Parents: Take Your Kids When You Vote

While we are all on the subject of voting, let’s talk instilling the habit of voting in kids.

My parents always took my sister and I with them when they went voting. It made a big impression on me. (And Fred Wilson wrote a great post about taking his son voting.)

I’ve voted in every election I’ve been eligible for since I was 18. When I was in college I used absentee ballots. When I moved to NYC at 26 registering to vote, and figuring out where to do so, was one of the first things I did.

I’m such a dork about voting that I recently showed up at my local polling place (the JHS in our neighborhood) to discover that the day’s primary wasn’t being held in our district because there weren’t any contested races.

It’s a habit I got into because of my parents.

If young people and Democrats voted at the same rates as older people and Republicans we’d live in a very different country. Take your kids to vote!


I’ve been on the planet for more than 47 years and had never heard of Huitlacoche. Yes, somehow, this past week I heard about it twice. There’s a word in semiotics that explains this phenomenon that I’m too lazy to look up.

I run, therefore I am a runner

I have a very long, strange and convoluted history with running. To fully appreciate it, you have to understand that as a kid I hated all athletics. I really hated team sports, but I wasn’t much of a fan of things like running either.

Post-college I joined a gym because that seemed like something you should do. And like most women I was obsessed with my weight. I started running a bit, but I hated it. I walked instead which I never found really compelling. My relationship with all things athletic moved from hate-hate to love-hate, but also became very on-again, off-again.

Then in my  late 20s I lost a bunch of weight. About 20 pounds. The first time I got on the treadmill after that I was amazed. Running felt AWESOME. Suddenly I realized the most obvious truth — running is for skinny people. (Cue irony.)

The on-again, off-again relationship with running continued into my very early 30s. About 7 years ago I started running outside (previously I’d almost exclusively run on treadmills) and I began to think that maybe I was a runner, as opposed to someone who occasionally runs.

Then came the fertility carousel — trying to get pregnant, REALLY trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, being post-partum and nursing, trying to get pregnant again, being pregnant again, being post-partum and nursing again, being a working mom with two kids under three. Gah. I’m exhausted just typing that. Buh-bye 30s! Was nice knowing you.

Then, last spring the stars started to align. I got back out on the road. And it all just CLICKED. Running didn’t feel good — it felt great. I was finding weird slices of time to squeeze in runs. (My personal favorite remains 7pm — if Preston is home to handle bedtime I hit the road after dinner, get back by 8, take a quick shower then get onto my computer to catch up on work for a few hours. It works only in the spring and summer and very early fall until I lose the light.) Running wasn’t something I was tolerating for the sake of some theoretical health principle. I wanted to run. I am not particularly good at it. At my best I can do about 4 miles in a little under 45 minutes. But I love it. It clears my mind, makes my body feel good and soothes my soul.

Life was good. Until it wasn’t.

Over the summer my foot started to hurt. At first a little, then a lot. I thought maybe it was plantar fasciitis. Fortunately not, just bad feet. I’ve been wearing orthotics for about a week. Today I went on my first run in a few months. My foot felt great. The rest of me — let’s just say I think I’m going to pay for this in the morning. I only eked out about 2.5 miles. But I see a light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully can get back on the road soon.

It certainly has been a long, strange trip.

Waste not, want not

A few years ago I made a goal to “waste less food.” Like most life goals it’s been a few steps forward and a few steps back, but three years later I can honestly say I’ve made progress and I waste far less food than I did previously. Ancillary to the bigger goal of wasting less was two sub-goals to eat better and be more organized. I’ve made real progress on these sub-goals too. We eat a home-cooked meal almost every night (not usually cooked by me, more on that in a minute) and our meals our planned out a week, sometimes two weeks ahead. It’s working.

Here’s some tricks that have worked for me in wasting less food:

1. Ask the crucial question: would I eat this if I were starving to death? When I’m contemplating whether or not to toss something I ask myself if I’d eat it under starvation conditions. Now, the truth is there is probably almost nothing I wouldn’t eat if I were truly starving. But it’s amazing how this simple question made me stop and consider if I really needed to toss this or not. This question has also pushed me to do things I would have been too lazy to do before — cut off the yucky bit and eat the rest, paw through the entire pound of greens beans to salvage the good ones and only toss the ones that are truly rotted.

2. Obsessively date everything: I keep a role of masking tape in the drawer next to the fridge with a selection of Sharpie markers and I put a date on EVERYTHING. I can’t tell you how much food this has saved. Where before I might think “well, better safe than sorry” now I know these leftovers have only been there a day or two. And putting something into the freezer without a label on it is just silly — you might was well just toss it now.

3. Plan, plan, plan. Since both kids went back to school in September our nanny now makes dinner most nights. But she needs to know what to cook. She also orders the groceries for the week and she needs to know what to order. So I need to plan. I can’t say enough about meal planning. It just doesn’t take that much time to do and saves so much time later. The weeks when I don’t plan are stressful and slightly chaotic. The weeks I plan are smooth and happy. But planning also helps me use leftovers more efficiently and ensures that we only order what we will eat and eat what we order.

