Ladies--I read a pretty disturbing article about a college student calling the cops 6 times in the 10 days before she was murdered by her ex.
Just a word of wisdom, if you or a friend is ever in danger:
Call the cops and say "HE HAS A GUN."
Then give his name and address. And the safe/public place you are going to. Hang up and go.
Do not say you have a bad feeling or you got a weird text to a cop! Don't tell the story. Just say the magic word: GUN.
Be safe; be informed.
If he is in the room and can see you are making a call, call a suicide hotline. They have a direct line to police dispatch.
Share and save a life!
DO NOT use this information to get even with an ex. This is for legitimate, scary, need to protect yourself situations!
It was Christmas Eve. Todd crawled into bed, fully clothed, too exhausted to peel off even his socks. He had spent the day scouring the shelves for gifts for his son. Every store had just the wrong things, and the prices weren’t right either.
Todd finally surrendered to several boxes of off-brand Legos, knowing his son would be disappointed, maybe even insulted by them. It was better than the off-brand Barbies, at least.
He was deep in thought about the fortunate folks who had purchased and wrapped their presents weeks in advance, jealousy and resentment filling his heart—when he got a flat tire on the interstate.
Great. Just what this day needed to feel merry and bright. Another $500 out the window to get new tires. His body ached as he struggled to put on the spare in the cold. His body was working against him—another flare-up had kept him in bed during the shopping season and it was only through sheer determination to keep Christmas alive for his son that he was kneeling on the icy road now.
His mother would be dropping the boy off soon for his annual visitation. Todd wished he could spend more time with his son, but his health was waning and it was all he could do just to take care of himself. The annual Christmas visit had become the one day worth living the rest for.
The sun was starting to fade as he pulled into the driveway. He didn’t have any wrapping paper or tape—his last thoughts as he summoned all his energy to get inside and into bed.
The doorbell rang.
Todd rubbed his eyes, disoriented, unsure of the time—or day.
As he rolled out of bed and walked to the front door, he noticed his son asleep on the couch. He had no recollection of the boy getting dropped off, but was relieved he was there. And thankful for his ex who must have tucked their son in, trusting Todd would be able to parent by morning.
There were two clean-cut, smiling young men at the door, too happy for a 6 AM visit. They better not be selling anything, Todd thought as he pushed a hand through his hair and opened the door.
“Merry Christmas, sir! We have been walking through the neighborhood offering our assistance. Is there anything we can do to help make your Christmas special?” they pitched.
Todd recognized they were LDS missionaries based on how they were dressed; their nametags confirmed it. He considered closing the door and crawling back in bed for a few more precious minutes of sleep. Then he remembered the gifts in his truck—still unwrapped.
“Dad?” a small voice called out. The boy was awake. It was Christmas. Nothing was ready.
Shame and frustration welled up as Todd fought to stay calm. One holiday a year and he was messing it up. Todd looked at the missionaries. He knew they could be helpful; Todd grew up in the church, only turning away a decade ago when his health became his number one focus. An idol, perhaps.
“Guys, I do need your help,” Todd whispered, “My son is waking up and I haven’t wrapped his presents. They’re in the back of my truck. It’s open.”
The two men smiled and replied, “Go make breakfast for your son. We will take care of the rest!”
Todd looked up to the sky and muttered, “I hope that works,” and turned back inside to find something worth eating.
As his son grinned, excited to see him, Todd’s fears and short-comings faded. They would get through this day. It would be ok. They found some pancake mix and cookie cutters in the cupboard, and proceeded to make a Christmas-themed breakfast. Nothing Martha Stewart would approve of, but they were laughing and munching as if Santa was their chef.
The doorbell rang.
Before Todd could stop him, his son ran to the front door and yanked it open.
No one was there.
“Dad? We got a letter from Santa! Read it to me!!” a red envelope in his hands, a look of marvel on his face.
Todd reached for the envelope, confused about where his helpers went with the presents.
“I couldn’t find your chimney or your tree so I had to bury your gifts outside. I know how much you like adventures! Use this map and a shovel to find your presents! Merry Christmas! Love Santa.”
The boy grabbed the letter from Todd’s hands and studied the hand-drawn map. He grabbed the shovel on the porch and started counting paces, intent on finding Christmas.
Todd, skeptical, grabbed their coats and prepared himself for any number of ways this could end.
“I think I found something, dad!!”
Sure enough, with magic in his eyes the boy unearthed a gift. The off-brand toy suddenly very special.
Glee overtaking him, the little boy whooped and yelled as he ran from spot to spot in the yard, digging up toy after toy. Todd finally let himself smile, warmth filling that scared spot in his heart.
“Son, this is great! Let’s go inside now and play with your new toys!” Todd was getting cold and had counted that all the gifts has been uncovered.
