My paternal grandmother would be 100 years old today, if she were still alive. She died in July 1991, when I was 18. Her name was Janette, so we grandchildren called her Janmother. Janmother was an outstanding high school student but never went to college. She married just after turning 20, and at times she … Continue reading My grandmother got a few things done.
Today is my son's last day of kindergarten! This has been his first year in public school, and we are very pleased with our neighborhood public school, Pittsburgh Colfax. It's a great example of how an urban school can thrive when faculty encourage parent involvement. On "Take Your Special Person to School Day" last month, … Continue reading Our Neighborhood Public School Works for Us!
In my family, Christmas stockings are not just for children! Everybody has a stocking, and we play Santa to each other by stuffing the stockings with little treats when nobody's looking. It's no fair to peek into your stocking before Christmas morning--when we open stocking gifts first thing, before breakfast or even coffee! For the … Continue reading Practical Stocking Stuffers
A year or so ago, my church's assistant pastor began a sermon by saying, "You may never have really noticed our stained-glass windows." My jaw dropped. How could anyone not notice our stained-glass windows?! They're beautiful! They're very colorful, they depict a variety of Biblical characters and saints and symbols from obvious to obscure, and … Continue reading The Bluest Blue
Learning about the history of clothing fashions is an activity I've done with Girl Scouts several times. It's part of the Art to Wear Try-It and badge, Listening to the Past Try-It, and probably a few others. It's always been fascinating. Clothing is so intimately a part of our daily lives that thinking about what people like ourselves wore … Continue reading Learning from Old Clothes
These two games have been enjoyed by little children in my family for at least three generations. They worked for me when I was little, they've been favorites of my four-year-old son since he was about nine months old, and I look forward to trying them on his younger cousins this Thanksgiving! These are the … Continue reading Knee-bouncing Games
I'm a research data manager: I spend my days working on various levels of the process of converting people's responses to questions into numbers in the computer. It's not the career I expected, and it's not a career most people immediately understand (the scene at my high school reunion: "So Jason is a police officer, … Continue reading Early Encounters with Variables
Nicholas loves stuff. He's constantly collecting things that he wants to keep. I get frustrated with how little he uses most of this stuff and how much it's underfoot or visually cluttering our house. But last night I noticed a little box of his treasures that he'd left on the dining table before going to … Continue reading A Four-year-old’s Treasures
My article on why we didn't circumcise our son mentioned that when my partner Daniel learned more about circumcision, he felt "that he was mutilated without his consent simply because of tradition and ignorance" and was so upset that "he wouldn't speak to his parents because he feared he would yell at them." As I tried … Continue reading Circumcision: The Earlier Generation
Here's one of my secrets to financial solvency: I started my adult life with some money in the bank. Now, what kind of a tip is that?! Having money is not something a person can just decide to do! I'm just lucky! Well, yes, this isn't a money-management tip you can apply when you're already … Continue reading Starting with Something
When you hold a styrofoam plate, you hold eternity in your hand. Plants and animals died millions of years ago and slowly turned into oil. Dozens of machines and probably a hundred people worked to find that oil deposit, bring the oil to the surface, transport it, refine it into polystyrene, produce that foam plate, package … Continue reading Eternity in Your Hand
It's Works-for-Me Wednesday, so here's the system by which Daniel and I have furnished our home: When there's a piece of furniture you'd like to have, Wait for it to come along. When you can wait no longer, See what you can scrounge from what other people are discarding. Go to yard sales. Go to … Continue reading The Five-Part Furniture-Finding Plan
My neighborhood has a large Jewish population, and every so often a person will approach me in public and say, "Excuse me, are you Jewish?" I always say no. Sometimes this earns me a Good Card, the version for non-Jews. Most times it results in the person leaving me alone--he was looking for a Jewish … Continue reading Excuse me, are you Jewish?
A few years ago, my mom and I saw a toddler having a tantrum about leaving an outdoor tourist attraction at closing time. She wanted to walk--NO she wanted to be carried--NO she wanted to ride in the wagon--NO she wanted to shriek and thrash in the gravel!!! This went on and on and on … Continue reading Show. No. Fear.
In the late 1970s, my mother was advocating ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and one of her organizations decided to make the editorial below part of the program they presented to other women's groups. It is adapted from an editorial in a suffragist newspaper published in Garnett, Kansas, in the era when women were fighting for … Continue reading Thirty Reasons Why Women Should Have the Vote
I always knew I would use cloth diapers on my baby. My parents and most of my extended family had, so I was used to the idea and saw it as a sensible choice financially and environmentally. Also, I had babysat for disposable-diapered babies and found their diapers hard to tolerate aesthetically; they just feel so … Continue reading Cloth Diapers
One day in August, Nicholas and I were walking past a pile of trash set at the curb in front of an apartment building when I noticed a huge anthology of "Peanuts" comics, clean and hardly used, on top of the pile. I immediately grabbed it to take home. Nicholas (age two-and-a-half) was very interested in … Continue reading New Realms of Reading