No Money, No School Lunch. This is a Teachable Moment?

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I feel so sick to my stomach right now I can hardly stand it. Here I was, riding a high from sharing good in the world, happy to be getting to bed at a decent hour, AND I had just registered for my tickets to see A Place at the Table.

So why am I fuming?

Warning: Foul language ahead.

I’m so sorry to bring this to you. I’m sorry you have to hear it. I’m sorry we’re having to talk about it. It sucks to be reminded that shitty stuff happens. To our kids. At school. In a country with an abundant food supply.

But, have you seen this?

Yeah, my day has just ended with that jack wad.

I don’t even know where to start. For now, this:

1. It’s FOX News, so I should have known better than to click, dammit.

2. Could they have found a more Douchey McDoucherson to speak about kids and hunger?

3. We have a rational woman sitting opposite him who gets, oh, about two short comments in.

4. This host…UGH! She keeps trying to soften this terrible, terrible policy and make this guy feel at home while her other guest has a strangled look. Scroll up and look at her again. I think Ms. Reasonable Guest is trying to hold it together for tv. Well, hold it together or not let the vomit actually come OUT of her mouth. Poor thing.

Unfortunately for Mr. Psychotherapist School Counselor, he chose to be the face of this policy on air and say some incredibly stupid shit. So yeah, I’m going off on him. With his big smile and nonchalant attitude while talking about hungry, humiliated children, I can’t imagine he has a fragile psyche. I wonder if he has suffered through his share of “teachable moments“.  What grounds does he have for insisting children have “teachable moments” of hunger and embarrassment? This is disgusting.

And then, while talking about kids NOT being able to eat, he jokes about not being broke even after HANDING OUT ALL HIS CASH to kids at school! What happened to the teachable moment, jerk? I thought you wanted them to go hungry so they would learn!

Learn what?

I wonder if Mr. Psychotherapist School Counselor understands the first thing about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I wonder if Mr. Psychotherapist School Counselor understands why I’m spitting fire.

You will have to forgive me. It’s late. And I’m pissed. And I should have just gone to bed. And maybe I can express myself more eloquently tomorrow.

Watch the video. I can’t break it down much more than that right now because I’m tired and too pissed. If you can’t understand my anger at this, then I probably couldn’t make you understand anyway. And I’ve already called him names and likely made my mother in law upset with my language. So, more on this later because we DO need to know more about this policy and where and how often it’s being utilized. Until then, hug your kids, high five and smile at other kids. Remind them that they are seen and that the world can be a good place with people that care.

Talk to you later.

Review: The Cup (for the ladies)

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A bit of a disclaimer before reading:

Boys! If you’re reading this, please know it’s about lady parts and functions. But feel free to stay! Goodness know many of you could use a lesson or two;) Or, better yet, just feel more comfortable with the fact that your woman’s vagina does more than just the fun stuff. Also, for those of you wondering why I would talk about something that most consider so private, well, I’m cool with sharing something that millions of us deal with all the time. I promise not to post intimate pics or anything like that, but I do wish a friend had shared this info with me! Besides, I’m just excited for this to work!

Here goes!

Ok, so, I just finished my period this month. I am also just about out of light tampons, regular tampons, super tampons, light days pads, regular pads, and overnight pads. Whew. That’s a lot of crap to have in order to manage a few days out of each month. Also, I hate the feeling of pads, I hate forgetting to pack my purse each month, I hate that tampons mess up the healthy environment ‘down there’, I hate what tampons do to my garbage can and septic system and I hate knowing that we are creating so much more trash! 85 million menstruating women can do a lot of damage and I’m not just talking violence!

Here are just a few facts I found at http://www.keeper.com/facts.html:

Over 12 BILLION pads and tampons are USED ONCE and disposed of annually, adding to environmental pollution.

Plastic tampon applicators may not biodegrade for several hundred years.

An average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of tampons, pads and applicators in her lifetime. The great majority of these end up in landfills, or as something the sewage treatment plants must deal with.

Plastic tampon applicators from sewage outfalls are one of the most common forms of trash on beaches.

Gross!

Those are just a few problems I have with the average feminine product.

So…I just purchased this, ladies.

