WTF Just Happened? The week in review

WTF

It’s Monday, Sept. 11. Just getting caught up? Here is the news you can use:

WTF is happening in the world

Irma. Lord, Irma.

It’s Sept. 11 again. Here’s a column about that grim morning’s first victim more than a decade and a half ago.

WTF is happening on this blog

I’m still writing about my mental health. It is something I’ve been weighing since I started this blog five days after Eli was born, nearly five years ago, because stuff was happening that I did’t understand, to him, to us.

I hate mom blogs. They’re so predatory. Parents with ill children who blog about their children are probably the worst of the worst.

BTW, look at my adorable click bait!

My point is, it felt increasingly gross and insincere writing about our lives and especially my son, when I was experiencing an illness also. One I pretended wasn’t there.

Now that I’ve acknowledged my ongoing mental health battles and upkeep, I find myself in the midst of some kind of creative surge. I’m rolling with it. My heart is open to it.

I’m finding inspo here, there and everywhere, from conversations with friends old and new to rather canned places like my ‘inspiration quote of the day’ setting in Google Allo.

Which I kind of take issue with. Because about 90 percent of the quotes are from men.

But one did speak to me.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”-Mahatma Gandhi.

I’d heard it before.

But I thought about it in light of my new openness about mental health here.

I’d like to live in a world where people aren’t ashamed of mental illness.

In that world, individuals wouldn’t turn to alcohol and drugs and addiction over admitting mental illness.

There is a wide spectrum of ruin that results because of shame, up to the destruction of families and suicide. The damage addiction inflicts can last generations.

To change that we – this generation – need to start talking about mental health. A lot. Within our own families and to our own friends and in the world at large. The stigma needs to die, and we need to kill it. Stigma, I cut you.

And while I’m on this bender, I’m going to add that I’d like to live in a world where the lives of the sick aren’t turned to ruin by the rigged system that both saves and  destroys them.

We can do better by the sick. They deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, too. Their stories matter. Are real. Are happening. I’m going to try to tell those stories more often.

So there’s that.

I am trying meditation as a way to deal with my new best friend anxiety.

Wow is it hard to find 10 interrupted minutes.

Laila read to Charley the dog, and you couldn’t have punched the smile off of my face.

Eli painted the county lock up. About ten times.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-TALK (8255).

If you have questions about mental illness, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness help line: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org

The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET.

This is now

I finished reading “Little House in the Big Woods” to Laila.

“This is now.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote those lovely, simple words. and I thought them to myself today whilst lazing around on the couch with Laila, Eli and Mark, chatting, watching the tele and having a cozy nap.

“This is now…now is now. It can never be a long time ago.”

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How to help Hurricane Harvey victims

It is the worst storm Texas has seen in 50 years. So many hugs, Texas neighbor! I have friends in Houston who I know are Texas tough, like this guy:
otisthedogtexastough

I compiled a listing of ways to help after Hurricane Harvey for my news organization. I’m going to share it here, too. In the mean time, I’m going to check in with the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation chapters to see if there are any Houston-area CF families in need!

Here are a few ways you can help:

Oklahoma organizations providing relief for Hurricane Harvey victims

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is accepting donations 

Texas organizations providing Harvey relief

General aid

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, an initiative of Houston’s mayor being administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, is accepting donations. 

United Way of Greater Houston

To give to the United Way Flood Relief Fund, visit unitedwayhouston.org/flood or text UWFLOOD to 41444.

Food

Houston Food Bank

Galveston Food Bank

Food Bank of the Golden Crescent

Food Bank of Corpus Christi

Southeast Texas Food Bank

Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley

Brazos Valley Food Bank

Central Texas Food Bank

San Antonio Food Bank

Help for people with disabilities

Portlight Strategies helps those with disabilities find disaster relief and reports that its hotline has been overwhelmed.

The Texas Diaper Bank is accepting donations for incontinence supplies at its website.

Help for Texas pets

The Humane Society of the United States is accepting disaster relief donations. It also lists local shelters in need, like the Houston Humane Society.

The San Antonio Humane Society has created a disaster relief fund called Harvey’s Heroes for pets. The fund aims to offset expenses to help shelter pet evacuees and strays affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

Help for babies and children

The Texas Diaper Bank is accepting donations for diapers at this website.

