the maternal is political

Check out THIS COOL BOOK I am going to be a part of (along with some amazing writers I admire a great deal, as well as Cindy Sheehan.)


My sister, with whom I am very close and who lives in my neighborhood, is also pregnant :-)

She's due the same week I am.

The bad news: she may not be able to be my doula, as she has in my past births

The good news: since we can nurse one another's babies, we will be able to babysit more easily



WHen I was pregnant with Elliot, nine years ago, I was incredibly sick to my stomach for the first half of the pregnancy. At various points, I could barely get up off the couch. It was awful. NOTHING helped.

I am really nervous that this will happen to me again. I've been feeling slug-like, lazy, sleepy, woozy and nauseated all day and I am paranoid that it's the dreaded nausea. It would be really inconvenient if that happened this time because now, I have a job that requires me to get off the couch 40-50 hours a week (I was freelancing full time when I was pregnant with E, so I could do 99% of my work from home). On the other hand, I no longer have very young children like I did when I was pregnant with E., so in that way, it would be easier. It's really hard to chase a toddler when you are that sick.

I never had morning sickness with Jane and Henry, so let's hope I am spared this time.

And the pregnancy symptom I've had in all 3 previous pregnancies - and which my OB told me he had never seen such a severe case except in textbooks - was ptyalism.

Google it.

Suffice it to say that it isn't pleasant ;-)

MSNBC: sadaam hussein to be executed within the hour

The idea of executing someone by hanging - anyone- makes me sick. Human beings should not behave this way, no matter how evil the person in question may be.

Revenge gets you nowhere. It solves nothing and prevents nothing. It doesn't make up for any previous losses. True, thoughtful, government-led justice shouldn't involve violent revenge.

SH should be locked up for the rest of his life. Hanging is barbaric.

jingle the ferret

Growing up, my parents let us have just about any pet we wanted. We had rats, hamsters, bunnies, horses, pigs, cows, dogs, cats, and the occasional baby squirrel or owl.

I've had the same philosophy with my kids and we've had lots of pets. I did dog rescue for several years, so we had lots of puppies and young dogs going through the house. I had three large parrots at one time, but had to find new homes for them when I got divorced. We've also had bunnies and goldfish and hamsters and rats. Rats are AWESOME pets, by the way.

Right now we have two dogs, two cats and Bob the python.

I had never really known anyone with a ferret until I met "Weasel," my friend SPK's ferret. Weasel was adorable and hilarious, but I still didn't really know much about having ferrets as pets. They seemed pretty high maintenance.

When Jane mentioned she either wanted a ferret or kitten for Christmas, I mentioned it to Jon, expecting him to say hell no to a weasel in the house. To my surprise, he said he looooves ferrets, having done some ferret-sitting for a friend in years past.

So Santa brought Jane a baby ferret, whom she has named "Jingle."


Jingle has now lived with us for a few days and I have to say that he is awesome. He's certainly the most entertaining critter I've ever had living in the house. I can't tell you how funny it is to watch a ferret hop and shimmy around the room. He's just hilarious. He's obsessed with Christmas ornaments and feet. You really have to watch your toes or he will "attack" them.

He's very gentle and never bites. And he's extremely outgoing.

As it turns out, ferrets are not that high maintenance. They do need a big cage and plenty of play time out of the cage, but they also sleep a whole lot. They are quiet and exceptionally clean. Jingle is already totally litter trained. The litter box is in his cage and he never goes anywhere else. You just clean his litter box once a day, like with a cat. No biggie. He's already neutered, but we need to take him to get his shots in the next few weeks.

I don't thnk a ferret would be a great pet for a very small child, because they aren't inclined to quietly snuggle in your lap. They want to play all over your body instead. But for older kids, or people wanting a pet that's something like a cross between a dog and a cat, ferrets seems a great choice.

current listening

Love, love this record. Put it on my top 10 of the year list.



Earlier today I had my blood drawn at my doc's office. They've been taking my HCG every few days to make sure it's rising as it should. Today it was up a lot - very good news. As I was getting off the phone with the nurse when she gave me the results, the nurse said something about high numbers maybe meaning twins.


After lunch I decided to call the office again to get some further info on this offhand comment by the nurse. I talked to one of the nurse-practitioners, who explained that my age (39), combined with the high HCG # suggests a possibility of twins. I won't know more 'til I have an ultrasound on the 11th.

Apparently, high HCG is more common with twins, though not strictly predictive.

mother uprising

This is an interesting article on the CURRENT C-SECTION EPIDEMIC.

I am far more frightened of a c-section than of pain from birth.



Lots of my friends have had homebirths. I considered one for my last birth, but couldn't find a midwife I liked.

This time, I know that if I have no risk factors that require a hospital birth (and I don't anticipate any), I don't want to have my baby in a hospital. This I am sure of. Of course, if we discover I will need to give birth in the hospital, so be it. But I doubt that I will.

So that leaves us with the freestanding birth center and a homebirth. I would like to meet the midwives who are now doing homebirths around Knoxville these days so Jon and I can consider this option. I am already well-versed in the big-picture SAFETY STATS for homebirth, which are excellent. We live only a few blocks from my hospital of choice, so that's not an issue. The main thing in deciding will be whether Jon can become comfortable with the idea and whether we are able to find a midwife with whom we really click.

Have you had a homebirth? Tell me about it below :-)

on james brown

My friend S. was trying to explain to his parents about the significance of the passing of the Godfather of Soul:

S. to parents:"There was rhythm before James Brown, and there was rhythm after James Brown, but the last 40 years of music literally just wouldn't have existed without James Brown."

S's mother in response: "Well...your father and I...we're not really very excited by rhythm."


First notable pregnancy symptom: I am so, so sleepy. I need a nap right now. I need a lot of naps.

I do not get them.

excellent christmas present

I am pregnant :-)

Being followed a bit more closely this time. So far, everything looks excellent, and no problems are anticipated.

I feel great and we are very happy!


Sometimes it's really hard TO KNOW WHAT TO DO

current reading


I have been lucky enough to marry into a lovely, kind, close knit family. Whatever shock they might have felt at their son announcing he was marrying someone with three children has been well-masked. They have been unfailingly kind and gracious and welcoming to me from day one, and have included the children in their family in every possible way. Elliot in particular seems to be enjoying getting an extra set of "grandparents," and they have just spoiled the children a lot this Christmas. I also really like Jon's bro and sis in law who live in Mississippi. I wish they lived closer so we could hang out more.


rockstar baby

Check out THIS BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GUY. His parents lost a baby at birth last year and then had a miscarriage, so this si extra wonderful for them. Go offer your congrats.

the top british baby names of 2006

The Brits just HAVE BETTER TASTE than we do.

i dig dinos

Right now, Elliot is sitting in the middle of the dining room floor banging away on a large block of sand with a small metal hammer and pick. The block of sand is slowly collapsing and sand is flying everywhere. Apparently, he will eventualy unearth a dinosaur of some sort entombed in the sand. At least, that's what the box says:

Thanks Uncle Robert and Aunt Nicole. YOu officially win the contest for having given the messiest, loudest toy of this Christmas season. Don't worry though, next year I am pretty sure Jones will need a new POWER DRILL or perhaps a giant ANT FARM.



My family also keeps up with my doings VIA MY BLOG.

what are the hottest baby names of the moment?

Laura, the wizard statistician/pop culture anthropologist at the Baby Name Wizard has a discussion on her blog right now about HOTTEST BABY NAMES OF THE MOMENT.

Looks to me like they are:

Any boy name ending in "aden" (Caden, Brayden, Aiden, Jaden, etc)

elliot's creepy animatronic monkey head


henry helps elliot with digeridoo


jane named her baby ferret, "jingle"


henry plays the christmas didgeridoo


henry & max

Henry & Max jamming Christmas night. Henry on his newest guitar.

