding a pillow case, just leave it neatly on the table. Feel better!

Just an aside - after a dinner party at a friend's home in Milan, Italy, I folded my dinner napkin up as if it were clean laundry. The host said, "Never do that. I it means you're never coming back to my house."

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Bad blogger, bad blogger, I’ve fallen behind on posts.

Yesterday, Grammar Girl reminded me that March 4th is National Grammar Day.  I don’t think it made a difference in many people’s lives. Poor grammar is like typos; we start believing in it and see nothing wrong. And we rarely correct our friends and family – children we will correct, and that’s the right thing to do. Our friends whose first language isn't English, we're also more apt to correct.

When I lived in Milan, Italy, my goal was to speak Italian well. I didn’t want to sound like a three year old just learning to speak.  I was fortunate to have good friends who would correct me in a respectful way. They would repeat what I had said incorrectly, correctly, but not in a reprimanding way but in a caring way. I wasn't every shy about asking what was the right way to say something. An American who once lived in Florence gave me a tip. “When Italians speak to you, repeat what they say and then continue the conversation.”

One of my pet peeves is, “Between you and I.”  The grammarian, Patricia T. O’Conner points out that oftentimes we want to sound gentile, in doing so we make innocent grammatical errors for a lifetime. Her book, WOE IS I, The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, is terrific. You can even email her when in doubt.

James Baldwin said that in England when you open your mouth you tell everything about yourself - who your father was, who your mother was, etc. Speaking proper grammar shouldn’t have anything to do with class but improper grammar will tell on you. 

If you find any grammatical errors in this post, let me know.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


  •     Just the other day, on the No. 6 downtown line a banker type didn’t budge from the door.
  •     A woman had a value box of 12 packs of Doritos, she ate one bag while talking to her friend with his backpack on.
  •     Man spread seems to be spreading. 

I have a theory about the MTA etiquette campaign running  on subway cars. It’s not working. I think it’s not working because the figures in the campaign don’t look human. They look like  technicolor versions of The Blue Man Group.  I wonder if real people were used if the campaign would resonate better with real people.  The lady who was enjoying her Doritos probably thought the sign was directed at a red male stick figure. So, she just munched on.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day And The Importance Of Sweetness
Many couples will celebrate their love on February 14th sitting in restaurants festooned with hearts dangling from the ceilings and red splashed everywhere. Men will clutch bunches of flowers and women will come up with cute, romantic ideas to make the day special.

Whatever comes your way, accept it and show how gracious you can be. Temper your expectations because for some men and women when it comes to Valentine's Day, they're just not that into it.

If it's important to you and you've been dating someone for more than three months, make it known. Even if it's not important, make that known too.

Avoid gloating at every cost. There is no need to call a friend whose relationship may not be as solid as yours and tell her or him in great detail what you received on Valentine's Day. If a friend calls and wants to know, share. They asked for it. 

Yvette ranted about Valentine's Day to an ex-boyfriend and noticed he remained silent. After she finished, he quietly told her that he liked The Sweetest Day, a special day celebrated in Ohio. Instead of a celebration of love, it began as a day to do something sweet for the less fortunate. While it's evolved into a more romantic day we hope that some diehards still think of the needy especially during these trying times.

I didn't know about the Sweetest Day several years ago when I brought sheets of stickers to the kitchen where I served the homeless. I made each and every man and woman my Valentine by pressing a sticker onto their napkins. Most didn't notice but some did.
I saw the smiles and felt the love.

We like the Sweetest Day. Maybe there's an elderly neighbor who could use some heart. Maybe this year with so many people unemployed, there's a way we can make this their sweetest day until something better comes along. And we all want that to be soon.

We wish you the sweetest Valentine's Day no matter how you want to look at it.

*We ran this post before, the message still stands and it's still sweet. 

Monday, February 2, 2015


This gorgeous baby girl is the daughter of my wonderful niece, Mia.

Her name is Bliss. She's bright, smiles easily and is adored by her family and likewise.  She is hard of hearing in one ear, that’s why she wears a hearing aid.

“Is she wearing Bluetooth?” a man recently asked my niece.  Mia much more gracious than I would be under the circumstance politely answered, “No.” 

“While it was one of dumbest questions, it really tickled me, ” she said. “He was visibly embarrassed, it was an awkward elevator ride after that.” Some have even asked how did they discover she was deaf at such a young age. Mia explains to them that Bliss isn’t deaf; she’s hard of hearing. She feels that answering these questions gives people who really don’t mean any harm, information. I applaud her sensitivity and patience.

I know that children can say the darndest things, but adults sure can ask the stupidest questions. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Petitetiquette: Changing Tables? by Yvonne

Don’t like the table you’re shown to in a restaurant? That’s okay but it’s not if you choose another without asking the host before sitting down. 
This could be the best table in the house but wait until it looks like the best table.

And it’s even worse to sit down at a table that hasn’t been cleared and cleaned yet.  Save that sort of behavior for cafeteria dining.

Monday, January 12, 2015


A couple of years ago, I posted a piece about the new welcome mat – puddles of urine compliments of entitled dogs and their owners.  The situation has worsened at least where I live on the Upper East Side, aka Silk Stocking District. Heh. 


Something about high rent, condo, and maintenance fees just don’t seem to mesh with dried pee stains. In fact, it shouldn’t be the case in any part of the city. 

“Try telling that to a dog with a broken leg,” explained a neighbor whose dog left his mark two steps out of the front door.  I suggested that she carry a small bottle of water and do a quick rinse. “How am I supposed to carry that?” Hmm, she seems to manage when she takes a run in the park with her dog when his leg is fine.

Can you imagine coming home on a warm summer’s evening and being greeted with that putrid smell of dried urine?  It’s dreadful, much like some subway stations.

“They should rinse the sidewalk down a few times a day,” another neighbor said as she nodded her head toward a doorman. Really?  Not even a Lady of Downton Abbey would display such disregard for another human being.

Sorry about the pissy air of the first post of 2015, but it is apropos to the subject. What do you think?