Endless Summer: Why Do American Schools Have Such a Long Vacation? (An Introduction)

Summer in the United States is a time of contradictions. Schoolchildren dream of golden, stress-free days, while working parents scramble to find childcare for two to three months. Among middle class families, extroverted children look forward to summer camps, and introverted children try desperately to convince their parents that they …


Celebration! (and a poetry challenge)

I’m hugging Offspring every few minutes today! I hope the backlash is light, but this is time for happiness and love. Help me celebrate! Our very own Emily brought it to my attention that Scalia’s dissent is being turned to poetry. Put your poetry in comments. It can be based …


Forget GMOs: You Should Know About Nitrogen!

What do red clover, seabird poop, World War I, the current world population and the Oklahoma City bombing all have in common? Nitrogen, specifically fixed nitrogen. In human hands it has the power to nurture or to destroy. We cannot exist without it. For example, it is nitrogen in the …


A Fond Farewell to Rosie the Riveter

Rosie died last month. More precisely, Mary Doyle Keefe passed away on 21 April 2015 at the age of 92. Mary Doyle was the model for Norman Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter” painting, which appeared on the cover of the Memorial Day, 29 May 1943 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. …


The Gay Agenda* #2: Let’s talk about bathrooms

I’m back with the next installment of The Gay Agenda. What outrageous desire am I sharing with you this time? Well, it turns out that non-gender-conforming people would like to be able to use the bathroom in peace without being accosted, abused, or attacked. Recently Offspring, who identifies as genderqueer, …

ActivitiesFamily Field TripsMedia & Technology

Virtual Field Tripping: Shelf Life from the AMNH

I adore the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. From my first trip there as an awkward tween, I’ve been hooked. Before we were married, Spouse and I fell in love among AMNH’s dinosaurs. It was only natural that when Offspring came along we would make one …

ActivitiesFamily Field Trips

Field Tripping: Powell’s City of Books, Portland, Oregon

Can a bookstore really be a field trip / tourist destination? If you are a bibliophile, and the bookstore is Powell’s, the answer is a resounding “yes!” In case you think I’m exaggerating (I’m not) or a bit obsessive when it comes to books (I am), Lonely Planet, Time, and …

ActivitiesFamily Field Trips

Field Tripping: EMP Museum, Seattle

The EMP Museum is squee heaven for geeks and nerds of all varieties. It’s hard for me to imagine inhabiting any corner of geekdom and not being happy here. Sci-fi, gaming, fantasy, rock music, grunge, Star Trek, Star Wars, costume design, 1970s TV, the list is endless. EMP originally stood …


The Gay Agenda* #1: Advice for friends – knowing what you are saying

My child identifies as gay and genderqueer. I happen to think that xe* is a pretty awesome person who ought to be treated as a full human being, and that choices in apparel, hairstyle, and personal partners are irrelevant to that reality. Apparently this qualifies me as support staff for …


Mrs. Name Of Man, Maiden Names and Coverture

Coverture is the doctrine of English law and social practice, imported to America and many Commonwealth nations, in which a female person had no legal identity. From birth a girl was covered by her father. This held as long as she was a “virgin” or “maiden”, hence the surname she …