National organizations providing relief

General aid

American Red Cross

To donate by phone or to get assistance with your donation, please contact us at 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669).

 You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.

To donate by check or to a specific cause, please download an online donation form, print and send with a check to:

American Red Cross 
PO Box 37839
Boone, IA 50037-0839

Catholic Relief Service

Church World Service

Direct Relief & Direct Relief Foundation

Episcopal Relief & Development

United Methodist Committee on Relief

Operation USA

Save the Children

Team Rubicon, military veterans helping in crisis.

World Vision

Food

Feeding America

Shelter

Habitat for Humanity International (National Office)

Be wary as hell about scammers

The national organizations on this list were vetted by CharityWatch.org, which reminds potential donors:

DONORS BEWARE
As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help with disaster relief efforts should only give to legitimate charities with an established track record of helping people in need.

People need to be on guard concerning the surge of solicitations related to any highly publicized crisis. There will be fraudulent charity solicitations, some involving websites and email links attempting to steal your credit card information for identity theft or insert malware on your computer.

Social media will include many fake victims. Do not donate to unknown individuals that purport to need aid that post on Facebook, GoFundMe, Generosity by Indiegogo, etc. These may be fraudsters, and even if they are legitimate victims, they may receive an unfairly large amount of aid.

SEND A CHECK, NOT GOODS
The best way to help is by sending a check. Cash donations enable charities to buy the most needed types of food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials and other supplies. By buying relief products locally or regionally, charities can reduce shipping costs and more rapidly deliver assistance. Before sending any goods, first contact the charity to find out if they are appropriate and if it will be cost effective to distribute them. For example, after a tsunami in the Pacific, boxes of donated winter coats, scarves and fuzzy hats, completely useless items in tsunami-stricken nations with tropical climates, were sent to these nations.

CharityWatch identifies the following charities, which are providing relief to Hurricane Harvey victims, that receive an “A” or “B+” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Contact the organizations below for information on specific relief operations now underway.

WTF Just Happened? The week in review

WTF

It’s Monday, Aug. 28. Just getting caught up? Here is the news you can use:

WTF is happening in the world

I went into hibernation mode this weekend. I missed a lot, like:

Hurricane Harvey unleashes on Houston

Catastrophic flooding is expected through Wednesday

Surreal drone footage

When disaster strikes, con artists move in

Don’t get scammed in the wake of this disaster. (Consumerist)

Tons of people are helping in Houston, including lots of Oklahomans, who are kinda good at disaster response

People are crying out for help on social media

A reporter stopped reporting to help save a man

WTF is happening on this blog

I started writing about my own mental health.

Here is my mental manifesto.
I landed in the ER with a panic attack.

BTW switching meds is no joke.

I’m feeling much better after two weeks on Wellbutrin that followed six years on Zoloft and a whole lot of running.

I’m nobody’s guru, but I’m going to keep writing about my own experiences.

I have heard from lots of readers who have had similar experiences. A few said they felt a lot more ‘normal’ now that I owned up to my depression and anxiety history!

And I say – let’s keep making mental health conversations normal. Let’s defeat the stigma.

It’s literally killing us.

If you are hyaving thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-TALK (8255).

If you have questions about mental illness, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness help line: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org

The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET.

Watching

Old Boy on Netflix. Woooooah.
oldboy

I’ve been working hard to avoid ‘Game of Thrones’ spoilers. They are. Literally. Everywhere. I’ve watched the first ep of the new season. It’s tough as I watch this one solo. Mark is not a fan!

Reading

agoodlaugh

Laila started a book club! We are half way through ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ with only a few days left to finish by our Sept. 1 deadline! aieee!

All was well, I was pumping out Little House memes, right up until the point Pa sang a racist song. WTF? Didn’t remember that from childhood.

I sent an SOS to the private FB group and got some good feedback. I’ll write later this week about how our club is handling old, offensive terms!

My lovely friend dropped off a copy of ‘The Glass Castle’ by Jeanette Walls! I’m re-reading it as my book club got ambitious and selected two titles!

App-ing

Last week I had to take a moment and get my mental health in order. I got so many positive notes, calls, messages, texts and reassurances that I am not alone. It really shored up my battered heart. Thanks, everyone.

One of my other lovely wonderful friends suggested the guided meditation app Headspace.
(For iPhone and Android)

headspace

Thus far I truly enjoy it, having tried out the three and six minute meditations. The pleasant British voice is a bonus. I was immediately suckered into the subscription service.

