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BlogHer Topic - Healthy Body, Mind & Wallet





 



What would you ask activist Anna Lappe? Food, health, hunger and the environment are all on her agenda.

Sat, 05 Apr 2008 13:57:52 +0000

(image) I became a vegetarian almost 20 years ago, and when I did Diet For a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé was one of those bibles you kept by your side. It wasn't just inspiring, but a practical guide to leading a healthy vegetarian lifestyle.

Decades later Moore's daughter, author and activist Anna Lappé, carries on this tradition of activism that is both inspiring and dedicated to helping people make a difference via personal action. I'm thrilled to be conducting an exclusive podcast interview with Anna next week as part of our ongoing Earth Day is Every Day coverage this month. Our interview with Anna will coincide with a launch of an entirely new project that I'm also going to ask her about, and I'm also going to ask Anna about these three main goals in her work:

1. Illuminating the connection between food production and climate changeHere's a brief quote from a recent Op-Ed Anna wrote:

"With climate scientists warning we need an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to avert planetary catastrophe, it's clear we need bold action -- and that bold action must include re-thinking food. Here's the good news: We already know how to build a climate-friendly food system. "

2. Demystifying healthy food and eating

She's willing to tackle those nagging issues: Do you have to be rich and have all the time in the world to really eat healthy?

3. Providing tangible resources encourage and green and healthy food movement

One of Anna's latest endeavors is to create practical How-To videos for Howdini and Healthy Living videos for MSN's healthy living channel.Here's an example of one of her Howdini videos: How To Tell If Packaged Food Is Organic.

Now, I may be excited about this interview as a veg*n who appreciates Anna's encouragement of a "plant-centered diet", but actually she "encourages all self-identified food identities" and works to make sure we all know how to eat more healthfully for ourselves and our planet.

So, what would you ask Anna...how can she help you shop, cook and eat the way you want to?




What would you ask activist Anna Lappe? Food, health, hunger and the environment are all on her agenda.

Sat, 05 Apr 2008 13:57:52 +0000

(image) I became a vegetarian almost 20 years ago, and when I did Diet For a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé was one of those bibles you kept by your side. It wasn't just inspiring, but a practical guide to leading a healthy vegetarian lifestyle.

Decades later Moore's daughter, author and activist Anna Lappé, carries on this tradition of activism that is both inspiring and dedicated to helping people make a difference via personal action. I'm thrilled to be conducting an exclusive podcast interview with Anna next week as part of our ongoing Earth Day is Every Day coverage this month. Our interview with Anna will coincide with a launch of an entirely new project that I'm also going to ask her about, and I'm also going to ask Anna about these three main goals in her work:

1. Illuminating the connection between food production and climate changeHere's a brief quote from a recent Op-Ed Anna wrote:

"With climate scientists warning we need an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to avert planetary catastrophe, it's clear we need bold action -- and that bold action must include re-thinking food. Here's the good news: We already know how to build a climate-friendly food system. "

2. Demystifying healthy food and eating

She's willing to tackle those nagging issues: Do you have to be rich and have all the time in the world to really eat healthy?

3. Providing tangible resources encourage and green and healthy food movement

One of Anna's latest endeavors is to create practical How-To videos for Howdini and Healthy Living videos for MSN's healthy living channel.Here's an example of one of her Howdini videos: How To Tell If Packaged Food Is Organic.

Now, I may be excited about this interview as a veg*n who appreciates Anna's encouragement of a "plant-centered diet", but actually she "encourages all self-identified food identities" and works to make sure we all know how to eat more healthfully for ourselves and our planet.

So, what would you ask Anna...how can she help you shop, cook and eat the way you want to?




