Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Holidays are simply holidays, to be enjoyed and not to be used as tools of disengagement. What did I learn? I should have asked sooner. I should've lowered my expectations based on his actions. Five months and no introduction to close friends or family? I don't think he was rude for not including me in his holiday plans, the email was. He should've manned up and picked the phone up.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Cell phones and BlackBerrys don’t help. Now, there’s really no reason to recognize anyone else, we’re too busy fielding phone calls and answering emails. Neighbors think nothing of getting on an elevator and holding conversations as if they’re the only ones on it. At the very least, a whispered, “Excuse me,” says plenty. It says, “I know this is rude to hold a conversation that has nothing to do with you and is invasive to the space we’re in.” Of course, if your phone rings during the ride it’s not your fault, you can either answer it so that the ring doesn’t become a Muzak tune or you can turn it off or answer it and quickly say, “I’ll call you back.”
Babies and their state of the art strollers rule. However, most caregivers and parents are usually very nice about acknowledging the space they’re about dominate as you’re squished into a corner. They’re also more apt to greet you - there’s something you can take to the first floor. But as these babies grow, parents will often let them practice their first steps getting on and off the elevator, this is fine as long as no one else is on it or waiting for one. Otherwise, there’s nothing much to do about precious moments like these except grin and bear it.
Getting off the elevator is another trip. Babies and their equipment get off first, then women and the elderly and then everyone else. In a rush to get off, no one thinks about the doors closing in the face of ‘everyone else’.
“I don’t like it when someone treats a public elevator as if it’s their private elevator” a friend pointed out. She explained that there’s nothing more annoying than someone on the elevator holding the doors open while having a conversation with someone off the elevator. That’s as bad as the person who can’t fathom waiting for another elevator so he/she slices in between the doors with their hand just as the doors were closing and everyone else who waited fair and square were thinking they were on their way.
Speaking of conversation, how soon we forget when an elevator works efficiently. We’re talking about ungrateful riders who get on and when they realize they’re on a functioning elevator as it stops for others as it stopped for them, they say, “Local,” as if the elevator did something wrong. Poor elevators and poor us if we get stuck on this one.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
1. Do you all have the same father? Families today, don’t look like they used to with overseas adoptions, interracial marriages and extended families. There’s no need to ask a question like this except if you are a doctor inquiring about a family’s medical history.
2. What does your wife/husband do? Just because a man is wearing a wedding band doesn’t mean he’s married to a woman. The same goes for a woman.
3. Are you two married? Asking a couple about their marital status could be uncomfortable if they’re not married and one of them would like to be.
4. How old are you? This age-old question stirs up all kinds of emotions after age ten. The only ones who can get away with it are doctors, lawyers and forgetful parents.
5. Why were you in the hospital? If you don’t know that means you don’t know the person well enough. And maybe they don’t want to talk about their hemorrhoid operation.
6. How big is your farm? This is another way of asking, “How much land are you rich enough to own?”
7. Did your son/daughter get a scholarship? This question could rub someone wrong for a couple reasons. One, it’s an underhanded way of inquiring about someone’s finances. Two, it’s a sly way to find out how smart or talented their kid is.
8. Is he/she gay? Who wants to know and why? This question is usually used as a tool to label someone. It’s also usually asked when a person’s sexual preferences have nothing to do with the conversation or situation at hand.
9. I love your ring, how big is it? We can understand the curiosity of knowing what two or three carats look like but are those dollar signs we see in that bubble over your head?
10. Do you mind my asking how much rent do you pay? Unless you’re a financial institution or offering to pay someone’s rent, don’t ask.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Most people will know their host but that isn’t a guarantee that you’ll have someone to keep you company during the party. No decent host worth their cheese puffs would spend the whole time with one guest. So, how do you do, ‘How do you do?’ when you don’t know anyone?
First, go to the bar, get a drink and move around the room. Keep moving, don’t find a comfortable chair and own it for the rest of the party. If you catch someone’s eye, introduce yourself and whatever conversation follows, make it about them – “I love that color you’re wearing.” “You remind me of a friend of mine who comes from Boston, do you come from Boston by any chance?” Questions like these lead to conversations. Try and avoid the dull and common, “How do you know so and so?” This could be taken as, “How did you get invited here?” It can also be intrusive. What if a guest doesn’t want you to know that she and the host met at rehab? And whatever you do, don’t ask, “What you do?” What if they respond, “I sell copy paper?” Then what? It’s always much more interesting when you allow others to do the talking. It may never get around to what they do and that’s okay, you will have learned so much more.
