Blog Posts by Theta

  • Trailways

    This morning my six year old asked me when she would be old enough to walk to school by herself. She was watching two sisters walk ahead of her, towards the open doors of her school. "How come they get to walk to school by themselves?" she protested.

    I pointed out that their mother was just across the street, following their progress with an eagle eye. She sighed and trudged ahead. I was thinking to myself - yeah, you can walk alone to school when you are walking across your college campus to class, sister! I mean, who wants to let their kids walk anywhere alone these days? Maybe if we lived in a tree-lined suburb where hoards of children filled the sidewalks, ambling to school together. But we live in a city and I drive her to school. She's free to play in our backyard, and sometimes to play in front of the house with the three children who live next door - but that's about it.

    All of this got me thinking about the extraordinary amount of freedom I was given as a child -- I

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  • Family Life: Just a snapshot

    As mother's day approaches, I turn to one of my favorite photos. (Well, to be honest, it's one of my favorites that shows my daughter in a discreet way - because posting photos of her on the Internet is something I try generally to avoid.)

    I love this image though, because she is running with such carefree joy and it was taken at a family gathering in Maine . She was too young to remember this trip, but old enough to really enjoy the gorgeous weather and landscape that surrounded us. The feel of the grass on her feet. The breeze on her skin as her cousins pushed her on an old wooden swing that hung from the rafters of the barn.

    It also makes me think of the things that aren't pictured -- my mother, who was there with us, when she was healthy and not ravaged by the cancer she has been fighting now for more than a year. My disabled sister, who was there with us in Maine as well, walking with her cane, and caution and the help of our strapping cousins, down the green sloping

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  • Throwing Our Children Under the (School) Bus

    There are a lot of ways I try to protect my child and when there's a good teachable moment, I take it. I've told her what to do if she ever gets separated from me and her dad. And yes, I've had discussions with her about how her body belongs to her and only her, and what to do if anyone ever touches her in an uncomfortable way, and what to do if anyone ever tries to lure her towards their car. I make her practice saying "No - get away from me! I don't know you," in a loud voice.

    There are other ways to harm children though. And others ways a loud voice can come in handy.

    Recently the schools superintendent in our district said -- publicly -- that the biggest problem in our under-performing Jersey City schools was "bad" girls.

    I could feel my blood pressure rising. It's not just because I am the mother of a girl, or even that I was once a student in the Jersey City public schools. When Dr. Charles T. Epps put down the girls in our town, he put them all down and he told

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  • How Much is that Leek in the Window?

    As a child, I often accompanied my father to the grocery store. It was fun, but I dreaded the checkout process. Everything would be bagged and we would be ready to go, but my father would stand at the end of the line reading the receipt like it was a legal contract; often he stopped to ask the cashier questions even though she was already trying to ring up the next customer.
    I used to cringe and wish I could just disappear.

    Oh, if only I had paid more attention to dad. Case in point - I recently planned to make a potato and leek soup with a recipe from an ancient New England soup cookbook my mother has. I went to the store, but did not realize that leeks are, apparently, very expensive these days. (Who worries about buying loose green vegetables? Organic chickens, yes, but greens!!!!???)

    Before I knew it, I'd spent over $15 on leeks, which is clearly preposterous.

    While I have been known to clip articles about financial budgeting, and own several books on financial matters (like

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  • Under-Reported Stories on Breast Cancer Awareness

    Have you ever heard of Project Censored? The group does a terrific job of writing about under reported stories. They are a favorite among investigative journalists and other media savvy people. Well, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (or Breast Health Month, depending on who you ask) and two things crossed my desk this week that could fall under the category of "Under reported Breast Cancer Stories."

    One is that Black women are more likely to die of breast cancer than white women; they also get diagnosed in later stages of the disease. Now, I knew that already, but what is new here is a study which concludes this is happening clearly because of race, not because of other factors - like, say, not having enough medical insurance.

    Women's e-News just reported that: "Researchers at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. say they were surprised to find that among women with health insurance, African American and Hispanic women experienced greater delays in diagnosing breast

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