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September 2011 (131 posts)
"I'm both a homemaker and a home-wrecker." This Brooklyn artist lends new meaning to the phrase "house painter."
Why didn't we think of that? Downloadable cash envelopes—a simple, smart, and free way to stay on your budget.
"Maybe I'm a little wrong for lying to her and falsifying the pictures, but I don't care." This father Photoshopped whimsical creatures (and a sense of wonder) into his family vacation photos.
Newsflash: Sometimes it's best to give yourself (and your kids) permission to do nothing at all.
The Life Lifter: In his last days, an Army vet struggles to fulfill his dying wish to legally adopt his little girl. Please have a hanky ready.
The cover story of this week’s New York magazine gets personal with a group of women whose definition of someday is totally outside the norm. They’re older moms who waited to have children, and then were lucky enough that reproductive technology (egg donors, egg freezing, surrogacy) enabled them to become mothers at 49, 50 and 54. Writer Lisa Miller, who had her own baby at age 40, explores why the sight of gray-haired, post-menopausal women chasing toddlers around the playground (or holding a pregnant belly, or breast-feeding, as in the photos that accompany the story) make other people--doctors, younger parents, grandparents, new moms under 50 but still considered to be of "advanced maternal age"--express almost hostile disapproval.
Miller stokes the controversy for the first part of the article, but then suddenly switches tack and presents research that shows that, physical and mental exhaustion aside, there may be advantages to having a baby at the same age one's friends are becoming grandparents. This both-sides-of-the-story method of reporting resonated with me. In complicated dilemmas (and parenthood is full of ethical and emotional quagmires), it’s easy to choose sides, but it’s much harder to show why something could be wrong at the same time that it’s absolutely right. I finished the article feeling just as confused as ever about my own baby dilemma—but also enriched from hearing about the complexity of choices.
Can you have it all?
6 things every new mom needs to know
For some women, being an aunt is better than being a mom
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
*In case that doesn't satisfy your Thursday handsome man craving, perhaps you would be interested in this gallery of George Clooney and Ryan Gosling goofing off on the red carpet? (BuzzFeed)
* Did you watch last night's baseball insanity? Bill Simmons, a.k.a. The Sports Guy kept a running diary while watching his beloved Boston Red Sox epically lose to the Baltimore Orioles. (Grantland)
* "The problem was, as with most things in my life, I turned something that should have been a sweet memory into yet another self-generated humiliation."—Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids and creator of Freaks and Geeks, remembers his first kiss in the delightful essay, "A Super-Classy Gentleman’s Guide to Being a Classy Fellow." (Rookie)
The other day my blonde 2-year-old spent a long time studying a picture book featuring a dark-haired girl. Finally she sighed, longingly, and said, “She has such pretty curly brown hair.” And so it begins: the everywoman’s struggle with wanting the hair you don’t have, from the curly-headed woman’s hour-long morning battle with the straightening iron, to the redhead’s love affair with the black dye bottle.
Redheads face this problem with special intensity, the Daily Mail reported recently in their story on International Redhead Day, when thousands congregate in Breda, Holland. Reporter Marianne Powers writes of communing with others who, like her, had felt embarrassed of their red hair and freckles, endured childhood taunts, or were victims of ginger-discrimination (in 2007 repeated abuse forced a redheaded Newcastle family from their home). The lighthearted festival offers a respite from anti-redhead sentiments, with weekend full of events like lectures on redhead-specific topics, movies starring redheads, and above all else, a chance for members of this minority (2% of the world's population, according to Powers) to bond with each other. Bart Rouwenhorst,the festival's founder, told Powers,"If you see one redhead it's beautiful. If you see this many, it's like a dream."
We can tell ourselves "it's just hair" all we want, but Powers' realization sparked a realization of my own: disliking even a small part of yourself can create "a little wound." Why not go ahead and love your hair?
What Oprah knows about loving yourself the way you are.
The Pay-it-Forward Pillow: How one single mother makes life a little more comfortable for people in pain.
The U.S. (just barely) made the list! The ten best countries for women.
Clear your financial clutter and build your wealth, all while watching "Dancing With the Stars."
The Life Lifter: After five years of living in the woods, this once-homeless grandmother was given an apartment of her own--and a way to find meaning in her ordeal.