Yvette loves art. If there’s one painting or photograph on the wall she’ll strike up a conversation with someone nearby and say something, “I like that painting.” She swears that it’s always a conversation starter. “Everyone likes to play critic,” Yvette said, “you’d be surprised how much people have to say.”
Go to the party and promise yourself a new friend, not as in girlfriend or boyfriend, just a new person. It’s usually the woman or man standing quietly away from the rest. Probably shy, they can usually turn out to be social treasures. They will most likely be smart, observant and ready for interesting conversation. And they’ll gladly come out of the corner with an offer of a drink at the bar or a promise of the best crab cakes on the other side of the room.
Once you’ve brought them into the fold, don’t turn your back on them. Introduce them and engage them in other conversations. You’ll be surprised, they weren’t the ‘losers’ of the party after all, they were the winners and now you’re one of them too.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
H1N1, depending on with whom you’re talking, is coming our way with a vengeance along with the seasonal flu. Now, more than ever, is the time to go into germ control wherever you are, especially at your place of work.
If you’re climbing up the ladder, slow down during flu season. You won’t get high marks when you and your germs show up in the office, just cold stares from colleagues as you go about sneezing, coughing and touching everything in sight.
“I have to come to work, I have no more sick days,” is a common cry. Dip into vacation days, it may not be a day at the beach but at least if you take care of yourself, you’ll be around to take a vacation. (Excuse the scare technique; we’ve been watching a lot of cable television.)
If you don’t mind, we have some tips:
• When you get to the office, don’t go straight to the kitchen for coffee and dig into the donut box. The coveted donut is always at the bottom.
• If you use the microwave, ‘nuke’ the panel with a sanitizing wipe before and after.
• Before you pick up the phone, touch your mouse or keyboard - give everything a good wiping.
• Don’t play doctor see a doctor; if you’re working you must have some sort of insurance even if it does need reforming.
• Employers should encourage people to stay home if they’re sick and employees shouldn’t feign illness, not healthy for your karma.
• If someone extends their hand, don’t recoil in fear, shake and wash hands soon after, especially if it’s a client.
• Don’t fuel the discussion of flu shots with anymore misinformation. There's already plenty available.
Stay well! At least, try.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
“Excuse me, sir, your camera and its light are distracting and blocking my view.” He turned around and nodded his head as if to say, “Thanks for telling me.” He resumed filming. Yvette felt like a basket case for the rest of the performance
Continuing her cultural weekend, Yvette went to another concert on Sunday. “Between lack of buttiquette and cameras, it wasn’t a whole lot of fun,” she said.
I went to a play and had an ongoing narrative delivered throughout from a woman in the row behind me. If there was a sound effect of a train, the narrator said, “Train.” My companion missed the second half of the play because the couple in front of him couldn’t bare not to stick like glue to each other, so they locked arms and put their heads together forming a lumpy pyramid.
Going to the movies can be a trying experience too. Depending on where you go, forget about hearing the movie because the shouting from the audience will make sure of that. They give running commentary, take phone calls and supply their own laugh track when nothing’s funny. Some moviegoers are so important; they check messages and don’t give a hoot about the light their devices throw off.
I would’ve whispered something to the couple at the play. “Excuse me, these seats are really low and I can’t see.” I didn’t say anything to the lady behind me because I realized she was sitting with her grandchildren, hence, all the clarifications. I’d stay away from the loud bunch, their actions are already telling you how they’re going to react to your requests.
Enjoy the show, as much as you can.
ABOUT THE NO GIFT REQUEST
Our friend’s birthday party was fabulous. Gifts and flowers were delivered before hand and we suspect afterwards too. Some guests brought presents and discreetly hid them in the foyer to be discovered later by our friend who was delightfully surprised.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
We are going to that party this evening and we are sure that there will be gifts. Many don’t believe in walking into a birthday party empty handed. It’s a show of gratitude and friendship and who doesn’t like a present? They believe that deep down inside the person who asked for no gifts really wants gifts.
The request should be respected for a number of reasons. A lack of space for another book or knick-knack is one. An article of clothing can end up being more of a hassle than a gift, especially if it doesn’t fit or if it’s just plain wrong. You’re sending the person who didn’t want a gift shopping for an exchange. What if they hate shopping or don’t have the time?
