Sunday, October 22, 2006

Digital Photography

I just recently finished a course on Digital Photography and this is my graduation picture. I am the one with her eyes closed!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Shepherd's Bush Stocking

As soon as Linda asked me to finish her stockings, I decided I had to practice on my own to make sure I had the technique perfected. Some years before I had started two Shepherd's Bush stockings so I quickly got them stitched up and then used Linda's technique to finish them. I like how they turned out!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Linda's Stockings

Sometime in 2005, I visited my hometown of Doylestown, PA, and met Donna's friend, Linda. I had some finished needlework items with me and showed them off at an evening stitch in hosted by Donna's neighbor. Linda was one of the attendees and, after looking at some of my work, she asked if I would finish her cross stitched stockings. Although I had not finished a stocking, I was interested, especially since Linda said she had a good idea of how she wanted the stockings to be finished. Later she showed me a sample of how she wanted the stockings to look and we set out to find some lovely cotton velveteen for the backing and binding. We found the perfect weight and color at a local fabric store and the picture at left shows the finished results. Once they were completed, I mailed them to Linda and held my breath until she told me they'd arrived. I love the way they turned out!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Each time you leave ...

I stitched this piece, a design by Linda Palmer of In A Gentle Fashion, when my daughter, Maggie, graduated from high school. It hangs just inside the kitchen door, the main entry to our home. Tonight we celebrated Maggie's 21st birthday with a dinner at our home. Of course, we served (and sent home with the Maggie and her sister, Katie) a lot of tomatoes. After dinner, the girls loaded up their cars with lots of food. The house is very quiet now. The sentiment is as poignant right now as it was when I stitched it 4 years ago: "Each time you leave this room, my heart goes with you".

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Smalls Pouch

As I was de-cluttering, I came across this smalls pouch, the first small I ever did. It is signed with my former name and completed in 1989.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Drawn Thread's Sanctuary

Drawn Thread's design,called The Sanctuary, was really lovely to stitch. It uses needlepoint silks which I really prefer over many silks.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Day of the Killer Tomatoes

I seem to remember an old-time movie called "The Day of the Killer Tomatoes". I don't remember the entire story but I do know a modern version of that I think covers most of it:

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a princess lived with her prince. One day, the prince brought his modest tomato harvest from his fields. The princess lovingly made the meager harvest into stewed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and salsa, so that they would have a well-stocked larder in time for the bitter winter which had been predicted. When the prince lamented that his farming skills were poor and he was worried they would not have enough to last, the princess reassured the prince that they would be well-fed over the winter, that he needn't worry and that he shouldn't seek any more tomatoes. The princess was happy with the first batch but she really didn't like all that work! The very next day, the prince bought home FIVE 5-gallon buckets of tomatoes, which he claimed had been given to him by one of their neighbors. Although a little out of sorts about the prince's decision to accept this large quantity of tomatoes due to the amount of work involved in the task, especially after she'd so kindly asked him to refrain, the princess set about the next day cleaning them, skinning them, and making them into all sorts of sauces and such. The next day she rested. On the day after that, and unbeknownst to the princess, the prince ran into the neighbor who was mowing his fields. The prince told the neighbor that he and the princess were so appreciative of the neighbor's fine tomatoes and that the princess seemed to enjoy this type of work. The neighbor responded by giving the prince FIVE more 5-gallon buckets of tomatoes, which he gleefully brought back to show the princess. The princess greeted the prince at the door and spotted the tomatoes. The prince was never seen again and the princess lived happily ever after.

The above picture shows what FIVE 5-gallon buckets of tomatoes look like!

The End!

The End!

My Reward!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mail Art Model

It's hard to imagine but this shop model went through the mail. It is called Mail Art. So, what is Mail Art anyway? You have heard of it, but are not quite sure what to make of it! Basically, Mail Art is sending a stitched envelope through the mail. But, once you try it, you will find it is so much more. For me, it is the thrill of opening up the mailbox, rifling through the bills and the junk mail, and pulling out a wonderful stitched treasure from another creative spirit. It is also the anticipation that my creation may provoke a similar reaction across town, across the country, or even across the globe!

This particular design is the one I have taught for various shops, groups, and guilds. It includes all there is to know about making and mailing a stitched envelope, including an easy hand-stitched method for assembling the envelope itself. It is a great technique for embroiderers who generally do not like to use a sewing machine.

