Halloween 2014 Open Thread

What’s up?

Happy Halloween, all! I am bummed that it is raining in Berkeley, Calif., because I enjoy dressing up, but hate the idea of braving it in cold rain.

The kids are already getting their costumes on as their Spanish immersion school has a yearly Halloween / Día de los Muertos parade.

Feel free to use this open thread for costumes and anything else that is on your mind. How are you today?


Thursday Open Thread

Apropos of my last post (when I left my daughter home alone and traumatized her for life because she thought I was maybe dead), I found this chart really interesting, because it lists how old kids have to be before you can legally leave them home alone. It varies widely by state, and in my state of California, there is no legal age requirement. Other states range from as low as 6 years old (Kansas) to 14 years old (Illinois). Fourteen? Really? What do you think?

And on the eve of Halloween, before we descend into official holiday madness, I am thinking of the little traditions we have established. Our big Halloween tradition is visiting the same pumpkin patch every year, and taking the same picture:


What are your favorite traditions? Any not-so favorites?

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


Tuesday Open Thread

Time to unpack my bags in the wake of an epic guilt trip!

Let me set the scene: DD9 wakes up yesterday complaining that she “feels hot.” We take her temp and sure enough, she is running a fever (100.3). She says she feels fine otherwise but we can’t in good conscience send her to school with a fever.

When it’s time to take DS to preschool I offer to let her stay home alone for the 20 minutes it will take me to get him there and back (she hasn’t really been alone before). She happily agrees and it goes fine: she was instructed not to open the door for anyone, to answer the phone only for me or her father, and spent the time watching Spongebob in our bed.

After DH comes home from his bike ride, I hand off and say I’m heading to the gym. After the gym I decide to hit Trader Joe’s for groceries and it’s a madhouse, crazy crowds and long lines. I realize I won’t be on time to pick DS up at preschool, so I text DH and ask him to go get the boy. Leave DD home, I say, as I’ll be home soon enough.

This is where everything went off the rails: DH apparently told DD I would be home “any minute.” I was held up because of said crowds and lines, then dropped my phone in the parking lot while loading the groceries into my car. My phone DIED. No screen, no power, NOTHING when I plugged it into the car charger. I head home, only to have DD come bursting through the door as soon as the garage opened.

“Where were you?” she asked through tears. “I was scared, I thought something happened to you.” She was trembling and weepy and I hugged her and apologized, telling her I didn’t mean to scare her. DH comes home, works his ninja magic on my phone (I always forget to hit the power and home button AT THE SAME DAMN TIME) and it turns back on. I see a missed call and a voice mail, and hit play.

ZOMG it was DD hyperventilating and crying, “Mami, where are you? You’re not here and I NEED YOU! COME HOME!” Seriously the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard. My jaw was on the ground.

So yes, my phone died at the exact moment of my daughter’s existential panic and made it impossible for her to reach me. You can’t make this shit up.

Moral of the story: I need a new fucking phone. Oh, and maybe DD isn’t quite ready to be home alone yet. Sigh.

Have you had any parenting fails lately? How about sweet parenting victories? Do tell!

And by all means, share whatever’s on your mind today…


Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

There is nothing to erase the bruised feelings following two consecutive losses at a soccer tournament than having said soccer tournament in Santa Cruz, California. For the most part, we enjoyed glorious weather, walked along the beach or boardwalk and had fun at an amusement park. (A great consolation prize for the kids!)

I even got to sleep in and run on the beach. Heaven.

How was your weekend? How are you this morning?


Weekend Open Thread

Good news: High heels are dead!

It seems that flat shoes with roomy footbeds are all the rage.

Running shoes, Birkenstocks, Teva-type hiking sandals and Adidas-style slides were among the low shoes with a high profile during the recent spring fashion shows on the runway—and in the audience. Wide, flat footbeds, toe room, cushiony soles. Slaves to fashion have never been so comfortable.

I won’t wear Birkenstocks, Tevas or Adidas slides, but I am loyal to ballet flats, and rock flip flops year-round. A platform sandal is as close as I’ll get to voluntarily wearing heels. I did wear a beautiful pair of heels to a wedding a few weeks ago and my calves were sore for FOUR DAYS. Oy.

I am also loving tall, flat riding boots for fall. I found a similar pair at Target for less than $40, paired them with skinny jeans and a loose sweater and VOILA! Instant style and comfort. I spend about 80 percent of my days in semi-sweaty workout clothes, so I am trying to make more of an effort to look halfway decent (on the weekends, at least). What are your go-to clothing and shoe styles? Which trends do you wish would make a comeback? I miss chunky Mary Jane shoes. Sigh.

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!



Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I’ve got nothing. I’ve been hustling all week to head out to Santa Cruz, California today for Ari’s soccer tournament. I also have a two-day work retreat next week, which required some advance planning on my end.

Whew! What’s up with you? Have a great weekend all!


Thursday Open Thread

Every year they show up at my door, usually a little later than all the little kids: overgrown trick-or-treaters. Sometimes they don’t even bother to wear a costume. And I’m left feeling like I’ve just been shaken down for candy by a bunch of high schoolers.

But this column about teenagers that are “too old” to be asking for candy made me see them in a whole new light.

When a crowd of under-costumed teens shows up on your doorstep, welcome them. It’s a big group because they find strength in numbers. They’re not wearing costumes because they didn’t realize that they’d want to go–nor how badly.

Give them big bars. Don’t tell them they’re too old. They already know that.

Let them pretend it just isn’t so.

I think I will be much more welcoming this year. What say you? At what point do you say, “No candy for you, Sparky!” Or are you happy to give goodies to all comers?

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Working Mother magazine celebrated National Flex Day yesterday, October 21, with a series of profiles highlighting open and flexible work arrangements. Working for an organization, in which this is one of our key issues, I read so many great articles on why providing workers with flextime is good for families and the bottom line. Workers with access to flex time are less likely to call in sick and more likely to care for themselves — like take the time to exercise or meditate — which has repercussions for the business and community at large.

Here is another great article on flexible work schedules:

Why Flex Time Is the #2 Most Important Employee Benefit“, by Gloria Feldt, Take the Lead

For me, the ability to work from home — or have flexible hours — was the No. 1 reason for a career change from journalism to community organizing. I don’t know how I could have continued my former position with a baby or toddler, a two-hour round-trip commute and no family nearby to pick up the slack.

What about you? Do you have access to flex time?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?