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9 Small, Good Things
My son turned 18, I cried at a TikTok poem, and other random good things
You know how you’re supposed to write down five things you’re grateful for every night before bed? It’s supposed to help you notice the good stuff during the day, because you’re sort of collecting things to put on your list.
Well, that’s what my “Substack ideas” document has become for me. It started as a place to put positive social media posts to write tiny Substack notes about. What it became is a reason to notice joy in my daily life.
Ultimately, I don’t know what to do with my Substack. I’m supposed to be writing about parenting things … and so far, I have not. It’s kind of a weird place to put my essays — some of which have been really popular and others have been a tad esoteric. I guess I’m finding my way here.
Regardless, as I find my way, I hope to send semi-regular moments of joy and favorite things. People seem to love them, and it does make me happy to share them.
My son turned 18
My first born child turned 18 recently, and that felt really weird. I keep thinking about how incomprehensible time is. It feels like a few days ago that he just a tiny baby in my arms or a preschooler picking up bugs, but those moments also feel like a whole other lifetime ago, almost a different person.
Who were we in those early days? I feel like I was such a child, even though I was 27. The day he was born, I’d known Ivan for 54 weeks: one year + two weeks. Yes, we decided to try for a baby after dating for only three months or so. We were on the same page in wanting a baby, I could tell immediately that Ivan would be a fantastic father (I was absolutely right … times three!), and I was about to graduate from UCLA. While our relationship has been complicated (we are a roller coaster couple for sure), that was the best decision Ivan and I have ever made, tied only with the decision to have his brother and sister.
I know there’s nothing rare about having a child turn 18, but when it’s your first child doing it, it’s surreal. He’s an incredible kid who has always found his own way through life. He seems to be guided by his own compass in a way that feels rare and special. I’m biased, of course, but I think this is the beginning of an amazing adulthood. I hope we’ve prepared him for it well.
This TikTok poem made me cry
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I set aside my typical cynicism and my tendency to roll my eyes at performative body positivity and gave this one a chance. It’s gorgeous. I can’t tell you why it’s special, but it is.
“‘Did you lose weight?’ she asked, and I thought of all the other questions she could’ve asked instead…”
Lovely. And a lovely ending.
My favorite slipper-sneaker hybrid is on sale
I don’t know if these are slippers or shoes of some sort, but I’m obsessed with them.
They’re expensive for slippers (currently 50 bucks) — but they’re also shoes, with a grippy bottom like a sneaker. Also, they’re cute if you’re into people admiring you for not following trends because they are not, like, high fashion. Mine have been worn near-daily for two years and I’ve put them through the washing machine.
The main reason I love them is they have a back that’s designed to be stepped on, which is what I do to shoes anyway. You can pull it up if you need to dash about or pretend you’re not the gal who leaves her house in slippers.
Bonnie made my daughter and me an absurd box of sweets
The little one and I took care of my sister-in-law’s cat, Mochi, for a week in a very easy way — we visited him and fed him and petted him. For my daughter, it was the best thing that ever happened, because Mochi was extremely interested in snuggling, which is not usually the case for cats and preschoolers.
As if Mochi’s attentions weren’t reward enough, Bonnie (who is a chef) made us the most gorgeous box of gluten free cookies and muffins as a thank-you. I ate as many as I could in a day without making myself sick.
Los Angeles is blooming
Your sinuses may not be happy, but LA is gorgeous right now due to all the rain. We rarely get to see this much yellow and orange on our hillsides and in the mountains, and I’ve been trying to drink it all in so I can remember it during the inevitable dry years.
Willa did not love the overgrown trails (new to her) but it’s a great time to be outside.
My co-author started a Substack!
As some of you may know, Christopher Pepper and I have an extensive book proposal that’s being shopped by our agent, Maura Phelan, about the conversations we can have with our teenage sons that set them up for healthier, happier lives.
Follow his Substack,, if you’re into the type of health education that empowers kids.
Zawn Villines got me thinking a lot about “hormones”
Yes, hormonal fluctuation is real, and many of us understand the validity and importance of managing our hormones as we age. Perimenopause is real, obviously menopause is real, and these changes deserve the respect to have symptoms treated when they become bothersome.
But, as Zawn says in, the allegedly wild hormonal shifts we experience monthly are often exaggerated by men for the purpose of shutting us down and keeping us out of positions of power.
When women think they’re hyperemotional, or worry about being perceived as such, they become easier for men to manipulate.
They’re willing to do more than they should.
They hide their feelings.
They don’t call things unfair or cruel or abusive when they are.
They don’t demand more or better.
Instead, they ask others if they’re overreacting when, in reality, they’re more likely to be chronically underreacting.
Consider, for a moment: What have you seen men get away with by making women think they’re being hypersensitive? How often have you seen men make women think the woman is being the bad guy for requesting fairness? The narrative of false male victimhood is everywhere. It’s a driving force behind the incel movement. And women’s belief that their basic needs are crazy and irrational prop up this narrative.
I love this perspective and was glad to read it.
The cutest little bug smiled at me
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Look at that thing. Look at its face. A jumping spider, or as one of my favorite TikTokers calls it, a “web puppy”, landed on my windshield and looked at me through the glass. I had to get out and get a video to show everyone.
I discovered the most delightful tattoo artist
You don’t have to want a tattoo to appreciate the humor and artistry of Alex Strangler. She does some “serious” tattoos, but the funny and whimsical ones are my favorite. I really love this sneaky skeleton tattoo.
I immediately sent BGF (best guy friend) Tom Burns one I feel he needs to get, the gummy Venus deMilo tattoo from The Simpsons.
Then I went to Alex’s store and bought my little girl a holographic Ring Pop keychain and some stickers and got myself a keychain that say “ANXIETY" because, well, you know. Sometimes you just need to look at cute stuff.
If anyone has ideas for what you’d like to see more of on this Substack, let me know. Essays? Parenting stuff? What do you love and what should I do more of?