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Do this! No, do THAT! The ultimate guide to parenting healthy kids (parody)

Eat more fish!
But make sure it’s not one of the five bad types or you’ll get brain failure. Eating fish is wonderfully filling, though, and it can be quite slimming.

Eat as many vegetables as you can for your baby!
But make sure it’s not any form of sprout or pre-washed baby carrots, or you will get e. coli and die, or even suffer from suboptimal nutrition.

Eat more honey to fight allergies!
But make sure it is produced within 20 yards of your house. Also, make sure it actually is honey. The organic label is not enough. If you can, chat with the beekeeper and one or two local bears.

Fish is also wonderfully healthy for pregnant women.
But make sure it’s not on the mercury list. If it is, it will make you crazy and kill the fetus as well as any children you have yet to conceive. You may continue to play with your existent children, but only once the glowing stops.

Don’t overbathe your children and wreck their skin by putting them in the tub every single day. But if you don’t, they will look like they have cradle cap, and everyone will think they have lice.

When your children appear to have lice, don’t dump lice shampoo on their heads because it’s poison that doesn’t work. Pay a local nit-salon lady $200 an hour instead. Return every other month as the kids at school reinfect you and your children without hope of any insurance company covering this. (It’s only cosmetic to get rid of bugs living on your head, after all.)

Getting your hands dirty in the garden is good for you — body, brain and soul. But whatever you do, wear gloves or you’ll get toxoplasmosis from cat poop stuck in your fingernails, ingest it, and become schizophrenic, as will your kids. Make sure you wear a face mask, too. You don’t want to breathe in those particles from the soil, although the latest reports last week did claim it was a potent antidepressant.

Sunscreen will not effectively protect you from melanoma. Wear it daily to protect you from the most potent form of skin cancer, melanoma.

Give your kids a large variety of stimulating toys in bright colors. But not red, yellow or orange since those are all tainted with lead if they are not made in the U.S. But don’t worry, there are two known toys that are currently made in the U.S.

Most importantly, have fun as a parent and keep up with the news!

What oh-so-helpful suggestions for parents are driving you mad? Share them in the comments section.

The top ten reasons you suck as a mom


  1. You don’t own a hot glue gun.

  2. You don’t make tiered, artisanal cakes that look like dragons or castles or the Millennium Falcon.

  3. You don’t go to PTA meetings.

  4. You don’t bake for bake sales.

  5. You let your kids look at screens.

  6. You’re always at work, so you don’t volunteer at school.

  7. You’re not always at work, and you don’t volunteer at school.

  8. You don’t garden and teach your children to be one with nature.

  9. Your child’s favorite vegetables are zucchini bread and ketchup.

  10. You don’t make any sweaters or crochet socks for your children.

You know what? THIS LIST SUCKS.

Here are the ten things you really suck at instead.

  1. You don’t own a hot glue gun? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at crafts.
  2. You don’t make tiered, artisanal cakes that look like dragons or castles or the Millennium Falcon? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at artisanal baking.
  3. You don’t go to PTA meetings? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at driving yourself insane. (That’s good.)
  4. You don’t bake for bake sales? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at taking on annoying tasks.
  5. You let your kids look at screens? You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at living in a cave with delightfully quirky hermits.
  6. You’re always working, so you don’t volunteer at school. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at bleeding yourself dry. But you’re very good at maintaining your sanity.
  7. You’re not always at work, and you don’t volunteer at school. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at being an unpaid school employee who ultimately takes work away from people who might otherwise get paid jobs in your school district.
  8. You don’t garden and teach your children to be one with nature. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at pretending to be an earth mother.
  9. Your child’s favorite vegetables are zucchini bread and ketchup. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at forcing your kids to eat vegetables.
  10. You don’t make any sweaters or cashmere socks for your children. You don’t suck as a mom. You suck at knitting.

Do I suck at making lists? Did I miss the real reasons you suck as a mom? Let me know in the comments.

