Blog Posts by Donna Schwartz Mills

  • My Daughter, My Self

    "What's material science?" my daughter asked on our way to school one morning.

    Uh. I wasn't sure. 7:30 AM is not the best time to ask me questions - especially when I haven't yet enjoyed my first sip of coffee.

    "How about sociology?"she asked.

    I dunno. The study of people and their social structures? Does that make any sense? Gawd, I need a latte.

    "What are you doing?" I asked.

    "I have to fill out this form for the PSAT," she replied. "And they want to know what I'll be majoring in when I get to college. I don't think it looks good to check 'Undecided.'"

    Ah. In my day, you took the PSAT in 11th grade and the SAT in 12th, and that was it. Forty years later, they start administering it in middle school. Megan took it last year and this year, she took it again. This was optional; but I figured that they must be encouraging it for a reason -- and the more practice she had taking the test, the less nervous she might be when the results finally count (in another

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  • Roaring with Kindness

    Random acts of kindness occur all the time - but I think for most of us, they're rare. That's why I loved the concept of Yahoo!'s Ripples of Kindness campaign. It's kind of an experiment - to see if doing a kind thing for a stranger will move others to pay it forward and cause a -- well, a ripple.

    And Yahoo! helped start the ripples by providing several members of the Motherboard with some seed money: $100 to use however we wanted. The only instruction was to be creative.

    And my colleagues put it to good use. If you look at the different entries on the Ripples of Kindness page, you'll see wonderful tales of buying blankets for homeless strangers, paying for commuters' morning coffee, giving books to children whose families could not afford them.

    I cashed my Yahoo! check and vowed to do something similar; perhaps I would hang out at my local Starbucks after school drop off and buy lattes for everyone in line behind me. Or maybe I could follow my daughter to the school with a box full

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  • My Family's Holiday Tradition is No Tradition

    Eighteen years ago, I married the love of my life.

    He is a British ex-pat with a wonderful family who live 6,000 miles away. My own family lives about 400 miles from my home town of Los Angeles.

    By the time our daughter was born, we realized we were at a disadvantage by having no close relatives to lean on here.

    On top of that: All the holidays were "taken."

    My sister has Thanksgiving and New Year, which means we drive north to her home in Sacramento to celebrate those. Christmas in her family belongs to her mother-in-law -- which makes sense, as my sister and I are Jewish and grew up with no real December traditions.

    My husband and I have had to make ours up as we go along, which hasn't always been easy, because it kind of depends upon whether or not we've scraped up the funds to visit his family in the UK.

    Of course, all the holidays are "taken" over there, too - mainly by my sister-in-law. This is fine with me, as she is a much better cook than I, and let's face it: the Jewish

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  • A Chip Off the Old Block - For Better or Worse

    This has been cross-posted from my personal blog, SoCal Mom.

    "What's material science?" my daughter asked on our way to school yesterday.

    Uh. I wasn't sure. 7:30 AM is not the best time to ask me questions - especially when I haven't yet enjoyed my first sip of coffee.

    "How about sociology?"she asked.

    I dunno. The study of people and their social structures? Does that make any sense? Gawd, I need a latte.

    "What are you doing?" I asked.

    "I have to fill out this form for the PSAT," she replied. "And they want to know what I'll be majoring in when I get to college. I don't think it looks good to check 'Undecided.'"

    Ah. In my day, you took the PSAT in 11th grade and the SAT in 12th, and that was it. Forty years later, they start administering it in middle school. Megan took it last year and yesterday, she took it again. This was optional; but I figured that they must be encouraging it for a reason -- and the more practice she had taking the test, the less nervous

    Read More »from A Chip Off the Old Block - For Better or Worse