Random Thoughts: The How Tolerant Do I Have to Be Again? Edition

1. My Dad’s answer to my last post about this was, “You have to be as tolerant toward people as you want them to be toward you.” A good Golden Rule take on the situation.

2. Just because you do not discriminate does not mean that discrimination does not exist. This is the flip side to the notion of privilege.

3. I could be wrong about this. I’m not really sure. BUT: Gay and trans people aren’t looking for “special” treatment under the law. Just like, oh let’s say, women, they are simply asking for equal treatment, equal to those rights that white, straight men pretty much enjoy without thinking about it. They don’t want you thinking about how they have sex or what their junk is like any more than you want people thinking that about you.

4. Equal treatment doesn’t meant that women, gay, black, or trans people want to BE THE SAME as. Women and men are different; whites, blacks, Latinos, etc. are all different; homosexual people and straight people aren’t the same. This gets confused a lot. I see things like, “Women want to be the same as men.” No, I enjoy being a woman, a lot.

Equal treatment and protection under the law. Which means, sometimes, laws have to be created. Maybe that’s the tricky part.

5. Oh, well. Never mind me. This guy said it all a lot better.

6. I’m not sure if I’m turning into a cranky idealist or not. I may be. Some days, I really wish I still liked football.

What’s getting under your skin?

All The Things

We did everything on vacation. Well, everything there was to do in Erie, anyway. And then some.


While Dan and I were at my reunion Friday, my parents took the children to the beach (formally known as Presque Isle) where M promptly fell in the lake.

Saturday, we went to the Erie Children’s Museum, which while teeny, is still fun.


Sunday we spent the day in a friend’s pool and had a lovely dinner at the Yacht Club. I got to catch up with my all-time BFFs, which made the whole trip worth it.


Monday, we went to the Erie Zoo.




Tuesday, we did the beach again. This time M fell in the lake on purpose, over and over again.

Wednesday, it rained. We went to The Tom Ridge Environmental Center. When the weather cleared up, we went to Findley Lake in New York for fried fish and live music.

Thursday, we were originally scheduled to travel home. But it was a beautiful day, and the kids had been clamoring to go to Waldameer. So we moved back our departure time to the evening, and went to the amusement park.






Friday, we woke up in our own house. Dan and I worked out, then I ran errands. The children missed Nonna and Pap-pap. They are a lot more fun than mom and Dad.

Saturday, my SIL picked up the children,  and Dan and I hit the road again for a wedding in Eastern Pennsylvania. They had a candy table!


Sunday, we got back to Pittsburgh in time for Dan to see AC Milan lose to Manchester City at Heinz Field. And I took a nap and went to the Jack White show. It was awesome.

Family vacations should all be so action packed. We had a great week.


The Best So Far

I love my children.

This is not snark. This isn’t going to be a long parenting rant that starts, I love my children but.

I love my children and I especially love them on vacation right now.

My children are the perfect ages. At 9, 7 and 3, they are just right. No diapers, no pack’n’play, no special food. Independent enough to get up by themselves. Old enough to play board games (M has to be on someone’s team until he loses interest and goes back to playing with his toys by himself). Able to swim (again, someone has to stay close to hand for M). Aside from a little extra supervision, the heavy lifting of early parenthood is over.

Do you know what I did today?

I slept in until 9 a.m.
After coffee, my children threw a party.
We played a family board game (Sort It Out).
Then we had it a parade. Led by Kate, of course.
Then we went to The Ridge Environmental Center. M fell asleep in the movie.
Then we went out to Findley Lake to visit friends of my parents. The children immediately made friends and occupied themselves.

It was pretty easy and great.

The whole week has been like this. It helps that we’re staying with my parents, of course, but even so. The kids require less work than ever before, and are more fun as a direct result.


Even the 3-year-old.

Random Thoughts: The Absence Edition

I haven’t blogged this week, primarily because I am going on vacation and I will be away from work for an entire six days, which means I have All The Deadlines.

And of course since I am going on vacation for more than a week, with the family, it’s unlikely that I will be blogging much over the next few days.

