12 Things I Want My Daughters To Know

October 2, 2016

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  1. Your intelligence should be ever-expanded with quality books, education, and conversation. Don’t stop seeking them out.
  2. I really don’t care if you don’t take a jacket. You’re not going to die of exposure in New Jersey. Just don’t be the girl who doesn’t take a jacket and then whines about the cold. She’s annoying.
  3. Focus on what you want your life to look like, not your body. Your body is a freakin’ beautiful miracle. Go do cool things without worrying how you look.
  4. If you stop laughing about stuff I’m pretty sure you die of boredom. So there’s that.
  5. Four hours into a night out, you probably won’t care what shoes you wore. But, you will care if you can’t walk. Or dance. Choose the shoes carefully.
  6. You’re both smart girls, but kindness is your highest goal. I care much more that you would invite the loner kid to sit with you at lunch than I do about you getting into the “right” college.
  7. There is no “right” anything, while we’re on that subject – not clothes, friends, college, house, career, nadda. There is only what’s right for your situation. But, Mom and Dad get to help you with that situation, so NO, you’re not wearing that skirt.
  8. To quote the internet, “Life is too short for fake butter, cheese, or people”. Steer clear of all three. Actually Cheese Whiz definitely has its place…
  9. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to try it, and think long and hard before you quit. This does not apply to certain controlled substances.
  10. Make-up can be washed off. Haircuts will grow out. Tattoos are forever. Just saying.
  11. If someone does something that hurts you, try to understand them. It doesn’t make them right, but you’ll probably find that their actions aren’t about you in the first place.
  12. Your dad and I always, always love you.
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Why Blogging Feels Dumb and Why I Do It Anyway

September 28, 2014

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It was a pathetic joke that Barney blogged on How I Met Your Mother. And that was how many years ago?

barney blog (2)

The “actual” Barney Stinson Blog is here, and it’s fun. But I’m still mad about how that show ended. Boo, HIMYM!

From August 2008 to April 2013 I published 294 blog posts at LaFamigliaD. Today, like reading a bad 10th grade term paper, I roll my eyes at a lot of what’s there. Including the site’s title.

But Mustapha Hamoui, writer of Geek Blog, talks about Why the Blog Still Wins over the microblogging-style posts of Facebook and Twitter.  His beef with Twitter – mine too – is that writing in 140 characters can be brief and disjointed. It doesn’t “leave you in a strong relationship with the source”. And regarding that life-suck that is Facebook? We all know an algorithm decides who and what we will see, all the time. I’ll get into my dysfunctional relationship with Facebook some other time, when I can stay up and rant. It’s a school night.

By contrast, the personal blog is not owned or controlled by a company. I don’t even use sidebar advertisements here.  I’m so old-fashioned. Maybe someday I’ll decide to creep out my half dozen readers with banner ads for whatever product they last searched on Amazon. The difference between little status updates and a personal blog is control; your writing is your product, you control what of you is viewed, and social media just ships it out there.

Blogging is the act of writing about whatever you want, for everyone and no one but yourself. You keep in mind your audience and your own standards. You try to express yourself as artfully as possible.  You accept that whatever you publish is “out there”, for every eye in the world. You also accept that NOBODY could ever read it. I used blog a lot. I wish I did more of it. I also used to write Star Wars fan fiction in 4th grade, but you don’t see me doing that any more.  And this was 1990; Star Wars was not even cool again until ’99.

So… Lately I get asked, “Why are you blogging again?

Well, to be honest, I have no concrete reason. This feels kind of dumb. Oh God. I am Barney. For a while (10 years ago…) it seemed like everybody had a blog. Then it was just that every Mommy had one, and they were all about recipes and how cute or unique their kids are.

The scary and wonderful part is that anything you write, 140 characters or 600 words, makes you vulnerable. I second-guess many of these posts, publishing and deleting them 10 minutes later. Then I have a little drink and pray that no one saw.  I worry that I’ll offend somebody with an outrageous statement. Or worse, that I’ll bore them with a perfunctory one.

I actually wish more people did this. I love reading real people’s writing, when it hasn’t been edited and sanitized for mass marketing. It’s pretty easy on WordPress or Blogger, people give it a try!

So, why blog?

Remember my love of bulleted lists…

  • Because I’ve always loved writing.
  • Because my kid loves writing and I want to show her that you can keep enjoying it, for life.
  • Because there’s some pretty cool stuff in this world, and blogging gives me the illusion that I get to share it with you.
  • Because life is about the connections we make.
  • Because we get “Amish TV” (no real cable, on purpose), and House of Cards doesn’t come back to Netflix until February.
  • Because I’ve always loved writing.

Oops. I said that last one twice. 🙂

 

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The 4 Year-Old Curriculum

August 24, 2014

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The 4 year old starts Pre-K this year. In our public school district, Pre-K is free and lasts half the day, much like Kindergarten in days gone by. This is because Pre-K is the new Kindergarten. Kindergarten is the new First Grade. First is the new Second, and after that you’d better be ready to take the SAT’s, kid, cause it’s about that time.  Hopefully somewhere in there you find time to learn to tie your shoes.

Actually? When I was in Kindergarten I was the dead-last kid to learn to tie my shoes. This was humiliating. Nowadays, motor skills like these develop later. I presume this because it is not a standard skill among my first graders.  I have even had 8 year olds asking me to tie their shoes. Spoiler: I did not.  Now ask me if my 7 1/2 year-old is all that good at it…

This past summer I ran across a great blog post from the blog A Magical Childhood, and loved it. “What Should a 4 Year Old Know” was a calming reminder that, though my little one is not reading or writing like my big one was at this age, there are far more important things than a knowledge of the two sounds “G” makes.   I will admit to buying a Pre-K workbook for us to use when we ‘played school’ in the summer.  We cracked it once. Again, we had stuff to do.

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Posto Numero Uno

August 24, 2014

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That sounds about right.  So here we have post #1.

Don’t worry, I’ve been writing through most of August. There’s more than this.  Maybe even today, if you’re good. This pathetic little paragraph punctuated by dinosaur cartoons is not all I’ve got, so my vast audience of devoted readers need not fear.  The first post on a blog is always a kind of the book dedication, that’s all. Because all bloggers secretly wish for a book deal. And wine. We like wine too.

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