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This is The Diva Cup, but there are many different brands. The cup is designed to fit low inside the vaginal canal. It catches the menstrual flow which you are then able to just pour it out. It’s sanitary, reusable and, this is one of the best parts, you only have to empty it one to two times per day!

I had a lot of questions so I YouTubed. There are a lot of reviews and I was annoyed with most of them but I did find one that was very helpful from artistenoire. I like her style.

I also decided to purchase and learn how to use the cup because I have two daughters. I hope that I will love it and be comfortable with it so that they will be comfortable with it and won’t ever have to spend time, money and plumbing charges on feminine products. They won’t have to deal with dry tampons, bunched up pads, putting a quarter in the machine in the ladies room only to have nothing come out when they reealllyy need it, having to borrow products or do the roll up toilet paper thing so many of us have done at one time or another. Newly menstruating girls prob won’t start out using a cup. I am sure it is a comfort level thing, differences in body types and age, but that’s another subject.

If this freaks you out, CHILL and THINK! How could this be worse than anything else we have to do with all the products we think we need? And think of the money you’ll save. How much do you hate the price of good tampons? If I ever get excited over a coupon or sale, it’s definitely when I find a good tampon coupon or Target has their $5 giftcard specials in the feminine aisle.

If you read about the cup or watched a review and you still don’t understand how it works, I HIGHLY recommend you learn about your own parts. It’s shocking what we women don’t know about our own bods!

Did I mention I was excited? I know that it sounds weird to be excited about my period and facing a learning curve with said period, but, well, yeah, I’m excited. It’s not that time of the month right now, so my review won’t be for awhile, but I wanted to share that I WILL do one. Meanwhile, if you have questions or have already been using The Diva Cup, please share in the comments and I’ll keep them in mind. Yes, that means I will be thinking of YOUR question when inserting, pouring and hopefully not leaking next month!

UPDATE!

Well, I can’t say I love it, but it’s only because I am still learning. BUT, I am excited because I have found something that works for me! After using the cup I realized I DO NOT like tampons. I appreciate that they exist, but I have moved on to something better. Thank you, Tampax, for all our years together, but I am moving on and not looking back.

Before you read on you might want to look at this video. It’ll familiarize you with some of the things I’m describing.

My first go was a bit messy. Removal will take practice. I really had to reach in there to relieve the suction. When doing that, I had some spillage but only on my fingers and over the potty. I got better after a couple days so I’m definitely optimistic. I  leaked a little, but only a tiny bit. I knew this would happen for a beginner and on my heaviest days, so I supplemented with a light days pad. I hate pads, so it was nice that I only needed a light one. It was so minimal I’m thinking of buying some cloth pads. I am above beginner level now for the “c” fold (woohoo!) and the twist (yes!). I did have to shorten the tip just a tiny bit. If you have to do this, definitely do a tiny bit at a time. If you take off too much you may not be able to get a good hold when removing the cup.

I’m lucky I was home for almost all of this. If you are out and can’t wait to empty at home, I would recommend having a baby wipe on hand. I’m going to buy one of the dollar packs at Target so I can just throw them in my purse.

One of my questions I had was would I know when I needed to empty it. That answer came quickly when I felt like I was going to leak in the same way you kind of feel it when wearing a tampon. Your body just tells you. My body was right. I know it sounds weird, but it was kinda cool.

The Diva Cup is what I used. My only issue was the flexibility. There are other cups. One is The Keeper and another is called The Moon Cup. The Keeper is made from latex and The Moon Cup is silicone. I have read The Moon Cup is softer. I may eventually give that one a try.

One weird story before I wrap up. I dared go for a run on my second day of trying this out. I was pretty sure I didn’t insert it well enough. Never run if unsure! I was on a trail and it kept bugging me. There are no bathrooms.  I knew it wouldn’t actually fall out, but it sure felt like it. After doing more kegel-ing than I ever had in my whole life I actually went into the bushes to try and adjust. I was sure I was alone. NOPE! Man with two dogs comes around the corner. Did I get my hand away from my crotch fast enough? I’ll never know, but I’m pretty good at denial in these situations.