I’d Googled guided meditations but the YouTube meditation voices are too much. LIKE TOO MUCH. Like Laila and I couldn’t stop laughing at one and that was not super meditative.

I used to think meditation was just a buncha woo woo, but finding even a few minutes to breathe and take stock of my thoughts and feelings has become a vital part of my existence.

I don’t remember when I started meditation, but it was some point around the time my children began holding me hostage at bedtime until they fell asleep.

That’s when I breathe in and breathe out, and focus on my breath.

It also helped me view the hostage-taking as benefit, not an annoyance. I’m a sucker for bonus cuddles.

WTF Just Happened? The week in review

EVERYTHING

Today is Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Here’s WTF just happened in the last seven days:

(WTF’d whilst Whole 30 failing):

WTF just happened in regular life?

Eli slayed me. I’m dead.

I discovered what romance looks like after 9 years of marriage. Hint: Boiled nebulizer parts.

My children started school. 

Laila asked uncomfortable questions.

Speaking of Laila: She went from Daisy to Brownie. I ironed on Daisy flower petals on her blue vest at the 11th hour. She’s missing a petal. SHHHH.

I made a new blog header. What do you think?

WTF just happened: The news

There was a horrific terror attack in Charlottesville, Va.
Hate in this country remains strong
Trump barely condemns hate that resulted in the deaths of three – a protester and two law officers. His aides struggled to explain why he failed to condemn white supremacy.
Warning, graphic. Video captures attack. 
Victim’s last Facebook post tragically poignant
Confrontation w/ N Korea NOT imminent: US officials
The Department of the Interior is wrapping up its review of the state of 27 of America’s total 129 national monuments. Here are five to watch.

Health news you can use

Americans want the GOP to stop trying to undermine the health law and fix it instead, according to a few polls rounded up by Kaiser Health.

An Oklahoma mom kicked ass on NPR 

Pharma Bro got dose of own medicine. HA. Smirk away motha##$%^^

Words

 

Some things we like. Some things we need to do this week. 

I’m really feeling an app this week:
Apple Clips for iPhone, which is free, easy to figure out, includes emojis and turns your voice into synced captions. I used it to make a little multi-media video of Laila’s Daisy-to-Brownie ceremony Sunday.

My one criticism: Needs more emojis.

Gotta do this:

We need to re-organize our family budget.

We need to get up on time.

We need to divide mom/dad Eli CF care and household labor again, in writing, signed, sealed and notarized, in light of the new school year schedule, which is kicking our ass three days in.

We need to brainstorm ways to get Eli 1,600 calories per day.

We need to decide whether or not we can swing swim lessons for the kiddos, both in terms of budget and time limitations.

We need a night off. Dear God, do we ever.

If we get one of the above listed things done this week, I’ll be calling it a win.

The end.

WTF just happened? The week in review.

wtfweek2

It’s Monday. What, have you been living in a cave all week? OMG me too! Here is a story and other items:

Small humans throw playground shade on Bunny Bun

Laila has a bunny. A toy stuffed bunny named Bunny Bun. Bunny Bun is no ordinary bunny.

I was in the hospital, recovering from Laila’s birth, when Bunny Bun made an appearance. The glamorous labor drugs I coveted had worn off. I was in paaaain. I needed to sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep for three or four days. My mother appeared in my hospital room. And she proffered, in a little brown paper sack, Bunny Bun.

My mom, AKA GiGi, AKA Notorious G.I.G. (pronounced ‘geedge’) had lovingly selected that little stuffed bunny, small and terrycloth and cream with a pastel brown belly and paws.

My mom had late-stage cancer but there she was, swooping in to give our new baby a gift, and to help me when I couldn’t help myself, or Laila. I couldn’t even fall asleep. I wouldn’t fall asleep. I wouldn’t fall asleep because thoughts kept intruding. Thoughts like, “You’re going to throw your water bottle and it’s going to drown your baby.” “You’re going to toss in the night, throw a pillow on top of your baby. She’s in danger. You are a danger to her.” What? These thoughts made no sense. It was a sign of things to come, for my postpartum mind. But that’s not a story for today.

My mom died when Laila was six months old.

