One of the most influential Modern Artists in Brazil.
Sharon Lorenzo introduces us to Tarsila do Amaral at the Museum of Modern Art, New York – until June 3, 2018.
Image from the Closing Ceremony at 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSetting Sun, 1929, by Tarsila do AmaralSelf-portrait, 1924.
Born into a wealthy family on their coffee plantation near Sao Paolo, she studied piano, sculpture and drawing at the Colégio Santana nearby. In 1902 she went to Europe for the first time with her sister and parents and returned to Brazil to marry a physician, Andre Teixeira, with whom she had a daughter, Dulce.
The marriage ended in 1913, and by 1920 she was off to Europe again with her daughter to study art in Paris at the Académie Julian where she met many successful modern painters such as Fernand Leger. In correspondence included in this exhibition at MoMA, we see from her letters home to her family her continuing connection to Brazil: “I feel increasingly Brazilian: I want to be the painter of my country.”
In 1922 Tarsila and her daughter Dulce returned to Sao Paolo and she joined five other artists to form the Grupo dos Cinco. By 1923 she was back to Paris and traveled to Spain and Portugal to see the work of Picasso. She met a famous Brazilian poet during these travels, Oswald de Andrade, and by 1926 they were married. For his birthday in 1928, she presented Oswald with the painting below. He consulted the indigenous Tupi dictionary from Brazil and named the work: Abaporu which means, “person who eats.”  He used the image to illustrate an article he published entitled, “ Manifesto de Anthropophagy,” which described Tarsila’s symbolic digestion of her Brazilian heritage as a form of artistic cannibalism through which she absorbed, consumed and redefined her subjects as if digesting the concepts like food.
Additionally, in this same year, Tarsila was invited to exhibit some of her work in a group art exhibition near Versailles. She showed the work below entitled A Negra, from 1923. Although slavery was outlawed in Brazil in 1888, the black presence was something Tarsila knew from her childhood on the coffee plantation. When asked about this image, she noted in a public interview that she was told that female slaves often tied rocks to their breasts to elongate them. They would then throw the breast over their shoulder to feed their child, whom they were carrying on their back, while working in the fields.
A Negra, 1923.
Not all of her works were as strikingly radical as the Negress. Her playful images of imaginary critters in this piece show the more serene artist and mother painting for a larger public from her studio.
A Cuca, 1924.
By 1929 with the fall of the US stock market, her family’s coffee business, like the rest of Brazil, was in terrible financial distress. Tarsila separated from Oswald and went on a trip with other friends to Russia. When she returned to Brazil, the entire group was put in jail for a month by the new dictator, Getulio Vargas. Following her release, she returned to her art work and in 1964 she was invited to represent Brazil in the Venice Biennial, showing some of her paintings such as these:
Urutu Viper, 1928. (venomous snake)
The Lake, 1928.
Scholars have noted that Tarsila forged a modernist vocabulary from her country’s anatomy, a kind of confident biomorphism of form, shapes, fruit and fauna. What I find so convincing is the matrix she made between imagination and representation. We can recognize the vivid flowers of Brazil resonating in their native landscape. We can see the modernist influences from her time in Europe. She gave us a hybrid product that is fun, enjoyable and uniquely her own, after 87 years of engaging in the world of modern painting.
“A good marriage is one where each partner secretly suspects they got the better deal.” Anonymous
We’re approaching wedding season, and reader Susan G. requested an article about hosting a bridal shower. The maid/matron of honor, bridesmaids, family members and/or close friends often throw a bridal shower for the bride before the wedding. It is best to check with the bride first to make certain she wants a bridal shower and get her guidance on the level of formality. Like most parties, a checklist is a good idea. Here is one for bridal showers.
Pick a date and time with the bride. Showers are usually held anytime between two weeks and six months before the wedding.
Set the number you are comfortable inviting.
Choose the location.
Put together the guest list with the help of the bride – close female family members on both the bride’s and the groom’s side are included as well as the bride’s close friends.
Some brides may want a theme for the party.
Ask the bride to create a registry.
Compose and send out the invitation.
At the shower, there is food and drink and usually the bride-to-be opens the shower presents. You can serve lunch, tea, cocktails or any other meal. Unless you are hosting a full seated meal, choose fun ‘finger food’ so that guests can move around and balance plates on their knees. You can be creative with both savory bites and sweets.
There can also be games. A game tends to keep the group together and celebrating the bride. Games usually focus on how well the bride and groom know each other, or how well suited they are. The games are often very funny as well as informative about the couple. My personal philosophy is to keep games simple. I don’t want to be divided into teams for a game – this isn’t field hockey.
My favorite games involve questions that are asked of the groom about the bride and then asked of the bride about herself to see how well the groom knows his future wife. The hostess has the groom answer the questions well ahead of time. I made cards for each guest with a photo of the couple on one side, and one of the questions on the other. Each guest asked her question of the bride and her answer was compared to the answer the groom gave. For example, in a bridal shower for my niece, one question to the groom was ‘What is Jacqueline’s favorite snack to carry in her pocket book?’. The groom answered ‘Swedish Fish’ and when asked the same question, the bride answered ‘Swedish Fish’. In that couples’ case, they had the exact same answers for 19 out of 20 questions. It was impressive!
