Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

I was enthralled with this Washington satire Elephant Hunt Massacre by Jon Steinman, and wanted to recommend it. Jon is a friend and DC journalist who is able to capture the craziness — the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction variety — of politics in DC with solid and grabbing writing. On a personal note, I was doubly impressed learning from his wife that he wrote this book on top of a full-time job and caring for two little girls. Let’s support this budding author and hard-working poppa! The amazon kindle link is here, but it is available in Barnes & Noble and other outlets as well.

In somewhat related news: The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson had a great rebuttal to Rep. Paul Ryan’s assertion that poverty in the inner city was due to “generations of men not even thinking about working.”

In depressed urban and rural communities, there is an acute shortage of meaningful work. There was a time when young men who didn’t plan to go to college could anticipate finding blue-collar work at “the plant” nearby — maybe a steel mill, maybe an assembly line. There they could have job security, enough income to keep a roof over a family’s head, a pension when they retired. Their children, who would go to college, could expect lives of greater accomplishment and affluence.

This was how the “culture of work” functioned. How is it supposed to happen without work?

Good question.

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

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Tuesday Open Thread

We’ve been talking about our upcoming trip to Washington, DC and it turns out DS4 has been telling his preschool teacher we’re going to NBC. We realized his misunderstanding, laughed and tried to clear it up.

Then last night DS asks, “Are we going to do some washing there?” Now he’s calling it Washing NBC.  :lol:

What are some of your favorite malapropisms uttered by your kids? What else is on your mind? Chat away!

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Weekend Open Thread

Guess what DD got in the mail? An invitation to sign up for a cotillion!

For those who don’t know, cotillion consists of teaching young boys and girls table manners, social graces, and even dancing. I didn’t even know this was still a thing until last winter, when some friends of ours signed their son up. I had only ever read about such a phenomenon in books, and figured it was a long gone tradition.

To say I didn’t grow up in an atmosphere where cotillion was common would be an understatement. Did any of you do cotillion? Did your kids? Does this sound fun to you or hopelessly old-fashioned and elitist? I actually think DD would love it because she is into stuff like that. And having table manners and social graces reinforced by an outside source isn’t necessarily a bad thing…

What do you think? WWMTD? What’s on your mind this weekend? Chat away!

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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
——————————————-
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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