Also, consider those who won’t be arriving with presents in hand. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than a few guests arriving together and some are empty handed while others are holding small gift bags or nicely wrapped boxes. To say the least, it’s an awkward moment caused by, we believe, the gift bearers. Each is looking and the other wondering if they’ve done the right thing no matter what the invitation said. If coming without something makes you feel like a lesser person, why not send a bottle of champagne before the party or after with a note?
We will report next week on the presence of presents at this party. What’s your guess? Do you honor no gift requests?
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Since most of us don’t have handlers and official websites, we're responsible for making our own apologies. It’s really easy and won’t cost a fortune. Just say, “I’m sorry.” Keep your “but” out of it. Once you’ve added that word, you’ve sleazily taken back the apology. You can do it by phone, a note or if you can, in person. Don’t be a coward and apologize to voicemail, keep calling until you reach the person.
If you’re on the receiving end of the apology, accept it; don’t beat down the apologist by rehashing. Simply thank them, or else, you’ll be sorry.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Yvette marveled when I told her that I more than survived a vacation in one house with 7 adults and one eight year old child. “I couldn't do it,” she said. “I don't need to be with someone who can't talk before they've had their coffee, or an incessant talker, please, I can go on and on.”
I explained to her that when you're with a group of civil, mature people, nice things happen.
- Men put toilet seats down. (One even vacuumed after deciding that the housekeeper didn't get the job done.)
- There was a team effort in the kitchen assembling meals and one woman cleaned up to perfection each time willingly.
- Housemates didn't come running into the house waving flimsy supermarket receipts for a loaf of bread or a stick of butter. We all contributed on our own and since no one's eyes were rolling; I assume it worked out for everyone's vacation budget.
- The child's mother would send him back to the bathroom to wash his hands; this was refreshing and important since he was digging into bags of cookies and chips we were all sharing. She also didn't let him dominate the television; we were able to watch Meet the Press guilt-free.
- There were three couples and thin walls but no one lost sleep when others weren't sleeping. That's civility for you.
And that's how it was in one house on Martha's Vineyard for one week. I think Yvette could've done it.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
One, could just say, "Thank you."
Two, write a note. It's thoughtful, classy and memorable.
Three, you can email your thanks but only if the invite was emailed.
Four, you can pick up the phone.
Five, you can send flowers the next day after a dinner party. Try not to take flowers, the host will have to stop and find a vase, fill it with water and then find a suitable place. This precious time could have been used to mix a drink for you.
If you're dating someone, never stop saying thank you.
The same goes for spouses, siblings, parents, etc. You can never be too close or know someone too well to not thank them.
Take care, and thank you for taking the time to read this post.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Try any of these questions the next time you're invited to someone's weekend house and see what happens.
- Is this the only television you have?
- Did you know the upstairs bathroom toilet is stopped up?
- What's for dinner?
- Is this the only bottle of champagne you have?
- Did you buy any fish?
- I don't eat meat, you have any bean curd?
- You have a fly swatter?
- What's for lunch?
- You have any wine?
- Will this red wine stain come off your sofa?
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Why anyone would spread their lunch on a chair is beyond us. We think it’s nasty. “They looked at me as if I had two heads,” Yvette said. She was in a park and the one available seat in that particular area was occupied by a romantic lunch for two. When she asked the couple if they could remove their lunch, they just looked at her. Yvette left, the lunch stayed comfortably seated.
Seat gluttony happens on buses and trains all the time. Fellow commuters think nothing of resting their weary packages on an empty seat and ignoring the person who’s standing. Our pet peeve is when men, usually younger, (Yvette doesn’t like it when I refer to these types as young punks.) sit with their legs open so wide they take up three seats. They know exactly what they’re doing and their aim is to intimidate. Kill them with kindness. Just say with a smile, “Excuse me, please.” They won't lose their manhood by sitting properly for a few stops.
The next time you take a seat, take one, not two or three.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
There’s a lovely, young barister at a Starbucks in Harlem – she’s quick, always with a smile and unfortunately, always with a “sweetie” at the end of the transaction. Another barrister in a midtown shop seems to have the same affliction. We don’t think that this is in the training manual. By the way, this is not purely a Starbuck issue, it’s happened to us in other retail establishments.
Could it be about class? We’ve spent a lot of time on Madison Avenue and no salesperson we’ve ever dealt with has ever used the ‘s’ word. It may be upbringing. Our friend in San Francisco known for her charitable work and parties asked us when we first met her children, “How would you like them to address you?” That’s a class act.