If you aren’t a DIYer, you can purchase premade “What Would the Bride Say” kits.
This similar game narrows the choices and is called Would She Rather. There are fifteen questions and for $4.00 you can download the PDF and print out as many game cards as you’d like.
It’s great to personalize the bridal shower. The website Zazzle is a great source for personalized party products. These Fun Facts paper cocktail napkins are conversation starters and answer many questions guests might be asking the bride-to-be. The napkins are 3 ply, 4.75” square, and a set of 50 is $30.77.
No one wants more junk, but it’s nice to have a good party favor for guests to take home. My personal favorites have been a delicious personalized individually wrapped sugar cookie. I am providing a link to an online source but I would try your local bakery first. These are $4.31-$6.49 each based on size.
These heart-shaped measuring spoons are sweet and usable. They are individually wrapped and each spoon has an engraved love saying. The sets are individually packaged. 2-19 sets are $2.45 each and 20-99 sets are $1.28 each. I’m still using a set I received as a guest.
The website has many other party favor ideas in addition to the measuring spoons.
Finally, a lovely idea is for the bride to be to make a small donation in each guest’s name to her favorite charity. The hostess makes up a card for each guest with their name, the name of the charity and a note from the bride to be.
Don’t forget to ask a helpful guest to take some photos during the shower for the bride to have.
You know by now that my family is having a population explosion. With three daughters having babies at the same time, I have learned a lot about what they want for their new arrivals. One daughter, Alex, has created an extensive registry list from firsthand experience and ideas from–her sisters’ and friends. From Alex…
I created this insanely long registry list because lots of friends who are first time parents ask baby gear advice. This is what I send them.
I would recommend signing up for the BabyCenter emails. You enter your baby’s due date and they’ll send you a weekly email with recommendations about how to prepare for him/her and then will send you relevant info once he/she is born. We lean on them a lot for which toys are developmentally appropriate and as a supplement to the doctor’s advice about when to start solids, sleep and potty training, etc. Like anything, you have to take it with a grain of salt. There are definitely some kooks on there too.
This is a list of what we consider “must have” items for our babies and for me. One source that was super helpful for me in creating a registry was Lucie’s List, an online ‘survival guide for new moms’. Another source is the paperback Baby Bargains. The name is misleading, but this book explains which brands are safe (non-toxic) and which are well made for each category of nursery item.
I was overwhelmed by the # of baby books out there and most of them are B-O-R-I-N-G. I didn’t even get through some that are supposed to be fun like The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy. These are the four that I’ve dipped in and out of for advice since he was born and that I highly recommend:
I registered on Diapers.com but they’re closing down :(. Amazon has taken over the site and will give you 10% off (15% if you’re a Prime member) on all registry items. I also registered at Babylist (like Zola for baby registries) for the twins because I could register for items from anywhere.
Make sure to register for all of the essentials in several sizes (Newborn, 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12) because he/she will grow out of them. Also, remember that baby doesn’t distinguish between night and day so all of these are good around the clock.
My favorite premium baby clothing brands are:
Kickee Pants: cult favorite; incredibly stretchy/ soft PJs. Choose the cute patterns, the material is awesome.
Burts Bees Baby (also on Amazon): These are inexpensive, basic organic layering pieces
Rylee and Cru: Favorite of the Hipster/ Bohemian print driven brands
Aden and Anais: Known for their amazing muslin swaddles, they also make gorgeous muslin layering pieces for summer.
Jacadi: For special occasion pieces. They have great special details/ European flair. If you want to go extremely high end, Bonpoint is even more expensive/ special occasion, but I like the modern vibe of Jacadi.
Petit Bateau: This is the Gap of France, but somehow they do it even better.
Mayoral: This is the Gap of Spain but again it’s so much cuter.
Bodysuits: These go beneath onesies to keep baby warm and to contain any mess. We have approximately 1 million long and short sleeved :). I like Burts Bees baby multi-packs because they’re organic and not that expensive.
Kimono Tops: Some mamas love these more than bodysuits because you don’t have to pull them over baby’s head to get them on/off. I personally layer a bodysuit under everything.
Cuff Pants: During the day, your child can wear those cute kimono tops that everyone got him/her with these pants to keep his/her legs warm. The elastic waist is key.
Socks: You’ll need A LOT of these. I’ve put the cutest ones in the link. Look at all of them from “Trumpette“, but you’ll also want to register for or just buy a bunch from Baby Gap or Carters.
Hats: You’ll have the ones in the link on him/her 24/7 for the first year (babies lose most of their heat through their heads). You’ll also want some warm ones and a sun one – after 6M, you’ll want the sun one to have a strap under his/her chin because he/she will take it off :).