Tips for Seniors Living on a Fixed Income

Sat, 29 Mar 2008 21:22:06 +0000

Living on a fixed income can present challenges especially for elders. The opportunities to earn additional income can be limited or non-existent. Opportunities to increase nest eggs through investments diminish. And during times when inflation grows faster than cost-of-living increases, if any, the challenges can be even greater. Perhaps the biggest challenge for many seniors is being willing to ask for and receive help when they need it. But many assume that others are worse off than themselves and are too proud to ask for assistance, according to groups that run meal programs and provide aid for heating and weatherizing. “One of our biggest problems is convincing people to take help,” said Eleanor West, director of services for the Washington Hancock Community Agency, a federally chartered nonprofit group. “I tell them, ‘You worked hard all your life and paid taxes and are getting back a little of what you paid in.’” If you are a senior who needs help while living on a fixed income or if you know a senior who could use some help, I encourage you to seek out advocates and groups in your area connected with the local or state government or non-profit groups. And here are some tips to make those challenges a bit more manageable, some of which are specific to seniors and some which can benefit anyone who wants ideas for managing expenses. General Resources: About.com has "Tips for Living on a Fixed Income" in their Retirement Planning section. This post starts with 10 tips and there are links to additional posts where 10 more tips are added weekly. Ohio State University Extension has a piece in their Senior Series titled "Living on a Fixed Income" which offers ideas to "help to control the impact of inflation." There are also links to additional tips and ideas. Lending Tree has tips for "living well on a fixed income." If you have a trusted financial adviser or relationship with a bank or financial institution they can be a resource for ideas on how to adjust in a time of rising inflation. Just keep in mind that they might have ideas that involve selling you something so take advice from these sources with an appropriately sized grain of salt. Food: Food prices are soaring so this is an area where it pays to get creative in managing the cost of food. The New York Times has an interesting piece on cooking creatively using only ingredients from 99-cent stores BlogHer CE Alanna Kellogg has recently written a couple of great posts full of tips on how to save money on groceries Brenda at Coffee Tea Books and Me has some excellent tips on saving on food and tips for saving by shopping wisely, stocking up on staples and sewing If you need assistance with meals there are two great organizations to check out and which can help you find aid in your community: America's Second Harvest can help you find food banks or emergency food assistance Meals On Wheels provides home delivery of nutritious meals. The national organization can help you find a group near you. Housing: Again, The New York Times is the source of information about an innovative approach to managing housing costs. The New York Foundation for Senior Citizens has an approach that offers benefits both financial and emotional. The group’s Home Sharing program is an intergenerational roommate service that matches hosts (people with an extra bedroom in their home) with guests (those who need an affordable place to live). Elder Cohousing is growing in the United States and offers similar benefits of both shared costs of living and community. For seniors who own their home and have substantial equity, a reverse mortgage is a potential source of income. However, it is extremely important to do your homework if you're interested in this option. There are many scam artists and predatory lenders preying on homeowners. Here are a few places to start your research: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has Facts for Consumers The U.S. Department of Housing an[...]



Are Your Odds of Asking(And Getting) A Raise The Same As Winning The Lottery?

