Friday, February 28, 2014

The week in review

I was hired to substitute TA at Monarch. Woot!! I'll work this Tuesday. I was talking with Os teacher during playtime and I told her about my application. My comment about skipping the interviewing process was, "Either my résumé was awesome, or they are really desperate". With out missing a beat, she said, "They are desperate". I laughed to myself about that. (Besides, my résumé was a bit sucky. I'm mad I left one bullet point off, suggested by an english major friend, and it made it look stupid). Part of the application process required watching some horrifying videos about blood born pathogens, bullying, and abuse. I had to look away repeatedly. It was HORRIBLE!!


We had an AWESOME meeting this week. We had two new people and a lot of returning ones. Two of them connected when they were talking about their experiences with psychosis. There was a lot of compassion and healing in the room. My favorite part was the genuine laughter at the end of the meeting. It felt good to have people leave feeling uplifted. I am so blessed to facilitate this group. Our next meeting will be at our new permanent home in Severn. No more crazy library schedule. I know a regular meeting time will make it easier for more people to attend and benefit from the meetings.

Boob Talk
One friend thought of me when she saw this picture. It is from a list of commonly mispronounced words by toddlers.

Erica was transferring baby Alice to me and there was an accidental boob brush in the process. I apologized and she commented it's the most action she's had in a while. Her husband has been gone for weeks on a trip. I'm glad I could make her day like that. 

"Thank you for my boobies, thank you for my bum" Rapunzel/O during the evening prayer.

Brett Dennen
I don't know how, but some how, I ended up in the front row for the show. Proper front row concert etiquette requires yelling out requests. So, I yelled my favorite song. He actually played it for his solo song, and I'd like to think he played it just for me. His opening act was awesome, thank goodness. The one he had in Baltimore last October was terrible. The group of people I was with all agreed, they sucked. 

He ALWAYS goes barefoot on the stage.

I was this close. I didn't have to zoom for this picture.

I have loved playing with my adopted daughter Alice. I've seen her every week since she was born. I'm going for the title of Favorite Aunt. This is what I do to entertain myself when I get to play with Alice. 

Squishy Face

She's not so happy right now.

Her mom is SO MEAN. I keep telling her not to put the brain squisher on, but, she WON'T listen. This is how we found her when she got out of the car.
"NO, don't take my picture".

"I am humiliated".

Favorite Quote

"My baby has developed this back and forth head twitch the last week. Turns out the little turd has discovered "no", she's been telling me no all week...and so it begins" Eric Forrest

On Thursday, LT and I had meetings in the evening so we got a sitter for O. Well, true to form, O did everything she could to avoid going to bed. After reading book after book to her, the sitter told her to get something to read that would put her to sleep. So, O brought her The Economist. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

THIS makes me MAD

Everyone has "causes" they support. I pour my energy into mental health awareness and spreading the word about the hazards of GMOs. Just because I don't usually talk about other causes doesn't mean I don't have solid opinions about them. And, I usually don't comment on too many emotionally and politically charged topics, but this one has me fired up and I've had it. Seriously.


I was talking with someone about a mutual friend from our hometown. At one point they said, "He still thinks he's gay". I was FLOORED!!  It took me a while to pick my jaw up off of the floor. I couldn't believe it! Fortunately, it was a phone conversation, I don't know how I would have reacted if it was in person. 

So, this leads me to say, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH folks.

There is too much hate and intolerance on both sides of this topic, hate begets hate and there is enough of that in the world already. Hate is ugly in all of its forms. Nothing good comes from hate, nothing. 

I have a lot to say about this and I could go on and on, but I want to keep this post brief. So, that means, I won't be as thorough as I would like. Consequently, I hope I'm not misunderstood.

First, the libertarian in me says, the government needs to get out of the marriage business. Period.

Next, I have no problem with people being gay. None, whatsoever. I get so infuriated when others make insensitive and degrading remarks about someone who is gay. I have a ton of friends and family members who are gay, and they aren't an inferior person because of it. It's just who they are. When I was at UCMT a ton of the faculty was gay and they weren't less capable of being effective in the classroom than a straight person. Being gay doesn't mean you're beneath anyone else.

A dearest friend of mine is gay. We've had a lot of conversations about what it was like for her being raised in a very conservative and religious home, and be gay. She was in her 30s when she came out to her parents. She felt there was something wrong with her for years and was actually frightened about it. It wasn't until she was in grad school that she let go of her fears and just... was. It was fascinating and enlightening to hear her story. I developed an even greater compassion for her and others like her who have lived for years hiding from what they feel. And, hearing her story didn't change how I viewed her or her abilities.