Buntings: Even if you live in LA or SF, your baby will need a warm suit for going outside. This is what we brought George home from the hospital in and we bundle him in it for walks, doctors’ appointments, etc.
Swaddle Blankets: You’ll want a gazillion of these! They’re great for swaddling, but also for covering the stroller to block the sun, as an extra layer when he/she is out and about, etc. All moms will tell you that the Aidan and Anaise swaddle blankets are indispensable.
“Cheater” Swaddles: This is actually what we swaddled him in. It’s much easier to create a tight “burrito”, especially late night when you don’t want to struggle. I like the “Swaddle Me” brand, but there are lots of choices.
Sleep Sacks: These are for 3 months+ of age (when they’re rolling over so you no longer swaddle them). You won’t use them at first, but they’re good to have for later.
First Shoes: Around 9 months, he/she’ll start taking first steps and you’ll want shoes with soft soles so he/she can feel the ground and get her balance.
The rest of the cute clothes/shoes you get from family and friends are great! You’ll put them on him/her during the daytime or for special events, but the above are essential. FYI, one of my favorite “accessory” items was a hooded Patagonia fleece that we put on him during the day once he was around 3M.
Diapers/ Wipes/ Changing:
Diaper Bag: I got this one because I don’t think it looks like a diaper bag (urban). It holds everything and has great waterproof compartments. HOWEVER I’ve found it totally fine and sometimes easier to carry most stuff in a bag that I already use. I haven’t used the diaper bag at all since he moved beyond the infant stage.
Picnic Blanket: As soon as you can take her to the park, it’s really nice to have a clean place to let her roll around with toys. We love this one.
Newborn diapers (Pampers Swaddlers) Get 200 initially because babies grow out of them at 1 month or so and you don’t want to be stuck with small ones. If you prefer compostable diapers, they are more environmentally friendly, but definitely add extra work, we’ve considered a service like earth baby.
Wipes: I do NOT recommend baby wipes. If you do get them, the ones at the “Wipes” link are “Water Wipes”, which are for sensitive babies. Most babies have sensitive skin and the alcohol in most wipes will give them diaper rash. We only use these “Swisspers Cotton Pads” and warm water. Infant poop is not that intense and these get him clean without hurting him.
Changing Table Pad: This may not be beautiful but it’s SO functional. It’s waterproof (I still use the liners below), it’s soft for baby, and it fits on every changing table. Don’t buy an expensive changing table mattress pad. You can put this on top of a regular dresser and avoid buying a changing table altogether. How long will you use the changing table anyway? Or you can buy a changing table and this will be the pad.
Changing Table Cover: Get several of these! They will contain the mess and you can throw them in the washing machine. We also use them for travel, picnics, etc.
Bum Cream: We’re considering investing in the pharmaceutical company that owns Aquaphor because we go through a pot a month :). If you use this after EVERY diaper change, your child will never develop a rash. We also use it on baby’s face when his/her skin is rashy or dry. You probably want a small one for your diaper bag and one that stays on the changing station.
Desitin: If/when baby actually gets a diaper rash, this clears it right up (aquaphor protects against it in the first place but this actually treats it).
Diaper Pail: Everyone has the Ubbi one for a reason: it’s great. We love ours. We use regular trash bags and they fit/ work fine.
Vava Light: During late night feeds/ diaper changes you won’t want to wake baby up by turning on a bright light. This one turns on/off with a tap of 2 fingers and dims when you press on it. I love it so much that we have 2 J.
Gripe Water: Natural cure to gas – you’ll use this OFTEN for the first 3 months
Mylecon Drops: Slightly less natural (and more effective) gas relief drops. We use them once babies are already writhing with gas and they tend to get things moving.
Probiotic Drops: We give these to the babies every morning along with Vitamin D drops. They’re supposed to help with digestion/ gas but are supposedly much more effective in some babies than others (why not try?).
Vitamin D Drops: The doctor will prescribe these once/day for the first year. You just mix a drop in with their milk or put a droplet on your nipple once/day.
Infant Tylenol: You’ll need this after his/her first vaccines if he/she runs a fever
Rectal Thermometer: People will tell you that you can take his/her temp on the forehead, ear, etc.. but my understanding is that, for the first year, rectal is the most accurate.
Nose Frieda: Looks gross but you’ll get over it. If he/she gets stuffy nose, this is a lifesaver.
Windi: Made by the Nose Frieda people, this is for constipation/ gas. It saved us when the kids switched to formula and went days without pooping. I’ve heard that people use it for gas relief but we haven’t used it that way.
Infant Brush and Comb: You’ll want to use this after baths if he/she has cradle cap or if he/she has hair
Coconut Oil: We use this for post-bath rub down to keep the moisture in their skin.
Blankets: People will give these to you so no need to stock up.
Burp Cloths: The plain white ones are sold as cloth diapers – they’re actually burp cloths. You can NEVER have too many. You will go through 5+ some days. Stock up.
Crib Sheets: My favorite are from Carousel Designs (SO cute!). You really only need 2 sets (wash one while using the other), but they’re really fun to buy. Do NOT get bumpers/ bumper sheets. They’re good looking but not recommended because of SIDS risk.
