Death planning

by L

Do you talk about death with your children? How about your end-of-life wishes?

Little Mirrors of Mortality
How one late-in-life parent discusses death with his children.

Cake Raises $1.35M to Help You Talk About End-of-Life Planning

and by Milo:

Last Saturday, my kids and I were driving to lunch at Chick-fil-A when we were delayed at the traffic light nearest our house. Two police officers, who had been waiting for their cue, activated lights and sirens and stopped traffic in all directions. I had no idea why, as we’re nowhere near the typical political motorcade territory, but then a couple of limos, a hearse, and a line of about 40 or 50 cars followed their slow, dignified path on the way to the cemetery.

So, my kids and I got to talking about funeral traditions. I have some limited (thankfully) familiarity with what I assume are standard, middle-class Catholic Northeastern customs: an evening viewing with an open casket, a lot of old people nobody’s seen in 20 years coming to pay their respects after seeing the obituary in the paper, a casual impromptu dinner at a pizza restaurant afterward, another gathering at the funeral home the next morning where the casket is solemnly closed, an escorted drive to mass, How Great Thou Art and maybe Nearer My God to Thee or Be Not Afraid, another escorted drive to the cemetery, and a luncheon afterward. (In earlier decades, and when there is still a significant amount of family living in the area, this part can happen at someone’s house. My dad refers to one particular dish of chicken, tomato wine sauce, and orzo as “funeral food,” because any time there was a funeral, at least one or two aunts would bring over a huge pot of it.)

Most of my grandparents were lucky, in my mind, to have outlived so many people that their funeral processions were much smaller than what I saw on Saturday. (As an aside, in college, I once heard a very entertaining talk by Ross Perot that was peppered with a lot of folksy sayings. On the topic of incompetence in leadership, he quipped that he “wouldn’t trust this guy to lead a *two-car* funeral.”) The older men who worked as attendants at the funeral home and did the little things like drive the hearse and limo reminded me of mob extras on the Sopranos with their dark jackets and ties and feathered fedoras.

How different are the customs in your family or geographic, religious community? Do you find them familiar and comforting, or torturous? If you had to plan your own funeral, what would it look like?



by L

Who has taken up a new hobby as an adult? Playing an instrument, boating, dancing, a new sport? Whose hobbies (like mine) are activities that you have done since childhood? Does anyone have hobbies that they hope their kids *don’t* take up?

Summer regrets?

by July

Do you feel a tinge of regret because you have not made the most of your summer?

Maybe you feel as if you didn’t take full advantage of the sunny beaches, fun fairs, and good food of summer.  Maybe that summer bucket list was mostly left untouched.  Do Facebook and Instagram photos make you feel as if you had a boring summer by comparison?  Do you have the August blues?

August Blues Are Like Sunday Blues, But for a Full Month

…  If you’re a summer hater, you’re antsy to be done with it and move on already, and if you’re a summer lover, you’re probably feeling some panic about it coming to an end. In both cases, too, there is likely guilt over not having done enough with this time, because what season comes with more pressure to “make the most” of it than summer?

What about you?  Any late summer regrets or other anxiety?  Or are you feeling you’ve taken full advantage of the warm weather and are ready to move on to autumn?

What have been the best and worst parts of your summer so far?  (We still have Labor Day!)

Dress up for kids

by L

I thought we could talk about dress-up clothes and behavior for kids (since it is on my mind). How many Totebaggers’ kids have been in weddings? How old were they? From where were their outfits sourced? What would you consider “too much” to spend on a flower girl or junior bridesmaid dress? Or a navy blazer for boys? Do you let your kids run wild at weddings and/or get their fancy clothes filthy?

The last time one of my kids was in a wedding was when #1 was 2, and I borrowed a dress for her that time and had to walk with her down the aisle. Now all 3 of ours will be in our nanny’s wedding next year, so I will have to buy all their outfits.

Babies born with opioid addiction

by L

Caring for babies born with opioid addiction – what are Totebaggers’ thoughts? What policies would help? What do you think about this mother’s chances of gaining custody? How about her naming choices?

A tide of opioid-dependent newborns forces doctors to rethink treatment


When the Mother of an Opioid-Dependent Newborn Hears, ‘You Can’t Have Your Baby’

‘Locker room talk’

by L

“Locker room talk” and “boys will be boys” – in the wake of our current president’s words (and alleged sexual assaults), what solutions would Totebaggers suggest? Parents of boys, how would you feel if your son was one of the people scoring women?

2012 Harvard Men’s Soccer Team Produced Sexually Explicit ‘Scouting Report’ on Female Recruits

Stronger Together

WATCH: Harvard women’s soccer’s response to ‘scouting reports’ featured in Lifetime video

Gender imbalance in the workplace

by L

Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?

Why Men Don’t Want the Jobs Done Mostly by Women

Totebaggers, how would you suggest decreasing sexism and increasing the number of women in tech? Law? Banking? Other fields? On the other side of the coin, how would you increase the number of men in “pink collar” jobs? Or would you rather leave well enough alone? If gender gaps in certain jobs/industries don’t bother you, why not?


by L

We haven’t talked about furniture in a while. Has anyone found any new pieces lately? Any particular recommendations for dining room furniture? The Abbey needs a new dining room table as the children have destroyed the previous one (Pottery Barn) as well as the chairs (Jordan’s, even worse!). Looking for wood, no leather or upholstered seats.

Recently we were struck by the price difference between the “factory outlet” store, with a table and 4 chairs for $700, and the “handmade in Vermont” store, where the tables start at around $4,000! Feel free to comment on price/quality differences and how tariffs could change these.

Office dress codes?

by L

The end of the office dress code? Totebaggers, your thoughts?

The End of the Office Dress Code

Casual Friday and the ‘End of the Office Dress Code’


[Note:  Great minds think alike!  Louise sent in the same article with this comment:]

… But we can discuss all sorts of dress codes. School uniforms, prom fashions, guest at a party or wedding, bridal fashions, casual wear/athleisure – what’s acceptable, what’s not….

Multilevel marketing

Both L and Honolulu Mother sent in posts about mulitlevel marketing:

by L

MLMs: your thoughts? Does anyone have FB or real life friends selling these products? What about the church connection?

I have one friend on FB who sells LuLaRoe, but I have never been to an MLM party or been pressured to attend one.

Why your Facebook feed is filled with women selling essential oils and press-on nails

my boss wants to secretly recruit my coworkers and me into a money-making scheme



by Honolulu Mother

Let’s all gripe about our “friends” selling Jamberry on Facebook!

This Vox article tackles the important question of “Why your Facebook feed is filled with women selling essential oils and press-on nails.” Actually, mine really isn’t, but that’s because I know how to use the “hide” feature. In some circles, though, MLM’s parasitical profiting off the social and family connections of its victims / salespeople is hard to avoid.

Totebaggers, your thoughts on multilevel marketing?


by L

Did any Totebaggers move as children? If so, do you remember or were you too young?

This Totebagger moved prior to age 3 and has no memory of the first house. As we contemplate moving now, I am sad to think that our youngest child will have few or no memories of this house.

In addition, any tips for moving with kids? Changing school systems? What are your must-dos and must-avoids?

Preparing Children for a Move

Totebaggers’ unfortunate fashion choices

by L

Which fashion choices do you regret? How old were you then? I predict we will see some generational differences here.

My list: beige plastic glasses (age 8), bright floral leggings (age 11), red plastic GIANT glasses (age 12), overalls and pegged pants (middle school), electric blue camisole to work (age 21),

Trends I’m happy I never got into: permed hair, waterfall bangs, sequined prom dresses, tanning.