Quit Drinking The Haterade

Recently, a friend showed me a Facebook post bashing moms who party too much. I won’t go into too much detail, but I’m sure you’ve seen similar posts show up in your news feed from time to time. There are some people whom I’ve unfriended or unfollowed because of their tendency to rant about stuff. I get it. You have an opinion. You’re angry about something. Rant away. When you start calling people out and slinging mud, you’re crossing a line. You’ve obviously drank too much haterade and you need to take a chill pill. Ever heard the saying “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”?… Quit slinging stones. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. We have no idea what is going on in another persons life that is causing them to act the way they’re acting, and that means we have no right to publicly call them out or bash them. We are just as bad, if not worse, then the person we are bashing when we stoop to publicly shaming people.

Whatever happened to “Love thy neighbor”? Whatever happened to it taking a village to raise a child?Why don’t we reach out to each other and lend a helping hand? Instead of judging one another, or tattling on each other, offer some assistance. I am appalled by how quick people are to call the authorities or get litigious. If you can take a minute to actually find out what’s going on, maybe there is something you can do to help. I’ve read several articles lately about women who have had the police called on them for their parenting. This woman was out grocery shopping with her husband and their autistic son when he threw a tantrum, and a bystander in the parking lot called the cops on them and loudly criticized their parenting. (1) This woman left her obstinate son in the car (for a few minutes, on a cool day) while she quickly ran an errand and some “good Samaritan” called the cops on her and she spent the next year of her life fighting the system. (2) Maybe the people calling the cops aren’t parents. Maybe they’ve never had to make these kinds of split second decisions when their nerves are shot and their patience is way past gone. There isn’t a manual that teaches you how to be a parent, nor is there some universal parenting class where you can go to learn everything there is to learn about parenting. Instead, there are laws that are there to ensure our childrens safety, and there are countless unwritten rules and speculative books that try to offer guidelines on what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. In the end, we all pretty much make this shit up as we go along. Most of our kids survive into adulthood relatively unharmed.

Why do we have to shame each other on social media? The person who wrote the aforementioned Facebook post is a mom. She loves her kids. I fail to understand why she thinks that she is the paragon of parenthood and that she somehow has the right to denigrate other mothers. What does she gain by slamming these so called party moms? Instead, wouldn’t it have been better to reach out to these people and see if there was something she could do to help? Maybe try to understand the situation better? If they don’t want her help, then surely shaming them on Facebook isn’t going to change their ways. Why spew vitriol to all your “friends” and make yourself out to be some kind of parenting guru?

I see these posts and these articles and sometimes I am utterly terrified of what people may be thinking about the way I parent my child. Are people judging me for not posting enough pictures of myself on facebook with my son? Are people judging me for posting too many pictures of my son on facebook? When I go out with my friends, are people making assumptions about where my child is? Are they judging me for going out instead of staying home and making memories with my precious son? Parenting is hard enough without having to worry about what all the other people in the world are thinking about you. Hell, life is hard enough without having to worry about that. I just wish people would stop drinking the haterade and start being kind to each other.

1 http://www.salon.com/2014/07/20/the_day_i_was_nearly_arrested_for_having_an_autistic_son/

2  http://www.salon.com/2014/06/03/the_day_i_left_my_son_in_the_car/

haterade http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=haterade

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Debt Crisis – Break Down Your Budget

I’ve come to a decision that I need to be more careful with my budget. So of course I decided to do some research and see what the “experts” say about such matters. That led me to the conclusion that I need to count my monetary blessings and be glad I can make it working just one job. Also, good gravy, no wonder people complain about rental prices! I read a little about the 50/30/20 method of budgeting. Using this method, your essentials (housing, utilities, food, clothing, phone, child care, etc.) should make up fifty percent of your after tax income. Thirty percent of your after tax income should make up your wants (entertainment, dining out, cable or dish, etc.) So you need to have a firm grasp on the difference between a want and a need. The final twenty percent should consist of savings and debt repayment. I am not a big fan of the 50/30/20 method because I like to break things down further, and I like to make spreadsheets. So I did a little more searching and came up with my own little chart. (It follows fairly close to the 50/30/20) I used it to create a spreadsheet that I can plug in gross wages to and come up with a pretty good estimate of what you need to live, depending on what you make.