‘Pretty Woman’ is an ugly movie and needs to die


She’s the one in charge, because she’s holding his tie. And she stole his heart! We mustn’t forget how powerful that move is.

I can’t believe there are articles popping up telling me to celebrate the 25th anniversary one of the biggest piece of sh%$ movies of the ’90s, “Pretty Woman.”

It’s a Cinderella story of a prostitute who finds value in herself because some sleazy businessman who needs to pay for it decides he loves her. He gives her flowers. The End.

And no, the absurd dialogue about Julia Roberts rescuing him back does not make it OK. Just more painful, because we’re seeing a twisted, more sexualized version of the same old Disney crap and being lulled into some sort of sense that we’re being progressive.

People have let little girls watch this trash for 25 years, and wonder why there’s a whole new generation of girls who won’t identify themselves as feminists. (Duh, people. It’s about rights for females, not female supremacy. If you don’t want equal rights guaranteed, then you can go troll that fictionalized Hollywood Boulevard for rich beady-eyed gentlemen like Richard Gere, too.)

I consider myself lucky that I’m old enough that I was already 18 and quite surly when I saw this tripe for the first time. “Oh, look, the hooker is giggling so enchantingly when the jewelry box closes! I’m so happy. Yes, she’s still just there to decorate the room and warm men’s hearts, but she’s so empowered because she’s … uh, wearing a red dress, I think? Or because she looks a little cleaner?”

Now that it’s made it to 25, can we kill this movie, please? Do not let your kids watch this.

It does in fact threaten the morals of boys and girls. They’re much better off not knowing about businessmen who go looking to pay for sex but find love, which they then buy with flowers.

And they’ll benefit from never wanting to be like that pretty lady who stops selling her body and starts selling her big, toothy smile and goofy charm instead. Eek. And she does this so she can live happily ever after with the guy who really has no problem with buying a woman for a week.

He’s not exactly a champion of stopping human trafficking. She’s not exactly a paragon of self-worth and ethics, either. True love doesn’t make this all OK.

This is not something I want my sons seeing, and I don’t think anyone’s daughters should see it, either.

The End.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section.


Plaything of the damned

Every parent has that one toy in the house that they’d put a mob hit on.

For me, it’s called Alphabet Pal. And it’s purple. And chirpy. And a caterpillar. And vile.

For one, it tries to wake up the kids, even when we don’t know it’s on. And it’s been doing this for five years. Why do I let it live with me? I’m not really sure.


But every once in a while, it senses a human walking near it and shrieks, “HI! I’M ALPHABET PAL! WANT TO PUNCH ME IN THE FACE?” Well, no, it doesn’t really say that, but that doesn’t mean I really refrain from doing that, either.

The irony — or rather lack of irony — is that we received this gift on The Elder’s first birthday with a note from my father-in-law, instructing the darling child, “Drive your dad nuts with this.”

But, in fact, it drives us both over the edge. And the batteries just don’t run out.

Someday, both kids will be done with it, and we’ll throw it away. Or recycle it. Or something. We’ll probably never be rid of it, since interpreting Seattle rules for throwing molded plastic detritus out requires at least a master’s degree in waste management.

So the mob hit may be our only recourse in the end.

What toy in your house would you most like to kill? I’d love to hear about it. 

This post is a throwback to 2012, and was first printed at The Two Boys Club (


Too chicken to say what they really feed the poultry

“Raised without antibiotics” is a nice label to see on a package of chicken.

As of yesterday, even McDonald’s is joining the pack and pledging to phase out the use of human antibiotics in chicken — gradually — over the next two years. Yes, they won’t use any more HUMAN antibiotics . So that really tells us nothing of the other antibiotics, for OTHER ANIMALS, that they might see fit to continue to pump into their flocks. Feeding chickens fistfuls of chicken antibiotics would still be fair play under the terms they stated in their announcement, of course.

I would like to know why I don’t ever see packages of chicken, or chicken listed on menus, that announces that the poultry has been “Raised WITH antibiotics.” You know, since it’s believed to be an OK practice and healthful and all, let’s just have that info out there for all of us to see.