Men, we’d like to think, know better than to call a woman they don’t know of any age, “sweetie”. But what gives a young woman even a teenager the right to call another woman and in most cases a stranger, “sweetie”?
The only people we don’t mind calling us “sweetie” is the waiter or waitress in the local diner. “Sweetie” is part of the wonderful, American greasy diner landscape.
What do you think, dear?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It’s simple – if you’re on the handle side of the door it’s up to you to open it and allow a person to enter or exit. If you’re the one entering and the door opens out, you have the handle so it’s up to you to let the person exit before you enter.
But, it doesn’t work like that. Gender can muddy the situation. Should a man hold the door for a woman? I, Yvette, believe a man should always hold the door for a woman. The woman should be grateful and say so. I’ve noticed that oftentimes women go on mute when men step aside to let them enter a building first or get on a bus or train. Yvonne’s more flexible because she finds that sometimes a man’s chivalry causes door jam. If she gets to the door first, she’s opening the door. However, she thinks it’s charming that men in Italy enter a restaurant first. It was explained to her that the man should check out the place and make sure it’s safe for the woman.
Revolving doors are tricky. The belief is that since these doors can be heavy, the man should go first. We agree, but Yvonne asks, "What if you’re with another woman? Should the bigger of the two do the work?" The same goes for which of two women should enter first, is it age before beauty or diamonds before pearls?
We feel for the poor man who holds the door for one prospective shopper and the next thing he’s holding the door for most of the mall population. They don’t say thank you because they don’t see him. He’s been anointed as The Invisible Doorman.
My number one pet peeve is the door slammers. Someone has been considerate enough to hold the door open for them, yet they walk through, hands free not caring about the person behind them.
Apparently, one person’s open door policy is another’s closed door policy.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
“Wait for the owner of the plane to assign you a seat,” advises Joy. “To me, it’s the most important rule.” Our friend, Martin, who also travels well, agrees but points out the importance of being punctual. “If ‘wheels up’ is at 9am, make sure you’re there 30 to 45 minutes ahead of time and don’t ask your host for a lift to the airport.” He suggests that you arrange your own transportation and ask for the tail number of the plane.
Unlike going to someone’s home, no need to arrive bearing gifts or a bottle of liquor. ”If it’s a business trip, no gift is necessary,” advises Joy. “If a friend is giving you a lift, you can offer dinner at the destination or send an orchid to the hotel or home where they’ll be staying. Never buy a gift for the plane. They’ve spent millions, it’s already outfitted.” She said there’s nothing wrong with a lovely thank you note.
Martin likes to offer to cater a meal. For example, if it’s a morning flight he’ll bring breakfast from a good deli and give it to the flight attendant to organize.
Always ask your host if it’s all right to bring your clubs along. Don’t over pack, it’s considered bad form to arrive with your whole set of luggage no matter how fabulous it is.
Try and take care of your important natural function of the day before boarding the plane (this is a real tip).
And since you’re really flying high, Martin suggests a pair of sunglasses. Cool.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Are there questions people ask that you wish they wouldn’t about your daughter?
Only after spending some time with her do people realize that she’s not a typical child. They’ll ask me what’s wrong with her not maliciously but it’s not the way I would pose the question. I will usually tell them that she has special needs. My feeling is that nothing is wrong with her. Thankfully, with all of the awareness and attention given to autism, inappropriate questions are rare.
Is there anything that one should do or not do when they meet your daughter?
Don’t treat her differently. I want people to communicate with her as they would with any child her age. If she interrupts your conversation, don’t let her get away with it and don’t go out of the way to meet an unreasonable request she may have. If she begins to focus on something you’re wearing and wants to hold it, don’t give in. A typical child would be told to ‘knock it off’. Real responses like that are better and more helpful to her.
How do your daughter’s peers treat her and what can their parents teach their kids about having a friend or schoolmate with special needs?
Most kids stare and very few treat her warmly. Their parents have passed their fears on to them and steer them away from her because they feel there’s nothing their children can get from the relationship. I think there’s a lot they can learn from a friendship with my daughter. She has the same wishes and desires as any child. I would like parents to instruct their kids to be as real as possible with my daughter. They should teach their kids to feel more at ease with special needs children.
Have you ever had to straighten someone out with respect to how they treated your daughter?
Once, a librarian wanted to ban my daughter from the local library because she had an outburst. Instead of explaining to her that she may have to wait a short period before using the library again, she berated her as if she'd lost control on purpose and told her she could never return. People should understand that behavioral issues often go hand in hand with neurological impairment.