Housing 30% – Rent or mortgage payments, Utilities 10%, Transportation 10% – Car payments, gas, Food 15%, Clothing 5%, Medical 10%, Personal 5% – Fun money, Savings 10% – your retirement, contributing to an emergency fund, Debt 5%

Of course, I got curious as to what this would look like if I made minimum wage. That was eye opening. Making the current Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 an hour, your annual gross income is $15,080, which after taxes is roughly $13,021 a year. (My after tax figures are an estimate based on IRS tax tables for calculating FIT and calculating FICA at 7.65%) Using these figures, your 30% housing allowance means you can afford $325.54 per month in rent or mortgage payments. (!!!) I don’t know what the housing assistance is in my town, but I know for dang sure that I can’t find a place to rent in town for that. Even assuming your utilities are included and thus making your allowance 40%, that still only gives you $434.05 for housing. A stretch for a decent place to rent. Plus, you’d still have to come up with your deposit. Then I decided to dig a little more and look up what SNAP (food stamps) will help you with. I just took my situation (single mom with one child) and looked at the chart. I am allowed to make $1,681 per month in gross wages, which works out to $20,172 annually or about $9.69 an hour. That puts my housing and utilities (40%) at $580.62 a month. So, slightly better prospects. However, if you make even one penny more that $9.69 an hour (or you fail to meet other requirements) you no longer qualify for SNAP benefits.

I’m sharing all of this because I think it is interesting. I also think that breaking it down like this is a reality check as to why this countries citizens are having such a hard time financially. Even under my IBR plan for my student loans, my student loan payments far exceed 5% of my income. This leaves me making hard decisions in other areas of my budget and trying to come up with the rest of that money by sacrificing other budget items. Education is just a small part of our nations debt picture. It’s a catch 22 because better paying jobs want you to have an education, and most of us have no choice but to go into debt getting that education. Our country also has a lot of pride, and for every person who may abuse the system and it’s so called entitlement programs, there are countless others who would rather work three jobs than see their families go without.

So, now I will get a bit preachy and say that I firmly believe that we should be educating ourselves about debt. This stuff needs to be taught in school. I would argue that it is far more important to know how to live within your means than it is to write in cursive. If our schools won’t teach our children this, then we need to teach them ourselves. So this means we also have to educate ourselves. Every idea in this post was researched on the internet and born out of conversations that I’ve had countless times. So, continue the conversation. Share this around. Educate yourself. If you want a copy of my spreadsheet (I created it using OpenOffice) shoot me an e-mail and let me know.

http://dss.sd.gov/foodstamps/eligibility/11.13AllotEligChart.pdf

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040tt.pdf

http://money.msn.com/how-to-budget/how-much-should-you-spend-on-weston.aspx

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford-renters-solutions-186462

http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm  

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Just Bust My Give a Damn Already!

Sometimes it really seems like some people just don’t know how to care about somebody else. You just have to wonder if this is a choice they’ve made. Does it take practice to truly not give a shit about other people’s feelings? Is it a genetic predisposition? How is it possible for some people to be so utterly uncaring? I always want to believe that people can change, but some people just seem to want to prove me wrong. I’m not just talking about one person, but a plethora of people that have come into my life and my friends lives. I am friends with some big hearted people and it tears me up to watch them be mistreated by people. Some of us seem to have cornered the market on caring about people and we seem to attract the opposite. The more we give, the more other people take from us.

For once, I would like to just not care. I want to not cry about stupid boys. I want to not care if someone misses me. I want to not care if someone dreams about me, thinks about me, feels sorry for the way they treated me… to not want to know if they ever really cared for me at all. I want to take all my warm fuzzy feelings about them and rip them out and set them on fire so I never have to feel anything for them ever again. Would that make my life easier? Would it change the person I am? If I could bust my give a damn, could I keep myself from being hurt? Do I really want to be just like them?…

For all the people that take advantage of the love I have to offer, there are more people in my life that appreciate me just the way I am. They reciprocate. If I was uncaring, wouldn’t it mean that I would be just as uncaring towards the people that love me back? As much as it hurts sometimes to love, it would hurt more to never love. The only option that we seem to have is to try to be more selective about who we give our hearts to. Aside from that, we just have to cry with each other in solidarity and love ourselves enough to know that we deserve better.

I’ve said before that love is a four letter word. So is hope. It is both a blessing and a curse to love and hope. When you can see the good in a person, love them in spite of their flaws, you always hope that they will see how much you love them and want to be a better person for you. So when they can’t pull their head out of their ass and appreciate the fantastic woman standing in front of them who loves them, sometimes your hope dying is what it takes to cut the last tie and let go of that love too. I’m not saying it’s easy or that it will happen overnight, but after some time you will be able to honestly tell yourself that you did everything you could, gave everything you had, and you deserve someone who appreciates that. My hope is still in tact. My love is still mine to give. I have to believe that a person exists who will appreciate everything I have to offer. I have to hold on to the hope that I will someday find that person. For now, I just have to go on loving the people in my life who appreciate me already.

