Schoolbuses, Neuroplasticity, and Really Large Hamburgers

Dear Family,

I am about to tell you something that's so simple, so very humdrum, that you may just reflexively yawn:

Last weekend, I ate my first hamburger.

Our meat sources are local, very humane farmers who feed their animals exclusively grass. The taste of this meat is not bad (some would say it's fantastic). The texture is chewy, but manageable. But the visceral, non-rational, Pavlovian part of my brain gets pretty damn tense sometimes. “NOOO!” I wanted to scream, readying the gobs of ground meat for the frying pan. “I CANNOT DO THIS!”

Is There Anything Left to Second-Guess??

Dear Family,

“The thing is, it's very dangerous to have a fixed idea. A person with a fixed idea will always find some way of convincing himself in the end that he is right.”

--Atle Selberg, winner of the 1950 Fields Medal in Mathematics.


All in all, I'm not going to bore you with many details of this past week. Suffice to say that whether or not Ben was reacting negatively to a food challenge (or maybe just doing some random detoxification, or perhaps feeling the effects of Mercury in Retrograde), his behavior regression was one I would prefer never to experience again.

The Romantic Chemistry of Real Life, Talk Therapy, Net Books, and Prison Terms

Dear Family,

Jeff and I watched “Sleepless in Seattle” a couple nights ago. There was good acting and lots of great dialogue, and even though I know the world does not need any more movie reviews, I am somehow compelled to share mine anyway:


1. Man's wife dies (very sad), and he and his young son (a nauseatingly sweet and well-adjusted young man) move to Seattle. Two years later, Son wants Dad to get remarried, and calls a radio show to ask the psychologist/host for advice (subsequently landing Dad with some airtime.)

A Wedding Most Wonderful, and The Tyranny of Influencing Choice

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm not a completely hopeless romantic, but I totally cried my eyes out during our neighbors' wedding last weekend. As I told Ben and Jem, it was one of the funnest they are ever likely to attend...

It was a gorgeous Saturday evening, and the music was incredible, and the ceremony was heart-breakingly sweet, and the brides and grooms (did I mention it was a double-wedding?) made respective promises that were individual and eyes-wide-open and funny and tender and real, and a huge tent was illuminated so the festivities could continue late into the night.

Will Pedal for Sardines, Slides, and State Parks

Dear Family,

I don't think that Jem's and my bike adventure will make it into “Bicycling” magazine. I (this has at least something to do with having with my breastfeeding toddler in tow) got passed by every single other cyclist we met on road, without exception, and we didn't go very far. Also, our journey contained very little Risk (and additionally, “Bicycling” doesn't usually go for boobs on the cover).

Mama Sentimental

By the time he's done being two years old, he's not going to fit under my jacket in the baby carrier anymore. I hope at that point Jem will also stop waking up well before the sun, but I'm not putting any money on it. And meanwhile, we have our best talks in the morning, when I've dragged myself out of bed and out the door, and he's snuggled into my chest. He likes when the cars go by ("More come cars!"), when he sees a school bus (a "butt"), and he points every time he sees a mailbox ("my-bock").

Train Watching

(Originally published in the March-April issue of "Life Learning" magazine

We heard the train just after our car began the uphill ascent, away from the train tracks. Ben struggled to hold back real tears, while I struggled not to feel guilty for not turning back into rush hour traffic to see the train. "Do you think," Ben said, between sniffles, "we'll EVER see another train?" Yes, I assured him, I really thought we would.

Thoughts on Unschooling, Television, and Sugary Snacks

(Originally posted to the Unschooling Basics Yahoo Group.)

I grew up in a household with no TV (until my brother bought his own, for video-watching, when he was a teenager), few processed foods purchased with family money, and no computer games (there weren't any!). BUT, my parents placed no restrictions on my or my four younger siblings personal spending money, or on foods we ate outside the home, and we all talked--a lot--about health and personal desires and "voting with our dollars."

Winter Camping, and Why Soup Isn't Good for Breakfast

Dear Family,

Ben is VERY interested in law and order. Police officers--what do they do? Why do they drive faster than everybody else, even if their lights and sirens aren't on? Do they get arrested or get tickets? Why “not usually”? What happens if a person steals something? Have WE ever had anything stolen? What happens in a courthouse? And tickets – what do they look like when you get one?

Treasure Hunting, and Other Subversive Acts

Dear Family,

It has come to my attention that one of the habits of Highly Happy People is that they do not dwell on the imperfections in their lives. Therefore, I deleted a whole bunch of text pertaining to my children's sleep/wake habits, and instead I have inserted: NO COMMENT.

That took a whole lot of self-restraint, and I'm proud of myself. Welcome to the New, Happy Me!


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