What is the most thoughtful thing someone has said or done for you and your family?
I’m always touched by the way close friends and family rally around my daughter. My girlfriends are my comfort. If they’re close to me they’re going to have be close to her. When people are kind that kindness not only comes through in their actions but also in the actions of their children. Between friends and extended family there is a lot of love around my daughter.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Sorting of clothes should take place in your apartment or at the washing machine straight from the laundry bag or your own cart. Spreading stained clothes on the folding table in order to use stain remover is another bad idea.
Part II of laundry time has its issues too. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing your clean, wet clothes in a cart or on top of a machine’s dusty surface (This really happened, a woman put someone’s clothes on top of the machine and thought she was doing the right thing until Yvette pointed out the contrary.) compliments of a neighbor. But it’s your responsibility to tend to your own wash and timing is everything. It wouldn't hurt to acknowledge your lateness and let them know that you understand.
If you find yourself in the situation of needing a machine and you’ve waited at least five minutes for someone to claim their clothes, remove them and put them in a cart. You can say when the owner of the forgotten load finally arrives, “I'm sorry I had to take your clothes out. I waited but there wasn’t another machine available.” Since all parties think they're right when it comes to laundry room encounters always try to be as civil as positive.
However you handle it, remember, it all comes out in the wash.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
If you can make the loan, leave out the lecture on how you think this person should or shouldn’t spend their money. Make sure the payback terms are clear and don’t hesitate to ask for an IOU especially for a large sum of money.
If you're the borrower, don’t feel compelled to pepper your request with a sob story and never lie. Why you need the money is your business. Be honest about when you can repay the loan and never box yourself into a corner with a specific date, you can say within a month, week, etc. If you can payback sooner, that’s always better and puts you in good standing with your lender friend. Repay your loan the way it came to you with a check or cash and the full sum unless you've negotiated otherwise.
Be sensitive to the person who lent the money to you. If she’s staying close to home for vacation, you can understand why she may not lend you money again when she receives your postcard from Monte Carlo. It's human nature. On the other hand, don’t feel as though you have to present yourself as poverty stricken every time you see her.
Whether you're bailing out a friend or being bailed out, mind your manners.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Once, our mother told us a story about then called, ‘winos’ who hung out in her Brooklyn neighborhood. She said she always greeted them. One evening, walking home, a man approached her. She said she didn’t know where they came from but in no time they were surrounding this guy who took off into the night. Yvonne and I never forgot this story. It informed us on how we treat people no matter what their challenges are. “Those men never disrespected me and I’m glad I acknowledged them. They appreciated it and came to my rescue when I needed them,” our mother explained.
We are not urging you to run up to a homeless person and engage them in conversation and shove a dollar bill into their face. If one says hello to you, say hello back, wish them a good day. Never hand out money in lieu of a greeting. If you want to give them something, do it if they ask otherwise it’s obnoxious. They have their pride too, respect it and don’t patronize them.
If a person gets on a bus or train or is already seated and it’s clear they haven’t bathed for days, no need to make a face, shake your head furiously and suck your teeth in disgust. Just get up and move to another section.
While we may not have a lot in common with many homeless people, we are all human. And during these tough times, some of us are closer than we think to them.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The next time you board a plane with a big, lumpy bag and wonder why an attendant isn’t racing to stuff it into the overhead compartment, it has nothing to do with laziness. Most attendants aren’t insured for any injury that could result from heavy lifting. However, they will help a person who is obviously too small or frail to handle their bag.
Flight attendants call some carry on bags ‘drag on’ because of their size and weight. They suggest that you take out what you need during the flight before you get on the plane, this way you’re not holding up boarding while you fumble through your bag. (This also causes ‘butt-in-your-face’ syndrome.)
Don’t expect an attendant to thank you for pushing the button. While it’s not always possible and easy to move around the cabin, a visit to the galley is greatly appreciated, especially after they’ve just finished serving and taking a much needed break.
When offered a custom form to fill out some passengers get an odd surge of patriotism and exclaim, “But I’m an American!” Take it easy; even a Martian would have to fill out the form. Just say, ‘thank you’ and take it.
One flight attendant explained, “I’ve learned to be more patient. A lot of people don’t know how to travel because they don’t do much of it.” Even with all of his years of flying he never realized how difficult traveling with babies was until his niece had one. “I’m especially patient with parents.”
