A few years ago, some people from Alumni Relations invited me out to lunch so they could ask for my perspective (about 20 years after graduation) on what my Carnegie Mellon education has meant to me. I was flattered, and it was such an interesting question to consider that I've thought about it many times … Continue reading What I Really Learned in College
My brother got me two books about cities for my birthday--one fiction and one nonfiction, both great books with great covers! Here they are, along with reviews of the other books I've read recently. Walkable City by Jeff Speck I love living in a walkable urban neighborhood! This book by a city planner told me a … Continue reading Walkable City, Visible City, and 4 more book reviews
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
Years ago, Daniel and I made friends with this guy named Vinnie who lived in one of the apartments over the garages behind the cluster of rowhouses where we were living at the time. His apartment was small and shabby, but he'd chosen it because it had a large yard, and he loved gardening. In … Continue reading That Time I Bought Ladybugs by Mail
I'm writing a 3-part series on composting over at Kitchen Stewardship; here's how to get started with my composting system using 3 ordinary flowerpots, and I also mention two FREE composting systems my family members have used. Here, I'm explaining my general approach to the garden I nourish with my compost. The idea and the … Continue reading Darwinian Gardening
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
This is a story I've been wanting to tell since it happened, but it almost doesn't sound real. This really did happen, though, and it was an important encouragement just when I needed one, and now I'm at a point where I really need encouragement again. I'm kind of writing this for myself to read, … Continue reading EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT.
I worked with crime data for 17 years, and occasionally someone would say, "Gosh, that must make you so worried about your safety!" No. It didn't. It had exactly the opposite effect. There are four patterns I saw, over and over again, that made me feel safer: Crime rates in Pittsburgh and in the United … Continue reading America is SAFER now than it used to be.
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
Lydia is eleven months old. Yesterday, we spent some time enjoying the beautiful spring weather in our small front yard. Lydia studied the flowers. She picked up dead leaves (functioning as mulch) and examined their lacy skeletons. She gleefully wiggled her arms amid the arching green leaves of the daylilies coming up between our sidewalk … Continue reading Baby’s First Traffic Safety Lesson
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
It's a real holiday! It's today, January 21st. Keep an eye out for squirrels as you go about your day, and appreciate their resourcefulness, climbing ability, and cuteness. (Photos are from http://squirrelworld.lincatz.com , a site for squirrel appreciators.) I live in a solidly urban area of a major city, but even so, the neighborhood where … Continue reading Squirrel Appreciation Day
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
Here's what we did when we saw a bunch of ripe apples dropping into a neglected parking lot near our home.
Three years after I explained how I survive everyday life without a cell phone, I'm still doing fine without one. I recently took a three-day vacation by myself, and as I often do when traveling alone, I borrowed my partner Daniel's cell phone for the trip. However, I found that none of the times I … Continue reading 6 Unnecessary Types of Cell Phone Call
If you have any opinions at all about the appropriate methods of disciplining children, and if you are ever anywhere near any families with different opinions, someday you will find yourself in this situation: Your child sees another parent respond to a child's behavior in a way that your child recognizes as different, which may … Continue reading What to Do When Your Child Witnesses Bad Discipline
I used to wear makeup. From age 12 to 16, I added more types of makeup to my daily routine each year, and I went through that daily routine even if I wasn't planning to leave the house. I continued for a while into college before I realized that the insanely stressful life I was … Continue reading I don’t wear makeup.
Warm weather is here, and I'm looking forward to summer! We won't be taking any big vacations; most weekdays, I'll be going to work in my office as usual, and our seven-year-old Nicholas will be attending art and natural history day camps at the Carnegie Museum while his dad works from home. I take a … Continue reading Public Transit and Summer Fun (Plus tips on vacationing in Pittsburgh!)
[UPDATE: Port Authority Transit now offers annual, monthly, and weekly passes or cash debit on the ConnectCard, which you can refill online. It's even more convenient than the paper passes were! Also, we no longer have zones; all trips are the same price.] In my purse is a 2"x3" piece of paper that is worth … Continue reading The Beauty of a Bus Pass
I have been a fan of passiveaggressivenotes.com for some time now. It's one of those sites that perfectly utilizes the Internet's awesome power to collect silly things seen around the world. It almost always can make me laugh in that wonderfully sudden way that really dispels stress. Last summer, I saw a note posted there … Continue reading How a silly Website brought me a great book