(Posted with the boys' permission)

best. christmas. ever.

Happy, appreciative children who loved their gifts. Everyone in an excellent mood. Cousins to play with. Friends stopping by. Good food. Sweetest, most amazingly thoughtful husband on the planet. A house that was made to be decorated for the holidays.

Life is good.

christmas o6 007



My children will be home from their father's in one-half hour. I can't wait! I haven't seen them in days.

Santa came last night. Everything is waiting for the kids, just as if they were coming down the stairs first thing in the morning instead of bursting through the door mid-afternoon.

Their stockings are full and hung on the mantel, and the dining room is full of Santa gifts. It appears that Santa brought Jane a baby ferret (by the way, I have been playing with the ferret this morning and may I simply say that baby ferrets are so cute and funny to watch that they look like made up creatures rather than real ones?). She also got the Vera Bradley purse she's been lusting after, a digi-makeover thingy, several new Breyer horses, a new scooter and some other cool stuff.

Elliot's Santa loot this year appears to be all about monkeys and guns. Let me explain: he's really interested in chimpanzees, so Santa brought him several animatronic monkeys, plus a couple of books by/about Jane Goodall. He's also really into Civil War history, so Santa brought him a very nice re-enactment-quality Enfield musketoon. It weighs as much as he does (this is a non firing model, by the way) and cap guns. He also got a drum like the ones drummer boys carried in the Civil War.

Henry has nice, new camping gear (internal frame pack and sleeping bag) and a new coffee maker and coffee grinder (no one else in the house is a coffee drinker). He also seems to have received a didgeridoo and a nice Boss electric tuner for his guitar(s), plus some clothes and a small library of books on the history of the Grateful Dead. Oh yes, and some really cool Grateful Dead posters for his room.

There are also all the wrapped presents from relatives piled under the tree to be unwrapped together after we sort thru everything from Saint Nick.

Earlier, Jon and I went over to my sister's house to see my niece and nephew's gifts, and I got to try out my sister's gift from my brother in law. It's this thing:

Let me simply say that I am lusting in my heart for this thing. My whole family has a foot rub fetish; we all LOOOOOVE getting our feet and legs rubbed. This thing is unbelievable. I am seriously jealous.

Jon and I only got one another small gifts this year because we are buying a new bed.

christmas insomnia

It's 5:30 am and I've been up since 3:30 am, unable to sleep. I tried a warm bath, but finally gave up and came in to the living room to watch TV. It looks like Santa came while were sleeping ;-)

I can't wait for the children to come home this afternoon and see what Santa hath wrought.

I'm wondering why I am suffering insomnia. I think it's probably because it's Christmas morning and even though the children aren't in the house, waiting excitedly to hop out of bed at the crack of dawn (or before), I feel like being up earlyearlyearly.

It's rather cozy, with the tree lighted and Moses the cat asleep next to me.

open adoption

Congrats to my FRIEND DAWN, whose wonderful story on her own open adoption was chosen as ONE OF THE BEST STORIES of the year by the editors of



I tried to budget for Christmas this year. I started planning months in advance. I shopped over time. I took on one freelance job in particular to specifically pay for Christmas. Still, as we finished up last minute items in the past 48 hours, I found myself going way over my budget.

I'll cut back elsewhere to make it up and this year, I can make it all work. It feels wonderful to be able to provide the kind of Christmas I want for my children this year.

Last year was different, I was craaaaazy broke. I was still paying off my lawyer from the divorce, plus a freelance job that was supposed to pay for Christmas didn't come thru at the last minute. I was shopping with my last pennies - literally - the days before Christmas, depressed at my inability to do all that I wanted for the children. I was so broke that when they left late Christmas Day to spend the next week with their father, I spent the rest of the week living by myself on ramen noodles and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. It was depressing. I missed the kids, and I was really hurt about the way a relationship had just ended. And since I no longer had a significant other in my life, I didn't get much in the way of Christmas gifts myself, which only added to my maudlin self pity.

Being broke and sort of alone at Christmas really, really sucks. And I know that even at my low point last year, I had a pleasant little house, a good job, and lots of people who loved me, but I still felt really, really low last year.

This year is better. Way better :-) I can't believe how much things have changed. ANd I will never, ever take any of it for granted.

So if you know someone who is sort of alone this year at Christmas, why not play Santa and drop off a surprise gift in the night on their porch. Or something. You have no idea how much they will appreciate it. Single parents can especially use this boost.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!





Gee, this is a weird book cover.

It's real, by the way.


baby name snark

I just love it when the wickedly funny posters at Bad Baby Names get worked up over SOMEONE'S VOLUNTARILY OFFERED-UP LIST of potential names for offspring.



My children are with their father from December 18 until 3pm on Christmas Day and I have to say, I miss them so much, it's physically painful.

It's unnatural to be separated from your children the week before Christmas and Christmas Eve and Christmas morning (their father and I trade years, so next year, I will have them before Christmas and he will have them the week after.)

I say this every year at this time: divorce sucks in a whole lot of ways that really can't be ameliorated no matter how many positives come out of the split. I am sure their father feels the same way on the years the kids are with me during the run-up to Christmas.


2006 in Photos

cycle savvy - by toni weschler

When I started my period for the first time, I was too embarrassed to tell anyone.

That's how little discussion of my body and puberty had taken place in our household before I turned 13.

In contrast, my sister and I have tried to make discussions about our bodies and our daughters' changing bodies an organic part of our lives. I never want to have "the talk" with my daughter; instead, we've been talking about my body, her body, and women's health in general since she was old enough to, well, talk.

Now she's in middle school and we're talking more than ever. This new book from Toni Weschler will make a great adjunct to our discussions. It's a girl-version of Weschler's famous "Taking Charge of Your Fertility," book, which taught me more about the way my body works than any other book, doctor, website or conversation ever had before.

I highly recommend Toni's new book for girls and their mothers.

I will add the caveat that it does deal fairl explicitly with sex, not just how our bodies work, so it's not a book you are going to want to hand to your 11 year old as her super-basic "what to expect" guide as she heads into early puberty.

This is a book best suited to girls 13 and older (it says it's for teens on the cover). And mothers should check out Toni Weschler's book for adults - newly revised, by the way -- at the same time as or before giving "Cycle Savvy" to their daughters.

Together, you'll learn a lot about your bodies - things you likely never knew before.

This would be a great holiday gift for the teenage girl in your life.


i would seriously have to kick this teacher's ass


the manly art of breastfeeding

Ever wondered what a new father can do to help a new mama who is trying to learn to nurse that squirmy, fussy newborn?


this is the year that was

This is the time of year that encourages me to take a look back at the previous 12 months and see how things have gone. I have to say that 2006 was by far the best year I have had in many years. I met Jon, we fell in love, we married, we created a new family together, we bought our amazing house which I love, I sold my previous house which I also loved.

There were also many changes and joys and some sadness in our family. My nephew Nicholas was born, and my grandfather died. Bill came home from the war. H. started high school and J. started middle school.

The years between 2002 and 2004 were ones of HUGE upheaval and change for me.





If you had asked me at Christmas time of 2001, I NEVER would have predicted what was to come in the next years: My little cousin WARD died, which was certainly the most terrible tragedy I have ever or probably will ever experience. I separated from my husband of 13 years. The children and I moved four times after leaving the house we had lived in their whole lives and which we lived. I went through a horrible divorce. I learned to painfully accept the fact that my children now spend a large part of their time away from me, with their father, since we no longer live together. I started working full time outside the home. I fell in love for the first time after my divorce, and had my heart broken.

