Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sweet Bubbles by Nancy Burns


SWEET BUBBLES

Happy little bubbles! What joy you bring my heart.
Floating, dancing, joining and then you’re swept apart.

My giggles fill the air and I am tickled to my toes.
My fascination grows deeper, like the blush of a summer rose.

What simple joy you bring to this silly soul.
I dip my pipe again, and once more start to blow.

A silly little ditty by Nancy Burns

Bubbles


By Gardner

Catching Bubbles

Catching Bubbles
Catching Bubbles
Giclee Print

Ludovici, Albert
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Friday, August 8, 2008

Bird Pictures to Color

A friend sent a link to these beautiful coloring pages:
http://www.50birds.com/CB/CBb.htm

Here are some flowers:
http://www.50birds.com/CB/cbflowers.htm

And if you scroll to the bottom of the page here,
http://storybookwoods.typepad.com/storybook_woods/coloring_pages/
you will see that someone has made them into a framed picture grouping. Very nice!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Etiquette of the Phone

Dear Readers,

I thought that it would be appropriate to write my next article about Manners for House Guests or House Sitters (AHEM!), but alas I will have to put that one off for another day. I have had another urgent request regarding Telephone Manners that I will address this month instead:

Dear Etiquette Lady,

I was wondering if you might do an article on phone etiquette, especially for the younger set. The phone is not a toy in our household, but with cell phone popularity, it seems that younger and younger children have their "own" phones. We are getting more and more calls from young friends of the family at inappropriate times (late at night, during work hours), and most of them do not seem to know how to properly answer or identify themselves once the party they were calling answers. "Who's this?" is most commonly what I hear after I say hello. And I usually have to ask who is calling? Even some adults may benefit from just such an article. Maybe I am being a bit picky, but I remember not being allowed to race my parents to answer the phone. I remember being taught in school, how to properly answer the phone. There is a young boy that occasionally calls his dad where I work. He is so very polite, respectful, and speaks clearly, it is very refreshing. I do so love to read your articles, and just thought that you would be able to do this idea justice. -A Reader

The answer to this dilemma is to review some basic telephone manners. The Cellular phone is no different than the regular telephone, other than it is mobile, thus more annoying. (I dislike the term "Cell" phone, because to me it sounds like something you would use to dial your one free call out of prison. But, since that is the common term, I will use it here).


With all the new gadgets that have come out the past 10 or so years, people have scrambled to find the "rules" of etiquette for their usage. Beside the safety rules in the owner's manuals, there are no set "polite" rules for a new device. Instead, we rely on people's good upbringing, their basic training in polite conduct and thoughtfulness of others, and a good dose of common sense to deal with the use of these new gadgets. And, as we see these things become a normal part of our society, we Etiquette People start to make some rules when we see the utter lack of sense among the users of Cell Phones, i-pods, etc.

Nine to Five II
Nine to Five II
Art Print

Jones, Catherine
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Cell phones have been such a convenient addition to life. First of all, they are very important to have if you are traveling and need to make an emergency phone call. Secondly, your children are now just a phone call away at all times (no more driving around the neighborhood yelling for them). Thirdly, husbands find them indispensable in the grocery store, when trying to interpret the grocery list their wife handed them. How many times are they unsure about whether you wanted the 6-oz can of tuna, or the 8-oz? And if they bring home the wrong one.... better dial home and make sure. Some even carry fake cell phones for safety... if you are an elderly person taking your daily walk, and you see a suspicious looking thug, you can whip out your cell phone (that doesn't work) and call your police sergeant friend for a chat.

Male Young Adult on Cell Phone with Broken Down Car
on Cell Phone with Broken Down Car
Photographic Print

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When you need a cell phone

People also use them to have arguments in public, to have conversations in the car while driving, to dial their friends at any old hour (because hey, man, my friends are as bored and idle as I am so I'll call and see if they want to hang out), type goofy messages while at church, disturb public situations etc.

Your Cell Phone
Your Cell Phone
Magnet

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I will address the younger set (when I refer to "children" I am sometimes including teen-aged "children" too, even though they don't like that term) but these rules should be a good refresher course for adults as well, especially those who think that the use of the cell phone differs from their home phone.

First and foremost- speak clearly at all times, but especially on the phone. Children's voices are hard for some people to understand, and it can be worse over the fuzzy phone connection. We have all had the experience with someone who answers the phone and says "yaa? whuizityawant?"

When you answer the phone, a clear "hello" and then a polite "She isn't here at the moment" or "He is here, please hold on while I get him" spoken clearly and not too fast is appropriate. Indeed, it is much appreciated by the caller. Most children have been taught that if they answer the phone, not to hold on to the receiver and yell "MOM!!! IT'S FOR YOOOUUUU!!!" but just in case you weren't- don't do that. Rather, put the receiver down gently and go and politely get the person who is needed.

You need to have permission to answer the phone in the first place. No matter your age, if you do not have the express permission of your parents to answer the phone, and you have not been schooled in polite communications regarding the telephone, you have no business picking it up. If your parents have asked you to start answering the phone, make sure that you do not compete with them in doing so. When mother or father is home, and their hands are free, assume that they will answer it themselves unless they ask you to. And I shouldn't have to say this, but if they ask you to answer the phone when you are busy, go and do it politely, and don't refuse to do it with some smart-aleck remark.

If you are the one making the phone call, identify yourself immediately. Say something like, "Hello, this is Sandy. Is Carly available?" Don't assume that the person answering the phone knows you. Even if Carly answers the phone herself, you should say your name and not just saying "hi, whatsup?" Carly may not have looked at or recognized the number on the caller ID, or she may have other friends with similar voices. Or she may think you have the wrong number. It certainly will be embarrassing for her if she thinks you are someone else.