The next time you're flying high, take the high road all the way.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
A prominent hostess in San Francisco can’t believe how invitees think it’s enough to call and say, “I’m rsvping.” “What they’re saying is that they are responding,” she said. “That doesn’t tell me if they are attending or not.”
When someone invites you to a party or a wedding, rsvp isn’t on the invitation because it came with the printing deal. It’s on there so that you can let the hostess know if you are going to attend the event or not. Your response lets her know how much she’ll need to order or rent to make sure that guests are comfortable and well served.
Wedding invitations usually come with response cards and stamped envelopes. Yet, brides and wedding planners still have to call guests and ask if they’re coming. “Oh, I thought I had to send the card back only if I’m coming to the wedding,” one invited guest said to a planner.
“I couldn’t have made it easier,” explained the hostess in San Francisco now planning a bridal shower. “There was a designated phone number and an email address on the invitation. Half still haven’t responded.” Instead of making plans, she has to make phone calls to those who think they’ve responded and to those who haven’t at all.
The next time you receive the honor of an invitation, honor it. If you can’t make it, it’s all right to say so but not the day before. If you have pending plans, you can let your host know and give them an answer in a timely fashion. When there’s a stamped envelope, that means that there’s a required visit to a mail box in your near future. Whatever you do, don’t call and just say, “I’m rsvping.” That’s a real, non, non.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
It was a pitiful display of greed, selfishness and total inconsideration for other guests. We can imagine what these same culprits would do to a stringbean casserole and its crispy onion top layer! Would you trust your strawberry shortcake to them? We shudder to think what they would do if the pudding were instead a pecan pie.
There are picky eaters and then there are picky eaters. They pick with their fingers for the perfect strip of bacon. They shovel food from bowls or plates onto their plates instead of properly serving themselves by using the serving utensils to pick up and transport the food. They will ruin a dish of green peas and ham by picking out the ham to satisfy their vegetarian leanings while secretly enjoying the flavor of pork. And they will pick through a bowl of nuts looking for precious cashews. (When serving nuts there should always be a small spoon in the bowl.)
Don’t be the pig at a dinner party. Consider the number of people who still have to eat. Consider that just like you, they’ll probably want some of the topping too. Consider that just like you, they don’t like the idea of random fingers doing the walking through the food. If there’s one more serving of something left, look around, ask, “Is it all right for me to finish this?” No one’s going to say, ‘no’. You’re displaying courtesy and thoughtfulness and your hosts will probably urge you to take it.
Language, how well you speak it, can tell people who you are and where you came from. The same goes for manners. The proof was certainly in this pudding.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Joy was just 53 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she has plenty to say about what people say.
It irked her when people felt compelled to share stories about others who had cancer or were battling it. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SHARE.
“Don’t worry, you will be fine or you will surely beat this,” were other comments that she could’ve done without. Not one of them came from a specialist. Some ‘specialists’ assured Joy’s 14-year-old son that his mommy was going to be fine. And luckily she was and still is. DON’T BECOME A KNOW IT ALL UNLESS YOU KNOW IT ALL.
“I couldn’t stand the facial expressions,” she said. They were either doom or gloom or pity.” PITY IS NOT A CURE.
Others wanted a blow by blow of her treatment schedule and even wanted to know if her hair was going to fall out. DON’T ASK, LISTEN.
Married at the time, she told her husband’s cousin, whom she considered a good friend about her diagnosis. He expressed deep sorrow for her husband not Joy! It got worse. Her former mother-in-law pointed out that, “Breast cancer is nothing, so many women get it.” TRY REALLY HARD NOT TO BE AS STUPID.
And then there were those who knew what to do and say. Her best friend reassured her that she was there for her. “I’ll go with you to radiation if that works for you,” she offered. Joy’s daughter, 24 years old at the time became her surrogate and answered questions when friends called. BE SENSITIVE AND PATIENT.
What can the patient do? “I think it’s important to do the homework, make your choices so you can let friends and family know that it’s being managed and to be there if you need to talk.” She added, “I feel blessed for the early diagnosis, great doctors. I’m a warmer, more sensitive person. And I feel strong because I’m a survivor.” DON’T BE SHY, TELL PEOPLE WHAT YOU NEED.
While Joy was having her treatments, her husband began an affair. Not only is the cancer gone, so is he. Oh, what a joy!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Does Mr. Slurpee realize how annoying he sounds as he sucks the last drops of his beverage even when it's all gone?