We have Uppa Mesa infant seats and love them. I’ve heard rave reviews from friends about the Nuna Pipa. You can use either of these in either an Uppa Baby or a Bugaboo stroller.
We love the Uppa Baby Vista. Families face the Uppa Baby Cruz vs. Vista dilemma. The Cruz is less expensive, but only fits one baby. If you think you’re going to have more than 1 within 3 years, the Vista is probably a good bet. Friends also love the Bugaboo Chameleon and the lightweight BabyZen YoYo which is apparently adding a whole system (bassinet, etc). Also, you thought you were just getting a stroller? No, you’re getting stroller gear worth a fortune…
Stroller Bassinet: Will plug into the stroller for the early days – George also slept in this in our room at first.
Foot Muff:for winter warmth (we actually never used this in SF but my sister in NY swears by it).
Stroller Seat:Not really necessary until 6 months – will be in the bassinet or car seat at first but eventually she’ll want to look out at the world.
Other: You can also buy cupholders and extra storage compartments – we never did, but I understand why people do.
Stroller leash: This is a ‘must have’ in hilly San Francisco – it is a little extra security on SF hills.
Header graphic credit: left to right: Polly Thomson, Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen Keller,
Charlie Chaplin, 1918: Courtesy American Foundation for the blind
A movie in the making
Becoming Helen Keller is a two-hour film biography our guest writer Laurie Block is producing for the prestigious PBS series American Masters. The creation of this upcoming movie and how Laurie came to be the producer is inspiring.
From producer Laurie Block…I am often asked how I came to be doing this film. Was I a Helen Keller fan? I’ve become one over the years I’ve worked on this project, but to be honest, at first I didn’t know what I thought about Keller. I came to her initially because I thought her story was a strong way to draw viewers into the past experiences of people with disabilities in the decades before ADA, and that looking into this past would help make visible why civil rights policy for people with disabilities was a necessary step towards guaranteeing full citizenship and inclusion of this community in all aspects of our national life.
L to R – Keller as a child-1888, Keller at 18–1898, (Perkins School for the Blind); Keller with shrub–circa 1924, Keller in Japan on a train–1948, (American Foundation for the Blind); Keller reading in her Connecticut home–1965 (American Foundation for the Blind)
The next question is, ‘Why Keller?’ Why the American Masters series? Everyone knows Helen Keller’s name, her basic story, the legendary meeting with Anne Sullivan, probably a couple of the many Helen Keller jokes. If you’re under 40, you’ll remember the South Park episode called Helen Keller The Musical. Younger than that, and you might have danced to a raunchy Helen Keller-themed number called Don’t Trust Me (“Do the Helen Keller… talk with your hips”). Most people grew up with a kind of folk tale version of Keller, learned in grammar school and not revised since. I think the American Masters staff recognized that Keller persists as an American icon, but they too were curious to understand her story anew. Providing a fresh take about who we are as a nation, how diverse the American experience can be, through the biographies of notable citizens is what this prestigious PBS series has done again and again.
I came to Keller’s story because I belong to the first generation of women whose child – one of twins — was diagnosed with a significant disability before birth. That was 30 years ago, and the twins are now adults, each living independently. Doing disability history is how I navigated the complex network of attitudes about and services for people with disabilities that I encountered both as a pregnant woman and during the years of raising the kids – attitudes that surprised and sometimes angered me, and that I learned had deep roots.
Before becoming a mom, I worked as a film researcher and a co-scriptwriter with my husband, John Crowley, a novelist and teacher of creative writing at Yale. When I returned to work, I turned my focus to the history of people with disabilities. I studied and made film and radio work about how different generations understood who is labeled as fit, who is not, and by what criteria. I explored how policy and legislation related to the disability community worked or didn’t, how the disability rights movement arose and why. My ongoing web project about these issues can be found at www.disabilitymuseum.org.
My children were in middle school when I first began working with Keller’s life and legacy. Not long into the research process, I realized that to reclaim Keller’s story from its mythology, I would need to make visible what the experiences of people with disabilities living during Keller’s time were like across racial and class lines. Setting Keller’s life story into historical context, including the experiences disabled people had in her own era, is something no previous film, no biographer of her, has done.
Disability history is not about the diseases or the circumstances that cause an impairment. Though some aspects of medical history are pertinent: disability history is social history. It’s about the intersections of policy and personal experience, how individuals with disabilities interact with the environment (physical, political, and cultural) over time. And like women’s or immigrant history, disability history provides a lens that reveals structures and systems of influence not otherwise visible. A good example of how that lens works is our changed understanding of FDR and his disability. All biographers mention his polio, and many note that he was a creator of the March of Dimes, but only in the 1990s with the help of disability historians and advocates did they begin discussing how FDR’s disability was central to his experience and vision as a leader.
