Sunday, August 30, 2009

Brown and Pink -- How sophisticated, I hope!

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

I'm experimenting with a new blog format today. What do you think of it?

I should share with you that I am not an artist or a computer programmer, so I am limited to using (and experimenting with) Blogger's formats.

When I first started my blog, I used the Dots template. It was sort of fun, but I didn't feel that it was playful in a mom/kids kind of way. Well, actually, the dots were fun but I couldn't figure out how to change the dots to colors that I liked. I could change fonts and type colors, but not the actual dot colors.

So next I tried Sand Dollar. Sand Dollar let me change colors, but the mixture I came up with was hard on the eyes -- yours and mine! Also, the page background color was supposed to be light yellow/beige, and while it showed in the code that it was, it wouldn't stick or show up for real. I would go in and switch colors around but I could never get the background to change and the other colors just didn't look any better than what I had set up.

In the meantime, I used other Blogger templates to set-up both my Good Sport Bad Sport Blog and my Good Manners Kids Stuff Press Blog. And they look fine -- not awesome, but fine.

Then, I tried out a Wordpress Blog template for my Good Manners Kids Stuff Blog to talk about the products on my website -- and while I think that format is really cute, I have trouble putting links, etc., in it so I don't want to switch this one over there.

So, although I was all set to write about airport manners today, I felt that my time would be better spent trying to find a more attractive design first.

What's fun (and dangerous) with the Blogger templates is that once you've filled in all of your information, you can just select a template and hit "preview." It pops up with all of your information on it. As long as you don't hit "save," you haven't ruined your original template. You can just keep selecting new ones to see what your blog will look like.

As I previewed templates, I came to the same conclusion that I had before -- no new templates had been added so I wasn't going to find any new happy children/mom type layouts. But, while I was going through the motions of previewing them with all with my information, it suddenly occurred to me that my topics aren't really just about young children's manners or doings. Really, I like to think that I'm providing more of a (hopefully) humorous commentary about the world's manners. Maybe my blog doesn't have to look happy children/mom-like.

Suddenly, the templates looked a little more interesting as I previewed them. Then, the younger Good Manners Daughter (and her best friend) happened to be walking past when I previewed a very trendy (and dare I say sophisticated) brown and pink template and they emphatically said, "Oooh, that looks cool!"

So with that ringing endorsement, I hit "save template" ... and in a split second, the garish, old Good Manners Mom Blog was history!

(Not the hugely popular content, I rush to assure you, of course!)

I hope you'll embrace my newest style, and check back often to see if I make any subtle -- but surely attractive -- enhancements. (This template is called Thisaway.) I'd love to know what you think of the new look that I was able to accomplish without being an artist or computer programmer. Feel free to let me know what you think about it or any of my other blogs.

Until next blog,


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Telephone manners

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

I have to share a proud moment with you.

After many months -- oh, let's be honest, after many years -- of coaching them on what to say (and what not to say) and what to do (and what not do do) when they answer the phone, one of the Good Manners Daughters answered a call. The call was for me and she came to find me on the back porch.

The first thing the caller said was "Wow, your daughter has impeccable phone manners. I am so impressed. I can't get my daughter to answer the phone like that."

Wow. I almost dropped the phone in my surprise. Oh, Good Manners Devotees', I confess her words gave me such a thrill! Who would have thought that simple phrases such as "May I ask who is calling?" and "She's busy at the moment, may she call you back?" or "Just a moment, please" would have been so hard for the Good Manners Daughters to remember, or taken so much time to finally stick! (And how could I forget the classic bringing the phone to me in the bathroom or -gasp- saying I'm in the bathroom.)

But, on this random, unexpected night, it finally happened. (It may never be repeated, but at least I know that it can be done!)

So if you are struggling with your child's phone manners, take some hope from my post -- it can and will happen. I can't say when, but it will!

I'll be in touch soon with some more good or bad manners observations. In fact, I think last post I promised you airport disembarkment -- so airport disembarkment it will probably be!

Until then,


P.S. Disembarkment isn't coming up in spell check -- it's a word, isn't it? It wants to replace it with disembowel, of all things! Yuck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

Dear Good Manners Devotees',

I just have to vent, ever so decorously, about our Good Manners Family visit to Staples this evening.

Clutching our class supplies lists, we quickly filled our baskets with the must-haves for a successful school year.

(This year we have a bit of a challenge because a child is coming to the school who is allergic to latex -- you wouldn't believe how many things have latex in them. In fact, in a blast from my long-distant school days, they can only bring Ticonderoga pencils. I date myself, but does anyone else out there remember those yellow #2 pencils that we had to use to fill-in the blanks on the Iowa tests of basic skill?)

There was quite a long line of families checking out with their school supplies. We had already waited 10 minutes when an older woman came up behind us. She had several reams of paper and notebooks and could hardly hold it all. We were next for the register and Good Manners Dad turned to her and very clearly said for her to go ahead and put her stuff on the counter.

I'm sure you can guess what happened next: she thanked him and put her stuff on the counter. Then, a split second later, as the customer in front moved away, she pushed all of her stuff up and moved right in front of the clerk to buy her loot.

Good Manners Dad and I exchanged glances while the younger Good Manners Daughter blurted out "Hey, how'd that lady get in front of us?"

Needless to say, we didn't shush her!

Although we probably would have let the woman check out in front of us if she had just waited a moment, that's not the point. It was her rude assumption that was so annoying!

Good Manners Fans, it's encounters such as this one that makes one want to be a little more thrifty with our courtesies! (I should add, in case you believe I should be more charitable, that she wasn't elderly, just older than us!)

But ... tomorrow is another day. Hopefully we'll still feel the urge to be thoughtful and help others if the case arises, regardless of whether or not the thoughtfulness is met in kind.

Next post -- we'll talk about airplane manners. (So much to talk about -- where can I start?) Until then,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

WWJAD? What would who do?

Dear Good Manners Devotees':

How are you this fine, beautiful summer evening?

The humidity has disappeared, the lightening bugs are flickering, the breeze is cool -- I shut off the air conditioner so we could enjoy the fresh air inside the house, too!

(And maybe save on the electric bill.)

There's never been a more comfortable time to write about good manners -- especially since writing with my laptop on (where else) my lap has tended to make me overheat (good manners term for 'sweat buckets') these past couple of weeks!

So -- what should I write about?

I have no idea!

Eureka! The Good Manners Family just returned from a quick trip to Trader Joe's to see if we could find something tasty for dessert and we practically ran into my inspiration.

As we were waiting patiently at an intersection for our turn to turn, the car in front of us had an interesting bumper sticker that read: WWJAD?

WWJAD? I like to think that I'm familiar enough with pop culture to recognize the acronym for What would so and so do? (insert your favorite person). But no well known person with the initials JA came to mind. Who was it this time, I wondered.

Imagine my surprise to read the smaller type underneath WWJAD: What would Jane Austen do?

Well, I thought -- what a perfect thing to share with you, loyal fans of Good Manners!

Although Jane offered a sometimes biting commentary on the social niceties of her time, her whole world was based on appropriate behavior.

So, tomorrow, while I bite my tongue at work or over the weekend while I'm stuck in traffic -- I'm just going to remember WWJAD?

Here's hoping that WWJAD just might help you get through some potential bad manners moments, too.

With Best Regards,

P.S. Darn it -- can you believe that Good Manners Dad isn't going to let me get a WWJAD bumper sticker?