And now here I am on the other side. The dust has settled and my new life has finally taken shape. I still carry all the scars from the painful experiences of the past few years, and I will always grieve the losses, but I have a new life that is wonderful and happy and blessed. We are all healthy and together, and we have Jon.

Stay tuned for 2007. I can reliably predict happy news soon. And I know there will be unexpected sadness too, because life's like that.

zygote daddy

This guy is a brand new father and he's VERY ENTERTAINING. Be sure to read back through the pregnancy archives.

A sample:

pregnancy among the oversexed and fearful

Two days to d.w.'s due date, and no baby yet. I thought last weekend's full moon might do it, but no dice. Today it's off to the midwife, followed by Indian food, as hot as d.w. can stand...we'll see what happens.


It's a funny thing being around a pregnant woman in a college town. Wherever d.w. goes, students openly stare, horrified, their remaining years of binge drinking and casual sex flashing before their eyes. At first it was amusing, the two of us a walking pro-abstinence education exhibit. I could almost hear the tragically repressed narrator: "See, all ye harlots and sinners? This will happen to you if you engage in the evils of fornication! Repent!"

j. unwraps


there is no way to adequately convey the depths of e's love for his new monkey pillow


h. checks out his gnomish doppelganger


eleanor reads her uncle louie letter


e. reads christmas letter from uncle louie


i am an insane christmas zombiegrrl



purple dress

I absolutely LOVE THIS DRESS.

(Kelly's, not Sharon's)


my picks for best records and concerts of 2006


nestle selling defective infant formula

From: INFACT Canada []
Sent: Friday, December 15, 2006 5:04 PM
Subject: Nestle selling defective formula

December 15, 2006

Nestlé selling defective formula

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned Nestlé after its Good
Start with Iron formula was found to contain inadequate levels of nutrients.
A sample collected in May contained insufficient amounts of calcium and
phosphorus, which were also at levels lower than those listed on the tin’s
label. The FDA required amount of calcium is 60 milligrams per 100
kilocalories, and Nestlé’s product label claimed 64 milligrams. FDA tests
revealed the actual amount was between 58.2 and 58.6 milligrams.

The agency has posted a notice on its website about the defective formula,
but it has not been recalled. It is unclear why it took nearly seven months
for the results of a sample collected in May, and it is unkown how many
infants have been fed the nutritionally inadequate baby food.

Product errors in Nestlé’s infant formula are not infrequent. At the end of
last year, millions of Nestlé formula was pulled off the shelves in Europe
when it was found they were contaminated with ink. Months earlier Chinese
authorities had discovered that Nestlé formula in that country contained
dangerously high amounts of iodine.

The errors endemic to the process of formula manufacturing are one reason
why breastfeeding is the healthiest method of infant feeding. The
composition of breastmilk is always right, and changes to suit babies’ needs
as they grow. To minimize the health effects of these frequent product
errors, Nestlé should abide by the International Code of Marketing of
Breastmilk Substitutes


can we talk?

Hi there -

I am working on my new book, which will be published by SOFT SKULL PRESS in 2007.

It's a book about parenting, although most definitely NOT a parenting "how-to" book. It's called "Let Them Run With Scissors," and it's about "over-parenting," and how it's bad for kids and families. (Just to be clear, I don't really advocate anyone running with any pointy, sharp objects. The title is satirical ;-)

I am going to be interviewing parents from all over the country as I write. So if you are a parent of a child of any age - birth to college age - and you would be willing to let me ask you some questions about how you parent, please e-mail me at:

scissorsbook - at -

Just drop a note letting me know how old your kid(s) are and what area of the country you live in.

And please pass this message along to any and all parents you know who might be willing to let me interview them.


Katie Allison Granju
Author of "Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child" (Simon and Schuster)


parenting a teenager

I am the mother of an incredibly bright, loving, funny, sweet, kind and may I just say, handsome teenage boy.

He's a high school freshman.

And he's one of the most complicated people I know. He always has been.

I have always tried to parent with a lot of respect for my children as real people, while still giving enough guidance and leadership. I want to be empathetic and always, always, their biggest fans. But I never want to be that parent who is more of a pal than an adult. It's a hard balance and sometimes I don't get it right.

Recently, I found myself slipping into a very punitive, authoritarian approach with my son. It felt really false and wrong, and it wasn't getting much in the way of results I wanted, either. We were yelling more than talking.

I realized that this kind of parenting - this very bossy, directive, punitive approach - was really more about me feeling unable to control this almost-adult person. It was about my own fear of letting go, even as he makes the inevitable mistakes he is going to make.

As a parent, it really is hard to find the middle way sometimes. I want to stay focused more on the end goal - turning out a Good Man, who is honest and productive and emotionally healthy - than on the day to day issues and worries that crop up.

But it really is scary to let go. And yes, he is going to make some mistakes.


your favorite holiday cocktails?

Jon and I are having a partay Saturday night (if you would like to come, e-mail me) and I'd like to try some new, yummy drink recipes. Sure, I'll have the standard eggnog (adult and child versions) and hot cider and some white wine for the unadventuresome, but I am looking for some fun and yummy hoilday cocktail recipes to serve a good-sized crowd - stuff I might not have tried before.

If you have any grand ideas, please comment below.


Your Hostess

michael crichton

Whoa, who knew this guy was SUCH A SCARY JERK?!!

thanks britney and lindsay

No, no, silly blogreaders, not THAT BRITNEY AND LINDSAY.

rock your face off

This weekend I hope to see TWO good rockandtheroll shows whilst my kidlets are away with their father.

On Friday night METRO PULSE is hosting a FREE show at Blue Cat's featuring The Clintons and TODD STEED AND THE SONS OF PHERE.

On Saturday night, I am hoping Jon and I still have enough energy after our cocktails and cookies holiday open house we are hosting to head over to my beloved Corner Lounge to see Gray rock everyone's faces off (he promised) with the WESTSIDE DAREDEVILS.

Now THIS is Christmas joy.

immigration raid horror

You know all those people arrested in immigration raids at worksites earlier this week and shipped to Camp Dodge in Iowa? Well, those people had children - some of them nursing babies - LEFT BEHIND with caregivers while they were at work that day. Now the U.S. government won't tell the caregivers anything about the status of the parents taken in the raid, and the children are separated from their parents.

home births encouraged in UK

Wales LEADS THE WAY in UK's home birth stats.

parenting, together

Before Jon and I got married, I will admit that I was a little nervous about how the whole parenting together thing would go. I didn't have much experience with it and I'd gotten sort of set in my ways about how I do things with the kids as a single mother.

I knew Jon and I had sympatico parenting philosphies (or we wouldn't have gotten married), and I knew the children liked him and he liked them, but I just wasn't sure how it would all work in practice. I worried that the kids would feel like he was intruding, or that he would feel like the four of us were just too much to deal with at one time on a daily basis. And I worried I would feel caught in the middle.

Happily, my fears were unfounded. THis parenting as a team thing is really great. Jon has my back. It's soooo much easier with someone to help. I have a very demanding job and on days when I run late or something, Jon happily takes up the slack. We can tag team at home. Tonight while I helped Elliot with one thing, Jane sought out Jon to hear her practice her school presentation (side note: she interviewed kids with divorced parents about how to handle having a family different from their friends. She asked Elliot what his words of wisdom on the subject were and his replied "Take it like a man." ;-) ).

And seeing the kids and Jon grow closer and begin to develop their own unique relationships with him is really fun to observe.

I am lucky.

thor is a star

Thor and his cat were featured ON TV TODAY.

Watch the video. It's great.


this woman


And she learned these lessons the hard way. I did too.


Yesterday when I picked E. up from school, he was whining and saying he didn't want to go do his Christmas program. I spent a little while trying to convince him it would be fun, to no avail. He just got whinier.