“There’s one more X, Dad! Hold on! I think I found it! I think it’s for you!”
Todd’s son ran to him, holding another envelope, “It says ‘For your dad’!”
He opened the envelope and couldn’t believe what was inside. Five crisp one hundred dollar bills and a note that said, “Your heavenly father wants to spend every day of the year with you, too—but he will settle for just today.”
Tears welled up in Todd’s eyes as he and his son carried the gifts inside. He loved the idea of a God intent on being with him, even if just for a moment. He understood the pain a dad would endure to be with his son. He knew he was not alone in his struggle.
A week later Todd called the local LDS church, wanting to thank them for their generosity. He was connected to the Mission President.
“Thank you for sending those missionaries out to my house on Christmas day. I think their names were Mike and Gabe. They really made Christmas for me and my son. The $500. Wow. Thank you,” Todd blurted, the memory still giving him strength.
“We do appreciate these kinds of reports, but I think there’s been some sort of mistake. We do have a team named Mike and Gabe, but they flew home to Alaska on Christmas Eve. I took them to the airport myself. And they definitely didn’t have $500 to spare! I really want to hear more about the two angels who showed up on your doorstep on Christmas.”
Todd and the Mission President got acquainted, talking about the miracles that occur every day, but seem so obvious on Christmas. They laughed and cried for a long time. Todd realized again that he wasn’t alone. He had been given a friend and a support network by those mysterious visitors. He would be able to get through another year.
Story by Angela. This story may be shared around your Christmas Tree during the holidays. Read it out loud, and tell me how it went!
Buy your Own Food! Child Support Weakens Moms! And Dads! And Kids!
I was eating sushi when a friend at the table grabbed his phone, opened the Cash app and sent some money. He quickly explained over a tuna roll, "I had to send $90 to my daughter's mom--to pay for groceries. No big deal."
Ok, cool--pass me the soy sauce.
And then double-take on that NBD.
Let's dissect this seemingly innocent, kind and responsible action:
In this scenario there's an agreement that Mom will buy food for Baby, text a picture of the receipt, and Dad will reimburse Mom accordingly.
Once you have an agreement, you have loopholes. It's human nature to find the way out, or test the boundaries of staying within the agreement.
Let's assume that Mom is dishonest or has fallen on extremely hard times. It would be pretty easy to spend money on cases of baby food, send a picture of the receipt, and then return the cases for a full refund. While we don't expect our hypothetical Mom to do that, now it's the job of the Dad to not only pay, but to make sure he's not getting cheated.
Mom has the opportunity to spend however she wants. Rather than getting a financial reward for using a coupon, buying in bulk, or shopping at the store with deals--she loses out on the psychological incentives of being a savvy shopper. Dad is going to pay the bill regardless of the amount.
In "The Psychology of Rewards" Jeanette McMurtry explains, "When we get something cheaper than usual, more than what we paid for or something for free, as a rewards program often delivers — in our unconscious minds, we are stronger, better, richer, faster or have more resources than others, and so we are posed to survive. And it’s fun!"
While Mom is doing the shopping, Dad might be getting the Psychological Points for being the financial provider. Dad gets to feel stronger, better, richer, faster, while Mom is hoping Dad will follow through on his promise to pay. This puts her in a weak and needy position; a position we don't want our sons and daughters to think is normal or acceptable.
In the same way, because Dad has no control over the amount on the receipt, he also loses out on the psychological rewards of making better choices.
FOOD IS POWER
Consider Henry Kissinger's famous quote:
Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.
When we enter into an agreement that forces one person to be dependent on the other for food or money, we are agreeing to have control of the recipient. We are saying that a basic survival need can be held in the hands of the giver, and dangled over the other for fun, for power, or even sadistic control.
FOOD STARTS WARS
Since Mom is choosing the food which is shared at both homes, she has substantial control over the child. She is in control of the child's diet, as well as the food that comes into Dad's home. Depending on the difference in dietary values of Mom and Dad, this could be cause for a power struggle over time.
Eating together with your child is a great bonding opportunity. If Mom is buying special food just for Baby that Dad will cover, then she's probably not eating the same food. This is the start of poor eating habits. Likewise, if Baby is showing up at Dad's house with snacks, then Dad isn't eating the same food as Baby. Both parents lose out on the chance to bond and teach positive eating habits.
Terminating the agreement
As a mom who had child support dangled over her, I know the psychological weakness caused by dependence. As a mom who broke free, I also know the psychological strength that comes from terminating that agreement. When we can stop giving and receiving with people who are or have been toxic to us, we can heal and find our own innovation, strength and survival.
We become stronger.
We even become better parents.
So what are the options here? I mean, the kid still needs to eat.
1) Let the co-parent know that you want to simplify the food or child support situation.