Helen Keller graduated from Radcliffe-Harvard in the same year FDR did, 1904. Typically, her tale has been told within the framework of those who “overcome” their disability. Yet being deaf and blind was central to her identity, the details of her daily life, how she understood the problems of her day, how she knew the world. It’s time to reclaim her story, revision it afresh.
H.Keller graduation credit Courtesy A. G. Bell Association
Like many other college-educated women of her era, Keller chose to play a role in the struggles for social change. Why? What opportunities did she pick for herself once she was an adult in need of earning a living? Keller’s agency is what interests me most. I wanted to know how she used her renown for causes and purposes of interest to her—income inequality, education, employment training for people with disabilities, women, the poor, women’s suffrage, Social Security, and disabled veterans of two World Wars. Keller was not a policy wonk, but a messenger reporting about the needs of those that various policies would serve. She knew she could draw crowds wherever she went, and as a public figure she bluntly spoke her mind on many of the issues just mentioned.
Who were her allies, her friends, foes? Where did she feel she succeeded? What did she fail to do? What was it like to be a disabled, articulate, beautiful woman advocating for people with disabilities in an era dominated by eugenic ideology? These are some of the questions the film addresses. Keller visited 25 state legislatures in person, making an appeal for them to establish services to serve people with vision loss, hearing loss, war-related disabilities, the provision of assistive technology and public-health blindness prevention. As a young adult, she was a lot like Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel prize winning advocate for women’s education from Pakistan. Like Malala, Helen Keller embodied the issues she expressed as critical, lobbying the public tirelessly to provide education and employment and to treat with dignity all persons.
Eleanor Roosevelt & Helen Keller, 1955: Courtesy American Foundation for the Blind
In the Cold War years, with the support of the US State Dept. and several NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations), Keller would tour 37 countries as the first US Goodwill Ambassador—Egypt, Israel, South Africa, Mexico, Jordan, Brazil, and more, until her seventies. Often she was sent only when some notable conflict was happening, had happened, or was just about to occur. Her mission was diplomatic, a hopeful presence advocating the possibilities of peaceful solutions to grave problems.
How did Helen Keller sustain her steadfast faith in the goodness of humanity? That faith, its unwavering character, her indomitable spunk—that steadfast faith of hers is how I came to love her. In these volatile times, it is really a remarkable example. Helen Keller’s story, put into the context of our nation’s history, is an important and fresh tale to tell all Americans, young and old alike.
As every independent film-maker knows, raising production money is a huge part of the work. We’ve had great support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and several small foundations, and right now we’re running aKickstarter campaign to bring in necessary funding to complete the rough cut of the full two hours. So I’m thinking about Helen Keller and how she communicated with audiences all the time – she was a champion marathon fundraiser!
Our Kickstarter campaign goal of $45,000 will let us complete the edit of a full rough cut so that we can raise the final funding from foundations that help to bring independent films to their intended audiences. This film, once finished, will go around the globe, following Keller’s footsteps. We hope you can help, and thank you in advance.
Ginny and I are so inspired by this effort that we have donated to the Kiickstarter campaign. We hope you will consider joining us.
The senior population in the U.S grows by over 1 million a year. By 2030 one in five U.S. citizens will be over 65 years old, and experts expect technology that compensates for aging to be a $30 billion market. Designers are creating tech gadgets and apps to meet the needs of seniors and many are available now.
These gadgets and apps are for seniors who are already familiar with basic technology. There are no medically oriented devices included except for a medication reminder.
GrandPad – This is an 8” tablet that has large and clear icons for video and voice calls, photos, email, music, games, news, weather and search. Best of all, there is a live support person on call 24/7 in English, Spanish or Chinese to help with any problems or questions. There is a 30-day free trial, and after that it’s $49.00 a month which includes the tablet and a 4G wireless connection.
Tile Mate Tile Tracker helps keep track of any items you attach to the small white tile. The app uses Bluetooth to track up to 100 feet and the tile is easily attached to almost anything.
A 1-pack is $20.00, a 4-pack is on sale for $50.00 and an 8-pack is on sale for $100.00.
This fitness tracker, the Garmin Vivofit 2 has a very long battery life (one year with no recharging) and a backlit, large, easy to read display. It is waterproof so it does not need to be removed for showers or swimming. It tracks sleep, calories burned and has an audible alert after one hour of inactivity to remind you to get moving! It automatically syncs with whatever mobile device it is paired with. $49.49.
The Vizio SB2920N-E0sound bar attaches to an HD TV with a cable and greatly improves the audio so it is crystal clear. It is 29” long and has built in Bluetooth. $72.00.
The Skybell HD is a digital doorbell that works with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Nest, records at high resolution and zooms in on whoever is at the door. It has two-way audio to have a conversation with the visitor. The videos are stored in the cloud for one week for free. It has a quiet mode to turn off the doorbell chime if quiet is desired. The Skybell is hardwired like a regular doorbell but it’s described as being easy to install. $164.00
TheDeebot sells for a much lower price than other robot vacuum cleaners and gets good marks for cleaning well. It cleans hardwood floors and carpets. It can be controlled with a remote or the phone app. $225.00.