Finally I told him that if he really didn't want to do it, I would not force him (he wasn't playing a specific part in an actual play - just singing with chorus). He looked sort of startled by this. He thought for a few minutes and then said he figured he would go because his teacher would miss him, plus he said he would do it.

I was really proud of him for making a good decision without being forced to do it. And after he made the decision, he cheered right up and was quite jolly all evening.

And as much as I jokingly complain about annual school holiday programs, you can't help but feel happy when you see all those cute kids up there singing Christmas carols together.

I am really enjoying E. at age 8.




forecast - partly cloudy to death

THIS WEBSITE estimates I'll live to be 88 years old.

How about you?

breastfeeding mom harassed in tennessee public schools

For those who think breastfeeding women are not harassed, or that women who are harassed about nursing in public are "flaunting it" in some way, read this e-mail from a friend of mine today.

Her baby is 5 months old. She has three older children in public elementary schools in Middle Tennessee, and this is the third time she's been harassed while feeding her baby on school property:

On Wednesdays I take Ella to speech class at (School X). It's from 8-8:30 and Andrew usually watches the other kids but today he is in Chicago so I had to take William and Sarah with me. Anyway, we were waiting for Anna at the school entrance because they have chairs there and I started nursing William. He was on my left side closest to the outside door and there was no way possible anyone could see anything. I even put Sarah's jacket over me and he was hidden by the front pack. During this time I don't think any children walked through the hall.

Lady #1 comes up to me and tells me that I would be more comfortable "doing that" in her office. I said, actually I wouldn't. She said, well, there are kids that wouldn't understand what you are doing. I interrupted her and politely whispered that she probably wasn't aware of the Tennessee law that allows me to nurse in public. She immediately changed the subject and started saying how cute my kids were and tried chatting with them. She was very uncomfortable.

We pick up Ella and we start to head out the door (I am no longer nursing William) and Lady #2 comes up to me (she must have been someone important because she introduced herself in a self-important kind of way). Anyway, she then tells me that if I need to breastfeed again, I am really going to need to do it in a private office. I told her that I didn't want to be confrontational but there really is a law that allows me to breastfeed in public – this is my right. She said that schools are not like other public institutions and she needed to be concerned for the safety of the children and she could tell me never to enter the building if she wanted to …pause, pause, "but of course, I am not saying you can't come back". I said that the law is very clear and perhaps she should consult with her attorney. She said that she spoke to her superintendent and he told her that she needed to protect the children. I again said that I didn't want to argue with her but in fact, I am a lawyer and I know the law and it is quite clear and perhaps your superintendent should call the school's attorney. Even after this she persisted! She kept emphasizing the children. I finally told her that this was clearly not about the school children seeing me but about the other adults that felt uncomfortable and that really wasn't my problem. I tried to end it on a polite note but I doubt I was effective since I could feel myself rolling my eyes (I am unable to control that bad habit of mine).


'tis the season

Tonight is E's school Christmas program. Next week is J's.

I realized today that with three children, the eldest being 15 years old, I have now attended approximately 673 holiday programs.

Oh joy.


taking the noise out of my head

In an interview with Nylon, actress Michelle Williams said of recently becoming a mother at age 25:

""I always sort of imagined I would be a young mother. Kids just bring such a natural order to your life. I used to have all these questions that felt like they would never be answered. I'd agonize myself with them. You know, "What am I going to do with my time? Who will I be with? Will I wind up alone? And having Matilda, I don't plague myself anymore. I know what life is like. For the next 18 years, I'm devoted to somebody's welfare. It took all that noise out of my head."

I have often said that my children keep me centered. I am very scattered and disorganized. I was headed in a thousand different directions before I became a mother at age 23. My children give me a focus, and help me to blossom in other areas of my life. I need that centering to be productive overall. But she said this much better with, "It took all that noise out of my head."

bad santa

VERY FUNNY (in a dark sort of way, since it involves terrified children)

goodbye house

My other house closed (sold) last week. That means we no longer have two mortgages, which we had had for three months. We were getting to the point where that was going to be impossible for us to sustain much longer.

Buying the new house with Jon before selling my old house was a real gamble on our parts. It could have turned into a huge, terrible disaster, but somehow I naively had faith it would all work out. It took four months total to sell the other one and we didn't have much buyer interest in it while it was on the market. Now that the deal is closed, I realize how lucky we were. The market has been sluggish, and my house wasn't one that was going to sell overnight because as cute as it is, it's in an inner city neighborhood that is on its way "up," but still too scary for many people to consider. So I am feeling really grateful. MY REALTOR did a good job of keeping the deal moving forward when the buyer was concerned about some issues. She really brokered the deal well once it was underway.

As much as I love our new house -- it really feels like home and the kids LOVE it -- I am going to miss my little house on East Columbia. It was the first real home the kids and I had after several traumatic moves following my divorce. We really regrouped and pulled ourselves back together while living there. It had good house karma. Everyone who visited said so. By the end of our time there, H was REALLY wanting a bedroom separate from his 8 year old brother, and we seriously needed a second toilet in the house, but overall, we were very happpy there. I'll miss it.

In fact, when Jon and I decided to marry, we seriously considered adding onto and remodeling that house rather than buying a bigger house. I still think that could have been a good option, but I'm superhappy with where we landed. And going from just under 1500 sq feet with one bathroom to 3700 sq feet with 3 bathrooms has been great. I think it would have been hard for Jon to adjust to life with a new wife and three kids in a house that small with little privacy. This is better all the way around.

Speaking of Jon, he's doing some STEPFATHER BLOGGING these days.

Of course, I hate that whole "step" parent word, but whatever you want to call it, he's excelling at it. He amazes me every day. Yesterday E said, out of the blue, "Jon is the best stepfather in the whole world! I couldn't live without him."

I feel the same way.


when it comes to the american way of childbirth...'s true that SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE.

Not only do we have a c-section epidemic in this country, we also have record rates of labor induction, often for reasons of convenience rather than for true medical need.

And our infant mortality rates are still higher than 40 other countries, including many you wouldn't expect, like Slovenia.

i'm totally addicted to this site

parenting notes from the year that was 2006




jane and sydney 14


Elliot meditates on our front walkway


Go GIVE JON SOME ENCOURAGEMENT. He's about to start his review course to take the CPA exam.

getting sick

I feel like I have been sick off and on for the last 6 weeks and I am getting, well, sick of it.

You know that feeling when there's no definite symptom but you can just feel an illness coming on? That's how I feel today. I suspect the flu is headed my way or maybe just a bad cold. Damn.

I am taking a multivitamin but am adding a mega dose of vitamin C (and also the cranberry extract, thanks to suggestions by you, wise blogreaders;-)

I think the bacterial infection I had last month really knocked my immune system for a loop. Before that, I hadn't been really sick since last winter when Jane and I both got the stomach flu at the same time. I never used to get the flu, and then about six years ago, I started getting one bad bout every winter. In 2001, I got it TWICE in one season.

I am hoping that the flu is not what I feel creeping into my system today.

thor's cat

Some of you may remember hearing about my friend Dr. Neighbor's dog Thor, whom I love, but the dog has separation anxiety and thus, went berserk and DESTROYED MY DOOR while I was dogsitting last summer (Dr. Neighbor made my door look like new again afterwards).

Well, Thor is a huge, brindle dog. Theories abound as to his provenance, but my fairly educated guess is half Great Dane (because he's very tall and leggy) and half Pit Bull Terrier (because he has the head, face and eyes of a Pit Bull). Thor is the kind of dog who strikes fear into people when they look at him. He's seriously ferocious looking.