2) If you have a 50/50 custody arrangement, explain that you'll each be buying the food that the child is eating when in your care. No more hassle with exchanging money or pictures of receipts.
3) Only see the kid on the weekend? Ok--you can still cover meals for half the week. Considering a 3-meal day, you've got 21 meals in the week. Half is 10.5.
MEAL RUNDOWN SCENARIO
Friday: Dinner with you (Meal 1)
Saturday: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with you (2, 3, 4)
Sunday: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with you (5, 6, 7)
As a fun weekend activity, make lunches with the kids (don't tell me you're letting your kids eat Government Lunches. Talk about neediness and dependency! Go back up to the top and re-read this article with Dad playing the role of the Federal Government):
Monday: Packed lunch for school (8)
Tuesday: Packed lunch for school (9)
Wednesday: Packed lunch for school (10)
Thursday: Half of a packed lunch for school (10.5)
By sending packed lunches for school, you're not influencing your co-parent's personal home life.
If your kid is eating Government-Controlled Lunches at school, then you only need to cover 8 meals each week. Pack a breakfast sandwich on Sunday night that the kid can eat Monday morning, and call it good.
4) Let your co-parent be the strong, capable person they were born to be. Allow them to prove to themselves and to your kids that they can survive and provide for the family 50% of the time.
5) Refuse to get into any agreement that will leave your co-parent and child in a worse situation, if you suddenly died or became paralyzed from the neck down. That's the basic test to see if an agreement is healthy or not. Just ask yourself, "Can I uphold my end of the agreement if I'm dead?" If not, then give your co-parent the opportunity NOW, while you're there as a back-up plan, to figure it out on his/her own.
Getting your power back is terrifying at first.
My personal financial picture catapulted into success when I walked away from child support payments. It was terrifying and it felt unfair at times, but it wasn't long and I was making 10 times more a month than he had ever paid me. The energy I had been spending on guessing if and when he would pay me was much more productive put into my career.
Just a few years after I took my power back, my daughter's father passed away. I was so thankful that the only thing I needed to worry about was supporting my daughter emotionally. I didn't need to worry about how we would eat, or pay rent. I wasn't afraid. I knew that we would survive the pain of loss. My psychological points gave me the confidence and security I needed, and that my daughter needed from me.
Instill strength in your child by letting your co-parent be strong. Instill strength in your child by allowing yourself to back away 50% of the time!
Like, Comment, Share!
When I was pregnant with my daughter I was given the book Wesley the Owl. I wasn't sure why, but I decided to take my parenting cues from the biologist/author who raised a barn owl from hatch. Barn owls are smart and sensitive. They form lifelong bonds, feel shame, and even have suicidal tendencies over something as trivial as a social faux pas. Barn owls can be possessive, jealous and predatorial; acting on instincts but also learning from others. They can offend without realizing it, have keen hearing. And they exude a brilliant other-worldliness. Owls are awesome.
My daughter has been equal parts charming and exhausting since the toddler years. Everywhere we went, people saw something special in her. Was it the curly hair?
Then 1st grade hit--and life got interesting. Up until Kindergarten school is mainly about learning through play. But once you hit 6 or 7 you're expected to buckle down, follow the rules and pay attention. Meltdowns and tantrums are normal in preschool, but cause to be cast out in grade school.
After repeated unexplainable visits to the principal's office it was time to visit a psychologist for an evaluation.
While we waited for the meeting with the psychologist we started reading Wesley the Owl together. It had been 7 years since I had read it and I was feeling drawn to it again. My daughter and I discussed the owl's behaviors--preferences, nuances, relationships. We noted, with the biologist's direction, how the owl did many things innocently, out of instinct, and did not realize his actions were harming others or himself.
After several weeks the results were in: Mild Autism (Asperger's Syndrome).
Reading through the evaluation my respect for my child grew. I knew she was smart and talented, but had no idea against what odds.
I also realized how much of my parenting had been shaped by a maternal understanding of how her mind worked. Of course life was pretty easy at home in comparison to school! I had already made many of the modifications, gradually over the last 7 years.
Now I am reading and putting names with observations, and discovering new pieces to the puzzle. My daughter is relieved that she can go to school with her Owl Chart. She knows she needs an advocate and a guide outside our home.
Who knew it would be an Owl?
We would love to hear your thoughts and tips for thriving on the Autism Spectrum. Tell us in the comments!
Have you ever puked so hard you had to sit and study your vomit to try to figure out what just happened? All of the discourse about "Jessica Jones" is no better than a community huddled around a toilet bowl hoping to make sense of yesterday's poor choices.
Let me clarify.
The writing and production value of "Jessica Jones" is vomitous. It is horrible. I cleared my schedule for this show because I was told it was better than "House of Cards" and better than "Daredevil." That should've been my first clue. If someone puts "House of Cards" and "Daredevil" in the same sentence they would probably mistakenly ask Gus Van Sant for a Justien Bieber autograph. Different worlds, people, different worlds.
