Jessica Ashley facebook twitter babble voices pinterest is a single mama in the city, super-savvy editor, writer, video host and shameless shoe whore.
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The Motherlode of Linkety Dinkety Doos

Motherlode1 I'm in the manic mode before a big road trip, half paying attention to the to-do list and half operating from the whirl of priorities in my head. I am on my way to Toronto, where I'll be attending and presenting at the Association of Research on Mothering's tenth anniversary conference, The Motherlode: A Complete Celebration of Mothering.

If I stop for a moment and breathe (and I mean, really breathe), I am thrilled. So thrilled that I can barely discuss all the details. I get this same way when I see Shawn Colvin on stage or Oprah's on creating family heirlooms or something I am uncontrollably passionate about. I get so wrapped up in my excitement, I have to change the channel for a moment or close my eyes. It is the same over-stim Lil E got the first time I placed the the brightly-colored caterpillar in front of him during tummy time: No, no, I love it too much!

I'm talking  mommy blogging as a part of the Mothering & Community Activism workshop, a session that speaks to the Sharpie and poster board hording part of my core being.  That enthralled/intimidation over-stimulation swelled when I read through the list of researchers, writers, academics, performers, artists, students and keynote speakers who will share the time in analyzing, advocating for and empowering mothers and motherhood. In my new feature, Linkety Dinkety Doo, I'm sharing a few of my faves who I will be stalking for autographs like I did as a dorky fifteen year old who eyed a hammered John Cusack while sliding up to the bar at Harry Caray's  unabashadly applauding asking to coffee honored to hear or meet or maybe (goddesses help me) both. 

I will report back from inside The Motherlode. Until then, get out your highlighters and Red Bull, crank up the Ani and get to obsessing reading. You won't be sorry. These women - and the many good works they are doing for women - is amazing.

These are just a few of the esteemed women presenting at ARM's The Motherlode this week:

*Judith Stadtman Tucker from Mothers Movement Online is a woman whose work you’ll want to read. She has incredible political insight and is an empowering force in motherhood advocacy. The MMO's e-newsletter is a must-read in my inbox (even before those hil.fucking.arious Maxine cartoon forwards. You do know I'm joking, right? I always read Maxine first thing.).


* Literary Mama’s Andrea Buchanan will be speaking in several sessions. Buchanan’s work seems to be everywhere and it is worth snagging for yourself. You might know her from Mother Shock or Mother Talk. And you've probably have one of her books on your nightstand. My favorites are It’s A Boy: Women Writers On Raising Sons and Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined.

* Beth Osnes, co-founder of Mothers Acting Up, who wrote a passionate book on spirituality and early motherhood, two areas of living that speak straight to my own heart.


* Ann Crittendon, who skillfully weaves economics and motherhood into fascinating reads.


* Hope Edelman, who delivered an incredibly engaging keynote at ARM’s Grandmothers and Grandmothering conference. The landmark researcher on women who have lost their mothers and later, “motherless mothers” is author of four poignant books and many articles on motherhood. If you haven’t already, read her work. She has insights that I think serve all mothers.


I'm off, just for now, just to get back to packing six potential outfits and dreaming of dill pickle potato chips just across the Canadian border. Until the Toronto conference correspondence, ta-ta!

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I'll just send this one last email while you plan stuff to happen all around me

Lindseykaisercities_reflectionsxchu As if the Diddy Day proclamation wasn't enough, Chicago is now all abuzz about our bid for the 2016 Olympics (even bringing Michael Jordan into the mix and adding some star power to the official committee).

We can't forget that our fair city will also graciously put out canapes and calligraphied place cards for next summer's BlogHer Conference and National Women's Studies Association conference. With all this good stuff going on, I may actually have to change out of my yoga pants and leave the house. In fact, I may have to leave the neighborhood park/co-op/produce market/playgroup vortex and travel to the netherlands where real people talk about things other than when Trader Joe's is going to carry tabouli and the chicken-feta-spinach sausage again already?

Actually...The Did's long gone and Air's all busy with bid paperwork and proposals and figuring out how the city might make much-needed subsidized housing for the displaced Cabrini community  million dollar condos out of specially-built athlete housing, and really, the conferences don't get going until next summer, so that means I still have some time to  dig out jeans from the bottom of the hamper  to get all purty and put away my laptop.  Plenty of time left to hole up with my laptop in my overly chilled/uncomfortably hot apartment and ponder all the big buzz in the big city.

And in the meantime, my landlord's building a bachelor pad where the garage and concrete death patch yard used to be, so that's cool, right? I mean, how often do you get to wear jammies while you watch cement trucks and hot tub installers from your back porch?

So to my single friends with your dry-cleaned clothes and unending supplies of Post-It Notes and pens that write more than four items on the grocery list and to Erin, who called me yesterday and said that she "envies" my flexible work schedule*, I say, "This is my life, people. This is my big, badass city. Try not to be too jealous."

* And yes, I did tell the lovely Erin (seriously, she is incredibly lovely and I do adore her) that I envied her own desk to work on rather than a dining room table cluttered with pumpkins, gourds, sippy cups, Lil E's disconnected keyboard and endless scraps of paper with never-completed to-do lists scrawled out to taunt me. I also mentioned that while it is a privilege and a joy to work from home (pretty much) part-time and raise a toddler (mostly) full-time, I do also have a wee bit of envy for anyone who doesn't rely upon Elmo to keep the staff entertained during weekly conference calls, just hoping the attention span: Mr. Noodle air time ratio is somewhat equal. Oh, and one last thing: I also envy not having to weigh whether the last two sentences of the email you've meant to send all week is more important than whatever overpriced toy your child is throwing into the toilet amidst squeals of delight and curiosity during your "work day." Grumblings and WAHMania aside, I really do love my gig and my life. No really, I do. Honest.

Photo credit: Lindsey Kaiser /

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Happy Anniversary, Hot Papa.


Who would've ever thought I could love you more today than I did on that day?
Amazing. True.

Photo credit: Bill Bishop (our personal paparazzi)

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