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Archive for October, 2011

Thought for the day

October 27, 2011 2 comments

I don’t measure success by the size of my bank account. I measure success by how much love I receive, and how much I’m able to give back. I measure success by whether I’m the kind of person that my family will want to help when I’m old and unable to help myself. I measure success in how much I smile and laugh, and how much I make others smile.

You can have the best degree and the most secure, highest paying job in the world, but at the end of your life, it won’t mean much if nobody feels a bond with you that is worthy of making them stick around.

Categories: Uncategorized

Happy birthday, Olivia.

October 23, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Special occasions

A Thank You and Exercise Talk

October 22, 2011 Leave a comment

For anyone that was able to donate (and even if you weren’t but you sent positive vibes) for Snow and Matt and their vow renewal, thank you. The event was a success, I’m told. The bride and groom looked smashing, and the photographer made it there on time, after raising even more money than she had hoped. The cake and flowers worked out without a hitch, as well. They really had an amazing day, from what I understand, so thank you again.

—-

I’m still hanging in there with yoga, and really getting the hang of the sequence of the video. Last night I tried a Pilates and Yoga combination video for something a little more strenuous and I really liked it. I’ve been stiff all day because of it, but that will fade a little more each day as I stick with it.

We have eaten a lot of crap the past couple of days, but that will change. We have a refrigerator full of groceries and a menu ready to go.

Louie is still hanging in there with Weight Watchers and the Points Plus version of it. I don’t know what he even took for lunch today when he went to work but he hasn’t gone over his points at all. We had salad for lunch, so I think he should be okay, even if he took something with a lot of points to work.

I do need to buy more fruit, though. I shopped at Wal-Mart and they wanted like $1.38 for pears. I can get them at a local place called Valli Produce for 49 cents a pound right now. Other produce is comparable, also. I’m going to be going right past there Monday anyway, so I’ll stop then.

All in all, the change in our habits is still going fairly smoothly. I’m still sucking down as much Pepsi as I ever was, though. That’s the hard part for me. I really don’t care for water and I have an aversion of drinking from plastic cups, so it becomes too easy to just grab a can. I have to work on that next. For now, though, we’ve taken small steps and I feel a lot better because of it.

Categories: Food

Making lemons into lemonade

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

One of my closest friends is renewing her wedding vows Saturday before her husband re-deploys. He just got home last month after a year. Originally, she mentioned that she was sad that her original wedding was tainted with such poor photography, so one of her other friends stepped up and said she’d do the photos for free, and she would trade services with a florist and baker she knew. She’d take photos for them to use in their advertisements and she’d use the photos in her portfolio. A cake was decided on. A facebook invitation was created, because it was to be a very small affair. The photographer RSVP’d yes in June and then never responded to attempts to be contacted after that, either on a personal or professional level.

Cue 4 days before the vow renewal (yesterday) and the photographer spits out a bunch of excuses as to why she didn’t get notice and she’s doing it grudgingly, and tells my friend she canceled the baker and florist but she guesses they can do it anyway. Sounds to me like she got a paying gig and just doesn’t want to do this one.

Several of us got together on Facebook. We have flowers coming to her house tomorrow, a cake ordered, plans in the works for putting together the flowers when they get there, and even a photographer that is willing to use the photos for her portfolio in exchange for gas money.

Here’s where I can use your help. I know money is tight for everyone, so if you can’t give, it’s okay. No need to explain. If you can, though, please imagine yourself in her shoes. This was supposed to outdo her original wedding and she finds out just days before that the majority of the services for the wedding are only going to be done with resentment, and the person doesn’t want to do them at all.

So if you have anything to spare, even five dollars, it would be awesome if you could contribute some gas money toward the photographer. Again, it’s okay if you can’t, but if you can, you’ll be a part of an amazing group of women from all over the world, getting together to give our “sister” a beautiful day. Japan, Italy, Canada, Illinois, Georgia, Arizona, Hawaii, and more have already been added to the list of locations that have come together to help one person with her special day.

Here is the link if you can add yourself to that list of people.

Categories: Special occasions

My own open letter (contains profanity)

October 12, 2011 4 comments

I was just reading someone else’s open letter and it made me want to write my own to the same person holding that sign in that picture and looking intimidating as he tells us all to quit whining.

Here we go with the entitlement crap again. How easy it is to say “Just work harder…”

Let me tell you something about working harder.

My mom was born in 1950. She dropped out of high school at 16, because back then, a diploma was just a nice thing to have. She was married at 18, abandoned by her husband, divorced, and married again at 19. She was expected to stay home and make babies because women’s lib was just getting started. She didn’t grow up at a time where everyone took out a loan and went to college. A lot of women did, sure, but more did not.

She worked a few jobs over the years, until I was born in 1979. Then she stayed home with me while my father worked. She did have a job here and there, but she wasn’t the breadwinner. She was earning money for Christmas gifts, clothes, and so on. On the outside, we were pretty privileged, except that my father was an alcoholic domestic abuser with a wandering eye.

