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?


Thursday Open Thread

Do you ever get “hangry?” While DH suffers from this condition far more frequently than I do, I will admit to going without breakfast far too often, and being a starving, snippy mess by the time lunch rolls around.

I know breakfast is important, but I’m just not hungry in the mornings. Then there’s my penchant for going without breakfast AND skimping on lunch when I know I’ll be having a big, yummy dinner. Because I need to save room, y’all!

Sigh. Do you have any bad eating habits? If you have conquered them, any advice for those of us still wrestling with them?

What else is on your mind? Chat away!


Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Oh, just the GOP undermining democracy in Ohio. Take a deep breath as this Supreme Court blog post on a court decision yesterday to end many forms of early voting in Ohio may raise your blood pressure:

The practical effect of the order will mean that, at the least, early voting will not be allowed this week — a period that supporters of early balloting have called “Golden Week.” That permits voters to register and cast their ballots on the same day.

Depending upon the timing of the state’s filing of a petition for review and the Court’s action on it, Monday’s order may also mean that early voting will not be permitted on most Sundays between now and election day, November 4, and will not be permitted during evening hours — that is, after 5 p.m.

Early voting during “Golden Week,” on Sundays, and in evening hours are the opportunities that civil rights groups have said are most important to black and low-income voters and the homeless. (GOP) State officials, however, contended that those arrangements would raise the risk of voter fraud, and would cost too much for county election boards to implement.

Oh yes, all that fraud by working class church goers on Sunday! So, so anti-democratic and icky…

And this is scary: the first case of Ebola in the United States was diagnosed at a hospital in Dallas, Texas. Shudder.

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


Why This Latina Mom Supports Measure D in Berkeley

What’s up?

What candidate or ballot measure are you most passionate about in your city or state? With the elections quickly coming up, I find myself most involved with the “Yes on Measure D” campaign here in Berkeley, which if it passes, would be the first soda tax in the country.

As someone who has witnessed the toll that type 2 diabetes and heart disease can take on a family and the healthcare system– and in my family, there is definitely a link to a lot of soda consumption! — it’s an issue near and dear to my heart. Yes, we need to build more parks, bike lanes and address food deserts. But we also must hold junk food and junky beverage marketers accountable, too. Something is wrong when soda is the default drink in a children’s menu. Something is wrong when the soda industry is allowed to target our kids through cartoons, video games and their favorite celebrities. Imagine if Beyoncé were the Marlboro spokeswoman? We have thankfully stigmatized cigarettes enough that no celebrity would touch that, and yet, it’s still acceptable to make caffeinated and sugary beverages appealing and as readily accessible as possible to children!

This past weekend I attended an event sponsored by the Berkeley Ecology Center — they’re the folks who brought to us our farmers’ markets and our nation’s first recycling program — on the soda tax in Mexico. Mexico is facing a crisis, in which after the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the importation of U.S. corporations such as Coca Cola Company, its people are abandoning the healthier traditional diet in droves for processed foods and soda. This super market display of sodas beneath bananas blew me away:

After years of repeated warnings by the country’s healthcare officials — and being rebuffed by the soda industry’s millions of dollars in lobbying efforts — international non-government agencies became involved to help pass a 10% soda tax in the country.

While healthcare officials say there is much work to do to curb Mexico’s appetite for artificially sweetened beverages, it has raised $500 million for the country and there has been a 10% decline in soda consumption. Campaigns such as the one below asking parents — “Would you give your child 12 teaspoons of sugar?” — have helped inform the public as to how much sugar a soda actually has, and no, your kids don’t need soda to live.

“The health costs (related to type 2 diabetes) alone was collapsing the health care industry,” said Rebecca L. Berner, Director of El Poder del Consumidor.

I left the event inspired and will probably make my way to the “Yes on D” office in downtown Berkeley to do some phone banking. Berkeley is an outdoorsy, healthy city, but I hope that this initiative serves as an example for the rest of the country — very much like our recycling program and farmers’ markets!

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