Posts Tagged: families

My Mother's Child

I will always remember one specific evening after school in 1999. I was sitting in the living room of our apartment complex, wasting my day in front of the TV, when my mom barged in crying. It wasn't the first time I had seen her emotionally fall apart in front of me nor the first time her nine-year-old daughter would comfort her while she broke down.

I was already beginning to accustom myself to the peculiarity of living with an uncle suffering from schizophrenia at this point: frequent stares from our neighbors in fear of his presence; fighting with kids in the neighborhood who taunted him while he [...]


What I Learned at the Family Tree Center

This past weekend my husband and I went to Utah where there are bunch of Mormons. Those guys are super into genealogy because a lot of people died — like, the majority of people made on Earth so far — before Mormonism happened, so they go back and retroactively save their kin who missed out on the good word. But, of course, they must know who those people were in order to ask for their salvation, so they do genealogy. (Click that link up above for a better explanation.) I'm not quite sure why they want to help everyone else trace their family histories for free at these [...]


The End Of Grandmothers

The committee removed the “experimental” label after analyzing more than 100 studies assessing the health of eggs after the procedure and the outcome of births. The committee concluded that there have been no reported increases in chromosome abnormalities or birth defects among children born using oocyte cryopreservation, the technical term for the procedure.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine announced this week that we can freeze our eggs, no problem, go ahead, take your time. Which is fantastic news, let's go on a cruise! Just keep in mind that if you wait until 50 to have kids, your mom might not be around to love/spoil/reject/torment them. Not for too [...]


Numbers About My Mother

It’s August and it’s San Francisco so it’s cold. While I’m walking home from work there’s a call from a Portland number I don’t recognize. I answer. It’s a friend of my mother’s, phoning to let me know that my mother has tried to kill herself, that she’s at a hospital in an induced coma. I slump onto a cement car stop in a parking lot and listen to the details, dig in my purse for a pen, turn the phone away from the wind, write down the hospital’s name and the room number, watch people walk down Polk Street on their way home or to happy hour, thinking [...]


You Are Not a Descendant

“You don’t have to know what you’re looking for. You just have to start looking."

I'd been hearing this siren song from an attractive soccer mom from an commercial throughout months of late-night TV, and anyway, I needed a reason to hole up in the local library: it was an unreasonably hot summer, and we didn’t have air conditioning. I gave in and charged the $299.40 “World Explorer Membership” to my VISA card. I would give up my couch potato habits to “meet my ancestors, learn their stories, and journey into the past.”

Like many recent grads, I was jobless and had a lot of time and energy on [...]


The Lykovs of the Siberian Taiga

But, peering intently through his windscreen in search of a landing place, the pilot saw something that should not have been there.

Smithsonian magazine, by way of Jason Kottke (who also points to a short documentary), has an incredible article about a Russian family that lived in complete isolation for 40 years.

A few questions go unanswered.


Choose a Favorite Child, for Your Health

In 2001, researchers at Purdue University found that 75 percent of 566 surveyed mothers between the ages of 65 and 75 named a particular child they would want to take care of them as they aged. Seven years later, the researchers checked back in. About half of the mothers, 234 of them, had fallen sick or become injured: Some were being tended to by their golden child, others by a different child, and others not at all. The Purdue team… saw increased anxiety and sadness in mothers who didn’t get the caretaker they wanted. These moms were more unhappy than the ones receiving no help at all. (On the other hand, [...]


Somewhere Between Fantasy and Reality: A Tribute to Loehmann's

The scene at Loehmann’s on a Thursday afternoon in early January was both grim and hyper-charged. I was one of a few dozen women who’d been drawn there in a mixture of nostalgia and desperation after the shocking news from the day prior that the chain had declared bankruptcy and would soon be closing its doors forever.

“Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck,” I thought as I ransacked the aisles, which now wore bright yellow signs that said “Up to 70 percent OFF” and “All Stock Must Go.” Though I’d only been introduced to Loehmann’s in my early twenties, it had been the sight of so many victories. [...]


B-I-N-G-O Home, Everybody. Party's Over.

A man in California emailed recently to tell me how after Christmas dinner last year, his brother drunkenly declared his love for his sister-in-law, the man's own wife. Another man in Georgia told me how his father threatened to call the police to his holiday family gathering several years ago.

Nathan Willi, a 24-year-old electronics salesman in Peoria, Ill., is bracing for family fights about football this year. Fourteen of his family members graduated from Notre Dame. Mr. Willi went to Michigan. "I will stay at the Christmas dinner for as long as I can tolerate the extended family's arrogance," he says.

One of these things is not like [...]


Salon Chit-Chat

I'm in a wedding Saturday, which is one of the rare occasions I get a mani/pedi instead of painting my nails myself.

I get my eyebrows waxed near my house at the cheapest place ever. It's run by a bunch of Asian ladies who wear these funny smock-shirt things with no actual shirt underneath, so I can see all their bras. My hair grows at lightning speed, so I'm in there roughly every eight days. Every eight days, I walk in and it's packed but quiet except for the sounds of foot scraping and that machine that smokes when they take off fake nails, and every time I walk in, [...]