After having enough of his abuse, she left him with me in tow in 1987. She worked at a nursing home for a while, struggling to put food on the table. She often went without eating and there were many nights that we had peanut butter and crackers for dinner. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with this. I didn’t know there was anything missing when I ate plain hamburger with a spoon. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with drinking powdered milk. My mom made a game of it all, because at that time, they wouldn’t approve my mom for food stamps because she was still legally married to my dad and he made too much money. Bootstraps, blah blah. More like trying not to starve to death.

My mom took a job in August of 1988 at a screw manufacturing company. She was a temp for a year, then she got hired on. She had a 401k. She had insurance. She busted her ass. She worked 10 hours a day during the week,  and 6 hours on Saturday, every single week for 18 years. Granted, the overtime did fizzle out toward the end, but it wasn’t because she wasn’t willing. She is diabetic and the job physically took the life out of her legs and the rest of her body. I watched her, in later years, walk out of that factory crying because she hurt so bad from doing her job, but you know what? She got up the next morning and did it all over again.

In 2007, the factory closed and Rockford’s screw products became China’s screw products. Along with that, between the CEO of the company and the bank in charge, the employees’ 401k match from the company disappeared into thin air. So did a large portion of what was paid in. My mother’s retirement went from $23,000 to $5,000. She had no insurance. She had no job. She had nothing. Fortunately, she lives/lived with her boyfriend so she wasn’t homeless, but she lost everything else. After 18 years of dedication and literally giving her health to her employer because she wasn’t afraid of a hard day’s work, she was left with shit. Absolute shit.

Then her health got even worse. She had no way to pay doctor bills, so she just didn’t go. She couldn’t afford all of her medications, so she just didn’t take them. Or if she did, she’d take partial doses. Obviously, her health got even worse from there. She was eventually approved for social security, and eventually she got medicaid, but at 61 years old, she’s inches away from renal failure. Part of that is because of her own stubbornness, but most of it is because of the damage that was done with some asshole in a suit stole everything she worked for her entire life and left her with no way to take care of herself. Remember, part of that was because of the bank itself. It wasn’t that she didn’t have the money there initially. It was taken from her, along with her co-workers.

My mother has 34% of her kidney function left. She can barely walk. I’m scared to death to go around her when I have a cold because if she gets pneumonia again, she could die. There’s not a damn thing I can do about any of it. I don’t know if she’s 1%, 53%, 99%, or any other number, and frankly, I don’t care. I only care that she’s my mother and I can’t help her because the economy hasn’t been kind to me either.

So don’t tell me or my mom to suck it up, because this could be you someday. All it takes is one bad illness or one oops in your endocrine system and you’ll be walking the very path my mom is on. It’s easy for you to say to stop whining now. You have nothing to whine about.

In the meantime, come here and bend over so I can shove 53% of that sign up your ass.

Turning over a new leaf

October 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week when we did our grocery shopping, I came across an amazing sale on produce. In addition to that, my grocery list and menu for the next two weeks had minimal meat on it, as you saw yesterday.

My husband struggles with weight, and he asked me to stop making desserts. This is hard for me, as I have a big sweet tooth,  but he is more important to me, so I intend to. I can still get sugary satisfaction in the form of fruit, and it’s better for me, too. He lost a great deal of weight before just from no longer eating meat, or eating very little of it, so I decided that was the next step.

Add in that my mom is nearing kidney failure, and while she doesn’t live with me, I want to support her dietary needs as much as possible, both by having dinners on hand that she can eat when she comes over, and by not making foods that tempt her when she makes conversation by asking what we had for dinner.

The change, just from adapting over the weekend, is phenomenal. I don’t know about anyone else in the family, but I feel so much better. We’re not eating convenience foods (although I am still working to cut out soda for myself), we’re not eating nearly as many carbs, our calorie count is way down, and our vitamin intake is way up because we’re not eating crap. I feel so, so much better. Even after only sleeping for 5 hours, and being interrupted in the middle because the hubby came in from work and asked about my day, I feel amazing. My body feels good. My mood is stable. I’m content.

Of course it could also be the yoga I started doing again. I felt so relaxed when I went to bed last night! I’m sure that helped me get as much rest out of those five hours as possible. I refuse to exercise in front of my family, because I am bashful about it, but I can’t wait for them to go to bed so I can do it again!

I love how great I feel. This is motivation to keep on going indefinitely. Hopefully our pocketbook cooperates. In the meantime, if you have any inexpensive, non-processed meatless meals to share, I’d love to hear about them!

Categories: Food

Wall Street

October 9, 2011 Leave a comment

You may not agree with what they’re doing. You may think it’s just a bunch of hippies standing in the street. You may think they’ll get nowhere because they lack organization.

What you can’t deny is their existence. Even if you, personally, feel they’re not going to accomplish anything, you have to appreciate that they’re willing to try. You have to admit they are out there, sticking up for those of us that are trying to make due with $35 for groceries. They’re out there, sticking up for those of us that lose homes, jobs, healthcare coverage, and our pride. They’re out there, so maybe, just maybe, nobody else will have to wonder where their next meal will come from or if their children can have crackers next week. Nobody should have to live like that, not even for a week, and those aren’t the worst examples.

We at least owe them media coverage as a thank you for their efforts because they’re tired of surrendering their happiness so some fat cat in an office can get even richer.

Right Here All Over (Occupy Wall St.) from Alex Mallis on Vimeo.

Categories: Uncategorized