My Give A Damn’s Busted http://youtu.be/o40fwZgSFPI

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Not My Coup de Foudre

Once again, my weekend has provided me with ample fodder for blog posts. Three nights and three days of fun in the sun are apparently incentive enough for the opposite sex to try wooing me (and several of my friends.) And by wooing me, I mean ham-handedly “complimenting” me. Oh, and offering to send me pictures of their… parts… Apparently sending D pics is a thing. I have heard stories from several lady friends about their experiences with this. There are the guys that just send you the picture and take you totally and disgustingly by surprise. There are the guys who ask first and don’t wait for a response in the affirmative before sending a picture, so you are grossed out but not completely caught off guard. There are the guys who ask to exchange pics… then there are the real gentlemen who ask first and actually listen to you when you say you don’t want to see that… First off guys, your penis is not pretty. For. Real. There is a reason that you don’t see paintings of penises in the Louvre. (And before you argue with me about the naked babies and Greek Gods, I am talking about just a close up of a penis… like you seem to think we want to see…) Or tasteful art prints of penises for sale at Pier One. I believe that most women do not want to stare at that particular part of the male anatomy for extended periods of time. So please, stop sending us unsolicited pictures of your dick. Yes, I know that you want to see pictures of our boobs and you could stare at them endlessly. I’m also sure that you are getting some thrill out of thinking about us looking at a picture of your dick. Most of us are offended. I’m assuming it must work to your advantage at some point with some women (I’ve never met a girl who gets with a guy because of that…) I know some kind of kinky people, and even they don’t want you to send them a picture of your dick. Enough said.

Moving along… Enough with the butt compliments. Unless you can tell me I’m callipygian, and know what that means, please don’t go on and on and on about my ass. Find something else to compliment me on. Yes, there are endless songs about butts and how much guys like them. Yes, I’m glad you think I have a great butt. Thank you. Move along. And don’t slap it. Unless I know you real well (like, I know your middle name and I’ve met your mama) do not walk up to me and slap my ass. One of these days, I’m going to turn around and assault someone for slapping my ass.

Please, for the love of all that is holy, learn to spell. Learn to spell words like tomorrow. (No joke, more than once it has been sent to me as tomarow.) I get the text lingo and shorthand and all of that stuff. I do. But if you regularly cannot spell it will drive some women away. Call me a hater all you want, but it is something that I can’t get over or around. If The Rock came on to me (Iwouldlosemyshit) (lose vs. loose) and then started texting me and couldn’t spell, I don’t know if I could overlook it even for him. Grammar is a sticking point as well, but more so in conversation. Ignorance is one thing, stupidity is a choice.

So, I will leave you with what coup de foudre is. It is a French term for love at first sight, literally translated to a thunderbolt or lightning strike. It is my second favorite French term, the first being faire du lèche vitrine, “to lick the windows” i.e. window shopping. It just implies SO much more than window shopping…

Thanks for the dick pic https://www.etsy.com/listing/190820250/thanks-for-the-dk-pic-cross-stitch?ref=listing-5

The Sexy Spelling Song (explicit) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPWaC0UK5zg&feature=share

Coup de foudre http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/coup+de+foudre

Faire du lèche vitrine http://foreignparts.typepad.com/foreign_parts/2008/11/%C3%A0-aimer-faire-du-l%C3%A8che-vitrines.html

Callipygian http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/callipygian

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Things I’ve Learned – Part 2 (no pas de deux)

I’ve been divorced for almost a year and a half. I still think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The dating decisions I’ve made over the last year, however, have been a little disastrous. As much as I want to find somebody to love (and wouldn’t you love somebody to love?…) I’ve come to realize that I need to give my love to the people who are already here in my life (myself included) and just stop trying so hard to find SOMEONE. I realize that since I was married for the better part of a decade, I’m used to the casual intimacy that comes from living with someone for so long. I keep looking for that level of intimacy and being disappointed when I go all in and the other person holds back some of their cards. Dating people is exhausting when you’re giving it your all and just not getting that much in return. So, while I sit back and (im)patiently wait for the universe to send a pas de deux partner my way, I’ve decided to compile another list of things I think I’ve learned.

