Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I’ve got nothing. I’ve been hustling all week to head out to Santa Cruz, California today for Ari’s soccer tournament. I also have a two-day work retreat next week, which required some advance planning on my end.

Whew! What’s up with you? Have a great weekend all!

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Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Working Mother magazine celebrated National Flex Day yesterday, October 21, with a series of profiles highlighting open and flexible work arrangements. Working for an organization, in which this is one of our key issues, I read so many great articles on why providing workers with flextime is good for families and the bottom line. Workers with access to flex time are less likely to call in sick and more likely to care for themselves — like take the time to exercise or meditate — which has repercussions for the business and community at large.

Here is another great article on flexible work schedules:

Why Flex Time Is the #2 Most Important Employee Benefit“, by Gloria Feldt, Take the Lead

For me, the ability to work from home — or have flexible hours — was the No. 1 reason for a career change from journalism to community organizing. I don’t know how I could have continued my former position with a baby or toddler, a two-hour round-trip commute and no family nearby to pick up the slack.

What about you? Do you have access to flex time?

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

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I was relieved to see that the U.S. Health and Human Services put out a simple fact sheet on Ebola. I am starting to get uncomfortable with some of the hysteria — like restaurants spraying sanitizer after their African clientele leave — as it strikes me as xenophobic. It reminds me of a Margaret Cho joke some years ago after the SARS scare in Asia, and how she purposely started coughing when a non-Asian person put on a mask around her.

Anyways, the bottom line is — you can’t get Ebola from casual contact nor from air, water, or food grown or legally purchased in the United States. Here’s how you can get the disease:

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids of someone who is already showing symptoms of the disease, including:

-Bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola (blood, vomit, pee, poop, sweat, semen, spit, other fluids).
-Objects contaminated with the virus (needles, medical equipment).
-Infected animals (by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat).

Are you worried about Ebola? What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up? This is what I’ve been up to every Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 6am the last two months:

As I mentioned over Facebook, I feel strong. I haven’t gotten sick — knock on wood — since my bout with e.coli over the summer. I have endless energy throughout the day, and I’m starting to see some definition. Hee! Have any of you gone to boot camp? What do you think?

Pay Gap for Caregivers: Just to show you that the pay gap between caregivers and non-caregivers has long-term ramifications, please see this article in RH Reality Check. It is about a cash-strapped grandmother taking care of her severely disabled granddaughter knowing that her sacrifice may cost her future work and retirement. What will it take for U.S. decision makers to see this is not okay?

Ebola Hype: And you know what else is in not okay? Xenophobia and stigma of African people because of Ebola. This Liberian mom had enough when her daughter was told by a classmate that she was diseased. The mom created this powerful video — most definitely worth a view!

Don’t mess with mom.

Last, but certainly not least, it is my mom “Taponsito’s” birthday! Make sure to drop your wishes in the comments thread here or on Facebook. Love you, mami!

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

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Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Free College Tuition! Wow — check it out: Germany is offering free college tuition to U.S. and international students, according to the Daily Kos. Considering how much debt U.S. students accrue for even an associate’s degree, it may be worthwhile to encourage our kids to learn German. lol!

Politics More Divisive Than Race: From the Latina Lista blog: as it turns out, political affiliation is now more divisive than racial differences, Stanford University researchers found. The study itself is interesting and worth a read!

Speaking of Divisive Politics: I had to pick my jaw off the ground when I read this Talking Points Memo story about a GOP lawmaker in New Hampshire calling a Democratic state woman representative “ugly as sin.”

“Let’s be honest. Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin? And I hope I haven’t offended sin,” state Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R) wrote Friday on New Hampshire politics blog NH Insider….

“If I may be so bold as to speak the truth, Republican Marilinda Garcia is one of the mot attractive women on the political scene anywhere, not so attractive as to be intimindating [sic], but truly attractive,” Vaillancourt wrote of his state House colleague.

Oy. Just when I was thinking how grateful I am for not running for office, I watched this interview with Annette Taddeo, who is one of three Latina candidates nationwide for lieutenant governor — in this case, Florida. She addressed the lack of action around immigration reform and encouraged women to run for office. “When you don’t have a seat at the table, you may be on the menu.”

Wow. Okay — keep at it ladies! I, for one, will be watching Kuster’s and Taddeo’s races closely.

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

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Berkeley vs. Big Soda: An Update

What’s up?

This is an open thread, but I changed the title to share on social media. Thanks! -Elisa

Okay. Here it goes. As many of you know this blog is a labor of love for me. I don’t get paid to maintain it. Can I ask you for a donation instead? No amount is too small!

So my home city of Berkeley, CA, has a soda tax on the ballot that could have repercussions for the rest of the country. The soda industry knows it and has dumped a whopping $1.7 million to defeat it. It is, by the far, the most money ever spent on a ballot measure in our city.

Why I support Measure D: the rising rates of type 2 diabetes and heart disease — which is the No. 1 killer in the U.S. — isn’t any one person’s fault. There are a lot of systemic issues at play: the lack of flexible work schedules to exercise, the lack of safe and open space to exercise, food deserts (or lack of available and affordable fresh food), and junk food and beverage marketing.