Like me, for instance. Since I’m allergic to penicillin and sulfa drugs, I would really appreciate that information. Since I’m able to find out lots of fun facts about peanuts and tree nuts in food on FDA-mandated packaging, I’d like to know if penicillin is in the bird I’m going to eat, just in case there’s potential for, say, a life-threatening penicillin reaction with those nuggets.

As well as the potential for destroying the effectiveness of antibiotics in general and thereby hastening the demise of humanity as we know it. But since the industry likes to keep the use of antibiotics in chicken very, very quiet, that’s pretty unlikely to happen any time soon.

One might also wonder why the chickens were so sick in the first place. What have they been using these antibiotics for? Did they all have sinus infections? Bronchitis? Chicken syphilis?

No, it turns out that livestock farmers figured out years ago that animals would gain 3 percent more weight per year if they got pumped full of the drugs that finally gave humanity some mastery over tuberculosis, gonorrhea, diphtheria and other merciless killers. In other words, industry thought it was OK to squander potential life-saving drugs in the food supply, wantonly, to make some chickens fat. (There are other ways to do that, too — namely, feeding the chickens more food. But that would be more expensive, and it’s not like the public or politicians or regulators were trying to stop them from drugging the fat chickens.)

As the FDA points out on its website, “Antibiotics are added to the animal feed or drinking water of cattle, hogs, poultry and other food-producing animals to help them gain weight faster or use less food to gain weight.” Right. So the producers spend less on food, and you get more traces of antibiotics.

The FDA introduced a voluntary plan in December 2013 to phase out key human antibiotics in livestock. The deputy director for science policy at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine Flynn said that the participation was voluntary because it was a more efficient way to change manufacturers’ approach.

But I beg to differ. I think industry might volunteer to get the drugs out of the food animals faster if they all got nice little mandatory stickers advertising what was really in the meat. “Fed with antibiotic water.” “Now with even more pharmaceutical feed.”

If they label the antibiotic-tainted meats with their real origins, the companies will see what the market will bear pretty darn fast.

People might not be excited to shell out extra money for organic poultry, but most families are not willing to spend a dime on drumsticks if they’re reminded they have extra pharmaceuticals.

Am I in a tizzy over nothing? How do you feel about drugs being fed to livestock you will eat later so that companies can save money on feed?



Hello, tooth fetishist! Please sneak into my child’s room tonight

It’s Throwback Thursday. This is a post from 2011 from The Two Boys Club ( This lady makes no more sense to me today than she did back then.

I almost blew the whole Tooth Fairy thing already, and The Elder is a few years away from even getting a loose tooth.

“Mommy, is the Tooth Fairy REAL?”
“Um, yeah — um, so, uh …. well, why do you ask?”
“You said fairies aren’t real!”
“Oh, uh, see, that’s because she’s like, a different kind of fairy. A, um, metaphorical fairy? She’s in the fairies … union, like the, uh, elves, but not exactly a fairy, per se?”

“Well, does she have helpers?”

“You mean like a staff? Uh-huh. Yeah, I think she has some employees. Possibly elves.”

Next up, he’s waiting to hear how Santa can live at the North Pole if there is no land at the North Pole (as he learned from “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Ice is Nice”) and why Mommy and Daddy have to be from another country, called the East Coast, where parents don’t allow toddlers to play “Angry Birds.” Ever. Or so his parents say.

I’ve also got to come up with a better explanation for why this lady wants his teeth. What does she do with them? Does she eat them? Study them? Wear them? Sell them?

When I was a kid, my mother very cleverly told me the Tooth Fairy was building a big house, and I bought it, briefly, but today’s savvy kids might just put in a call to the FBI. A house … made out of teeth? What is it decorated with, hair rugs? Fingernail mosaics? Is she a serial killer, or just your run-of-the-mill fetishist?

As a society, don’t we owe it to our kids to find better reasons to put body fragments under pillows? Let’s start today.

 How do you answer questions about the Tooth Fairy?