So, if you’ve been wondering about this product, I can tell you, this was not that weird, ladies. If you have ever thought of an alternative, give one of the cups a try. It’s not stinky, smelly, or yucky and with a little practice not even messy. I know change is uncomfortable sometimes, but often it can be better. This definitely is. I’m excited that I have tried something new, something better for my body and the environment, and that I like it so much.

If you wanna keep up with any questions or comments on this post just go to the top of the page and click like or follow:)

Random Acts of Kindness

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I have been trying to be more conscious of opportunities to do random cool things for people. I was going to keep track but kept forgetting to journal or blog about it. This afternoon I was very moved by an opportunity to be a bit more than the normal nice and it encouraged me to start keeping track. So, these are the ones I can remember so far:)

One

We donated (over the phone) to the Newtown, CT General Store the day after the tragedy. Bonus? I got a call back from the owner who, apparently, needed to talk. He filled me in on so much that was going on that day from the donations being given to the temperature of the Newtown citizens. He filled a bucket full of candy and made a sign that said “From Your Friends in KC“. Kiddos could just take a piece of candy. On us.

Bucket of candy at the Newtown, CT General Store. The sign says From Your Friends in KC: Justus, Evan and Harper.

Bucket of candy at the Newtown, CT General Store.
The sign says From Your Friends in KC: Justus, Evan and Harper.

Two

We randomly pay for the drinks of the people at the drive through at Starbucks. I’d like to count this one as a lot of ARK’s, but I’ve decided to leave it as one. It’s just too darn easy and fun.

The kiddos at the place a good friend lovingly refers to as "my office".

The kiddos at the place a good friend lovingly refers to as “my office”.

Three

My husband always mows the neighbors front yard. He will also be the first to walk over and help another neighbor or anyone else who needs it. It’s no big deal to him, but it’s such a kind thing to do and a great example for our kids.

He is also absolutely not above the silliness.

He is also absolutely not above the silliness.

Four

I started this post because today granted me a more touching opportunity. I headed to CVS to pick up my low dose of Lexapro, cuz, well, ya know;) There was a man in front of me at the pharmacy having a quiet discussion with the cashier. It’s a scenario that, I’m sure happens a thousand times a day. This one particular time I just happened to be present.

An older gentleman was shocked to learn that the price of his prescription had gone up. He was calm and kind while discussing with the pharmacist tech which one he could do without for now. My husband and I are by no means wealthy, but for what he was having to forgo, we would not have batted an eye at had we needed it for our or our children’s health.

I made it so he didn’t have to choose for today. He was quietly gracious. He gave me a greater gift:)

I left on a kindness high.

Five

I have number 5! A lot of you may say we are doing this for ourselves and that would be true. But we do try to be good stewards of our planet and model that to our children. And if others notice then, GREAT! We are going SOLAR, y’all! Woohoo! While this will eventually save us monthly, there is a large upfront cost. But the ONLY thing negative about this is having to have cash on hand. The positives? Generating CLEAN energy for everyone else, lower bills for us means we will not have to cut charity spending (which we actually thought we were going to have to do for about the next eight months and that thought SUCKED), modeling clean energy!!!!, reduce emissions by 223 TONS of CO2 over 25 years which is the equivalent of 726,914 miles NOT driven or FOUR ACRES of trees planted. Also, the more people that go solar, the less the price will come down for everyone else.

So, yeah, I’mma count it as an act of kindness to EARTH:)

Computer aerial image of our home WITH the panels. Yippee!

Computer aerial image of our home WITH the panels. Yippee!

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My Reading at Listen To Your Mother KC 2013

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Well, here it is. My big moment at Listen To Your Mother KC 2013.
Feeling the power with my soul sister Lisa Allen from Back to Allen.

Feeling the power with my soul sister Lisa Allen from Back to Allen.

Greta Funk from gfunkified is not amused;)

Greta Funk from gfunkified is not amused;)

I will not say if this happened before or after the show.

I will not say if this happened before or after the show. Also, kids, alcohol is, um, not ALWAYS the answer.

I have to admit, I was trembling before the show. I was trembling while I read. So, without further ado…

(Please CLICK HERE or on the caption below the pic to see the video! And don’t forget to come back to read what happened after!)

