Teachers Come in All Sizes

Filed Under All Posts, Parenting | 7 Comments

We’re please to introduce our first guest blogger: co-founder of Plastic Pollution Coalition and contributor to the Huffington Post, Lisa Kaas Boyle describes herself as an environmental attorney, mother and life-long learner. Welcome Lisa!

I was one of those people who always dreamed of having children, even when I was a child myself. Naturally, I had a lot of expectations about being a parent. Many of these expectations turned out to be false — like the idea that having a child would be like having a part of me break off and develop into another me. I quickly learned that, apart from some obvious genetic similarities, my kids came to me as strangers I had to get to know. The next big surprise, and this was even more shocking to me, was that my kids would be teaching ME things.

My son Jake, who turned 13 this month, has been one of my greatest teachers. He taught me a profound lesson when he was not yet two. I had recently quit working outside the home to be a “stay-at-home mom.” Read more

Enough with the Platitudinous Drivel

Filed Under All Posts, Parenting, Prudence Baird, Rants | 20 Comments

Triggered by her son’s question, Prudence unleashes a rant for our times

“Mom, is it true things happen for a reason?” Casey’s green eyes fringed by impossibly curly brown lashes widened with anticipation at the possible confirmation that some benevolent force is at work that can explain why bad things happen to good people.

“Who the fuck said that?” I snapped. Okay, I didn’t really say fuck, but I wanted to.

This pithy, saccharine saw lodges in my ears like the stinking turd of stupidspeak that it is. And whenever someone says it, whether the person is my friend or not, I cannot suppress my outrage that anyone dare to explain away the immoral, indecent, unfair and—in many cases—avoidable crap that rains down on perfectly lovely people and takes their lives, their health, their finances and even their children in directions that should only be reserved for those whose full names end in Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz or Rove. Read more

The Other Sandwich Generation

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Prudence Baird, Relationships | 8 Comments

Adult children with the responsibility for care of both their own children and their elderly parents. (Definition of “sandwich generation” from Webster’s Dictionary)

Forget that stuff about diapering babies and elderly parents at the same time. Been there. Done that. Glad it’s over.

This blog is about the other sandwich generation years—when a giant, day-glo CLOSED sign hangs on one’s baby-making machinery. The years when a woman’s value is not measured by her potential to make babies, but instead by her potential to make sandwiches—lots of them.

Let me be the first to say that I never thought it would come to this.  Read more

Prelude to an Empty Nest

Filed Under All Posts, Parenting, Prudence Baird | 15 Comments

The screen door bangs shut behind me, echoing in a house that only last week was filled with the last frantic scrabblings of summer vacation.

The school backpacks no longer hang on their hooks by the door; they are off for another tour of duty filled with new spiral notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, pocket-sized tissue packs and re-charged cell phones.

I stand just inside the front door, unable to move.  Unwilling to hang up my keys.  Incapable of addressing this morning’s breakfast dishes, still in the sink.

I am paralyzed by the sudden realization that all too soon there will be no more first days of school. Read more

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

Filed Under All Posts, Family, Parenting, Prudence Baird | 11 Comments

The author\'s children in 2004, with dreams of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest dancing in their heads

“Tim must be doing very well!” I can almost hear my friend Sarah’s eyebrows hitting her hairline when I tell her my family is going to England and Scotland for a month this summer.

Yeah, this summer—when a cup of London Starbucks is ₤3, the equivalent of $6.

Even though Sarah didn’t exactly ask the question, she did beg it: Why on earth would a sane person, let alone a family of four, hop the pond now when the dollar is in the toilet and even the esteemed New York Times Travel section trumpets “Europe? It’s way too expensive!” Read more

The Good Life!

Filed Under All Posts, Family, Melissa Howden, Politics | 6 Comments

Photo by M.A. Howden

There are some times in the year, which are emotional hotspots. Currently I am sitting at the center of one of those places. Not long ago would’ve been my mother’s 74th birthday had she not died of emphysema. Shortly after that was the anniversary of her mother’s suicide just shy of 93 years old. However, I also just celebrated (and attended) the birth of my nephew. I am childless by a combination of choice and timing. My brother is stepfather to my most favored niece Emily who has been my one and only since she was two years old. But this is the first (& no doubt last) newborn child in this part of the Howden line. Read more

NPR Causes Wrinkles. It’s True.

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Humor, Parenting, Prudence Baird | 3 Comments

Botox causes brain damage. Cell phones cause brain cancer. Teenage children cause brain implosion. Okay, that last one is NOT true—but they do make you feel like your head is going to explode.

Especially when you are trying to hear on NPR a report about the link between brain damage and Botox that was just discovered by an Italian research team and your teenage son is talking about — what? I very exaggeratedly turn UP the volume on the radio and shake my head at him.

These actions are apparently universal American body language code for “Please speak louder,” because he leans into my face and says — what? Read more

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