Thu, 13 Mar 2008 12:53:33 +0000

On the day I started my first job on July 7, 1973 ,I knew that I would be eligible for a salary review on July 7, 1974. I counted the days. I lived for the time when I would see a major increase in my $3.25 an hour pay. May I just say that after five years as a reporter, I walked out of WWBT TV making $5.00 an hour. While I never missed the opportunity to tell management that I was under paid, while I never missed the opportunity to say the proposed increase was not acceptable, those protests didn't change the bottom line. As a young twenty-something I was clueless on how to negotiate a salary increase. Would knowing how to negotiate a raise made a difference in my ending salary? That's a trick question. Given the era, given that I was a "girl", given that the company had set ranges for raises, I would say, that negotiating any raise in 1974 was not a realistic probability. It was not part of the culture of business. But is it really part of our business culture today? Unfortunately for many, the corporate landscape has not changed much in the past 30 odd years and it is the rareoccasion when someone can actually walk into their bosses office, request and get a raise because our work culture is not set up to have employees ask and get a raise. It really doesn't work that way for most of us. With nearly 35 years in the workforce, I can honestly say I do not know anyone who has done that.Never. Not once. . And yet, if you spend time reading business blogs, books on succeeding in business, and magazine articles, you get the impression that everyone but you walks into their boss's office and successfully negotiates that raise. You might get the feeling that knowing how to ask for that raise is a skill set you need to master in order to have a success career. I would say youb definitely need to learn how to negotiate for money but negotiating for a raise in our culture is tougher than negotiating for a great starting salary. How many people are in a position to negotiate a raise? Not that many. It seems that we have corporatized the annual pay raise to the point where for many it's more like getting your report card at the end of the school year. You know ahead of time the range of raises the company is giving 2.5% would be a C and 8% would be that coveted A plus. Negotiation is not part of the conversation. The corporation tells you what your value is , not the other way around. According to Ann Bares at the Compforce blog, the majority of workers received a paltry 3.3% pay increase in 2007. According to survey respondents: The top 12.8% of workers (performance-wise) will get an average pay increase of 5.4%. The next highest 26.2% will get an average raise of 4.4%. The middle-rated 52.9% will get an average increase of 3.3% (note nearly half a percent lower than the competitive norm). The lowest rated 2.9% will average raises of 1.4% Recently I was talking to a friend in a Fortune 100 and asked whether she could negotiate for a raise.; She looked at me like I had just landed from Venus saying, " The only time you can negotiate money in this place is when you are joining the company." Once you are "in" she explained,; management dictates when and the amount ( based on that pre-determined range); that you are eligible to receive. Think teachers. Think state employees. People who work for unions. All of those annual salary bumps are negotiated ahead of time by others. Whether you are a star or a sloucher, your raise is predetermined. You know the date and the amount that you will see your raise show up in a paycheck. There are some exceptions and work arounds. We all know the situation where someone has asked for a raise, been denied, decided to look for another job and then when they inform their current employer about the offer, the employer suddenly "finds" the extra money that the person was requesting in the first place. Or,when an employee doesn't get the raise they were hoping for is able to negotiate other perks like working fro[...]



Should I Save? Invest? Pay Down Debt?

Wed, 12 Mar 2008 13:18:58 +0000

Each month we are faced with a lifelong dilemma. What should we do with the money we earn? While a wild spending spree might feel great in the moment we all know that if we want to achieve our financial goals we need to do something more with it. Yet, with limited funds it is hardto know whether we should pay down debt, save, invest, or some combination. How do you choose? As long as you're in debt you will be paying more than you should due to interest. It is a slippery slope. Yet there is good debt and bad debt. A home mortgage is not bad debt like a credit card is. It enables you to own an asset that should appreciate over time (recent housing woes notwithstanding) and the interest is tax deductible. As long as you are not house poor there is no earth shattering rush to pay down your mortgage especially if you have other forms of debt and a small nest egg of savings. Another type of good debt would be student loans. Loans taken to better yourself and potentially increase your earning power in the long run are a good investment. These won't be your first order of business either. We are all familiar with bad debt - credit cards and other "easy monthly payments" usually for things we don't need. Paying down debt should definitely be a priority and while it might not be fun, it is something that needs to be done. Whether you have a little or a lot, a flat out commitment and plan is the way to succeed. People tend to hide behind their debt, that is why it is so refreshing to see blogs like Me vs. Debt break the silence and start the conversation. My take on paying down debt from personal experience is that you need to strike a balance. If you wait until you have all your debt paid off until you start saving money, you could be stuck in a rut for decades without any emergency savings or investment plan. Depending on the size of your debt it could take a few years to pay it down and let's face it, just because you decide to get serious about debt doesn't mean that "life happens" moments where you need to outlay a bunch of cash for a broken this or that or medical bills stop happening. Saving vs. Investing What is the difference? My personal definition is that savings are monies set aside, typically in a liquid account to pay for emergency expenses or planned big ticket purchases within a short time frame (generally under 5 years). Savings are things such as bank accounts, money market accounts, and CDs where your principal is guaranteed and you earn a fixed rate of interest. You don't have to worry about losing any of your principal (the money you initially invested) and for this security you earn a potentially lower rate of return than you might by investing. Investing on the other hand is a long term strategy. It involves putting your money into vehicles such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Your principal is not protected and you are essentially taking a higher risk in the hopes of a higher long term return than you could earn in savings. Over time the value of your investment can swing (sometimes wildly) above and below the value of your initial investment. Anyone who has ever watched the stock market blurb on the evening news knows that the markets can be volatile. Yet, over time past performance of investments has greatly exceeded what someone could earn in a savings account. In fact if you take inflation into account, savings accounts often do little more than keep pace with inflation. That is a risk (called inflation risk) all its own. What Does That Mean for You? The most important lesson you can ever learn is to pay yourself first. That's right no matter how much you owe to others or how much debt you are in, you must pay yourself first even if it is a seemingly insignificant amount if you ever want to move toward financial independence. You pay yourself first by setting up a savings account and creating an automatic withdrawal each week or month to fund your savings. In fact, if[...]