Well, Dr. Neighbor recently got scary, slightly neurotic Thor a kitten named "Modhi" (sp?). Thor immediately fell in love with this little kitten and now the pair are best friends. You have to see these THESE ADORABLE AND AMAZING PIX OF THOR AND "HIS" KITTEN. Thor likes to sleep with Modhi under one arm. Too cute. Modhi doesn't seem to mind, either.


james kim: a life well-lived

How many people are REMEMBERED THIS LOVINGLY and with such admiration after their death?
He sounds like one hell of a great person.

dreams and print-os

This morning I woke J. up and asked her, while she was still really groggy, what she had dreamed about.

"Puppies and hobos," she replied instantly and sleepily.


In other cute-things-they-say news, yesterday E. told me that there was a mistake in something he had read.

"It had a print-o, Mama," he explained.

We finally figured out that he meant a typo but I think I'll start calling these errors "print-os" because really, it's more descriptive.


Hey Leslie -- neighbor Leslie whom I haven't met in person ;-)

E-mail me, please:



the fresh prince on parenting

In THIS ARTICLE in USA Today, actor Will Smith says of the approach he and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith take to raising their three children:

""We feel that we are partners in their life, but they are responsible for their lives," Smith says. "Something we noticed in our upbringing and specifically in the black community coming out of slavery in the United States — children were dealt with in the master-slave relationship. We're trying to break the cycle of 'beat them when they do something wrong.' If you get them used to a master-slave relationship, when they leave your home, they're going to be looking for a master. We want them to be looking for partners."

The Smiths sound like really good parents.

They are also homeschooling.


tori spelling's tag sale

Tori Spelling was snapped putting up signs around her neighborhood for a YARD SALE.

This amuses me. I wonder whether I could pick up any good 90210 memorabilia?


urinary tract infections, etc

Jake, who lost his 29 year old wife to a mystery infection a few weeks ago, FINALLY HAS SOME ANSWERS about her illness.

It appears the precipitating infection was likely a urinary tract infection that turned into a kidney infection. She had mentioned to him that she might have a UTI, and he noticed after she was hospitalized that she had been Googling "pelvic tenderness."

This really made me think.

I have been prone to UTIs all my life. I had my first one, requiring hospitalization, before I was three years old. I had my most recent one while I was pregnant last month. The midwife discovered that I had a "raging" UTI about a week before I miscarried. I think it's likely that I got the infection from an unecessary catheterization I'd agreed to while having some tests run at a local hospital the week before that. (I agreed to the catheter because I was just wanting to get out of there after being there many hours). Interestingly, in the comments BELOW JAKE"S POST about finding out his wife had a UTI, someone says she believes she got a bad infection from a a catheter.

I will never know if the infection caused the miscarriage, but it certainly complicated things. I was on antibiotics for several weeks - until last week.

In general, like lots of women, I tend to ignore UTI symptoms. They rarely make you sick, unless they make you VERY sick. And Jake's loss reminds me that they are nothing to ignore and mess with. This was a good reminder for me. I tend to avoid ever going to the doctor and had really avoided even routine, commonsense check-ups for several years until my recent pregnancy.

Now I am going to get serious about making sure I get all my check-ups, and don't ignore "minor" infections, and just generally take better care of myself. I owe it to myself and to my children and husband and the rest of my family. And I really appreciate Jake sharing this information with all his readers, because it was a kick in the pants I needed to make a commitment to take better care of myself.

It also reminds me how lucky I am to have health insurance and how much more difficult it is for the millions of Americans who do not.

So I'm talking publicly here about less-than-pleasant stuff like urinary tract infections and catheters and death in hopes that maybe some of you who have been putting off getting that check-up, or going to the doctor about that nagging "little" problem will pick up the phone today and call the doctor.

Do it in B.J.'s memory.

The folks behind are launching a new online mag for parents called I'm a fan of Nerve, so I am psyched that they've asked me to write something for their launch, coming soon.

I'll let you know when the site and my piece go live.


luv doctah

I like the way THIS WOMAN THINKS (and writes).


Anyone know ho to deal with a well behaved adult cat who suddenly starts peeing on things? Like, say, ALL THE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS UNDER THE TREE?

Yes, he's neutered. Yes, we keep his litterbox clean. Yes, he's healthy.

I am becoming very irritated


bobbleheads for all!

This company will make a PERSONALIZED BOBBLEHEAD of anyone. All you do is send them a photo, and some instructions on what you want your bobblehead to wear, and voila!

A friend ordered one of these made to look like another friend and I can vouch that the bobblehead he received is pretty darn accurate. It looks exactly like the subject.


apple vs. MS in laptop???

I have to buy a new laptop. I want to spend under 1K. My priorities are:

-Small and lightweight more impt than big screen
-Good battery life
-Used for writing and editing, online surfing, storing music and photos

I do not want to use Open Office because I've had very bad luck with it, so the computer either has to come with MS Word or has to be cheap enough that I can still have enough money left over to buy it.

Also, I have never used a Mac, but most writers and graphic artists I know do. The reason I never did is because I was married to an engineer for many years and he hated anything Apple. Now I am willing to consider an Apple laptop, but I just don't know anything about them. Like, do they come with some word processing program that I can use that will work with Word if I am exchanging docs back and forth with an editor?

All thoughts welcome.


current reading

Fascinating woman.

This book has been recommended to me for years and I never read it. Recently, I finally bought it and have been engrossed in it ever since. This book should be required reading for ALL women. I now realize that I had only a very surface understanding of how my own body works. This is a great book. The author just wrote one for teenage girls that I plan to buy for my daughter soon.

my 15 year old son to me this morning

As we drive up to his school so I can drop him off for the day:

"Mom, can you please turn that down. I don't want all my friends to know my mother listens to emo music."

(We were listening to The Decemberists)


caitlin flanagan

This seems hard to believe, but feminist nemesis and lightning rod Caitlin Flanagan's much-hyped book apparently only sold 8,700 COPIES.

That's similar to the sales for K-Fed's CD.

harvey milk civil rights academy

Can you imagine being lucky enough, as this family is, to choose AMONG 70 DIFFERENT PUBLIC SCHOOLS available in their own community? Including the "Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy?"

the tree

We went to the Christmas tree stand one block from our house last night, picked out our tree and then brought it home and decorated it.

Here are all the PHOTOS OF THE EVENING

Decorating the tree is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. The cousins came to help and Dr. Neighbor stopped by. We were going to make cookies but never got to that. We all had a great time, although as you can see from the photo below, Elliot began fading at the very end and in fact, was sound asleep on the couch within 90 seconds of this photo being taken.

This was Jon's first real Christmas tree. I would never want a fake one, but that's just me. When I was a kid, my father would take us all out on our farm to find and cut down and haul back a fresh cedar tree. Cedar trees are the REAL Tennessee Christmas tree.



breastfeeding mothers to busybodies who complain: GET OVER IT!

The Sevierville Mountain Press has it ALL WRONG in a recent editorial.

In the op-ed, the writer argues that public breastfeeding is "sometimes" okay, as long as the woman feeding her baby realizes that, "Breastfeeding is one of those things that can be offensive."


What is considered "offensive" in public has changed over the years, as we have become more enlightened as a culture. Not so many decades ago, it was considered "offensive" for an obviously pregnant woman to appear in public. Only 40 or 50 years ago, mixed-race couples were deemed an offensive sight in public. At one time, the severely disabled were kept behind closed doors so the public's sesnibilities would not be offended by the sight.

Now, of course, we realize that all of these cultural prohibitions were oppressive, ridiculous, and worked against the greater public good. The same is true of today's (decreasing, thank goodness) disapproval of women nursing their babies in public.

Breastfeeding is both a parenting necessity and a public health issue. Babies who are not breastfed are more likely to become sick with illnesses AS MINOR AS COLDS, AND AS SERIOUS AS CERTAIN CANCERS.

Additionally, (although far too few American women are made aware of this, even as we are told to lose weight, exercise more, and do our monthly self exams) breastfeeding also protects adult women AGAINST CANCERS.