Now, Daredevil and Jessica Jones are a match made in a dark alley between an orphanage and a Planned Parenthood clinic. They work. They go together in a very screwed up way (and the one exciting thing about Jessica Jones is that a character from Daredevil shows up, and they just quietly whisper about it).
The acting seems staged, which is really hard to do when you're as deadpan and monotone as Jessica Jones. I mean--that takes talent to sound like a bad actor at that decibel. But she pulls it off and I keep expecting a curtain call or at least a shepherd's hook to pull her off stage. But no, we are forced to watch. We just can't help ourselves. I wanted to stop, but I couldn't.
Oh the irony.
I really wanted to put my hand in a blender about a quarter of the way through the season.
I was heart-broken. So many people had recommended this show, and I just couldn't comprehend what they saw. Maybe they had never taken any film classes, maybe they grew up eating only Macaroni and Cheese, maybe they had never grown up and were still eating only Macaroni and Cheese. Over and over again, every line, every episode, every nauseating roll of the opening and closing credits and STILL nothing is happening. Is this as good as it gets for a show with a female lead? Is this the kind of female character that society wants to see? Well, shit, let me put down my success and pick up my bourbon so I can be cool.
Heart-broken. Seriously. When I watch shows with my husband I LOVE being able to find cute comparisons between the lead and the sexy man sitting next to me. From "Longmire" to "Lie to Me" to "House of Cards" to "Hell on Wheels" there is at least one line, one gesture, one decisive move in every episode that makes me turn to my husband and admire, "Oh honey! That's just like you!" These moments are magical and something that I wanted to experience, too!
I thought maybe Jessica Jones would be the one.
We could not find one matching moment. I mean, except that sometimes I forget to do laundry for a WHOLE SEASON. What?! Give this woman another pair of jeans, please!
Jessica Jones acted more like an angsty mid-20s male--which explains the demographic that can't get enough of the show. Doesn't communicate, runs off half-cocked, makes plans that are absolutely terrible, forgets to shower, drinks constantly, is rude during meals, etc..
I think the reason this show pops up in feminist circles is that WHAT'S HIS NAME is a complete FK UP. There was no reason to give this guy a lead role in this show. If the genders were reversed, a female stalker who was THAT desperate would have lasted an episode. The male lead would not have any fear toward her, only annoyance. With some better acting he had potential, but the writing didn't even give him a chance.
Jessica Jones is built on plot lines that would not make it off the writers' brainstorming whiteboard in any other show. My guess is that the writer's room was plastered in post-it notes proclaiming, "No ideas are bad ideas." Newsflash: MOST IDEAS SUCK.
And still I'm studying the contents of the toilet, trying to find some redeeming value to the evenings lost.
Ok, maybe the show is about rape. Really? We need a whole show to reinforce the idea that women are weak and needy, and that desperate, crazy guys stand a chance? Really? Oh but she destroys him in the end! No. A rapist doesn't deserve that much attention. We, as a society don't help a "cause" by rubbernecking.
So, please, this show has to be about something deeper.
I'm a Course in Miracles fan, so I'm always looking for shows that parallel a holographic universe (Lucy, The Matrix, Inception). What if Kilgrave is simply "the ego" and Jessica Jones represents a human who overcomes the dream? Ok, now *this* show I can swallow. The misery Jessica Jones goes through doesn't matter once she realizes the ego has no power over her. The ego is telling everybody to do crazy things--and they don't have to do it--but they do. They are compelled. The voice in their heads seems SO REAL. Oh my God, I have to! I must! I'm stuck in this human body!!!
And now it's ok that Jessica Jones doesn't have her shit together, because she doesn't represent women--she represents humanity. We can live horrible lives, full of pain, and even experience something extreme (crucifixion, perhaps?) and not have the strength to get through it, but have the MIND to recognize that there is nothing to get through. It is an illusion.
I don't hate Jessica Jones when I look at the show from that perspective. Instead I admire her path and feel like meditating.
And Kilgrave. Oh he's such a cute little villain! He is exactly like the ego! Desperate, maniacal, controlling, hungry, needy, and completely undeserving of our attention. Don't you just love him!?
And rape? Yes, we take it day in and day out. We accept what's forced upon us as real, as scary, as impossible, as the end of the world. We try to hide. We try to cope. We try to recover. And still it haunts us. For some of us the reality is too much (Hope Shlottman). For others we use our brain, our confidence, and our talents to ease the pain of reality (Trish Walker). But it's still there. Ultimately--we're stuck in a trance that Jessica Jones breaks out of. She demonstrates that a life of enlightenment isn't all roses, but fk does it feel good to grab the ego by the neck and put it in its place.
