My daughter Lydia is about to start kindergarten and is not really reading yet, only recognizing about 10 words. That's fine. When I was her age, I was reading on about a fourth-grade level, and that was fine, too--except that I got bored with the books in my classroom. My father mentioned to a co-worker … Continue reading Trixie Belden and the Little Fires Within You [book reviews]
Here are some upcoming events in our Challenge to reduce single-use plastic products in Pittsburgh: Tuesday, March 5, Allegheny County Council will consider a resolution on plastic reduction, 5:00pm at the City-County Building. Saturday, March 9, a "No Plastic, Please" Awareness Blitz will train volunteers to visit (the same day) restaurants in Squirrel Hill to … Continue reading Help Save Pittsburgh from Instant Garbage!
Here in Pittsburgh, we're having a challenge to reduce consumption of single-use plastic (SUP) products. If you live somewhere else, launch a challenge in your area! Even if you make it just your personal challenge to use fewer SUPs yourself and to ask the stores and restaurants you visit to stop pushing so many SUPs on … Continue reading Go Green in 2019: Cut Back on Single-Use Plastic!
Three weeks ago, a man drove into my neighborhood, stormed into a synagogue, murdered eleven people, and shot and wounded several others. Well, that's old news. Why I am I still talking about it now, after there's already been a mass shooting of twelve people elsewhere in America? Because NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL, none … Continue reading The Tree of Life in the City of Steel
"Wildlife" sounds like something that lives out in the wild, right? We picture wildlife in the jungle, in the desert, or at least deep enough into the forest that it can't hear motors. But wild animals live in almost every acre of Earth's surface. Squirrels are wildlife. Ladybugs, ants, and even pigeons are wildlife. Leopards … Continue reading A Certified Wildlife Habitat in an Urban Churchyard
Tonight I attended a meeting at my son's school (grades K-8) about the decision to hire a full-time security guard and get a metal detector. I meant to do some research before the meeting on the extent to which schools with metal detectors have experienced shooting rampages, compared to schools without. I ended up not … Continue reading Do metal detectors prevent school shootings?
One of the most effective things you can do to reduce your environmental impact is to drive less. Every gallon of gasoline burned puts 24 pounds of pollution into our air! Of course we should work toward powering more cars with cleanly generated electricity or other alternative fuels, but we also need to move away … Continue reading Go Green in 2018: Get Out of the Car!
I've been on this Earth-friendly journey for a long time, and some parts of it have gotten a lot easier. Twenty years ago, you couldn't buy plant-based cleaners or chlorine-free toilet paper at target.com and have them show up on your porch two days later! I saw a tiny ad for Seventh Generation brand products … Continue reading How the East End Food Co-op Keeps Me Fit and Happy
I'm nervous posting this because of the freakout when Lenore Skenazy let her 9-year-old ride public transit alone. I don't want to be the next "America's Worst Mom"! But I think it's important to talk about how to approach children's independence safely and gradually so that they learn the skills they'll need as adults. Nicholas is … Continue reading Why My 12-year-old Is Riding Public Transit Alone
It's getting harder and harder for me to believe that the majority of Americans who work outside the home commute by car. I understand that many small towns and suburban and rural areas have no public transit at all, and that many cities have inadequate public transit providing infrequent service to just a few neighborhoods. … Continue reading Public Transit and Convenient Commuting
Did you make a new year's resolution to "eat better" without defining specifically what you meant? or did you try to start the new year choosing all the healthiest, most responsible foods, and now you're reeling at the difficulty of changing too many habits at once? Sometimes it's best to make one change at a … Continue reading Go Green in 2017: Drink Better Milk
Imagine my surprise when one of the paperback mysteries I'd picked up at a used-book sale turned out to reference one of the others! In Harm Done, which I reviewed last month, a girl claims she was kidnapped by two women who forced her to do housework, and an irritated Inspector Wexford demands to know … Continue reading Book Reviews: Good, Bad, and Coincidental
I've been catching up on my magazines this month, but I've also read three books... The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Charlie is a friendless teenager beginning his freshman year at a high school in the affluent southern suburbs of Pittsburgh. The book is a series of "Dear friend," letters he's writing … Continue reading Wallflowers and Oranges Unbound! (book reviews)
In addition to finishing the books I got for Christmas in time for my birthday, I've read a few other new-to-me books recently, including one that actually has the alternate title What I've Learned By Reading Too Much! I learned something from each of these books. The Dance of Anger by Harriet G. Lerner This … Continue reading What I’ve Learned By Reading Too Much (and 4 other books!)
On days like this, when the sky is so heavy with clouds that we never glimpse the sun, and the wind is cold and damp, and it seems like winter will never end . . . I think of Eminem. I guess I don't mean the rapper himself so much as the character he played … Continue reading The City of Slim Shadies
The silver lining of being mildly disabled for months after a car accident is that I've had lots of time for reading! I'm grateful that I had the type of concussion that makes computer work difficult but isn't hampered by reading on paper. Here are some of the books I've read. I'm giving away my … Continue reading Book Reviews and Giveaway!
Welcome to the March 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Day in the Life This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have given us a special glimpse into their everyday. *** There are three main things I do … Continue reading A Day as Mama and Data Manager
This is a guest post by Nicholas Efran, nine-year-old son of 'Becca and Daniel. He wrote this article for the June 2014 issue of the Colfax Communicator, his school's newsletter. (Mr. Sikorski is the principal.) We hope it inspires other kids to start recycling things that are getting thrown away in their schools! Three third-graders … Continue reading Recycling Used-Up Pens and Markers
We aren't sports fans in our family. Exercise is good, but we're not much interested in playing sports and even less interested in watching sports. But we live in Pittsburgh, a city with three professional sports teams that are a major focus of the local culture. We can't help noticing when one of the teams … Continue reading Saving Money on Sports Fan Gear
The United States Postal Service has had a rough time in recent years. "Snail mail" just seems so slow, now that we can do a lot of things online. FedEx and UPS have made their services more convenient to use, so a lot of people no longer choose the post office as their method of … Continue reading A Positive Experience at the Post Office