Joie d’Eve

Carnival Calories

I got through Hurricane Barry evacuation this summer without eating any of the hurricane snacks. I got through my birthday with only the tiniest piece of cake. I didn’t eat a single piece of my kids’ massive haul of Halloween…

It’s Carnival Time

So for those who might be wondering: I did take Ruby to Krewe du Vieux this weekend, and she loved it. We laughed at the floats, we caught some blinky rings and some…

Krewe du What Do I Do?

Just a few weeks ago, I posted advice for newbie parents, giving my take on things from the perspective of someone who’s been doing this parenting thing for more than a decade. A few days after that, a friend on…

The Nature of Public Grief

  As the nation mourns Kobe Bryant, I am as sad as I am when any celebrity dies, which is to say “sad but not sad in the way a personal friend would be.” When Prince died, I listened to…

Chapter & Verse

  Georgia has hit a milestone – one that excites me way more than first steps or lost teeth. Georgia has started reading chapter books! Ruby, in her time, hit this milestone with great reluctance, not liking any of the…

Parenting Advice

  My daughter Ruby told me last week that there’s a rumor going around her school that I’m a teen mom. She was offended on my behalf; I was wildly flattered. “Do they really think I look that young?” I…

King Cake Conundrum

  You know you’re getting old when you get excited about a new calendar, but here I am. I got a brightly colored calendar for 2020 that features hand-drawn pictures of food with hand-lettered recipes (this month is borscht!), and…

Ringing It In, Quietly

  New Year’s Eve is right up there with Valentine’s Day in terms of being overhyped and loaded with false significance and forced romance. I don’t hate them, but I try not to imbue either of them with much meaning.…

The Tyranny of the Elf

  Christmas is a lot, folks. The shopping, the wrapping, the baking, the parties, the decorating … and throughout it all, the relentless pressure on parents – and these are typically moms – to make everything extra-magical. From minute to…

Christmas Tree, Revisited

  When I wrote this almost six years ago, everything still felt kind of new and exciting and painful and raw. I was two years into my marriage. I was four years out from my divorce and the death of…

Daring to Say “Happy Holidays”

  I agree with Errol Laborde on many things – although notably NOT shrimp, which I hate and he loves – and he is one of my favorite humans. And I know Errol loves Christmas, traditions, and especially Christmas traditions.…

A Baker’s Dozen

  Every year when the calendar page turns over to December, I have the same initial thought that most Americans have – the only significance December held for me for 26 years: “Oh, hey, it’s almost Christmas!” This means buying…

Easy as Pie

It’s almost Thanksgiving, so this is a story about a pie. Well, not just a pie. A pie and a long friendship. Jordan and I, we sometimes joke, met three last names ago (or two marriages each ago) – in…

So Lame

  My almost-teen daughter, Ruby, stepped in front of the TV while I was simultaneously pedaling frantically to nowhere on my exercise bike and trying to watch Ina Garten make something obscenely rich and fattening for the holidays. (“My mom…

Getting Schooled

  I never really wondered where I’d go to high school. If I got in, I was going to Franklin. If I didn’t, we’d worry about it then. I got in, so that was that – and I had four…

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Tom Robbins famously said: “There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better.” I’m not really in my Tom…

Candy Counting

  In most things, Ruby is nothing like me. A natural extrovert, she loves parties, people, team sports, cheesy inspirational messages, sleep-away camp, and group hugs – all things that range from making me vaguely uneasy to making my skin…

A Game of Telephone

  The internet is fond of telling me that I, born in 1980, am part of a micro-generation known variously as Generation Catalano (for the dreamy Jordan Catalano of "My So-Called Life"), the Oregon Trail Generation (for the ubiquitous video…

Watered Down

  Another day, another boil order. As the kids say, “I can’t even.” Two things happened Saturday related to the Sewerage & Water Board. First, I got a bill for $286 for a single month. The typical U.S. family spends…

Autumnal Yearning

  My older daughter is very into the word “aesthetic” these days. I’m sure it’s something she picked up from Instagram, but suddenly, everything is an aesthetic. VSCO is an aesthetic. She wants a certain aesthetic for her birthday party…

Middle School Chic

“Oh, yessss!” my daughter squealed a couple of weeks ago, flinging down her phone. “Izzy A. just texted that tomorrow we’re all dressing up as VSCO girls! Love it! Gonna pass it on! Sksksksk!” I stared at her with my…

Bundle of Nerves

  Our family is an anxious family. It can’t be denied. I personally like to think that it’s linked to our collective high IQs (Ruby once told me, “I hate being smart because it makes me able to realize just…

Birthday Bummer

  I’m not normally prone to bouts of self-pity. Yes, I have bad days like everyone else. Sure, I get frustrated and overwhelmed and lose my temper from time to time. (OK, a lot of the time.) But I don’t…

Going Too Fast

  “I can’t wait till I have my own room,” Ruby said wistfully the other day. Her stepbrother, Elliot, is a senior this year and will be going to college next year. Since she was maybe 8, she has been…

The Very Long Weekend

  I can’t be the only one – please tell me I’m not the only one – who starts a holiday weekend with such joy on Friday night only to find myself praying for the normalcy of the school-work routine…

Asking the Crowd

Sometimes the internet tells me about things it thinks I will like that I do not, in fact, go on to like. The Popeyes chicken sandwich…

Brace Face

  As Ruby starts her first full week seventh grade this week, I have been going back in time to my own middle school experience. I remember the excitement of getting a locker and the (much more short-lived) thrill of…

Bittersweet Back to School

  I’m always melancholy at the end of summer, an old habit that never left me even though I am no longer the one who has to go back to school (if only because now I never leave). I’ve bought…

Listen to the Kids

  Do you ever have those days where you’re scheduled for a full day of pre-start-of-school professional development and you have to still do your full-time job and you’re somehow president of the PTA at yet another school and your…

Friends Come First

  For someone who has been the maid/matron of honor in at least three weddings, calls everyone “my best friend,” and has been putting off writing this for at least 45 minutes while texting about seven different people, I had…