Bloggers give each other cool prizes!

sisterhoodI’ve won something!

This hasn’t happened since I got a call to pick up twenty-four overspiced frozen burgers five years ago.

The idea behind the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award is to recognize the unique voices of women bloggers around the world.

I’ve been nominated by another Jillian, who’s also in the Pacific Northwest. She writes a quirky, fun blog called How to Be Myself ( that covers organization, home improvement and fitness.

The section “My 35 Project” covers people’s commitment to completing 35 things they want to accomplish before they turn 35.

(Um, I guess I’ll have bit more to do!) Thanks, Other Jillian!

Here are the rules of the award, should any of my nominees choose to accept:

Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their site. Answer the ten questions sent to you. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer. Nominate seven bloggers who you feel deserve the award.

My answer’s to Jillian’s questions:

1. What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you lately? On a skiing trip to Whistler/Blackcomb this weekend, I ended up on a blue trail that was full of icy moguls. I normally freak out when I see moguls due to some bad skiing incidents back when I was a clueless teenager, so I decided to take off my skis and walk down. Bad move. I’m apparently a clueless grownup. I basically cannonballed down the trail on my bottom, shrieking like Lucille Ball. I somehow stopped. Which was nice, because I really didn’t want to fall down that embankment and slam into the trees.

2. Is there something you’re putting off doing that you could start today? Fully unpacking from our move a year and a half ago.

3. If the average human life span was 50 years, how would you live your life differently? OR If you had five more years to live, how would you live your life differently? I don’t get much time in either scenario! I would travel more and see my family on the East Coast more.

4. If you had to move to a new state or country, where would you move and why? I’m going to pick Italy, because I’ve had a great time whenever I’ve visited. I’ve already lived in five states: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, California and Washington. It’s time to try a new country.

5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done on a date? My now-husband and I went looking for animatronic dinosaurs when we were at a party in the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. (The dinos were on an off-limits floor. Who hides moving dinosaurs from drunken revelers?)

6. What was the last picture you took on your phone? It’s a shot of my five-year-old getting on a ski lift.

7. If you see a dog running around alone by the road, do you stop to help the dog? Honestly, it might depend on whether the dog appeared to know where it was going. If it was in danger of being hit, yes, definitely.

8. Do you have a favorite sports team? My loyalty is with Boston teams, and sometimes Seattle teams. I don’t think I should say any more or I’ll get in trouble with other Boston natives.

9. Would you want to be famous and rich, knowing that you would lose all of your privacy? No.

10. What was your first job? Working at a Dunkin’ Donuts at age 15, wearing a tan dress with orange, pink and brown doughnut trees on it.

Questions for my nominees (and anyone else who wants to post their answers here):

  1. Pick a pest for your house: Roaches or rats? Why?

  2. Coffee or tea (or neither)?

  3. Do you think Pluto should still have full planet status? Why or why not?

  4. Have you ever written a letter to the editor of a newspaper? If so, what was it about?

  5. What is your favorite book from childhood?

  6. Have you ever taken lessons in a musical instrument? What kind?

  7. Do you speak or have you studied any other languages?

  8. What is your favorite sport to watch (if any)?

  9. What is your favorite sport to play (if any)?

  10. What is your favorite TV show from the past ten years?

My seven nominees:

  1. Coffee Jitters, Judy Schwartz Haley ( A breast cancer survivor’s witty, playful take on parenting. And cancer.

  2. Foggy Mommy ( A former editor and current freelance writer experiences new motherhood after infertility.

  3. The Jillist ( Another blogger named Jill riffs on parenting with crazy, funny lists and zany conversations with Siri.

  4. The Plagued Parent ( A family deals gracefully with estrangement from a clinically depressed daughter.

  5. Motherhood, WTF? ( She claims she’s “the mom who makes you feel better about your parenting.” Her articles make me feel better about parenting in general. (Yay, I’m not alone.)

