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?


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?


Thursday Open Thread

How much weight did you gain while pregnant?

Because people seem to have strong opinions on the topic. While some (including feminist author Germaine Greer) have criticized Princess Kate for gaining too little weight while pregnant, this unhinged woman wrote a column for The Daily Mail condemning undisciplined lard-asses for using pregnancy as nothing more than an excuse to pig out. But while she judged all the fatties, she claims the fatties were judging her just as harshly– because they were mad jealous, natch!

‘When are you due?’ a woman asked me. ‘Four weeks,’ I replied proudly. Her eyes dropped immediately to my compact bump, and I could see her mental processes working overtime.

Her initial incredulity rapidly morphed into anger at me and pity for my unborn child. ‘Anorexic,’ I could tell she was thinking. ‘Obsessive. Narcissistic. Putting her own vanity before the health of her baby.’

In a word, she was seized by jealousy – the green-eyed monster that seems to turn the most sensible and intelligent of women into bile-spitting harpies when faced with something they wish they had.

That is . . . a whole heck of a lot of projection, right there! Like, Olympic-level mind-reading! Wow.

I exercised right up until my daughter was born, and still gained 35 pounds. When pregnant with my son after a miscarriage, I was too nervous to exercise, and ended up gaining 40 pounds. Some would say that I gained too much weight, but I wasn’t really fussed. My babies were healthy, my pregnancies were smooth (joyous, even!) and my deliveries were uncomplicated. Weight gain was the last thing on my mind. And I will admit to enjoying a lot of Nutella while gestating. :-)

I have always marveled at the pregnant women who stay skinny, acquiring the perfectly round belly and nothing else. I carried my babies ALL OVER, if you know what I mean. But I also never experienced any morning sickness or significant swelling.

In short, it’s different for every woman, and it never occurred to me to judge anyone for gaining too much weight or staying too skinny while pregnant. It’s sad to think that for some, the Mommy Wars start while their babies are still in utero.

What do you think? What else is on your mind today? Chat away!


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?


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?


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?


Thursday Open Thread

From the “My Kid’s Life Is So Different Than Mine Was” files:

photo (42)

DD9 went to Cotillion last night. I had never heard of Cotillion before last year, when local friends started posting pictures on their facebook feeds of their kids all dressed up, awkwardly dancing the cha cha with other kids. Cotillion is basically an opportunity for young children to learn and reinforce proper manners, practice social graces and conversation, and even dance together.


When DD heard her friends start talking about it, she was all ears. Once she figured out it involved dressing up and dancing and drinking punch and wearing white gloves?! She was all in.

It was so fun to watch her out there, to see these sweet little boys offering girls their arms, cutting in to dance, giving them napkins and handing them their punch. They chatted amiably and had a great time together. There will be a holiday party and a costume party and a formal dinner. Frivolous, yes, but oh so fun. I want my kids to experience as much as they can, including how to dance a waltz with a boy who’s a full head shorter than you. :)

Which new experiences have your kids enjoyed lately? Are there some things they do that you wish you could have done when you were a child?

What else is on your mind today? Chat away!