This week is Banned Books week and, as a country, we're all supposed to be discussing what fate befalls a culture when books are destroyed or banned. I'm as afraid of ignorance and hate as the next guy, and so apparently is Ray Bradbury who (along with his camera-loving kitty ) made this short film for the National Endowment for the Arts about book burning...supposedly. What really comes across is why we all should love libraries. "All the people are waiting for me," Bradbury says, about his excitement upon entering one and how he thinks of books as friends. "Libraries are people."
Sadly, I know what awaits me at my local branch—little kids running wild as their babysitters chat and a long row of computers where people put together resumes. Our local library has become part-daycare facility and part employment center—and looks like an IRS office, minus the charm. The trainings and child-friendly crafts classes are much needed by the community, but listening to Bradbury talk I had such a longing for the library of my youth—filled with big globes and polished wood and, in the children's section, a goldfish pond with a mural of Alice in Wonderland.
"You go into the library and discover yourself," Bradbury says. Considering the pace and demands of this life, it would behoove us all to venture over to the downtown of our towns and visit the main branch where books rule the day and the librarians still "hush." I keep thinking that a massage by a professional (instead of me rubbing my own neck) or an appointment with a therapist (instead of a rambling rant to my ceiling before bed) will help me discover something, but perhaps I need a few hours with a different kind of person—like Anna Karenina or Billy Budd or even Ray Bradbury, as since as he claims, one of characters in the novel Fahrenheit 451 is, in fact, Ray Bradbury.
5 books everyone should read once
Award-winning books—how many have you read?
In a few days, Rachel Held Evans will finally be able to cut her hair. She won't have to camp out in a purple tent in her front yard during her period anymore, and, thank goodness, she can stop submitting to her husband. No, she's not escaping some weird cult. She's ending her year-long project to literally follow the Bible's every rule for women.
As Evans told NPR recently, she's had plenty of odd moments in her year of living by the book, including standing by the "Welcome to Dayton" sign with a poster board that read, "Dan is Awesome." (Praising her husband at the gates, in accordance to Proverbs 31.) Following the Old and New Testaments to the letter has also involved making her own clothes, learning how to cook, abstaining from gossip, and nurturing a gentle and quiet spirit. Evans kept a blog about this "Womanhood Project" (no word on what the Bible says about blogging), and a few moments spent reading her posts reveal a woman on a sincere spiritual quest, going about things in a good-humored way.
What's so compelling about this project is that while it could easily sound like a way to poke fun at Evangelicals who claim to live by the book, Evans is herself a Christian with a thoughtful relationship to her religion. Also, she learned how to make toffee. And it's hard to argue with that.
Read more about religion and spirituality:
Find the right spiritual path for you.
How to be more spiritual every day.
You may have heard about popular bone-building medications like Fosamax, Boniva and Atelvia, and you may have figured that, because they're prescribed to many women with osteoporosis (your mom, your aunt, some of your coworkers), they'll be your back-up plan should you, too, have problems with your bones. But while these bisphosphonates have been shown to be effective in reducing fractures in women with osteoporosis, they’ve also been connected to abnormal fractures in the femur as well as a rare disease in the jaw bone. In response to concern of the long-term safety of bisphosphonates, the F.D.A. recently issued a staff report, and asked two panels to review the drugs and make recommendations. The takeaway is that because these oral medications can be stored in the bones, the F.D.A. said that women can safely stop taking them after five years--and in fact, it might not be a bad idea to do so.
Strong, dense bones could help you avoid this type of medication altogether -- as well as the complicated cautions and advisories. Here are 4 drug-free ways to strengthen your skeleton:
1. Because the rate of fractures increases in those who don't get enough calcium, eat plenty of dairy, spinach, tofu and almonds. Use calcium supplements with Vitamin D to bring you up to a total of 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
2. Make sure your workouts include weight-bearing exercises like strength training, jogging, tennis and hiking (especially with the weight of a pack) stimulate bone growth. (When hitting the trail, avoid these 7 hiking mistakes)
3. Think about also taking up yoga, which improves balance and can increase mineral density in the spine. (Try Dr. Oz's morning yoga routine)
4. Give yourself one more reason to give up cigarettes and boozy nights out: Smoking and heavy drinking increase the risk of osteoporosis.
What one calcium-aholic learned about supplements
How to spot osteoporosis symptoms
More ways to bolster your bones