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We can whine about the rainy weather if we want to. This isn't a great week for swimming in the pool or hitting the golf course. But let's call a big timeout on the other whine that I've been hearing all the time: The summer is almost over. Come on, that hourglass is still more than half full. It's 63 percent full, to be precise. Using the calendar fro…

One of Caroline's assigned summer reading books is "The Five People You Meet in Heaven," by Mitch Albom. I'm not ready to get into a theological discussion in this forum, but the title of the book did get me thinking about this:The Five People I Meet at Wegmans1. The Sample Abuser: Starts with four to five "tastes" of gelato at the coffee coun…

I took our son (age 10) to the mall to buy summer clothes. I wouldn’t call this shopping in the traditional sense that I, as a female, can relate to. We ripped through the store and grabbed items off the rack at lightning speed. The “try-on” stage would have been skipped entirely except for my rule that I won’t spend my money on any clothes I don’t see tried on,…

As the school year winds down, I’d like to offer appreciation to teachers and coaches for another year of helping our children (in the collective sense) learn and grow. I look at our youth soccer coach and marvel at how he can control a field of 30 second- to fourth-graders, let alone teach them how to play the game. My only experience with gettin…

Let me talk to the ladies for a moment. Moms, do you use a picture of yourself in your profile on Facebook, or a picture of your kids or family in that spot instead?There's a fascinating essay by the author Katie Roiphe on Double X  in which she scolds moms for symbolically diluting their own identity when they substitute a picture of their offspring for one of …

Brava, Rachel Alexandra! You showed those colts a thing or two in the Preakness.“Gender doesn’t matter, a thoroughbred wants to run! If a filly is as good as the colts, she ought to compete. That was my position, and that’s why we came,” said her co-owner Jess Jackson.In our post-feminist age, most don’t question that women and men can be thoroughbreds. Women now…

Can you believe it? Dunder Mifflin is closing its Buffalo office. That was one of the revelations on the season finale of "The Office" on NBC on Thursday night. Pop Stand has more details. "The Office" to me has represented a sort of generational divide between me and our oldest daughter, Maddie. She loves the show, while I've never really quite un…

I hate doing laundry. We have yet to come up with a workable system in our house to get laundry washed, dried and put away for five family members plus an exchange student. Sometimes we get to the washing and drying, but then we end up with 10 baskets of clothes that need to be folded and put away. That part doesn’t usually happen. Soon, dirty clothes get comingled…

We just averted a family disaster. The hard drive on our family PC crashed over the weekend. That is the machine on which we had stored all of our digital pictures, dating back more than 10 years. All of those photos would like be gone forever, but .... I had installed a backup system. I believe I first read about JungleDisk.com on Lifehacker. Jungle Disk is something you…

On our recent DC trip, we spent one night in a chain hotel with a breakfast buffet. I hate the typical chain hotel breakfast. The coffee is always horrible, the bagels are lame, and in general I dislike the feeding trough atmosphere. But at this rather cheap hotel, they had a waffle iron in which you could make your own waffles. Batter was handily dispensed into cups that…

Elsewhere on the Internets:* Tom Hodkinson's book "The Idle Parent" is excerpted on Slate. Hodkinson writes that when you give your children your undivided attention whenever they ask for it, the children grow more secure and independent, and soon will start asking for less attention, leaving you free to Twitter or play Scrabulous or watch your stories on TV…

We visited our nation’s capital over spring break, thus crossing another item off our parental bucket list.  We underplanned, deciding to make this trip just a few weeks ago, so expectations were low and we did the slacker tour.  We had tickets to visit the Capitol, so I was expecting to see the Capitol. But now that the new Visitor Center is open, all tours be…

A new medical study says that one in five preschoolers is obese, and the rate goes to nearly one in three with native American children.The Associated Press story quotes Jessica Burger, health director of a Little River Ottawa tribal clinic in Manistee, Mich., as saying that one reason for the ethnic disparity is a federal commodity program for low-income people that provi…

Last week I was due to have lunch with a family friend, a grownup. It was a lunch we had been trying to make happen since mid-November. The day finally dawned, and I had decided to treat myself to putting our dog in doggie daycare. The tab for that is about $25, and I usually only resort to it when both Allison and I are working during the day. But on that day I was splurg…

We have a new mouth to feed in our house. A classmate of our 16-year-old daughter is a Korean exchange student who has just moved in with us after we agreed to be her host family. In the first couple of weeks there hasn't been as much emphasis on the "exchange" part of things as I would have thought. She kind of lives her life and we live ours, although that…