Recognizing the importance of making it easier, not harder for women to breastfeed their children, many states have PASSED LAWS recognizing a woman's right to nurse her child wherever she has a right to be. Perhaps the editorial writer for the Mountain Press was unaware that Tennessee is one of those states, and nowhere my state's law does it mention the need for women to be "discreet" so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of busybodies who have nothing better to do than worry whether they see a flash of skin while a baby is latching on or finishing up.

In the immortal words of Mr. T., I pity the fool who asks me to cover up or be more "discreet" in feeding my child. The problem is theirs, not mine, and the time has come for those folks to just get over it.

gonna go give my babies one last hug tonight

POOR BABY BOY (he's only four).


man, wear not these shoes

These are the THE WORST MAN SHOES EVAH Don't you agree, Betsy 1 and Betsy 2?

I mean, I don't care if it were Jude Law himself who showed up on my doorstep wearing these awful shoes, I would have to suddenly develop a bad headache and be unable to go out for the evening.


a parent's christmas morning nightmare



Back in the day (early-mid 1980s in rural Tennessee), the only videos my family owned were "Revenge of the Nerds" and "Muppets Take Manhattan." We had no cable TV - actually pretty terrible TV reception in general - and no video rental store within 25 miles, but we somehow ended up with a VHS machine and those two videos.

What to do but watch them ad nauseam? Yes, my siblings and I could quote from the original ROTN chapter and verse. We still do, to amuse one another at family gatherinegs (but only after the drinking games).

So I was saddened to hear that the "Revenge of the Nerds" remake that had inexplicably been planned has now inexplicably BEEN CANCELLED.

the virtues of hypocrisy

Take a listen to THIS EXCELLENT SERMON from Knoxville minister REV. CHRIS BUICE.

my christmas wish list - in progress (it's WISHES...doesn't mean i expect to get this stuff... ;-)

(I am the last person in America who does not own an iPod)

in the wake

Last night, Jon and I stopped by Barley's in the Old City for a little bit for the lovely celebration OF B.J.'s LIFE planned by her husband, Jake. I met Jake in person for the first time, wishing very much that we had gotten a chance to get together with their family before B.J. died.

I loved looking at all the photos of her and of her artwork. She was objectively, a very beautiful woman and she looked prettiest in the photos of her with her two supercute little boys, who are now left without their mama, who was way too young to be taken away from them.

I hope to have Jake and his boys over to our house soon. I know Elliot would love to make some cool new little guy pals, and I want to get to know Jake.

I am honored to have been at the wake. There was clearly love all around. And I also had the best martini I've perhaps ever had. It was perfect ;-) And when I die, that's the kind of thing I want folks to say about my going-away party.



This morning I am taking Jon to my Unitarian church, which I've attended sporadically for many years. Once again, I am making a New Year's resolution to attend more regularly -- may also join Jon's church (Presbyterian) and go there, too.

In case you've ever wondered what Unitarians are all about, here's the denomination's creed. But before reading it, you should know that NOT all UUs necessarily believe all of that. I don't. I certainly do not believe that all religions have intrinsic merit. That depends on how you define a religion.

My experience with UUs is that their fundamental religious practice, on a daily basis, is practical good works: environmentalism, social justice, fighting racism and homophobia, feeding the poor, building houses, etc. I am down with all of that.


What do Unitarian Universalists believe?

WE BELIEVE in the freedom of religious expression. All individuals should be encouraged to develop their own personal theologies, and to present openly their religious opinions without fear of censure or reprisal.

WE BELIEVE in the tolerance of religious ideas. All religions, in every age and culture, possess not only intrinsic merit, but also potential value for those who have learned the art of listening.

WE BELIEVE in the authority of reason and conscience. The ultimate arbiter in religion is not a church, nor a document, nor an official, but the personal choice and decision of the individual.

WE BELIEVE in the never-ending search for Truth. If the mind and heart are truly free and open, the revelations that appear to the human spirit are infinitely numerous, eternally fruitful, and wondrously exciting.

WE BELIEVE in the unity of experience. There is no fundamental conflict between faith and knowledge, religion and the world, the sacred and the secular, since they all have their source in the same reality.

WE BELIEVE in the worth and dignity of each human being. All people on earth have an equal claim to life, liberty, and justice-and no idea, ideal, or philosophy is superior to a single human life.

WE BELIEVE in the ethical application of religion. Good works are the natural product of a good faith, the evidence of an inner grace that finds completion in social and community involvement.

If you want to learn more about Unitarian Universalism, this is a GOOD PLACE TO START.


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starting to get house decorated for christmas

First Christmas in our new house.

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christmas lights

My lame attempt:

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JOn fixes my problem:

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i love bungalows

I have always had a deep affection for Arts and Crafts-style bungalows, although I didn't know what they were called or much about them until a few years ago. I spent my early childhood in a classic Craftsman bungalow near the beach in southern California and then after a brief layover in a Victorian foursquare in rural Washington State, my parents finally settled for the remainder of my growing up years in an old farmhouse bungalow, the kind of solid, unpretentious farmhouse you see all over Middle Tennessee.

It's no coincidence that both my siblings and I live in old houses. My sister lives in a 1930 (40s?) brick cottage; my brother lives in a big Victorian that used to be a B&B, and I live HERE. It's technically a 1908 Queen Anne Victorian, and from the front, it looks like a classic Victorian cottage, but it has a lot of Craftsman influence inside and in the way it is shaped overall.

As you can see from the photos (in that link I just posted) all of the woodwork inside has been painted white -- all of it. I never would have done this, but since it's aleady done, we're going to keep it that way. It makes the house - which is huge and has a very heavy, big scale inside -- look light and bright and airy instead of dark and WIlliam Morris-y like it probably did when the wood was still all natural.

Anyway, back to bungalows, I love reading the "Family Album" feature in American Bungalows magazine, and in this issue, there is a house from very near where I grew up FEATURED (it's the one from SHelbyville, TN).

The magazine also has a lot of vendors selling reproduction Craftsman materials. I want to find a nice,airy William Morris reproduction wallpaper for the top half of our dining room (Something LIKE THIS, but leav ethe trim white and paint the walls in the living room and dining room a pale, warm taupe color.


the paint job

So this weekend Jon and I --- okay, mostly Jon - have tackled our first real home improvement project since moving into our house: painting our bedroom.

Right now it's a dingy white with dingy white trim and doors. It's also a really big room, with 12 foot ceilings, and measuring 15 feet by 17 feet.

We figured that with the children gone to their father's for four entire days, we'd just get that sucker painted. Jon planned to do a little scraping, spackling, and priming the first day and then paint the room the second day.

Well, he started scraping and quickly discovered that covering the original plaster in the room was a layer of old, heavy wallpaper, covered by several layers of paint. Ack. So we decided he had better take down the worst of the wallpaper before beginning anything else.

To make a long story short, this job is becoming something that's going to take far longer than four days. There is special primer that's going to have to go over all the wallpaper that's left before we try to paint, and that's AFTER Jon removes all the bad parts and spackles, etc.

Having grown up in old houses that my parents restored over time, mostly by themselves, I was sort of expecting something like this. Jon has remained in amazingly good spirits. I'm doing my part by cleaning the rest of the house thoroughly, and I am looking forward to learning to paint when we get to that part.

Jon at work:

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My attempts at putting up outdoor Christmas lights all by myself have thus far been, well, disastrous. I keep breaking bulbs and buying strings that don't work together and I fell off the &%$$% ladder, but I am determined that those lights will be up and TWINKLY when my children come home.

be thankful


current listening


Listening to this really good web-based station trumps the satellite radio, which cuts out constantly and doesn't seem to have even one music station that really, really reflects my tastes. I don't think we will renew subscription when it runs out in December.

taking things for granted

In years past, getting pregnant and staying pregnant were a non-issue for me. Easily and joyfully accomplished.

