SL 698


Steve is a big fan of New York State Rye.

I’m fascinated by academics who cross the line into mainstream world. This one got burned, but it’s still an interesting story.

Swedish death cleaning.

I adore these shoes. If you guys use Amazon through the Apt. 11D links over the holidays, I’ll buy myself a pair.



The Crippling Impact of Parental Stress

After Ian’s driver got him at 7:15, I answered e-mail, arranged the time schedule for the day, and wrote for 30 minutes on my pet article. (I’m not pitching it to a magazine until it’s entirely done, which is always risky. Still, I love this article so much that I’ll just put it on the blog, if I can’t find a professional home for it.) Then I went for an hour run. For the rest of morning, I checked off items — a combination of work and mom chores — from the daily schedule. I’m so damn productive that I want to barf.

Why am I getting so much done? Well, I have been much better about running and healthy living shit. Seriously, it makes a difference.

I also have a lot less parental stress in my life. Keeping a teenage boy on target for an elite college that is affordable is VERY HARD. There are landmines everywhere. There are so many ways to royally screw up, so the only recourse is moving the entire family to rural Manitoba. And there are so many dumb chores — chauffeur duties, SAT dates, prom tux measurements, physics projects, cross country banquets, college tours, German verb conjugations. All that is done. Thank God. I know he’s sweating his way through college level calc right now, but it’s not in front of me, so I can’t worry about it. Much.

Ian has been on auto-pilot for two years ever since we moved him to his new school. But before that, he was in a bad situation, which required tons of meetings and advocates and coordination. I have more driving duties now that he goes to a school that’s farther away but that is the extent of my stress. He’s getting a good and appropriate education right now. He’s super happy. Thank you, baby Jesus.

We won’t have to work about college applications, GPAs, or tux measurements for Ian. In a way, that is sad. But in a way, it’s GREAT. He’ll be in school until he’s 21, so we’ll have worries then. But that’s far away.

All that stress was fritzing out my brain. Constant adrenaline rushes. And you never knew when a crisis would pop up. So, I was always on guard, always ready for the next battle. Now, I’m getting my shit done. I’m booked with work until Thanksgiving.

I also have the brain space to take care of the little OCD tasks that make me happy. I replaced all the bath towels in the house. The boys with their damn acne cream trashed all the towels. Now, each bathroom has its own color.  The boys have white, so I can bleach the towels every month.

I also take the time to get a manicure every week. I’m finally establishing a skin regimin to include a quality neck cream and visiting the dermatologist for a regular redhead spot check up.  I’m drinking more water. I rearranged our bedroom furniture. All these little girlie changes make me very happy.

Taking a step back. Schools shouldn’t make us sad, but they do. That’s crazy.

Is Life Better Today?

As I was super busy juggling two articles last week, you guys were carrying on an interesting discussion without me. Let me bring it to the front page.

Is life better today than it was for our parents? Do we enjoy more material benefits? Are our jobs more secure? Is the world more inclusive and kinder?

Well, it is better for people like Ian. They didn’t have the words to describe people with high functioning autism ten years ago. Now, there is the assumption that people like my son should have proper education, work, and housing. Does it always happen? No. Actually, people like Ian have a 20 percent shot of getting those things. But there’s at least recognition that these rights should exist. Maybe there will actually be real progress in another ten years.

Tangent — It does bug the crap out of me that my friends who happily plant a rainbow flag on their front lawns see nothing wrong with the fact that our school district educates its special ed kids in a windowless basement.

We have a bigger house than my parents; I grew up in a two bedroom Cape Cod. But my dad spent more time at home than Steve does. Kids weren’t so stressed out about grades and colleges and after school activities, but they are also less bored. I think middle class parenting is a wash – some improvements, some negatives.

I think the biggest difference in the negative camp has to be for working class Americans. The Trump voters really do have a worse life than they did a generation ago. And that isn’t a subjective assessment; It’s showing up in the death rates. The life expectancy for working class, white women has plummeted. The opioid crisis has hit that group hard.

Not Shocked

Hollywood stars, like Meryl Streep, are coming out saying that they are SHOCKED — SHOCKED, I TELL YOU — that Harvey Weinstein was a creep. Ronan Farrow has a follow up article in the New Yorker, which includes interviews with Mira Sorvino. (Mira went to our high school and was friends with my sister.)

Alright. Who was really shocked? Not me, because I read really trashy Hollywood gossip websites like Blind Gossip and Crazy Days and Nights. And according to those websites, what Harvey did was par for the course, and there are much bigger, creepier things going on. Including lots of pimping out of Hollywood stars and celebrities to oil sheiks in Dubai.

For real gossip geeks, Crazy Days and Nights occasionally features comments and input from someone named “Himmmm.” It’s supposedly Robert Downey, Jr.