I was trembling when I sat. I think I would have only been slightly less fearful were I required to walk across that stage nude.

Julie Thies Dunlap caring for me after my reading.

Julie Thies Dunlap caring for me after my reading.

After the show, though, I could not have imagined the way I would feel. So many people came up to me to say they enjoyed what I read, that they were proud of me and that they enjoyed the entire show. But what really surprised me were the thank you’s. Several people thanked me for telling the story they couldn’t, for saying outloud what some thought they should have been ashamed of. Some said thank you because they were now inspired to write down their own truths and my, OUR bravery had inspired them to do that. To all of them, to you who encouraged me and to those who emailed, texted and Facebook’d me, I say back to you, thank you. I didn’t know ahead of time all of the positivity that would come from this. But it has made all the fear and vulnerability worth it. Besides, had I known ahead of time, maybe I wouldn’t have delivered with the honesty and vulnerability with which I did.

Some of you have asked how my relationship is with my mother. It is good. Like I said, I have worked and worked to be where I am. And where I am is comfortable with her. She is good to my children.

A surprising dialogue that came out of this was with my stepdad. Well, one of them, lol, I have, like, three? Four? Anyway, my sister’s dad is the one who, above all others, has been there for me. We don’t speak as often as we used to, but he saw the video and gave me a call. He told me how he had never been more proud of me. From that statement I got to have a true father/daughter moment. I don’t have any of those, really. I just sat on the phone for a minute. Stunned. I was so touched. He also talked about how much he loves me, has always loved me and wants to work on being my one true dad. I’m 40 but it still made me feel like a child who just had their dad make them feel like the most special person in the world.

I hope you enjoyed the video. I really hope you’ll share it. You would be surprised who might need to hear it or knows someone they would like to share it with.

Peace to you all. HUGS!

Listening To All The Things She Never Said (My reading in Listen To Your Mother)

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My mother was young when she had me. At only eighteen, she was married with a newborn. In that order, I think. She soon divorced my father. I have no memories of them together in the same place. She remarried quickly and had my little sister…who would be my very best friend. My mother divorced again, remarried quickly and had my little brother who I haven’t really known since he was three. She divorced her third husband before I was 11, tearing her children apart. We were all split up, to live states away from each other. My baby brother, my little sister and I were never reunited under one roof as children. My siblings left to live with their fathers. My mother kept me. She remarried, she divorced.

Following the first three marriages, I was neglected. My mother’s priorities were finding the next man. My mother would find a boyfriend, we would moved in, they would break up, we would moved out. We would switch towns. My mother would find another boyfriend, we would move in, they would break up, we would move out. We would switch towns. Multiply by, oh, about 5. I continued to be neglected.

Then, finally, like with my siblings before me, she moved away. Even though I refused to move again, even though I had put down some type of roots, no matter how shallow, she still moved on, moving away from me. More than neglect, I had felt abandoned. It seemed so easy for her to leave me. Not yet out of school, I was left in a small town to depend on a few friends whose parents pitched in.

For so many years I’ve searched for something, anything my mother has taught me. How could she have had the time to teach me anything? When I remember the mom of my childhood, I remember her either sleeping or rushing out the door. She was always so busy. Busy marrying, or finding a boyfriend, or moving, or going out dancing while I stayed home all night alone or working her ass off at the NEXT job because she, again, had lost the last one.

Where were the lessons? What could I truly have learned from all of THAT?

I THOUGHT my mom taught me to be a good mother. Seriously. Uh, yeah, because I was going to be the exact opposite of her. My years and years worth of anger were going to pay off big time with me being exactly UNLIKE her. I can clearly remember saying, out loud, that being the opposite of her is going to make me a great mom. But it really exhausted me. Being the exact opposite of my mother, I martyred myself with my first child. Talk about the hovering mother: My child would not know one second of life without me being there for him, not one whimper before he would be scooped up and not one owie that wouldn’t be taken care of by me and no one else.

