AT RISE: Forgiveness

Friday, September 13th 2019:  Part 1 of 2




AT RISE:  The Ladies are enjoying a Mommy-Daughter dinner date at the Middle East Restaurant in Central Square, Cambridge MA.

ClaraJane:  Mom, it’s okay when you say ‘ass.’

Mom:  ?!

CJ:  To me you’re just saying, ‘donkey!

Both:  [Start laughing hysterically.]



Posted in animals, childhood, CJ Sez, comedy, evidence they get along, faith, family, food, forgiveness, Friendship, global inequity, health, learning, love, making art, mental health, money, parenthood, parenting, work-life balance | Leave a comment

Hospital Clowning: Trouble Walking

Thursday, September 12th 2019

silly walk


I am following Dr. Mal as we enter a waiting room at Boston Children’s Hospital, but we immediately start disputing who was supposed to go first After a bit of clown bickering, we ask the sole patient in the room for permission to try a “Do-Over.”  Dr. Mal chops the air while saying “ERASE!  ERASE!  ERASE!”  We of courses try multiple more times and fail.  Either Mal is entering first or I’m doing it backwards or shaking my butt towards the child and getting reprimanded, etc.  Finally we turn to the boy and ask if he could help us.  He agrees, solemnly walks over, places his hands in his pockets, turns to face the waiting room, and walks in.  We follow and, VOILA!  We did it!  He “SAVED” us!  Where would we be without him?

This story is my favorite today because of so many elements we strive for:

  1. It is a game
  2. The game came spontaneously out of the moment, authentically. 
  3. It involves “dumb” clown-head brain-logic. 
  4. We put the child in charge (first by asking permission).


Now that I write this I realize I am violating one of the principles of my beloved mentor Avner; “Don’t feign incompetence.” 

Hmm… that may be a hard one.

We’ll see.


Posted in art, childhood, comedy, faith, fight, forgiveness, health, Laughter League, learning, love, making art, mental health, parenthood, parenting, patience, Performing Life, work | Leave a comment

Woke Up with Something on my Face

Monday, September 9th 2019


I think it’s an improvement.

I wish I could just wear it around all the time.


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Posted in At RISE, childhood, comedy, domestic life, evidence they get along, faith, family, health, love, mental health, nature, parenthood, parenting | Leave a comment

When the Mayor Asks You to Enter the Cannoli Eating Contest

Sunday, September 8th 2019


“Dining” with the Mayor


Well, what would you do?

But first let’s back up.

By the time we went to the Cosmas & Damian Italian Festival around the block from our home Sunday evening, my family had ALREADY attended a completely different FREE FESTIVAL at a local park sponsored by a controversial property underway in our city, called The Volpe Center.


ClaraJane and her bestie Simra enjoying the Volpe Block Party offerings.


They had done this in the time it took me to go deliver “fabulous unforgettable experiences for kids and people” that day.

Because of back-to-school bugs, my three have been a tad under the weather this weekend.  And because of our over-abundance of non-stop, high-octane, adrenaline fueled stimulation (like camping), Hubsand and I were reluctant to interrupt this preternatural moment of calm in our household:


The one in which even *mom* pulled up onto the couch with an actual *book.*

Boy: enjoying innocent things on his computer (in plain view as you can see, by design), Girl: multi-tasking in situ by reading, humming AND eating sunflower seeds all at once, Mom & Dad: in semi-astonishment, enjoying actual *tea* in the afternoon. (?!?)

It felt like a perfectly staged moment in a sit-com where “nothing” is happening and in walks a neighbor with a plot twist.  Ah, but that such “nothing” wasn’t such a rare accomplishment with such untold amounts work behind it!

Yet, loathe as we were to disrupt it, neither did we want to face the consequences should the kids find out we let them MISS the Italian Festival this year; so off we went, even if ambivalently.


FIRST thing I see, my colleague “Stephen Balloons,” working as THOR… “Princess Thor” to be exact, performing some of his amazing tricks on unicycle -with one leg even- while juggling the famous celestial Hammer.


Next I hear a gravelly voice shout, “HEY I LOVE YOUR T-SHIRT HI-FIVE!”  I’m wearing a Bernie Sanders shirt and turn to see Mickey Mouse holding aloft his four costumed fingers.  I hi-five him and say, “I didn’t think Mickey had any political leanings!”  And he goes, “Of course he doesn’t!  Mickey works for an evil corporation!”  So I go, “I guess you’re not wearing licensed merchandise anyway so it’s okay then?”  And he rubs his fingers together and says, “Yeah I just need the money!”  OMG he keeps alternating between his authentic gravelly carney voice and his high fake-Mickey voice.  I’m dying in love and need a photo STAT!


