A little late for Earth Day, I'm linking to this wonderful video that has entertained and motivated me many times since I first saw it when I was five years old. I can't say that it was this singing Earth who first inspired me to care about the environment. My parents set a pretty good … Continue reading The Singing Earth
I have a very good memory for details. The best I can explain it is that I retain a lot of details from my experiences and reading, and they are connected to one another in a massive and complex web that I nonetheless find very easy to follow, moving along from one irrelevant-sounding detail to … Continue reading It’s like we’re related or something.
Happy Walk to School Day! My son and I walked to his school this morning, and his father will walk him home this afternoon. He's in first grade. Sometime during his years at this K-8 school, he'll begin walking by himself, but for now I am enjoying the walk and the time with him. We … Continue reading Walking to School
Although I am discussing my work here, the point of view is my own, and this is not an official statement of the Pittsburgh Youth Study. As the data manager of a long-term research study, I recently helped to write this academic paper: Bullying Perpetration and Victimization as Predictors of Delinquency and Depression in the … Continue reading Bullying: an article I wrote, and three I don’t have to write
I grew up in Oklahoma, visiting my grandparents in New York City every summer from age 6 to 14. Then my grandma died, and my grandpa began spending most of his time in Arizona. I had two more brief visits in New York before he sold the house when I was 17. I had thought … Continue reading 7 Quick Takes on visiting New York City again after 21 years
One day, when our son Nicholas was two-and-a-half years old, Daniel and I were talking about how we would do the Star Wars prequels better (a frequent topic of discussion) and I envisioned a scene in which someone is climbing a high, steep cliff by climbing the ivy growing on it, but as dusk falls … Continue reading A Nonviolent Strategy for Action Heroes
One reason I'm glad I did so much writing about my early motherhood experiences is that, just a few years later, I've forgotten some of the stages my child passed through, the stages that seemed to be lasting forever yet vanished very quickly. Here's something I posted on a discussion board when he had just … Continue reading Mama, you happy?
I am a liberal Episcopalian now, and I was raised Unitarian in small-town Oklahoma, so I've never felt like part of the mainstream of what's called Christian in America. I've seen a lot of "Christian" media productions that were painfully hokey, heavy-handedly moralistic, hateful, and/or boring. I never in a million years expected that I … Continue reading Christian Children’s Television
UPDATE February 1, 2012: For the past two years, this has been an article like my links page where I keep adding content as I get around to it. Now I'm going to call it finished! Of course, I expect to read additional mind-blowing books during my visit to Earth, but this list now includes … Continue reading Books That Blew My Mind
This technique is suitable for any floor that has either a drain or an open side where water can spill onto the ground. I learned the cleaning technique at Girl Scout camp, and years later I realized its wonderful compatibility with those "still very soapy on the inside but with not enough soap to pour" … Continue reading How to Clean a Basement or Porch Floor AND Use Up the Last Dregs of Liquid Laundry Detergent
The following items appeared in the "Crime & Incident Report" column of my university's newspaper, mostly during my time as a student there--the last one is from my brief stint working there. It was an interesting campus environment . . . and whoever compiled these reports had a knack for writing them with just the … Continue reading Excerpts from the Crime & Incident Report
Overall, I was a pretty sensible teenager, and there aren't a lot of things I roll my eyes about when I think back on my adolescence. However, the other day I saw a television commercial to which I would have reacted very differently 20 years ago. The ad: Here's a new soda pop! It is … Continue reading The Difference Between 16 and 36
I wanted to be an architect. From the moment I first learned what architects do, when I was about ten years old, I knew that's what I wanted to be: a person who designs buildings that make people comfortable and happy. Right away, I started reading architecture books and magazines. I was fascinated by floorplans … Continue reading The Path at the End of the Road
I have a home-improvement book that poses an important, well-worded question in its section on one-room apartments: "Do you want to sleep in your living room or live in your bedroom?" In other words, do you want your one room to look and function primarily like a daytime living room but also have a place to sleep, or do … Continue reading The Guest Nest that was the Best Nest
Last spring, I was surprised to learn that I am famous for something that happened 16 years ago. That's what happens when you get mixed up with the KGB, I guess: Your exploits come back to haunt you. I'd had no idea that anyone was still talking about Operation Confuse-a-Bagger, much less that Shawn Knight's retelling of the legend … Continue reading Operation Confuse-a-Bagger
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
My mother just read my article on shyness and suggested a couple of additions. One is an anecdote I'd never heard before: At the last parent/teacher meeting of each elementary school year, your teachers confided how pleased they were that "Rebecca has finally started to come out of her shell." Every year. They were so … Continue reading More about shyness
A tale of my childhood, retold in celebration of Mother's Day. When I was in first grade, my mother became annoyed that she kept finding my shoes in the middle of the floor in various public rooms of the house. At first, she dealt with this the way most parents--trying to teach orderly living skills and … Continue reading How the Cabana Bench Got Its Name
Last winter, one of my Girl Scouts was singing this parody of the Dreidel song traditionally sung on Hanukkah: Bagel! Bagel! Bagel! I made it out of snow. I baked it in the oven. Where did my bagel go? My family found this song hilarious and sang it over and over again. Within a couple … Continue reading Bagel! Bagel! Bagel!
I was a shy child. I liked to be around people and was very interested in them, but for some reason I found it difficult to talk to unfamiliar people or even to feel that they were looking at me, and I was nervous that I might do something "wrong" that would make people yell at or laugh … Continue reading Breaking the shell of shyness