So, with that said, here is the thing that gets me in trouble with my liberal and gay friends. 

Why should someone who is morally opposed to making money offering a service to someone, who has a lifestyle they don't approve of, be legally forced to provide the service OR be sued/go out of business? (This has nothing to do with me.  I don't care if the person on my massage table is gay or straight).

The specific example that bothered me when I first heard of it occurred a year or so ago. A photographer in Annapolis was sued for refusing to photograph a gay couple. She is not the ONLY photographer in Annapolis. (This isn't an isolated incident either, it's happening all over the country). I don't think someone should be legally forced to do business with someone they feel morally opposed to doing business with.  

Let the market decide who stays in business. I'd rather a million people vote with their checkbooks than have ONE judge decide the fate of a small business owner.

(I do understand there is discrimination involved in this too, and that is a another blog post entirely).

I've read posts and articles and watched interviews and commentaries on gay rights for years. My observation is, over 90% of them are filled with anger, spite, name calling, fear, bullying, discounting, preaching, condescending remarks etc. Both sides are culpable for spewing hate about the other. It's sickening. 

It bothers me. 

All of it bothers me. 

I searched for what really troubled me, beyond the hate, and it had to do with "space". I don't like it when one group, of anyone, feels like they have to take space from another to have space for themselves. There is enough room for everyone. Why can't there be space for someone to live by their moral conscience? Why does someone have to be legally forced to do something that conflicts with their beliefs?

That is bothersome. 

Where is the liberty in that? 

It isn't there. 

Okay, this is getting long so, I'll finish with, I know there will always be hate in this world, it won't disappear. I can't change people, but I can hope to influence them. And I also know it's the "individual" that makes THE differences in the world. I don't expect hate to go away, but I do want others to look inside themselves and find the love and compassion that already exists within. 

Why can't we just love each other for being humans and not the irrelevant labels that get in the way of us seeing each other.....genuinely seeing each other? We have more in common with each other than we acknowledge or choose to see.

Okay, I've said my peace.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Odds and Ends

Let me start this post with, I am blessed to know some really remarkable people. I'm happy out here on the east coast. Happier than I thought I'd be, although I miss my mountains and clear water, I feel at home here. Living here is a thousand times better than the hell I endured in TX. I've spent time this week with people that make me laugh, people that make me want to be a better person and people that make me feel loved. 


I know I'm in the minority and have been able to be home with O prior to school. Once she started kindergarten, I exhaled and took time for myself. I do a lot of service during the week, but I'm not satisfied with it anymore. I've been volunteering in Os classroom since the beginning of the year and I love it. It reminds me of how much I love being in the classroom . So, I applied to be a TA. I don't know if I'll be hired, but I would REALLY like to work there. I've been sent to get all the paperwork done with the county so I can substitute TA. It's a start, right?

Thursday after school we went bowling with some friends and somehow O got her ball stuck in between the bumper and gutter. 

Look, it's a slide.

The kids beat the adults. They DID have the bumpers though.

Boob Talk
O was explaining puberty to me and she said when you get boobs you get red tubey, sucky thingies. I told her they were nipples. "Nibbles? Do the babies nibble on them"?

Last night O put on my bra over her pajamas and tried to go to bed. We were trying to get if off of her while she was yelling, "Don't touch my BOO-ZUM, let go of my boobies"! After it was over LT said, "I never thought I'd have to take your bra off my daughter". 

I ended up with these "Hot Booties" at my white elephant party, I had to fight for them too. When O saw them she asked if they said, "Hot Boobies". I told her yes. That was in December. She saw them again this week on my feet and said, "Those aren't hot boobies, you lied to me. They don't warm up your boobs". ha ha ha.

On Saturday mornings, O usually comes into our bed to wake us up and snuggle. It always turns into something goofy. Well, this morning she tried to clamp a hair claw on my chest. Punk!

Catching up with O

Me - "I want to have Lasik".

O - "Mom, have I told you, without your glasses, you look kind of creepy"?

O - "Whenever I see a full moon, I bark".

O - "Dad, let me kiss your forehead, you're kind of shavey". To LT when he hasn't shaved.

O - "Make way for my fancy hair"

On the Nightstand
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
LT was given this trilogy as a gift a couple of years ago and he was dysfunctional for several weeks while he read it. He keeps telling me I should read it and the time has arrived. I started. I'm 100 plus pages in and it has potential. I already know I like the author. He finished up the Wheel of Time series when Robert Jordan died. I loved the shift in the writing style. Mr. Jordan was a gifted storyteller, but wow, he was too verbose for my liking.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
I was 186 in the queue at the library but, Laurie came to the rescue. It looks like a quick read. I plan to be done by the time I see the movie.

