What Do You Wear To Get The Results of a Biopsy? Random Questions I Never Thought I’d Ask…

What exactly is the appropriate dress code for getting the results of a biopsy?

In case you’re wondering, Miss Manners has not yet expounded on the topic, which, frankly, surprised me considering she once deemed “business casual” to be less of a dress code and more of an accounting practice accessorized by handcuffs.

Look. I understand that this question seems ridiculously inane, even for someone who is regularly consulted on matters of traditional, albeit arcane, fashion etiquette. Read more...

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My Voice

My voice has always gotten me into trouble.

Feel free to ask my mother, who has spent 40 years telling me to lower my voice in quiet places like, well, everywhere.

Or ask my former teachers, who had no choice but to give me an S- or N on my report card in “Cooperation and Consideration” because I used my voice, well, all the time.

Or my exes (all of whom are still close friends), who will tell you that I do indeed say everything I feel the exact moment I feel it. Even if the timing is, well, inopportune. Read more...

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My Break Up With Social Media (And What I Learned In the Process)

why i broke up with social media detox and what i learned

It’s been over two months since I broke up with social media.

I wish I could say it was intentional, that it was part of some noble plan to be more mindful.

But it wasn’t. It was apathy.

Honestly, it was a lot like the end of every other mediocre relationship you stay in too long out of habit. Until one day, you wake up and you simply don’t have the energy to care anymore.

Like all relationships, the love affair with social media started out so promisingly.

The idea of being able to stay connected to the daily lives of friends and family regardless of geographical distance was revolutionary, much like email had been 10 years earlier. Read more...

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The Long Ride Home

Long ride home uva basketball wahoowa ncaa tournament basketball season

It’s 150 miles from here to Charlottesville.

I’ve done it often enough to know it takes two hours and 35 minutes to get from my front door to my seat in John Paul Jones Arena.  Five hours round-trip, give or take, depending on traffic and how many times I need to stop for coffee.

There are times when it seems longer than that — when we are mired in traffic, when we are racing against the clock to make it into our seats before tip-off, or on the long ride home after a late game on a Monday night.

Don’t worry — I am keenly aware it sounds crazy to have season tickets to a basketball team that plays 150 miles away and adds 3,000 miles to my odometer each year. Read more...

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This is What An Invisible Disease Looks Like

mom boys disability epidermolysis bullosa

This is what an invisible disease looks like.

It looks like nothing at all.

There are thousands of them and they run the gamut from rare to common, physical to mental, life-threatening to debilitating. But they all have one thing in common – they leave no noticeable mark. To the outside world, we all look healthy.

Mine, and my children’s, is called epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic disease whose hallmark is debilitating blistering of the skin in response to heat, friction, injury or rubbing. I was encouraged to write something about it today for Rare Disease Day but, truthfully, I didn’t know what to share. Read more...

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A Promise To My Second Born

It is trite now to offer up written apologies to latter born children. To catalogue all the ways in which we have relaxed the rules the second (or third or fourth) time around. To humorously list the words they’ve learned too early, the movies they’ve seen too soon, the crappy food they’ve eaten.

In fact most of these articles aren’t apologies at all but thinly veiled parental pats on the back for being so nonchalant, so easy going.

Here’s the truth if we’re willing to admit it. The innocence of our latter born children is all too often sacrificed on the altar of their older siblings. It just is. Read more...

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Be the Change You March For

All politics is local, my dad was fond of saying. I’ve always subscribed to that theory in a metaphorical way.

Yes, change is wrought from inside great marbled halls. But my friends it is not born there.

It is not dreamed up on the spot by a well-meaning legislator who has a cartoon light bulb suddenly appear over his head in the midst of routine parliamentary procedure.

No. Change is born in the mind of a 4 year old, unencumbered by what he has been taught to believe, to make fun of, to be afraid of. Read more...

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Why I Hate New Years…

Judging by social media over the last few days, 2016 was apparently the worst year in all of humanity. The rash of posts and tweets heralding New Year’s Eve as the end of all the ills that have befallen the world left me a little befuddled (which, admittedly, is not hard to do).

This symbolic adherence to New Years as the closing of one door and the opening of another has always struck me as a little contrived.

Maybe it’s because I have always marked the passing of time by the school year, not the calendar year. Read more...