Financial Management Software and Online Tools

Sat, 08 Mar 2008 12:57:38 +0000

Money, money, money. Do you have enough to buy shoes for the kids, take a vacation, retire? Do you have a budget or just wing it? Do you use available online tools to help you keep track of all your expenses or make financial decisions? If not, I have some suggestions that may help you. And if you already have a favorite tool that I missed, feel free to let us know about it. Since some computer manufacturers include money tools as a free software addition when you buy a new computer, many people are familiar with tools like Microsoft Money and Quicken. These tools will keep track of your checking account, help with paying bills online, and even do some stock tracking. Software such as Quicken can also track and report on things you flag or categorize as charitable deductions, business expenses, and medical insurance. You may want reports on expenses such as these at the end of the tax year, and the software makes it easy. If you didn't get any type of software like Microsoft Money or Quicken free when you purchased your computer, you may want to consider investing in these or something similar. You don't have to spend money, however. There's a new online site with free personal finance software called Mint.com that is reeling in the praise and awards for great money management tools. Since Mint is an online tool, it has both advantages and disadvantages. With online tools, you can access them from anywhere, with any computer. Mint can connect to your bank, credit card company, and investment accounts and track them all in one place. You can track more than one account there, too. But it is online, so something like a server crash or electrical outage might cause you a problem. At Mint, they take extra care to insure your privacy and keep your information secure. More than just software tools, education is also offered at Mint. Mint provides information and articles in a blog called mint.edu that covers many financial topics. ClearCheckBook.com is a free online money management site. Although it has many of the same features as mint.com, I personally found it less impressive than mint. You should judge for yourself, however. Another free option if you want full fledged accounting software is the open source GnuCash. GnuCash's main page explains, Designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports. Another fully capable accounting tool is QuickBooks. QuickBooks isn't free. If your personal finances are complicated enough to need an accounting program, compare the features of GnuCash and QuickBooks to see which would work best for you. For income tax help, the two major options are TurboTax and TaxCut. TurboTax is all online, with versions from free to professional ($99.95). Even the free edition includes electronic filing and your state taxes. It is pretty much idiot proof and won't let you may make a mistake if you answer the questions properly. TaxCut is from H&R Block. Like TurboTax, TaxCut is available online. You can also download it. The basic and simplest version is $14.95 and prices go up from there. Even with the cheapest version, you get e-filing. If you do a web search for financial planners in your locality, be aware of the initials you want to see after their names. Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), or Personal Financial Specialists (PFS) are the ones who are the best trained and have the best certifications. There are dozens of sites where you can learn how to manage your personal finances, educate yourself about money, and use free calculators to help with important money decisions. * Family Financial Management Tool Box from the Univ. of Wisconsin Extension * Yahoo! Finance with guides, calculators, an[...]