Kid Quotes
"I don't want to back in the cage"! K to her mom when she was told they were getting into the car.

"I'm not a terrorist! I'm not a terrorist", K in the airplane when it was time to buckle up. Her mom was worried they'd be detained. To put this into context, you need to know, when she is acting up her dad will say, "K, don't be a terrorist", to which she responds, "I'm not a terrorist, I'm a big girl". 

Clearly, K does NOT like being buckled into anything. K is 2.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Heavy Heart

Two things are weighing on my heart, the first has to do with my daughter and the second has to do with a dear, dear friend of mine.

To begin, O frequently tells me she doesn't have any friends at school. Anytime she is having a meltdown, that surfaces. I know it is stressing her out and I know she wants friends. She can play with A and J for hours without an issue. She is an intense kid and can overwhelm others and I think that gets in the way. She's been bullied on the bus. The first time it happened, I wasn't too sure of the story, but the second time it happened I filed a report right away. The school called me that day and let me know what was done to resolve it. 

I see her when I volunteer and some of the kids are pretty mean to her. I set up some play dates to help out. The first one ended early. B wanted to go home after an hour. The following day at school, she told O she never wanted to have a play date again. (I talked to her dad about it and all he knew from B was that they fought over a toy or something). We had a play date with one of her friends from Kindergarten and it went well, her friend didn't want to go home. When her friend did leave, O said, "Please don't run away from me at school." My heart broke. My wonderful girl is being overlooked.

I wish so badly this wasn't happening to her. I know she will have to navigate the social ups and downs of life, but I just didn't expect it to start so early. I worry the most about her self-esteem. She is an amazing girl and I don't want the actions and words of others to send the message that she is anything else. LT and I are being pretty deliberate with spending time as a family and trying to make our home a secure and happy place. I know we can't change how others will treat her, but if she is at least loved completely at home, she can know for herself she is just fine. 

The second thing that is weighing on me is the news that my Ladybug has leukemia. She has a lot of fight in her and I know she won't give up. AND, I'm sad to know she's going to have a tough and miserable battle. I've known her for about 20 years. I worked with her daughter at Oakcrest. We hiked Timpanogos and I thought she was going to die sliding down the glacier. When a serious, long-term relationship of mine ended, she was there to listen. There is a special little place in my heart that belongs only to her. I just love this woman. I can't imagine her... gone.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

GMO Talking Points. This is worth reading.

In January, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) obtained the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s (GMA) “One-Pager” of talking points about GMOs and GMO labeling laws. The document is intended for use by food industry lobbyists whose job it is to convince state lawmakers to reject GMO labeling bills in their states.

The GMA’s talking points include the usual misinformation about GMO safety testing and the so-called benefits of GMOs. They also include claims that GMO labeling laws are unconstitutional—claims that, as we explain here, are baseless.

The OCA has its own list of GMO talking points. A list we don’t need to “leak.” We’re happy to make it public for everyone, not just lobbyists and the politicians they hope to influence. Because our talking points are backed up by facts, research and reliable sources.

I. Facts on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture

Genetically engineered crops do not improve yield.

Source: Failure to Yield, Union of Concerned Scientists

Less than 1% of genetically engineered crops are disease-resistant.

For Hawaiian papaya, the only major disease-resistant crop, yields are down, costs to farmers are up.
Sources: War of the Papayas
Papaya Production Taking a Tumble

Insects quickly develop resistance to crops engineered to produce insecticides, requiring extensive and diverse insecticide use.
Source: Monsanto Shares Slip on Bug-Resistant Corn Woes

Weeds quickly adopt genetically engineered crops’ herbicide tolerant traits, requiring excessive and varied herbicide use. 
Sources: Resistant weeds by species and country
Killer Pig Weeds Threatens Crops in the South
'Superweed' explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands

Monsanto pays farmers to use more herbicide on its genetically engineered crops. 
Sources: US Farmers Cope with RoundUp-resistant weeds
Monsanto paying farmers to increase herbicide use

Genetically engineered crops require 26% more pesticides than normal crops.

The only drought-resistant genetically engineered crop, a corn variety developed by Monsanto, is only useful for 15% of U.S. corn.