Ms. Snappee pops and snaps away obliviously. Every now and then a sound will come out of her mouth that one would expect to come out at the other end. At least Ms. Snappee doesn’t do what Ms. Bubbles does; she likes to blow bubbles right in your face.
And let's not forget Mr. Empty. He eats the last cookie on the plate and just can't make take the few steps to put plate in the dishwasher. He's probably the same person who left the teensy corner of milk in the container and put it back in the refrigerator.
Meet Miss Pickover. She always picks the cheese off of a slice of pizza and puts it back in the box with the untouched slices.
And then there are The Foodies. They eat exotic lunches from around the world and don't seem to care about the pungent aromas we're forced to inhale. On occasion, they'll have something more familiar like bacon and eggs. Fine, but better if you’re in a diner.
The workplace isn't an open market where anything goes. Today, at lunch time, if you're eating at your desk, think about what's between the bread or on the plate or in your cup. And if you must have a piece of gum, try not to disturb the peace.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Across the aisle from us sat a woman who was constantly getting up from her seat and finding reason to bend over to dig into her bag. We realized she was preparing her lunch. Not once did she turn around and say, “Excuse me.” She was a large woman and must’ve known that the aisle could accommodate but so much butt before it ended up in my face.
I guess we don’t think much about our butts because they’re behind us, but so are people’s faces. If you have to stop in an aisle on the plane be mindful of your surroundings, try and situate yourself on the side of a seat this way a passenger doesn’t have to look at the seat of your pants. Never assume that the person on the aisle is okay with your behind in their face due to lack of space. If it’s a split second okay but keep moving. And if you know that beverages send you to the bathroom often, be considerate and don’t take a window seat.
In restaurants where tables are close, there is nothing more unsavory than someone getting up and giving you a view from behind. Make your departure quickly and try to keep your butt out of another diner’s meal.
Maybe we should observe how flight attendants move around in cabins; they seem to do a fine job at keeping their butts to themselves. No?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
With same sex marriages, the wording can be the same as with heterosexuals:
The pleasure of your company is requested
at the marriage of
On Saturday, the sixth of June, etc
We're doing it!
Sarah Long and Tabitha Haines
Are getting married
On Saturday, the thirtieth of May
Together with their families, etc….
*Ellen notes that depending on the state you live in, you wouldn’t always use the word, marriage.
2. If a couple doesn’t want children at their wedding; can that be stated on the invitation?
You can state on the invitation on the lower right corner:
Please no children
I have also done this on a separate card, so it really stands out.
3. What if a couple prefers money instead of a gift, can that be stated on an invitation? Is it ever appropriate?
4. People send out cards printed with their store registry information, is that acceptable?
Sending cards with bridal registry information is considered bad form. You cannot include that with the invite, it looks as if the gift is the reason you’re inviting them! If you’re having a bridal shower, it can be included in that invitation, but never in the wedding invitation.
The most difficult decision for most people on the invitation is the dress code. I don’t agree with "black tie optional". I think it leaves people totally confused and half the guests who do not own tuxedos will be left wondering if they’ll be dressed appropriately. It’s either black tie or not. You must decide so that your guests feel more at ease. If you want women to wear long dresses, that should be clearly stated on the invitation.
The honor of your presence is requested…
The pleasure of your company is requested
6.What happens when mom and dad are divorced and mom has been with her new husband or partner for many years and the bride wants to include her stepfather on the invitation?
Stepparents, who have been part of the bride's and groom's lives, should definitely be included just make sure to put the bride’s last name on the invitation to avoid confusion. Another example of a more inclusive invitation is in the case of a Jewish wedding. It’s customary to have the groom’s parents mentioned on the invitation either above, ‘son of’ or at the top along with the bride’s parents.
When there are complications between the bride’s parents, the stepfather can be listed on the ceremony program as the escort of the bride’s mother or grandmother.
If you're interested in invitations, call Ellen.
Ellen Weldon Design
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
One person is very hungry, so a starter and the grilled snapper entree sounds like a good idea. Another prefers just an appetizer, just enough to justify a second glass of champagne. Someone will mention the big, late lunch they had and thinks a bowl of mussels will do the job. The non-drinker in the group is in the mood for a burger.
The food starts arriving, more drinks are ordered. Everyone seems to be enjoying what they ordered. Some even pass their plate around, why not? They all have a vested interest in everything on the table because the bill will be split, but not before one person orders the dessert special.
