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THE ART OF ENTERTAINING National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20005,
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DCUM Weblog

Porn for Men

by SarahPekkanen last modified Mar 30, 2023 06:56 PM

My husband and I have the worst fights of our marriage over his fantasy life. Before my saintly mother-in-law clutches her heart and topples over, let me explain: Glenn’s fantasies revolves around a trip to Home Depot, where he clutches an empty cart and embarks upon an endless tour of the sultry aisles of home improvement.

“See that drywall?” Glenn will muse, his index finger thoughtfully rubbing his chin. “I could install that.”

No you could not, I want to shriek, but I can’t start a fight, not yet. Not when we’ve walked barely ten feet into Home Depot and there are still endless miles to traverse before we collapse, dehydrated and bedraggled, at the safety of the checkout counter.

“Sure you could,” I’ll say instead, and Glenn will reluctantly inch ahead to scrutinize light bulbs (now those, he can install). But we do not need light bulbs. We do not need drywall. We need nothing at Home Depot except for a box of nails and a tank of gas for the grill. Yet my husband’s eyes are glazed and I can almost hear him panting. In his mind, he is donning a tool belt and building something dangerous and manly, possibly involving electrical sparks and chain saws. There is no room for reason in the male Home Depot fantasy.


And Baby Makes...

by SarahPekkanen last modified Nov 25, 2013 06:27 PM

I thought this day would never come. My two sons slept through the night last night, then put their breakfast dishes in the sink with only a reminder or six from me (interestingly, the same number of times my husband has to remind me to put my own dishes in the sink). Then my boys trotted happily off to school, giving me a few hours to work and go to the gym to snatch up USWeekly and put the treadmill on its lowest setting (“sloth”).

Life, at long last, is exactly the way I dreamed it would be.

Back when our boys were babies, we were jarred awake three or four times a night, we tore through a box of diapers every week, and, for entertainment on Friday nights, fished objects out of the slot of our DVD player (coins, a plastic Elmo doll, and once, inexplicably, a shriveled breakfast sausage. Expression on Best Buy warranty guy’s face: Priceless).


Green Mom Culture Shock: Back to School

by Organicmania last modified Mar 22, 2011 07:16 AM

So much for "eco-friendly." Even "progressive" school systems like Montgomery County's are way behind the times when it comes to going green.

As a seasoned mother of a six-year-old and a nearly two-year-old, I thought I was past the point where much could shock me. But then school started.

And suddenly I went from the friendly confines of the Green Mom blogosphere to the public school system, where teachers routinely send home “supply lists” containing environmentally unfriendly items such as (gasp) plastic ziplock bags and Purell hand sanitizer (2 bottles, please!), where students use  thousands of styrofoam lunch trays each day (eventually bound for the Incinerator), and where fossil fuels are burned sending children to school on buses that drive past shuttered schools near the bus stops.

I feel like a creature in a strange land.

How’s it going in your world?


Correction: This post originally stated that the styrofoam trays were thrown away. That is incorrect. They are re-used and then after they break are sent to the incinerator.



by SarahPekkanen last modified Aug 18, 2021 06:49 AM

This was inspired by a recent discussion on DCurbanMoms.... apparently I'm not alone in noticing this!

In the interest of marital harmony, let me be clear right from the start: My husband Glenn is no girly-man. During the past few years, he has sustained so many injuries, through accidents that defy the imagination and boggle the mind, that he can no longer straighten half of his fingers and a chiropractor took one look at him and suggested he come in for weekly treatments lasting into infinity.

Take the time we were renovating a bathroom. At 3 a.m., a heavy rain began to fall and Glenn decided to make sure our bathroom was safe from leaks. Seconds later, I heard a thunderous noise and a howl reminiscent of a wolf baying at a full moon. Glenn had forgotten the bathroom’s floorboards had been removed, and he somehow crashed through the plaster ceiling of the room below. He hung from a joist, his head in one level of the house and his legs in another, swaying like a piñata only a malicious kid would want at their birthday party.


Bad Mommy: Eating our way through the grocery store

by Jessica last modified Aug 30, 2008 09:29 AM

I don't know why I seem to be the only parent doing this. The looks and head shakes from other moms as my kids scarf in the cart is the least of my worries, but really, what's the big deal?

The domes of cheese and bread cubes at Whole Foods started it.

The Costco vendors of mini bagel dogs and one-gulp fruit smoothies reinforced it.

Chef Charley at the Trader Joe's took it to a whole new level, what with his cups of cat-shaped cookies, apple cider and other yummies.

My children cannot get through a grocery run without eating their way through the store.

I let them. One whine and I am a goner. Anything to get through the hunting and gathering for the family with a minimum of meltdowns from my four- and almost two-year-old children.

I can feel my Southern belle grandma tsk-tsking me from heaven. She a would think my popping open of the bags of Terra chips and tiny boxes of raisins so unrefined. She would shudder as I yanked a juicebox from the rest of its family of 12, stabbed the straw in the hole and placed it in eager little hands.

At our regular stores, the cashiers know us well, and with smirks ring up the boxes and bags that have already been opened. They patiently weigh and ring up that single banana twice when I explain that one about that size was already devoured by the monkeys. The nice ones will even offer to toss away the sticky peel. Sometimes we have not even left the building before the staff are pulling out the broom to pick up the granola bar droppings we leave in our wake.