Why I Love Lands’ End

I ordered this backpack for Maddie for back-to-school. Maddie helped pick it — she liked that it was pink and had a rabbit on it. I got it with her initials embroidered on it.

Unfortunately when it came there was no rabbit. I had completely forgotten about the rabbit — but Maddie had not. Her first question was “Where’s the rabbit?”

Come to find out the rabbit is also and add-on embroidered detail — like the monogram. I had to order it separately. D’oh! (To be fair, it’s confusing. I suspect I’m not the first person to make this mistake.)

But here’s what is brilliant. Not only is Land’s End more that happy to take back the backpack I ordered (despite it being MONOGRAMMED!), but they are shipping the new one out free of charge AND the very helpful clerk told me, cheerfully, that I could feel free to use the backpack I have and just return it after I get the new one! (I actually won’t be doing that — I happen to know that Lands’ End re-sells returns in their home office outlet. MGF could be someone’s initials, so the chance that it may yet find a happy home are higher if it stays new.)

New bag will actually have the kitty on it — once Maddie learned she could have any of the icons she chose the kitty (it’s the one on the aqua version of the bag).

Yeah, so when Lands’ End says “GUARANTEED. PERIOD.” they actually mean it.


My little chatterbox

Maddie talks constantly.  From the minute she gets up until she goes to sleep.  She even talks in her sleep.

I have not idea where this comes from.

She mimics almost anything we say, but certain things stick. Here are a random assortment of recent gems.

“Sam’s a baby. He doesn’t know anything.”

“Mommy put away the letters.” (She has magnetic letters for the fridge. She has recently taken to throwing them on the floor. I’m okay with that, but she has to put them away. If mommy puts them away they go way away for some period of time.)

“We’re baaaaaaack!” (Shrieked as she comes in the door from the park.)

“Mommy’s home!” (Shrieked as I come in the door from anywhere, but usually work.)

“Like Mommy, like Daddy.” (This she says while we read Sammy Salami and get to the part where the people are on the train headed into the city to go to work.)

“Look at all the shoes!” (Said while reading Birdie’s Big Girl Shoes when we turn to the page that shows Mommy’s shoe closet.)

And then there are the true conversations that are just priceless.  Like this one …

Maddie, round about lunchtime: “I’m hungry for chocolate cake.”

Me: “That’s nice. We don’t have chocolate cake. How about broccoli?”

Maddie: “Cupcakes?”

Me: “No, we don’t have cupcakes either. How about broccoli?”

Maddie: “And ‘matoes?” (Tomatoes)

Me: “Sure. I’ll even put cheese on the broccoli.”

Maddie: “Yeah!”

Among the many reasons I love Tina Fey

From the March issue of Vogue:

“I don’t weigh myself. I just go by if my clothes fit. I try not to participate too much in the incredible amount of wasted energy that women have around dealing with food. I just feel like being healthy is sort of a job requirement to be on TV, and being a writer is so much coping with fatigue and stress, and you just eat. You eat to stay awake.” [Emphasis added.]

Yes.  THIS.  This is it.  Refuse to participate.

Thank you Auntie Tracy!

On Tuesday of this past week I was complaining to a coworker that I need some kind of little bag that I can use when we run out to lunch so I don’t have to carry my gigantic tote. Something to carry money, keys, etc.

So it felt a little like magic when a cute little Coach wristlet showed up on Friday afternoon, a birthday present from my sister Tracy. How on Earth did you know?

The package also had a little pair of sunglasses for Miss Madeline. No way I’ll keep them on her, but they are cute. I was able to get this necessarily blurry picture …


Truth v. Beauty

First, there was Googlism, which turns  any search term into a weird free verse.

Now, there is Googlefight.  Enter two search terms and see which one "wins"

Go try it.  Seriously.  It’s loads of fun.

My husband, lovely little narcisst that he is, staged a Googlefight between his name and mine.  He won one round, but I was able to eek out a win with the clever use of quotation marks.

I also had fun with Britney Spears v. Jessica Simpson (Give it up for our girl Brit).

As for the title of the post, Truth v. Beauty, three guesses which one won.  Cause it’s about what’s inside that counts.  Uh-huh.

Continue reading “Truth v. Beauty”

Sense of direction

When my college roommate got married, she sent the requisite "how to get here" sheet with the invitation.  Since she was getting married in England, and most of her friends lived in the U.S., she felt compelled to include the following:

FROM AMERICA: Fly east over the Atlantic.  Turn right at Iceland.  Continue south, and get off the plane when you see red double-decker buses.  If you see people drinking red wine, eating lots of cheese and inflaming world politics, you’ve gone too far.

Too far indeed.

Continue reading “Sense of direction”