How to Evaluate Your Current Financial Status and Set Goals

Wed, 05 Mar 2008 16:25:33 +0000

Do you know what your current financial status really is? By that I mean can you easily answer the questions: What is my net worth? What is my FICO score? What are all the assets I own and their value? What are all my liabilities and their current payoff amount? How much do I earn? How much do I spend? Am I adequately protected from an insurance and legal standpoint? Can you rattle off the answers or at least go to one central record keeping place in your files (electronic or paper) and find the answers? If you are in a relationship are you clear on your financial status individually and as a couple? If you can't answer the questions, find these questions creating more questions in your mind, or are simply overwhelmed by it all and would prefer to stick your head in the sand, now is the time to stop and take stock. If you don't know where you are today financially, how can you ever determine where you want to go tomorrow (and why) and how to get there? Here's the good news - you can (and must) start right where you are. Let's walk through each of these questions, get clear on the importance of answering them, and create an action step so you can start moving forward starting today. What is my net worth? This is actually a question you will be able to answer after you answer all the subsequent questions. What your personal net worth represents is the total value of all your assets less the total value of all your liabilities. If you've got a positive net worth -- that is great! The higher it is, the better off you are in terms of financial independence. If you have a negative net worth, don't fret. Many people do and it is not an insurmountable obstacle. By the end of the Healthy Wallet series of posts, you will have a better idea and plan to get you out of the red and into the black. What is my FICO score? Your FICO score is what lending institutions use in order to determine your credit worthiness. I wrote about FICO in detail in the past, but here are the basics you need to know. What makes up your FICO score? I items such as: punctuality of payment ratio of total revolving credit debt to total revolving credit available length of credit history types of credit currently used recent searches on your credit history What does the score mean? Basically a FICO score can range from 300 to 850 and the higher your score, the better. Find your current FICO Score: You can now request your credit report once every 12 months for free from Annual Credit Report.com. This free report includes information from all three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) but it does not include your FICO score. It is a nominal fee to obtain your FICO credit score as part of your report. What are all the assets I own and their value? For those not familiar with the term assets - what it means is anything you own that has value. Things that fall into this category include: Bank Accounts (savings, CDs, money markets, etc.) Investment Accounts (mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc.) Tangible personal property (houses, cars, boats) Now basically in this day and age of eBay almost anything can have value, but for the purposes of your financial snapshot you want to focus on big ticket items and use their current market value in your calculation. What that means is while your new car you bought in 2004 may have cost you $25,000 in today's dollars it might only fetch $10,000 so you use the $10,000 in your calculation. Assets can also include your investment in a business that you own, especially if it is the type of business that can be sold. Factor this into your calculation as well, but remember in all things, be conservative (as in, better to underestimate something's value than overestimate it). What are all my liabilities and their current payoff amount? This is much like the assets exercise except this time you are looking at liabilities - th[...]



