Shush. Your mother is trying to listen.

  If you came in in the middle of the process, you’d think I was being totally unfair. You’d see me letting one kid stand there and have center stage, while everyone else has to just stand around and listen to half-truths, exaggerations, and self-pity. You’d think I was a fool for listening gravely and seriously to what is obviously a biased, self-serving version of what happened. Or maybe you’d see me letting one kid stand there and having center stage,... Read more

shush your mother is trying to listen

When a fight breaks out between my kids, and they can’t solve it on their own, here’s what I do. I gather them all and make everyone except one kid shut up. He gets to explain his point of view thoroughly, giving all the details he thinks are relevant, and nobody else is allowed to interrupt. Then the other kid gets to explain his point of view: everything the other kid left out, why his argument is a gross exaggeration,... Read more

The lady was sad, and MAD. (We showed the kids an opera!)

My kids’ experience with opera comes entirely from Bugs Bunny, and we really wanted them to branch out. So, with great trepidation, we showed them Don Giovanni last weekend … and they loved  it. More or less. We did it in two nights. The first night, I set out some trays heaped with treats in the living room. We had brie, havarti, and honey goat cheese and three kinds of crackers, red and green grapes, mini chocolate eclairs, and sparkling cider. So... Read more

I’m very happy to see TRUMP signs appearing around town . . .

Because now every time I see one of these: I’ll be armed with a bunch of these:   So the town will soon covered with these: Yes, I’m a ridiculous, childish person. Yes, I actually ordered this sticker. You can too, here.  Please note, I will earn 20 cents for each sticker sold. I intend to use this money to build a BYOOTIFUL WALL to keep the kids out when I’m trying to go to the bathroom.

What’s for Supper? Vol. 7: Meatloaf: A Tragicomedy

Just the facts! SUNDAY Grilled pizza sandwiches These are not only delicious, easy to make, and filling, but they are cheaper than making pizza, especially if you use pre-made dough when you make pizza. I find that I use about half the amount of cheese and sauce as I do to make pizza for the same number of people. We made these with cheese, pepperoni, and some bottled pesto. Spread the outsides of the sandwich with butter mixed with garlic... Read more

Can American writers write happy endings?

The British get Tom Jones and Dickens and Shakespeare’s comedies, but what do we Americans get? Death and sadness, that’s what — at least in literature. Are there American novels with happy endings? Here’s our list . . . Read the rest at the Register.

Adult American novels with happy endings?

My teenage daughter is looking for good novels or short stories for a school project. It has to be an American author (per her teacher) and — here’s the hard part — it has to have a happy ending (per her). My suggestions: Flannery O’Connor.  Okay, no happy endings, sometimes tragic, but not depressing, anyway! We got a little bit into how the bull in “Greenleaf” is Jesus — well, not Jesus, exactly, but — well, you know how Zeus... Read more

I’m reading, I’m watching, I’m listening to . . .

I’m reading . . . Zorro by Isabel Allende. Allende is definitely a guilty pleasure. Zorro is silly fun, very typical of Allende, with her contemptuous fondness for Catholicism, the silly sex scenes mashed naively in with a kind of lascivious clumsy feminism, a few plot turns that don’t make any sense and quietly get abandoned, and lots of running around, sailing, fighting, crying, eating, singing, being squalid, and more running around. I like the bouncy, tasty prose, and her characters are always... Read more

Your family is not your brand

  Even a family that is nuts doesn’t fit into a nutshell. Families are too complicated for that. Read the rest at the Register. 

What’s for supper? Vol. 6: In which we enjoy the World Meeting of Families by eating

We took the baby and drove to Philadelphia on Thursday, so I could speak at the World Meeting of Families on Friday. Philadelphia, it turns out, is far away, and it takes a long time to drive there. The baby thought this was bullshit, even despite the crackers and rice rusks and wagon wheel puffs we kept throwing at the back seat. We have decided that next time we decide to drive to Philadelphia with a baby, we will change... Read more