Fake Mickey; my new crush



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A flurry of stimuli assaulting the senses; street food (including fresh raw bar!)  carnival games, ticket booth negotiations ($30 for 40 tickets worth of of rides… however much  that is…), marching bands, Italian colored confetti, sudden urges to the port-o-potties, statues of the Saints adorned in dollar bills… and an infernal balloon release to which my son exclaims, “Look!  They’re all [shaped like] stars!  We can wish on every one of them to not go kill something!”  And my favorite, running into neighbors, including our downstairs neighbor, Herani, for whom it seems my fate to help assure she rides rides. (o:




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So we’re about done.  We’d even had the kids bathe and prepare for school earlier in the day so we could still make an early bedtime tonight.  I’m minding my own business waiting on my family when our lovely Cambridge City Mayor Marc McGovern is strolling by.  I say Hi and he smiles and says, “Hi Jenny!  Would you be willing to join me in a Cannoli Eating Contest?”   Astonished, I ask him realistically what kind of numbers are we talking here?  He says in the past he’s eaten about one and a half, so I’m like, OK, I can do this! 


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Stand by Me… Up On the Roof… Save the Last Dance for Me… Under the Boardwalk… This Magic Moment…


After some hasty registration, some disappointment for my son that the contest is “18+ Only,” and some waiting around (I mean, the actual DRIFTERS from the actual 1960’s are about to take the stage), we are adorned with Italian themed aprons and hats, and ushered onto stage in front of trays of cannolis, napkins and -thank heavens- water.

We’ere all being introduced.  “MAYOR MARC MCGOVERN!” (Not Italian).  “JENNIFER OBERHAUSER!”  (Foggetaboutit).  “MICHAEL MCLAUGHLIN!”  Nope.  “So-and-so SYLVIO!  YAY, Italian!”   “BOOKMAN.  Are you Italian?”  “No,” replies the contestant into the microphone, “I’m Jewish.”  “Oh a Jewish person!” says the emcee, “Wow we’re really diverse up here tonight!”  I start cracking up and conspire to the Mayor… “Oh my god one Jewish person and he thinks we’re diverse.  Not in this town!!”  We were in fact all the same color as the cannoli creme filling.

Welp,  Buon Appetito! 


I’m positioned between our town’s Mayor and a City Councilor from nearby Everett… (who later tossed two of his uneaten cannolis into my tray as a joke).  Manmeat does a great job capturing the action, including when the emcee notices my “Political Revolution” t-shirt, inspiring me to go into overdrive:

2019-08-08 Cannoli Eating Contest at Cosmas & Damian Italian Festival [1:13]:



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In the end I consume the equivalent of about two rather inelegant, full sized cannolis in four minutes, lol.  When asked how I did, I reply, “Never had more fun losing in my life!”

And then we goed home to bed.

That is, once I call my Dad to tell him how I spent his  (AND Bernie’s)  Birthday.  ♥

Sometimes even I can’t believe my life.



Or my TOWN!


Posted in activism, Bernie Sanders, childhood, comedy, faith, fighting Fascism, food, global inequity, health, learning, mental health, parenthood, patience, work-life balance | Tagged , | Leave a comment



Copied directly from:



Animal Crossing                                             The Stanley Parable
Fez                                                                    Journey
Dear Esther                                                     Minecraft
Gone Home                                                     Portal
Either One                                                       Braid


10 Pro-Social Games I Like, by Delaney Ruston, MD
Why Non-Violent Games are Taking Over an Industry
Best Games for Kids – From Common Sense Media
10 Non-Violent Video Games That Kick (Metaphorical) Butt
6 Non-Violent Video Games Worth Playing
Greatest Non-Violent XBox 360 Games

Reviews of Video Games: Common Sense Media reviews and rates video games on age and violence.

Here’s some cool critical thinking YouTube Channels on Science



Posted in activism, childhood, education, faith, fight, fighting Fascism, forgiveness, global inequity, health, learning, mental health, parenthood, parenting, The Progressive Movement, work, work-life balance | Leave a comment

Hella SCIENCE on YouTube

So many video resources about SCIENCE!!!

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YouTube Science


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Posted in activism, childhood, education, fight, fighting Fascism, global inequity, health, history, learning, love, mental health, nature, parenthood, parenting, work, work-life balance | Leave a comment

MINUTE EARTH: Fantastic Short Science Videos for Kids on YouTube

Happy Back-to-School / Find-Your-Brain Season, 2019!

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Q:  Why not help make kids’ SCREEN TIME *VALUABLE* (for a change)???

A:  Check out MINUTE EARTH on YouTube!




(Found courtesy of the incomparable

Check out all these topics!

Animal Behavior







Earth History








In fact, here are a bunch more sites to check out:

What an age, what a world to live in!

I hope we can stay collectively informed enough to keep it that way.

Posted in activism, animals, art, childhood, comedy, education, faith, health, history, learning, love, mental health, nature, parenting, work | Leave a comment