Bring me that blender! We're having smoothies tonight!!!
I made the mistake of reading this:
Entrepreneurs don’t have a special gene for risk—they come from families with money
After I cleaned up the vomit and passionately debated the article with friends, I concluded:
I am passionate about this topic because I feel that entrepreneurship (can we shorten this word?!) is one of the keys for a society, for a world, to advance technologically, and more importantly--spiritually.
Now, let me introduce myself so my passion and perspective makes more sense:
1) My ancestors pioneered Minnesota during the Civil War. They were PRIVILEGED enough to fight off the Sioux, the cold, the hunger, and the South. Many of them died horrible deaths, many of them complained--but the survivors thanked God that they weren't dying in Norway, but had the FREEDOM to TRY to survive and create a family and a farm and a future.
2) My grandmother was an entrepreneur; she was a divorced, abused single mom with 3 kids and no education, back in an era and a town where divorced women were shunned. She grew up in the Depression, raised by her 11 siblings, her parents died when she was just a kid. They had nothing. But boy did she feel PRIVILEGED to run a truck stop and put her 3 kids to work, and put food on the table. Food stamps? Yes, she used them sparingly for a season, but mostly relied on the garden full of tomatoes (my dad still struggles with tomatoes).
3) You guessed it--my dad is an entrepreneur and looks at every problem as a possibility for a solution. He has a degree in diesel mechanics; he is qualified to work on your TRUCK. He has worked his way through life, solving problems and building careers--and now is the President of a BANK. No MBA, no Harvard. Just a belief that anything is possible and a dedication to solving problems.
4) The apples don't fall far from the tree, it's true. I was PRIVILEGED enough to be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 11th grade. I lost the use of my HANDS for a semester. This was a big deal for a 4.0 GPA kid. I dropped out of high school. Years later I had a kid with a guy who was very ill. His illness escalated and I had to flee with my daughter. I had relied on him financially and had nothing. I was PRIVILEGED to raise a toddler by myself and build a business. My parents didn't have anything to give me, my credit had been destroyed by the 2008 crash. I was alone. I didn't even know how bad I had it, because I had grown up eating the marrow of chicken bones and the rinds of watermelon--because that was all that was left in the fridge. My daughter is 6 now and I have a 6 figure web design business. I built that in less than 4 years. Because I'm special? Because I'm PRIVILEGED? Because I'm one of a kind? No. ENTRP is accessible to EVERYONE--especially the struggling.
5) My daughter is ever so PRIVILEGED to lose her dad at age 5. She rents her computer to my team at a $1/day because I don't believe in handing out allowances, and I didn't have an extra $500 for a new laptop (6 figure companies actually have expenses! Weird!). If she wants to buy something; she has to make the money to do it. SHE had a dream of selling smoothies this summer; and she's doing it--without debt, without favors. Is she PRIVILEGED? Oh God yes, I think so--she is damn lucky to have a mom and grandparents who believe that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE and don't allow a culture of excuses. We recognize the power of BELIEF.
Suicide and depression run in the family genes--it is a DAILY effort to BELIEVE and PUT A FOOT FORWARD toward something bigger than me. I beg everyone to just rethink that word PRIVILEGED. We have all been given a unique set of talents, skills and setbacks. I would not be where I am today if my parents were wealthy when I was a kid, and if my health didn't get hit hard. These were all pieces to my personal innovation, and I am thankful for them. Thank you for giving me this chance to introduce myself more thoroughly. Nice meeting you!
Now your turn!
Pro-Choice: The power to choose.
Abortions have become so trendy that by the time I met my husband he had played a part in several of them.* Imagine his surprise when I said I was done having kids AND refused to get on the pill or get an IUD. I've always been hormonally sensitive and wasn't going to subject my body to any unnecessary pain or discomfort.
"So now what?" he asks.
"I dunno." Pause, "Condoms?"
"No, I hate those."
"Will you get an abortion?"
"I guess I'll get a vasectomy."
And with a $50 copay and a few days of recovery, all was well.
Better than well.
No more anxiety over late periods, no more mid-passion exchanges about ovulation. Only his question: Why didn't I do this a long time ago?
Better question: Why didn't any of the previous women feel like they had a Choice? Why did they feel like they had to do what He wanted? Why were they shackled by the barbaric ways of an IUD? Subject to weight gain and mood swings by the Pill? Why did THEY have to go to the doctor to have something (real or not, human or tissue) pulled out of them and miss a day of work? And be potentially subject to hormonal feelings of shame, guilt, loss?
Did they think they had to bear the burden of the relationship's problems alone?
Did they think they had to solve the world's problems?
Did they think it was their fault?
That whatever happened between their legs was awful? And their responsibility to bear?
