Peanuts Halloween

Child-Free Holidays: There’s No Great Easter Bunny Either, Charlie Brown

Guest Post by Beth O’Donnell

The funniest part of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is the gang comparing treats after every house they visited. Candy, gum, pennies.  

“I got a rock.”

I know how you feel, Charlie Brown. Except I got soap.  You were right about one thing, though: there is no Great Pumpkin. I found out the hard way that there is no Easter Bunny either.

Charlie Brown was a good brother, ridiculously overjoyed by his sister’s birth. I’ll stop likening us to Charlie Brown now, before we’re down to the lovable loser with no charm or athletic skills.

This might not be true for every PANK (Professional Aunt, No Kids) but I cherish being a sister more than auntie. I’m shocked and wounded when someone asks, “Do you have a family?” then corrects my “Yes” with, “I meant kids.”

My oldest sister, let’s call her Sally, because she is nothing like Lucy (and in case she reads this) got promoted to matriarch when my mother died, 30 years ago. However, maternal duties were thrust upon her before her First Communion. As a child, I did not like that very much. As a child, nor did she.

Then she got married at 21, moved out of the house and became a wonderful person.  Loving, caring, protective. Nice even. Who knew? Not this little sister.

 “Sally” exercises her maternal privilege to host all the major holidays. (NotMoms host Bastille Day.) Part of our sisterly bond is a shared preference for sweets. She exercises restraint. Me? Let’s just say living alone means the chocolate and peanut butter in Reese’s Minis constitute a balanced meal.

Sally has the good stuff, no matter what holiday: gigantic bags of Halloween candy; Great Pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving; Christmas cookies, Valentine’s Day chocolates; Easter jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, robin’s eggs, butter cream eggs, coconut cracked eggs… no book or DVD substitution crap for big Sis.

I can’t speak for the rest of my siblings—who cook and eat real food—but the goodies are a major incentive for getting me to drive to the suburbs, and I really need one. In my entire life, I only lived in the suburbs once, for seven months. I gained 15 pounds. Not going there again.

Truthfully, the reason I go is because I am the youngest. If Sally gets to be the Mom, I get to be the kid. Plus, with Sally, I don’t have to wear a mask. Or a sheet with eyeholes.

The last time I trekked to the other side of hell, my niece (31), her brother (28), and their respective soon-to-be-betrotheds, were both home—a rare occurrence. Shockingly, Sally didn’t fill Easter baskets. No dyed eggs (blech) even.

Easter is officially scarier than Halloween.

S Weaver

Why Is Sigourney Weaver Talking About Katharine Hepburn’s Uterus?

By Karen Malone Wright

When a serpentine creature first exploded out of an astronaut’s abdomen in Alien, the year was 1979 and I was sitting in a movie theater in Washington, DC screaming. That scene is famous now, and it helped to earn the movie an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. The big news was the female lead — daring stuff for outer space in 1979. Ellen Ripley, the protagonist perfectly played by Sigourney Weaver, continues to be analyzed for her relevance to science fiction, film, feminism and faith.

Ms. Weaver went on to become a sort of sci-fi demi-queen, starring in three Alien sequels, Ghostbusters, Avatar, The Village, and my personal favorite (I bought it), Galaxy Quest.  I have loved myself some Sigourney!

I say all this to make it clear, and believable, that I sat at my desk with my mouth agape this week after clicking on this headline and tease, presented to me by Google Alerts:

“Sigourney Weaver ‘feels sorry’ for Katherine (sic) Hepburn”

and then,

“Sigourney Weaver ”feels sorry” for actresses who don’t have children.”

Silly me. I thought there must be some mistake.

NM PURCH Bad Cook

Small-Batch Kitchen: Help for Cooks with Little Time or Experience

By Faye Davenport

Recently I was watching a talk show conversation where the guest was an actress who plays one of my all-time favorite characters on one of my will-be-for-all-time favorite television series. Pauley Perrette plays forensic scientist Abbie Scuito on the CBS hit, NCIS, and the ladies of The Talk were teasing her about a life-size cutout of herself.

There is nothing, of course, unusual about life-size cutouts of celebrities, but there must have been some inside joke. Everyone at the table was having a laugh and Perrette told them that she had that cutout in her house. She said that she had it in the kitchen, where the stove would be.

P Perrette NCIS

Perrette in NCIS mode

“Where normal people have a stove,” Ms. Perrette said, “I have the cutout.” 

Wait? What?

I don’t know how the rest of the interview went because my mind was trying to grasp the concept of a home with no stove. That means that not only does one never cook, but doesn’t even entertain the thought of ever cooking.

All of my friends cook. Not each of them is culinarily gifted (yeah, I made that up), but all of them have dishes that they make, even if just for themselves. And, yes, I’m counting fried bologna sandwiches.

NM PURCH-Travel2

A Childfree Vacation Planning Guide

By Laura LaVoie

While Matt and I are currently preparing for a trip to London, England with two other childfree friends, I thought I might catalog some of the things that we have done to prepare for this adventure.