The cost of farming papaya has gone up. A Hawaiian genetically engineered papaya farmer says, “The price is going down and still the costs of farming goes up.” Quoted in “Papaya production taking a tumble.” 

The cost of genetically engineered seeds has gone up.

Herbicide costs have gone up for farmers growing genetically engineered crops. 

Insecticide costs have gone up for farmers growing genetically engineered crops. 

Costs for farmers have increased due to genetically engineered crops’ decreased nitrogen fixation. 

II. Facts on Current Federal Policy on Genetically Engineered Food Labels

The Grocery Manufacturers Association quotes the FDA, as saying:

The agency is still not aware of any data or other information that would form a basis for concluding that the fact that a food or its ingredients was produced using bioengineering is a material fact that must be disclosed…FDA is therefore reaffirming its decision to not require special labeling of all bioengineered foods.
- Food and Drug Administration, 2001

The GMA is quoting a 2001 draft guidance on voluntary labels that was never finalized. This is what they want to become law, but it is not the law. The 2001 draft guidance suggests that genetically engineered food should not be labeled, absent a finding that genetically engineered food are harming human health. That is not the standard under current law for food labels.

The relevant FDA document is: 

FDA Statement of Policy: Foods Derived From New Plant Varieties, May 1992

The standard for requiring labels under current law is that information is needed to prevent consumer confusion or deception.

Consumers are unaware that some foods have been genetically engineered, and if they do know that genetic engineering is being used to produce food, they cannot identify those foods. 

Consumers believe that foods like corn and soy are the same crops that have been cultivated by humans for thousands of years. In fact, these and other food crops have been engineered at the genetic level to produce unique, patentable traits, that have never before been part of the human diet. That information is material whether or not we know the health consequences of eating these foods.
III. What Independent Scientific Organizations Actually Say 

The World Health Organization:

"Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods."

The American Medical Association:

"(4) Our AMA supports mandatory pre-market systematic safety assessments of bioengineered foods and encourages: (a) development and validation of additional techniques for the detection and/or assessment of unintended effects; (b) continued use of methods to detect substantive changes in nutrient or toxicant levels in bioengineered foods as part of a substantial equivalence evaluation; (c) development and use of alternative transformation technologies to avoid utilization of antibiotic resistance markers that code for clinically relevant antibiotics, where feasible; and (d) that priority should be given to basic research in food allergenicity to support the development of improved methods for identifying potential allergens. The FDA is urged to remain alert to new data on the health consequences of bioengineered foods and update its regulatory policies accordingly."
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences:

The products of genetic engineering “carry the potential for introducing unintended compositional changes that may have adverse effects on human health.”

IV. Is There a Constitutional Issue? 


“Where a law compels disclosure of ‘purely factual and uncontroversial information,’ the law need only be ‘reasonably related to the [government’s] interest in preventing deception of consumers’ to pass muster under the First Amendment.” 
Source: American Meat Institute v. USDA

The GMA points out that one labeling statute has been overturned for violating the First Amendment: “In 1996, the Second Federal Circuit in the case of IDFA v. Amestoy, applied the test found in Central Hudson Gas and blocked a Vermont law that required dairy producers to label milk from cows treated with a growth hormone. The court explained that Vermont’s stated interests in adopting the law – strong consumer interest and the public’s right to know – were not substantial enough to justify the functional equivalent of a warning about a production method that has no discernible impact on a final product.”

The reasoning of IDFA v. Amestoy was overturned in IDFA v. Boggs.

If the GMA sues, the case will be dismissed.

The current situation, where the vast majority of consumers know virtually nothing about how genetic engineering is being used in food production, is a case of consumer confusion that demands action.

There are proponents of genetic engineering in agriculture that support labels. 
Sources: (Consumer Attitudes Toward Biotech Food)

A label that says "produced with genetic engineering" makes a neutral statement of fact. It is not an advertisement and it is not a warning label. The label is not trying to induce the consumer to reach for or reject the product. It is just a simple fact. 

The only basis the state needs to require labeling is that, absent a label, consumers will be confused or misled.

Most people figure that some food sold in stores today is genetically engineered. (Among people whose education is a high school degree or less, only 44.7% know this, while 81.4% who have a college degree or beyond know it.) But, very few people can identify those foods. Only one of four people say they completely understand genetically engineered food.

V. What is the GMA?

The GMA says it is “the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States, and around the globe. Based in Washington, D.C., GMA’s member organizations include internationally recognized brands as well as steadily growing localized brands.”

GMA members include Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Dupont, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft, Ely Lily, General Mills and Syngenta.

More on the GMA here: