Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This is new!

Apparently, this is where we're now keeping the sippy cups.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Day in the Life

I had a suggestion to write a post (including pictures!) of a day in our household. Yesterday I tried to make note and photograph most of what I did during the day. I hope I can remember everything! I know I forgot to take pictures a few times.

Upon waking yesterday morning, I aired the beds, dressed in my walking attire, then dressed and cleaned up my Sidekick. Once we got downstairs, DS headed for his toys and I hopped online to check my e-mail for a few minutes. The Little Guy and I had breakfast and I had a phone call from a friend.

I fell behind on laundry over the weekend. I blame the weatherman because he had predicted thunderstorms for Saturday, so I was afraid to hang out the laundry. Wouldn't you know it, Saturday was fine and Sunday was foul, and as a result by Monday morning I was facing Mt. Laundry!

I sorted and started the first load and while DS ran around I straightened up the table and washed the dishes.

The kitchen was a disaster too after a busy weekend. Somehow the Sunday paper, half read, always manages to take over the table. I reshelved some books while I waited for the washer to finish its cycle.

We hung out the first load of laundry and DS ran around picking flowers and playing in his climbing cube. I started the second load and while the wash was washing, we went for our walk!

Once we returned home, I hung the second load of wash outside. Once we came back in the house, I nursed the Little Guy and read a few blogs and updated mine. After that, we headed upstairs so I could take a shower and make the beds.

We came back downstairs for lunch. After lunch, I made the hummingbird nectar and set it in the fridge to cool. While it was cooling, I started the diapers in the washer. DS and I had some playtime, and I tried unsuccessfully to get him down for a nap. After hanging the diapers to dry in the sun, we came inside to test the new breadmaker (Honey Wheat)!

Once the breadmaker was started, the nectar was cool enough to hang back outside. It seemed like my Sidekick had decided against a nap, I did a quick clean of the downstairs bathroom then we hauled ourselves upstairs to do a deep-clean of the upstairs bathroom.

By the time I had finished that (DS watched from his swing), it was 4:00 and I was pooped! We settled on the couch to read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and then Moo, Baa, La La La. I can't remember exactly what we did after that, but I know I eventually wandered in to the kitchen to start thinking about supper.

Around 5:00, DH came home very excited because the new ignitor we had ordered for the oven came in! He decided to fix it while I made supper (French Toast, ham, and fruit). I had scrambled around earlier in the day for something that didn't require the use of my oven since it hasn't been heating for the past week or so.

He was victorious in no time at all! Yay! After supper, I cleaned up the kitchen and DH and DS played the organ for a little while. I retrieved the wash from outside to fold.

By that time, the bread was done and we just had to sample it! Not bad for the first attempt with a new breadmaker!

We relaxed on the couch for a little while and had some ice cream then I checked my e-mail one more time then took the Little Guy upstairs to get him ready for bed. I folded the laundry and put it away in between nursing DS down for bed (several times).

After that it was time for my bedtime routine and sleep-- at least until the next time DS woke to nurse!

Recipe Box

This beautiful recipe box was a birthday gift from my sister. She filled it with some new recipe cards and sleeves to protect them. I can hardly wait to move my recipes over! The box was handmade by a Mennonite girl who was only six years old at the time!

Before and After, August 20-??

I didn't get very far with my "before and after" project last week, but this week I am determined. I was probably a little too ambitious, but this entire room has been bugging me. I'm trying to create a workable toy rotation and storage system for all of the Little Guy's toys. This is technically our dining room, but we're using the space as a family room.

Here's what the situation looks like currently:

In a few days, I should have very different pictures to share!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Commitment to Loveliness, August 26

Emma is hosting another Commitment to Loveliness! Here is my list for the week:

1. Finish organizing and storing toys.
2. Finish planning DS's "curriculum" for the school year so we're ready to start next week.
3. Try two new recipes in the bread machine.
4. Write letters to a few friends I haven't seen or talked to in a while.
5. Practice patience.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Step Back in Time

I've lost my yearbook from my last year of elementary school, but my mother managed to locate our class picture and had it framed for my birthday.

Who can spot my husband and me?

(Bonus points to any classmates who can ID some of the kids in this picture. Neither DH nor I can remember a few names! AJC? Help!)

Summer of the Marigold

In the Spring when I was planting my flowers, I had two marigolds, an allysum, and an impatien left over. I really had no one to put them, so I planted them all together in the planter outside the kitchen door. They all flourished, but one of the marigolds kind of took over!

I promise you, that is all ONE plant!

More Zuzu

I discovered DH took these yesterday:

She's just so cute and so little!

Where's Zuzu?

There she is!

Continuing with her recent trend of sitting in off-limits and odd places (the washing machine), here is Zuzu perched on the shelf in DH's workshop. As far as we can make out, she hasn't stirred from this place in nearly 24 hours! Must be cooler than the rest of the house. Cats are...cats.

Two of my favorite entertainers...together!

Isn't this so refreshing? As my husband said, "Why can't TV still be like that?"

(Oh, and how much do I want Julie's outfit??)

An Exciting Week

It is "birthday week" in our house and a milestone birthday at that!

After two years with a poorly performing breadmaker, my wonderful husband gifted me with a new one! We picked it up yesterday and I am so eager to try it out. The accompanying recipe book has a recipe for peanut butter chocolate rolls, and you know that's going to be the first one I try!

He also picked out Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home for me. I am thrilled because I spent a few weeks in the spring comparing several books of that nature, but I had no idea when I'd be able to actually purchase one. I was joking that now we'll find out just how poorly I've been keeping the house, but I'm actually a little scared!

Earlier this spring I read on a blog about the best way to keep dust mites at bay, and that sent me into a flurry (and totally revolutionized my approach to bedmaking and linen care). I can only imagine what else Martha has in store for me!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Who's in charge here, again?

I've had a very sick baby on my hands this week, so please forgive my absence! He's feeling much better now and actually slept for more than 45 minutes at a time last night, so we're getting back in the groove!

On Monday, I took DS to the emergency room and this is what I found when we returned home:

Yes, that's Zuzu, perched and sleeping in a place where she is clearly not supposed to be!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ladies Finishing School- The Lost Art of Conversation

The Basics

There are two things for a good conversationalist to remember: “Think before you speak” and “Listen.”

Thinking, or being thoughtful, applies across the board, fro the topic of conversations to the listener’s reactions. Ask yourself if it’s like that someone will be interested in whatever you start to bring up.

Listening. It’s only natural that you’re thinking of what you’re about to say next in a conversation, but many people try so desperately to think of what to say next that they barely hear word the other person says.

Empty other thoughts from your mind and concentrate on what the person is saying. Show that you’re not only listening but understanding by making eye contact, nodding occasionally, and intermittently saying, “I see” or “Really?” After you’ve picked up the rhythm of the other person’s speech, you’ll be able to interject longer confirmations without seeming to interrupt. If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation, a habit that comes naturally from a good listener.

Interrupting. There’s a fine line between the occasional interruption made to confirm a point and one that’s made because you’re bursting to throw in your two cents. The only time it’s permissible to interrupt in the middle of a sentence is when you need to communicate something that honestly can’t wait. Even then, precede what your say with “I’m sorry to interrupt” or something similar.

When you’re the one being interrupted, listen politely for a few seconds before trying to finish your thought. Raising your hand in a non-threatening “please wait” gesture can politely deflect an interruption.

Personal Space. The general rule of thumb is to stand no closer than about eighteen inches apart, although cultural and personal preferences should be taken into account. Be conscious of height differences. Stand far enough away so the other person won’t have to look up or down at you, which can quickly grow uncomfortable.

Body language. While words and tone express the meaning of what’s being said, a person’s posture, facial expression, and gestures send messages as well.

  • Posture when standing or sitting up. A slumper is likely to appear uninterested in the other person.
  • Facial expression. A smile denotes warmth, but false smiles make you look insincere.
  • Eye contact. Looking into the other person’s eyes show your interest, but staring can seem threatening or strange.
  • Gesturing and fidgeting. Go easy on the gestures. Using your hands to emphasize a point is fine, but gesturing nonstop is a distraction. Some gestures and mannerisms to avoid are playing with your hair, tie, or jewelry, drumming your fingers, playing with the clip on a pen, etc.
  • Nodding. Nodding doesn’t necessarily mean you agree, it can indicate you understand. To much positive head-bobbing can brand you as silly or too eager to please.
  • Pointing. American culture generally regards pointing at others as negative or hostile. Pointing also attracts attention to a person who probably doesn’t want to be the object of curious stares or glances.

Voice and Vocabulary

A too-loud voice can be unnerving. A too-soft voice puts listeners in the awkward position of having to ask you to repeat yourself. Inflections liven your speech, monotone dulls it. Talking to fast makes you hard to understand, while talking to slowly may try a listener’s patience.

Good enunciation means pronouncing words clearly. Dropping letters and slurring words make you appear a little too “rustic,” but also bring you close to mumbling. Enunciating too perfectly can make you sound affected.

Having a good vocabulary doesn’t mean using big words in place of small ones; it’s the precision of the word’s meaning that matters. Strive for a vocabulary that’s wide-ranging yet simple and direct.

Head off certain habits that can sabotage your speech:

  • Using fillers: “y’know,” “like,” “um,” “er,” etc.
  • Overusing adjectives like “absolutely,” “cute,” “interesting,” “nice,” etc.
  • Regularly mistaking one word for another: “lay” when you mean “lie.”
  • Choosing words or phrases that sound pretentious: “retire” for “go to bed.”

Other things to remember:

  • Know when to stop talking.
  • Keep abreast of the world outside.
  • Don’t horn in, unless the person asks for help.
  • Avoid repetitions.
  • Don’t whisper.
  • Do a friend a favor; when a friend is caught in an embarrassing moment, step in.
  • Keep jargon and euphemism to a minimum.
  • Temper your slang.
  • Use foreign phrases judiciously.
  • Avoid playing “gotcha!” Only correct a person’s grammar or pronunciation when that person is a close relative or friends, and only in private.

The information in this post comes from the 17th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette. The chapter is called, “The Good Conversationalist” and is chock-full of great information! There’s too much to even summarize here, so beg, borrow, or buy a copy!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ladies Finishing School- Netiquette: Chat Rooms, Message Boards, and Instant Messenger

Chat Rooms and Message Boards

Chat rooms, discussion groups, and forums make it possible to post notes on a specific subject and trade opinions with others. Before using such sites for the first time, take a few minutes to look over the rules and regulations, and check out the FAQs, all quick ways to get an overview of the group. Reading several posts or threads to make sure it’s the community you’re looking for before diving in. Every once in a while folks pop up on a message board I’m a part of with clearly no idea what the community is about, and it’s rather a shock for them! What’s acceptable in one group may not be in another, so “lurking” will give you a feel for how to behave.

Try to fit in with the style and tone of the group, and phrase your messages politely. Refrain from correcting participants’ mistakes. Once you’ve learned the ropes, be patient with newcomers.

The anonymity of cyberspace may make you more willing to participate, but it can also wreak havoc on good manners. A recent survey found that 57% of respondents believed “it’s much easier for people to be rude on the Internet because they can hide their identity.” (Emily Post’s Etiquette) You may be anonymous, but that’s no excuse to start indulging your worst instincts.

Remember, never give out your personal information!

The flame (a no-holds barred message expressing a strongly help opinion) becomes a real faux pas only when it’s part of a larger flame war. A single message can be appropriate and entertaining, but a flame war is a series of heated messages that can disrupt a discussion group.

As illogical as it may seem, there is a polite way to flame. When you’re ready to rant, signal your intention by typing FLAME ON. Write FLAME OFF when you’re finished and revert to your regular style.

Instant Messenger

Instant messaging (IMing) has taken the on-line world by storm! It started with kids and teens (I started using IM when I went away to college), but businesses also use it. In fact, many universities have “Instant librarians.” How cool is that?

At work, IMing is the quickest way to receive and convey information. Be careful, though, not fall into the trap of multitasking. When you’re on the phone, it’s not acceptable to send IMs that have nothing to do with the call. Your focus should stay on the person you’re talking to.

IMs can come fast and thick and be intrusive. When you don’t want messages, you can specify that you’re unavailable though online. If you prefer not to participate in instant messaging at all, just let your friends and co-workers know.

If you don’t get a response to your IM, don’t keep sending messages. The person at the other computer may not want to response, could be busy with something, or another person might be using his computer. Remember that each time you tact people, you may be interruption them (especially at work), so limit any frivolous or unnecessary instant messages.

IMing tends to be “ultracasual,” but don’t use words that are a little too colorful or off-color. You never know who might see your IM at work, since there’s no guarantee that your IM is for the recipient’s eyes only.

In addition, the symbols and abbreviations I mentioned yesterday, come in very handy when IMing as the primary way to convey emotions.

Ladies Finishing School- Netiquette: Weblogs

Weblog Etiquette

This site ( says it very well!

Blogging has become extremely popular lately, to the point that now big corporations have considered having Corporate Blogs. And yes, there is etiquette for blogs too.

Here are some essentials:
  1. A blog is like a diary, but public. Once posted is for the world to read it. Write accordingly. Keep in mind that is not for your eyes only. Be especially careful when you write on a corporate blog.
  2. Write content that is not just about you, but something that gives benefits to your readers.
  3. When you post on somebody else’s blog, write something of value. If you disagree with the blogger’s point of view, say why and the solution you propose.
  4. When you write, either on your own blog or on other’s blog, keep in mind that your personality and your reputation are reflected in your words. You decide what is going to be.
  5. When someone makes a good comment about your blog, acknowledge it and be thankful. Courtesy will always speak well about you.
  6. If you post and you want anonymity, don’t make any references that might indicate who is posting.
  7. Not everybody has broadband. If you want your blog to be read by as many people as possible, keep your graphics to a minimum.
  8. Be consistent with your posts. Don’t post every month and then suddenly post many messages. Choose your own pace and keep it. This way your readers will know when to visit your blog for new information.
  9. Include RSS feeds in your blog. More and more people are using it and your readers will not be frustrated for your lack of RSS feeds.
  10. Be clear and specific in the description of the links on your blog. Tell your visitors where you are sending them.

Blogging is here to stay. Make the best of it for you, but especially for your readers.

This ( is also well-written. It includes some of the same points, but she says it with flair!

It seems like every human on the planet now has a blog. As with any other public display, there is an etiquette to having a blog that is appreciated.

The first thing to remember is that this is going to be public knowledge - not just today, but for the rest of your life. There are enough scanners and archivers and printers out there that even if you take down words after one day, those words can be part of your permanent record. Things that you feel are really nifty to say at age 16 can be incredibly damaging to your professional career when you're 22 and looking for a job.

This isn't a matter of censorship - it's a matter of giving mature thought to each thing you publish. You are publishing to a world audience. The world will, in fact, judge you, and not always fairly. It's a fact of life that we all have to accept. Be prepared for the consequences - and accept the responsibility - for each thing you choose to publish.

This leads into a second point. Always be accurate. Lies have a way of always being discovered. A blog's reputation - and indeed a person's reputation - is built on how well it can be trusted. If one lie is found in past blogs, it can destroy all the work you've put into blogs since then. We can find numerous examples of this happening in other media situations.

Use a spell checker on your content. Yes, the web is casual - but if people have trouble reading your content, they won't come back even if it's interesting. The more easy you can make your content for people to read, the more readers you will have. Every person has a different tolerance for spelling problems. You might not mind certain errors, but laugh out loud when you see others. You need to consider that some might consider your own errors in the same manner.

Finally, be yourself. Speak with your own voice. Write about how you feel about the issues. There are plenty of "straight news sites" out there. There is only one you, coming from your own background and history. Share your insight and feelings on the topics you love. That will draw in people who appreciate that view and who want to hear more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ladies Finishing School- E-mail Etiquette Continued


Given the huge volume of e-mail that clutters inboxes these days, it’s not surprising how many people view forwards as just more spam (junk e-mail). Deciding what to forward to friends, relatives, and business associates deserves thought, so use common sense to judge whether a forward is going to be seen as more than just irritation. E-mail chain letters? Just as annoying to most people as the “old-fashioned” snail mail chain letters.

If you’re inclined to forward iffy material, be sure your recipients are receptive. Check with them before you make it a habit. Be especially wary of chain letters and virus warnings. Chain letters are usually little more than time wasters while virus warnings are legitimate about a tenth of the time, so check the validity of the warning first. A Google search for “virus hoaxes” will help you determine a real warning from a hoax. The Internet can be a hotbed of misinformation. Unsubstantiated and irresponsible rumors spread like wildfire on the Internet so don’t propagate them with forwards.

Two examples of iffy forwards spring to mind:

  1. After September 11, 2001 I received a forward several times that declared the terrorist attacks of that day were foretold in the Qur’an. I’ve seen two versions of this, both referencing the nine chapter, eleventh verse: one says something about two towers being destroyed and one talks about a “fearsome eagle being awakened against the lands of Allah.” I may be a librarian and “expert” at locating information, but this required no work to prove false. A simple search of an online version of the Qur’an proved was all it took. Yet this e-mail circled the globe for years. For all I know it’s still out there!
  2. A second example is e-mails of Amber Alerts that make the rounds. I’ve received two of these in the past year, and a quick check showed both to be true. and are both good sources for determining the accuracy of forwards.

To stem the flow of forwards from friends or relatives, send an e-mail saying that you appreciate their thinking of you, but that you have time to open essential documents. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for me to read anything but business messages and a few personal ones, so I’d appreciate it if you would take my name off your jokes list. But I enjoy hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to write!”

E-mail Extras

Automatic signatures. Many e-mail programs automatically sign your message off with your name, address, e-mail address, and phone number. When I was teaching, my signature included all of my school contact information a quote ("What can I say? Librarians rule." -Regis Philbin). For personal e-mails, this not such a necessity, but still acceptable.

Attachments. Don’t send attached files unless you know that the recipient has compatible software. When you’re on the receiving end, don’t open an attachment when you don’t know who sent it or why.

Return receipts. Return receipts are the equivalent of certified snail mail—a notification that the recipient has opened your e-mail. Some people may feel the return receipt is insulting, suggesting that the recipient can’t be bothered to read hi mail, or is clumsy enough to accidentally delete it. Others see it as a way of ensuring that an e-mail is received when the recipient’s e-mail system is prone to problems. Use the feature for a good reason, and be careful not to imply that the recipient isn’t reliable.

Responding to E-mails

Junk mail, commercial spam, and forwards can be ignored, but you should always respond to a real message. If you check your e-mail only once a week, be sure to let people know, lest they take offense at not received a timely reply. If you receive a lot of e-mails, your life will be easier if you set aside a few times during the day to read your messages and respond in an orderly fashion.

How fast should your respond? Within one or two days for personal messages and within twenty-four hours for business e-mails, depending on how urgent the matter.

If you’ll be away from your computer for a few days or longer, use the “vacation” feature, which tells the sender you received the message but are unable to reply until a designated date./ Once you return, respond promptly.

Top Ten E-mail Transgressions

  1. Forwarding an off-color joke
  2. Detailing a personal mishap
  3. Writing a message in capital letters
  4. Spreading gossip
  5. Discussing personally sensitive issues
  6. Criticizing another person
  7. Complaining about work or one’s boss
  8. Using e-mail to dodge discussing difficult issues face-to-face
  9. Going into detail about your own or another person’s health problems
  10. Arguing with friends or family

Ladies Finishing School- E-mail Etiquette

Describe it as a “modern miracle,” “time-saver,” “wonderful invention,” or “source of frustration,” e-mail has become part of most of our daily lives in the twenty-first century and carries with it certain rules and expectations from users.

Peggy Post writes, “The quest for…netiquette, has reminded us that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Polite electronic communication requires that you treat others as you would have them treat you, even when interacting through the cold gray light of a computer screen.” (Emily Post’s Etiquette)

Three key considerations will help you communicate electronically politely and effectively:

  • Human contact still matters. Don’t communicate electronically at the expense of personal interaction. Some things still need to be done face-to-face.
  • Watch what you say—and how you say it. While the computer brings people together, its impersonal nature can lead to remarks that people wouldn’t think of saying in person. (The many discussions and debates about the Duggar Family circulating the Internet the past week is a prime example!) Do whatever it takes to remain courteous—even taping a note to the computer!
  • Be careful when clicking “Send.” Whatever you say in cyberspace cannot be taken back! You have no control over where your message goes once you’ve hit “Send.” It can be forwarded by the recipient, posted on a blog, message board, or website. Words have come back to hurt people and destroy friendships or careers.

The ease of the e-mail medium has connected and reconnected people as never before, but before you begin, it’s essential to remember a few do’s and don’ts:

  • Address with care! When sending an e-mail to a long list of recipients, don’t put all the addresses in the “To” and “Cc” lines. Many people do not want their e-mail addressed (which often include full names), displayed for all to see. Instead send messages individually or use the Bcc (blind carbon copy) feature.
  • What’s your subject? Be sure to fill in the subject line, even in personal e-mail. Without some clue about the nature or urgency of your message, the recipients might ignore it for days or delete it if they don’t recognize your address. Alternately a busy person might open a message without a subject, to find that the message that could have been read alter in the day.
  • Keep it short and sweet. One of e-mail’s benefits is that it allows us to communicate concisely and quickly. Put longer communications in attachments or deliver them by snail mail or face-to-face. If you want to send an attachment, first ask the recipient if she minds. (This is not as important if e-mail is your primary means of communicating with a friend or relative far away.)
  • No yelling, please! TYPING MESSAGES IN ALL CAPITAL LETTES IS EQUIVALENT TO SHOUTING! All-caps messages are also hard to read. Capital letters can also signify “flames”—messages that are highly emotional, angry, or insulting.
  • Watch those symbols. E-mail is singularly lacking in subtlety, and language that the sender finds funny or clever can easily be misunderstood by the recipient. Some senders use symbols called “emoticons” to indicate their personal state. They can hinder communication, though, if the sender isn’t sure what they mean. If used, they are better suited for casual messages between friends rather than business e-mails. The most common emoticons are:

    :-) smile, happy, laugh
    :-( frown sad, unhappy
    :-O angry, yelling, shocked

    Be careful when using on-line abbreviations, since they’ll also leave some scratching their heads. Among the most common are:

    BTW by the way
    IMHO in my humble opinion
    IOW in other words
    LOL laughing out loud

    **Note: I have also read that it is not appropriate to use any emoticons or abbreviations in e-mail, but as you wouldn’t in written communication. In casual communication, though, it is becoming more widely accepted. Otherwise, write an email just as you would a formal letter.**

    Many e-mail programs don’t allow for boldfacing, italicizing, or underlining words for emphasis. In this case, the usual way to add emphasis is to put asterisks on either side of the *words you want to emphasize.* An alternate method is to CAPITALIZE a few words, but not so many that it could be mistaken for shouting or flaming.
  • Check it over. Although e-mail tends to be informal in style, be sure messages are clearly organized and grammatically correct. Write in complete sentence, use capitalize and punctuation (a pet peeve of mine), and check spelling—especially in business e-mails. Even when sending a casual note, give it a once-over.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ladies Finishing School- Using Your Cell Phone

Of course, all of the issues discussed yesterday also apply to cellular phone use. There are, however, certain rules that are unique to cell phones. Emily Post describes cell phones as "an obvious boon to communication." With cell phones we have the security of knowing we’re able to get in touch with anyone on the spur of the moment, and that anyone can reach us (this may also be a downside to cell phones!).

The problem starts with having to listen to someone’s “jabbering” in public. By invading everyone else’s space, she shows herself unaware that the people around her still exist. Cell phone etiquette is still evolving and it’s situational, but virtually all situations call for you to avoid being intrusive, especially in public places.

  • If you must make the call, speak as quietly as you can.
  • Turn off the ringer. Switch to vibrating mode and check your caller ID or capture your messages via voice mail.
  • Keep calls as short as possible; the longer the call, the greater the irritation in those who have no choice but to listen.

The where of a cell phone conversation is an important consideration.

On the street
Don’t shout into your phone while walking outdoors. Watch out for others on a crowded sidewalk and take special care when crossing the street. If you wear a headset for safety reason, be aware that suddenly breaking into a monologue can startle anyone who hasn’t noticed your mike. (This has happened to me—it’s jarring!)

In stores
When you’re out shopping and you must make a call, do in private. It’s annoying to others who have to listen to you discuss your shopping list while roaming the aisles, and no one should be slowed down in a cashier line because of your conversation.

In restaurants
The abusive of cell phones in restaurants has become so great that some require phones to be checked at the door. Even if cell phones aren’t off-limits, turn yours off anyway and don’t make calls at the table. If you must call, excuse yourself to a vestibule or go outside.

In the car
Phoning from a moving vehicle is dangerous, and many places have outlawed it (New York). Some studies have shown that those who use cell phones in the car are at least four times more likely to be involved in an accident. Call from car phones also usually require that the caller talk in a louder than normal voice, so keep calls short. It’s also a good idea to let your phonemate know there are other people in the care who will overhear the conversation.

Keep this in mind as well: There are strange people out there who have listening devices that can tune in cellular phone calls. Most are fairly harmless, but there are a few eavesdroppers who record conversations and make evil use of the material. Keep your cell phone conversations innocent enough to withstand being overheard by an unknown party!

Text Messaging

Text messaging, or “texting,” involves typing messages on a cell phone and zapping them to the recipient in an instant. Texting is more informal than email and best used for only the briefest and most casual messages. If you have to notify someone of anything important or serious, text only as a prelude to a phone call.

  • Use common courtesy- a greeting to start a message and a thank-you or something similar to end it.
  • Be mindful of your recipients’ schedules rather than always assuming they’re available to text you back.
  • Keep your messages short. Ask only questions that can be answered briefly.
  • Be careful when choosing a recipient from your directory; a slip of the finger could cause a text to go astray.
  • If you receive a message by mistake, ignore it if you’re certain it was missent.
  • When you text someone who doesn’t have your number in his directory, start with a greeting then identify yourself.
  • Whenever possible, acknowledge text messages either by texting back or with a phone call.
  • Don’t disturb others by scrolling through your phone’s ring tones while in a public place.

Four Cell Phone Never-Evers

  1. Leaving the ringer on in a quiet place.
  2. Ignoring those you’re with.
  3. Making repeated calls.
  4. Using offensive language.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Ladies Finishing School- Sticky Stituations


Directing anger at telephone solicitors is about as constructive as throwing the phone across the room. Take steps to stop telephone solicitations. First ask that your name be removed from the calling list, which with caller is bound to do by law. Another measure is to sign up for the “do not call” registry in your state. If a solicitor won’t take no for an answer, be firm. Just don’t slam down the phone.

If you frequently get wrong numbers, discuss the problem with your phone company. The cause may be a typo in the phone book. The ultimate solution is to request a new phone number, but if all the mistaken calls seem to be connected to the wrong voice, you may want to try letting your answering machine take over for a week.

The easiest way to deal with nuisance calls is to let your answering machine do the work. Prank-callers are quickly discouraged when they can’t reach an actual human being. Every telephone company has a department that deals with nuisance callers and other offenses. Call them and describe your problem. They have resources to help you.

Answering Machines and Voice Mail

When recording a greeting, keep it short. There’s also no need to say, “We can’t come to the phone right now,” which the caller has surmised. The simpler, the better. You may leave or name, or if you prefer not to, leave your phone number in its place. “This is Sara Smith. (Or “You have reached 555-555-5555.”) Please leave you name, number, and message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

When leaving a message on someone else’s machine, state your name and number first then keep your message brief.

Return calls on your machine within 24 hours. If you reach a machine when calling back, lessen the potential for phone tag, but stating when you can be reached and where.

Caller ID

Notify friends and family that you have Caller ID. Tell them how it works and what features it has. Doing so will eliminate hurt feeling and embarrassment in the future.

It is acceptable to call friends back even if they fail to leave a message. Just let her know you saw the Caller ID unit that they called.

It is all right to answer the phone, “Hi Scott,” but tell the caller you have Caller ID because they may be surprised!

If you don’t recognize and name and number on the Caller ID box, don’t call the person back! If someone tracks you down after an errant call or failure to leave a message, common sense should prevail. IF someone calls to ask you why you called, just tell the truth.

Call Waiting

I personally dislike call waiting. I find the concept incredibly rude, and I personally do not use it. To me, it sends the message that the person you’re talking to may not be as interesting or as important as who is calling on the other line. Our phone plan includes it, but when if I hear “the beep,” I let the call go to voice mail. I will concede that in emergency situations it can be helpful.

Emily Post, however, offers some tips when you encounter call waiting:

If you feel insulted when your phonemate asks, “Do you mind if I see who this is?” your impulse might be to say, “Yes, I do mind!” It’s better to say, “Go ahead,” then wait. If more than ninety seconds pass, it’s fine to hang up. When you’re eventually reconnected with you phonemate, try not to betray your annoyance. Politely say that you were unable to hold, and leave it at that, even though the person should have returned to you more quickly.

When your own call waiting feature signals, apologize to your phonemate and say you’ll immediately return; put her on hold and explain to the other caller that you’ll have to call back. Try your best to keep a conversation from starting; your responsibility is to the first caller, who should never be left on hold for more than twenty seconds.

There are some exceptions to the rule. If you’re expecting an urgent or long-distance call, tell your phonemate at the outset. “If so-and-so calls, I’ll have to take the call and get back to you.” When the call comes in, arrange a time to call your phonemate back—then do so! Alerting an unexpected caller that you’re waiting for an important call will keep her from feeling brushed off.

An alternative to call waiting is home voice mail, which enables you to keep talking while an incoming call is picked up as a message. When you hang up, you can retrieve the message.

Other interruptions

If you’re on the phone and the doorbell rings, naturally you’ll tell your phonemate that you must answer the door, just as you’ll welcome your neighbor. If the call is important, explain to your neighbor that you’ll have to finish it. Otherwise, don’t continue the chat while the visitor tried to occupy herself. Tell your phonemate, “So-and-so just dropped by, can I call you back?” Then be sure to return the call as soon as you can.

Occasionally a phone call in progress is disconnected; it is the caller’s responsibility to call back. If you initiated the call, immediately redial the person you were talking with and apologize. If a bad connection or static on the line makes it difficult to hear, you can ask the person to hang up so you can try again.

If you’re the one who was called and a mechanical glitch or disconnection occurs, stay off the line. Don’t hesitate to phone the person if he hasn’t called back within a few minutes. Say something like, “I’m not sure why the phone went dead, but I just wanted to make sure we didn’t have anything else to discuss.” This draws the call to a proper close.

Six Phone-Call Faux Pas

  1. Talking to someone else.
  2. Busying yourself with other things.
  3. Eating.
  4. Chewing gum.
  5. Sneezing or coughing into the receiver.
  6. Laying down the receiver with a bang.