OurTime is a dating app for singles over 50 years old. Put in your zip code and see other singles who live near you. $12 for 6 months.
Gogograndparent has a toll free number that lets seniors arrange a Lyft or Uber without those apps. The rider dials in and follows the voice prompts to tell the car when and where to pick up. GoGo sends text updates about the request, the arrivals or pick ups. It also offers the option to order a ride with an operator, or to speak with the operator about special requests or questions. It is available wherever Lyft and Uber are accessible within the U.S. and Canada.
The cost of the call is 19 cents a minute and is added to the base price of the ride.
Magnifier App –
The iPhones all come with a magnifier app. To access it go to Settings, then to General, then choose Accessibility and turn Magnifier On. To use it triple click the side button and adjust the strength of the Magnifier.
Many Android operating systems come with an integrated magnifying-glass tool.
Silvernest – This is a roommate-matching app for baby boomers and empty nesters. Rent out the kids’ old rooms! This app makes it easy to screen potential roommates. Create a profile and a listing. The roommate finder will suggest compatible potential matches in the area. There is unlimited matching until the perfect roommate is found. Silvernest does complete in-depth background checks, creates leases and has automated rent payment tools.
$38 for 90 days.
To remember passwords try Last Pass, a free app that will remember all the passwords for you. All you need to remember is the one master password to access last Pass.
MedisafeEven the most organized among us can lose track of our supplements, prescriptions or vitamins. Medisafe is a pill reminder, keeps track of pill regimens and connects patients with their doctors. The app is free.
A new BABY lexicon for those of us who have not had a child in 15 years.
The famous Oxford English Dictionary announced that it has added over 100 new parenting terms to its 2018 edition. In case you have not had a child in the past fifteen years, here is your guide to some of this new parenting vocabulary.
Baby Wearing -The practice of wearing or carrying a baby (or toddler) in a carrier or sling.
Baby Whipped – Being completely controlled by your tiny, ‘dependent’ baby. This is often used as a put down of new moms by their friends who don’t have kids and feel like they’re less fun now that they’re parents.
Babymoon – This generation of parents not only has a honeymoon, they take a few days away together about eight weeks before the baby is born. I wish we had thought of this.
Back is Best – New parents are told to put babies to sleep on their backs to lessen SIDS risk.
Binky – Another word for a pacifier. See also: paci, nuk, or dummy.
Blowout – When baby poops so much that it explodes outside of his diaper. The first time is unforgettable.
Booger Sucker – A handheld device that uses a compressive bulb and nozzle to create suction to literally suck the snot out of your baby’s and young children’s noses. Also known as snot sucker.
Co-Sleeping – When a parent and child share a bed or sleep close together for easy breastfeeding, constant bonding, and a feeling of security.
Doula – A professional, usually a woman, who assists another woman before, during, and often after childbirth to provide postpartum support.
Free-range children – Don’t even think about suggesting play pens or any other form of confinement. Children explore the house and parents and caregivers follow.
Hooter hiders – Yes, these are all the scarves and covers that nursing mothers employ to get a little privacy at feeding time.
Lawnmower Parent – Also called “bulldoze parenting,” is a parent who “mows down” any obstacles they see in their kid’s life.
Milk Brain – An expression commonly used for the forgetfulness of a busy or pregnant mom who operates on very little sleep.
Mommy blogger – A female blogger who writes about parenting issues – there are thousands. I promise not to become a ‘grand-mommy’ blogger.
Mommy Wars -The term covers the tension between working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, but over the years the definition has become wider spread; referring to the proponents of breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding to strollers vs. baby wearing…
The 4th trimester is the first three months of a baby’s life.
The Happiest Baby on the Block is a popular book by Harvey Karp that recommends swaddling, ‘shushing’ loudly, and rocking babies to get them to sleep. You simulate the in-utero experience. Happiest Baby on the Block. $10.87
Tummy time – Babies sleep, swaddled on their backs, so tummy time gives them a chance to strengthen their neck muscles. Tummy time can begin at birth. Parents recommend ‘skin to skin’ tummy time to bond with their baby.
Wubba Nub is a popular brand of pacifier with a stuffed animal attached to it. Wubba Nub $14.95.
Want to become proficient in ‘new baby’ vocabulary? Here is what the staff at the Oxford English Dictionary reports are the new words for parenting and children.
Spring, summer and early fall are the seasons for road trips, with the winter holidays an isolated spike. A survey done by Starbucks showed that of the 1,000 adults surveyed, 55% planned their road trips and 45% took spontaneous, unplanned road trips. The same survey showed that the majority of road trippers are millennials (37%) and the 55+ crowd (29%). Road trippers were almost equally split between males and females.
I love road trips, I don’t like surprises, and I like to be prepared. Here are the items, both practical and fun, that you should consider taking with you on your trip and and some car preparations to make sure everything goes as planned.
Waze is a community based traffic and navigation app. Waze gives you the best route to your destination and alternative routes to get around traffic issues. Join other Wazers in reporting traffic and road conditions and Waze will offer you alternative routes. The app is free.
Roadtrippersis a website and mobile travel app that provides information for “off the beaten path” places to visit around the world. It will help you plan a trip, navigate and book hotels along your route. The app is free for both iOS and Google.
See our earlier articles for road trip entertainment, and food and lodging information:
I love pottery and ceramics. I love vases, pots for plants, ceramic art and I like to mix and match my china. Over the years I have collected the work of artisanal potters and ceramicists. I hope you will find something here you like as well.
Chiveis a larger ceramics company than others here and creates whimsical and innovative designs for the garden and for flowers. I am crazy about their animal vases and pot collections. They are colorful and stylish. The giraffe vase is one of my favorites. It is 6” tall and 2” in diameter. It comes in three colors, yellow, orange and white. Each is $19.95.
The pig pot is new to the collection and comes in green, blue and white. It is 5.5”long x 3.5” wide and 3.5”tall and $17.95. Other creature pots include a rhino, elephant, snail, rabbit, birds and carp. They come in many colors.
Chive sells pots with or without drainage. They come in solid colors or with designs. The Liberte pot with drainage is 3.5” in diameter. $14.95 each.
Susan Painter Pottery creates colorful hand painted “beachware” pottery in South Florida. It is dishwasher and oven safe. The dinner plates are 10.5”d and $38.00 each. There are four patterns and you can choose your color and design.
Damariscotta Pottery, in Damariscotta, Maine, has appeared in several of our articles. I love color and Damariscotta Pottery gives me that. It never gets old. I love every piece I’ve ever bought. The pieces are dishwasher safe but should not be put in the microwave. There is no website, so call 207-563-8843 and ask for Rhonda. She can take photos of what’s in stock for you.
Quail is a British ceramics company I discovered when I came across some of their delightful egg cups. They make their items in the shape of animals and their pieces include salt and peppers, egg cups, vases, jugs and other table ware.
They make chickens, garden birds, dogs, cats, goats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, British wildlife, and wild animals.
This Large British Toggenburg Goat Jug, pictured above, is 5”h hand painted stoneware jug. It can be put in the dishwasher, but not the microwave. $35.45. Contact them for shipping costs to the U.S.
This Lop Eared Pig Egg Cup is adorable and would appeal to anyone about to eat an egg! $16.30 plus $20 for shipping from the U.K.
Jill Rosenwald’s pottery is handmade in downtown Boston. Each piece is made to order on the pottery wheel, and then decorated by skilled artists. She uses a creamy white earthenware and finishes with a glossy clear glaze. She makes vases, bowls of all sizes, platters, lamps and utensil holders. Choose your colors, monogram or not, write a message, anything you want.
This Feather #7 Skinny Vase is 6.5”h x 2.5”w and made to order. $100.00.Molly Hatch’s favorite color is cobalt blue, and since it’s one of my favorites I love everything she designs. She is trained in drawing and ceramics and began her career as a studio potter. She has since branched out and designs not only tableware but home goods, stationery and gifts.
Molly’s ceramic designs include vases, mugs, plates, teapots, platters and bowls. Her Bluebird pattern has a cereal bowl, 8” plate, mug, the cup and saucer pictured here, platter, dessert plates and accessory pieces. The cup and saucer are $32.50.
Emma Bridgewater started her British pottery company when she couldn’t find the right teacup and saucer for her mother. It is a favorite of mine because I love polka dots and stars and they have entire tableware collections in each pattern. It is a family company with Emma’s husband and four children all helping to run it.
Their pottery is made from cream earthenware, a traditional Staffordshire product, that they make in their own factory in Stoke-on-Kent. They have many patterns, including beautiful animals and sea life, and make plates, mugs, bowls, teacups and saucers, serving pieces, jugs, vases and much more. Many items can be personalized, and their Pattern Page is fun to browse! Shipping to the U.S. is not a problem. Amazon carries some but not all the patterns and pieces.
Comforts and luxuries for the maternity ward or for any patient.
I have four new grand children so I have recent experience with the inside of hospitals. A few weeks before her due date, each daughter packed a ‘Go-Bag’, ready to grab when labor begins and she heads for the hospital. They have shared some great ideas about what to pack to make their stay more comfortable. These ideas are useful for anybody who will spend a few nights in the hospital.
The first items are a packing list for any new mother or patient. The remainder are ideas for what you can give them to make their hospital stay easier.
Think about hospitals. They are reassuring places, with experts who will ensure great outcomes. They are also busy, 24 hour institutions with noise, light and possibly germs. They are not the place for valuables or treasured clothing. A new mom or patient should feel safe, clean, comfortable and surrounded by a few personal things which remind everyone that he/she is a person with a life – and not just a patient.
Packing list for a new mom or patient:
Keep up appearances and feel as normal as possible.
It’s probably not the time to pack the extra-fancy-nightie or have overly grandiose expectations for anything to wear. What will make you feel more human? Getting to pamper yourself during that first shower. Oh, the first shower – when you get to transform yourself back from the animal to the refined person you have in your own head.