A couple of things to leave here:

• A working mother in South Carolina was thrown in jail, and her 9-year-old child was made a ward of the state… because she (the daughter) was at a playground alone (with a cell phone) while her mother worked at a near-by McDonalds. Complicating this outrage is the fact that the mother is single, working poor, and African American. I think it’s horrible that a busybody called the police when they realized the girl was there without a parent hovering nearby. I also think if the mother and child were white, jail and CPS wouldn’t have been the outcome. Maybe a stern warning. But not jail. (This article on fundamental attribution error and how it applies to this case was interesting, IMO.)

• A nanny wrote about five things that parents are doing wrong. This is pretty spot on. Parents, if you see yourself in this list, take a step back and reevaluate. I especially like the first one. A good mantra to learn, and we use it in our house, is, “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”

• 2014 is shaping up to be a solid year for good music. Or at least music I really like. If you’re looking for some new stuff, may I humbly suggest:
1. KONGOS, Lunatic
2. The Black Keys, Turn Blue
3. Little Daylight, Hello Memory
4. Afghan Whigs, Do To The Beast (This album, guys. This album Does Things to me.)
5. First Aid Kit, Stay Gold

Have a great weekend, everybody. I hope I will have some nice vacation pictures to throw up on the site while I’m out.

Lake Erie at Sunrise
Lake Erie at Sunrise

Listen To Your Mother

(I know. I know. I shared this on Twitter. I shared this on Facebook. I am in awe of my friend. In. Awe. Also: I have thoughts. I have feelings. I want to respond, at length.)

Kim Z. Dale, fabulous in blue
Kim Z. Dale, fabulous in blue

I have a lot of admiration for my friend Kim. She participated in the Chicago presentation of Listen to Your Mother. Along with being a professional and a mother, she is a playwright. In this verbal essay, she says a lot of things that, in my experience, work-outside-the-home moms hesitate to admit.

I have said this before, but in this context it bears repeating. I don’t just work to earn money. I work so that I leave my house. I work so that I am not at home, spending all my time with my children. I *love* my children, and I love being around them (most of the time). But I also feel like my work life makes me appreciate my home life more.

What Kim has to say is poignant and honest, and oh, when she reaches the end of her piece. Oh. My heart for her. (Aside to Kim: did you know that was going to happen?)

Please go watch it before you finish reading this.

Back? Okay.

I, too, like being good at what I do. It’s one of the (many many) reasons I work. I haven’t been called the nanny’s name (my children are a little older than Kim’s, though), but there have been moments, often in the evening or on a Saturday, where I get a look from them. A mumbled comment when I tell them to clean their room, or that we won’t make it to the pool today because we have to do XYZ. “I wish Miss Nanny were here.” The implication being because Miss Nanny is more fun.

Miss Nanny is, sometimes, often, more fun. I get that, and I envy her that time that she has to be more fun with my children.

But. And but. I, too, am fun. And a parent. I have to do hard things. Set limits. Enforce consequences. Teach responsibility. Give baths and enforce bedtimes. Make sure homework gets done and soccer practice is attended.

Miss Nanny, for all the fabulous work she does do (she has to enforce chores every day, which ain’t easy) isn’t raising my children. She’s taking care of them during the hours that I go earn a paycheck. It’s definitely a trade-off. One that works well for my family.

I’m really happy that Kim got the laughs she got.

Anyway, I also have to say here that I would love to find a way to bring Listen To Your Mother to Pittsburgh. Stay tuned. And in the meantime, check out the other Chicago performances.

Bring tissues.

Like a Girl

Flora can tread water for two minutes.

Kate can eat five tacos.

Flora is the fastest runner on her soccer team.

Kate helps her little brother with his chores.

Flora knows more about birds than most adults.

Kate is a wonderful baker.

Flora can jump rope for five minutes.

Kate rides her bike so fast, she leaves the ground when she hits a dip in the driveway. She has more bruises than any 7-year-old I know.

I know it’s a commercial — and for things that only girls will need — but they’ve got a point.

Let’s stop saying “like a girl” like it’s a bad thing. I never heard “like a girl” growing up. I heard about how smart I was, how strong I was, how I could do or be anything I wanted.

My girls are fast, strong, smart, immensely talented, not to mention beautiful. They can conquer the world. Dan and I will do our very best to set them and keep them on a path to success, one that nurtures their strengths and grows their talents.

The world is just going to have to stay out of their way.

What can the girls in your world do?