Since I made my first envelope as part of an exchange, I have mailed and received about 20 envelopes. All have made it through the mail with great success.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Marriage of the Minds

In 2004, my nephew, James, eloped with his long-time girlfriend, Jill. Upon hearing their news, I asked Jill to peruse the Drawn Thread website to see if she could choose a design they both liked, that I could stitch as a wedding sampler. She chose Marriage of the Minds. How apropos! James and Jill attended St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD, where their undergraduate work was wholly devoted to the study of the classics. So fitting because the sampler’s motto is derived from Shakespeare’s Sonnet CXVI, which speaks of the commitments of love and marriage:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
It this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

William Shakespeare

Originally designed to commemorate a 20th wedding anniversary, the design includes some traditional symbolism in the motifs used. Some of my favorites are:

Cranes - longevity and good fortune
Owls - wisdom and loyalty
Deer - longevity, peace, and compassion
Birds - honor, honesty, conjugal fidelity and good fortune
Hearts - love, soul and spirit
House - stability, the seat of the soul, the place one returns for comfort, protection & rest
Trees - strength, durability and steadfastness in adversity
Clouds - good fortune, happiness and peace
Butterflies – joy and longevity
Dragonflies – marital success, victory
Bees – hard work and industriousness
Rabbits – fertility and family

James’ mother, Susan, will be delivering the framed sampler to them soon and I can’t wait to hear how they reacted! I wish them many tempestuous years together!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Hardanger Sachet Design - Pillow

Hardanger is a Swedish form or embroidery, traditionally done white on white. Many years ago, I learned to do this technique through a group correspondence course I took with the Bucks County Chapter of the Embroiderers Guild of America. I fell in love with it because it is a counted thread technique, goes fairly quickly, is very rhythmic, and is quite portable. A few years ago, I started teaching a 4-part series on hardanger, relying on the Basics and Beyond book by Janice Love. This large sachet design , mounted on a custom-made, blue moire pillow, is the class model.

Needle Book - Over Two

A quaker motif was used for this needle book. In the Spring of 2006, I taught this finishing technique - making a "hardback" book with a spine - at a Stitcher's Day for the House of Stitches in LaPorte, IN. The red version was stitched over two, using an over-dyed floss for the stitching and pearl cotton for the two-color cording. Its overall size is 6" over 6", which leaves plenty of space for needles.

Needlebook - Over One

Over one, the needlebook looks very sweet!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lauren Sauer's Fragrant Hearts

A few of my friends have suggested that I put up more pictures of my completed embroidery. This finish, called, Fragrant Hearts, was designed and taught by Lauren Sauer last year at the Indianapolis EGA. I took the class with my friend, Joyce, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Lauren had us pre-stitch the five hearts, all done in lovely and luscious silks. We learned the finishing techniques during class and Lauren gave us a bunch of dried lavender to stuff the 4 largest hearts. The remaining heart - which is only about 1" in diameter, is filled with white seed beads. The hearts are strung together with a light pink organdy ribbon. It would be sweet to hang this ornament on bed post.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Virginal Machine Quilting Experience and Oldest UFO

We have a lovely quilt shop in Marion, IN, about 20 minutes from my home. Although I am not a quilter, I do love going there to buy materials for embroidery projects and finishing. They often have classes for projects that are either non-quilting (like the ever-so-popular bags) or semi-quilting, like the padded envelope I just finished. It was designed by a woman I know from the Hartford City Garden Club. Its original purpose was for the quilter to store her quilt blocks. It is 14" x 14", machine quilted on the back and pieced on the front. You could also quilt the front, after the piecing was done, but I opted out of that since I was so busy just learning how to do the rest of the project. During this class, I learned how to use the correct attachments to do the machine quilting on the back. Other techniques included the installation of the binding, mitering the corners and matching the point at which the binding beginning and end come together. I don't know what it will be used for but I was so happy to be able to insert the small blackwork sampler in the front, as it was my oldest UFO and knowing it had to be done for this class compelled me to finish it!