Little Girl Talking on Vintage Phone
Little Girl Talking on Vintage Phone
Art Print

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If your parents have given you your own cell phone, understand that they are not giving you total freedom from all family rules and all general rules of polite conduct.

You should not keep secrets from your parents, and they should know who it is you talk on the cell phone to, and text message. If you are rushing to answer the phone because you don't want your parents to know who is calling you, you're in trouble.

A parent who does not want to be a peeved parent will set hours and limits on their child's phone. Make an AM and PM time that the phone can be in operation. And if little Susie is going to talk to little Jamie for 5 hours a pop, you might be better off having little Jamie over for an afternoon, rather than have little Susie microwave her brain that long.

A cell phone is different than a regular phone, in that when you call someone on a cell phone, they could be anywhere, and thus a call can be more annoying than if you were just ringing someones house phone. Therefore: Don't call people too early or too late (even if you know the person's rising and bedtime habits, you still want to be reasonable); don't call at mealtimes; don't call people at work unless you have their permission to do so (for instance, it is okay for a child to call a parent, or a wife to call a husband, etc.) and even then only for important reasons. Sometimes we can get so casual and habitual about calling friends that we may forget that they told us they were going to be at a wedding, family reunion, etc. Try to remember things like that so that your call does not distract or annoy others.

It is not appropriate to use your cell phone just anywhere and at anytime. Turn the phone off at weddings, funerals, church services, concerts, the library, public events, holiday and family events, family reunions, etc. If the sermon is boring you to sleep, take notes on a pad and paper, and do not get out your cell phone and start text messaging your friends. If the wedding is long and drawn out, do not excuse yourself to go and make some goofy call out in the hallway. The people that ask you to these events, the people that go to all the trouble to put on these events, and the other people that attend these events, will see such behaviour as extremely rude. This goes for mp3 players and other gadgets too.

The Recital
The Recital
Giclee Print

Barbudo, Salvador...
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If your cell phone needs to be on for emergency call purposes, turn it down to vibrate. If your friends call you during an event, they can leave a message (if it is important enough, they will). If you check the message and it is urgent, you may call them back, but it is rude to walk out of a family gathering, church function, etc. just to have a jolly joking conversation with someone not even there for an hour.

And this goes both ways: If you know that cousin Bobby is going to his little brother's piano recital, don't call or text him on purpose to josh him about having to go, or to say "I was just giving you an excuse to get out of there." That is rude, and cousin Bobby will never learn polite public behaviour.

If you are at some event that requires polite silence, and your cell phone goes off because you forgot to turn it down, be quick and low-key. Answer the phone without saying anything (to get it to quit ringing) while you quickly exit the area. Then make your excuses, end the call as soon as you can, and turn the phone off or down. It is best not to make a big, embarrassing deal about such things. A minister's cell phone recently went off while he was preaching a funeral sermon. He simply handed it over to his wife to deal with and went on with the service. His quick and low key thinking made sure that the cell phone did not become the focal point of the funeral!

The Berlin Central Telephone Exchange, circa 1890
The Berlin Central Telephone Exchange, circa 1890
Giclee Print

Zehme, Werner
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If you are the age to drive, turn your phone off. It is best not to drive and fiddle with a cell phone (or an i-pod or any such device). If you have a passenger who can make or take a phone call for you, please have them do so to relay your messages. If you need to make a phone call by yourself, pull over in a safe place and make it. As I say, if you don't answer the call, if it is important, the callers will leave a message.

Please learn how to use the voicemail feature for that purpose. Make sure your name is on the answering service so that your friends will be confident that they have dialed the right number. Also, it can be rather annoying to get the call back from someone who did not listen to your message at all, and you have to go to the trouble of repeating it. It is not a burden to some to repeat their messages, but I think if you can, you should listen to the message on the phone first.

If you know that your friend may be driving, or that your dad commutes from 5:30-6:00, try not to call them during that time. They might have a wreck trying to answer the phone.

If you know that Joe is taking a class at a certain time, refrain from calling him until you are sure that you will not be causing a disturbance by making his phone ring.

Couple Using Old Phone
Couple Using Old Phone
Art Print

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Keep your conversation polite. It is rude to argue loudly on the phone in public. It can also be rude to talk loudly on the phone in public even if you are happy. Talking loudly and joking and laughing in stores can disturb other shopper's concentration. Ditto for the post office and other public places.

If you use the speaker phone, make sure that the person you are talking to knows that they are being broadcast on the speaker. And if there are other people about, make sure they know that, too. Someone might agree to talk on a speaker phone to one person, but it is unfair if they find out afterwards that you were at the bus stop or some other public place.

The Switchboard Girl Hears Alarming News
The Switchboard Girl Hears Alarming News
Giclee Print

Schoonover, F.e.
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It is also rude to have a conversation on the cell phone while you are visiting or talking with a friend who is with you. It forces them to stand right there waiting for you. If someone calls you while you are visiting with someone else, make the call brief, tell them you will get back to them, and end the call. Don't talk on two phones at once. I know that sounds funny, but it has happened to me. I called someone who already had someone else's phone to their other ear, and not only that but they were visiting with a person right next to them. Keeping someone on the phone to have a third of a conversation is pointless. You cannot tell when they are talking to you or not. Talking to someone in person who is having a text "chat" on their phone is also pointless, like talking to a tree or something. No, I take that back... I believe you would get more response from the tree.

If I have forgotten anything, I am sure that being thoughtful of others will cover any omissions. Keeping your cell phone, telephone, and other device usage polite will endear you to the general public! As stated in the letter, the young man who was polite on the phone has become a "refreshing" person to encounter. Reader, thank you for your letter, and I for one will try to remedy any faults I may have regarding the telephone. Bye bye!

My Magic Telephone
My Magic Telephone
Photographic Print

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