  1. Quit assuming you can trust people. Yeah, people can be trustworthy, but it takes more than one conversation for someone to earn your trust so don’t give it to them so fast. By giving your trust to someone that you barely know, you’re just setting yourself up to get hurt.
  2. Follow the other persons lead. If you’re bombarding someone with text messages, e-mails, wall posts, tags, etc. and they aren’t responding in kind, then you’re probably coming off as needy (or a stalker.) You shouldn’t always be the person making contact. Sit back and wait.
  3. A real gentleman comes to your door to pick you up. Call me old fashioned, but someone sitting in front of my house and honking or texting me that they’re “here” is kind of rude. This behavior seems to be indicative of someone not respecting you. Also, if plans need to be cancelled, a good explanation is in order. I have to line up a babysitter in order to go out on a date, so cancelling on me at the last minute is not acceptable unless there is a valid explanation.
  4. It’s pointless to try and force someone to apologize. A forced apology is not sincere. If a person is really sorry, then they will tell you without prompting. A good indication that someone doesn’t respect you or your time is when they don’t apologize for wasting your time.
  5. If someone tells you they’re an asshole, believe them. Seems like a no brainer… but it’s just not cute or funny when someone flat out tells you that they’re an asshole like you’re supposed to think that’s funny. Also, if they act like an asshole towards their friends, then eventually they will treat you like that. Conversely, it’s not cute or funny to tell someone that you’re a crazy bitch.
  6. You don’t have to give everybody a second chance. Some people don’t even deserve the first chance you gave them, let alone two or three more chances. If they hurt you once, the second chance that you’re giving them is just another opportunity for them to hurt you again. Play at your own risk.
  7. You don’t owe the other person anything (and they don’t owe you anything.) Mutual respect and honesty should be a given, but don’t assume that people will give them to you. Likewise, anyone who thinks that you need to sleep with them because they bought you dinner and a movie should be kicked to the curb. You’re not a stripper or a prostitute, so you shouldn’t be trading your body for free meals and entertainment.
  8. Don’t slut shame yourself. You’re not the first person to ever regret having a one night stand. Being hard on yourself is just going to make you feel horrible and it isn’t healthy or constructive. Also, while there may be other people out there who claim that they have a successful relationship with someone whom they slept with on a first date, that doesn’t seem to be the norm. So, don’t expect a decent relationship to materialize after you have sex with someone.
  9. Do your homework. Ask mutual friends about the person you’re going out with. Google them. Vet them however you need to; but don’t be surprised when they aren’t what you think they should be. The way people act towards you when you’re in an intimate relationship with them can be completely different than the way they act towards their friends or co-workers.
  10. Have a plan B. You will get stood up. Plans will change. People will get sick. You should be able to graciously cancel your plans with someone. Likewise, if you already have a babysitter, take yourself out! Just because your plans have changed or been cancelled, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay home and feel sorry for yourself.
  11. Do things for yourself. If you buy sexy lingerie so you can show it off to someone else, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. If you shave, put on makeup, dress a certain way, etc. etc. … with the expectation that the person you’re doing it for will be appreciative, then prepare to be disappointed. Do this stuff for yourself, and then tell yourself that you’re awesome. And hot. And sexy. And whatever else it is that you’re hoping someone else will tell you. Any ensuing compliments will be icing on your cake.

Yeah, eleven… I just had to break protocol. Call me a rebel. The relationships that I will cherish and remember are the ones that I am cultivating with my friends and family. The bad dates and douchebags are just a small part of my life and they are learning experiences that will help me appreciate it when the right person eventually comes along.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pas_de_deux

Demi Lovato – I Really Don’t Care http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJGUbwVMBeA

Justin Timberlake – Not a Bad Thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vjty080jy60

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WOD: Serendipity

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. Basically, you’ve got mad skills at being lucky. It’s also a pretty good rom-com starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale (don’t judge me.) You can call it fate. You can believe it’s an intervention by a higher power. It all boils down to things that happen to you at just the right time and in just the right place that make it seem like the universe has got your back. You didn’t get the job you applied for but then an even better job just falls into your lap. You get up to the fast food window and find out that the person ahead of you paid for your meal. You put your winter coat on for the first time in a year and find a twenty in the pocket. You go out at the last minute on a Saturday night and the super-hot guy you’ve been noticing around town just happens to be at the bar you walk in to (and you hit it off!) Sometimes you get a feeling, an inkling, a nudge, to go to a certain place or turn down a different road, and you find yourself exactly where you didn’t know you were supposed to be.