Oldest UFO Close Up

So, I think this small blackwork sampler is as old as my youngest daughter, who is about to turn 21. I took it as a hands on class with my EGA guild in Bucks County, PA, when I lived there. The stitching is called blackwork, which is completely reversible. Because it is actually reversible, I had wanted to mount in some way that it could be seen from both sides. That is probably why it took me 21 years to decide what to do with it. In the end, I so wanted it to be on the quilted envelope, that I just "drop-mounted" it and you cannot even see the back at all. Other techniques I learned with this piece were mitering corners for the hem and the hemstitching. It is a sweet little piece and I am glad now that it has someplace to call home, instead of in a box in my cellar!

Seaside Sampler

This is a bellpull made for a Nova Scotian friend, Sally. It was stitched, round robin style, by the Hoosier Stitchers, who also funded the cost of the materials. Designed by a fellow Canadian, Thea Deuck, of the Victoria Sampler, it is called "Seaside Sampler". It was chosen for Sally because she loves lighthouses and her husband is a lobster fisherman/ Sally is an beloved member of the Hoosier Stuttgart and usually attends our retreat in September. Unfortunately, she cannot be with us this year so we hope she is reminded of us when she sees this gift.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Matt and Susanne

So, Matt and Susanne visited and fell in love with our dog, MacKenzie. She loved them, too. Shortly after this picture, Matt left for his flight home. He flew from Marion, Indiana, to Ohio, then from Ohio to New Jersey, and then a drive home to Pennsylvania. Thanks Matt for leaving my baby sister here with me for a few days!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fabulous Felted Bag

Several months ago I visited my long time friend, Donna, in Pennsylvania. Donna and I started stitching about the same time - believe it or not - about 20 years ago. When I visited her this time, however, I discovered that she'd mastered knitting and had made herself a lovely knitted and felted bag. I had never been able to knit and I really coveted that bag. It was a lovely green and has some really cool fringey stuff at the top. When I returned home, I toyed with the idea of learning how to knit just so I could make one of those bags but I abandoned that idea when I saw them for sale in different shops. The ones I saw were not nearly as nice, they were not the right color, they were not the right size or shape, and they were hideously expensive. So, I just kept looking.

Soon I got a message from Donna telling me to look for a package in the mail. When it arrived, I was so surprised to see the most gorgeous knitted and felted bag. Made with the most beautiful wools, it is a very generous size. Had I picked out the fibers myself, I would have picked the same ones! I could not believe how generous Donna was to make it for me and I simply can't wait for it to be cold enough for me to start carrying it. Isn't it nice to have such a talented and thoughtful friend?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sulby's Summer Adventure

Matt and Susanne are flying to Indiana today. They left KMMU Airport (Morristown, NJ) at 10:06 a.m. and arrived at KLBE Airport (Arnold Palmer Airport in Latrobe, PA) at 12:01 p.m. We have been following their plane's progress using, which uses the plane's tail number N8154M and GPS (global positioning system) to track the plane's progress.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Skylar's Tooth Fairy Pillow

This is my latest embroidery finish. It is a tooth fairy pillow for my niece, Skylar. Her bedroom is decorated with lavender, pink, and yellow colors, with curtains made from Disney fabric. I chose the embroidery design and Sklyar chose the colors for the design. Every time I see her she reminds to me I have to get her fairy pillow finished. She is 5 now and probably has some loose teeth already!

I made the finished pillow look sort of like a purse with the ruffled ribbon at the top of the pillow, although it is not open at the top. There is a pocket on the back of the pillow to put the baby tooth and for the tooth fairy the leave the $$.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Salsa Girl

This Summer, my daughter, Maggie, decided she wanted to sell fresh salsa at a Farmer's Market. There is a small market in a town near my home and we registered as vendors at the start of the season for $25.00. Since then, she and I have been selling Salsa Magrita (mild and medium), Cici’s Magnificent Cheese Spread, Grand Granola, and various yummy cookies. I have enjoyed these Saturday mornings, getting to know many local people (vendors and customers). It is fun shopping and visiting at the Farmer's market and, of course, it is especially enjoyable spending time with Maggie.

The Farmer's Market is organized by an energetic group of people who live in Warren, IN. Although Warren is a teeny-tinsey little town, it also boasts the the very popular Pulse Opera House (, the enjoyable Salamonie Summer Festival, the lively Labor Day Tractor Pull, and a well-attended Fall Arts Festival.