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Believing in the Magic of Christmas: The Truth About Santa

It happened the other night. An off-the-cuff remark: “I know you’re really the Elf mom.” Then a pause and, more tentatively, “I know you’re Santa.”

He’s made those casual comments a few times before. But his voice – which is always so resolute and certain when he is making a pronouncement about the leading rusher in the NFL or the way to reduce fractions – shakes a little when he tests the waters of doubt.

I know, in the way that you always know your child, that what he wants is for me to tell him he is wrong. Dead wrong. That the Tooth Fairy flies into his room and Santa Claus shimmies down the chimney and I am not the Elf. I know this because if he didn’t, he would simply ask me point blank, the way he does with everything else. No, what he wants me to do is tell him magic is real. Read more...

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Be The Inkeeper Who Opens The Door

Be the Innkeeper Who Opens The Door. Mary and Joseph. Be the Good. Christmas Kindness. All Year Long. LuckyOrangePants.com
One year ago tonight, I took the boys to dinner. As Jack was making his salad, an elderly gentleman with a walker was trying with some effort to open the door.

Without my prompting, the boys rushed to open the door for him. He seemed genuinely touched and told me what gentlemen they were.

For some reason, I could not stop glancing over at the man as he waited for his takeout order at a nearby table. Perhaps it was his eyes which bespoke a quiet, gentle loneliness. I know that look.

I have felt it. Read more...

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How To Love Hard When It’s Hard

This is my week perfectly captured in one picture.
Bikes falling over love hard
It was one of those weeks that was derailed by too many deadlines and not enough time, high expectations followed by staggering disappointments, the pressure to do the things that were supposed to bring me joy and the realization that everything was making me unhappy. It was unfortunately also a week where my insomnia kicked into high gear, leaving me unable to rationally cope with all of those things.

Trying to salvage some good from the week, I went to buy 2 bikes for our Angel Tree angels. Just when I started to feel a little bit lighter, I accidentally knocked down a row of 20 bikes. Read more...

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Pressing the Reset Button: Family, The Election, and A More Perfect Union

Friday was a tough morning in our house. For no apparent reason everyone was cranky and flippant and hostile. Including me. Our chance day off from school turned from a world full of possibilities into an inexplicable fracas about where we were going and why.

Instead of engaging in a reasonable discussion where differing viewpoints were acknowledged and debated respectfully, my household was filled with a barrage of insults, voices shouting over one another, and eye rolls.

Frankly it reminded me a lot of how the entire country is behaving right now. Read more...

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Almost 8 and Almost 10

almost 8 almost 10 adolescence is harder than having a baby parenthood

To all of you in the throes of babyhood and toddler madness, please let me assure you that you will get through this.

And when you do, you will get down on your knees and pray to the gods of squeaky toys and late night feedings to go back.

I remember. I remember the sleep deprivation, the constant trail of unidentifiable gunk on your shirt and wondering bemusedly whether it was applesauce or poop, the endless delays because I can do it by MYSELF mommy, and the throw down tantrums in the middle of Target. Read more...

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A Girl, Her Dad, and a Boy

One year ago, I woke up to Facebook reminding me, as I was still groggy and only half awake, to wish my dad a happy birthday.

And for a minute, it felt like salt in my wounds because he’s not here anymore damnit and I silently cursed myself for forgetting to delete his account again.

But then I went on a field trip with 20 first grade boys who were silly and sweet and wanted to feel and touch and learn.

And one of them – one who always has trouble staying out of trouble – seemed to need my attention. So I held his hand while we walked and I gave him my sandwich when he asked if he could have it because he didn’t like his own and I played games with him on the bus to distract him from hitting the other boys. Read more...

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Redefining Grateful

Grateful-notepad-serendip-love-thankfulness

I walked into Serendip the other day to buy some lamps (which I did by the way and they’re really fucking cool). As I was checking out, the owner slipped this into my hands and said “For the boys. I don’t really know them but from everything I can see, they’ve got their priorities right.”

Gaaaah.

That one hit me hard. Part of what has been causing me anguish over the last few weeks is a deep-seeded concern that despite all my efforts to show them what really matters, they have become ungrateful and unappreciative. That despite my best efforts to show them what loving hard looks like, their outlook was becoming harsh and negative. Read more...

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