Are Abortion Clinics a medical solution, or a Relationship Crutch? Have they become the Great Mother that solves all our problems and takes away our shame?
Did they feel so Powerful with their Right to Choose, laying their as their insides were sucked out?
Did they feel better than him?
Did they realize that was the end of that tryst?
I try to learn by observing others. I'm making a different choice.
A choice to be Free. A choice to let my Man bear this burden.
I fully agree that an unwanted pregnancy can be** an ugly thing. And just like an infection, we should focus on doing everything in our power to prevent it, rather than "cure" it. So let's prevent it.
Female birth control is a great solution if you are afraid to speak up to a man, if you feel he is better than you and that your voice doesn't matter. Then yes--get on the pill.
Female birth control is a great solution if you do not respect your man, if you feel he is a loser who is always messing up, and if you don't trust him to pull out, put that condom on just right, or schedule a vasectomy. Then yes--get on the pill, and then walk out the door. That relationship will never work.
Female birth control is a great solution if you're up for grabs by whomever will have you, if you're playing the field, and again--afraid or unwilling to speak up to these one-nighters. Then yes--get on the pill,*** and then take a Relationship Course.
Letting your man solve the problem (hint hint: vasectomy) is probably the best solution, if you want a method that reduces anxiety, is cost-effective, has an easy recovery, and ironically, doesn't involve cutting your man's balls off.
When I speak against Abortions, I'm just trying to speak for choice. True choice, not the choice of public opinion. I want my daughter some day to feel free to stand up for her body and say NO to something harmful to her body (pills, female sterilization, abortions). And I would love for her to be able to say this without an outcry from WOMEN. Abortion should be a last resort, not the must-have fall color.
Pro-choice? Yes, I am. And I chose: Vasectomy.
* These weren't about rape, incest or impoverished women in bad situations. These were middle and upper class people doing the tango, and treating their fetus as nothing more than a dog bite.
** Sometimes those little babies surprise us when they grow up!
*** Condoms would be better in this case, because they prevent against STDs, but I know, you're unwilling to speak up. Sorry darling, you do have a choice--but you can discuss that with your blisters.
Hi, my name is Angela. My parents were in "extreme poverty" when I was in school with my 3+ siblings. We qualified for all the programs, especially the reduced breakfast/lunches! My parents were horrified with the meals that were served and chose to get creative at home. I packed a lunch every day from 1st grade to high school! I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in high school and have spent the last two decades studying and experimenting with what foods make me feel good and which ones send me to bed. I want great things for the children of America! My hope is that we will strive to be HEALTHIER and that we will take extreme measures to get there.
This appeared in my Facebook feed today and it made me so queasy I just had to blog about it. So McDonald's is offering a "FREE" breakfast to kids in San Antonio who are taking a standardized test. And moms are eating it up! I think some families have pitched tents already in order to be first in line for this freebie (joke).
So let's talk about how expensive this free breakfast is. And while we're here, we can touch on the food served through the federal government free breakfast/lunch program. There is little difference between the food served at McDonald's and the food served at your child's school.
The costs of victimization:
In low-income neighborhoods and cities (and Indian Reservations) we see a pattern of The People saying, "I'm poor." And then a government entity steps in and says, "You are poor AND miserable AND you need our help, or else!" And The People respond with, "Ok, we'll take your help!"
And the help shows up! Just fill out these forms and you can eat, sleep and live joyously for NOTHING!
And The People eat that up! They get the help they need and then POOF! they become productive members of society, make more money, stop making poor choices and SHA-ZAM! they no longer need the government assistance!
That's not how it happens, is it? No. The programs reinforce an idea, an identity. The People keep thinking, with every bite, every free program, "I am poor. I am a victim. I can't do this on my own. I'm miserable. I am really needy. I need more and more and more help from the government. Life isn't fair. I'll never get ahead. I'll never succeed."
Right? You've seen it. Experienced it perhaps. It takes tremendous willpower to break free from the Victim Identity.
The costs of poor health:
In terms of your salary, being obese is the same as not having an undergraduate degree, says one crazy study.
So we send our kids to "college-prep" schools, but then load them up with sugar and processed carbs and hope for the best.
"Well at least they're eating SOMETHING," I hear over and over again. Really? Do you treat your guests and your own children like that? Here, eat some cardboard. IT'S SOMETHING. If you have ANY sense of responsibility for the children who are truly starving, please feel they deserve our BEST food, not our worst.
Obesity and diabetes is on the rise, and this just further contributes to poor education, poor salary, poor quality of life. Oh, and death!
In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. ONE THIRD!
San Antonio is one of the most overweight cities in America.
76% of San Antonio students eat the Government-Served lunch, and 76% of those students get it for free (rough estimate based on years 2012-2014).