I guess this is totally uncouth, unsanitary (thank goodness for Purell) and maybe against the rules, but allowing the kids to eat in the store has cut the temper tantrums dramatically. It saves me money in that I am not tempted to buy them a little toy every visit - their hands are already busy noshing. We hit the produce and healthy food aisles first, so their little bellies are too full to whine for the verboten candies in the check out line. The rule is they can only snack on the items that mama has on the list - no neon blue suckers, no double-stuffed sandwich cookies. Now the kids look forward to the grocery store, an errand that used to provoke demonic seizures from the backseat. The three of us have a great time chatting about the foods, colors, uses for products and my oldest practices sounding out the words on the big labels...in between big bites.

I don't know why I seem to be the only parent doing this. The looks and head shakes from other moms as my kids scarf in the cart is the least of my worries, but really, what's the big deal? At least I won't be the one slaving over a sit-down family lunch once we get home.

Jessica blogs daily about activities for families in the DC area at A Parent in Silver Spring.  Watch for her upcoming post, Bad Mommy: Drinking our way through the liquor store!


Introducing the Family and Home Network

by cathyfamilyhome last modified Aug 27, 2008 03:44 PM

Family and Home Network was originally named Mothers at Home at its founding in 1984; we changed the name in 2001 to acknowledge the complexities of mothers' lives, to discourage labeling mothers by their work/home choices -- and to acknowledge and embrace fathers. Thinking about families and public policy has been part of FAHN's work for decades and it is our current focus.

Puzzling out the Spanish words on a poster in the town square, I was a bit started when I detected her behind me. I was carrying my five month old in a backpack, and the old woman held his foot in her hand as she spoke with a dramatic, pitying tone in Spanish, “Poor little one, with your cold feet.” Whoa, I thought, as I smiled uneasily and moved away-- what is this all about? It was 85 degrees and sunny. Duh. I finally realized this was just another of my mothering practices that seemed so odd (i.e. wrong) to the residents of this city in central Mexico. Almost every baby I saw was wrapped head to foot and carried by their mom in a reboza (a cloth wrap). There were few strollers to be seen, and it seemed that middle class babies stayed home with a maid/nanny when their moms went out.  


Preschoolers Don't Learn By Bad Example

by Jessica last modified Mar 22, 2011 07:19 AM

How did I miss it that children under the age of six do not learn by bad example? And why are children's book authors and educational television programs missing this as well?

Jess_2 I've made many a screw up as a mother.  Unfortunately, most of these mistakes have occurred with my first child.  To paraphrase the great Erma Bombeck, my first child got me new but he also got the blisters.  Maybe that's the trade off for always getting the new toys first and rarely having to wear hand-me-downs: first kids bear the brunt of their novice parents' foibles. 

Though not a child development expert, my mommy newness has compelled me to become a regular of the parenting sections of the public library and local bookstores.  T. Berry Brazleton and me?  Thick as thieves.  So how did I miss it that children under the age of six don't usually learn by bad example?  And why are children's book authors and educational television programs missing this as well?


Thirty-nine.. again

by SarahPekkanen last modified Aug 02, 2018 07:15 PM

Turning 39 can be traumatic, especially for those of us doing it for the third time. As the fateful day approached, I conducted some independent research by asking my minivan full of kids how old I looked.

“About 45,” said one depressingly honest kid who needs a firmer hand at home (note to self: tell husband to get to work on that).

“Twenty-two,” chirped a brilliant and --- it must be said -- uncannily observant little girl named Elya. I instructed her to tell her mom that she should eat candy for dinner, and I lovingly replayed her comment in my mind until I asked her how old my husband Glenn looks. Bear in mind that he’s five-and-a-half years older than me — ten if you round up.

“Twenty-two,” Elya chirped.

Clearly drastic measures were called for. It didn’t help that the day’s mail brought a fashion magazine with skin-care regimes for women of different ages. The categories of ages were under 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, and 40 and up.


If You've Ever Thought About Writing a Novel...

by SarahPekkanen last modified Mar 22, 2011 07:21 AM

Hi all,

I thought some of you might be interested in a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to try to write and publish a novel, so I'm including a link to Bethesda Magazine. I wrote a piece this month about six local women -- myself included -- who are in various stages of the process, from beginning the writing process to signing a publishing contract. You can see the full article by clicking on the link (www.bethesdamagazine.com). Happy writing! And feel free to contact me anytime if you're interested in more information after reading the article.

Sarah P.


Best Green Tip for Your Beach Vacation

by Organicmania last modified Aug 02, 2018 05:44 AM

Heading to the beach this weekend? You no doubt made peace with the fact that you’ll be adding to your carbon footprint — hey, anything for some fun in the sand and surf, right?!

But you can still do something to minimize your environmental impact on the beach. And no, I’m not referring to picking up trash on the beach – although that’s always a good idea.

What does nearly everyone do at the beach? Shower! There’s nothing better than those wonderful outside showers. But when you soap up, the soap runs into storm water drains that often lead directly to the ocean. The soap run-off is toxic to marine life.

And those “earth friendly” biodegradable soaps and shampoos? Well, according to this report from the Maryland Department of the Environment, even “a flush of ‘biodegradable’ soap suds will still harm fish or invertebrates in your local stream.”

That was news to yours truly, who regrettably had lathered up outside on more than one occasion with “earth friendly” biodegradable soaps. In Rehoboth Beach, our favorite seaside destination, the storm water drains flow directly to the Atlantic Ocean and to a fresh-water lake, which was recently the scene of a massive fish kill due to environmental toxins from storm water run-off, among other suspected causes.

So enjoy your outside shower, but skip the soap and shampoo. Save the real clean-up for the inside shower!

Happy Fourth of July!


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