Lately, that hasn't been the case, and while I am trying not to let this bug me, and I am assured that things will work out fine "soon" (and people are almost certainly right about this), I am reminded of how much I took easy pregnancy and babies for granted previously.

I never will again.

Now that it's on my mind, it seems I am surrounded by pregnant women and newborns. There cannot be more than there were before, but suddenly it seems, there are.

Someone else close to me has also experienced pregnancy loss recently and she, too, is on my mind these days.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope yours is wonderful.

2006 has been a great year for me, although I will always miss my grandfather. I miss him today - miss that he won't be cooking and carving the turkey and fussing at people about how they clean up all wrong after the meal.

Jon and I decided to stay home this weekend. We have some lofty goals to accomplish over our 4 days off together. We plan to clean our house thoroughly, paint our HUGE bedroom (it has 12 foot ceilings, plaster walls and lots of wood trim and molding), and decorate for Christmas so the lights will be all twinkly and nice when the children come home from their father's on Monday. Well, do all the decorating except for the tree, which we will put up and decorate with the children on Tuesday night.

I lovelovelove Christmas! And our big, old house was made to decorate for Christmas. For outdoor lights this year, I want to wrap strings of lights around our columns so they look like candy canes. I'll put up a photo if I get it to look right.

Thanksgiving Day in East Tennessee has dawned sunny and warm after a cold several days. It's supposed to get up to 65 today and I hope it's equally nice wherever you happen to be.


gotta love east tennessee

THis girl was dimissed from an otherwise all-male weightlifting class because the teacher believed the fact she was the only girl might mean SHE WOULD BE RAPED by her fellow students.


(Question of the day: with public education dollars so scarce, do we really need to be funding a "weightlifting class"??)


i like this photo

...of my oldest child


my neighborhood


more love story

For the past few weeks, since his wife got sick and then died, Jake has been writing chapters of their ten years together - meeting, falling in love, and all the rest.

Today he wrote about what it was like to BECOME PARENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME AT AGE 18.


get me this for christmas, please



food for thought (and related to my spanking post, below)

"When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor's wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn't believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking - the first of his life. And she told him that he would have to go outside and find a switch for her to hit him with. The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, "Mama, I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock that you can throw at me."

All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child's point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone. And the mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because violence begins in the nursery— one can raise children into violence."

--Astrid Lindgren, Swedish author

"spanking" = domestic violence

I believe that "spanking" children is just a culturally acceptable form of domestic violence and I am glad to see that slowly, surely, people around the world ARE STARTING TO COME TO THIS CONCLUSION.

I mean, 100 years ago, a large percentage of the American public would have argued strongly that a man had a right to "spank" his wife if she got out of line.

Does this mean I've never hit my kids? No. It does not. I am ashamed to say that on a handful of occasions in the 15 years I've been a parent, I've lost it and grabbed my child too roughly or smacked him/her on the backside. I felt terrible afterwards and told my child so.

My parents did not hit me (although I am told that a few times before I can remember and before he decided it was a bad way to guide his children, my father smacked me on the rear-end). I am grateful for this.

what's everyone doing for thanksgiving?

After driving down to Bell Buckle for various family matters pretty much every weekend since our wedding (in Bell Buckle) on September 3, Jon and I are going to actually STAY HOME at our house in Knoxville for 4 whole days and do nothing over the holiday.

Well, we do need to finish some more unpacking from moving. And I need to get a few of the last things out of the basement of my old house, which is sold and closing next week (thank you sweet Jesus). And we might paint our bedroom (I am thinking a nice, mossy green and fresh white trim) but other than that....nuthin'.

Sadly for moi, this is the every-other-year-year when the chirrens are with their father for Thanksgiving break, so I won't see them for five whole days, which is no fun for this mama.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?


It's a strange thing to be a mother of relatively young children (my youngest is 8) and have them gone a large portion of the time.

I no longer spend most of the time they are at their father's crying or just sitting around the house too blue to actually get out and do anything. For the first two years, I felt terribly guilty if I did anything remotely fun while they were away. I eventually got over that ;-)

But I do still sort of feel like my arm has been reattached when they return home. They have been gone for five days or so and are home now, cuddled up in bed together watching "Holes." (Actually H is asleep already. He crashed almost as soon as we got home from dinner out.) I just feel more whole when they are in the house, particularly at night. I hate being away from them at night.

one great photo!

BJ and Jake at their WEDDING VOW RENEWAL PARTY only one month ago.

I know that Jake must be deeply, deeply grateful for their decision to have this ceremony and party. There's no way he could have known he would lose his beloved wife only a few weeks later, but looking at this photo, it's evident that theirs was a love for the ages.

And she was simply adorable. What great style.



I have been producing THIS SERIES all year (on TV, not just online) and I just found out yesterday that I - along with the other 3 people who have put the series together - have been nominated for an Emmy award for it.

That was pretty fun news to get.


Many of you have been following the very moving story B.J.'S BRIEF STRUGGLE with a mystery illness. Sadly for her devoted husband and two young children, she died late last week.

A memorial fund has been set up for the family of this young mother, wife, artist and community activist, who was taken from us more than a half-century too soon. BJ was bright, funny, but most of all a giving, caring individual.

To donate, send a check to:

Barbara J. Kilpatrick Memorial Fund
C/O ORNL Federal Credit Union
P.O.Box 365
Oak Ridge TN 37831


what not to say

Nurse to me today at my follow-up after miscarriage OB-GYN appointment: "So honey, when are you due?"

she has died


happy anniversary tim and susan lee

MITCH EASTER is the undisputed godfather of 80s powerpop. He produced and/or played in REM, the dBs, Let's Active, and a whole passel of other great bands.

If you aren't familiar with Mitch Easter's oeuvre, read this INTERVIEW WITH EASTER from today's Maryville Daily Times.

Tonight, Mitch Easter and his current line-up will be playing a FREE show at Knoxville's CORNER LOUNGE. Joining him will be Knoxville pop cuties, THE TENDERHOOKS.

The show is a gala celebration of the 25th (!!!) wedding anniversary of local musicians and all-around great people, TIM LEE and SUSAN BAUER LEE. Tim and Susan are friends of Mitch Easter (along with just about every other of my favorite musicians from the 80s - the Lees are really fascinating people).

So come on down to the Corner Lounge tonight, enjoy some great music and wish Mr. And Mrs. Lee a very, very happy anniversary.

telling students they belong in hell

This public school teacher is in hot water after TELLING NON-CHRISTIAN STUDENTS they were going to hell.

Of course, my son is told he may be headed to hell on an almost daily basis, but then again, he attends a Catholic high school ;-)

When he complains about his teachers being homophobic or openly dismissive of Islam or whatever, I always tease him with the line, "Didn't you get the memo? YOU GO TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL!!!!"

old boyfriends

I have an interesting array of guys I've dated in years past.

One can be found HERE. Here's ANOTHER. And one who REALLY BROKE MY HEART, but with whom I had one truly, madly excellent summer. And here's one who happens to be ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS.

I just found out today that the guy I dated for about 6 months when I was a junior in college is probably going to be THE NEXT CHAIR OF THE TN DEMOCRATIC PARTY

very sad news

Like lots of people all over Tennessee (and really, across the country), I've been following the story of a really cool 29 year old Oak Ridge wife and mother of two young children. She suddenly became ill with flu-like symptoms about 2 weeks ago and was admitted to the hospital, where she quickly fell into a coma. Her husband has been keeping a blog to chronicle her progress and sadly, last night SHE TOOK A SERIOUS TURN FOR THE WORSE.

