Watermelon Roses

A collection of random thoughts, commentaries, and journaling. There is a lot to explore here, including links to other sites of mine. These are mostly for my own benefit, but guests are welcome to browse and explore as much or as little as they like.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Matter of Manners

Fun with leaves.

I recently stumbled across one of the best playgrounds I've found in the Dallas area as I was using The Force to navigate through an unfamiliar part of Farmers Branch to avoid snarled freeway traffic. For those in the area (and for my own future reference!) it's the Jaycee playground at Cox Park on Valley View Lane, just about a half mile east of I-35E. It has shade structures, which are so important in Texas, but surprisingly rare.

As we were getting the children into the car for the trip home, I saw a little boy of about 6 or 7 standing next to the slide who just unzipped his pants and peed. Right there! In the middle of the playground! Seeing as how my daughter had just been playing with the wood chips not far from there, I was appalled. Where was this child's mother, and what had she been teaching him (or not teaching him, as the case may be?) While I understand that some etiquette may not be intuitive, whether or not to pee in the middle of a playground certainly should be.

While on the topic of etiquette, I thought I'd post some of the less intuitive things I've found the need to look up over the past few years as we began socializing with established physicians and their wives. You never know when some of these may come in handy.

Formal Meals
  • Your glasses and cups are to your right, your bread plate is to your left.
  • Never butter your bread directly from the butter dish, and never a whole slice at a time. Butter is transferred to your bread plate, and bread is broken into bite-sized pieces and buttered one bite at a time.

For more on mealtime, including important silverware use and placement before, during, and after the meal, click here and here. You'll see that there are discrepancies in some areas, such as when to start eating and what to do with your napkin when you get up. All I know to do in those situations is to do what seems most acceptable at the time.

  • Valet or parking attendant - $1-3 is appropriate for parking or returning the car. It is not necessary to tip for parking, but always for returning the car. (I usually give $1 for parking and $2 for returning.)
  • Bellman - When he helps you with your bags, tip $1-2 per bag. Give him the tip when he shows you your room. If he just carries the bags to the front desk and then disappears, save it for the person who carries the bags to your room. Skycaps at the airport should also get $1-2 per bag, depending on how heavy they are.
  • Manicures/Pedicures - 15-20% of the bill. Closer to the 20% if you're a regular customer.
  • Haircuts - 10-20% for stylists and colorists, $2-3 for barbers, $2-5 for shampoo assistant, if separate from the stylist.

For more on tipping, click here.


  • Never, ever pee in the middle of the playground.
  • Don't let your children pick up babies that don't belong to you. You should be the one to stop them, not the baby's mother.
  • Parents, watch your children. Even if you're not worried about them running off with a stranger or dashing into the street, their interaction with other children needs to be monitored.

For more on playground etiquette, click here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Writer's Block

The pumpkin patch at the Dallas Arboretum.

Finding myself with a distinct lack of anything useful to say and my creativity suffering from lack of sleep, I have to hope a picture will suffice for today, and that I find words to publish soon!