Daily Living

Vampires (Halloween, That Is…)


When my kids were younger, Halloween brought out their desires. Whether the costumes represented a superhero, a butterfly, or a Star Wars character, they typically chose embodiments that might not be quite possible in real life . . . and which made them all the more desirable.


It’s actually no different than adults. We often choose costumes that are completely different than our real selves, yet which just might – maybe, possibly – reflect a hidden desire. When the husband wears a mask to hand out candy, he often gravitates to former presidents or the devil … which, yes, now concerns me. [Read More…]

By |October 31st, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , , |0 Comments

In Defense of Halloween…

pumpkin IIYears ago, I read an essay by a reform rabbi explaining why she didn’t allow her children to celebrate Halloween. It’s not a Jewish holiday, she said and, in addition, she abhorred the stereotypical images of women and girls as witches and bunnies and princesses.

I wanted to admire her integrity and determination in the face of societal pressure to celebrate a holiday she had issues with, but I couldn’t help but feel only sympathy for her kids. We go to the movies that day, she said in the article, and no one else is there. It’s wonderful.

Later, when I had a child of my own in daycare, another kid’s dad told me, “We don’t celebrate Halloween. We’re Christian.”

Wow. Halloween gets it from all sides, doesn’t it? [Read More…]

Raising My Child on Pennies a Day



They are a nuisance.  They are in my sock drawer, the floor of my car, everywhere in my desk, in the little crack of the door jam where the floor and the threshold don’t quite meet, EVERYWHERE!

Inevitably, when I reach for meter money in the car I always end up with handfuls of them, most often concealing a much needed dime in the palm of my hand. They are…Ugh! PENNIES!!! [Read More…]

By |October 26th, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Gay Fathers|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

My Letter To Ryan

Jo-Ann Rogan's son IIDearest Ryan,

I have been writing you letters on your birthday since you were four years old. Wish I thought to do this when you were younger.  This year was about you blossoming.

You have grown so much this year. In early June you were on the tall side but had a little kid look to you with a roundness.  Suddenly in July you were what seems like four inches taller, broad shouldered, and had a decidedly young-man-look.  Your face is changing and you are wearing men’s sized clothing and shoes.  You have become a strong young man. You often volunteer to carry heavy things for me.

You started this summer as a little boy.  In July, your rapid growth had your brain chemistry thrown off and your behavior was hard to manage and you were just hard to reach.  August brought a new found calm.  When your Dad was away working on his big project you stepped in to be my right hand man.  Often when Aaron was melting down you were the one to take the higher road in your arguments. I was so thankful for your calm head. I enjoyed the time we had together in August and I adored our “summer bucket list,” which was a list of things we wanted to do this summer.  Last week, we crossed everything off the list with the time we spent at the beach. [Read More…]

Too Much Post-Halloween Candy? Never Fear, The Great Pumpkin Is Here!

Melanie Elliott Halloween IIIOur first Halloween with The Littlest E was easy breezy. He was 15 months old and didn’t really know or care about pumpkins, costumes, going trick-or-treating, or eating candy.  We stayed home that year and answered the door whenever the bell rang.

For the past few years some friends of ours whose son is The Littlest E’s age, have held a Halloween potluck.  They live in a great kid-friendly neighborhood with lots of children going door-to-door.  We starting going to their house when The Littlest E was a little over 2 years old.  That first year attending their party, we lasted 10 minutes trick-or-treating.  Our little guy was too scared of adults in costume and he didn’t even like being in his own costume.  It was all a bit too much for him. [Read More…]

Autumn Breathes

Lori Pelikan Strobel's barn

Colored magic and crisp whiffs whirl over wooded pastures

Summer sighs

Autumn inhales

Coolness dawns while Fall tumbles into me.


By |October 21st, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , , |0 Comments

7 Tips – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For over 25 years, October has been designated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You’ll find races to run that raise funds for research. Stores will be selling everything from mixmasters to ipods in pink.

In fact, pink ribbons will be virtually everywhere. What does this focus on early detection and recovery mean to you?

If you are over 40, have regular screening mammograms and perform monthly breast self-exams. And see your physician for an annual breast exam and consultation about risk factors and additional diagnostic steps to take, such as MRI. With early detection, most breast cancers now can be successfully treated.

There are between 2 and 3 million American women living today who have survived breast cancer and are thriving. Yet, as many survivors have learned, the process of coping with any serious illness can take its toll – emotionally and physically. [Read More…]

The Perimenopausal Double Whammy

I became a mom, through adoption, at the age of 45.  I’ve been a mom now for a little over 4 years, which means I’m pushing 50.

Yikes and Yay!

I love being this age, even though I have a few more cricks and creaks in my body.  For the most part, I have a pretty level head, am grounded and comfortable in my skin.  Life is good with no major complaints.  There’s a bit more stress in my everyday world because we recently rescued a lovely dog, Pepper, so we’re all adjusting to the furry addition in our lives.  And, there’s an added layer of, well let me call it mishegas (Yiddish for crazy), in life due to entering the world of perimenopause. [Read More…]

10 Signs Your Teen is Developing an Eating Problem (Part II)

99 tipsAt age 14, Chloe becomes interested in boys and develops a crush on Jason. But Jason has a crush on Amanda. Her friends comment, “Amanda is so pretty and so thin!”

A couple of days later, Chloe decides goes on a diet. Chloe has gotten taller since she turned 12. Her weight is on target. ‘Don’t eating disorders start with dieting?’ her mother thinks. “I will get you fresh and good quality food,” she says.

Chloe begins dieting intently. She loses weight. Friends and Aunt Dottie congratulate her profusely. Something starts happening for Chloe. Dieting becomes her most important activity. Deep down, Chloe believes that being thin will grant her admiration and, Jason.1

Does Chloe have an eating disorder? Not yet. As a parent be vigilant! [Read More…]

What Being a Mom Means To a Dad, Who Happens To Be a Mom

6 A.M. Time to get up.

Where is breakfast?

Wait, back up.

Where is the food to make breakfast? [Read More…]

Featured In