The setting for the Farmer's Market is close to the downtown area but overlooks a tranquil pond which is surrounded by a lovely wooded area. The use of this spot was donated by a local businessman. Other local businesses donated a huge, sturdy tent to provide us with good shelter, a big canvas banner to announce the market's hours, and a roadside chalkboard on which the day's offerings are spotlighted in colorful letters. On most market days, a local music teacher provides live music!

Farmer's Market Vendors

There are between 8 and 10 vendors at the market each week. There are two "anchor" stores. Katherine and Ike, a husband and wife team, run a bakery from their home. In addition to supplying various local restaurants with home-baked goodies, they also run a brisk business at the farmer's market every Saturday. Their customers come early and buy a lot - old-fashioned pies such as gooseberry and sugar cream, rich apple dumplings, and delicious breads and dinner rolls. A considerable amount of traffic is generated by the other anchor store, which is staffed by the members of The Plum Tree Church. They sell fresh produce, canned items, and a few crafts. In between, there are smaller vendors who sell beef jerky, Angus beef, homemade canned jams, jellies, and relishes, fresh herbs, refinished furniture, plants, craft items, and the freshest of produce. Each week another vendor appears, as the Indiana crops ripen - corn last week, cantaloupes this week.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Eastern Caribbean Cruise

On June 26, 2006, I joined Polly and Susanne, my two sisters in the photo to the left, and their families, on an Eastern Caribbean cruise on the cruise ship known as "Carnival Elation". The cruise lasted a full week and this photo was taken on one of our last nights on the ship.

We all had staterooms on the same deck and I was lucky enough to have my own stateroom. It was a lot larger than I had expected and very well appointed. While I was initially sad that I did not have a roomie, that feeling quickly faded when I realized that I would be having my own room for the first time in probably 30 years!

I found it somewhat difficult to pack for this cruise so, of course, I packed too much. The cruise ship itself was like a floating resort and I "needed" many different outfits, shoes and accessories so I could seriously enjoy the spa, the casino, the food, the shows, the pool and so forth, as well as be prepared for the 4 ports and the variety of excursions that would be offered.

My most favorite thing about the cruise, of course, was that I was able to spend time with my sisters and their families. Polly and her husband, Mike, and their children, Alex and John Paul, and Susanne and her husband, Matt, along with their children Clayton and Skylar, made the trip so much fun. I absolutely loved being with them!!

The next best thing about the cruise was that it offered something for everyone. There was a plush and quiet library where I could sit and people watch. The outside pool was always busy with some contest or event. I watched the ice carving performance by one of the chefs and listened to several of the live bands. I also got to see some fun volleyball and basketball contests. They had shopping onboard as well as during the excursions. I helped the women's team win a "Battle of the Sexes" trivia contest by correctly naming Nancy Drew's companions. Susanne and I played in the casino a bit but we were not big winners. The three Moms had luxurious trips to the spa where I had a wonderful manicure and facial. Port excursions to Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk each offered their own pleasures, including beach time, souvenir shopping, food, outdoor and water sports of all sorts, sight-seeing, and so forth. The food during the cruise was abundant and the service was attentive.

So, after all that fun, I was happy to have some wonderful memories to bring home to Indiana!