Fast forward seven years and four months. Laila took Bunny Bun to summer day camp. Laila played, alone, with Bunny Bun, because Laila likes to operate like this at times –in her imagination, in worlds she creates. Mini humans on the playground threw shade at Bun Bun. Two small human females told her Bunny Bun was “creepy.” “So are you. You and your bunny are creepy.”

Laila arrived home, confounded at the unprovoked cruelty, and shared the story.

This was no small matter. This involved Bunny Bun. Thee Bunny Bun.

How should she respond?

WHAT WOULD G.I.G. (pronounced Geedge) do?

to be continued….at the end of this post…

This week some things happened, including to thE ‘pharma bro’ Shkreli


A lot happened this week, in the news.

One story caught my eye, a turn in the ongoing saga of Martin Shkreli, aka, “Pharma Bro.”

He jacked up the price of a decades-old, life-saving pill. Then he smirked a lot about it. His story actually inspired a speech and a petition from me. It prompted me to start paying more attention to the way Eli’s drugs are being priced. But that was two years ago.

Last week he got his comeuppance. Sort of.

Reports the L.A. Times:


The baby-faced and gutter-mouthed 34-year-old, often known as “Pharma Bro,” had been charged with eight counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit both securities and wire fraud. He was acquitted of five of the charges, including the most serious, which allowed Shkreli and his defense team to claim victory.

Prosecutors claimed that Shkreli ran what was effectively a Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors by exaggerating his own credentials – for example, claiming that he attended Columbia University. He used their money to capitalize a new drug company, Retrophin, which he then looted to pay them back, they alleged.

Shkreli was acquitted on the charges relating to Retrophin, but convicted of making fraudulent misrepresentations regarding two hedge funds he ran.

He called the whole ordeal a witch hunt. And you know what’s crazy? I agree with him.

Here’s a post I wrote about a common cystic fibrosis antibiotic. Its non-Pharma Bro manufacturer raised the price 9,000 percent for no reason (except you know, greed). No one made a peep! Except for a coupla docs in medical journals!

Point: The shit Pharma Bro pulled with the drug is so commonplace it’s not even funny. His weird creepy baby face smirked a lot. It’s the only difference. He put himself on prosecutors’ radars. He got caught. He got shamed.

And yet, the long arm of the law basically just scratched him, nothing more.

We all need to wake up. He’s not the exception, he’s the rule. The world is full of secret Shkrelis. But it’s going to take some doing to lift up that benevolent veil under which these frackers hide their perma-smirks.

In other news…

Eclipse WTF

You should read about the total eclipse! An explainer (Vox.com)

Trump WTF

Trump is golfing. He’s golfing a lot. 43 times and counting. It’s cost taxpayers more than $57 million, according to the self-explanatory Trump Golf Count.

Kim Jong WTF

Is he really a threat? One columnist is like, “meh.”

Small humans throw shade on Bun Bun contd…


More news happened, which I’m too tired to report. You need to go to a legit news site and get caught up, reader.

Here’s what happened with Laila. With Bunny Bun.

I thought hard about what my mom would have told Laila to do.

Well, first, Geedge would have, obviously, thought of 7-year-old appropriate comebacks, such as, but not limited to, “Your opinion is meaningless to me.”

Indeed, I told Laila she was free to express this truth to Bun Bun’s tormentors.

Also a good strategy: Ignore these mean-girls-in-training. It deflates any power they have over you.

But, while you are at it, how about you take the way those little people treated you as a lesson in how not to treat others?

Remember how they made you feel.

Don’t act like them. Don’t diminish other children. 

To be honest, I was more bothered than my daughter about this whole Bunny Bun scenario. She told me about it in passing, the story relayed with bemused confusion as to why two others took issue with her obviously adorable rabbit. 

Maybe, Laila, you should leave Bunny Bun at home from now on, I advised.  You know, just for safe keeping. 


WTF just happened?: The week in review

Happy Monday, beautiful. I’m going to try something new here and see if it sticks.

Every week, as we get to the end, I find myself wondering, “WTF just happened?”

Here are things that assuredly happen each week. The kiddos get one week older. So do we. Eli asks 23,465 questions. So much news breaks my head spins. I try to hide from screens each evening and most of the weekend.

