• Books
  • Life Among the Savages

    In her memoir of young family life, Life Among the Savages, Shirley Jackson tells the story of the outsize influence of a child’s first grade teacher. We get a delicious profile of her daughter Jannie’s Mrs. Skinner: We had been exposed to Mrs. Skinner from about the third day of school, when Jannie came home […]

  • Books
  • Joe the Curmudgeon

    Joe Queenan is a crowd-pleaser at my house. When The Sons are home, and we are lingering after a long breakfast served at 1:00 p.m., Queenan’s Wall Street Journal column is good for a laugh. He’s a curmudgeon, especially about things modern. “Uriah the Hittite” is a family meme: [A] couple of years ago, when […]

  • Family
  • Classic Blunders

    This post has the potential to insult multiple family members, but here goes. Our older son got my full dose of rage about young love. His first girlfriend lived a 30-minute drive from our house. He was 15, so I logged a lot of driving time with them. One time I was especially ticked with […]

  • Family
  • You Can’t Go Home Again

    Birdhouse Light Switch Cover. You Can't Go Home Again.

    “I know they say you can’t go home again.” That is true figuratively but not literally. I did “go home again” this summer to visit my parents. I slept in my childhood bedroom. I took the photo above, of the birdhouse light switch cover. That little birdie did not fly out of the nest. He […]

  • Family
  • Mommiavelli

    Overheard in my house this summer: Moi: Honey, why don’t you make chili tonight? DH: OK! Moi: But not too much, OK? Don’t make a full two gallon pot. We will just have to throw it out. DH: Moi: Please do not make too much. DH: Moi: There better be at least 2 inches of […]

  • Family
  • Happiness

    Happiness is like a butterfly

    My thoughts turn to butterflies on the first day of summer. I love this quote. Happiness can be elusive. A corollary, from All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, by Jennifer Senior: It is unrealistic…to assume that if all goes well in a child’s life, he or she will be happy. Not […]