HSN and Terrorism

HSN and Terrorism

Once upon a time, I awoke at 5 am on a Saturday morning. I picked up my stitching and turned on the TV. Flipping through the channels, I happened upon the Home Shopping Network (HSN) channel where I spotted some underwear that looked fabulous. I had never purchased anything from HSN but I decided to go ahead and do so. When the transaction was completed, the operator asked me, "Would you like to apply for an HSN card? It has special privileges." Of course, never one to miss out on a special privilege, I agreed. She patched me over to another department. While waiting for the next operator, a recording came on and announced that this upcoming conversation was being recorded for training purposes. I was not at all surprised that this phone call was being recorded, but I did wonder, "Who is being trained? Are they training me or the other guy?" And, "What are they training us for?" Soon a different operator arrived on the line. He was a nice young man, who seemed to be in his early twenties. He was cordial and asked me for my complete name and the last 4 digits of my social security number. I happily gave him that information as I was anxious to discover what special privileges the HSN card had to offer.Next, he began to read from a script. It was familiar to him, so he read on with some speed but was careful to speak each word clearly and to pronounce each with distinction. At the same time, I listened half-heartedly as I was still viewing the HSN channel and mentally recording the special features of the underwear I had just bought. Just as the TV screen moved to another item for sale, I thought I heard him say, "In its efforts to combat terrorism, The United States government has passed a federal law which requires that HSN identify each of its HSN cardapplicants. Therefore, pursuant to the mandates of this federal law, I will be asking you a set of personal questions to make sure you are identified properly." Although I must admit I was not fully alert to his entire message, when I heard him say the word "terrorism", I sat uprightin my seat. Before he had a chance to move on, I interrupted him. "Could you repeat that last part, please? I am not certain I heard you correctly." I thought I heard him respond with a giggle but he repeated these words with clarity, "In its efforts to combat terrorism, the UnitedStates government has passed a federal law which requires that HSN identify each of its HSN card applicants. Therefore, pursuant to the mandates of this federal law, I will be asking you a set of personal questions to make sure you are identified properly." I was stunned. I had no idea that our country's legislators were so forward-thinking and creative. How awesome to learn that our nation's leaders had figured out a way to enlist the help of this vast commercial enterprise - the entire Home Shopping Network backed by its many cardholders - to defend our country against terrorism. Even though it was still early in the morning, my mind started racing. I could not wait to complete this part of the call. I was anxious to provide my personal information so that I could not only get the HSN card but also so that I could help my country defend itself against terrorism. I immediately affirmed my patriotism to the operator, "Of course, I amhappy to assist my country and the Home Shopping Network in their allied efforts to combat the evils of terrorism. I will voluntarily answer any and all personal questions to make sure that all terrorism is thwarted. I am so grateful to have been asked because I want to assist our nation andthe Home Shopping Network to make sure that no weapons of mass destruction threaten our purple mountains or amber waves of grain." I was so engrossed in announcing my personal pledge of allegiance, that I even thought I'd heard the few faint strains of The National Anthem in the background. Suddenly it dawned on me that I had been put on hold by this young male operator. What I has hearing was the Home Shopping Network's recorded music! Apparently, the young man had to cut off the conversation because he had started to laugh. It was just a few moments later that the recorded music stopped and the operator's voice returned. I paused and hetook in his breath to begin the next part of his script. Although he tried to be serious, I could hear - with the utterance of his first word - the "chuckling" in his voice. I interrupted him curtly, as I was, needless to say, a little miffed that he was obviously making light of my national pride. In my most confident voice, I continued, "There is one subject, however, the nature of which is so personal, and the answer to which is such a well-guarded secret, that I beg you to not even ask it. Please do not ask me my weight. First off, I would have to lie about it. I could notdivulge that information unless you tortured me, for example, by not allowing me to have the Home Shopping Network card with its many privileges. I could not tell you the truth, even if you refused to ship me the underwear I just ordered. Secondly, I must issue a warning. If youhappen to discover some method that did cause me to disclose my true weight, I would then be forced to take steps to silence you.” By this time, both the operator and I were laughing hysterically – neither one of us expected to come to our senses in any reasonable time frame. I was ever so grateful that I had called an 800 number and was not being charged for 5 minutes of laughing! Soon the operator gathered his wits about him and said the only thing a man of his age could say that guaranteed to me that he fully grasped the severity of the consequences he would face if he had to broach the subject of my weight, "I have a Mother and a Grandmother! I know not to touch that subject.""What a relief!" I said to myself. I could continue my discussion with the HSN operator and was, I fervently hoped, just moments away from being granted the Home Shopping Network card, including all of its many rewards. He went on with his questions, all of which I was able to answer while at the same time preserving my dignity at not having to disclose any deepsecrets. Once done, he promised I would hear from HSN in a few short weeks. When he asked me to confirm my satisfaction with the call, I told him I felt he was very courteous and quite helpful but that I needed to amend my original order, "I will have to pay for expedited shipping. Ineed to get that underwear right away so that my efforts at battling terrorism can be undertaken as soon as the package arrives and I start wearing my new bra and panties in public." He responded aptly, "The sooner the better."In closing, my friend and fellow countrymen/women, be sure to remember - each time you see me in public, you might notice notice that my bottom is a little smoother and my top a little perkier. My mission continues – no terrorists will survive as long as the nation's efforts are beingsupported by HSN and its fabulous underwear!