476,955 Bexar County Child Population 2013
317538 Bexar County Student Population (ages 6-17) year 2012
240,339 Bexar County Lunch Program 2013
183,314 Bexar County Free or Reduced Lunch 2013
44,000 San Antonio children in extreme poverty (50% of Poverty threshold) 2013
"Obesity rates among certain ethnic and racial populations in San Antonio are disproportionately high. For example, in Bexar County, 27% of black and Hispanic children are obese, while only 12% of white children are obese."
I'm so confused by all these numbers! They seem to indicate that the non-white kids are going hungry, and yet it's the white kids who are not obese. Which means the "ethnic and racial" kids are getting fat. How can a child be obese AND going hungry?
It's simple: refined sugars, processed carbs, no fruit, no vegetables. That will keep you hungry AND make you fat.
But really, I don't buy those numbers. There are far less kids going hungry than we're told. The "poverty level" is set comfortably at "living like kings" compared to other countries. Yes, there are hungry kids. But it's a handful! We do not need a meal program that serves 76% of students when only 10% need it.
The costs of a lost culture:
In our "impoverished" neighborhood my daughter hangs out with her friends. Many of the homes are run down and the grandparents or parents survive on a fixed income. But guess what--she always comes back with a full stomach and food to share.
Outside of America it is a cultural necessity to cook and bake and share food with family and friends. Even when you have nothing in the cupboard, you find something, you create something.
Government handouts in San Antonio have raped a culture of their food, their way of connecting and socializing. We have said, "We know what you should eat better than you do."
And so the pounds add up, and the people get sick. And the people lose their jobs. And the people are not people anymore; just victims waiting in line at McDonald's for another free meal.
What to do about it:
Stop participating! Refuse to fill out any forms about your income and do not let your child eat the federal school lunch/breakfast.
Send your child to school with a HEALTHY lunch and a full tummy.
Get healthy at home.
One fun game: My daughter is learning about plants in school. But there's no trace of a plant at the lunch table. At home she is taught, "We eat the thing closest to the tree." We play a game: what's closer to the tree? The apple or the apple juice? The candy bar or the almonds? Kids love this game and it's helpful in making those harder meal choices later on in life at an airport or even a vending machine.
What's nutritionally wrong with the McDonald's breakfast? It's just oatmeal! Right?! WRONG.
As you're finishing off the last of the turkey sandwiches and the kids are looking for things to do, it's time for the Grand Opening of Santa's Workshop.
Every year around Thanksgiving, as I'm cleaning in preparation for guests, I make a pile of gently used and unused items around the house. Things I neglected to return or little trinkets that just never found a place in our home. I also throw in some interesting items from the recycling bin and various art projects that came home from school. And finally, I select some special papers, stickers and ribbon from the craft closet.
SOME of the ITEMS IN THE WORKSHOP THIS YEAR:
partial packs of post-it notes
pieces of a music kit
purple cloth bags that new shoes were packed in
pecans collected from our yard
really cool canisters and jars
partial deck of animal-themed Go Fish playing cards
small 3-ring binder and plastic pockets
Next, I make the announcement that Santa's Workshop is almost open. I allow a quick peak at the items in the workshop, and then--first, we have to brainstorm a list of people we want to give gifts to this Christmas. Most kids want to give gifts to EVERYone (that guy walking down the street right now!). We review some basic social rules on who it is appropriate to give gifts to, and then we set aside a basket for "EVERYone" gifts.
GENERAL CRITERIA FOR APPROPRIATE GIFT-GIVING:
people you see almost every day, and you greet by name (teachers, neighbors)
people who have made a profound impact on you (church friends, postal worker, librarian)
very close friends
people who will be giving a gift to YOU!
This list may be different in your child's eyes than yours. Try to be flexible! :) There is no wrong person to give a gift to, but you can explain how "our culture" works and how sometimes people feel awkward when they receive a gift they weren't expecting from someone they don't know. That said, random gifts can be the most powerful of all, so be prepared for some random gift recipients on your child's list!
With the list in hand, take your child through Santa's Workshop (this can be a simple pile in a closet, or a spread across a large table).
The one RULE FOR THE WORKSHOP:
You can use ANYTHING in Santa's Workshop for making gifts, but show it to mom or dad first and tell them what you have planned for it.
(This way you can guide your child through a hot gluing project or steer them away from a potential disaster. You can also quiz your child to make sure they're making a gift that is appropriate for the person on the list!)
Ask your child who's up first on the list.
Then interview your child, "What does your teacher like? What does she not like? What kinds of problems does she have during the day at school? What do you think she does for fun?"
From this interview, my daughter came up with a special finger cymbal set that her teacher could use to get the class to quiet down. Thoughtful and appropriate!
The best gifts are the ones that demonstrate you care about and notice the recipient!
Try to back off and let your child create and experiment.
