Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I hate to start on a depressing note, but this letter in Berkeley Parents Network left an impression on me as we have a huge homeless population in Berkeley:

Helping homeless man with cancer
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I recently ran into a man who grew up around the corner from me in Berkeley and attended the same alternative highschool. He was raised by his grandma who passed away when we were young and then I pretty much lost track of him. Over the years (we are now in our late forties) he would pass through the neighborhood (where I still live) to say hello. He never asked for anything but a bit of normal conversation with folks who knew him when he was young but I did get the sense that he was struggling and sort of off kilter. I saw him last night and he revealed that he has lung cancer and is sleeping in the bushes of local parks. Again he did not ask for anything, but when I asked about family he said “gone.” When I asked if he was receiving support from social services etc.. he shook his head as if I were a being naive. I asked how to locate him if I thought of a way to help, and he just sort of shrugged. It was a brief conversation as I was taken by surprise and in the middle of a minor family crisis. I really can’t say that I know him now or what other problems he may have and I currently have negative financial (or emotional) resources of my own to offer so I expressed as much sympathy as I could before he just wandered away. Now I am haunted by thoughts of that friendly neighborhood kid who had no one but his grandma and how he might be dying outside in the bushes of what used to be his own now affluent “village”. I think about trying to find him and offering….what? Money I don’t have, info. on resources I know nothing about, a warmer sleeping bag? I know there must be other terminally ill people living on our streets, and that better people than me are trying to meet their needs but after just letting him walk away like that I’m finding it harder to look in the mirror. Any thoughts on what to do or who to suggest he reach out to if I encounter him again?
–Useless Wannabe Samaritan

I am definitely going to read the responses. I pass about five homeless people — usually the same men — every day. I have opted to donate to organizations in my neighborhood instead, and will give to the occasional woman that I see because it is so shocking, and in my mind, more dangerous to live in the streets as a woman. We really need more resources for mental health services and affordable housing. Do any of you have a similar experience where you live?

In health news: the deadline to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is March 31st. I am enjoying the videos promoting the deadline, including this one with Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards and sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer:

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

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Update: Thanks for the feedback on “barefoot” running this past Monday. I ended up at my usual women’s running store (See Jane Run) and learned that they stopped carrying the toe shoes because of injury complaints and people stopped buying the shoes. I tried on a couple pairs of minimalist shoes and ended up going with the New Balance Minimus (pictured on right). Honestly? They aren’t much thinner than my beat-up Nike luminars. I will continue to run in both shoes.

In political news: The Washington Post published a front-page article on Sunday on how, in spite promoting family-friendly legislation, the White House remains one of the most family-unfriendly jobs. Most of the top job-holders either don’t have children, have grown children or have stay-at-home spouses.

In health news: In light of preventable illnesses making a comeback — like measles — BlogHer published a blog post on how parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are “jerks” who are basing their decision on debunked science. The comments were interesting, and overall, respectful in tone. Both are worth a read!

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

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Weekend Open Thread

I’m in decluttering mode, y’all!

Even though I am only very vaguely Catholic, I am observing Lent by giving up clutter. I came across this challenge, called 40 Bags in 40 Days, and decided to jump in. The gist is, every day of Lent, toss or donate 1 bag of crap. The goal is to decrapify your life, one area at a time.

I thought it sounded simple but damn. It took me two days just to clear the cluttered area next to my nightstand. An entire evening to sort through and dump old art supplies and drawings. And I am dreading my closet like you wouldn’t believe. But it’s gotta be done. The thing is, my house appears pretty tidy on the surface, but our drawers and closets and ottomans and storage benches are stuffed with crap. The biggest obstacle will be my kids’ toys and books, I think.

Some days are more productive than others, but that’s life. I figure at the end of 40 days, I will have less crap in my life. And that can only be a good thing. Wish me luck!

What are you up to this weekend? Chat away!

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Thursday Open Thread

So what’s the batshit craziest thing you’ve read lately? Something so whacked out that it crosses over into weirdly funny?

I humbly present this piece of work. It’s from a blog called A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman. And it’s a long, rambling diatribe about how the Disney movie Frozen is one long, elaborate plot to advance the homosexual agenda.

Among the evidence: Elsa is a “queen,”  so that = GAY AGENDA.

I shit you not.

Have you seen the video with four-year-old twins singing “Let It Go”- near perfect? With the help of media outlets, such as The Huffington Post (not clueless) and KSL.com (hopefully clueless), mainstream media is helping to advocate Frozen’s message by jumping on the popularity bandwagon. While most watching this video, likely found it adorable, I shed tears.

Watching adorable kids sing “Let It Go” makes her CRY, y’all. From sadness.

I warn you, it’s long and all over the place. But most of the comments are of the “WTF is wrong with you?” variety. And she posted an update to all the reaction, in which she reveals that one of her daughters is a lesbian.

You can’t make people like this lady up, can you?

ANYwho…

How are you today? Talk away!

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Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

I am still digging myself out of e-mails from the long weekend. In the meantime, I did spot this piece of education news. Kindergarteners who barely make the cut-off age for school are five times more likely to be held back than peers who are older, according to a study by the University of Missouri.

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

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I did it! I completed my first century — 100 miles on a bike — on Saturday, and finished in 7 hours and 29 minutes. It is much better than I thought I would do. I originally thought I would finish in 10 hours since I haven’t had much time to train beyond my swim class two evenings a week and the occasional Jillian Michaels video.

And while my body was fatigued, I didn’t feel sore afterwards. Here’s what I looked like the day after, hanging out with DH, Erika and Tyler, which by the way, we have not gotten together like this since having children!

My next century is here in Berkeley in May. This one will be tougher in that I will have 10,000 feet of climbing as opposed to 5,900 in Solvang this weekend. Can’t wait!

What did I miss in the news? What’s up with you?

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Weekend Open Thread

DH and I are off to Solvang where we will meet Elisa and Markos for a kid-free weekend!

w00t!!!

Elisa and the husbands will complete a century bike ride today. I will sleep in and greet them at the finish line bearing Danish waffles. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make!  :lol:

The four of us haven’t spent time without the kids since . . . well, since before the kids were born! Holy crap.

Solvang has many wineries and so does nearby Los Olivos. YUM and YAY!

Can you tell I’ve been looking forward to this?

What are you up to this weekend? Chat away!

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