Joan's Blog

"Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out Of My Hat"
JULY 14, 2013 8:45AM

White Girl Looking In

When I was in college, a black friend of a friend said to me, You will never understand  because you are not black. You are just looking in.

I remember her words, I remember the house where she spoke those words, but I don't remember what we were talking about. It… Read full post »

JUNE 19, 2013 8:05AM

Four Years Later

Four years ago I started out writing about my daughter leaving for college. I wrote posts about the long trip home after dropping her off. How her dad cried (much to his own surprise) saying goodbye in the freshman dorm. I wrote about how I turned her bedroom into my writing… Read full post »

JUNE 11, 2013 10:02AM

The Good Daughter

I was not the good daughter my mother wanted.

So I invented her, created her, and breathed life into her like a small god. 

Susan was my imaginary sister.  I created her not because I was a lonely child, born too late for my brothers to take any interest other… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 1, 2013 9:12AM

Thank you, Cheerios

My husband asks if I've seen the new Cheerios commercial. He mentions it to me because it is so unusual. He knows I will like it.

It's an interracial family. A white mom, a black dad, and a biracial daughter.  

It looks like my family, sort of. The daughter in… Read full post »

MAY 16, 2013 10:19AM

Birth Certificate

When I was eighteen I applied for my birth certificate. A little yellow piece of paper arrived from New York State saying I had been born. The date was wrong, and when I asked my mother about it, she said she remembered me being born on the 26th, not the 25th,… Read full post »

MAY 1, 2013 8:28AM

Taco Tuesday

It's Taco Tuesday at our house. We laugh at ourselves for inventing these goofy rituals. Ordinary rituals. I'm thinking there are plenty of families with a Taco Tuesday night. Or a Spaghetti Wednesday night. It's something families just do. 

In our house, it's just the two of us.

When our… Read full post »

APRIL 11, 2013 9:59AM

Sibling Day

Apparently, today is "Sibling Day." I only know this because of the posts on Facebook.  I have siblings.  

I am on top of the refrigerator. Crying. I am four years old, and my mother has left my brother in charge.  My mother chooses him over Mrs. Walsh to watch me… Read full post »

MARCH 27, 2013 7:32PM

Oh Deer

I have a love/hate relationship with deer. Since watching Bambi as a child, and then again later as a mother, (fast forwarding the scene where Bambi's mom gets killed so as not to traumatize my own child for years) I have loved deer. They are beautiful, gentle animals.  When I walk in… Read full post »

MARCH 24, 2013 12:28PM

On Not Winning the Lottery

Sunday morning. Coffee is made, yoga is done, Facebook is checked, I can't put it off any longer. 

I nonchalantly pick up the lottery ticket from the table.

There are a few dishes in the sink I need to take care of first.

Every Sunday I do this. The dance… Read full post »

MARCH 17, 2013 11:05AM

Teaching Our Sons

This morning I heard the verdict in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. 


The young men are juveniles, so they could be incarcerated until they are twenty-one. I hope beyond hope, that things change for our daughters and our sons...

When my daughter went off to college three and a hal… Read full post »

MARCH 12, 2013 2:40PM

Senior Discount

I hop up on the the #96 bus, put my dollar plus eighty cents in the slot, and find my seat. Miss. The bus driver is motioning for me to come back.

Miss. He motions again. He lowers his voice to a whisper.

I don't want to be all in yourRead full post »

FEBRUARY 27, 2013 8:32AM

Girl Scout Goddess

They come into the classroom like gangbusters. Afterschool yoga starts at 3:30, but they have only been untethered for fifteen minutes. It takes a while for them to settle into calm. I remind them to take off their shoes at the door and come in quietly. 

Mrs. H! I gave aRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 24, 2013 8:02AM

Confessions of a Vomit Phobe

Emetophobia is the proper name for what I have.

It is the unreasonable, irrational, and intense fear of vomiting. This fear includes watching someone else vomit, or feeling afraid someone might vomit. It doesn't get the attention other phobias do.  The fear of heights or fear of dogs are fairly… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 13, 2013 7:31AM

Heart Spackle

When my daughter was little, she chose Disney princess Valentines from the neighborhood CVS for all her classmates. She signed each one with the backward "J" that didn't face the right direction until the middle of first grade. I waited patiently at the check-out as she looked  over the selectio… Read full post »

JANUARY 28, 2013 7:49AM

Ring Finger

I can give you $40, the man behind the jewelry store counter tells me.

 It's so small, he says.  He gives a slight shrug to his shoulders. Like an apology.

I wrote about my mother's wedding band several years ago. She never intended for me to have it. It ended up with… Read full post »

JANUARY 18, 2013 12:50PM

Teach Your Sons

When my daughter went off to college three and a half years ago, I knew there would be things out of my control. I remember college too.

And because I knew there would be things out of my control, I gave advice.  Alcohol lowers your inhibitions. Alcohol clouds your judgement. AlcoholRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 9, 2013 9:39AM

Symmetry and Tears

Teaching yoga to kids is different than teaching adults. I rarely correct their poses, and there is often barking in downward dog and mooing in cow pose. I gently remind them more breathing, less talking, but they're kids. 

I explore different methods, and invent some of  my own. I havRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 8, 2012 9:34AM

Do You Know Any Republicans?

We are getting ready for our Tuesday afternoon yoga class. The kids are wound up, more than usual at four in the afternoon. Our school is a polling place, and there are stairways blocked off, signs saying Closed to General Public. 

We are on the third floor, away from the voters,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 1, 2012 4:49PM



The last gasp of gorgeous before the cold and dark settles into my bones. Soon I will be perpetually cold. I will want to go inside before the sun sets. I will feel a chill as the long, dark tunnel towards winter approaches. Like a small child, I will want… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 7:51AM

I Spent My Inheritance on Beanie Babies

There are dozens and dozens of Beanie Babies piled up in the corner of my daughter's bedroom. She tells me to add them to the yard sale I've been putting off for months. One day I will haul all the odd, no longer useful pieces of our lives down to the… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 8:45AM

One Shade of Grey

Come sit on my bed with me, Mom. 

One of my favorite invitations. She says it often, although usually we are piled on top of my bed when she's home. We watch bad televison and talk through most of it.  I ask her how I'm supposed to get over to the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 17, 2012 5:28PM

The New Year

The New Year is here. I envy the families gathering together with heavenly smells coming from their kitchens. Brisket, matzo ball soup, potato kugel, tzimmes. I envy the prayers they know by heart.

I am Jewish by birth, but besides the food, I had no Jewish upbringing. I became the Wandering… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 1:56PM

The Tao of Beauty

My mother is standing at the kitchen counter chopping onions. I've just finished my new favorite book, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." I am channelling my new favorite character, Francie.

Mama, am I pretty? My mother stops her chopping to meet my moony gaze. I am, after all, Francie from Brooklyn. S/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 27, 2012 5:37PM

Marilyn Goes to Washington

Marilyn traveled from Asheville, North Carolina to make a statement. She made that statement with her hand-lettered sign, her enormous pink sunglasses, and her bare breasts.

She is hard to miss. I catch a glimpse of her out the corner of my eye as I sit on the park bench across… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 24, 2012 1:54PM

The Balloon Lady

The Balloon Lady. That's what my mother called her. She sat on one of my mother's elegant end tables. She looked like a stranger in a strange land. Out of place in my mother's tastefully put together house. My mother seemed pleased when people asked which decorator she used. Oh, IRead full post »