It’s a huge and overwhelming issue to tackle, but if we were to wait until every single piece is lined up, nothing would be done. We have to start somewhere, which is why I support Measure D as a volunteer and donor.

The food and beverage industry — junky food and drinks that is — spend $2 billion a year marketing to children. And it works! They made $60 billion — with a “b” — last year. 56% of 8-year-olds drink at least one can of soda a day.

Soda is available in every store shelf in every town and city and village all over the world. You may not have access to an education or sanitary water, but you can have a coke! In fact, it is often the default drink in a child’s menu at a restaurant and more readily available than water.

Why soda and not chocolate milk? As it turns out sugar-sweetened beverages like soda are the No. 1 source for added sugar in a child’s — and for that matter, an adult’s — diet.

While I don’t expect soda consumption to fall dramatically in the Bay Area following a 1 cent per liter soda tax — which would apply to the distributor — at the very least, passing Measure D would help educate the public and stigmatize the consumption of soda. It would also provide the city with needed funds.

The money from Measure D would go to the general fund. But this allows voters to pass the tax with a mere 50% of the vote. Also, the entire Berkeley City Council and our biggest activists like author Alice Walker support it and are aware of the intention behind the money. (Public health!)

Berkeley was the first in the nation to have a recycling program. It was ground zero for the American with Disabilities Act. Could it be ground zero in the fight against heart disease? I certainly hope so!

Please join me and donate to the Measure D fund. Thank you so much!

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

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

This article in Babble about people who ignorantly ask stay-at-home parents what they do all day resonated with me. I remember the transition to full-time paid work, and the epiphany DH and I had on how much I actually did when I was the full-time housekeeper and nanny. :)

Our weekends are now taken up by chores that aren’t completed during the week, and oftentimes, we have conflicts with our one car or must plan in advance when one of us has to travel or work late. Having a stay-at-home parent is a luxury…for the paid working spouse!

Tonight the family and I are going on a cruise around the Bay with some fellow progressives. Wish me luck as I tend to get sick on boats — all kinds of boats. I’ve tried taking Dramamine, but it always knocks me out. Any tips?

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

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Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Considering that three of four MotherTalkers co-founders are Latinas — pop quiz: do you know the fourth? :) — I can’t let Hispanic Heritage Month go by without mentioning it. A member of our Facebook group, Xochitl Oseguera, published a blog post with a beautiful photo of her family at MomsRising. Enjoy!

Are you on twitter? I will be behind the @MomsRising account today for two back-to-back #WellnessWed chats. The first one, at 1pmET, is on caring for children with medical complexities and our guests are the Children’s Hospital Association and Dr. Jen Arnold of the reality show Little People. (Do any of you watch it?)

The second chat, at 2pmET, is on breast cancer awareness and our guest is the organization Cancer Schmancer. My geeking out moment so bear with me: the organization was founded by actress Fran Drescher and she shared my Facebook event page! It was a nice surprise to pop up in my feed. :)

Seriously, if you are on twitter, please join me this morning/afternoon! Thanks all, you rock.

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

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Considering that the elections are the height of work season for us, and for youth soccer, and for kid birthday parties — damn, October is a busy month! — I’ve had no time to read news much less write about it.

So go ahead and fill me in. Also, how you are you?

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Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

This week is National Mental Illness Awareness Week and as someone who has struggled with a mood disorder and has family members suffer from other illnesses as well, it’s an issue near and dear to my heart. I hate that we stigmatize mental illness in this country and refuse to make services readily available when mental illness can be just as if not more debilitating than physical illness.

The American Psychological Association put out a tip sheet that resonated with me:

Encourage your loved one to seek help. If you’re concerned your loved one is exhibiting signs of a serious mental illness, don’t be afraid to talk to them about it. It’s easy to imagine the worst-case scenario, but signs of mental illness often overlap with other problems. Express your concerns without using alarmist language or placing blame. You might say, “I’ve noticed that you seem more stressed than usual,” or “I’ve noticed you don’t seem like yourself lately.” Then back up those statements with facts, pointing out, for example, changes in hygiene or daily activities.

Educate yourself about the mental illness. It is entirely normal to experience a flurry of emotions when your loved one is diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Acceptance can take time for everyone involved. One of the most important things you can do to support your loved one is to educate yourself. The more you learn about what to expect, the easier it will be to provide support.

Provide balanced support. It can be easy to want to take charge when your loved one is struggling with a serious mental illness, but individuals are more likely to thrive when they are allowed to take responsibility for their own lives. Engage your loved one in open and honest conversations about what they’re feeling and what they’d like from you.

This piece made many good points in that outcomes have never been better for those who suffer from mental illnesses. Medications are better than ever before and there are new evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions. “People with a serious mental illness often go on to live satisfying and productive lives, even with the limitations of their illness. So try to stay positive. One of the most important things you can do to support a loved one with serious mental illness is to have hope.”

On that note, I hope you all have a good weekend. What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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