Make sure to have:
Your own products, from shampoo and conditioner, to facewash and moisturizer. The hospital sometimes provides amenities, but there is comfort in having your own.
Towel – the hospital ones are tiny and scratchy.
Shower flip flops
Blow-dryer and hairbrush
Makeup, if you wear it.
Toothbrush and mouthwash I like the Quip toothbrushes, from $25. A soft robe like the one from MM LaFleur. MM Robe
A change of clothes for going home, plus possibly an extra set of pants/top for the hospital.
Soft pants that will pull up over your grannie panties and enormous pad, a blousy shirt that covers your still-soft and round belly and huge nursing boobs. See our earlier article on post pregnancy clothing.
With the excitement of the baby, everyone is getting out their iPhone for pictures and to send the news – but is it germ free? Wash your hands and touch a clean screen. One hundred Zeiss Wipes. $8.49
Supporting a new mom or patient in the hospital – Gifts
This short kimono robe from Roberta Roller Rabbit is made of crisp, washable cotton. While it is not designed for maternity, it is sure to make the new mom feel like her best self. Jemina Kimono Robe. $95.
Seraphine offers this soft stretch jersey lace trimmed maternity robe. Definitely more chic than the hospital gown she will be wearing underneath. Maternity Robe $65.
This three piece, pima cotton, Roberta Roller Rabbit set includes a robe for mom and a hat and gown for the baby. Three piece set $155.
This set include cashmere socks, a soft, tee-shirt nightgown, a robe and a stretchy brief.
Feeling generous? Arm her with music. Make playlists for different moods and bring Airpods or headphones. She will use these at home for some late night dancing with an unsettled infant. Apple Airpods, $159
Comfort food, drinks and appreciation (bribes?) for the hospital staff
I enjoy going to gift shows around the country. I look for trends and fun products to report to ASE readers, and possibly indulge in myself! Here are my latest finds.
John Robshaw Textiles are block prints from India that include bedding, pillows, tabletop items, curtains, gifts and accessories, vintage textiles, bath items and robes. This new collection supports the commitment Robshaw has always had to supporting local crafts people and preserving traditional techniques. The fabrics he uses are fabulous and the prices are reasonable.
The bags from Modusrio are made from linen and leather. There are clutches, small cross body bags and totes. They range in price from $145.00 – $319.00
August Morgan sells very cute bar accessories and embroidered cocktail napkins. They also sell cotton tunic tops, skirts and dresses as well as pajamas.
They also sell wonderful Travel Kits. This pair of doggy motif travel kits is $66.00.
I love the removable wallpaper designs from Wallshoppe. Removable panels are 27” w x 54” h and $58.00 each. They are made from digitally printed 100% nontoxic eco-friendly paper. They have removable pressure sensitive adhesive backing. The panels have ‘easy peel and stick’ application. The poppies come in four colors and the plaid comes in five color patterns.
I LOVE Dana Gibson’s products. She has a great eye for color and design. She designs posters, wastebaskets, clutches, lamps, desk accessories, ottomans, side tables, candlesticks and trays. The wastebaskets above are $65.00-$105.00 each.
KatieQ makes their handbags from ‘vegan leather’, and the prices are almost too good to be true. I remember I liked several bags, and styles. I like this navy mini backpack which measures 8.25” x 5.1” x 10.25” and is $58.00. It also comes in black, tan and maroon.
I love mobiles, and Skyflight Mobiles has over 100 designs. On their website click on ‘products’ then choose the theme you want to look at on the left side of the page. The themes are Air, Earth, Water and Space & More. If you want to order, check Amazon which has 20 of the designs, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 1-800-766-8005. I love the Owls mobile pictured here, $43.00 on Amazon.
Taylor Linens combines the designs and fabrics of today with the craftsmanship of one hundred years ago. The quilts are 100% cotton and many are quilted by hand, the sheets have 300 thread count and are high quality cotton percale. All quilts and linens are washed, preshrunk and soft to the touch. Taylor Linens sells baby items, bed skirts, curtains, duvets, sheets, quilts and nightwear. I love this Bergen Stripe Indigo Quilt. King size is $348.00.
A Soft Idea makes throws in mohair, acrylic, cotton, baby alpaca, faux fur and wool blends. There are tweeds, solids, herringbones, solids with trim, houndstooth and plaids. Everything can be monogrammed. These leopard throws are 55” x 70”, machine washable and $118.00 each. The throws come in five colors.
The Magnolia Company has a company farm in central Florida where they grow magnolia trees. Their artists hand manipulate each leaf and stem to turn at various angles to create the wreath designs. Their wreaths can be only magnolia leaves or magnolia leaves with additional greens. They also make garlands, and lacquer some items so they will last indefinitely. I am partial to the Original Magnolia Wreath, considered a classic. It is $59.00 – $188.00 depending on size.
Header graphic credit – NY NOW Jacob Javits Center, NYC