Ladies Finishing School- Making and Receiving Telephone Calls

“Alexander Graham Bell’s miraculous invention of 1876 had the beauty of simplicity.” (Emily Post’s Etiquette) For better or for worse, this invention which once was simple is now rapidly evolving. With such change, comes the need for a new look at telephone manners, which sometimes seem in danger of disappearing altogether. Many telephone etiquette basics still apply, and here’s a look at rules both old and new:

Where do phone manners start? With your voice. While speaking clearing and distinctly is important, the bigger issue is volume. Speak in a tone that will allow your phonemate to hear you, but remember to keep you voice low in the presence of others. Remember, modern phoning is longer confined just to home or office!

Making Calls

The telephone seems to bring out the best or worse in people. Reinforce your friendships and social contacts by exercising your very best manners, and you can do a world of good!

Follow these steps for a successful phone call:

  • Think ahead about what you want to achieve before you place your call.
  • Adopt a pleasant tone with the person who answers the call.
  • Establish the identity of the other party.
  • Identify yourself and your reason for calling.
  • Inquire considerately whether the timing of the call is convenient.
  • Take notes during the conversation.
  • Achieve closure. Thank the other person and end the conversation.

Other considerations:

  • Keep any message brief.
  • Unless you’re absolutely certain you know a phone number, double-check before dialing. If you dial a wrong number, simply say so and apologize. Don’t demand, “What number is this?” Say, “I’m so sorry; I must have misdialed. I was trying 555-555-5555,” which will keep you from sounding annoyed at somebody who simply answered his phone. Never hang up without a word when you do reach a wrong number; few telephone affronts are more glaring.
  • As a general rule, place your calls between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM unless you’re certain a friend or relative doesn’t mind being called earlier or later.
  • Traditional etiquette says that the person who originates the call is the one who terminates it. This rule isn’t hard and fast, but it’s helpful if a call seems to be dragging on. If you’re the one who made the call say something like, “I’ll let you go now, Erin. I’m glad I reached you, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing you soon. Good-bye.” If you’re having difficulty ending a call with a long-winded phonemate, you may have no choice but to be firm. At the first pause in conversation say, “I’m sorry, but I simply must go now.” Take this route whether you placed the call or received it, and only when really necessary.

Receiving Calls

  • If at all possible, answer your home telephone before it rings a fourth time. If you pick up after four rings, the caller may expect to be transferred to an answering machine or voice-mail system and worry that you’re in the middle of something and don’t have time to talk.
  • When you answer, make sure to identify your self and your household. When I was a girl, my sister and I were taught to answer the phone, “Hello, M. residence. Who’s calling, please?” Never give out your number if someone asks. Instead, ask what number they are trying to reach.
  • If you get a call from an unknown voice and you hear, “Hello, who is this?” you can say, “This is so-and-so. To whom would you like to speak?” Give enough information for a genuine friend to verify that he dialed the right number, but no more. If you’re not comfortable with revealing even your first name (especially if you like alone), asking who or what number the party calling is trying to reach is appropriate.
  • When you're on the receiving end of a wrong number, "I'm sorry you have the wrong number" is the correct and polite response. If the caller asks, "Who is this?" you can answer, "What number are you calling" or "Who are you calling?" If the caller wants to argue, you might say, "Please understand: There is no Lucy here," before hanging up.
  • If an incoming call is for another person in the household, respond with, "If you'll wait a moment, I'll get her." Immediately find the person and deliver the message. Don't shout! If you do have to call out for the person, cover the mouthpiece first. If the person being called isn't available, offer to take a message, and write it down. Keeping a pad and pen within reach of the phone is an act of courtesy. Be sure you get the name and number right by repeating them back to the caller. It's also helpful to note the day and time of the call.

Ladies Finishing School- The Etiquette of Communication

Welcome to a new week of the Ladies' Finishing School, hosted by Elizabeth at A Merry Rose: Blooming as Keeper of My Home. If this is your first time visiting Zuzu's Perch, welcome!

Elizabeth and Emma asked if I would teach on the etiquette of modern communication. I am happy to oblige and hope that I can teach everyone something new. I learned a few new things while I was doing a little research for this week.

Here's what our week will look like:

  • Day One (Monday): Telephone
  • Day Two (Tuesday): Telephone Continued and Cell Phones
  • Day Three (Wednesday): Electronic Mail
  • Day Four (Thursday): Around the Internet (Blogs, message boards, instant messenger, etc.)
  • Day Five (Friday): The Lost Arts of Correspondence and Conversation