When I became a mother for the second time I relaxed a little. But the anger was still there, and now it was beginning to surface in a way unfamiliar to me. It couldn’t be seen, but my muscles were spinning like those toys where you push and push and push the button until the wheel spins so hard that sparks shoot off of it, out of control. One day, when I was eating cheese and crackers. I wondered if the knife I was using would stop the spinning. I wondered, “if I jabbed this knife into my thigh, would that make the spinning stop?” That was when my husband and I agreed I should talk to someone.

I uncovered lessons from my mother in the most unusual way. First lesson: my mother taught me about mental illness. Through therapy I learned about several conditions my mother could be suffering from and was able to let a lot of the anger and frustration spill away. I learned how a toxic past, never treated, can leave a lifetime of heartache in its wake. It was possible my mother was using the only tools she had, what tools weren‘t stripped away from her during her abusive past. So my mother taught me about people that are really trying to do the best they can. Truly the best they are actually capable of.  Considering her own childhood, I believe my mother was doing HER best. And the farther I get from the anger and hurt, the more certain I become.

My mother taught me about setting boundaries and standards. The next step was to know where the boundaries were in our present relationship and I had to set the standard for that relationship. For so long I was so furious about the past and I kept looking for HER to do something to fix it. Not anymore. I was ready to do this myself and let go of the angry child still waiting on my mother to do it FOR me, waiting for her to do the impossible: change the past. I even stopped waiting for her to apologize. So my mother taught me to look inside myself, find the strength and courage to find my own peace and not depend on her or anyone else to do that for me.

My mother taught me to take risks. When changing the way I acted and reacted to past and present situations, I had to risk relationships. When you change, most will accept the, kind of, new you, but others may move away. And, if you’re really fortunate, they’ll embrace you, moving in closer than before. I’m happy to say, I have been fortunate. We both have fortunate.

My mother really has changed for the better throughout the years. It often makes me sad that my mother has never sought help that could make her mind healthier than she could ever imagine, help to begin healing the toxic build up from a devastating childhood. I’ve encouraged her speak to someone, but I cannot make her and I cannot heal her. I have to accept that she may never seek therapy. Because of that, I have learned another important lesson from my mother: If you care about someone, you have to meet them where they are.

How? How could I get those values out of that childhood? It doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is that they are in me, and mostly because of her.

I don’t know if she understands, but all of the things she never said have created a stronger me. All of the things she never said help me to be able to even slightly understand her, to be able to deal with her and to continue to move past some of the lingering hurt I still feel. The hurt is mine and the healing is my responsibility.
I have listened, over the years, to all of the things my mother never said.

A treasure of tools learned in an unconventional way.
Do your best. Take risks. Set standards. Meet people where they are. Make peace.
And I will add: Be compassionate. Be vulnerable.

Priceless lessons. I am the proud owner. And, because of my mom, I have them to pass on to my children.

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I read this May 11th, to an audience at Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. There were so many people who came up to me after the KC’s first Listen To Your Mother show  to say “me too” and “thank you for telling your story” and “I’m so happy to know I’m not the only one” and “our mothers are so similar, only my mother, now, is homeless”.

I was so proud of the women who stood on that stage with me, each telling their own unique stories. No words will ever be able to convey my feelings that evening. Ever. But I love those women, I loved the audience and I will always be grateful for being given the opportunity to share my story.

My mother is a very nice person. I know it has to be hard to hear things from your children that are less than flattering, but it was a story I have always felt needed to be shared. I really do try to meet her where she is. I love her, I forgive her and I continue to try and be a good daughter to her.

Peace.

I’m on BlogTalk Radio!

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Laura Seymour, Erin Margolin and I were interviewed on Everyday KC by the super sweet, witty and talented Rachel Ellyn and Duane Daugherty! They were almost as excited about Listen To Your Mother KC as we are.

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It was so much fun, they were so welcoming, kind and interesting we wished we could do it every Friday! Standing date, Rachel and Duane? I really gotta grab onto something else exciting so I can spend time with these two again.

Some people had difficulty finding the play button. Just click here, scroll down the page and look to the right . You will see the title Listen To Your Mother. Erin, Laura and I come in at about the 12 minute mark (but, seriously, it’s a lot of fun listening to the hosts:). Just click and enjoy. It’s really a great podcast.

Teehee. I’m in a podcast:)

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