Thursday, July 11, 2019


Recently, on a train, I stood near a mother and her son. I think he was about 6 or 7, he was getting cranky, the train was crowded and warm. I was getting cranky too.  A woman, seated, motioned to his mother that she’ll get up for the child. The boy sat down, didn’t thank the woman, and the mother didn’t tell him to thank her. The mother mumbled something. I wouldn’t have given him my seat. The woman who did was sitting next to a guy who didn’t budge.
            I see men and teenage boys watch women, the physically challenged, and the elderly stand all the time. Those are the brave ones, the real punks lose themselves in their apps, music or the filth of the subway floor. 

            It bothers me to see caregivers, usually women of color stand up while the children they “nanny” sit down. She should sit and put the child on her lap. I live on the Upper East Side where the children in my neighborhood are in a state of mass confusion. They are used to seeing black women take care of the young or the elderly. Nope, you are not getting my seat, I don’t work for you, and I’m not interested in encouraging your sense of entitlement.
            There are exceptions. A mother overloaded with a sleeping baby and bags; I’d give her a seat. A child who looks like he/she is about to faint, I would offer my seat, and roll my eyes at the guy nearby who didn’t.  I’m also not so fast to get up for a younger person because I’m a little more than five feet away from the floor, they, maybe two or three. Their lower center of gravity will come in handy. Mine is a crap shoot that I don’t want to know about.

- Yvonne


Saturday, March 9, 2019


            It’s been a while since we’ve/I’ve blogged. It’s not that we whipped the world into practicing good manners day in and day out. Au contraire. People continue to hold their forks and knives in odd, contorted ways as they “slaughter” their food.
Life happened, and we took a break.

            Not long ago, I was talking to a woman who was interested in what I do. I have mixed feelings about this question, but I’ve gotten over it for the most part. It’s fair, it just shouldn’t be the first question. What I don’t like is the new add-on, “are you still working?” I thought it was odd that she asked. And then I realized, her question was based on my gray hair and maybe a faint idea of my age. In her mind, I was definitely a candidate for retirement. That question is a bad as asking a woman, “Are you pregnant yet?”
What could she have asked instead? Maybe, “Oh, you write? Would I know any of your work?”  That would have led to a much more interesting conversation than fixed income chit-chat.  Depending on how much you have, that can be quite dreary.
So let’s make a deal, don’t ask me if I’m still working, and I won’t ask you if you’re still retired.

Monday, June 5, 2017


Can you imagine if the soles of our shoes had a voice? I can hear them now begging us to avoid that clump of mucus that some dreadful, classless person spat out like nothing 

Not everyone spits out sputum, there are spitters who enjoy disposing their gum on the sidewalk.  Every stepped onto a fresh wad? The kind that literally makes stop you in your tracks? And then it dries up and leaves sidewalks with a sort of unwieldy polka dot pattern.  

Gum Buster to the rescue!  There is an actual machine that gets rid of old gum. The gum’s gone but what remains is a flattened, unwieldy polka dot pattern.  And it’s not pretty either.  Save your gum wrappers, they’ll really come in handy when the flavor’s gone from your gum treat but your civility is still intact.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


According to one top Upper East Side florist, the answer is often, “No.”  She knows this because it's not uncommon for her to receive a call with a customer on the other end asking, "Were the flowers I ordered delivered? I haven't heard anything." 

This can mean only one thing, or maybe two.  Maybe the party wasn’t home to receive them and had to go away unexpectedly and the sender didn’t know.  Or maybe, they like a good percentage of today's society, are just plain rude or didn't know any better.

“You’d be surprised how often I get those calls,” she said. 

There is nothing more delightful than receiving fresh flowers.  And there is nothing more unfortunate when gratitude isn't expressed.  Frankly, it's rotten.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


It doesn't matter what  party you belong to. Sitting on furniture with your shoes on is not cool - unless it's your own. I don't think she meant to show disrespect,  I think she had no respect for the Oval Office, its guests and her boss.

Kellyanne Conway, too busy to mind her manners.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


You're not a toddler any longer. Learn how to use a knife and fork properly. Food will taste better and you will look better.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


And we're off and running. The holiday season kicks off next week with Thanksgiving. Some of us will spend the most time we've ever spent all year round in our kitchens basting, chopping, stirring and hoping that it all turns out well. We thought we'd whip up some dos and don'ts for both hosts and guests.

For hosts...
  • Do be honest, if a guest asks what should they bring, tell them. Nothing worse than seeing your supply of wine and champagne dwindle, sparkling cider just isn't the same.
  • Be ready to receive guests, they shouldn't see you sweating over the bird. Don't make them feel compelled to help out with the dinner - they came to eat, not prepare.
  • Try not to give a blow by blow of the dinner's preparation. e.g. "I made the stuffing at midnight! I got up at the crack of dawn to boil the sweet potatoes." There is an excellent book, Timing Is Everything by Jack Piccolo.
  • Speaking of timing, if you've asked guests to come at five o'clock don't make them wait until seven o'clock to eat.
  • Do plan a balanced, well rounded menu. You want your guests to have enough food, but ten different things to eat could turn into a mishmosh of mismatched flavors and actually begin to look like mush on a plate.
  • Let guests eat in peace. No need to keep asking them if they need anything.
  • Be gracious when your cooking is complimented. No one will know you left out the thyme unless you tell them.
  • If you discover that someone is a vegan, don't make a big deal out of it. They'll know to skip the macaroni and cheese.
  • When it's time to clear the table, try not to enlist the help of every guest at the table. And don't disappear into the kitchen to wash the dishes. This looks like you're trying to get a leg up on things. That's rude. (If you have a small kitchen, loading the dishwasher is okay but don't run it.)
  • Toast your guests, thank them for being part of the day.
  • Try not to yawn in front of your company. This may look like you're bored or sleepy.
For guests...
  • Don't be late. There is no excuse.
  • Even if your hosts said they don't need anything, take a bottle of something or a small gift.
  • If you've offered to bring a dessert, bring dessert not a platter of deviled eggs as a surprise.
  • We like flowers but if you're being hosted by someone who's doing all the work, consider an arrangement so that they won't have to stop and tend to the flowers.
  • Offer to help but don't barge into the kitchen and start doing things.
  • Don't just grab a seat at the table, your host may have a seating plan.
  • Before the meal, wash your hands without making a general announcement.
  • Turn off your cellphone.
  • Don't talk about how much you love dressing with oysters when there is no oyster dressing on the table.
  • Let your host know in advance if you have dietary restrictions. Don't talk about your diet and how you're being a bad girl as you butter your second roll.
  • Dress appropriately, not every day is a jeans day.
  • If you have a lonely friend with no place to go, don't invite them along hoping that your host will understand. Your friend will only feel lonelier when there's no seat for him/her at the table.
  • Give thanks and toast your hosts.