Here comes the check.
The non-drinker burger eater will pay almost double for her burger. The three-courser will pay less than he would've payed had he eaten alone. Everyone quietly pays their share, some, no doubt, thinking, "Never again!"
When we note that a non-drinker is being asked to pay for wine, we'll say, "So and so shouldn't pay that much she doesn't drink." This can help others re-evaluate what's really fair. We are not encouraging the ole, "I had this, you had that" exchange.
Choose the place carefully where you want to dine with friends. It's important to be sensitive to the group, who's flush and who's not (you can argue that if you don't have a job, you shouldn't be sitting in a restaurant).
If you feel like having everything from soup to nuts, there's nothing wrong with that, but it's rude to expect your friends to pay for your private feast if they chose lighter fare. Fair share is only fair when everyone is ordering more or less the same.
If you've been invited out to dinner, don't order an entree that costs more than what your host is ordering. That doesn't mean you have to order the measly crab cake and a bowl of soup or a dish you really don't like because the price is right. If your host urges you to try the caviar and the lobster, have it. They are telling you that it's fine with them, don't be shy, forget about the tired, baby roasted chicken on a bed of mystery greens.
Over time, the problem eater is usually identified and probably won't be included when the group meets again or everyone will be on the lookout. It's probably not worth losing a friendship over. Maybe he or she knows not what they do. Maybe they think, "I ordered what I want, isn't that what everyone else is doing, too?"
True, but about the truffle special.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Notice the position of her hands as she holds her knife and fork. In an earlier post we pointed out how violently some people eat and turn into Psycho-diners. They literally stab the meat on their plate as if it were about to be snatched. Not in the picture is the piece of bread on the table. Suzanne took a roll out of the breadbasket and tore off a piece and put it on the table, the roll stayed on the table as well. Never put a piece of bread back into the basket once you’ve touched it. If there’s no bread plate, putting it on the table is fine. If you think the table isn’t clean enough, ask for the check and leave. Suzanne used her knife to gather food onto her fork. Shoving food onto a fork with your finger is fine in the privacy of your home but not in restaurants. Some may argue that it’s never fine; it’s right up there on the no-no list with drinking directly from the milk carton. When Suzanne took a sip of her wine, she held the glass by the stem.
Le Chat Noir probably makes the best chocolate soufflé in town – talk about sinful. It’s eaten with a spoon and when you taste the mouthful of chocolate you’ll understand why spoons were created. We love cheese soufflé and eat it with a spoon even though restaurants will offer a fork and spoon. This could be confusing but soufflé often comes with a small salad and you don’t want a spoonful of salad.
Like most restaurants, there are no toothpicks on the table. When I, Yvonne, lived in Italy, I never understood why there were toothpicks on the table when it was considered really bad form to use them. They'd talk about you like a dog if you even looked like you were going to take one. Toothpicking at a table is as bad as flossing in public. Grooming before, during or after a meal at the table is another ‘never do’.
Dinner was Suzanne’s treat so we left a generous tip. Staff really appreciates that because when they see the boss with friends they also see no tip in some cases. In small restaurants where there’s no coat check, the owner sometimes takes the coats. He or she shouldn’t be tipped.
We had a nice time, the food and wine were great and so was the company. And the manners were impeccable.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I called my friend Barry (he knows someone who lost with Madoff) to discuss where he felt etiquette and Madoff’s actions intersect. Barry said what he did was wrong-headed; Madoff had no respect for anyone. “Civility is the basis of good manners,” said my friend.
What prompted me to bring this up were the reactions from people Madoff swindled. “How could he do this to one of his own?” some asked, “He was one of us.” Well no, he wasn’t one of anyone; he just happened to be Jewish. If he moved as comfortably in another circle even as a man of Jewish faith, say among Catholics or Episcopalians, he would have done the same thing -- and he obviously did; the man Madoff did this, not his affiliation with any organized religion.
I cried watching the damage he did to people while watching a “60 Minutes” segment on Madoff. Not once did I think “I’m glad he did it to them and not us.” Many people felt anger and sadness for those who lost; they saw another human being suffering regardless of their faith or race. Did some cheer and say “good for those people.” I’m sure some did. Being good to one another, respecting one another and being an authentic person, having compassion and empathy for others has everything to do with etiquette.
Madoff demonstrated unbearably bad manners when it came to dealing with his fellow man; what he lacked in civility he made up for in an egregious display of greed. He definitely shattered the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.