This story has really affected me and made me far more appreciative of the people I love. Everything can change in an instant and it's so important to treasure every single minute, even the hard ones.

I am praying for a miracle for this family.


home tour

Old North Knoxville (my neighborhood!) has announced which houses will be featured on the 2006 Holiday Home Tour. You can see photos and read about the houses here on the new-and-improved ONK Web Site.

no subscription for me, thanks




today i am wearing.... oversized sweater, a denim miniskirt, black leggings and ballet flats.

This is an outfit straight out of my 1986 closet and I love it. Leggings in particular have always been a big fave of mine. I'm glad they're "back." I had thrown all mine out but bought some new ones.

One 80s trend I never embraced the first time around and still hate are those godawful, pointy-toed, high-heel ankle boots. Ick, I hate them.

cool site for dads (with dumb name)

Check out NOODADS.COM.


single parenting in the rearview mirror

Last night I asked Jon to pick up and feed J and E so I could take H to an appointment and then out to dinner at Senor Taco. H and I really needed some one on one time together.

Anyway, when I got home, Jon said, "I don't know how you did this all by yourself."

I asked him what he meant and he explained that he finds parenting quite exhausting sometimes and cannot imagine parenting three children without another adult in the household to help.

I told him that sometimes even with another adult in the household, only one person is doing most of the parenting, which is beyond his comprehension because he jumped in as a 100% equal parent on the day all of us moved in together - he does as much as I do.

And I also told him that in hindsight, I don't really know how I did it (single parenting plus working full time after my divorce) a lot of the time. Now that I have someone who helps 24/7 without being asked, it's hard to imagine how in the world I managed. I did get a lot of help from my sister in particular, and some wonderful friends, but there was no one there at 6:30 am when I was trying to get three children up, dressed, fed, packed up and driven 23 miles to school.

Sometimes single parenting was really cozy, like when it was just the four of us together at home enjoying hanging out together. Other times I thought my head might explode. Mostly it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other every hour of every day and letting a lot of "extra" stuff slide and trying not to worry about it too much.

K-Fed(Ex) Leaves Sweet Message for Britney

This guy is a SERIOUS CLASS ACT, isn't he?

breastfeeding mother KICKED OFF AIRPLANE!

This woman - along with her husband and baby - were literally KICKED OFF A FLIGHT when she declined to "cover up" with a blanket while nursing her child. She was sitting near the back of the plane, in a window seat, with her husband in the aisle seat, when a flight attendant began harassing her.

This is incredibly disturbing. I am writing a letter to the airline.

I hate the idea that women should be "discreet" while nursing. First of all, you generally see less when someone is breastfeeding than you do when a woman is wearing a tank top. Second of all, everyone's definition of what constitutes "discreet enough" is different. For a lot of weirdos, the very act of breastfeeding is indiscreet; no amount of "covering up" would be enough.

Breastfeeding women need to ditch those NURSING SHAWLS and blankets and just feed their babies. People need to get over it.


walter reed on house

Jon likes the TV show, "House." I've never watched it before, although I think Hugh Laurie is hawt.

Anyway, he was watching it in bed the other night and I was pretty much asleep when I found myself waking up because I really liked this song that was playing over the closing credits. I did a little digging online the next day and found out it was the song "Walter Reed" from Michael Penn.

So I downloaded the record and have been listening to it. That one song is quite good, but the rest of the record pretty much bores me. Henry hates it.

savage on santorum

Brutally funny columnist Dan Savage has long waged a media war against his least fave Senator, Rick Santorum. Now he's REVELING IN HIS DEFEAT.

A snippet:

"If Santorum had spent the last 12 years in the Senate being the person he was for 12 minutes during his concession speech, well, he might not have made so many enemies in Pennsylvania and all over the country."

I've always found Dan Savage hilarious, even when he does fabulously bizarro things like try to derail Gary Bauer's 2000 presidential bid by spreading the flu throughout his campaign headquarters. How did Savage do this? Well, he "volunteered" for the campaign, and then when he himself had the flu, he went around surreptitiously LICKING STAPLERS AND DOORKNOBS all over the campaign office.


from the wedding

A few more of my favorite photos from our wedding in September.

Elliot and McLean


Natalie, Sydney, Jane and Jack

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Thomas watches the ceremony:


Jones, Mel and Elliot watch the rehearsal a few hours before the wedding:

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Robert prepares to officiate (I told him to wear whatever he wanted. He almost wore his "trust me; I'm a lawyer" t-shirt)


Me with my two best grrrl pals from high school, Steph and Bets:

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At cousin Betsy's party for us the night before the wedding:

Jon and Kate

My mother's house, the day of the wedding (we got married in the backyard):





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A gaggle of girls

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belly shots

Via BLOGGING BABY, a really neat gallery of the MOST INTERESTING PREGNANCY PHOTOS on Flickr.

I think this one is my current favorite:


fake estate

This weekend, my nephew McLean, who is 4, was playing pretend with his friend Elijah. He pointed to something and announced, "Now that's real estate....and that's FAKE estate."

aliens, sans zippers

Elliot to me, out of the blue:

"Mom, what if some of the people around us aren't people, but aliens in people suits, only they've removed the zippers."

dysfunctional family letter generator

“All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Celebrate the uniqueness of your own f**&%ed-up family with this DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY LETTER GENERATOR.


tonight! tonight! tonight!

Join us at that thar Corner Lounge:


FLOR flooring

I write quite a bit of freelance material for and so I get to check out lots of neat-o home remodeling ideas and materials.

This FLOR modular carpeting is one of my fave things I've run across in a while. I am already thinking about places and ways to use it in our house. I think it would be awesome in the kids' rooms.

peter, bjorn & john

Last night my friend Quentin came in to town and went out to dinner with Jon and me. We had a fun time, although I overindulged for a school night.

Quentin and I trade music back and forth, and last night he brought me this record from a Swedish band, Peter, Bjorn & John. He made it sound like it would sort of be a joke band, but I love this record. I listened to it all morning.

It's trippy, sweet pop with a space sound. It reminds me a little bit of a trippier sounding SONDRE LERCHE.

CLICK HERE to hear some P, B&J.



Check out this COOL VIDEO of my cousin Thomas speaking on the topic of "sound healing."

Thomas is a physicist, who specializes in soundwaves. He also researches alternative healing (for the human body) methods and speaks all over the world on the topic.

And he's a wonderful person.

divorce is hell

Kevin Federline is an ass. He's filed for sole custody of the two BABIES HE FATHERED WITH BRITNEY SPEARS.

Nothing is more frightening and upsetting to a mother than being threatened with loss of custody. It is so frightening -- even if it's highly unlikely that it will actually happen - that it often cows the mother into making financial or other legal concessions not in her best interest in order to placate the man suing her for custody.

Men know this. Men's lawyers know this.

Suing competent, loving mothers for sole custody is A LEGALLY SANCTIONED FORM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE.

purity ball video

Via, here's video of A PURITY BALL.

handcuffs & stuff

My grandfather, Ray Anderson, who died this week, was a very fascinating person.

He was an internationally recognized EXPERT ON THE SEARCH FOR NOAH'S ARK.

He played a major role in developing some of Hughes Aircrafts' first communications satellites.

he was an accomplished private pilot (he always promised he would teach me to fly until he realized how badly I pilot a car).

And as a young man, he made a living jumping out of airplanes, handcuffed. People would pay to see whether he would escape the cuffs or die.

An old friend of his just sent my Uncle Roger, also a pilot, some newsclippings and flyers for my grandfather's exploits. He's referred to in one of the articles as "local daredevil, Ray Anderson." I love that ;-)





Grandpa was also a dedicated reader of this blog and often left pithy comments, mostly disagreeing with me about politics and social issues.

I miss him already.