  6. Comfytown Chronicles ( Joy is funny. Irreverent. All the stuff I like.

  7. Rubber Shoes in Hell ( Michelle had me at “Things You Shouldn’t Wear After 50.”

OK, what are everyone else’s answers? You know you have an opinion on Pluto. Don’t try to hide it. Share it in the comments.

Are smartphones a dumb move for grade-schoolers?

My eight-year-old thinks he should have a smartphone so he can play Minecraft whenever he wants. I think that he shouldn’t have a smartphone because then he will play Minecraft whenever he wants.

Back in my day, a kid that age would call his friends on tin can “phones” attached by a string. (OK, maybe that wasn’t my day, but I sure did see that on reruns from the ’60s a lot.)

And back in my day, it was character building to sit and wait in a panic, with no phone in sight, when a parent was late picking you up from the bus.

Nonetheless, it seems I am way out of step with trendsetters in the children’s fashion world, who find it not only desirable but essential that my five-year-old’s winter coat have a cellphone pocket. (What five-year-old doesn’t have a need for a cellphone? It leaves me to wonder where he’s going to store his car keys and his cigarettes when he’s out on the slopes.)

But seriously, I do resent being nudged toward completely immersing my kids in the world of iPhones, Androids, iPads and Nintendo 3DSes before they’ve even formed a proper sense of what intersection they live near. They barely understand how to talk into a phone when it isn’t in speaker mode, which other parents tell me is now a grave epidemic among today’s under-10 set. The last thing we need is autocomplete messing with their newfound spelling ability.

But the products keep coming. There are little gloves for four-year-olds with touch-screen-friendly fingers — just in case your child wants to play Minion Rush while out in a blizzard. A tiny coat pocket is tagged with a picture of a phone so your preschooler knows, before he can read, that you are depriving him of valuable technology that he could be carrying on his person at this very instant, even though he is struggling with the concept of having to carry his very own nearly empty backpack to school each day.

My question is whether parents are really doing this: Are adults buying kids as young as grade-schoolers their own phones now? And are people actually buying young children smartphones? (And requiring pockets for them?)

Sure, the kids can call you when you mess up and accidentally forget to pick them up at school. The down side is that they might be surfing porn and watching bomb-making videos when you get there.

What are your thoughts on smartphones for kids? Are they too much, too soon, or just right?

If you kill the sugar, you kill the party

Kids love class parties. They love the tiny mass-marketed Valentine’s Day cards that train them to be dutiful consumers (“You are a Super Friend, Valentine!”).

They love that they get to glue things up and cut things out when they would normally be struggling to pay attention to some grownup inexplicably talking about something at the front of the room.

And they love the food — the junkier the better.

I don’t normally feed my children Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip and Pixy Stix for dinner, but I am certainly not opposed to them receiving these items at a class party, or chugging them when the party monitors aren’t looking. And I certainly do not mind them partaking in treats other than fruit and cheese at a party. But I hear that many class parties are being thrown with absolutely no sugar. Just fruit, thank you. A little cheese, merci. 

Grownups, let’s be serious. If we were at a reception and someone offered us just fruit and cheese, they’d better be damned certain there was some wine to go with that.

For kids, the cupcakes or cookies would be that main event. Because a party without cake or cookies is just a regular old snack time. The kids know this, and they know we know this. And they know that we know that they know this.

So, barring a few health issues and allergies, please, please, let your kid have a cupcake this year.

Just don’t do it every day, and I promise they will all live to be safe, happy adults.








Top 10 reasons why you (maybe) don’t want measles


  1. Unsightly red spots.

  2. Might get pesky brain inflammation.

  3. Eyes could stop working.

  4. You’ll look like a throwback to the mid-1960s.

  5. Doctors younger than 70 won’t even know what you have.

  6. Makes it easier to pick up ebola when that hits.

  7. Anti-vax families will keep inviting you over for playdates (so they can inoculate the old-fashioned way — by catching it).

  8. Probably have to stay home from Disneyland.

  9. Eyes hurt and you feel like you might die.

  10. Oh, yeah. You could die.

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