Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I’ll get the gross news out first. It looks like Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to sign an anti-American adoption law. I feel for the kids stuck in Russian orphanages all because of politics. Just yuck all around…

Also, a woman found a letter by an exploited Chinese worker in Halloween decorations. Here is a glimpse of what it said:

The letter describes the conditions at the factory: “People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month).” That translates to about $1.61 a month.

I agree with the commenters in the post: either bring back manufacturing jobs and charge American consumers for what the products are actually worth. Or, pay the workers more, give them living conditions in addition to living wages, and have consumers of those products pay more. It is inhumane to exploit human labor, especially for cheap plastic trinkets, the majority we don’t need. /RANT.

In better news, Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! We are preparing for what has become an annual bash at our house. We clear out our living room, invite everyone at our school — including the teachers and staff — for a salsa party. Since we have a renovated garage with television and heating lamps, we usually have the kids bring their sleeping bags and make sure they are stocked up with snacks as they watch a movie. Teenagers watch the kids while the parents party inside the house. :)

Which means I will be taking a nap today to be able to stay up past midnight. What are your plans tonight?

In related New Year’s News: Smoking makes hangovers worse, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services newsletter.

The only sure way to avoid a hangover is to not drink so much. But a study indicates it’s possible to increase the chance of a hangover when drinking, or to make one worse – by smoking. Brown University researcher Damaris Rohsenow found this when looking at eight weeks of Web survey data from 113 college students.

In other New Year’s News: President Obama is Time’s Person of the Year.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

30 thoughts on “Monday Morning Open Thread

  1. At work.

    I was going to take the long weekend, and then work super long days for the rest of the week. But there’s a lot to tie up before I leave, and the on,y way to decrease anxiety is to come here and attack it.

    Mega hors d’oeuvres and movies tonight.

  2. It’s so freaking cold outside. I want to hibernate, but I need to get to the store and the gym before everything shuts down today. Honestly? I’d just as soon stay in my jammies and read my book.

  3. Happy new year everybody …

    We are considering a weekend getaway in a couple of months. I was just looking online at hotels. I Google Mapped the hotels in the area and then clicked on some of the dots and went to their websites to find prices. That didn’t seem entirely satisfactory so then I just googled “hotels in ___” and something came up called Google Hotel Finder. For the very same hotels the prices were sometimes similar but in other cases completely different (often significantly lower) than was available on the hotel’s website.

    Obviously I don’t book hotels online very much. What is the right way to do it? Does anybody have any tips on what websites I should be checking out to look for good prices? It seems so random.

    • I’ve done the whole range – TripAdvisor has been the most reliable of online services. Sometimes I just use them or Expedia for names (and reviews) and then call directly to book. I’ve also used online Bed and Breakfast sites (many touristy areas have this).

      It is definitely somewhat random.

      Also, someone (I think Expat Brit?) posted a story on FB about how Expedia is not good for smaller hotels, and may not have accurate information.

      So, once you find a place or two, you still need to call directly (or use a travel agent).

  4. I feel like a total jerk for buying $1 Halloween decorations this year :/
    Next year I promise, no dollar store.

    Today has been awesome. We hit up a local farm market for their annual 50% off sale. Worth dragging the kids there to load up on all that yummy produce and deli stuff.

    We are making lots of food for tonight. Just having my parents over and going to bed early, but I want to ring in the new year with some alcohol so I need to eats lots to sop it all up so I can breastfeed! Honestly most days I do have a beer or a glass of wine, I just drink it slowly and not on an empty stomach. Also drinking way too much coffee, but I can’t cut back. In many ways I would love to just skip the whole thing and just bottle feed, but there is no reason not to nurse except pure selfishness. She will take a bottle but I still have to pump so it’s not exactly a free pass.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love having a nursing relationship with dd, but she is such a big baby and wanting to be fed constantly.

    Anyway enough whining. Happy new year to you all! Have fun whatever you are doing tonight!

  5. Mansick. I am so sick of mansick. DH has tonsillitis. I’m sorry for him, because Jess, Lily and I had the exact same illness in November and early December. I needed ABX as well, just like DH. But srsly, three days of mansick, and I’m going homicidal.

    • I do feel your pain. DH has a bulging disk and back spasms. Yes, I know it’s legitimate pain. But he did it to himself (jumping off a log into the river, plus years of bad posture and falling asleep at his computer every night), so my sympathy has its limits. I’ll keep being nice. Until tomorrow morning when the kids and I leave for the southwest to visit a friend. Then his mommy can take care of him.

      • Lol! Jumping off a log! That’s so funny. My dh went to physical therapy for wrist and finger pain from working at the computer. I know it’s legitimate, but seriously! My job is repetitive and physical but it never occurred to me to go to PT for my shoulder pain…until dh went! Two can play this game, so I got a script and I went with him!