I am the first to admit that I am not a big fan of little kids, so avoiding them as much as possible is one of the best ways for me to enjoy a vacation. Here are some of the things I’ve been keeping in mind while preparing my itinerary:

  • Keep school schedules in mind. We arrive in London on a Tuesday morning and come home the following Thursday for a total of 10 days. Because most of our experiences will happen during the week, we can steer clear of children as much as possible since they should be in school during the day. This means daytime hours are the best times to hit up popular attractions.
  • Avoid child-heavy activities. We decided since we are visiting London we should do it up tourist style and ride the London Eye. I was excited to see they were featuring seasonal events, including Halloween storytelling. Since I love Halloween so much, I was really tempted to go for it. But then I realized that the event was definitely geared toward children. We decided to do the champagne experience instead.
B Maynard

Brittany Maynard’s Brave Choice & Lessons on ‘Legacy’

By Karen Malone Wright

Brittany Maynard is the kind of NotMom no one wants to be: At 29, and recently married, she is dying of the most deadly form of brain cancer.

And yet, by commanding control of when she will die and in what fashion, she displays the bold bravery every woman hopes to have. In October 2014, she predicts she won’t live another month, but she will choose the day she dies.

Brittany told CBS This Morning:

“I don’t want to die. If anyone wants to hand me, like, a magical cure and save my life so that I can have children with my husband, you know, I will take them up on it.”

Diagnosis in hand, she moved from California to Oregon, one of five states where doctors may legally assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives. She has said that anger has turned to sadness, centered around how much she wanted a child and how different her journey has become. What drew me to share Brittany’s story in a post is the important lesson she’s learned that we all need to hear.

Sadness african amercan woman

Sometimes, ‘This Is Who I Am’ Isn’t Enough

By Karen Malone Wright

As you might imagine, I spend a good deal of time soaking in wisdom from people I believe know more than I do about building a successful blog and online community (AKA turning your passion into a full-time, income generating job). I have a notebook full of scribbles to prove that they have shared invaluable advice on a variety of topics.

I’ve just realized there’s one question I keep forgetting to ask The Smarter Ones, and perhaps that’s because I assume I can predict their answers, that boil down to either A) It’s just another chance to sell yourself; or B) Who gives a sh–?

The question is, “What’s a good response to people who say they just don’t get it?”

acorn squash

Wellness for One (or Two): Squashing Acorn, Pumpkin and Butternut

By Samantha Pollack

Acorn, pumpkin and butternut are not the names of some cheerful Halloween characters, or any of my three cats (I don’t even own a cat.) 

They’re just three of the plethora of squash available in October. Each one has a different taste and texture, and can be used for sweet or savory dishes.

Generally speaking, one squash makes two servings, and it’s easy to get stuck in a squash rut. Bake an acorn squash, smear it with butter and salt – yum! But what else can you do with it?

Here are some favorite, and unexpected uses for your squash.

promise ring

Another American Minority: Virgins Over Age 25

By Karen Malone Wright

Women without children are by definition a “niche” community, and now, writer Amanda McCracken bravely reminds us of a group that’s even niche-ier: adult virgins.

Ms. McCracken, 35, a teacher and freelance writer, decided to share a stunning amount of her personal story with The New York Times. She admitted that she enjoys “being naked with boyfriends” and has “happily [and competently] taken on a dominatrix role.”

Rather than give in or give up, she’s found a new way to lean in.  Ms. McCracken writes, ”I still want to save sex for someone who is mutually in love with me and who accepts my virginity as a gift. After so many years of holding out, I can’t change now.”

Just how many grown-up virgins are out there, anyway?

peeking

So, What Do YOU Do All Day?

By Laura LaVoie

I recently stumbled upon this article in the Washington Post. At first I was frustrated. This post, like many from this genre of Mommy Blog writing made the author come across as some sort of martyr. With kids finally off to school, she could finally do all of the things she needed to do. And that she needed to justify it to perfect strangers.

But then I realized something else.

The problem was not with a Mom feeling the need to justify what she needed to do. The problem was perfect strangers judging her.

The friend in the story suggests that people aren’t asking because they think she isn’t doing enough, they’re asking because she represents something unattainable.

Then I realized that this wasn’t a phenomenon reserved for Moms. Shortly after I quit my full time job to write, I had multiple people ask me the same question: “What do you do with all your free time?”

EMS

Surprisingly Funny True Story: Injured Childless Woman Meets Mom-Focused EMS

By Karen Malone Wright

Feeling the need to lighten up a little bit? This ought to do it. I give you the Yes, This Really Happened story of my good friend, Beverly (not her real name), a NotMom by Chance.

She asked me to share her story here, and I’m happy to do so because every time I think of it, I laugh out loud. I think you will, too.

Animals are Beverly’s passion, especially dogs. She is active with local rescue kennels and believes in hands-on pet care. Two examples: For more than a year, she managed meds and injections for her beloved diabetic Chihuahua. She’s also been known to spend hundreds of dollars at the emergency vet at 3:00 in the morning to save a $10.00 parakeet from K-Mart. (#JustSayin)

Right now, Beverly’s household includes two rescued dogs, a Rottweiller and a pit bull. They are sweet dogs who know they’ve been given a second chance. The Rotty is especially protective of his adoptive Mom.

In a nutshell, Beverly sat on her living room couch and attempted to clip the pit bull’s dewclaw, an extra nail on front legs. She’d done it before, but this time the dog growled at her. In a flash, the Rottweiller bounded into the room and jumped on the couch to protect her.

The deep-growl, dog-on-dog argument escalated, and Beverly — sweet, crazy Beverly — reflexively raised her arm to stop the animals from nipping at each other. You guessed it: both dogs clamped down on her right arm. Hard.

Now comes the funny part.

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