Of course, something that seems good at the time can turn out to be not so fortuitous in the long run. A decade in at that job that falls into your lap and you’re wishing you could find a different job (be patient.) You start to fall hard for that guy and then start to realize that maybe he isn’t your PC. (But he’s so cute!) I sincerely hope that your free meal doesn’t give you food poisoning and that the twenty in your coat pocket doesn’t turn out to be counterfeit… So the flip side of serendipity can be the stuff that’s too good to be true. But remember how you feel right when that awesome thing happens? When you’re on top and high on life and just happy to be experiencing it all? That’s a great feeling and it is so worth slogging through the rest of it so you can get to those moments that make you feel like the world is on your side.

Over a decade ago I convinced myself to go out, on my own, for karaoke. I look back on that decision and marvel at the fact that of all the things I could have done and the places I could have gone, I am so glad I went out that night to that place. If I had went somewhere else, or just stayed home, I would never have met my best friend. Thanks to the powers that be I’ve one kick ass woman in my life and I get to be a part of her life and the lives of her awesome family. So, sometimes, serendipity is subtle. You don’t realize that something fortuitous has happened to you until you look back on it years later and realize that you got lucky.

My point with all this? Take chances. Go out and live life and have a little faith that when things are meant to be, then they happen. Trust in the fact that if you put yourself out there good things will happen to you. Realize that if something that seems lucky at the time turns out to be not so good, there is probably something else going on that will turn out to be pretty awesome. Nothing good can happen to you if you’re not willing to go out and look for it.

Serendipity: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/serendipity?s=t

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0240890/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Fortuitous: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fortuitous?s=t

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Snow Falling In June

It doesn’t really feel like we’ve had much of a spring here in Central South Dakota. We’re getting some nicer weather now, and nature is falling in line accordingly. Every year in late spring and early summer, the cottonwood trees let loose with their cottony snow. As I was walking, I took some time to appreciate the beauty of the snow falling around me in June. It really is beautiful to walk through. Everything is wonderfully green right now because we’ve had some good rainstorms. The beginning of the path I’m walking is lined with blooming phlox, Russian sage, fully leafed out trees, and lots of little scampering bunnies, squirrels and birds. With all of this beauty around me, it is a little sad that I had to remind myself to appreciate it. I need to stop and take a moment and find my inner Disney Princess and enjoy birds singing and just fucking smile. Be more Snow White and less Evil Queen.

My normal mindset while walking through the snowing cotton is to curse the mess it makes, the way it sticks to my face and tried to get in my mouth, and the fact that my nose is running from all the pollen. Damn Mother Nature and her incessant spawning that makes my eyes itch and causes me to sneeze. I am trying to find the good in every situation. Yeah, my nose is running, but I’m alive and breathing and I can choose to enjoy the beauty around me. I am working on this mindfulness and trying to have a positive mindset. I am so accustomed to being angry and disappointed; so used to people that claim to care about me turning on me and hurting me. I have come to expect the worst from everyone and every situation. And that needs to stop. I don’t want to be a doormat, but I don’t want to be dependent on anyone else for my happiness. It is up to me to find my own happiness and that needs to start with a positive outlook.

If I can teach myself to wake up each morning and put a smile on my face and expect that today will be a good day and I will be happy, I can change my outlook. I can teach myself to be happy, and as a consequence I will actually be happy. Not just happy sometimes, or for a moment, but actually happy the majority of the time. There will always be moments when I get angry or when I’m sad, but I can’t let those moments color my life. Feel the feelings, learn the lesson, let go, and move on. No more dwelling on the past or rehashing things that are over and done. If I continue to expect that people will hurt me, then of course they will. If I have faith that people will love and accept me, than most of them will. I can’t dwell on the ones that don’t. I need to stop living my life to please other people and live my life to please myself. Another part of this is to quit trying so hard to prove myself to other people and make them think I’m awesome. I am awesome. It is a privilege to know me and have me in their life. They need to prove that they want to be in my life and they need to make my life better by being a part of it. Put good in, get good out.

So now part of my walk is all about enjoying the beauty surrounding me and actually experiencing it in a positive manner. I can see it and see beauty. I can smell it and it smells wonderful (except by the softball fields…) I can hear the birds and the water, and the sound is like a private symphony. I can feel the sun, be grateful for the breeze, and dance when it rains. Perspective is everything, and happiness is a state of being that I want to attain. I can do anything I set my mind to.

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