Once the gift is ready it should be wrapped and tagged and set aside. Children have a tendency to go back and put more finishing touches on their creations; which can lead to disaster. With a long list ahead of your child, there won't be time for perfection! Focus on completion, as this is a big task!
Your child's artwork makes EXCELLENT wrapping paper.
We are using cards from the partial deck of playing cards for gift tags!
Show your child how fun it is to check people off the list as each gift is completed. Help your child budget their time and resources--and get items in the mail on time!
Feel free to purchase items needed to complete any gift ideas. Santa's Workshop is a starting point for inspiration!
You cleared some clutter
You gave your kids a positive, creative activity
You empowered your kids to participate in giving
You taught your kids time and project management skills
You taught your kids about empathy, perception and intuition
AND--you ensured a good giggle or teary eye on Christmas morning when you realize that your child put their heart and soul into turning a recyclable into a piece of jewelry to match your favorite outfit.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!
This weekend I took on one of the biggest projects of my life. For me, it was right up there with child birth. That's right, I put together a swing set. All by myself.
My daughter kept running over to the neighbor's house, just to swing on their rickety old swingset. I finally took the hint and looked around for a swingset for our own yard. I started at Craigslist, but since I have no truck, I opted for buying one online (delivery included).
The swingset arrived a day later than expected, which meant my husband would be busy with work for several days. I had made a deal with my daughter, which meant the installation was now up to me.
Just follow the directions, right? I realized right away that there were several pages of missing instructions. I hope this blog will help other parents in their most trying hours of swingset installation.
The Missing Directions for Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set:
-We do not offer an Anti-Gravity unit at this time, nor do we encourage your children to be in the circus, so please be sure to install the swings so that they are beneath the Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set and not above. If you find that you have installed the swings in error, simply go inside the house, cool down, get a cold drink (preferably one with caffeine), and then start over. Laugh at yourself and be relieved that the second time will be much faster (and that the neighbors weren't watching).
-The folks who post Used Swingsets on Craigslist ("bought this 3 months ago for $100; you take it apart and haul away for only $80") are naive and should be assigned their own special class in society. They have never assembled a swingset before. In order to disassemble and reassemble a swingset one would require a 1) photographic memory, 2) copious amounts of notes, 3) a helpful Youtube video to fall back on, 4) a degree in engineering, and 5) the patience of a monk. Do not ever plan on selling a used Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set. Just don't. And hope that the clueless woman who posted that ad at least made a sandwich for her husband who did the original install.
-We do apologize for neglecting to include the most important tool for the assembly of the Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set: Bug Spray [figure A]. Please apply and reapply bug spray from head to toe, and toe to head. Repeat three times. Ants and mosquitoes are especially interested in parents who are focused and holding very still--necessary components to the successful install of the Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set.
-We outsourced the design of the Super Fun Wave Slide to someone's nephew. He was going through a rough patch (he was expelled from Engineering School for showing up to class repeatedly in ballet slippers and a clown nose) and really needed a job. Fitting the nuts and bolts together on this thing will be the hardest part of the entire install. For this, you may want to try a soothing drink (Chamomile tea (with a shot of whiskey)), as a caffeine high will make you too jittery for this precision handiwork. Cheers to Someone's Nephew, right?
-Do everything in the order we suggest.
-Even the seesaw.
-Oh hell, your kid is an only child, she doesn't really need the seesaw. She'll never know that you totally screwed that one up (literally, the screw is stuck up there--by the bushing bracket [Figure B]).
-You are capable. You CAN do things you never thought possible. You can accomplish those tasks which you always intended to outsource (to a man). You can tap into those maternal instincts and harness the power of the Mama Bear to move a Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set across the yard to a flatter surface. You CAN.
-At some point (around page 4), you will be overcome with appreciation for your parents who installed a swingset for you when you were a kid. You will understand why they were snippy with you when you offered to help or begged to test out the swing before installation was complete. You will recall the swarm of mosquitoes around your dad's arms and legs, the bead of sweat on his forehead, and the look of complete and utter confusion as he read and re-read the instructions. Please hold off on texting him until assembly is complete (you may need to Phone a Friend when you're trying to install the final chin bar on the wrong side of the swingset).
-Cover that inch of skin around your ankles. Immediately.
-Yes, please include your child in the installation of the Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set. Their small fingers are instrumental in screwing in the nuts on the ladder rungs for the Wave Slide. And their young blood may keep the mosquitoes away from you for a minute.
-Watching your child swing and hearing your child SING while swinging will make the welts on your ankles and arms totally worth it.
-Let your husband know how proud you are of your accomplishment so that if he decides to "fix" any of your work, he'll do it in secret and keep it to himself.
-Thank you for your daring purchase! You are an awesome parent! And you deserve a medal (which may be purchased from your local Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set retailer).
Angela's Musings about Public Education, Web Design, Business.