  6. We made it back home without incident. We had done a pretty good clean of the house before we’d left, which I had forgotten, so I almost cried when I smelled fresh carpet and other clean rooms. Also, our bed was made, which it seldom is. Feels like heaven. I’m always going to do this before trips.

    We got invited to a party but decided to stay in. The drive wiped us out. Also, we had to shovel our driveway (though our neighbors did our sidewalk!). So, we’re tired but content.

    • DH and I have this crazy ritual before we go away on long trips. We make the house “funeral ready” in case something horrible happens and strangers end up going into our house to sort out our things. It’s totally macabre- one of my sorority sisters introduced me to it as her own personal superstition and I haven’t been able to shake it sense.

      Upside? Coming home to a wicked clean house.

      • I totally get that — and sometimes do think about not necessarily what if we all died but what if something happened and people had to come into our house. Then when my parents had that accident in October, and I was unexpectedly at their house for a few days, it strengthened my resolve to try to make the house look sort of presentable (or at the very least, not ransacked) before I leave the house. Of course that doesn’t always happen but I do think about it.

        • I can see wanting to come home to a clean house but the amount of effort it would take to worry that people who came in to clean up my stuff would judge me for having huge laundry piles is just beyond me. I mean, hide your porn and all but really….if the breakfast dishes are on the table when the coroner arrives I don’t think he’ll be too fussed about it.

          • you don’t even have to hide the porn as long as you have a designated porn buddy whose only job it is is to come clear out the porn before your parents get there after you’ve been tragically killed… Kelly and her friend jackie were each others porn buddies.. .when jackie died we ended up with quite a stash

            • Can there be a greater honour in life than being someone’s designated porn buddy? This is to have truly arrived.

              P.S. I don’t suppose you and kelly would consider moving to Western New York for me?

            • I never thought of this. Shoot. And here I was, thinking I had my sh!t together because we had wills and stuff. I’ve got my SIL to burn my journals without reading, but this?

        • And I don’t mean to be too harsh about it because I know your parents’ accident was terrible and going through that shook you up – so perhaps having control over your house is a comfort that I can’t understand.

          I just don’t think it’s terribly healthy to put it in terms of “funeral ready” every time you leave the house – and it would have to be – not just for long trips. Go to work? Funeral Ready. Go to the grocery store? Funeral Ready. Go to the movies? Funeral Ready. Go to the mall? Funeral Ready. Heck, people die in their beds so you’d have to make the house Funeral Ready before bed each night.

          You’d spend your whole life making your stuff ready for your death. That would suck ass.

          It’s possible that I’m just amazed by this thought in order to justify my own slacktastical lifestyle. I’ve got my own issues n’shit.

          • Eh, it’s not an all the time thing and I like to think of it as a bit of whistling past the graveyard superstition like knocking on wood or throwing salt over your shoulder. It’s also not so much about being judged as having to be the person sorting through someone else’s poorly organized stuff looking for the important things like insurance policies and bills amid a sea of not-important stuff – it was a nightmare when we had to do it and I’d hate to impose it one anyone else.

            Plus, you know, clean house and all that.

      • I love this actually. We always clean before we leave. The few times we haven’t, like this Christmas, I come home and feel depressed. Mind you it was spotless Sunday at 4pm before we left but I had guests (BFF and her 3 young kids), then my kids also wrecked havoc the next day before we left and I didn’t re-clean. I just didn’t even want to drive home, knowing toys and clothes everywhere were waiting.

  7. House is messy, but we had a great trip up north (where it was way too damn cold – it snowed! yuck. I moved south to get away from that.) Spent six nights with my parents and seemed fine. Talked a little w/my mom about faith stuff, with my sister and BIL about mental health (one of their daughters is having some issues), saw three of my BFFs plus DH’s cousins, kids got to bond with various relatives. We never made it into NYC and we lost a new DS game somewhere. Oh well. My other sister got very sick, so we didn’t get to see her and other BIL. Boo. Overall a good trip. I freaking love my Lexapro. I am more myself again.

  8. I came home to an almost plowed driveway, a frantic cat, a disaster of a house and firemen funerals livestreaming on local television. I could use a few more days off but it’s not going to happen. Fortunately, it’s a three day week when it does get started on Wednesday. That’s about all I could handle.

    My kids are off at parties and so I have to stay sober tonight to pick them and all of their friends up. I am the good mother…today…the one who let all the other mothers go have a blast and will make sure their little darlings get home safely. I rock. That’s right. I rock. I’m not afraid to toot my own horn. I rock.

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