The hopefully weekly installment of WTF just happened? commences now. I bring you the first installment:

wtf

Running in heels

I’m running in heels on a gym floor. I’m running from my son. He’s screaming “Mommy,” arms outstretched. I pick him up, snuggle and soothe him. I bring him to his sister and her bestie, H., who is wearing a crown of flowers like Frida. I almost double over, overdosing on cuteness, looking at that little crown, OMG it’s dear. H.’s mommy is from Durango. They visited over spring break. Not Colorado, Mexico. I hope H. and her mommy can still visit whenever she wants. H. does not celebrate birthdays, Christmas, St. Patty’s, Halloween or any other holiday. But she brings Laila a presents to school, literally, every other day. Laila on this day will give her a small stone carving of a rabbit from our summer travels, to the Fantastic Caverns of Springfield, Mo.

Anyway, I approach Laila and H. I plunk Eli in between them. Hug Eli, I say. Hug him tight and don’t let him chase me, whatever you do.

I sprint out the door in heels.

I learn later he cried for exactly three minutes before going on with the rest of his day at the kids’ new summer day camp.

WTF happened in the news?

Black women earn 67 cents on the dollar relative to white non-Hispanic men, per the Economic Policy Institute.WTF that’s not cool. July 31 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.

The Mooch, WTF?:

The Mooch ranted like no communications director has on-record ranted before.

Murkowski, Collins and McCain, Oh my!:

How much should the government be involved in ppl’s healthcare? Luckily for Eli, the GOP couldn’t agree last week. The CF Foundation has been texting us every day, asking us to call our Senators and ask them to vote “No,” on every iteration of every repeal bill put forth.”Skinny bill,” and every other proposed bill (I believe there were four shuffling around in D.C.) were terrible for people with cystic fibrosis, per the CF Foundation.

Which, may I add, has been rocking it on the advocacy front with the clarity and utility of its message: Tell them to vote no. It will hurt every person with CF.

Skinny repeal sunk early Friday morning with the surprise “No” from McCain, the Senator from Arizona. Now what? We get to wait and see if Obamacare will implode, if Dems and GOPs will work together, or if more Repubs will win in 2018, growing the GOP majority. Oi.

So, half of people w/ CF are on Medicaid. We have private insurance, but caps on coverage are back on the table. Those caps used to stand at $1 million, according to a Vox.com dispatch I read this week. Pretty sure Eli has hit that already. I’m also terrified about pre-existing condition protections evaporating on someone’s whim.

I hate the politicization of healthcare, but I’m forced to pay attention and participate on behalf of my son. It’s increasingly important to my family. We have to speak. We have to vote. We have to protect Eli. It’s life or death, not a hypothetical.

Kim Jong WTF:

North Korea keeps launching practice missiles. Whilst I sipped coffee Friday, it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. Oh, goody. Its Friday projectile did not have the capability to reach the U.S., but analysts predicted Kim Jong could get there by early ’18.

WTF: are we reading and watching

Just finished The Handmaid’s Tale, my bookclub selection. Next, re-reading The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Book Club selected two books this go-round. We picked T.G.C. because those of us who had read it before felt it far superior to our last read with Appalachian ties, Hillbilly Elegy.

Handmaid’s Tale gets a thumbs up from me. Dystopia at its finest. Stirring descriptive writing, Margaret Atwood.

On a whim, I started a little ladies bookclub for Laila, 7. We are reading Little House in the Big Woods.

I binge watched The Last Kingdom on Netflix. Mark was a non-participant, as BBC-esque, slow-moving dramas don’t do it for him like they do for me. We re-watched Superbad. I forgot how hilarious that movie was. For mindless distraction, we keep watching Parks and Rec. We let Eli and Laila watch Disney shorts, which looks to be a new NF addition. They felt it. We are trying hard to keep them away from the TV. Do as we say…not as we do…

Area child breaks area mother’s heart

Transitions are a huge deal to littles. My kids were afraid of starting summer day camp after chilling with pops for weeks on end. Mark’s school schedule is a little different from theirs. He had to go back. They had to go somewhere new. I picked Eli and Laila up after that first day.

“Mommy,” Eli said. “We didn’t go to the auditorium. The school doesn’t have a jungle gym like my school. My friends weren’t there.”

Eli didn’t seem too cut up earlier in the summer, when he left our beloved Special Care, the nonprofit school he’s attended for the last two years.

Well, he mourned for it this week.

“It’s OK, buddy,” I told him. “You’re going to make new friends. And you have your sister in the mean time.”