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!


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?


Tuesday Open Thread

We had quite the chat in yesterday’s open thread! Let’s keep it going!

I’ll throw out a few topics.

Gone Girl: the book vs. the movie.

Homeland: how much did it creep you out that Carrie’s baby looked like an itty bitty Brody replica? And then there was the bathtub scene. DEAR LORD.

My 4-year-old son thought it was funny to poke my “booboos” repeatedly during our shower last night. THOSE AIN’T YOURS ANYMORE, KID.

Pumpkin spice: threat or menace?

Chat away!


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?


Weekend Open Thread

I’m going to a family wedding today, and shizz is getting real, ladies.

I am the eldest grandchild on my father’s side, and one of the oldest on my mom’s side, as well. So I have stark memories of most of my cousin’s births and babyhoods. Now my cousin is getting married! I cradled him when he was a baby. Soon, he will be having babies of his own. The passage of time can feel so bizarre. But here we are! I’m pushing 40 and my cousins are no longer kids.

DS has been asked to be a ring bearer, so that should be interesting (and cute!). My cousin is also bucking tradition by not having a big Catholic Mass in the morning, followed by a party at a huge reception hall in the evening. Frankly, I’m glad! Those all-day affairs are exhausting, and then you have to find a way to kill the time in between. With kids in tow. No, thanks!

Instead, they will have a ceremony at the outdoor venue, immediately followed by cocktails and then dinner and dancing. This is a radical departure and it has caused some harrumphing among some of my more traditional aunties, but I’m applauding the young couple. Plus, my cousin’s soon-to-be wife is of Polish descent (just like my DH) so we’re feeling a bit of a kinship with them. Of course, we made my family go apoplectic when we eloped, so I guess we were the first to step outside the box.

Another twist: we’re experiencing a crazy late summer heat wave. Good times!

What kind of weddings do you enjoy attending? Do you like traditional or untraditional affairs? Big or small? I will say the two most fun weddings I’ve attended did not include kids. And this was after I became a parent. Hee.

What are you up to this weekend? Chat away!


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?