The Benefits of Closing Doors

Tue, 26 Feb 2008 22:02:37 +0000

When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. ~Alexander Graham Bell An article in the New York Times Science section quickly rose to the top of the most email list today. "The Advantages of Closing a Few Doors" looks at the work of MIT behavioral economist, Dan Ariely, in his new book Predictably Irrational. Given that economics is not generally the hottest of topics, what is driving the interest in this piece? My guess is that it talks about choices and emotions that are familiar to each of us. Apparently they did not care so much about maintaining flexibility in the future. What really motivated them was the desire to avoid the immediate pain of watching a door close. “Closing a door on an option is experienced as a loss, and people are willing to pay a price to avoid the emotion of loss,” Dr. Ariely says. In the experiment, the price was easy to measure in lost cash. In life, the costs are less obvious — wasted time, missed opportunities. If you are afraid to drop any project at the office, you pay for it at home. “We may work more hours at our jobs,” Dr. Ariely writes in his book, “without realizing that the childhood of our sons and daughters is slipping away. Sometimes these doors close too slowly for us to see them vanishing.” Who among us has never held on too long, refused to close a door or to make a decision even when moving forward and making a choice will be freeing, liberating, expansive and life-changing in positive ways? I certainly don't have the answer but I think it is a lesson we can learn. We can build the muscle by saying no more often, by making snap decisions more often, by not lingering and inviting the possibility of regret. The more we live, the more we continue to move forward and make choices in love, the more we will lose the fear of closing a door or two and our lives will be the richer for it. Beth McCain says that it is a matter of trust: For every door that closes, there are hundreds that have just open to you. So after getting over the sting, go out and celebrate because right around the corner is something much better. The Universe really does have your back. Susanne is closing a door and taking a leap into the unknown: The reason why I post is that I’m going to be leaving the UK for some time; I haven’t decided when I’ll be back but I’m going to check out where the adventure takes me. Goodnight Entrepreneur suggests making sure the door is really closed before moving on: If a door (opportunity) closes - first bang on it to see if it won’t open. Don’t just accept that it is closed. Colette Copeland at A Bird In The Hand wonders if a closing door is a signal: But -- downsizing respects no one. Is this a push from the cosmos to go in a new direction? I don't know. Yet. Kyran Pittman at Notes To Self found that closing one door and opening another caused some release: Tomorrow, our real estate agent will drive a stake in our yard that will make it official: this home is for sale. We came to the decision shortly before Christmas, and I am (mostly) at peace with it. The minute we signed the realtor contract, whatever energy that had been jammed up around money for the preceding year came dramatically unstuck. Ariane Benefit notes that success comes when you find balance: The more successful you become, the balance of YES to NO has to shift. In the beginning. you say YES to every opportunity. To remain successful, it's all about the art of staying focused and figuring out what to say NO to even if they are great opportunities. StayAtHomeMom wonders why she has difficulty closing doors or saying no (hint: fear plays a big part): Second, I do not want to lose business. I'm afraid if I don't join this person's group that they may choose to invite a competi[...]



All work and No Play (redux)

Tue, 26 Feb 2008 01:19:22 +0000

Last Friday was one of those days where I was about ready to quit everything to live a life as a vagabond (never, ever the circus) or perhaps curl up n the fetal position and live with one of my parents. There was more on my ‘to-do list’ than there were actual hours in the day. And by 5:30 it was either quit my job or get a pedicure and because I enjoy eating and paying my rent, I opted for the latter. The second I slipped my feet into the water with my phone and crackberry hidden from view, I let out an audible sigh and resigned myself to regular pedicures as it was one of the few times I didn’t feel the need to be completely on. It was also one of the first moments that I had been allowed to sit and think without feeling like there was a small rodent in my brain running on a wheel. In a word: Heavenly. I used to be that girl who would look forlornly at the clock through out the day, using mind control to will the seconds to go by faster. And this would start at about 11 AM. I would get bored easily, never feeling completely fulfilled and always wanting to do more. I am now the girl who looks at the clock and prays that it’s nowhere near 4:30. I’ve been known to miss lunch and to emerge from my office after hours looking bleary eyed. A few weeks ago I had a ridiculous cold and each day I promised myself that I would leave at 4 and every single day I left at 6:30. I am now a person who grocery shops at odd hours (8 AM on Saturdays or 11:30 PM on a weeknight). I spend a considerable amount of time on planes as regular readers of No Pasa Nada know, I appear to be omnipresent; I’m everywhere at once. Hell, all of this is being written on a flight to Baltimore. When I get home some evenings, the last thing I want to do or can do is hang out because then I should…I don’t know…write something. Obviously I could give something up – the writing – but then I’d be miserable and spend a lot of time watching television and probably talking to myself. This life I’ve carved for myself requires delicate balance. Sure I have a lot on my plate, as do most. The mundane things that add up way too quickly. One day the list of things go do is the length of Gift of the Magi and the next it is War and Peace. I’m sure I am not alone here when I say that the need for more sometimes trumps the desire to take a break. People tend to crave having it all while on some trajectory towards perfection. Wanting things to be in their place before things can stop. Instead of arriving to this place where things are set, with hospital corners and smooth edges, what ends up happening is a rather mind-numbing state of anxiety because things did not get done. I am a person who normally skews heavily towards work or play but some how, through some deity, I’m finding balance. I was asked the other day how I don’t lose my shit (excuse my French) when I am SO busy SO much of the time. Well in the summer, there is very little that a few hours at the driving range can’t fix. A good driver will be sure to cure what ails ya. I also take regular vacations and am fortunate enough to work at a place where we are forced to not work for a week in the summer or the week between Christmas and New Years. I accept that there are only 24 hours in a day. I must have at least 8 of those hours used for sleep or at least thinking seriously about sleeping. Also, given the hourly constraints on the day, sometimes things just don’t get done, no matter how short the The List is. Sometimes, I don’t make my lunch or my dry cleaning doesn’t get picked up (what? I have 30 days). Sometimes my hair looks like crap or I forget to put on make up, I don’t finish a letter, I don’t finish a blog post, I don’t call a congressman or I don’t write an email. But does anyone die if I forget any of these things? No. Do I get stressed out?[...]