Monday, July 17, 2006

E-Mail Etiquette

I was very interested to learn yesterday - while reading the newspaper - that one of the big cell phone companies has an employee whose title is something like, The Grand Poobah of Cell Phone Etiquette. She is supposedly the person who lets us know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable when using cell phones. (As an aside, the focus of the article was that 35% of American employees rank their co-workers’ personal cell phone ring tones going off at work as their most annoying work interruption. DUH - cell phone rings are designed to be annoying. The correct question actually is: Why does an employer permit employees to use their cell phones at work as I suspect the employees are not being paid to answer personal phone calls while at work?)

Anyway, during a recent discussion brought about by the posting and forwarding of a somewhat mean-spirited e-mail, I got to thinking we might need a Grand Poobah of internet or e-mail etiquette. I am not nominating myself but I do feel qualified for the position because I have made some pretty big boo boos, like the time I intended to send an e-mail to a co-counsel on a case stating unequivocally that our mutual client was a putz but inadvertently (or NOT) sent it to the client. Whoops!

A few things came to my mind regarding the recent discussion about people sending e-mails that maybe should never have even been written, let alone sent.

First off, I should say for those of you who do not know me - I am an attorney and I play one on TV (that last part is a fib). That said, much of my background is as an insurance defense attorney and I have handled DOZENS of cases involving lawsuits that arise out of one person innocently (or NOT) making a damaging statement about another person or entity. These would be civil cases - defamation for libel or slander - where the plaintiff is seeking money damages. While they are definitely difficult for the plaintiff to win, the problem for the defendant (the person who so innocently stated "whatever" about the plaintiff) is that she/he would have to defend the action in court and that means very expensive legal fees. On the other end - the damages end, if the plaintiff gets that far - one measure of damages is based upon the level or number of publications, i.e., how many times did the defendant "state" or “publish” the defamation. That number can get very large if you are "publishing" the statement on an internet forum or bulletin board. WOW!

Secondly, one of the posts indicated it was a federal offense to send out certain types of e-mails. Initially, that sounded somewhat incredible but - in fact - I am confident a federal law could easily (and unwittingly and unknowingly - which are not good defenses by the way - remember our Perry Mason law class motto - "ignorance of the law is no defense") be violated on the internet (like copyright, trademark, intellectual property infringement, and so on). More importantly, a "federal case" could be made out of an internet posting, primarily because the nature of internet communication allows it to be disseminated to hundreds of people, perhaps millions of people, in what seems like a nano second.

Thirdly, in my not-so-humble-opinion, many people think the internet allows them to remain anonymous. It is thought that what we used to do over the backyard fence (but would never admit to anyone -- gossip - dish - chitchat - kibitz) is perfectly fine because we are secure in our homes, no one can see us, no one really "knows" who we are, etc. Of course, that isn't true. In fact, the internet is a device that can easily expose our secrets, rob us of our identities, and threaten our privacy.

Fourthly – and this is my free legal advice: Don’t make evidence. You are making it too easy for your enemies. Writing it down and sending it across the internet becomes a permanent and easily retrievable record. We are no longer in the era when a tape of a conversation – or portions of a tape – can inadvertently (or NOT) be erased. What you write down and send on the internet could come back to haunt you later.

So, where to go from here? How about I tell you of the conversation I recently had with my daughters (ages 23 and 20)? The conversation concerned whether or not my sweet little Maggie, age 20, could bring a guest to a wedding reception when the invitation was specifically addressed just to her but the reply card had the spot that indicated "how many will be attending". This conversation, by the way, was a lively debate of sorts and covered many topics (friendship, money, gift-giving, how to meet a nice person at a wedding instead of the butthead you wanted to bring to the wedding, etc.). The big message I was trying to get across to them was that rules of etiquette were not designed to make people uncomfortable and stuffy but, rather, are mostly designed to make sure that feelings don't get hurt. For example, it is probably best if you and/or your beloved tell your future mother-in-law of your engagement before you announce it to each of your customers at the bank, especially if she is a local merchant and also a customer of the same bank! Am I right? Could you see how her feelings might get hurt? In the end, the message they took away from the conversation was that you should follow rules of etiquette because "somebody might get hurt". Now, whenever someone BURPS (a topic which I regrettably cannot find in the index of my copy of "Miss Manners’ Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium"), one of them cries out, "Watch out, someone is going to get hurt!"

The motto I want you to take from this story is: Whenever you are about to push the send button - think of BURPING - and make sure your message will not cause someone to get hurt!