Blogging Our Original Families: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Hilarious

Sun, 24 Feb 2008 04:29:43 +0000

Everyone expects mommy bloggers to write about their kids. In fact, many women who write a so-called mommy blog are only too happy to transcribe every detail of Junior's life -- first steps, first words, and every occurrence in-between and beyond. Share and share some more seems to be the order of the day when it comes to talking about our kids. Less common are the mom bloggers who have a lot to say about their own parents and/or families of origin. That's not surprising, I suppose; we're adults, and most adults don't spent a lot of time talking about their own parents. Of course, there are the bloggers whose parents blog, as well. (I think I wrote a post about those blogging duos a while back, in fact.) And sometimes you come across a blog where the blogger's folks clearly read along and maybe even comment. I often joke that my father is a celebrity on my personal blog; when I wrote a post for him on his birthday, readers left over a hundred comments -- most encouraging me to buy the man a pony owing to his obvious long-suffering temperament in putting up with me for all these years. For my dad's part, he left the best comment: This post is so..so much better than a pony. Can I send it to everyone I know? Thank you, thank, thank you. I love you. I'm not the only blogger paying a bit of homage to the parental units, nor the only one taking a break from my role as mom to talk about my role as a daughter. There's just something about becoming a parent, yourself, that gives you a new appreciation of what our parents went through with us. BlogHer's own Rita from Surrender, Dorothy, gave a shout out to her first family after Valentine's Day: We don't often get to spend time together as The Original Nuclear. In fact, ever since I started bringing my beloved around, I'd say this happens by fluke about once every two years. There is something wonderful about being with my Original Family as an adult. It transports me back to the days of grilled cheese and couch forts, a snuggly, loved time when I didn't have a mortgage and responsibilities. When I wasn't yet a mother or a wife. When my parents spent a great deal of their time meeting my physical and emotional needs -- and they did a great job. There's more, of course. But you get the idea. And Rita's mom left the first comment on her post: Little tears of happiness are flowing. That was so squishy sweet, daughter. Pa and I love you dearly. Rita and I have it pretty good, what with being able to reach out to our reading parents with a bit of bloggy love and know they'll be touched and pleased. Not everyone is so fortunate, of course. I tend to forget that many of my favorite blogging moms haven't shared their blogs with their extended families, for whatever reasons. But oh how did that point become clear to me (as my heart sympathetically jumped into my throat) when I read Christina's recent post over at A Mommy Story: Lesson of the day: Never let your family know about your blog. Trust me on this one. No matter how much you think they can handle it, no matter how much they say they understand that it's your inner feelings, no matter how much they beg to know about what you write and say the understand that a blog is your personal truth - not necessarily the factual truth - and that things you say don't necessarily represent the whole picture. Avoid it. That is all. (Yes, I've been dooced in a family way. Just shoot me.) I'm not sure I even want to know what's involved in a "family doocing." Hopefully Christina will be able to work it out and make peace with her family. And then, of course, there are situations where relationships are irreparably broken, and even in reading about it you can hardly believe it. Anyone who's been reading Niihaus lately has been able to follow the unbelievable story of Lisa's estrangement from he[...]